If you want a quick break down, the Toyota Highlander is like the bigger version of the RAV4. Although the RAV4 does not have three row seating, it offers a pretty roomy space for a family of 5 and a nice trunk space to accommodate 5 peoples worth of light luggage. However, the Highlander while bigger in price, is also bigger in size which means you get more features, more leg room, and pretty much more of everything.
While the average U.S family is getting smaller in numerical size, families are still opting for the bigger SUVs. Certainly, a family of say 5 with 3 teenagers would not comfortably fit into a new RAV4. So logically a Highlander (if Toyota is the brand in question) would be the right choice if your family would want a bigger option. Within the past year, we started to see a pretty large uptrend in long time RAV4 owners trading in their RAV4 of no more than 5 years old and getting a newer Highlander.
However, with dealer allocations and insane waiting times, is it worth to downgrade in trim levels? For instance, if I have a 2020 RAV4 Limited and instead of waiting 4 months for a Highlander Limited the dealer offers me a new Highlander LE instead, what would my loss really be? It’s true that he highlander is seen as more “feature-packed” than the RAV4 but it turns out there are indeed some things you give up with a package downgrade, even if you upgrade in vehicle model.
Well, according to a Facebook post on the Toyota Highlander Owners Club page, there seems to be this discussion. Stacey Kearns has a 21 Toyota RAV4 Limited which she plans on upgrading to a new Highlander. Unfortunately, her dealer does not yet have the Highlander Limited’s but instead offered her a Highlander LE. The question here is, how bad of a regret will she have if she downgrades from a Limited RAV4 to an LE Highlander.
According to SavannahToyota.com, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited’s trims are very useful such as navigation, ambient lighting, 2-position driver’s seat memory, Softex heated front seats, and a 9-way power adjustable drivers’ seat to ensure maximum comfort while driving. Of course, with the Limited trim you are also available to all the other packages like the technology package or the weather package.
However, the 2022 Toyota Highlander LE’s features might not be so bad. You get things like tailgate jam protection, heated outside mirrors, Audio Plus with an 8in screen, leather shift knob with a tilt steering wheel. True the LE Highlander is not a Japanese Mercedes however a few missing features like navigation should not stop you from downgrading in trim.
Right now, your low mile 2020 RAV4 is worth more in trade in that it ever has. If you can haggle your dealer down to a good price for a new Highlander LE, I am sure your trade in would not hurt your wallet. Also take into consideration the fact that things like navigation and infotainment can be easily replaced. I have been using my phone for navigation for almost 2 years now and I have never complained. I honestly prefer my phone’s navigation over the navigation of a newer car.
On the forums and groups, people say they do regret the downgrade. If you are very interested in features and quirks, I would understand that. However, if you just want a family hauler with the extra leg room, trade it in. Don’t wait too long because this market isn’t going to last forever.
What do you think? Would you downgrade in trim? Let us know in the comments below.
Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun for daily Toyota news.