New-Generation 2020 Toyota Highlander Finally Debuts

Jodi Lai
by Jodi Lai

The 2020 Toyota Highlander has debuted rocking a much more modern look and all the latest safety tech. The Japanese brand’s three-row SUV was positively ancient, and even though it was still massively popular in its old age, the overhauled model is bound to continue that winning streak.

The fourth-generation model of the Highlander will come as both V6-powered and hybrid models. Early estimates peg the 3.5L V6 model with 292 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque to get 24 mpg combined, while the Hybrid is expected to get 34 mpg, a 17% improvement over the previous Hybrid model.

The V6 model gets an automatic stop/start system and an 8-speed automatic transmission that helps it tow up to 5,000 lbs when equipped with the towing package. Dynamic torque vectoring AWD that can split torque front and rear, but also to the right or left wheels, as well as driveline disconnect that can run just the front wheels to save fuel, will be available on V6 models.

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The Hybrid model, available with front-wheel drive or AWD, pairs a 2.5L four-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a total system output of 240 hp. AWD Highlanders use an electric motor to power the rear axle when needed.

One big highlight is that the Highlander becomes one of the first Toyotas to get standard Android Auto compatibility, finally joining Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa. It will look great on the optional huge new 12.3-inch touchscreen. An 8-inch screen is standard. Wireless phone charging, wifi connectivity, power liftgate, 20-inch wheels, head-up display, adaptive headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, digital rear view mirror, birds-eye parking camera, and a 1,200-watt audio system are also available.

Of course, the 2020 Toyota Highlander will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, the brand’s suite of driver assistance and safety features that includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic highbeams, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic reverse emergency braking will be available as options.

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Available with seating for seven or eight passengers, the Highlander’s second row can be slid fore and aft 1.2 inches to give the third-row passengers more legroom. The Highlander is 2.36 inches longer all in the cargo area, which can now hold 16.1 cu-ft behind the third row and 40.6 cu-ft behind the second row, and a massive 73.3 cu-ft with the second and third row folded flat.

Toyota is promising the new Highlander will be smoother and quieter than before, while also being more agile and having a smaller turning circle.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander will be available this winter, with the hybrid arriving in February 2020. The Toyota Highlander competes with other 3-row SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Atlas, Kia Telluride, and Hyundai Palisade.

ALSO SEE: Where is Toyota From and Where are Toyotas Made?

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Jodi Lai
Jodi Lai

Jodi has been obsessed with cars since she was little and has been an automotive journalist for the past 12 years. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and a jury member for the prestigious North American Car/Truck/Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY). Besides hosting videos, and writing news, reviews and features, Jodi is the Editor-in-Chief of and takes care of the site's day-to-day operations.

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