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…