Should You Take the 2022 Toyota Highlander Off Road?

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The 2022 Toyota Highlander isn’t built to crawl over boulders or churn through deep mud, but it’s perfect for some casual off-roading.
If you’re the kind of driver who likes to take the road less traveled, an excellent all-terrain vehicle is a must-have. And anyone serious about off-roading knows that it’s best to research your vehicle’s off-road rating before you hit the trailhead, instead of waiting until you’re waist-deep in an abandoned swamp! 
So, just how good is the
Toyota Highlander
for off-roading? In this article, we’ll tackle all of the Toyota Highlander’s specs: ground clearance, torque, tires, and more. Let's get started.
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Can the 2022 Toyota Highlander go off road?

Yes! The 2022 Toyota Highlander isn’t the cream of the crop when it comes to off-roading, but its available torque-control all-wheel drive system makes it a worthy contender in the all-terrain ring. 
With a starting price of just over $37,000, the 2022 Highlander is best known for one thing: versatility
If you need to shuttle two or three kids to soccer practice, the spacious cabin of the Highlander will make the ride comfortable and stress-free. If, on the other hand, you and your buddies are climbing into the Highlander for a weekend camping trip, you should have no problem conquering dirt and gravel roads on your way to the campsite. 
What else makes the Toyota Highlander a solid fit for some trail-blazing excursions? Let’s take a look!

Ground clearance

Ground clearance is a crucial metric for off-roading greatness: essentially, it’s the distance between the ground and the lowest part of your vehicle. With a clearance of 8.0 inches, the Toyota Highlander can overcome a few bumps and rocks, but it won’t be able to scale any serious obstacles.
The ideal number for an off-roading vehicle is between 8.8 and 10.8 inches. For reference, the
Jeep Wrangler
stands about 9.7 inches above the ground!


is the key to a vehicle’s off-roading success. In a nutshell, this means that you want lots of torque at a low rpm, which allows you to supply more power to the tires when you’re not moving as fast.
For Highlander owners, there’s good news and bad news. On the plus side, the 2022 Highlander’s 3.5-Liter V6 gets 295-hp and 263 lb-ft of torque—which is plenty of strength! Unfortunately, that maximum torque measurement is at 4700 rpm. So, you’ll get a solid amount of power from the Highlander, but you won’t be able to access all of it at a low speed.


In the tire department, the 2022 Toyota Highlander is nothing special: it’s equipped with 18 X 8 tires, which are solid for highway driving but won’t do you any favors on the trail.
If you want to take your off-roading ability to the next level, try out a set of
all-terrain tires
. They’ve got better traction, so they’re able to utilize all the power they’re getting from the Highlander’s V6. Sure, they’ll wear out a little faster and cost you some extra cash—but it’s well worth it for a thrilling off-road adventure.
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You can’t spell off-roading without all-wheel drive! Okay, maybe you can, but you get the idea: all-wheel drive is a must-have for trail enthusiasts. Fortunately, each of the Highlander’s trim levels comes with both front-wheel and all-wheel drive options.


Since you’re going to be doing plenty of climbing and descending, you’ll want your approach and departure angles to be up to snuff:
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interferencFor the Highlander, you’re looking at an approach angle of 18 degrees and a departure angle of 23 degrees. You’ll be able to handle dips, roots, and ruts on the road, but you should leave intense rock-crawling to the
    , and

Off-road rating: Rough and Ready

Last, let's take a look at Jerry’s highly sophisticated DIRT rating system:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
For the 2022 Toyota Highlander, we’ve bestowed a respectable Rough and Ready rating. It’s an SUV that does best on paved roads, but it can conquer casual off-roading challenges. If you’re committed to climbing a mountainside or powering through thick mud, though, you’re better off looking for a more capable all-terrain vehicle—like the ones in the next section!

The best off-road alternatives to the 2022 Toyota Highlander

No doubt, the Toyota Highlander is a great choice for city driving and some light off-roading—but what if you need more power? Or a lower starting price? Fear not: Jerry has done a little digging, and we’re ready to give you the best alternatives to the 2022 Highlander.
Best affordable alternative
The Hyundai Palisade is virtually identical to the Highlander in terms of torque and ground clearance—and it’s almost $4,000 cheaper!
Best stylish alternative
Again, the Telluride will hold its own in the off-roading department and its MSRP is $2,000 lower than the Highlander’s. The Telluride’s real claim to fame, though, is its sleek, commanding, hyper-modern exterior design.
Best alternative for serious off-roading
Ford Bronco
Now we’re talking! The Bronco Wildtrak has four-wheel drive, a mighty V6 engine, and climbing angles of 43.2 and 37 degrees, making it a top-notch trail warrior.

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Unfortunately, there’s one major downside to owning an off-roading vehicle: higher
car insurance
payments. Off-roading vehicles are usually a bit more expensive, and taking your ride off the beaten path poses extra risk for insurers, so they charge you more each month.
But don’t let that kill your off-roading buzz!
is here to save the day. Just download the
trustworthy super app
, sign up in 45 seconds, and let Jerry get you the lowest rates from over 55 top insurers. We’ll be sure to get you the best price and the market, and probably save you a hefty chunk of change, too—even for your off-roading vehicle!
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Check out the numbers: the average Jerry driversaves over $800 on car insurance.
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By Samuel Todd
Updated on Feb 22, 2023
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett, Senior Editor.
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