2020 Toyota Highlander

MSRP $34,600

Ranked #11 in Suv

7.5

Overall Rating

2020 Toyota Highlander Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 11, 2021

Aayush Yadav's image
Aayush Yadav 

Automotive Journalist


Toyota Highlander is positioned above the Toyota RAV crossover, Highlander is a three-row crossover. 2019 Highlander received a major update in 2017. Highlander is expected to undergo a generation change in next year. It will become more competitive once it is redesigned on Toyota’s Global Architecture Platform.

Highlander has aged but it still isn’t obsolete. It offers stiff competition to newly updated models like the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer. Subaru’s newly introduced three-row crossover has set new benchmarks for this segment. The Highlander needs a lot of catching up to do but it is still relevant with its powerful V6, comfortable ride, and spacious seats in first and second row.

See detailed review »

Pros

Generous use of soft touch and high-quality materials in the cabin

V6 engine has segment best power figure

Plush ride quality

Advanced safety features (standard on all trims)

Cons

Below average cargo and passenger volume

Base engine is underpowered

Apple Carplay and Android Auto is unavailable

Bulky, difficult to maneuver in city

What's New?

Highlander received a mid-cycle update in 2017

No significant mechanical changes for this year


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$34600

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

8

top speed

115 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

211 cu.in.

horsepower

295 hp @ 6600 rpm

torque

263 ft-lb. @ 4700 rpm

transmission

8 speed automatic

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

13.3/13.3 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

112.2 in.

length

65.4 in.

width

76 in.

height

68.1 in.

curb weight

4145 lbs.

ground clearance

8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

141.3 cu ft.

cargo volume

84.3 cu ft.

towing capacity

5000 lbs.

payload capacity

1685 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.2 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

15.5 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

21/24/29 mpg

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36,000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

powertrain warranty

5 yr./ 60,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

L$34,600 onwards

Colors and Styles

2020 Toyota Highlander in blizzard pearl color
blizzard pearl

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Feature

8.0

Features

7.5

Engine and Performance

7.9

Fuel Economy

8.0

Interior

7.5

Exterior

6.0

Safety

7.0

Competition

8.0

7.5

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.5

Overall Rating


 A 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces a decent horsepower of 295 hp comes in as the basic power unit for the 2020 Toyota Highlander. All five variants of the Highlander get this engine spec, they are priced in an MSRP range of $31,330-$42,430.  The 2020 Toyota Highlander also gets a few hybrid trims that come in with a lower engine configuration and delivers on the fuel efficiency aspect.

The Highlander has an outstanding ability to tow as much as 5000 lbs. To be honest, the interiors of the 2020 Highlander aren't the best in the segment but the seating offered and cabin room is decent. Even the reliability and safety offering is at par with the industry standards. However, it could do better with the infotainment offering and its performnace.

2019 Toyota Highlander SUV front three quarters
2019 Toyota Highlander SUV rear three quarters

7.5/10
Features

7.9/10
Engine and Performance

8.0/10
Fuel Economy

7.5/10
Interior

6.0/10
Exterior

7.0/10
Safety

8.0/10
Competition


2020 Toyota Highlander Buying Advice

We would suggest most buyers move up to the LE Plus trim. It brings in the 3.5-liter V6 engine and a longer list of standard equipment. It offers features like a powered liftgate, an 8-inch touchscreen, upgraded upholstery, and a start-stop function. This trim has the maximum value for money appeal.

 

2020 Toyota Highlander Features

7.5/10

"As a fashionable high-quality family SUV, the 2020 Highlander excels." - Car And Driver

The Toyota Highlander is available in five trims and is priced at an MSRP range of $31,330-$42,430. A 3.5-liter V6 engine comes standard on all five trims. It offers a 6.1-inch touchscreen display and a standard rearview camera. You can upgrade to AWD by choosing an optional package. The LE plus trim at $36,260, introduces a bigger 8-inch infotainment screen and three-zone climate control. The interior luxuries and features upgrade as you climb the trim ladder and shell out more dollars.

The XLE trim, at $39,220 adds premium touches with leather-trimmed seats, sunroof, push-button start, and an optional rear-seat entertainment package. SE trim brings in a sport-tuned suspension and larger alloys. The Limited trim, at $42,430 offers a unique saddle interior color and option to get the Platinum package that brings in goodies like Bird's Eye View Camera, 19-inch Chromtec alloys and heated steering wheel.

Trim

LE

LE Plus

XLE

SE

Limited

MSRP

$31,330

$36,260

$39,220

$40,440

$42,430

Key Features

 

Adds or deletes features from LE:

Adds or deletes features from LE Plus:

Adds or deletes features from XLE:

Adds or deletes features from SE:

 

2.7-liter 4-Cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission

3.5-liter V6 engine and 8-Speed Automatic Transmission

Rear-seat Blu-ray Disc entertainment system (optional)

Sport-tuned suspension

 

 

LED taillights and stop lights

Integrated fog lights

Power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade and jam protection

Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

 

 

18-in. split 5-spoke machined alloy wheels

Height-adjustable power liftgate with jam protection

18-in. turbine-look alloy wheels

19-in. multi-spoke machined alloy wheels with black finish

19-in. 5-spoke Chromtec alloy wheels

 

Windshield wiper de-icer

Three-zone automatic climate control with separate second-row control panel

Second-row retractable window sunshades

Black leather-trimmed seats with unique ribbon inserts and red stitching

Available Saddle Tan interior color

 

Seating for up to eight

SofT/cloth seats with contrast stitching

Leather-trimmed seats with heated front seats

Seating for up to seven

Seating for up to eight

 

Integrated backup camera with projected path

Stop and Start Engine System

Smart Key System with Push Button Start

 

Rear parking assist sonar

 

6.1-in. touch-screen display

8-in. high-resolution touch-screen display

Driver Easy Speak driver voice amplification

 

Platinum Package (optional)

 

2020 Toyota Highlander Engine and Performance

7.9/10

"The Highlander's V6 has plenty of power for daily driving tasks, but it can be lazy to respond when you aren't asking for maximum acceleration. The steering is sometimes too light and less responsive than we'd like, and the Highlander's capabilities are merely average." - Edmunds

The 3.5-liter V6 engine has enough grunt to get this three-row crossover going, regardless of the price that ranges between $31,330-$42,430. Considering its power output of 295 hp, the Highlander produces the best in segment power. It also belts out 263 lb-ft of torque. Transmission duties are taken care of by an 8-speed automatic. The Highlander is available with standard FWD but AWD is available for an additional expense. This durable and economical monster of a vehicle also has a stunning ability to tow 5000lbs.

A Toyota Highlander powered by a V6 engine completes its 0-60 run in 7.2 seconds and the quarter-mile is completed within a respectable 15.5 seconds. Even after having the best power output, Highlander only manages an average acceleration. To put it into perspective, a similarly equipped Honda Pilot is faster to reach 60 mph by 1 second. Yet it has below average acceleration. Honda's segment-best 6.2-second run is followed by Subaru's 6.9-second. And finally, the Ford Explorer in its base trim takes the longest 8.2 seconds to reach 60 mph.

Models

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Subaru Ascent

MSRP

$36,260

$31,450

$32,365

$31,995

Engine

3.5-Liter V6

3.5-liter V6

3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6

2.4-liter turbocharged Subaru Boxer 4-cylinder

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

CVT

Horsepower (hp@RPM)

295 hp @ 6600 RPM

280hp @ 6000 RPM

288hp @ 6500 RPM

260 hp @ 5,600RPM

Torque (lb-t@RPM)

263 lb.-ft. @ 4700 RPM

262 lb.-ft. @ 4700 RPM

254 lb.-ft. @ 4000 RPM

277 lb-ft. @ 2,000 RPM

0-60 MPH (seconds)

7.2 seconds

6.2 seconds

8.2 seconds

6.9 seconds

Quarter mile (seconds)

15.5 seconds

14.8 seconds

16.3 seconds

15.5 seconds

Towing Capacity (lbs.)

5000

3500

5000

5000

The 2020 Ford Explorer takes second place with its 288 hp output and then followed by Honda's 280 hp output. But when we consider drivability, the newly introduced Subaru Ascent has a better lower rpm grunt due to a turbocharged engine. Highlander is equipped with ventilated discs at the front and at the rear has a solid disc setup. The 2019 Highlander offers below-average braking performance. Under the emergency braking scenario, this three-row Toyota underperformed a lot. It covered a distance of 128 feet before coming to a standstill from 60mph.

Models

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Subaru Ascent

Brake Front (in.)

12.9

12.6

12.8

13.1

Brake Rear (in.)

12.2

13

12.8

13

Curb Weight (lbs.)

4244

4036

4458

4430

60-0 MPH (ft.)

128

117 (est.)

108 (With optional tires)

119

The Ford Explorer scores an impressive stopping distance of 108 ft. This feat is achieved with the optional summer tires. However, the Toyota Highlander covers 20 feet more to stop from a similar speed. Highlander can tow a maximum load of 5000 lbs. when properly equipped. The Highlander can tow 5000 lbs. in every trim except the base trim which is powered by a 2.7-liter engine, that is fitted in the hybrid trims. When we talk about the competition, Toyota lives up to the expectations of a vehicle of its class.

2020 Toyota Highlander Fuel Economy

8.0/10

"The EPA estimates that the 2020 Highlander V-6 will deliver up to 29 mpg on the highway when equipped with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive cuts that by 2 mpg. " - Car and Driver

The 3.5-liter V6 engine offers a combined mpg of 22. The engine start-stop system works unobtrusively to increase fuel efficiency. The competition also offers a similarly combined fuel economy but the newly introduced Subaru Ascent beats everyone by a margin of 1 mpg.

Model

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Subaru Ascent

MPG (city)

19

19

17

21

MPG (highway)

26

27

24

27

MPG (combined)

22

22

20

23

Looking at the competition, the newly introduced Subaru Ascent delivers a segment-best of 21 mpg for city drives, a class-leading 27 mpg on highway cruises, and a combined reading of 23 miles to a gallon. which is followed by the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot in this very order.

2020 Toyota Highlander Interior

7.5/10

"Material quality is solid, though this SUV won't fool anyone into thinking it came from a luxury brand, especially from the second and third row seats. LE models sport a painted silver trim that looks downmarket, but Limited and Platinum models swap in fake wood, and most Highlander trims are available with either synthetic or real leather."- The Car Connection

The 2020 Toyota Highlander can seat eight people. The front and second-row offer good space. The third row is poorly equipped to seat adult passengers. This row is best left to smaller passengers. The cabin has lots of spaces to store items. Starting from the center console, it offers enormous space for miscellaneous items. You can easily keep your laptop there. It offers a power socket. The row between the glovebox and the upper part of the dashboard is a well-designed space to keep keys, wallets, and tickets.

2020 Toyota Highlander Interiors

The interior has a sturdy build and the higher trim levels have been decorated with wood grains and metal inserts. The upper part of the dashboard and the doors have been finished with nice soft-touch material. The top-spec Limited trim is offered with a massive panoramic roof that elevates the in-cabin ambiance.

Models

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Subaru Ascent

Passenger capacity

8

8

7

8

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

40.7/59.3/44.2

40.1/ 62/40.9

41.4/61.5/42.9

41.3/61.1/42.2

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

39.9/59.6/38.4

40.2/62/38.4

40.6/61/39.5

40/ 60.3/ 38.6

Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

35.9/55.0/27.7

38.9/57.6/31.9

37.8/50.8/32

36.3/57.2/31.7

Cargo Volume (cu-ft.)

13.8

16.5

21

17.8

Toyota's interiors are starting to show their age. Newly updated competitors offer better interior features and also offer more passenger volume. The newly introduced Subaru Ascent offers the maximum passenger volume in this segment - 153.5 cu-ft. We would suggest you wait until the 2021 Toyota Highlander release as it is bound to have an interior makeover and will then be the best offering in the segment overall.

2020 Toyota Highlander Interiors

The base trim level is equipped with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display and a 6-speaker setup. The higher trims come with an 8-inch touchscreen display. The Entune touchscreen system from Toyota doesn't support Apple Carplay and Android Auto. It has soft-touch buttons on either side of the screen. The system requires little time to get used to. Hopefully, Toyota will upgrade this system in the upcoming generation change. Some of the Interior Features offered are mentioned below:

  • Power adjustable door mirrors
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Cargo area light
  • 3 Climate control zones
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Cargo Capacity

The Toyota Highlander offers the least cargo space behind the 3rd row at 13.8 cu-ft. Fold the third row, and space increases to 42.3 cu-ft. Fold the second and third rows and the total cargo space available is 83.7 cu-ft. The cargo bay doesn't have a loading lip. It is easy to load/unload your luggage. The rear window can be opened for easy access to the boot. Ford Explorer offers the best rear cargo space behind the third row.

2020 Toyota Highlander Exterior

6.0/10

"We generally like the Highlander's look. It's large but not imposing, muscular yet handsome. It has more a squared-off look vs. the rounded Honda Pilot. In this respect, the Highlander looks the part of a more traditional, slabbed SUV. Up front, it's hard to miss that massive grille. Base models come with 18-inch wheels, while higher trims wear 19-inchers." - KelleyBlueBook

The Highlander comes with a generous chrome application at the front. The front fascia tries to bring out the width of the car. This design comes off as aggressive, but you will feel a lack of driving dynamics once you are behind the wheel. The higher trims receive a fancy cladding beneath the grille that accentuates the width of the vehicle. The exhaust is hidden below the well and the reflectors are covered in chrome.

The Toyota Highlander offers modest dimensions. It has the smallest wheelbase in this comparison and has the least passenger volume in the segment. Highlander has a decent ground clearance of 8.0-inch and it can handle light off-roading jobs. But its engine isn't well suited for those endeavors. 

Model

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Subaru Ascent

Curb weight (lbs.)

4244

4036

4458

4430

Length(in)

192.5

196.5

198.3

196.8

Width(in)

75.8

78.6

78.9

76

Height(in)

68.1

70.6

70

71.6

Ground clearance (in)

8.0

7.3

7.8

8.7

Wheelbase (in)

109.8

111

112.8

113.8

Track width (in) F/R

64.4/64.2

66.3/66.3

67/67

64.4/ 64.2

The competition has an edge over Toyota here, the Ascent offers a whopping 8.7-inches of ground clearance and also offers a larger wheelbase which translates to more passenger volume. When we compare the third-row dimensions, the Highlander offers the least space there. The Honda Pilot is the highest in the segment with a curb weight measuring just 4026 lbs.

2020 Toyota Highlander Safety

7.0/10

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Highlander a five-star safety rating; the Highlander was also named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)." - Car and Driver

The 2019 Toyota Highlander receives an overall 5-star rating from NHTSA. The Highlander also scores well in the safety tests conducted by IIHS. The 2020 Toyota Highlander comes with standard Toyota Safety Sense. Even the 2020 Toyota Highlander gets the same ratings from NHTSA, a clean five-star rating.

It really takes the safety of the driver and passengers to a higher level, the 2020 Toyota Highlander does great work for its price range of  $31,330-$42,430. This system comes with a Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The Safety Features offered are:

  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA W/ SA)
  • Automatic High Beams (AHB)
  • Pre-collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS W/ PD)
  • 8 Airbags

2020 Toyota Highlander Competition

8.0/10

2020 Toyota Highlander vs 2020 Honda Pilot

The 2020 Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 280 horsepower. Pricing for the Honda Pilot starts at $31,450. The 2019 Honda Pilot comes off as a more contemporary vehicle due to the newly introduced updates. Honda has a very intuitive infotainment system on offer. It also offers standard Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The Pilot offers electrically operated second-row seats for convenient third-row access. When it comes to convenience, the Pilot takes the crown from the Highlander.

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Toyota Highlander vs 2020 Ford Explorer

The 2020 Explorer's 3.5-liter V6 engine belts out 288 horsepower. The Explorer is the heaviest three-row crossover in this segment. It has a lot of positives like a spacious cabin, mild off-roading capacity, and the option to choose from a lot of three engines. The Toyota has only two engines on offer - a 2.7-liter inline-four in the hybrids and a 3.5-Liter V6 in the other trims. Ford Explorer offers more features than the Toyota Highlander but it commands a bigger price tag.

2020 Toyota Highlander vs 2020 Subaru Ascent

The 2020 Subaru Ascent is powered by a four-cylinder boxer engine and comes mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission. Ascent is a better driving three-row SUV available in the market. The turbocharged engine produced more torque than the Highlander's V6. And when it comes to standard features, Ascent is equipped with standard AWD, Subaru's Eyesight safety system and offers a better cargo and passenger volume than the Highlander. Until Toyota updates the Highlander, the Subaru comes off as a better package.

 

2020 Toyota Highlander Final Verdict

Toyota Highlander shows its age, considerably. The infotainment system falls behind the competition. The cargo and passenger volume isn't impressive. If you want a little more out of your three-row crossover then the Highlander disappoints with its strictly commuter nature and lackluster stopping power. The Highlander offers a well-built cabin, plush ride, and a reliable 3.5L V6 engine that is very adept at doing school duty and grocery runs but the Highlander is about to receive a generation change next year. If you can wait, then the newly upgraded Highlander would be a much better choice. If you can't wait, then your money is better spent elsewhere.

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