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The 2023 Toyota Highlander is turning heads with its sleek design, spacious interior with its third row and efficient drivetrain. But what's equally impressive is its modern infotainment system. I recently had the chance to dive into this system, exploring its 12.3-inch touchscreen display, multimedia capabilities, and much more. Let's take a closer look at what I found and what this system has the offer.

Inside the 2023 Highlander: A Tech-Forward Interior

The Highlander's infotainment center is more than just a radio or navigation system. It's packed with advanced features designed to enhance your driving experience. There are so many features of the car that are now baked directly into the head unit in addition to having functional buttons across the dash – climate control being a good example of this. The Limited trim boasts an 11-speaker JBL audio setup, complete with a subwoofer and amplifier, ensuring crystal-clear sound quality across every seat. I was pleasantly surprised with this system and how well-rounded it sounded for a factory Toyota system.

Toyota hasn't skimped on safety and connectivity features either. The vehicle comes equipped with the Safety Sense package, which includes a pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alerts, parking assist, and more. And with 4G network compatibility, Sirius XM, and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, you're always connected, no matter where the road takes you.

Getting Started with the Infotainment Center

Turning on the vehicle, you're greeted by a disclaimer screen – a standard safety feature. The system connects to the Toyota app and your smartphone, super seamless and easy from the start. It supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly, a must in our book. You can check out our reasons why you need Apple CarPlay if you're not familiar with it. Charging options are plentiful too, with USB and USB-C ports alongside a wireless charging pad for your devices. Additional USB ports in the rear enable extra device charging for your passengers or children's tablets.

Navigating with Ease

To me, the navigation interface actually stands out for its intuitiveness and seamless operation, rivaling popular apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps. Searching for destinations was incredibly straightforward, almost more so than Google Maps on my iPhone. And the system has voice commands for hands-free commands and requests so you can ask for things like the “nearest gas station” or ask for a specific address. I thought it was impressive how Toyota has managed to make a native system feel so familiar and user-friendly. It's one of the first infotainment systems I've used that I think I might prefer as much, if not more than Google Maps. I wasn't able to put the routing, traffic or other features through a thorough test though.

A Rich Audio Experience

The Highlander's audio system settings offer a great level of control, from selecting audio sources to fine-tuning the sound to your liking. Whether you're listening to HD radio, Sirius XM, or your own music via a USB drive, the interface makes it easy to navigate and select your preferred entertainment. What I particularly liked was the HD radio interface. Check out the video for more details.

From a tuning perspective, it didn't really go beyond the necessities. Balance/fader options combined with a three band equalizer (bass, mid, treble) provide adequate control over the audio. Built for beginners is what it felt like, but I guess that's probably preferred considering the target buyer for this type of vehicle – moms. Although I would have loved to see a little more control here – listening position at the least – audiophile dads like myself probably would be the only ones in the audio settings ‘fine tuning' the output.

Climate Control at Your Fingertips

What I also thought was a nice addition on the infotainment center was that it doubles as a control hub for the vehicle's climate settings. Adjusting the temperature, airflow, and AC settings is done through the touchscreen, providing a comprehensive overview that manual controls simply can't match.

But after using it for bit, I found myself just going back to the traditional buttons on the dash. It takes too long to navigate out of Apple CarPlay, back to the vehicle controls, into the climate settings, etc to just turn the fan down a bit. Using the standard controls on the dash is still my preferred choice, albeit more boring.

Customizing Your Infotainment Center

The vehicle settings menu allows you to personalize various aspects of your driving experience, from linking your Toyota app to adjusting the vehicle's lighting and lock settings. The attention to detail here is noteworthy, allowing drivers to tailor the Highlander's functionality to their preferences.

You can set up different profiles for the car too, each with their own preferred device to connect to, radio preferences, vehicle settings and more.


After spending some time with the 2023 Toyota Highlander's infotainment system, it's clear that Toyota has set a new standard for their in-car technology. The system's wide array of features, intuitive interface, and seamless connectivity options make it stand out to me. Whether you're a tech enthusiast like myself or just looking for a vehicle that keeps up with the digital age, I think the Highlander delivers.