The 2020 Toyota Highlander crossover SUV makes its debut with a new platform, new standard technology, and new torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. It also debuts a sticker price for its most expensive models that passes the $50,000 mark.
With a base price of $35,720, the 2020 Toyota Highlander L costs at least $2,500 more than the entry-level 2019 Highlander LE, which carried a price of $32,950.
Trim levels include the L, LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum.
Those base versions may be rare on dealer lots, but it's not for lack of equipment. Every 2020 Highlander now comes with seating for up to eight people, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, and at least an 8.0-inch touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as satellite radio hardware.
All gas-only Highlanders come with a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 coupled to an 8-speed automatic, with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Limited and Platinum gas-powered Highlanders have a torque-vectoring AWD system that is said to improve handling with better power distribution.
Last year's Highlander topped out at $49,180 before destination in Limited Platinum Hybrid trim—or $50,300 with destination. The comparable 2020 Highlander, the Platinum Hybrid, now carries a base price of $51,320 including destination. Toyota sells Highlander Hybrids in LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum trim; the least expensive Hybrid LE now costs $39,320. All-wheel drive adds $1,600 to $1,950, depending on the trim.
Highlander Hybrids have a 2.5-liter inline-4 teamed with electric motors and nickel metal-hydride batteries, for a net 243 horsepower sent to the front wheels via an electronic continuously variable transmission. Hybrids can have all-wheel drive which taps electric motors for power to the rear wheels—they're "through-the-road" hybrids, with no power connection between the front and rear wheels. In addition to the usual drivetrain modes, Hybrids have an EV mode which allows electric-only driving for short distances. Hybrids arrive in showrooms early in 2020.
The 2020 Highlander rides on a new architecture shared with the mid-size RAV4. Seating for 8 passengers can be downgraded to 7 when the middle-row bench seat is swapped for twin captain's chairs, but only on higher-trim versions. Cargo space measures 16.0 cubic feet behind the third-row seat, 48.4 cubic feet behind the second-row seat, and 84.3 cubic feet behind the front seats.
Other options on the 2020 Highlander include a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, a power front passenger seat, heated and cooled front seats, leather upholstery, a 1200-watt JBL audio system, navigation, wireless smartphone charging, and 20-inch wheels.
Check back on December 18 for fuel economy figures and driving impressions on the 2020 Toyota Highlander.