2022 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD: Great Car for Close-to-Home or Afar

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Tony Maples Photography


Highlander has long been known for a quality, quiet ride with high-strength TNGW platform. Sound dampening and sound proofing materials are spread throughout the vehicle.

The acoustic glass on the front side windows aid and isolate the occupants from outside noise.

Ambient LED lighting sets a relaxing mood in the cabin. The inset Leatherette wrapped tilting and telescopic steering wheel controls are available to correct sound or involve in other needed duties.

The JBL Premium Audio System provides all listeners with just about any kind or taste in music desired. Enjoy the sounds through 11-speakers in 9 different locations.

Highlander provides a multi-terrain select control dial on the console. Mud and Sand modes work well for beach driving, while Rock and Dirt optimize AWD traction for trails, unpaved or bad roads, and weather conditions. The driver can also adjust driver train response.

Highlander also includes a number of features for optimal on-road and off-road performance and safety. Included are Hill Start Assist Control, Trailer Sway Control, and Downhill Assist Control available on AWD.

This new Highlander offers a great feature that employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. The AWD operates “seamlessly while transparent,” according to press information.


Photo: Toyota

The XSE comes standard with Captain’s Chair second row with seating for seven. XSE also has Soft Tex trimmed second row seating for eight, with 16 cu. ft. cargo space behind the third row. The folding 60/40 split-fold third row seatback opens space to 48.4 cu. ft., and then folding the second row provides 84.3 cu. ft.

Standard safe features in Toyota products are found in Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 +. The system includes a Pre-Collision System with intersection support, designed to detect oncoming vehicles or pedestrians at intersections when performing a left turn. Audio/visual alerts and automatic braking are available in certain conditions. Road Sign Assist, Lane Full- Speed Range Cruise Control, Lane Keep Technology, Lane Keep Technology like Lane Departure Alert, Steering Assist and Lane Tracing Assist and Sway Warning System are also featured.

Highlander is powered by a 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft torque V-6 engine mated to a Direct-Shift 8-speed automatic transmission.

Highlander delivers an estimated 23 mpg combined, and has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.

Inside the cabin, Highlander provides ambient lighting and carbon-fiber finish on the instrument panel to set a sportier mood. A striking two-tone red and black leather-trimmed interior with red stitched instrument panel is available at no additional cost.


Photo: Toyota

The 2022 Highlander comes ready to use all devices, with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility as well as five USB ports.

Highlander XSE has received a bumper to bumper style makeover. The front fascia grille and lower spoiler joins a much larger lower air intake integrated into a new bumper with a spoiler below that. Unique headlights headlamps feature black accent and light-strip DRLS.

Rocker panels add a new and edgy accent to the sculpted lines. Twin tip exhaust looked and sounded great. The black roof rails and mirror caps and window molding blended quite nicely with the Blue print exterior coating.

Highlander is big, bold, beautiful and roomy. Economic and easily driven while at the same time providing an abundance of safety technology.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price $43,950.


Basic Warranty 3-year/36,000-miles.

Powertrain 5-year/60,000-miles.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or [email protected].