Toyota fans can get excited about the fresh design of this year’s Highlander, loaded with satisfyingly luxurious features, technology to stay safe and connected, and built with the same standard of quality Toyota consistently delivers. Whether you want to stick with a traditional gas-powered Highlander, or are ready to make the leap into owning a hybrid, the new 2020 Toyota Highlander has a lot to offer.
How Powerful is the 2020 Highlander?
Toyota Highlanders begin at an MSRP of $34,600 for the base trim level, the first of five available. Every trim comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, which puts out 295 horsepower, and is paired with an eight-speed transmission. The choice of either front or all-wheel drive is available on all trims, and gas mileage for the front-wheel drive models ranges from 21 MPG in the city to 29 MPG on the highway, while all-wheel drive drops only slightly.
Choosing the hybrid option comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two batteries, which puts out 243 horsepower and is paired with a continuously variable transmission. Combined mileage for fuel economy is 35-36 MPG, which is variable with driving style. The 2020 Highlander gas-powered V6 additionally has the capacity to tow up to 5,000 pounds, while the hybrid can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
What Are the Available Exterior and Driving Features?
From the cat-like LED headlights to the slimming waistline along the sides and finishing with the spoiler topping off the available powered liftgate, the new look of the 2020 Highlander is stylish and sporty. Features like high solar energy-absorbing, UV reduction glass; 18-inch alloy wheels; color-keyed heated exterior wing mirrors; and the smart key system with push-button start will make this mid-sized SUV a vehicle you are excited to drive.
Driving modes are a convenient feature to accommodate road conditions and make driving more economical on fuel. Most of the time, drivers will find themselves on paved roads, which can readily utilize the economy of eco mode, but you can also choose from normal and sport modes for other conditions or desired power. For those in snowy climates, you can utilize snow mode for additional traction and control. In the case of mountainous or steep terrain, hill start assist can give your engine that extra nudge it needs to get going.
Underneath the vehicle, the MacPherson front independent suspension and the rear wishbone suspension will make the interior ride much smoother and more comfortable. Driving over bumpy or uneven roads should be less noticeable in the cabin, and the steering is satisfyingly responsive when cornering.
Are There Any Exciting Interior Features Inside the 2020 Highlander?
When you sit inside the new Highlander, soft-touch materials, available gentle ambient lighting, tri-zone automatic climate control, and seats that are powered in the front and reclining in the back will transport you in comfort and class. Enjoy seating for eight across three rows, all of which have the space to comfortably accommodate adults or children, and behind the third-row seat is an additional 16 cubic feet of storage. The third-row seat folds flat when you need more cargo space, and the second-row seats slide for ease of access to the third row.
If you have a full vehicle, you’ll have plenty of room for creature comforts with eight drink holders, a roll-top cargo hold in the center console, and an in-dash shelf. Every 2020 Highlander comes standard with four USB ports and two 12-volt outlets to make sure your devices stay charged and connected. The media and hands-free controls for the audio system also have access controls on the steering wheel, with a multi-information display. And when you’re backing out of your driveway, you’ll have the integrated back-up camera with its own washer to ensure you see everything behind you.
There are plenty of upgrades to make the interior even more appealing, with auto-dimming rearview mirrors, a heads-up display, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, second-row captain’s chairs, a 360-degree rearview camera, leather seating, ventilated seats in front with powered lumbar, or a digital rearview mirror with a universal transceiver. Any of these options can be had with more expensive trims to make the Highlander more suited to any buyer’s needs.
What Kind of Entertainment Features Are Found in the 2020 Highlander?
The 2020 Highlander comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen, which is integrated into the center of the dash and it is loaded with a bevy of programs to suit any modern lifestyle. A six-speaker audio system is linked to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, Sirius XM, voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, WiFi with up to 2 GB, and Toyota’s Safety Connect. Anywhere you go, you and your passengers will be able to stream your favorite programs either on your devices or through the audio system.
How Safe is the 2020 Highlander?
Toyota takes safety seriously, so it comes as no surprise that the 2020 Highlander is studded with safety features. While driver-assisted technology comes standard, the design of the vehicle is also innovative and built to protect passengers beyond just the expected airbags. A collapsible steering column can protect the driver from severe injury in head-on collisions, front and rear energy-absorbing crumple zones will lessen the impact on passengers in side-impact accidents, and energy-dissipating interior trim acts as a cushion overall.
Pair these aspects of safer driving with technology like the Toyota Safety Sense suite of safety features, and you can drive feeling secure. The safety suite comes standard with pre-collision and pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, radar cruise control, road sign assist, and cyclist detection. While this is already a comprehensive list for even the base trim, Toyota adds the Star Safety System.
This includes enhanced stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and Smart Stop Technology. For parents, you can feel comforted knowing Toyota also includes the LATCH system of anchors for child seats, a rear passenger seat belt reminder, a rear-seat reminder to let you know you should check the vehicle before exiting, and Toyota’s Safety Connect system will assist you in case of an emergency.
If your vehicle is stolen, an on-board locator will allow the vehicle to be tracked, but an engine immobilizer may prevent the vehicle from being driven if a thief attempts it anyway. Finally, an automatic collision notification will call authorities in case you get into an accident and are unconscious or unable to speak.
What Warranties Does Toyota Offer?
Toyota offers fairly good warranties on their vehicles, with the basic coverage at 36 months or 36,000 miles, a powertrain warranty of 60 months or 60,000 miles, corrosion perforation at 60 months and unlimited miles, and finally restraint systems at 60 months or 60,000 miles. For hybrids, the hybrid system is covered for 96 months or 100,000 miles, and the battery is covered for 120 months or a whopping 150,000 miles.
Is the Highlander Right for You?
Whether you go with the standard gas-powered V6 or the hybrid, the 2020 Highlander has a lot to offer buyers. The interior is comfortable, responsive behind the wheel, and is maxed out with safety features. No one can complain of boredom with all the tech loaded into this vehicle, and with back-seat controls for the climate, you can guarantee everyone will be able to be as warm or cool as they wish. Parents can rest assured they can keep an eye on the back seats with the conversation mirror, but you may want to upgrade to the “easy speak” system so you can just use the intercom. Either way, you know you’ll have the space for everyone to spread out and enjoy the ride wherever you go.