Which 2017 Toyota Highlander is Right for You?

The Toyota Highlander is an attractive SUV that has pretty good towing capabilities, but not every trim is made the same. After reading this detailed guide, you may realize that purchasing the highest trim isn’t worth it.

LE

The LE is the base model 2017 Toyota Highlander. It has a starting MSRP of $30,630 and comes standard with an FWD 2.7L 4-cylinder engine. The base engine can get up to 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, but it’s not the only choice. You can upgrade to a 3.5L V6 that in FWD or AWD. This will change your gas mileage to 20/27 for the FWD or 19/26 for the AWD. If you’re looking for a vehicle that can tow, you may be happy to hear that the LE can haul up to 1,500 pounds when properly equipped.

On the exterior, the LE sits on 18-inch machined alloy wheels. The Toyota Highlander LE also comes with daytime running lights and automatic halogen smoked-chrome accent headlights. Inside, the SUV comes with Entune Audio, which includes a 6.1-inch, high-resolution touch-screen display, AM/FM radio, CD player, MP3 playback capability, six-total speakers, auxiliary audio jack, and a USB port.

Safety for the 2017 Toyota Highlander LE is top-notch and includes a rearview camera, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts with steering assist, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control. There are also lots of electronic features to assist with stability and braking.

Hybrid LE

The LE also has a hybrid option that has an all-wheel-drive 3.5-liter V6 ECVT hybrid engine that gets up to 30 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. It has a starting MSRP of $36,270 but adds more than just an environmental aspect. It also has a Smart Key System on the front doors and liftgate with Push Button Start. Other than this, there are a few changes.

LE Plus

The LE Plus is the next step up, with a starting MSRP of $35,060. It comes standard with the 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s optional on the LE, and it can tow a maximum of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. (The LE can do this with the engine upgrade. Otherwise, it can only tow 1500 pounds.) However, this drops the fuel economy down to 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. An AWD version is available for $36,520 and gets mileage of 20/27.

The exterior doesn’t change much. It adds fog lights, a power liftgate, and a flip-up rear hatch. On the inside, the LE Plus includes Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation, which increases the screen size to eight inches. The LE Plus also does not include a smart key system or push-button start.

XLE

The XLE is the next Toyota Highlander trim and improves the interior quite a bit. It has a starting MSRP of $38,520 and has the same engine as the LE Plus trim, meaning it also has the same towing capabilities.

The major exterior changes are the addition of roof rails and a power moonroof. The inside gives you Entune Audio Plus with integrated navigation and app suite. This means the navigation is installed into the vehicle along with other apps like Pandora, which are accessible using Driver Easy Speak.

The other changes with the XLE include leather-trimmed front and second-row seating, the reappearance of the smart key system, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts. The second-row seating defaults to captain’s chairs, but you can upgrade to a 60/40 split-folding bench.

Hybrid XLE

The XLE also has a hybrid option, which has a starting MSRP of $41,330. It has the same engine as the Hybrid LE, although Toyota lists the fuel economy for the hybrid XLE as getting up to 29 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. There are few other changes compared to the XLE, and most are cosmetic like the addition of mud flaps. One significant upgrade from the regular XLE is that the second row of seats defaults to the 60/40 split-bench.

SE

The SE has a starting price of $39,690 and exhibits primarily cosmetic changes when compared to the XLE. On the exterior, the SE sits higher on 19-inch machined alloy wheels with black finish and black center caps. It also has dark-painted roof rails rather than chrome. The interior changes include the addition of leatherette on the armrest area and blue LED ambient lighting on the interior of the front and rear doors. The SE also comes with a sport-tuned suspension, which seems like sort of an odd choice for a family SUV.

Limited

The Limited suffers the same issues as the SE—few changes for an upgrade in price. The Limited has a starting MSRP of $41,680 and is pretty light on exterior changes. You get Chromtec alloy wheels and roof rails. If you spring for the Platinum package, you get rain-sensing windshield wipers. But of course, the Platinum package bumps the price up to $46,260. On the inside, the Limited’s backup camera gets an upgrade. It comes with dynamic gridlines to make reversing easier. Platinum buyers also get a bird’s-eye view camera.

The biggest benefit is the addition of Entune Premium JBL Audio with integrated navigation and app suite. This audio system includes HD radio with 12 JBL GreenEdge speakers, which provide a clearer sound than the standard speakers in the SE.

Hybrid Limited

The Limited also has a hybrid option for $44,760. It has the same engine as the other hybrids. The Hybrid Limited has everything the Limited includes without adding much extra. It includes the classic hybrid accents, like the blue accent badges and black mud flaps, but there’s not really a lot else, apart from the obvious hybrid engine. If you want the Platinum version, it’ll run you $47,880. That’s a less drastic price increase than on the non-hybrid Limited, but it’s still your most expensive option.

(Image via Facebook.)