Best Trailer Hitch for a Toyota Highlander (2014-2017) Review

best hitch toyota highlander

When it’s time to hit the road, it’s important to have the right hitch for your Highlander. Those of us who love our Highlanders and want a no nonse hitch for their vehicle, and the Curt 13200 Class 3 trailer hitch fills this need admirably. It fits model years 2014 to 2017 and has a durable and reliable construction that will last beyond the life of your truck. The Curt 13200 installs fairly easily and will haul class 3 trailers with ease.

The Perfect Highlander Hitch… The Curt 13200 at a Glance

The 13200 is designed to have a very small design footprint; it effectively looks like a small tubed metal attachment that juts slightly under the bumper of your Highlander.

The Curt 13200 is designed specifically to attach to the 2014 to 2017 Highlander, which means that you won’t have to purchase adapter parts, you won’t have to weld anything, and you know that the hitch will fit perfectly to your vehicle. This is primarily because the hitch uses a round tube design that is laser welded for strength and perfect Highlander fit.

Additionally, due to a powder coating that protects its steel construction, the Curt 13200 is designed to be weatherproof. This is useful considering that you won’t have to worry too much about the rain and puddles that come packaged in with the camping season. The Curt 13200’s powdered coat is UV-resistant as well. All of this means that the Curt 13200 is designed to last you through many years of use.

Also, many campers are diehard Curt enthusiasts because the company is dedicated to their products. In fact, the company offers lifetime technical support for all of their hitches for the hitch’s entire lifetime. Curt makes more than a thousand different hitches. Each of these has a solid design and aesthetically friendly shaping, which are both traits that you will find in the Curt 13200.

While Toyota does have its own hitch, many find that the Curt version of the Highlander hitch is better when it comes to overall build quality. As an aftermarket Highlander option, it simply seems to do a better job than the Toyota hitch and has a larger weight capacity on both the tongue and when towing.

In fact, the 13200 can manage 900 pounds in tongue weight and can manage 6,000 pounds in towing. With a weight distribution package, the Curt 13200 still has a 900-pound tongue weight limit, but you’ll be able to manage an additional 2,000 pounds of gross trailer weight.

The 13200 is a redesigned version of Curt’s previous 13169. The newer version is easier to install as it doesn’t require a drop bracket for the exhaust.

Features That Make the Curt 13200 Great

The Curt 13200 isn’t limited to camping applications. You can tow a bike rack, attach a ball mount, pull a small to a medium-sized boat, haul your motorcycle or hitch a cargo carrier. This particular hitch offers a two-inch opening for your hitching needs, but Curt does offer other sized hitch receivers, so if you need a different option, it’s available.

Curt also has provided some heavy-duty chain cable connectors that you can run from your trailer to the body of the Curt 13200. These connection points have large holes so that you can quickly connect up your trailer. It uses a five-eighths inch pinhole that is compatible with class three accessories.

Things to Know Before Installing on Your Highlander

If you intend to wire a brake controller, the installation of the 13200 is much easier if you have Toyota’s factory-installed tow package, but if you don’t, it’s not too difficult either. With the tow package, you’ll need to simply wire the Curt 13200 using the Curt T-Connector 56042. It’s fairly simple, and you’ll just need to plug in your brake controller and the hitch control cables into the box under the dash.

On the other hand, if you don’t have the tow package and you want to wire up a brake controller, you’ll just have to purchase the Curt T-Connector 56217 for the installation. This process is a little more complicated, but neither one of these methods should take much installation time.

From start to finish, you can expect the basic installation of the Curt 13200 to take less than an hour. As mentioned, this isn’t a very complex process. Curt has designed this hitch to be easily installed on a Highlander without any additional welding or drilling. In fact, any cutting that is mentioned in this guide is optional. Here’s a list of materials that you will need:

• A 10-millimeter Socket – For tightening and removing the bolts on the wind deflector.
• A 19-millimeter Socket – For tightening and removing the undercarriage bolts.
• A 19-millimeter Socket – For tightening and removing the undercarriage bolts.
• A ratchet extension.
• A paint pen for marking where you will need to trim.
• Cutting implements to trim the wind deflector on the vehicle. A rotary cutter works well but a pair of aviation shears or a sharp blade will do.
• A nylon tube brush to clean up the bolt holes in case they have picked up debris.
• A screwdriver for removing factory-installed rubber plugs.
• A torque wrench for tightening the bolts at the connection points of the Curt 13200.

The Actual Installation

To begin, you’ll have to remove the rear fender panel which is on the driver’s side of the Highlander. This panel has a total of five bolts: one along the bumper’s end, two near the base of the wheel well, and two more along the edge of the panel. You’ll need a 10 and a 12-millimeter socket wrench to remove these. After the removing the bolts, you’ll need to remove the pushpin fasteners that secure the panel to the Highlander.

At this point, you’ll have to remove the caps that are in this section; two can be pulled out and the others will have to be unscrewed with a screwdriver. At this point, you’ll need to trim the Highlander’s wind deflector. You can trim about two inches of this off. If you don’t have a rotary cutter, you can remove these two inches with a simple cutting implement.

Next, with a 10 and a 17-inch socket, remove the bolts on the passenger’s side. These bolts are positioned underneath the tailpipe. After this, it’s simply a matter of bolting in the hitch using bolts and conical tube washers. Ensure that the bolts are snug; typically, you can use a 19-milimeter socket to ensure that you have a good degree of tightness. It’s a good idea to torque everything to specification.

Considerations

As with everything, there are considerations that you should think about before purchasing the Curt 13200 for your Highlander. One of the best features of this hitch is its good looks and durability. Unfortunately, while the powder coat does a good job at making the hitch look attractive and protecting it from the elements, it can be scraped and scratched in everyday usage. When this happens, the steel will be exposed to moisture, which can cause rust and corrosion.

Also, while it tapers upwards at the ends so that it’s flush with the rear valance of your Highlander, it does jut down beneath the bumper a bit in the middle. From the receiver tube opening to the ground, you’ll have about 16 inches or so, which can be even further reduced by type of product you’re hitching. While this is usually enough clearance, you might want to consider this when selecting what you want to hitch to your Highlander.

Finally, this isn’t a hitch that’s designed for every Highlander. If you have a Highlander that is a model year prior to 2014, then the Curt 13200 isn’t for your vehicle.

Wrapping It Up

The Curt 13200 is a great hitch that will allow you to carry all of your hitchables on your Toyota Highlander with little install time or excess effort. It has a durable construction, a svelte design that doesn’t draw too much attention to the fact that you have a hitch installed, and it also has a good degree of overall versatility.