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A red 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum is shown parked on a city street.

Is the 2023 Toyota Highlander Platinum Worth Its Weight in Gold?

Every automaker chooses a top trim that has all the features, all the top finishes, and more than any other trim level. They are also the priciest ones in a lineup. While you are getting the most items, are they truly worth the money? In some cases, the answer is no. You can often get a better deal on a mid-level trim. Other times, automakers make sure that the top trim is a worthwhile choice, loading it up with all the latest gadgets and luxury features. The key is to make the choice worthwhile.

The top trim on the 2023 Toyota Highlander is the Platinum, an interesting choice for a trim name since the only other metallic name is the Bronze Edition, a mid-level model for the Highlander Hybrid. Otherwise, the trim levels on the Highlander have pretty generic names: the L, LE, XLE, and XSE, each in ascending order. The next highest trim is the Limited, which is pretty well loaded before reaching the Platinum at the top. So the question remains, what makes the Platinum stand out from the other trim levels on the 2023 Toyota Highlander?

A Standard Powertrain for All Highlanders

No matter which Highlander you choose, you are going to get the same powertrain, so choosing a Highlander Platinum will not increase your SUV’s performance. This is a 2.4-liter turbo gas engine. It features a double overhead cam configuration with 16 valves feeding its four cylinders. As a result, it delivers up to 265 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. It also has a mild Atkinson-cycle hybrid feature with automatic stop/start to improve overall fuel economy.

This engine is paired with a Direct Shift-8AT eight-speed automatic transmission. Toyota offers the Highlander with either front-wheel drive, or dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive for a few dollars more. Either way, you will get solid fuel economy, with 22 miles per gallon in city driving and 29 miles per gallon on the highway with front-wheel drive, and 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway with all-wheel drive.

A close up shows the mirror on a white 2023 Toyota Highlander Platinum.

Highlander Platinum Exterior Additions

One area where automakers look to make their top trims stand out is by adding exterior features. Some of these are functional, while others are cosmetic, or a combination of both. For the 2023 Highlander Platinum, Toyota has taken some steps to make this model more desirable than the other available trims.

The Highlander Platinum rides on a set of 20-inch alloy wheels fitted with P235/55R20 tires. It comes with rain-sensing windshield wipers that make it easier to drive in inclement weather. These set themselves to a variable intermittent speed depending on the intensity of the precipitation. The Platinum features LED projector headlights with an adaptive front lighting system. These are auto leveling, so they are always directed to the correct position on the road. LED strip daytime running lights also make your vehicle more to other drivers.

Toyota has also given the Highlander Platinum a number of features that are both functional and cosmetic. The rear bumper scuff plate will help keep the bumper from getting scratched, while the front and rear mudguards prevent mud and other debris from spattering onto your vehicle. A silver rear lower bumper offsets the exterior color quite nicely, while a trim-exclusive black-painted front grille with chrome-plated surround gives this vehicle an aggressive stance. Finally, the Platinum features a panoramic glass roof that helps bring that outdoors into your Highlander’s cabin.

Platinum Class Interior Comfort and Luxury

Like all Highlander models, the Platinum has three rows of seats. While some models offer seating for up to eight passengers, the Platinum provides room for seven passengers by substituting a second row bench seat for a pair of luxurious leather captain’s chairs in the second row. However, while both the Platinum and Limited have heated and ventilated front-row seats, only the Platinum offers heated second row of seats as well. This will come in handy on cold mornings.

One of the more interesting exclusive features on the Highlander Platinum is its digital rearview mirror, featuring an easy-to-use HomeLink universal garage door opener. Just follow the instructions to connect it to your home’s garage door opener, and you will no longer have to worry about searching for a loose garage door remote.

Platinum-Level Technology

The 2023 Highlander Platinum has a 10-inch color head-up display, a trim-exclusive feature that provides you with such vital information as road signs, navigation, and a speedometer. The location, projected up onto the windshield, makes it easy to access this information without taking your eyes from the road.

One of the coolest features on the 2023 Highlander is that every model except the base model has a Toyota Audio Multimedia system with a 12.3-inch display. This provides features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can hook up your smartphone without needing to use those annoying charging cables. You also get four USB charging ports and a Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charger, making it easy for you and your passengers to keep your phones charged when you are out on the road. Bluetooth hands-free phone technology and a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM are also included. In addition, you get an 11-speaker JBL premium audio system, with a subwoofer and specialized amplifier to really makes your favorite music sound great.

Toyota has safety in mind on every 2023 Highlander model with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ suite of driver assistance features. This includes six different safety systems that help reduce the risk of a collision, while also mitigating the damage caused by an unavoidable accident. This is probably why the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the 2022 Highlander a Top Safety Pick+. This designation is given only to those models that excel in a series of safety and crash tests conducted by the IIHS.

The 2023 Toyota Highlander Platinum makies an exceptional safety system even better, including a Panoramic View Monitor exclusive to the Platinum. This feature gives you a 360-degree overhead view of your vehicle when you are driving in reverse or at a low-speed. The Highlander Platinum is also one of only two Highlander models that features front and rear parking assist with automatic braking. Just like the Highlander Limited, the Platinum improves your ability to parallel park by giving your front and rear distance when you are parking. If you are about to hit one of the vehicles you are attempting to park between, the system will deploy the brakes automatically to prevent a collision.

A blue 2023 Toyota Highlander Platinum is shown from a high angle next to a fountain.

Go for the Gold in a Highlander Platinum

In the 2023 Highlander Platinum, Toyota demonstrates how to offer a top trim model that is worth the extra money. Even though the Platinum does not offer anything different that will affect the Highlander’s performance, its mix of exterior cosmetics, interior luxury, and technological safety and infotainment features make it a worthy top model for this popular three-row SUV. If you want to get the most for your gold, then a 2023 Toyota Highlander Platinum might be the right choice for you.