The 2020 Toyota Highlander marks the model’s first redesign in more than a half dozen years. Thanks to its adoption of the Toyota New Global Architecture-K platform, the mid-size crossover’s changes go well past the sheet metal.
There Can Only Be One:
It’s not just the Highlander’s underpinnings that are overhauled for the new year, though, as the model sees updates to its trim and pricing structures, as well. Notably, the Japanese brand’s three-row crossover welcomes the addition of a new entry-level L model. With a base price of $34,600, the lowliest 2020 Highlander costs $2,770 more than the cheapest 2019 model.
Despite its position at the bottom of the Highlander totem pole, the L still comes well equipped and benefits from standard items such as three-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a proximity key, LED headlamps, and the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of advanced safety features (automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, lane centering, road-sign recognition, and automatic high-beam headlights).
Driving The New Highlander:
Stepping up to the $36,800 Highlander LE nabs a power liftgate, blind-spot monitor, fog lamps, and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter. Arguably, the $39,600 Highlander XLE offers the best bang-for-the-buck thanks to the addition of comfort and convenience features such as heated and power-operated front seats, faux-leather seating, a 7.0-inch gauge cluster display screen, second-row bucket seats, and a sunroof.
Meanwhile, the $43,650 Limited trades the standard 18-inch wheels and tires for 20-inch units, adds a cargo cover, driver’s seat memory, ventilated front seats, leather seating, an in-dash navigation system, a premium audio system, a hands-free power liftgate, and more. The top-line $46,850 Platinum trim goes even further courtesy of kit such as a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, adaptive headlights, a head-up display system, heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a surround-view camera system.
Gallery: 2020 Toyota Highlander
All models come standard with a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission and sends power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is a $1,600 option on L, LE, and XLE models and a $1,950 charge on Limited and Platinum trims.
Additionally, the Highlander is available with a gasoline-electric hybrid option. The powertrain trades last year’s 3.5-liter V6 for a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. With the assistance of electric motors, the 2020 Highlander Hybrid manages to produce a total of 243 horsepower, or 63 ponies less than before. Front-wheel-drive comes standard and all-wheel-drive is available as an option.
Unlike the Highlander V6, the Highlander Hybrid is only available in LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims. With a base price of $38,200, the 2020 Highlander Hybrid costs $680 more than last year’s model, which was available strictly with all-wheel drive. The Highlander Hybrid XLE, meanwhile, wears a sticker price of $41,000, while the higher-spec Limited and Platinum trims ring in at $45,050 and $48,250, respectively.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander goes on sale before the end of the year, with the Highlander Hybrid reaching dealers in February.