2020 Toyota Highlander
by John Davis
When it comes to mid-size 3-row family haulers… few names come to mind quicker than the Toyota Highlander. For 2020, the all-new 4th generation Highlander stands out with a more expressive design, plus added dimensions that include a 2.4-inch longer wheelbase and overall length.
When introduced in 2001, the Highlander veered away from competitors riding on a full-frame truck chassis, by relying on a car-style unibody. That elevated roominess and ride which proved an almost instant family hit.
The new 2020 Highlander has a new, more rigid platform that is shared with other volume Toyotas. It adds to the solid, safe, and secure feeling we’ve come to expect.
One more change, there is no longer a standard four-cylinder engine. The base is now a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. It moves this suburban-friendly utility with ease through an smooth shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. A new-generation hybrid powertrain pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with two electric motors and a CVT transmission for a total system output of 243-horsepower and what Toyota estimates is now 36 MPG Combined fuel economy. Both powertrains provided plenty of pull off the line during our drive in San Antonio. At speed the Highlander offers the comfortable no-nonsense stability that family’s desire. Front and All-wheel drive are now available with both engines.
The quiet cabin gets an upgrade as well with a more premium look and feel, with an abundance of soft touch materials. As in most competitors, a large touch screen dominates the center dash. As you might expect, occupant safety remains a top priority. A new generation of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 comes standard with added features like Lane Tracing Assist. Apple Car Play, Android Auto, and Alexa In-Car come with all models.
For our complete road test of the 2020 Toyota Highlander, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3926 that begins airing January 28, 2020. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings and throughout the week on the MotorTrend cable network.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander has been among the few 3-row midsize crossovers known for consistently being a segment benchmark. With this new Highlander, it is once again the one to beat.