If you’re shopping for a new Toyota Highlander, you might be wondering what the Driver Technology Package (i.e., the “tech package“) includes. This package is an option for the Limited trim level (not available for LE/Plus or XLE) and is a standard part of the Platinum package.
The features in the tech package are in addition to things like the blind spot monitoring (BSM) system, the rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA), and the rear parking assist sonar that are only available on the Limited/Platinum.
The tech package adds $1,400 to the sticker price, and includes:
- Safety Connect
- Pre-Collision System (PCS)
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Lane Departure Alert (LDA)
- Automatic High Beams (AHB)
The Safety Connect system basically links you to a call center that can dispatch help when you need it. There’s a $140/year subscription fee, but you don’t have to enable it. The services include:
- Emergency assistance (push a button to call for help)
- Stolen vehicle location (GPS-based tracking)
- Roadside assistance (as above, push a button to get help)
- Automatic collision notification (similar to what Automatic offers)
The PCS uses radar to detect vehicles and alerts the driver if it senses an impending collision. Then when the driver applies the brakes, the PCS will increase braking power. If the driver doesn’t try to stop, the PCS will brake anyway, though not as aggressively.
The PCS contributed to the Highlander’s “Advanced” rating for front crash prevention in IIHS testing. As a reminder, the new Highlander has received the highest possible overall safety rating from the IIHS, being named as a Top Safety Pick+ in 2014.
The DRCC is similar to the PCS, in that it adjusts your speed to the flow of traffic instead of locking you in at a single speed. It works at 30 mph or higher and, beyond the safety factor, it sounds quite convenient.
The LDA is a camera-based system that recognizes lane lines and to alert the driver when a lane departure is detected. Obviously, the goal here is to keep you from drifting into other lanes or off the road.
Finally, the AHB system will automatically dim your high beams so as not to blind oncoming traffic. This system operates above 21 mph.
All in all, the tech package includes some rather nice features. Had we opted for the Limited (and we might have if there was a 2nd row bench available at that trim level) I would have seriously considered it.
Would I pay $140/year for Safety Connect? That seems unlikely. But the other features would be quite nice to have. Too bad the tech package wasn’t available on the XLE. Maybe it will be in the future…