We Drove The 2020 Toyota Highlander — Here’s How It Stacks Up Against Its Rivals!

When it comes to robust, reliable family haulers, most tend to lean toward the Toyota Highlander. Through November 2019, Toyota moved 218,989 examples of its flagship crossover, far eclipsing even sales of other popular models like the Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse. Now though, the segment is more competitive than ever, largely thanks to the entries of the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, as well as the redesigned Explorer. After nearly seven years in its third generation, the 2020 Toyota Highlander is the company’s answer to its rivals. With new styling, more tech and better fuel economy, it looks like an all-around improvement on paper, but how much has it actually evolved? In this video, Toyota brought us out to San Antonio, Texas to test the new Highlander to see how it stacks up.

Roman gives his thoughts on the 2020 Toyota Highlander in the video below:

2020 Toyota Highlander pricing

Our test unit in this video was the conventional, non-hybrid XLE model, which is the middle of the range. From the base L, the trims rise through the LE, XLE, Limited and Platinum.

Toyota’s destination fee adds on $1,120 to the base LE’s price of $34,600, while all-wheel drive adds between $1,600 and $1,950 depending on the model. Here’s how the pricing breaks down for conventional and hybrid Highlander models:

TrimGas FWDGas AWDHybrid FWDHybrid AWD
LE $36,800 $36,800$38,200$39,800
XLE $39,600 $41,200$41,000$42,600


As before, you get different powertrain options depending on whether you opt for the standard Highlander or the Highlander Hybrid. The conventional model packs a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood with 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque. Those are the same performance figures as before, although Toyota estimates a marginal 1-2 mpg gain for both front and all-wheel drive models.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, on the other hand, is where the model shines on fuel economy. It uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to an electric drivetrain for a combined 243 horsepower output. Fuel economy ratings are up substantially from the old model, according to Toyota’s estimates. Depending on which model you get, OEM figures put the Highlander Hybrid at between 35 and 36 mpg in city, highway and combined ratings.

Interior and technology

The 2020 Toyota Highlander had to up its game from the previous generation in response to cars like the Telluride and Palisade, and it’s done so with the interior. Top-end models get Toyota’s largest 12.3-inch infotainment screen, with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa support. Even lower models still get a substantial display, plus all models get the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 driver assistance suite.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane deparature alert with steering assist, Lane Tracing Assist, automatic high beams and full-speed range radar cruise control.

Check out more in the video above, and come back to TFLcar.com for more news, views and real-world family crossover reviews!