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Highlander Limited vs Platinum: Which Trim Level Is For You?

by Kelvin Yates

SUVs are the best-selling vehicles out on the market today. People love them for their practicality, capability, and comfort. When talking about SUVs, the Toyota Highlander is one you can’t ignore. It has been one of the most popular SUVs out there for several decades. Currently, Toyota offers a number of trim levels for the Highlander, including Limited and Platinum. But, when it comes to Highlander Limited vs Platinum, what is the trim level that you should go for? Stick with us until the end for the answer.

Picking the trim level that suits you can be the difference between you loving a vehicle or hating it. Let’s be real, we all use our vehicles in different ways. Some of us love to go off-roading, while others enjoy highway drives. There are different trims levels aimed at each of these scenarios.

In this article, we will compare and contrast the Limited and Platinum trim levels of the Highlander. This will help you out when the time comes for you to make a purchase decision. With that out of the way, let’s jump into our discussion.

History Of The Highlander

Before comparing the Highlander Limited vs Platinum, we thought of having a brief look at the history of this popular SUV. First offered as a spacious SUV with some off-road capability, the Highlander has since morphed into a capable city cruiser. So far, there have been 4 generations of this family SUV. We will go through each of them and see what made them so popular.

1. First Generation

The world first caught a glimpse of the Highlander at the 2000 New York Auto Show. The production version followed one year later. The Highlander was one of the first SUVs to come with unibody construction. It was based on a modified Toyota Camry platform and had independent suspension on all four corners.

In the beginning, there were two engine options on offer. The base version was a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that made 155 horsepower. More powerful versions of the Highlander came with a 3.0 liter V6 with 220 horsepower. Shifting through the gears was done quickly with the help of a four-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota refreshed the first generation Highlander in 2004 with a new 3.3-liter engine, a five-speed transmission, new exterior design features, and the option to add a third row of seats. The following year saw the debut of the Highlander Hybrid. Subsequently, it became the world’s first seven-seater hybrid SUV.

2. Second Generation

Toyota released the second generation Highlander for the 2008 model year. This generation was bigger than the previous one, having grown 3.8 inches in length and 3.3 inches in width. Not only that, the ground clearance was increased about an inch as well. This means that the Highlander was now more spacious and more capable than before.

The base engine choice was upgraded to a 3.5 liter V6, while the 3.3-liter engine remained under the hood of the Highlander Hybrid. Paired with the electric motors, its total power output came in at 270 horsepower. Buyers had several trim levels to choose from as well.

A design refresh in 2011 brought with it some slimmer headlights and also third-row seating for added practicality. The second-generation Highlander exited the market in 2013.

3. Third Generation

The Highlander received a complete exterior overhaul for its third generation. The most distinctive feature was the new larger front grill. Not only that, the dimensions of the body slightly increased as well. However, the most impressive upgrade was with the seating capacity. The Highlander was now capable of seating eight people, increased from seven the year before. The engine choices remained largely the same from the previous generations.

highlander limited vs platinum

2017 was a highlight year for the third-generation Highlander. In terms of appearance, the size of the grill was increased. Not only that, the SE trim level received darker exterior elements for a more sporty appearance. The suspension of this trim level was updated as well.

4. Fourth Generation

As expected, the Highlander grew in all dimensions with this generation too. However, Toyota has gone for a more streamlined design with the intention of attracting the younger generation of buyers. Improved handling and a comfortable ride are ensured by the new Toyota Global Architecture platform which sits under the new Highlander.

a 12.3-inch touchscreen sits front and center on the interior, giving it a modernized look. On top of that, the cargo room increased to 16.1 cubic inches, making the Highlander more practical than ever.

For 2022, the Highlander has received some upgrades for both interior and exterior. Let’s discuss these in more detail in the next section.

2022 Highlander

The 2022 Toyota Highlander improves on Toyota’s long-running formula of comfort, reliability, and affordability. Under the hood is a 3.5 liter V6 producing 295 horsepower. However, in the case of the Highlander Hybrid, the powerplant changes to a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors. Thanks to the smaller engine, the hybrid is down on power compared to the V6 but provides better fuel economy.

Being a modern family SUV, the 2022 Highlander is full of the newest technology. an 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard on all trim levels. But, a 12.3-inch screen is offered in the Limited and Platinum models. Both screens come equipped with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and an in-car WiFi hotspot among other amenities. Overall, the interior is both more comfortable and luxurious when compared to older models.

For 2022, a new trim level called the Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition joins the lineup. It comes with unique exterior paint and 18-inch alloy wheels painted in bronze. On the inside, there are bronze-colored details in the upholstery and door sill protectors.

A total of six different trim levels are offered on the Highlander. Out of them, Limited and Platinum are the two most expensive options. In the next section, we will tell you all you need to know about the Highlander Limited. This information will surely help you in making a purchase decision.

Highlander Limited vs Platinum – Highlander Limited

Even at its base level, the Highlander is a sleek-looking family SUV. However, you can step up to the Highlander Limited for around $9000 more than the base L trim level. The default engine is the same 295 horsepower V6. The EPA estimates this engine to get around 29 mpg out on the highway.

But, if you desire more efficiency, you can upgrade your Highlander Limited to have a hybrid powertrain for around $1400 more. Doing so will allow you to get an estimated 36 mpg around town and 35 mpg on highway drives.


1. Exterior

On the outside, the Limited trim level has some eye-catching features to distinguish itself from the rest of the lineup. The roof rails are painted in silver, and the huge 20-inch wheels come with a striking chrome finish. Furthermore, the front of the SUV is adorned with two LED fog lights.

2. Interior

The interior of the Limited model is more luxurious than the cheaper trim levels. The front row gets memory seats that are heated and ventilated, so they’ll surely feel comfortable during any season. The heated steering wheel also adds to the comfort.

Moreover, the Limited offers a seating capacity for 8 people, which makes it one of the most practical Highlander trim levels out there.  The rear cargo area is covered by a tonneau cover, and there are faux wood accessories spread throughout the interior. An 11-speaker sound system, as well as the Driver Easy Speak package, come as standard features on the Highlander Limited. If you are a parent, you’ll surely love these options.

3. Safety Features

The Limited is well equipped on the safety front as well. This is the first Highlander trim level to add dynamic guidelines on the rearview camera. A 360-degree camera makes sure that you are aware of the surrounding of your SUV at all times. Not only that, the parking assistance and automatic braking features make this one of the safest vehicles on sale today.

Now, you should have a good understanding of the Limited trim level of the Toyota Highlander. As the next step in our discussion on the topic Highlander Limited vs Platinum, we will tell you what the Platinum has to offer.

Highlander Limited vs Platinum – Highlander Platinum

When it comes to Highlander Limited vs Platinum, this one is the more expensive option. In fact, with a starting price of $47240, it is the most expensive trim level of the Highlander on sale today. However, once you get to know all the bells and whistles on offer, the price will start to seem like a bargain.

With a 0 – 60 time of just 7.2 seconds, the Highlander Platinum is one of the faster family SUVs out on the market. The V6 engine comes with VVTi technology, resulting in great fuel economy. The EPA rating of the Highlander Platinum stands at 20 mpg for the city and 27 mpg for the highway, making it more efficient than competitors like the Acura MDX and Chevrolet Traverse.

1. Exterior

One of the most impressive features of the Highlander Platinum is its panoramic moonroof. This awesome feature lights up the cabin with sunlight during the day and allows you to gaze at the starry sky during the night. However, if the sunlight gets too hot to handle, the inbuilt sunshade allows passengers to adjust the amount of sunlight per their desire. It is important to note that the moonroof is exclusive to the Platinum, which means you can’t get it with any other trim level.

2. Interior

The interior of the Highlander Platinum is just as impressive as the moonroof above it. Eight people can sit comfortably in this SUV in its regular configuration. But, if you opt to go for captain’s chairs in the second row, the seating capacity drops down to seven.

A 10-inch head-up display comes as standard in the Platinum. It displays important stats like the speed, audio information, and navigational instructions right at the driver’s eye line. This helps the driver to keep his eyes on the road without any distractions.


While the center screen of other Highlander models comes with an 8-inch screen, the Highlander Platinum gets an upgraded one at 12.3 inches. The infotainment system contains all the latest features, including Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay.

Moreover, there are a total of five USB charging ports as well as a wireless charging pad for you to charge your devices on the go. A premium JBL audio system with satellite radio ensures that your journeys are filled with fun. On top of all that, the power-adjustable leather seats on the Highlander Platinum will keep you wrapped up in comfort throughout your journey.

3. Safety

Being the highest trim level, you will surely expect the Platinum to come with the latest safety features. This Highlander fulfills these expectations, and then some! It is one of the safest family cars out there and has received a 5-star rating from the NHTSA. Additionally, the forward visibility of the Platinum has received praise from critics and the general public too.

The Highlander Platinum is covered under Toyotas’ three-year or 36,000-mile powertrain warranty. In addition, the manufacturer offers an additional five-year or 60,000-mile warranty for powertrain components.

4. Capability

As we mentioned earlier, Toyota’s goal with the Highlander was to introduce a vehicle that was capable both on the road and off it. Unsurprisingly, the Highlander Platinum is equipped to tackle hard terrain as well. Its four-wheel drive system comes with permanent magnet synchronization technology and is one of the most capable systems out there.

The Highlander Platinum comes with several driving modes which change different aspects of the vehicle according to the terrain. Out of these, the “Multi-Terrain” mode increases the capability of the SUV even more. The Highlander Platinum has eight inches of ground clearance out of the factory, which ensures a smooth ride over any surface.

If you were planning to tow a trailer or a boat with this SUV, you’re in luck! Toyota rates the towing capacity at 5000 pounds, which means the Highlander will tow almost anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat. It is equipped with a Trailer to Sway Control system to ensure even weight distribution. There are additional towing-focused features in the form of Downhill Assist Control and Hill Start Control systems.

All in all, this trim level offers the highest level of comfort paired with the best capability. If you desire these features and have an unlimited budget to spend on a Highlander, the Platinum is the one to go for.

Differences Between Highlander Limited vs Platinum

When it comes to the debate between Highlander Limited vs Platinum, we can identify several key differences between the two trim levels. In this section, we will tell you about some of the most noteworthy ones.

Highlander Limited vs Platinum #1 – Lighting

Up front, the Platinum is equipped with a set of adaptive LED lights. These turn according to the drivers’ movement of the steering wheel for better visibility around corners. The Limited trim level misses out on this feature. Furthermore, these headlights are fitted with an auto-leveling system as well.

Highlander Limited vs Platinum #2 – Moonroof

The Highlander Platinum comes with an exclusive power-operated panoramic moonroof that lets sunlight into the passenger compartment of the SUV. This feature is not available on any other Highlander trim level.

Highlander Limited vs Platinum #3 – Wheels

A unique set of 20-inch alloy wheels are offered with the Platinum trim level of the Toyota Highlander.

Highlander Limited vs Platinum #4 – Rain Sensing Wipers

Automatic rain-sensing wipers come as standard on the Highlander Platinum trim level. These wipers can intelligently detect moisture on the SUV’s windshield and automatically turn on without any driver input. It even has the capability to adjust the wiper speed or completely shut down according to the situation.

Highlander Limited vs Platinum #5 – HUD

The most impressive feature of the Highlander Platinum not available on other trim levels is the head-up display. This 10-inch color display shows some useful information like the vehicle’s speed at the line of sight of the driver.

Highlander Limited vs Platinum #6 – Seats

In the Highlander Platinum, heated seats are offered in the second row too. This feature will surely delight the rear passengers during the winter.

However, the other trim levels of the Highlander offer great value for money as well. In the next section, we’ll go through them in detail.

Highlander Trim Levels

Excluding the Limited and Platinum, Toyota offers the Highlander with 4 other trim levels. They are,

  • L
  • LE
  • XLE
  • XSE

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these Highlander trim levels.

Highlander L

The Highlander lineup starts with the L trim level, and it has a base price of $35,205. But, for that price, it comes packed full of features. There is three-zone automatic climate control, smartphone integration as well as a seating capacity for eight people. On top of that, you can find five USB ports around the interior. The Highlander L has a center console with smartphone integration that makes sure that you are entertained wherever you go.

Highlander LE

The LE is the next trim level of the Toyota Highlander. It is powered by a 3.5 liter, 6 cylinder engine making 295 horsepower and an equal amount of torque. Although this is a relatively affordable model, it comes with the Toyota Safety Sense – P system to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

With the help of this advanced safety system, the Highlander can automatically apply the breaks if a possible collision is detected. In this day and age, features like this can be the difference between life and death.

The Highlander LE can be had with a hybrid powertrain too. Here, the gasoline engine is assisted by two electric motors that increase the total power output to 243 horsepower. LED fog lights, an adjustable rear tailgate, a steering wheel wrapped in leather as well as blind spot monitoring are some other amenities that are present in the Highlander LE.

Highlander XLE

The Highlander XLE costs around $3,000 more than the LE trim level. This is the first model to come with a wireless charging pad, and it has a built-in universal garage door opener too. The front passenger seat of the XLE is power-adjustable, which is a feature that cannot be found on lower trim levels.

highlander limited vs platinum

At 7 inches, the information display of the XLE is bigger than that of the L ad LE too. Another upgrade this trim level receives is the Driver Easy Speak technology, which lets front passengers address the back rows through the speakers of the SUV. A set of 18-inch alloy wheels with a machined finish gives the Highlander XLE a distinguished look from the outside.

Highlander XSE

With a black mesh grill, 20-inch alloy wheels, and black accented headlights, the Highlander XSE looks bolder than its sister models. Not only that, it is much sportier too, thanks in part to its sport-tuned suspension. The sports-oriented theme is carried throughout the vehicle, exemplified by the twin exhaust at the back.

The XSE comes with captain’s seats in the second row for some extra comfort. However, this means that the seating capacity is only seven. Ambient lighting and an 11-speaker sound system make the interior a nice place to spend your time in.

Toyota Highlander: Facts about Performance, Interior Amenities, and Technology Features

  • The Toyota Highlander Limited and Platinum are both capable of accommodating 7 passengers, while the Limited is also available in an 8-passenger configuration.
  • Both models come equipped with a 295 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that can run on gasoline and employ Atkinson cycle combustion cycles and VVT-i mechanics.
  • The Highlander’s V-6 engine generates 263 pound-feet of torque and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive from the Dynamic Torque Vectoring series, which can send up to half of all available power to the rear axle.
  • The front suspension system of the Highlander has trailing wishbone components, and the front and rear disc brakes are standard. The SUVs can tow up to 5,000 pounds and feature Trailer-Sway Control and Multi-Terrain Select technology for navigating off-road trails.
  • The Toyota Highlander Limited features authentic leather upholstery, a 10-way driver’s seat, and a second-row bench seat designed for three people, while the Platinum edition has folding captain’s chairs for two people in the middle row and second-row sunshades.
  • Illuminated door sills in the first row are a standard feature in the Highlander Platinum, and both models have a digital clock, ambient lighting, and up to 14 bottle holders.
  • The Toyota Highlander Limited includes an 8.0-inch color touchscreen multimedia center with the Dynamic Navigation System, which supports Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa, and the Toyota Connected Services. It also comes with a three-month subscription to Wi-Fi Connect and an 11-speaker audio system from JBL.
  • The Highlander Platinum flaunts a 12.3-inch display with an advanced Bird’s Eye Camera and a 10-inch head-up display.
  • Both Highlander models have five standard USB ports, two 12-V outlets, and one 120-V AC socket.
  • The Toyota Highlander Limited and Platinum can reach up to 21/29 MPG (city/highway) with their V-6 engine and provide a comfortable and technologically advanced driving experience.

Conclusion For Highlander Limited vs Platinum

When it comes to the Toyota Highlander, all trim levels offer great value for money. However, if you want the top-of-the-line features, you’ll have to choose between the Highlander Limited vs Platinum.

The Platinum is the more expensive of the two and has some cutting-edge features to show for its price. But, if you are on a tight budget, you won’t be disappointed with the Highlander Limited. Ultimately, no matter which trim level you choose, you’ll be getting one of the best family SUVs money can buy.

FAQs On Highlander Limited vs Platinum

Here are some popular FAQs:

How Many Seats Does A Toyota Highlander have

The Toyota Highlander comes with three-row seating, which can accommodate eight passengers. However, models with captain’s chairs in the second row can only seat seven people.

How Much Does A Toyota Highlander Cost

The Toyota Highlander starts at $35,205 for the base L trim level. In contrast, the most expensive Highlander out today is the Highlander Platinum which has an MSRP of $47,560.

Who Makes Highlanders

The Highlander is made by Japanese manufacturer Toyota. This family SUV debuted in 2000 and has gone on to become one of the best-selling vehicles on the planet.

Do Toyota Highlanders Have Remote Start

The Highlander XSE, Limited, and Platinum trim levels come with the remote start feature. This is done through Toyotas’ smart key system.

How Wide Is A Toyota Highlander

When compared to its competitors, the Highlander is relatively compact. Its width comes in at just 76 inches.

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