Success Is Its Own Reward: The 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited
The 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited.
Since its 2014 redesign, we here at TireKicker have been somewhat lukewarm about the Toyota Highlander.  Styling, a loss of interior room and comfort compared to the previous generation and less-than-stellar fuel economy---even among midsize SUVs---are our complaints.

But what matters most to Toyota, no doubt, is how often a Highlander leaves a dealership for a driveway.  And on that count, the Highlander is doing very well indeed.

Side view of 2016 Toyota Highlander
2016 Toyota Highlander.
Only two midsize SUVs outsell the Highlander---the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.  And considering those two show up in rental fleets more often than the Highlander, Toyota is likely closer to them than the sales data (which doesn't break out fleet sales) would suggest.

Frankly, our reservations about the Highlander are subjective on the matter of styling, the room and comfort were most compromised for third-row passengers, who are usually small enough not to notice nor need the extra room and the gas mileage---well, a couple of miles per gallon shy of what Explorer and Grand Cherokee deliver---or what the EPA says they deliver---is probably nothing to quibble about when gas is less than $2.50 per gallon.

Our test vehicle was the top-of-the-line Highlander Limited Platinum.  The $44,490 starting price is sobering, but as always with Toyota, you get a lot for your money.

Interior view of 2016 Toyota Highlander
2016 Toyota Highlander interior.
The Platinum Package is part of that starting price---bringing with it Safety Connect, a pre-collision system with dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, a panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel, heated and perforated second-row leather captain's chairs and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Toyota's press fleet staff also added some extra-cost options to our test vehicle:

  • Remote engine starter ($499)
  • Carpeted floor mats and cargo liner ($220)
  • Cargo crossbars ($350)
  • Rear bumper protector ($139)
  • Wheel locks ($80)
  • Glass breakage sensor ($299) 
  • Paint protection film ($399)
With $900 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $47,382.  

There's no question the Highlander is a fine SUV, but as a fully-equipped top-of-the-line example edges ever closer to $50,000, it'd be wonderful to be able to rave about it.  It is due for a mid-cycle refresh in the next year or two.  We'll see what comes then.