2024 Toyota Highlander Drops the Base ‘L’ Trim, Raising the Entry-Level Price to $40,515

The LE goes up by $100, but you'll have to shell out much more if you were shopping the entry-level Highlander

Another popular model drops its base version, resulting in a substantial price hike.

Fundamentally, the 2024 Toyota Highlander carries on with relatively few changes apart from the (now ubiquitous) Nightshade Edition and the omission of the base L model. Automakers have been steadily dropping their entry-level models since they typically have low take rates and generate slimmer profit margins, in favor of more expensive but better-equipped versions most shoppers seem to go for.

With the Highlander L no longer an option, the $40,515 LE becomes the new “base” model. That represents a $2,500 hike over 2023’s starting MSRP, though the LE’s price in itself only goes up by $100 for 2024. Front-wheel drive is still the default, while you can choose all-wheel drive for an extra $1,600 on top of your chosen trim’s starting price.

As before, the 2024 Toyota Highlander gets two powertrain options. A 2.4-liter turbocharged gas engine makes 265 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, routing power to an 8-speed automatic transmission. For those wanting a bit better fuel efficiency, there’s also the Highlander Hybrid, backed by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motors for a total output of 243 horsepower and up to 36 combined mpg.

What’s up with the Nightshade?

From the Corolla to the Tundra and covering pretty much any model in between, the 2024 Toyota Highlander Nightshade offers an option if you want a bit of a stealthier, blacked-out look. It replaces the outgoing Bronze Edition trim and adds in black trim on the grille, mirror caps, door handles and badges. You also get gloss black wheels, while the XLE gets black roof rails as well. The package will run you an extra $1,000 over the standard model, but you’re only able to spec the Nightshade package on either the Hybrid LE or XLE.

Pricing for the front-wheel drive LE Nightshade starts at $43,115, rising to $47,660 for an all-wheel drive XLE (with a few steps in between).

The gas and hybrid models largely mirror each other in terms of trim levels, with the exception of the Nightshade for the Highlander Hybrid and the sportier-looking XSE for the gas model. The gas-powered XSE actually gets a different grille from the rest of the Highlander range, so you’ll be able to point out the model based on the front clip’s appearance.

Throughout the whole lineup, prices run between $40,515 and $52,920 for the gas-only models. The Highlander Hybrid, on the other hand, is available between $42,115 and $54,520 (including Toyota’s $1,395 destination fee).

Keep in mind, this is a different vehicle to the Grand Highlander, which Toyota positioned above the Highlander in the lineup with different styling and higher price tags.