Toyota is working on a transition for its crossovers that began with the RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid and is now shifting to the Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid. Like its little brother, the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will get a more rugged look, a new powertrain, and tons of new tech.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will arrive with an upright and rugged look, though it is not quite as dramatic as the RAV4’s transformation. Other than its new, more angular, look, the 2020 Highlander Hybrid will be 2.3 inches longer, which will play a big role in its larger cargo area. The 2020 Highlander Hybrid will also move to a new platform with additional high-strength steel to increase its strength and keep road noise to a minimum.
The 2020 Highlander Hybrid’s interior will usher in a more horizontally oriented dash to help visually widen it. Seating for up to eight people will be standard thanks to the Highlander Hybrid’s second-row bench. Buyers who prioritize second-row comfort over seating room will be able to upgrade to the XLE or higher trims to get second-row captains chairs.
Hauling people won’t be the 2020 Highlander Hybrid’s only skill. It will also haul up to 16.1 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats upright, 40.6 cubes with the third row folded, and up to 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space with both rear rows folded.
The 2020 Highlander Hybrid’s features list will be packed, even in the base LE trim. Its standard features will include 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, a power liftgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and more. Buyers who demand more will also have a long list of options to pick from, including a class-leading 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a 1,200-watt JBL audio system, a 120-volt outlet, a head-up display, and more.
Under its hood, the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will pair a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to two electric motors to produce 240 combined horsepower. While powerful, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid will also be fuel-efficient at up to 36 mpg combined in base form, a substantial improvement over the previous best rating of 29 mpg for the LE Plus trim.
Buyers can get the 2020 Toyota Highlander in front- or all-wheel drive. Like the current Highlander Hybrid, the 2020 model’s all-wheel-drive system will use an independent electric motor to power the rear wheels, so there will be no mechanical connection to the rear axle, which will help stretch fuel economy.
The current Toyota Highlander Hybrid is an IIHS Top Safety Pick. With it moving to a new high-strength-steel platform, we expect the 2020 Highlander Hybrid to continue with great crash-test results. Beyond being primed to handle smash-up tests, the 2020 Highlander Hybrid will also have all the safety nannies the IIHS likes to see, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, lane tracking, and road sign recognition. Want more safety gadgets? A 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alert will also be available.