Toyota's redesigned Highlander midsize SUV offers more value than ever
Toyota has been building the Highlander midsize SUV since 2001, and it's been one of the brand's mainstay products. The Highlander outsells all other competing midsize crossovers by tens of thousands of units every year. One good reason is that the Highlander Hybrid is the most affordable midsize hybrid SUV on the market, and it's now available in a more affordable front-wheel-drive package.
The 2020 Highlander is all-new, now built on Toyota's new global platform. The new chassis is more rigid than the outgoing Highlander, giving the new SUV an improved ride and handling experience. The new Highlander really feels planted on the road, and rides over bumps and potholes with no drama, even back in the third-row seat.
Highlander buyers can choose the traditional 3.5-liter V6 engine at 295 horsepower, with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Alternately, the Highlander Hybrid uses a 2.5-liter gas engine and electric motor driveline with 243 horsepower mated with a continuously variable transmission.
All-wheel-drive is optional on all Highlander models. Basic gasoline-powered trims use a simple AWD system that engages the rear axle as needed. The top Limited and Platinum trims are equipped with an advanced AWD system capable of sending power to any wheel with grip. The hybrid AWD system is a bit different, powering the rear wheels with an additional electric motor in the rear.
One big upgrade for the 2020 Highlander is that Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0 package is now standard equipment on all trim levels. This suite of advanced safety and driver assistance features includes full-speed adaptive cruise control and lane tracing assist. This allows the Highlander to follow prevailing traffic speeds and guide itself around curves. That's perfect for commuting. Toyota Safety Sense also includes a pre-collision automatic braking system with pedestrian detection, lane departure control, road sign recognition, and automatic high beams.
Toyota also redesigned the interior for more flexibility. The new Highlander is 2.36 inches longer than the outgoing model, and the extra space was used to give more room in the second and third rows. Because the second-row seats slide forward and back, passengers can adjust spacing as needed. When it comes to cargo, the Highlander offers 16 cubic feet behind the third row, 48.4 cubic feet with the third-row seats down, and 84.3 cubic feet with all rear seats folded.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander starts at $34,600, and ranges up to $48,800, and the Highlander Hybrid starts at $38,200 and ranges up to $50,200 for the Platinum trim hybrid with all-wheel-drive. With new features such as Toyota Safety Sense, more interior space, and new infotainment technology, the 2020 Highlander offers more family-friendly features than ever before.
2020 Toyota Highlander
Base price: $34,600
Price as tested: $50,200
Type: Midsize SUV
Engine: 3.5-liter V6 or Hybrid (295 hp, 263 lbs-ft)
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic; Continuously Variable Transmission
EPA estimated mileage: 20/27
Overall length: 195 inches
Curb weight: 4,450 pounds
Final assembly: Princeton, Indiana
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