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Does Toyota Highlander Have Apple Carplay?

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The Toyota Highlander is one of America's most popular family crossover SUVs of the past several years. If the Highlander is among your top choices for your next car, then you may already be researching about its comfort and technology features. If you're wondering if the Highlander has Apple CarPlay, then you're in the right place. We've done the research for your reading pleasure.

The model year 2022 Toyota Highlander offers Apple CarPlay compatibility as a standard feature on its audio and multimedia system.

Sounds exciting, right? Continue reading because we have a lot more in store for you about the Toyota Highlander, its Apple CarPlay compatibility, and its other vehicle features.

A red Toyota Highlander at a car show, Does Toyota Highlander Have Apple Carplay?

Which Highlander Has CarPlay?

As of May 2022, all twenty-two models of the 2022 Toyota Highlander's seven grades have standard Apple CarPlay compatibility. This technology feature hasn't always been on this SUV, and only the 2020 and later Highlander models have it.

What Does Apple CarPlay Do?

Apple CarPlay gives iPhone users a smart and safe way to use their iPhones, especially while driving a car. One of CarPlay's main objectives is to help the driver stay focused on the road even while using the iPhone's features or applications.

When you connect your iPhone to the vehicle's CarPlay-compatible infotainment system, you can listen to music, make calls, get detailed directions, as well as send and receive messages. You can access all of these convenient iPhone features with minimal distraction from your actual driving.

In fact, far from being a distraction, Apple CarPlay can actually help you drive safely and efficiently. Using iOS 13 and later operating systems, the Apple CarPlay Dashboard gives a more simple and intuitive view of the road with Apple Maps and even Siri Suggestions.

Furthermore, the Apple CarPlay Dashboard can even provide you control over your Apple HomeKit accessories like your garage door opener. For example, if it's raining outside your house when you roll up in your driveway, you can just tell Siri to open your garage door.

How Do I Use Apple CarPlay On My Toyota Highlander?

A white Toyota Highlander parked outside a house

Before you can enjoy the convenience of CarPlay on your Toyota Highlander, you will need to set it up first. As of this article's writing, the Toyota Highlander's infotainment system only has standard (not wireless) CarPlay compatibility. You will need an Apple-approved Lightning-to-USB cable.

First, you will need to ensure that you have an iPhone 5 or newer, running on iOS 7.1 and above. 

  1. Turn on Siri on your iPhone 
  2. Start or turn on for Hybrid models your Toyota Highlander
  3. Switch on your Highlander's infotainment unit
  4. Using the Lightning-to-USB cable, connect your iPhone to your Highlander's USB media port, the one below your infotainment screen. 
  5. A menu will pop up on your infotainment screen.  Select what you want to do with your CarPlay (Enable Once, Always Enable, or Do Not Enable).
  6. Now you can use your infotainment system's touchscreen to control your apps, or better yet, use Siri to control your CarPlay.

What Are The Audio Multimedia Features In A Toyota Highlander?

Toyota outfitted the different trims of the 2022 Highlander with different features according to their grade. The Audio Multimedia features of the grades are as follows:

Audio Package

The Toyota Highlander's base Audio package comes standard with the base L grade.

  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Six (6) speakers
  • Apple CarPlay compatibility
  • Android Auto compatibility
  • Amazon Alexa compatibility
  • One (1) USB media port
  • Four (4) USB charging ports
  • Hands-free phone capability
  • Music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology
  • SiriusXM 3-month Platinum Plan trial subscription
  • Safety Connect with 1-year trial
  • Wi-Fi Connect trial with up to 2GB within three months

Audio Plus Package

Toyota's Audio Plus package goes with all Highlander variants of the LE, XLE, XSE, and Bronze grades. This package includes everything in the Audio package, although it has a few bonuses as well.

  • Service Connect with a 10-year trial
  • Remote Connect with 1-year trial 

Premium Audio Package

Toyota's Premium Audio package comes standard with the variants of the Highlander Limited grade. The Premium Audio package has all the features of the Audio Plus package and also some extra perks.

  • Dynamic Navigation with 3-year trial
  • Eleven (11) JBL speakers, including a subwoofer and amplifier
  • Destination Assist with 1-year trial

Premium Audio Package For Platinum Grade

All Platinum and Hybrid Platinum grades models get an exclusive and massive 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment unit. Aside from this lone but significant upgrade, all other Audio Multimedia features are the same as those in the Premium Audio package.

Why is the Toyota Highlander So Popular?

A silver Toyota Highlander parked on the side of the road

For over half a decade now, the Toyota Highlander has always been on the podium of America's mid-sized SUV sales.  Why is this so? In a nutshell, the Highlander combines SUV performance and utility with minivan or MPV passenger comfort.

Passenger Comfort

The fourth-generation Highlander (2020 to present) has a comfortable three-row seating configuration. Similar to minivans, the lower variants have an eight-passenger capacity. The more premium seven-seater grades have four captain seats: two in the front, and two in the middle row.

Engine

In terms of performance, the 2022 Highlander has two potent powertrain options - petrol and hybrid.

  • Gas engine
    • 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) gasoline engine
    • 295 hp at 6,600 rpm and 263 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm 
    • Mated to Toyota's Direct Shift 8-speed Electronically-Controlled Automatic Transmission (ECT).
  • Highlander Hybrid Engine
    • 2.5-liter 16-valve I4 DOHC gasoline engine
    • Two electric motors
    • Combined gas engine and electric motor output: 243 hp at 6,000 rpm and 175 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm
    • Electronically-Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT).

Both petrol and hybrid options can have FWD) or AWD configurations depending on the Highlander variant.

Cargo Space

The 2022 Highlander has a tad more cargo space than most of its competitor SUVs on the market. The Highlander's cargo dimensions are specified below:

  • Behind the third-row seats: 16 cubic feet (0.45 cubic meters) of cargo space, enough for several bags of groceries.
  • Behind the second-row seats: 48.4 cubic feet (1.37 cubic meters) of cargo space, enough to bring a few golf sets and your fishing rod during your family trip.
  • With both second- and third-row seats folded: 84.3 cubic feet (2.39 cubic meters) of cargo space,  enough to bring along your tent, cooler, luggage, and enough supplies for a week of camping.

Payload

Depending on the trim, the Toyota Highlander has a competitive payload capacity ranging from 1,485 to 1,685 lbs.  For your reference, below is a list of three Highlander models as well as their corresponding payload capacities. 

  • Base L grade, FWD variant- 1,685 lbs payload capacity
  • Mid XLE grade, AWD variant- 1,565 lbs payload capacity
  • Top Hybrid Platinum grade, AWD variant - 1,405 lbs payload capacity

Is The Toyota Highlander Fuel-Efficient?

Based on the data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the 2022 Highlander has combined fuel economy ratings from 23 miles per gallon (mpg) to 36mpg.  The lower ratings belong to the V6 petrol variants, while the higher ratings belong to the Hybrid variants.

  • V6 FWD variants: 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway)
  • V6 AWD variants: 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway)
  • Hybrid FWD variants: 36 mpg combined (36 mpg city and 35 mpg highway)
  • Hybrid AWD variants: 35 mpg combined (35 mpg both city and highway)

A gray colored Toyota Highlander on the garage

As a point of comparison, the hybrid Highlander models are even more fuel-efficient than a much-smaller, 2.5-liter gas-engine Toyota Camry (32 mpg combined).

The V6 Highlander models lag behind the hybrid variants in fuel economy. However, these pure gasoline trims are still more fuel-efficient than many other competing mid-size SUVs. Some of the Highlander's gasoline-powered rivals, as well as their fuel economy ratings, are listed below.

  • Kia Telluride - FWD 23 mpg combined, AWD 21 mpg combined
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee - 2WD 22 mpg combined, 4WD 21 mpg combined
  • Chevrolet Traverse - FWD 21 mpg combined, AWD 20 mpg combined
  • Honda Pilot - FWD 23 mpg combined, AWD 22 mpg combined
  • Hyundai Palisade - FWD 22 mpg combined, AWD 21 mpg combined

Is The Toyota Highlander A Safe Car?

The Highlander is indeed a safe car. Like many other Toyota models, the 2022 Highlander garnered five out of five stars in the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) overall safety rating. Moreover, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) chose the 2022 Toyota Highlander as one of its Top Safety Pick+ Awardees for the year.

Is The Toyota Highlander A Reliable Car?

A huge white Toyota Highlander at a dealership

The Highlander garnered praise in J.D. Power's Consumer Rating for 2022. With an overall score of 83 out of 100, the 2022 Toyota Highlander ranks second in the "upper midsize SUV" category.

Below are the 2022 Toyota Highlander's scores in different J.D. Power categories:

  • 91/100 points  for resale value - "Best"
  • 82/100 points for quality and reliability - "Great" 
  • 80/100 points for driving experience - "Average"
  • 79/100 points for dealership experience - "Average"

How Much Should I Pay For A 2022 Toyota Highlander?

Below are the 2022 Highlander's different models as well as their starting prices. This list is accurate as of May 2022.

  1. L grade V6 FWD  - $35,855
  2. L grade V6 AWD - $37,455
  3. LE grade V6 FWD - $38,055
  4. LE grade V6 AWD - $39,655
  5. Hybrid LE grade FWD - $39,555
  6. Hybrid LE grade AWD - $41,155
  7. XLE grade V6 FWD - $41,055
  8. XLE grade V6 AWD - $42,655
  9. Hybrid XLE grade FWD - $42,555
  10. Hybrid XLE grade AWD - $44,155
  11. XSE grade V6 FWD - $42,650
  12. XSE grade V6 AWD - $44,600
  13. Hybrid Bronze Edition FWD - $44,580
  14. Hybrid Bronze Edition AWD - $46,180
  15. Limited V6 FWD - $45,010
  16. Limited V6 AWD - $46,960
  17. Hybrid Limited FWD - $46,510
  18. Hybrid Limited AWD - $48,460
  19. Platinum V6 FWD - $48,010
  20. Platinum V6 AWD - $49,960
  21. Hybrid Platinum FWD - $49,510
  22. Hybrid Platinum AWD - $51,460

Wrapping Up

A red Toyota Highlander at a car show

Thank you very much for reading. We hope that we were able to help you understand more about the Toyota Highlander's Apple CarPlay and also its other comfort features.

If you would like to read more about the Toyota Highlander and other automotive topics, then check out these great articles.

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