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I'm looking at used Highlanders and wondering what new features, etc older owners wish they had and if spending the money on a newer model was worth it to get those features.

Looking at XLE or above AWD V6


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Beach dude
12 Highlander SE AWD
306 Posts
Backstory: Wife & I (We) owned a 1st gen HL that had leather heated seats and gave us years of use and other than normal maintenance it had zero problems/failures. Ran straight and true until the day it was ruined in an accident with a furniture truck (posted in 1st gen forum). We replaced it with a 2nd gen SE AWD. The auto-dimming rear view mirror is nice. We live in coastal Virginia and the heated seats aren't really used much. I don't care for the leather seats, slippery, but wife likes them. They also hold the heat in the hot humid summer.

This past July I found a 3rd gen 2016 LE Plus with 56k miles. Super low price. No accidents or abuse. 1 owner Carfax showed it was serviced in two areas, about 2 hours apart. It was used to make the 2 hour commute and I believe its highway miles. Wife was disappointed it wasn't an XLE with leather, heated seats, auto dimming mirror, moon roof, etc.
I've driven 17 and later Toyota's with Safety Sense and I don't like those features. I pay attention fully when I drive. So I'm glad it doesn't have those features, I don't care for the leather, don't need heated seats, I don't want a moon roof.

Besides avoiding Safety Sense, my main reason for wanting pre-2017 model was I don't want the direct injection engine or the 8 speed transmission. The 6 speed is practically bullet proof and geared just right. The 17 and later have trans issues and don't get significantly better MPG. I believe Toyota went to the 8 speed because CAFE standards sorta forced all the auto companies to maximize fuel efficiency.

I can't think of any feature on an XLE I would want, but if I was looking for an XLE, I'd get a 15-16 model.

As for AWD, it was on our 2012 SE and we found out how much of a difference it makes in the snow. We may live on the coast but we got a foot of snow in each the last two winters. I prefer the AWD, it doesn't seem to hurt much in fuel efficiency.

Happy motoring, I shared to give you some food for thought, hope this helps.
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