Glare on the Toyota Highlander’s LCD Touchscreen?

A reader named Andy recently dropped me a line to ask about problems with glare on the Toyota Highlander’s infotainment touchscreen. He was also interested in learning more about possible solutions.

Andy wrote:

“I’m reading a lot about sun glare on the touchscreen while driving, as well as difficulty in reach the controls while driving. Can you talk a bit about your experience with these issues? And is there any talk about someone coming out with some sort of visor to mount above the screen to reduce glare?”

First things first…

Glare on the screen?

I have to say that I haven’t really been bothered by any sort of glare on the touchscreen. It’s there, I suppose, but no worse that I would have expected. The matte (or at least non-glossy) finish helps.

I think the bigger problem is that, in high-light situations, the display can get somewhat washed out. At times, this can make it hard to see what’s going on. Here again, this hasn’t been a huge problem for me, but I can see how it could bother some owners.

The easiest way for Toyota to prevent this would have been to recess the touchscreen, as opposed to having it sit more or less flush with the front of the dash. But that would make it harder to reach the touchscreen.

Which bring us to the second part of Andy’s question…

Accessibility of controls

Is it difficult to reach the controls while driving? No, not for me. But I’m tall (6’5″) and have long arms, so I’m probably not the best person to ask.

At worst, I have to roll my right shoulder slightly off the driver’s seat to reach the most distant controls on the touchscreen. But I can see how this might be less convenient for those who haven’t blessed (or cursed; it all depends on the situation) with my height.

Then again… I also have the seat as far back as it can go, so this offsets some of that uber-tall, monkey-armed advantage that I might otherwise have. At the end of the day, I can’t see this being a particularly big deal. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker (imho).

If you’re worried about this, I would suggest doing a test drive on a sunny day to see it’s something that bothers you.

Possible anti-glare solutions

As for solutions to possible glare problems… While there are lots (and lots!) of GPS visors on the market, they’re mostly designed for free-standing navigation units. I haven’t seen any sort of custom solutions for the built-in, OEM infotainment system.

There are likewise a lot of anti-glare films on the market, though I haven’t seen anything specific to the Highlander’s infotainment system. If you decided to go this route, you might need to trim down a piece of film that’s intended for a larger tablet. That being said…

I’m not sure how much a piece of anti-glare film would help, as the touchscreen already has a matte-like finish. Moreover, it wouldn’t help with the screen washing out in bright light. And I’d also be a little nervous about applying a piece of film to such an expensive component.

What about you? Have you been bothered by a glare on the touchscreen? Or by the display getting washed out? If so, do you have a clever solution that you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comments.

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Complaints & Troubleshooting
23 comments… add one
  • Jeff Sep 28, 2014

    I had my tint shop add 5 inch stripe across the top of the windshield. There is not one either from the factory which is wierd. I also added a anti-glare film from amazon. The combination of all of these has made a big difference.

    Good Luck

  • Lan Oct 25, 2014

    I’m in South GA and on day 3 of driving my new Highlander. I did notice the glare for the first time today while backing out of my drive way, thankfully for me this is my first car with a backup camera so I’ve not become totally dependent on it to back out. Then while I was in the parking lot there was sun streaming in from the front passenger window that washed out the touch screen.

  • Susan Nov 6, 2014

    The glare is annoying to me, but not so much at this point that I will do anything about it. I’m short (5’2″) and only find the phone touch button on the far right to be difficult to reach. No big deal.
    Thanks for the great work on the site! Love to stop by and read what’s on your mind or across your desk.

  • Jo Jan 7, 2015

    It bothers me to the point I would not have purchased the vehicle if I had known it beforehand. The Honda Pilot has the perfect setup for this. The screen is recessed. I should have bought it.

    • CG Oct 22, 2016

      I agree with you! I travel a lot for my job and bought the Highlander instead of the Pilot. The glare is terrible and it is most of the time! I don’t understand why Toyota cannot inset the unit and have a “shade”. With my two Honda Accords I never had this problem. I said something to the service manager about the glare and he looked at me like I was nuts! I also didn’t realize Honda was redesigning the pilot-really should have waited! By the way, I live in upstate NY where sun is limited!

  • Stacy Aug 22, 2015

    The glare is a bug problem for me-
    I’m 5’3 and can’t reach the buttons on far right without it becoming a distraction

  • Kacky Oct 16, 2015

    It happens to me in my Toyota Camry on sunny days, always in the afternoon, when driving south. The sun shines in through the passenger side windows. It’s so bright that it hurts my eyes even when I am not looking at it. I rigged a cover which isn’t the best solution, because I lose caller i.d. when the cell phone rings. I think a recessed screen woukd be a big help.

  • Jack Foss Dec 16, 2016

    The obvious solution for me (5’10”) would be to angle the screen straight up & down or even slightly down. Who thought of angling the screen upwards? (where the sun shines from)

  • Paulette Archer Feb 25, 2017

    I hate the navigation system in my highlander,it doesn’t work period. Terrible for an expensive auto, have got lost, address wrong input is lozy thinking of having it removed and some other navigation system installed.

  • Jake May 1, 2017

    I wish that you could just put in city center without having to input address or poi. Most of the time you only want to go to a city and you have no address available. Any help or ideas on how to make that happen

  • Steve May 31, 2017

    Have 2016 Highlander. Wash out on screen is very annoying. Had several vehicles with either factory GPS or aftermarket GPS and all were bright and sharp. This is a serious flaw in my opinion that Toyota needs to rectify on future models.

  • Eric Repking Jun 24, 2017

    I do not use the screen during the day except for music. If I need GPS and wife is with we use the phone. The screen in the car is easily washed out on a sunny day. May times I have to close the sunroof to stop sun glare. My brothers Lincoln SUV has a great easy to see screen. I was impressed when I got in his car. It was the first thing I noticed was how easy it was to read his screen. Highlander is great but the screen sucks. I have looked for aftermarket screens to no avail. Its the weakest link on a goo vehicle.

  • George Dec 10, 2017

    Have a 2017 Highlander and the glare is terrible. And truthfully had I known I would not have bought the car because it is truly dangerous with the sun coming from between 2 to 6 O Clock position. Checked out many sun shades on the market and the only one I found that I like, I can’t find a place to buy it. Its called the Ustek Universal Car GPS Sun Shade Glare Shield. You can see it on U Tube (3 video’s)
    If anyone knows where they can be purchased, please let me Know.

  • Joe Aug 3, 2018

    To fight the washout on the touch screen when I’m not in the car I drape a towel over it. There are generic visors on the web that should work. I haven’t tried one yet.

    I also find the nav. system to be way too complicated. Too many options. Can’t edit a street # & name. Very confusing and I am very computer literate..

  • Joe Aug 6, 2018

    So much for the towel. My 2016 highlander was in the sun for 6 hours with the towel on the screen. It was washed out when I started the SUV. It was very hot. High heat may also be a source of the washout.

  • Yvette Apr 23, 2019

    We recently purchased a 2019 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum.
    The navigation system is impossible for my husband to see while driving in sunlight.
    Another issue we are having is in order to get the navigation to have sound we have to press the start button twice with no foot on the brake then start the car. Otherwise there is no sound from the navigation. I happened to find this fix online and when I called the dealership they hadn’t heard of this problem. We will be bringing it in to the dealership document this issue!
    If anyone has found a good solution to the glare issue would love to hear about it!

  • Dorothy Lindsay Jun 3, 2019

    Just bought a 2019 Highlander and hate the navigation screen. Most of the time during daylight hours I can’t use the back up screen. Back up camera is very important to me, but it is vey hard to see due to glare. Wish I had known about this beforehand. But I still love my Highlander.

  • Dorothy Lindsay Jun 3, 2019

    Just bought a 2019 Highlander and hate the navigation screen. Most of the time during daylight hours I can’t use the back up screen. Back up camera is very important to me. Wish I had known about this beforehand. But I still love my Highlander.

  • Bill Kelly Jun 16, 2019

    The system is so bad. I definitely would not have bought the car had I know that you can’t see the screen during the days and the hands free phone is horrible and echo’s. Complete garbage. 2017 Hybrid Limited Platinum. The rest of the car is great, but come on Toyota have some pride in what you sell. My other brands of vehicles I could shine a flashlight on them in direct sun and still see them. Junk and I hate the system, unless its dark out but then there is still the phone issue and the fact the system does not really sound good either.

  • David Case Aug 14, 2019

    Recently purchased 2019 Highlander limited Platinum hybrid. The screen is awful. Glare makes it next to useless. The screens on two previous Chevy volts were both high gloss but never had a glare issue. The entune system is not very useful. Apple CarPlay much better when it doesn’t crash!

  • Laura Cathey Sep 15, 2019

    The glare on the navigation screen is a huge problem in our new Highlander. It is blinding and makes for an uncomfortable ride. Very disappointing. I wish Toyota would address this issue and come up with some way to fix it for the customers who spent so much money not knowing what a problem this would be.

  • Janine Nov 5, 2019

    Sounds like Toyota has known about this problem since 2014 I just bought a 2019 highlander all I can say is I am so disappointed in Toyota so Disappointed

  • Janine Nov 5, 2019

    Sounds like Toyota has known about this problem since 2014 I just bought a 2019 highlander all I can say is I am so disappointed in Toyota

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