With the RAV4’s transition into its new generation in the books, Toyota turned its attention to the Highlander, which went through its last redesign in 2014. Like the RAV4, the 2020 Toyota Highlander will take on a bolder look that is a big shift from the softer Highlander in showrooms today.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander will rip a page from the new-generation RAV4’s book with a more upright and rugged look than before. The 2020 Highlander will also be 2.3 inches longer than the current model, and all that growth will be in the cargo area. The 2020 Highlander’s construction will change too, as it will shift to a new platform with more high-strength steel that’ll make it stronger and quieter than before.
Inside, the all-new Highlander will gain a more horizontally oriented dash that will visually widen the cabin. There will be seating for eight with its standard second-row bench, but buyers can upgrade to second-row captains chairs that increase comfort but cut the capacity to seven people. The 2020 Highlander will do more than haul people too, as it will tote up to 16.1 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats upright and 40.6 cubes with the third row folded. Drop both rear rows to expand it to 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
The 2020 Highlander will also boast a long list of features. As standard, the new Highlander will come with an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Alexa, Waze navigation, SiriusXM, in-car Wi-Fi, three-zone climate control, an eight-way power driver’s seat, and more. The options list will include a class-leading 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a 1,200-watt JBL audio system, a power liftgate, a 120-volt outlet, a head-up display, and more.
Under its hood, the 2020 Toyota Highlander will drop the wheezy four-cylinder engine in today’s model in favor of a 3.5-liter V6 with 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. This power will route through an eight-speed automatic transmission and out to the front wheels as standard. Buyers may also opt for one of two all-wheel-drive systems.
In L, LE, and XLE trims, the Highlander will use a basic all-wheel-drive system that’ll send up to 50% of the power to the rear wheels. The Limited and Platinum trims will have available Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD with Drive Mode Select and Driveline Disconnect that will not only distribute power between the front and rear wheels, but it also shifts power from left to right for optimal traction.
The current Toyota Highlander is already an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and with the new high-strength-steel platform, the 2020 Highlander should perform even better in crash tests. On the tech side, we expect the 2020 Highlander to ace tests thanks to its standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 package that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, lane-tracing, and road sign recognition. Buyers looking for more safety can also get available 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alert.