Toyota introduced a major player in the mid-sized SUV segment this week when it launched the all-new Highlander at the New York Auto Show.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander is a very important vehicle for the brand, but for the Canadian market as a whole. It’s no secret SUVs are very popular right now and the Highlander is a best-seller among best-sellers.
A new generation means improvements in every area and regardless of whether you like the Toyota Highlander or not, a better vehicle is good news for buyers. If you’re looking for a spacious vehicle for a growing family and a third row of seats, there’s no question the new Highlander will be on your list. And if it’s not, well it should be.
What’s New About the 2020 Toyota Highlander?
The 2020 Highlander is all-new and redesigned from the wheels up. Looking at it from the front you don’t immediately see the changes with the previous generation. After a few minutes, however, you will see the larger and longer headlights, the more muscular body panels, the more prominent grill and the darkened a-pillars that give the Highlander a very distinct look.
Built on Toyota’s TNGA platform, the new 2020 Toyota Highlander gets an available Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel drive system which can disconnect the rear wheels for improved efficiency when AWD isn’t needed. It’s the same system as in the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Trail. A less rugged, better-for-the-city AWD system will also be offered while the Hybrid version will get its own all-wheel drive powertrain.
Under the hood we find a standard and improved V6 engine that delivers 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. That’s more power than your average mid-sized SUV and gives the Highlander a spec advantage over the likes of the Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent and Hyundai Santa Fe.
Towing capacity is rated at 5,000 pounds.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander also gets a hybrid version like in the previous generation. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s efficiency has been improved by 17 percent according to Toyota. Average fuel consumption is expected to be rated at 6.9 liters per 100 kilometers versus 8.3 liters per 100 kilometers in the previous Highlander Hybrid.
The Highlander can sit 8 passengers out of the gate with a 7-passenger option if you add captain’s chairs to the middle row. The 2020 Highlander is longer than the previous model which means a bit more cargo space. 456 liters are available with all seats in place, 1,150 liters with the rear seats folded and 2,076 liters will both rear rows folded.
It’s not the most spacious mid-sized SUV, but it’s above average.
As expected from Toyota, the Highlander gets Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 standard. Active safety technologies include:
- Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD)
- Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
- Automatic High Beam (AHB)
- Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
And last but not least, both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will come standard.
How Much Will It Cost?
Pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the current Toyota Highlander starts at $37,300 for the V6 model and $50,950 for the Highlander Hybrid. Toyota probably won’t go much higher with the 2020 model. Hopefully, they bring the price of the Hybrid model down a little with an entry-level model.
When Will It Be Released?
We don’t have a definite release date for the 2020 Toyota Highlander, but expect it before the end of the year.
What Other SUVs Should You Consider?
The Subaru Ascent, Mazda CX-9 and Honda Pilot are all top of mind in the mid-sized SUV segment. You can’t go wrong with the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe or Ford Explorer either. The Nissan Pathfinder is still a worthy alternative although it’s getting a bit old.
What Do We Think About the 2020 Toyota Highlander?
Toyota took a very good sport utility vehicle and made it better. We would have liked a bit more space to really compete with the Honda Pilot, but it’s still very spacious. And we like how much effort went into making the Highlander Hybrid better. If they can lower its price, that could be a game changer in the segment.