2020 Toyota Highlander First Look
- Toyota's 3-row midsize SUV is totally redesigned for 2020
- Larger outside, roomier inside
- New V6 and hybrid powertrains offered
- Highlander Hybrid promises 34 mpg combined
- Prices should continue to start in the low-$30,000 range
Toyota has taken the wraps off the next-generation of its mainstay 3-row SUV, the Highlander. The all-new 2020 Toyota Highlander features a new look, based on a new architecture that provides a roomy interior, better dynamics and improved fuel economy. The new Highlander competes with other 3-row midsize SUVs like the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer.
The Highlander boasts up to 8-passenger seating and two new powertrains, one of which is a hybrid offering class-leading fuel economy. The new version is slightly larger than the previous model, measuring 2.36 inches longer at 194.9 inches overall, with virtually all of that added to the wheelbase. As a result of the roomier cabin, the middle row seats have 1.2 inches more travel, allowing for great flexibility and comfort for both second- and third-row passengers.
Five trims to choose from
Slated to go on sale at dealers in December (the Hybrid goes on sale next February), the new Highlander sports sophisticated exterior styling with chiseled lines and a muscular stance. Offered in L, LE, XLE, Limited and Platinum trims, the exterior look of the new Highlander varies with grade level. L, LE and XLE models have a black grille with silver trim, while the Limited and Platinum benefit from chrome accents around the black grille as well as a chrome-plated rear fascia and a distinctive projector-beam headlamp treatment to go along with the first-ever 20-inch wheel package on a Highlander.
Seating configurations also vary by trim. L and LE models are available with a second-row bench allowing up to eight passengers (two in front and three in the third row), while the XLE and Limited feature 7-passenger seating with second-row captain’s chairs. All three rows benefit from the tri-zone climate control system. The new Highlander offers 16.1 cu ft of cargo space behind the back row, which expands to 40.6 when that 60/40 split seat is down and 73.3 cu ft with the two rear rows folded flat.
The new Toyota New Generation Architecture-K underpinning the Highlander makes extensive use of high strength steel provide a stiffer unibody structure. Vehicle dynamics are improved as a result of this robust new Toyota platform, which employs an independent strut front and multi-link rear suspension.
2020 Toyota Highlander powertrain
Standard models are equipped with front drive and are fitted with a 295-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Torque is rated at 263 lb-ft, which enables a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds when the vehicle is equipped with the optional tow package. Two all-wheel-drive systems are available on the V6. The first, offered on L, LE and XLE models, is an on-demand system that can send up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear axle. Limited and Platinum models can be equipped with a more sophisticated setup that includes dynamic torque vectoring, different drive modes and a driveline disconnect for enhanced fuel economy. The drive modes include multi-terrain selections for inclement weather, mud and sand, and rock and dirt for greater off-road capability.
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Topping the range is the hybrid powertrain which will offer greater output and fuel economy than the previous Highlander Hybrid. The 2020 version is equipped with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with two electric motors. It provides a combined output of 240 horsepower, good for an EPA-estimated 34 combined mpg, up from the previous model’s 28 mpg. Also new for 2020: The Highlander Hybrid can be had with either front or all-wheel drive. The AWD versions uses a rear-mounted electric motor to drive the rear axle. The hybrid model is also equipped with three drive modes -- Normal, Sport and Eco.
Another new feature for the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a Predictive Efficient Drive system that analyzes daily driving habits and adjusts the regen charging and discharge of the battery taking advantage of how the vehicle is being driven. The more miles covered, the more data is accumulated, allowing the system to adapt itself to scenarios including driving on mountain roads or in daily commuter traffic.
The 2020 Highlander comes equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Alexa In-Car compatibility. Other features offered include Waze, Sirius XM satellite radio and Wi-Fi connectivity through AT&T. All models come with Toyota Safety Connect with a free one-year subscription. XLE and Limited grades have available dynamic navigation, which is standard on Platinum models where it also comes with a larger 12.3-inch center screen. JBL Premium audio is standard on Limited and Platinum models with 1,200 watts of power and 11 speakers.
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0
Equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (the second generation of the system), all 2020 Highlander models have a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-range radar-based smart cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane tracing assist and road sign assist. LE-and-higher models come with blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and available rear cross traffic braking. A 360-degree view camera is available on Limited models and standard with Platinum versions.
2020 Toyota Highlander trims and features
The 2020 Toyota Highlander lineup ranges from the entry-level but well-equipped Highlander L to the feature-filled Highlander Platinum.
2020 Toyota Highlander L
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0
18-inch alloy wheels
3-zone automatic climate control
4.2-inch Multi-information Display (MID) in instrument panel
8-way power driver’s seat
Auto up/down for all power windows
Multimedia with 8-inch touchscreen display
Front seat reading lights and cargo area light
LED headlamps and taillamps
Privacy glass on rear side, quarter and liftgate windows
Smart Key entry on front doors and back door
2020 Toyota Highlander LE
Blind Spot Monitor
Additional multimedia capability
LED fog lamps
Leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob
2020 Toyota Highlander XLE
10-way power driver’s seat
Second-row sun shades
4-way power front passenger seat
7-inch Multi-information display
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror with garage door opener
Auto LED headlamps with Auto High Beam
Plated interior door handle
Heated front seats
LED fog lamps
Machined-face alloy wheels
Captain’s Chairs second row (standard)
Power tilt and slide moon roof
SofTex-trimmed seats and door trim
2020 Toyota Highlander Limited
120V second-row power outlet
20-inch Limited-style alloy wheels
Ambient interior lighting
Cargo area cover
Driver’s seat memory
Hands-free power liftgate
Heated and ventilated front seats
“Highlander” puddle lamp
Perforated leather trimmed seats in beige, gray or black
Metal door scuff plates
Projector beam headlamp with chrome bezels and separate, stylized DRLs
Wood interior trim
JBL Audio System as standard
Embedded navigation system
2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum
12.3-inch Multimedia head unit
20-inch Platinum style wheels
Adaptive, self-leveling headlamps
Additional leather seating color choice: Glazed Caramel
Digital display rear view mirror
Embossed, perforated leather trimmed seats
Heated second-row seats
Illuminated door scuff plates
Rain-sensing windshield wipers
2020 Toyota Highlander warranty
The 2020 Toyota Highlander is covered by a 36-month/36,000-mile limited bumper-to-bumper warranty. Highlander Hybrid models have an additional 8-year, 100,000-mile coverage for hybrid components, while all models benefit from two years’ free maintenance and road side assistance under ToyotaCare.
How much does the 2020 Toyota Highlander cost?
While pricing hasn’t been announced, we expect the 2020 Toyota Highlander MSRP to start somewhere near the current 2019 model, which starts at $31,350 and ranges up to $48,830 for the Hybrid Limited Platinum.
When does the new Highlander go on sale?
Toyota says the 2020 Toyota Highlander will start arriving at dealerships toward the end of 2019.
2020 Toyota Highlander Interior and Exterior Photos