Toyota’s modus operandi is well summed up in one word: consistency. The Japanese carmaker is consistently reliable, consistently obstinate and, sometimes even consistently boring. Now, it wants to make one of its boring crossovers a little more fun with the release of the Highlander Hybrid Bronze.
This new edition of the Highlander is set for a release later this year as a 2022 model, at a price point between the XLE and Limited trims, which means it may come in somewhere between $43,000 to $45,000. And this new edition is exclusive to the Highlander Hybrid. Toyota is pretty much saying if you want an ICE Highlander, then you don’t get to have these sick bronze wheels ... on our otherwise average crossover:
I won’t call this a redesign because it clearly isn’t. This is a mild makeover at best or a wheel package at worst, but, then again, Toyota isn’t asking top dollar for this Highlander — as far as the range goes. I won’t sweat them too much about it, then.
The Bronze comes with options similar to the XLE, per Toyota:
Building off of the popular Highlander Hybrid XLE grade, unique standard features of the new Bronze Edition include:
- Hands-free power liftgate
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Digital rearview mirror
- 1500W power outlet
- Puddle lamps with Highlander logo
- In-dash ambient lighting
- Driver seat memory with 10-way power seat
- LED-strip Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
Where it differs from the XLE is in its appearance. It comes in two new paint finishes, one of which is exclusive to this edition. It also has a whole lot of bronze accents throughout, as the carmaker explains:
Designed with sophistication in mind, the new Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition, available in either Cement (exclusive to Bronze Edition) or Wind Chill Pearl (new for 2022 Highlander) exterior colors, includes bronze-colored accents on exterior and interior, including 18-inch bronze wheels, bronze interior stitching, illuminated bronze door sills, and mid-century modern-inspired SofTex-trimmed seats with fabric insert and bronze stitching. Also exclusive to the Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition are unique floor and cargo mats embroidered with a special bronze logo.
This is essentially a new trim meant to appeal to drivers who want something with more personality than the regular Highlander Hybrid, but which isn’t as expensive as the Limited or full-on Platinum trims.
It looks more Tacoma than Camry to me, but don’t let that long hood and blocky front end fool you: The Highlander is currently built on the TNGA-K platform, which underpins cars such as the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES. Make fun of this CUV all you want, but the Highlander Hybrid comes with a third row and still gets 36 miles per gallon thanks to its family tree.
The bronze wheels are the draw here, and I kind of want to tape a Pleiades badge over that hybrid Toyota oval. Maybe even put a light bar on? I bet that’ll confuse a handful of folks, because this Highlander reads a little like a Subaru.