Toyota Highlanders are fairly reliable vehicles with enough space to fit the whole family comfortably. The Highlander has different trim levels that allow you to customize your driving experience. If you like a car that adds luxury with leather seating, you may be wondering if the Highlander can provide that. We've done the research and can tell you which years and trim levels have leather seating.
The following trim levels for the 2022 Highlander come standard with leather-trimmed seats:
- Hybrid Limited
- Hybrid Platinum
The following trim levels for the 2022 Highlander come standard with SofTex-trimmed seats:
- Hybrid XLE
- Bronze Edition
Leather-trimmed and perforated leather-trimmed seats are also available in previous years' SE, XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum trim levels.
As you can see, there are several trim levels available with leather or synthetic leather seats. Keep reading to learn more about the different trim levels, the difference between SofTex and leather, and more important information!
Current Highlander Leather Seats
The 2022 Toyota Highlander is an excellent car with several trim levels and leather seating. If you're looking for authentic leather, then the 2022 Highlander Limited or Limited Platinum may be for you. Leather-trimmed seats are also available in the Limited and Limited Platinum hybrid versions.
Toyota also offers SofTex-trimmed seats. These seats are made from synthetic leather. SofTex is soft and designed to resist spills and clean up easily. The 2022 Highlander offers SofTex-trimmed seats for the XSE, XLE, Hybrid XLE, and Bronze Edition trim levels.
The Difference in Trim Levels
In general, all 2022 Highlanders have a 3.5-liter V6 engine. The one exception to this is for the Bronze Edition trim. This grade level has a 2.5-liter engine.
All trim levels with leather or faux leather seating have an 8-inch audio touchscreen. The only trim with a different screen is the Platinum. The Platinum trim level has a 12.3-inch audio touchscreen.
The Limited, Hybrid Limited, Platinum, and Hybrid Platinum all have front and rear parking assist. This feature lacks the XLE, Hybrid XLE, and XSE trims.
All the Highlander trim levels have the capacity to seat at least seven passengers. The XLE Hybrid XLE, Limited, and Hybrid Limited all can switch to an 8-passenger seating capacity.
All trims with leather seating will come with a seven-inch color information display. This area is where the odometer and other readings are shown. However, the Platinum trim will also include a 10-inch heads-up display.
Some other notable differences come from the XSE grade level. This vehicle has a sport-tuned front suspension. The other Highlanders have an independent front strut suspension. You can also select from either leather-trimmed seats or SofTex-trimmed seats.
Leather or SofTex
Before selecting a trim level, you'll need to decide if you want authentic leather or synthetic leather. Toyota's leather-trimmed seats are very similar to its SofTex-trimmed seats. The significant differences deal with cost, durability, comfort, and maintenance.
You'll need to properly maintain and clean for authentic leather seats. While you should still care for your SofTex seats, you don't need to apply any additional products to protect them.
SofTex is a manufactured material, so it doesn't use any animal materials as regular leather does. Another benefit to SofTex is the way it's produced. This type of leather produces fewer CO2 emissions when it's made.
Leather tends to be more expensive than SofTex and fabric seats. However, when leather seats are correctly cared for, they can add value to your car if you decide to sell it.
Another difference between leather and SofTex is how it feels in extreme temperatures. Leather seats are known for getting hot when left in direct sunlight. SofTex seats have temperature-responsive fabric. This fabric keeps your seats at a more reasonable temperature.
Previous Years with Leather Seats
Leather-trimmed seats are also available for trims for Highlanders from previous years. All base-level Highlanders will come with cloth seats. This is true for all generations of this vehicle.
The Highlander first started introducing leather seats as an option in 2008. Leather-trimmed seats are available for the vehicle's Limited Edition for this year.
In 2009, Toyota offered one trim level on the Highlander with leather seats. This was once again the Limited edition for the car.
For the early generations of the Highlander, it was common only to see one or two trim levels with leather seats. For 2010, 2012, and 2013 leather seats were available as options on the SE and Limited editions of the car.
In 2011, the Highlander had leather seating available on the SE trim level.
The third generation of Highlanders is from 2014 until 2019. This generation of cars is longer and broader than other Highlanders. In 2016, this vehicle also got a facelift. Toyota updated the Highlander's headlights, taillights, and exterior and interior colors.
Leather seats were offered on the Limited and Limited Platinum versions of the 2014 and 2015 vehicles. For 2016, the Highlander offered leather seats for the car's XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum versions.
After the update in 2016, the Highlander offered more trim levels with leather seats as an option. The 2017, 2018, and 2019 models all offered these seats on the XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum versions of the Highlander.
SofTex was also available in this generation. Synthetic leather was available on the 2014 and 2015 XLE. It was also available on the 2016 Limited.
The fourth generation of Highlander started in 2020. This was also the first year that the hybrid model of the car was introduced. In 2020 and 2021, leather seats were available on the Limited and Platinum trim levels.
The XLE for the 2020 and 2021 years has options to switch to SofTex leather seats. The 2021 XSE has the opportunity to select mixed media seats. Mixed media seats have some fabric in them. The partial fabric separates them from the SofTex seats, which don't have any cloth.
Is SofTex better than leather?
From a financial standpoint, leather will be better than SofTex. When properly maintained, leather seats can add to the car's overall value. Despite the similar appearance and durability of SofTex, it just can't compare to genuine leather.
That being said, SofTex is just as durable and long-lasting as leather. SofTex is also easier to clean and doesn't require any special sealants to protect it. Leather seats also tend to get hot in sunlight. This is a problem that SofTex seats don't have.
SofTex and leather both have their good qualities and downsides. You'll have to consider your lifestyle to determine which seat will be better for you.
How to care for leather and SofTex seats?
You'll start cleaning leather seats and SofTex seats in the same way. First, you'll want to vacuum up any dirt and debris. This is important because it will help prevent any tears or scratches on the upholstery.
Next up, you need a leather cleaner, microfiber rag, or soft bristle brush. Wipe off any residue with a clean rag. For SofTex seats, you can stop here. However, you'll need to use a leather conditioner for leather seats. You can also gently buff your seats to make them look more new.
Check out this leather cleaner on Amazon.
Check out this leather conditioner on Amazon.
Which Highlander year is the best?
Out of all the Highlanders, the third generation has some of the best vehicles. The cars from this generation have high ratings in reliability and safety. The most common problems for Highlanders from this time period are issues with the tailgate.
The fourth generation is considered too new to be able to judge correctly. However, current reports with the NHTSA show less than 100 complaints about the 2020 Highlander model.
So far, the fourth generation of vehicles is also very safe. The 2020 and 2021 Highlander received the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
With these things in mind, you're best getting a Highlander from either 2014 through 2019 or 2020 through 2022. Even though the latest cars don't have enough information to have accurate ratings, current reports are good. If you'd prefer a vehicle with more reliable data, you should stick with the third generation.
Toyota Highlanders are well-known for their comfort and reliability. Depending on which trim level you choose, you can also have a more luxurious seating experience. Most higher trim levels have leather seating available as an option. Newer models also offer synthetic leather that is meant to be more breathable and easier to clean.
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