Chrometec Wheels on the New Toyota Highlander

I’ve had a couple of questions recently about the wheels on the Highlander Limited/Platinum. For example, a reader named Michael asked:

“We’ve ordered a Highlander Limited. Can you tell us if the 19″ wheels have hubcaps or are they solid rims?”

The short answer is neither, or both, depending on how you look at it.

Recall that the LE, LE Plus, and XLE all have 18-inch wheels, whereas the Limited and Limited Platinum have 19-inch wheels. The lower trim levels have alloy wheels, with the LE having “5-spoke alloy wheels” and the LE Plus and XLE having “5-spoke machined-face alloy wheels.”

What about the 19-inch wheels at the higher trim levels? Well, they have “5-spoke Chrometec alloy wheels.” Wow, Chrometec, that sounds pretty darn fancy! But what does that really mean?

Well, the Chrometec wheels are essentially alloy wheels with permanently affixed plastic wheel covers that have a chrome finish. The use of Chrometec wheels covers has been a somewhat contentious issue.

Some Highlander owners love the look, while others hate it. I personally prefer the machined-face alloy wheels that come standard on the XLE, but to each their own. From a practical standpoint…

The Chrometec wheels are (perhaps) more likely to be resist damage from the elements (salt, etc.) as compared to alloy wheels or an actual chrome-plated wheel. At the same time, that chrome finish makes them more susceptible to curb damage and harder to repair than alloy wheels.

As I said above, to each their own…

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Performance & Specifications
2 comments… add one
  • Vinny Nov 7, 2016

    The problem I am having is after less than a year one of my Highlander Chromtec rims began to discolor in one location. It’s 2 years old now and it has gotten really noticeable. A real eye sore. Clearly its a factory defect cause only 1 rim did this but it’s not covered by any warrantly. Toyota wants $750 for the rim which is nuts. I will probably have to buy a whole new set off non OEM rims for my truck since it is killing it’s appearance.

  • Gary Youre Jul 1, 2017

    I have contacted Toyota corporate to ask what other wheels are available to replace the 19″ plastic wheels. These are truly an embarrassment considering my vehicle is the Platinum edition with Pearl White Paint. The existing plastic wheels are so cheesy and tacky looking.
    The only other option is a 10 spoke wheel costing $2000.00, a set, out the door! To get a wheel that actually looks good requires changing the width and the offset.
    It’s hard to believe that Toyota would strap their customers with no other options when thousands of other wheels are available.
    I’ll update when I hear back from the factory.

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