Tim Charlet
Automotive Editor - December 7, 2018

2019 Toyota Highlander OVERVIEW

The 2019 Toyota Highlander, with three rows and room for as many as eight, operates in the crowded mid-size crossover SUV segment. Although it offers a four-cylinder engine, we recommend the V6 that delivers more power and better fuel economy.

What's New for 2019

The 2019 Toyota Highlander continues as a carryover for the new year and receives no major enhancements.

Toyota Highlander

Choosing Your Toyota Highlander

Toyota is beginning a rapid transformation with its SUV lineup, focusing primarily on expanding current models with more hybrid powerplants. For 2019, Toyota offers the Highlander in six trims: LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum. The Highlander seats seven with comfort or eight children. Storage space is less than stellar for a mid-size SUV, measuring 13.8 cubic feet. When you fold down the third row, storage space increases to 42.3 cubic feet.

The Highlander features two engine options. The base is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 185 horsepower and a nearly identical 184 pound-feet of torque that's only available on the base LE trim. The four-cylinder is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and can only be configured with front-wheel drive. It returns an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 22 combined.

Every other trim is powered by a 3.5-liter V6, which makes 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The EPA rates this powerplant at 21/27/23 mpg (city/highway/combined) with FWD, while all-wheel drive is available for $1,460. Consumers can opt for this engine in the base LE for an additional $2,050.


With a starting price of $32,375 (all prices include the $1,045 destination charge), the base 2019 Toyota Highlander LE comes impressively equipped with several standard features you’d find in a mid-range trim of competitors. The LE features the Toyota Safety Sense system, offers 60/40-split second- and third-row seats, a total of five USB ports, and seating for eight. Additional standard items include daytime running lights, LED taillights, full power accessories, and power side mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators. A 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment screen displays a rearview camera and powers a six-speaker sound system, CD player, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, Siri Eyes Free, and an auxiliary input. There are no package options available for the LE.

LE Plus

The LE Plus starts at $37,305 and shoe-horns the V6 engine under the hood as standard. It rides on 18-inch alloy wheels, and adds three-zone automatic climate control, SofTex-trimmed seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and a height-adjustable power liftgate with flip-up rear hatch. An integrated backup camera and standard navigation are displayed on a larger eight-inch display screen. There are again no packages available.


The XLE starts at $40,265 and stands taller on 19-inch wheels. It adds visual enhancements like chrome-plated roof rails, a power tilt and slide moonroof, and heated side mirrors. The XLE also adds heated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs (switching back to the second-row bench is a no-cost option), and leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats. Additional standard upgrades include push-button start, a multi-information digital display cluster, and the Entune Premium Audio system and App Suite. With all-wheel drive, buyers can select a $1,810 package that adds a rear-seat Blu-Ray player, a nine-inch display, RCA jacks, a remote, and two sets of wireless headphones.


The SE, which starts at $41,485, is the sporty variant of the 2019 Toyota Highlander lineup. The SE adds multiple sporting enhancements including 19-inch machined alloy sport wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, LED lighting, black leather-trimmed first- and second-row seating, and blue interior LED lighting. The rear-seat entertainment setup is again available for $1,810 with AWD selected.


The Limited is where class and opulence enters the fray for a starting price of $43,475. This trim features stylish improvements that include 19-inch chrome wheels, perforated, heated, and ventilated leather seats, and seating for seven with second-row captain’s chairs (the bench is again a no-cost extra). The Limited also introduces several driver-assist safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and an integrated backup camera with dynamic guidelines. The sole package available is the rear-seat entertainment system, which again requires AWD.

Limited Platinum

The range topper is the Limited Platinum, which costs $48,055 and is only available with all-wheel drive. This upscale version provides consumers with upgraded saddle tan leather seats, a surround-view camera, heated second-row captain’s chairs, a heated steering wheel, and 19-inch dark chrome alloy wheels. The Limited Platinum also includes a panoramic moonroof with a power sunshade.

CarsDirect Tip

The 2019 Toyota Highlander is a great option for consumers looking to enter the SUV segment without spending a ton of money on upscale enhancements. The limited amount of package upgrades simplifies the configuration process. For the money, the XLE is arguably the best bang for the buck.

Get your price on a Toyota Highlander »

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