The 2023 Toyota Highlander Ditches Its V6: Does This Big Change Make All the Difference?

The 2023 Toyota Highlander looks the same as last year’s model — but there’s one big change.

In this latest review on the TFLcar YouTube channel, Tommy takes a look at the recently updated Toyota Highlander SUV. The big news for the upcoming year is the departure of the long-lived 3.5-liter V6 in favor of a torquier, more efficient powertrain. At least, it’s more efficient according to Toyota’s estimates, as EPA-rated figures have not published for the gas-powered 2023 Toyota Highlander just yet.

At its heart, the 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-four puts out 265 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. So, you don’t get quite as much horsepower as the larger mill. However, the 17% difference in torque from the old engine’s 263 lb-ft and the turbocharger should help throttle response and all-around peppiness in lower-speed city driving.

According to Toyota’s estimates, the 2023 Toyota Highlander should manage 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined mpg in front-wheel drive form. Spring for the all-wheel drive version instead, and the estimates drop by 1 mpg across the board. If you’re looking for even better fuel economy, you can still get the Highlander Hybrid, which retains the same 2.5-liter-backed setup as before, with the same output. Estimated fuel economy for the Highlander Hybrid stands at around 36 mpg in all driving cycles, give or take 1-2 mpg depending on which trim you choose.

Other updates across the 2023 Toyota Highlander range

One of the other noteworthy updates for the brand’s updated three-row crossover is dual 12.3-inch screens on the top-end Limited and Platinum trims. The larger 12.3-inch, fully digital cluster replaces the old 7-inch TFT units on those trims, with four different visual modes depending on your preferences. Toyota refers to its personalized modes as “Casual”, “Smart”, “Tough” and “Sporty”, for what that’s worth.

The 12.3-inch displays, shown above, are optional for the XLE and XSE as well. They still get the 7-inch information center as standard fare, while the base L and LE get an upgrade to that larger display from the tiny 4.2-inch screen for “enhanced usability”. Apart from that change and the new Cypress Green exterior color, other changes to the 2023 Toyota Highlander lineup are fairly minor. Toyota did move the car’s optional Qi-compatible wireless charging pad from the center console box to a shelf below the touchscreen to make it a bit more convenient.

So, how does the 2023 Toyota Highlander come together? Tommy takes a more thorough look in the video below, so check it out!