2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV

MSRP $39,800 - $50,200

Ranked #10 in Suv

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2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: December 28, 2021

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Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Highlander Hybrid is an excellent hybrid vehicle choice for anyone looking for a three-row mid-size SUV. Not many affordable hybrid SUVs are available in the market, leaving it as the only option, especially at its price. The Toyota Highlander is also an SUV that is large and offers tons of space inside and also has impressive standard features. It comes with a lot of style and a handsome exterior. Driver-assistance features have been made accessible too, which makes the Highlander even more appealing.

 

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Pros

Exciting exterior design

Fuel economy is quite impressive

Lots of standard features

Spacious first two rows

Cons

Does not handle very well

Third row is only for children

Can get expensive with the higher trims

What's New?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has undergone a complete revamping for 2020


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$48250

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

horsepower

243 hp @ 6000 rpm

transmission

Continuously variable speed Automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

13.3/13.3 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

112.2 in.

length

194.9 in.

width

76 in.

height

68.1 in.

curb weight

4430 lbs.

ground clearance

8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

139.1 cu ft.

cargo volume

84.3 cu ft.

towing capacity

3500 lbs.

payload capacity

1530 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.2 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

15.5 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

20/23/27 mpg

highway range

518.4 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

roadside assistance

No


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LE$39,800 onwards

XLE$41,000 onwards

Limited$45,050 onwards

Platinum$48,250 onwards

Colors and Styles

2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV 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 Features

6.0

Pricing and Feature

6.0

Features

7.5

Engine and Performance

7.9

Fuel Economy

7.8

Interior

7.5

Exterior

8.4

Safety

9.4

Competition

7.0

7.5

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.5

Overall Rating


The Highlander Hybrid has been revamped for 2020, so there are some really welcoming changes. Firstly, the engine that comes is now a four-cylinder engine. The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 now comes as standard along with features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert on all the available trims. The Platinum trim at the top of the hierarchy comes equipped with a massive 12.3” infotainment screen. Also now, you can choose between FWD and AWD. It starts at $39,375, and it competes against the likes of Lexus RX 450hL, Acura MDX Sport Hybrid, and Ford Explorer Hybrid.


7.5/10
Features

7.9/10
Engine and Performance

7.8/10
Fuel Economy

7.5/10
Interior

8.4/10
Exterior

9.4/10
Safety

7.0/10
Competition


2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Features

7.5/10

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes in four distinct trims – LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum. All the trims come with both FWD and AWD. The base LE FWD starts at $39,375, while the topmost trim Platinum FWD starts at $49,425, so there is a significant difference in price. The AWD trims cost more, as expected. Moreover, all the trims come with a single-engine option and a single transmission. When it comes to packages, you can opt for the Birds Eye View Camera system 2/ 12.3” screen. It will add JBL premium audio, birds-eye view camera, a 12.3” display, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Alexa, Waze, SiriusXM, Wi-Fi connectivity, Toyota Safety Connect, etc.

Trim

LE

XLE

Limited

Platinum

MSRP (FWD)

$39,375

$42,175

$46,225

$49,425

MSRP (AWD)

$40,975

$43,775

$48,175

$51,375

Key Features

18” alloy wheels

Adds/Upgrades to LE

Adds/Upgrades to Hybrid XLE

Adds/Upgrade to Hybrid Limited

 

8” Entune infotainment system

Automatic LED headlights

20” alloy wheels

Heads-up display

 

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0

Heated front seats

Perforated leather upholstery

Surround-view camera

 

Fabric-trimmed front- and second-row seats

Leatherette upholstery

Heated and ventilated front seats

Heated second-row seats

 

Tri-zone climate control

Second-row Captain Chairs

11-speaker JBL sound system

12.3” infotainment system

Which trim should you buy?

Out of the four trims on offer, we would recommend going for the XLE trim. It has more niceties than the base trim and also offers features such as heated front seats, power sunroof, wireless charging, leatherette upholstery, and so on. We would also recommend going for the All-Wheel Drive since it will offer you more grip and keep the SUV planted on the ground.

2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Engine and Performance

7.9/10

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes with a new 2.5L inline-4-cylinder engine in conjunction with electric motors to produce a combined output of 243 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), and it can either be had as an FWD or an AWD. The engine has lost power, rather than gain it from the last year. However, this powertrain is still plenty capable of pulling the Highlander around town.

The engine has low-end torque, so while you are cruising around your city, you won’t find any problem. Sure, it is not sporty or athletic, but it is capable of holding its own on the highway, even though sometimes it can get outpaced. From a standstill, this Japanese SUV takes around 7.2 seconds to hit the 60 MPH mark. It reaches the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds. The SUV is not fast, but it still should be enough for what most people desire from their family vehicles.

Models

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2020 Lexus RX 450hL

2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

MSRP

$39,375

$51,535

$52,900

$52,280

Engine

2.5L hybrid Inline-4

3.5L hybrid V6

3.0L Premium V6

3.3L turbocharged hybrid inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

AWD

AWD

FWD

Transmission

e-CVT

e-CVT

e-CVT

10-speed automatic 

Power

240 hp @ 5,800 rpm

308 hp @ 6,000 rpm

321 hp @ 6,300 rpm

300 hp @ 5,500 rpm

Torque

175 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

247 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm

289 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm

310 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm

0-60 MPH (seconds)

7.2

7.5

6.2

7.7

Quarter Mile (seconds)

15.6

N/A

14.6

15.7

Top Speed (MPH)

N/A

124

143

N/A

The Toyota Highlander is easily the weakest when it comes to power output, but also take a look at the price tag before making comparisons. The Highlander still does pretty well and goes faster than the Explorer and the 450hL. The Acura MDX is the fastest of the lot. When comparing the raw power and torque output, the 2020 Acura and Ford offer class-leading figures of 321 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, respectively.

How well does the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid handle?

The Highlander is meant to be driven as a family hauler and not as a sports car. The steering on the hybrid is light and also quite responsive. However, the SUV will have terrible body lean and roll tendencies when you push it into twists and turns at speed. The Highlander is not meant to be driven and enjoyed at high speeds, but at low speeds, it is plenty pleasant. The ride quality is very commendable. It soaks up bumps and imperfections on the road and keeps the occupants inside pretty comfortable. The cabin can get noisy at high speeds, though. The experience might not be the best, but the occupants can still enjoy a decent ride.

Braking Performance

The Highlander comes equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes. The front brake rotors are 13.3 inches in diameter, and the rear brake rotors are also 13.3 inches in diameter. The hybrid is equipped with regenerative braking, which does a pretty good job of both making the vehicle come to a halt and recharging the battery. The pedal has good weight and offers good feedback. The pedal is easy to modulate, and the bite is also good. The 4,330 lbs hybrid comes to a halt from 60 MPH in just 116 feet, an impressive figure indeed.

Model

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2020 Lexus RX 450hL

2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

13.3

12.9

13.0

N/A

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

13.3

13.3

13.0

N/A

Curb Weight (lbs)

4330

4905

4471 

4345

60-0 MPH (feet)

116

N/A

121 

125

The brakes on the Highlander seem to be the most impressive, but the brakes on the other SUVs are also not too bad. The Lexus is the heaviest, while the others still have more or less comparable weights. When it comes to the braking distance, the 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid takes the most length of 125 feet to reach a halt from 60 mph, followed by Acura and Toyota at 121 and 116 feet, respectively.

2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Fuel Economy

7.8/10

The best aspect of the 2020 Highlander is its fuel economy. Having an engine with lesser power than before now allows the Highlander to offer better fuel economy. It is indeed the class leader when it comes to gas mileage and savings. The city driving offers 36 MPG of mileage, while at the highway, the SUV offers 35 MPG, and finally, the combined fuel economy is also a staggering 36 MPG. With a 17.1-gallon fuel tank, the range is massive. The Japanese SUV will get you a range of 615/598/615 miles for city/highway/combined driving, respectively. Very compelling, isn’t it?

Model

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2020 Lexus RX 450hL

2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

MPG (City)

36

29

26

21

MPG (Highway)

35

28

27

28

MPG (Combined)

36

28

27

24

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

17.1

17.2

19.4

19.2

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

615/598/615

498/481/481

504/523/523

403/537/460

The Highlander easily beats all of its nearby competitors when it comes to fuel economy. The difference is so high. However, most of the rivals come with a V6 under their hood, which helps them in balancing out with raw power and torque output. It also offers a staggering range of more than 600 miles, while the MDX barely manages to reach 500 miles. 

2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Interior

7.5/10

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid sports a beautiful and plush cabin and has quality materials, especially in the higher trims. The dashboard has a gorgeous design, and everything falls in place. The buttons and dials are within easy reach of the driver. The design is ergonomic and beautifully crafted. In the base trim, cloth upholstery is standard, but you get leatherette upholstery in the XLE trim. The higher trims offer perforated leather upholstery, and the cabin is very comfortable.

The base trim comes with an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and a 4-way manually adjustable front passenger’s seat. In total, it can seat up to 8 people. On the higher trims, you get captain’s chairs with 10-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated driver’s seat with power lumbar support and seat memory. The rear seats are also heated. The passenger’s seat is 4-way power-adjustable. The front two rows offer ample space, but the third row is pretty cramped and not really ideal for adults. Only children can fit in.

Model

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2020 Lexus RX 450hL

2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

Seating Capacity

8

6

7

6

First Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.9/59.0/40.4

39.8/58.3/41.4

38.1/61.1/41.4

40.7/61.8/43.0

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.4/58.7/41.0

38.5/57.8/30.9

38.3/59.1/35.6

40.5/61.9/39.0

Third Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

36.1/55.0/27.7

34.8/45.7/22.6

35.6/54.7/28.1

38.9/54.6/32.2

Standard Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)

16.0

7.5

15.0

18.2

Behind the third row, the Highlander offers 16 cubic feet of cargo storage, which is a very commendable amount of space. You can expect to fit your groceries, luggage for a short trip, golf club, camping gear, etc. With the 60/40-split third row down, you get a total cargo area of 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space. The second row can also be folded, and that opens up a total cargo space of a massive 84.3 cubic feet of storage. The third row of all the SUVs is pretty cramped, except the Explorer, which can still fit smaller adults. We are not really sure who or what can fit inside the third row of the MD, or even its second row. Its standard cargo capacity is also very, very low. Some key interior features include:

  • Perforated leather upholstery
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and seat memory
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Second-row heated captain’s chairs
  • Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Dual-zone front automatic air conditioning
  • Chrome interior accents

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The 2020 Toyota Highlander comes equipped with an 8” Entune touchscreen as the infotainment system. The Platinum trim enjoys the larger 12.3” screen as its infotainment system. The system is pretty snappy and also displays crispy graphics, texts, and images. The system is also more intuitive than before.

Standard features include Bluetooth, Amazon Alexa, HD radio, SiriusXM radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, etc. Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless charging are also added from the XLE trim onwards. Other features such as Waze, Toyota Safety Connect are also available. The Platinum trim gets dynamic navigation and real-time traffic display. As standard, you get a 6-speaker sound system. However, the Platinum trim enjoys a 1200W 11-speaker JBL premium sound system for the best music experience. The highlights of the infotainment system are:

  • 12.3” infotainment touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi hotspot 
  • SiriusXM radio
  • HD radio
  • Dynamic navigation
  • Real-Time Traffic Display
  • 11-speaker JBL premium audio system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Exterior

8.4/10

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid certainly appears quite handsome and has an aggressive stint to it, but we still wouldn’t call it a great design. The exterior design is attractive enough for a hybrid vehicle. The Highlander has an aggressive design, characterized by sharp cuts and angles. The front fascia is wide and long and features two sharp-edged and angry-looking LED headlights. The grille is blacked out and has a chrome surround in the higher trims. The front bumper is also pretty aggressively designed. The fog lights are housed in a sharply cut edge at the bottom.

The side profile of the Highlander also appears quite handsome. The windows in the third row come to a point and merge at the tip for a beautiful look. There are muscular lines from the front wheel arch that flares up over the rear wheel fenders. The LED taillights are also very stylish and wide. The rear-end also has sharp angles and cuts. The base trim rides on 18” alloy wheels, whereas the higher trims ride on 20” alloy wheels. The higher trims also come with a hands-free tailgate and exterior chrome accents. If you like stylish design with lots of sharp cuts and edges, then the Highlander is for you.

Model

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2020 Lexus RX 450hL

2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

Curb Weight (lbs)

4330

4905

4905

4345

Length (in)

194.9

196.9

196.2

119.1

Width (in)

76.0

74.6

77.7

78.9

Height (in)

68.1

67.7

67.4

69.9

Ground Clearance (in)

8.0"

7.9"

7.3"

7.9”

Wheelbase (in)

112.2

109.8

111.0

119.1

The Explorer comes with the longest wheelbase, and that is why it has the most capacity for the passengers and cargo on the inside. When it comes to looks, every SUV has its own flavor, and people can choose what they like. When comparing the ground clearance, the Toyota Highlander offers the most at 8 inches, however, few rivals stand by the tail with a ground clearance of 7.9 inches. Some key exterior features include:

  • Strut front suspension w/ coil springs
  • Multi-link rear suspension w/ coil springs
  • Single stainless-steel exhaust
  • 20” platinum alloy wheels
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • Power heated side mirrors
  • LED headlights
  • LED brake lights

2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Safety

9.4/10

The hybrid version of the Highlander has not been tested yet by either NHTSA or IIHS. However, the 2020 non-hybrid Highlander has been tested, and it has been loved by both agencies. NHTSA gave it a total 5-star overall safety rating. It only got a 4-star rollover rating and overall front star rating. IIHS gave it good in all of the six crashworthiness tests conducted. In fact, it even got the “Top Safety Pick for 2020”. So, we expected the hybrid to be similarly impressive too. It also features a large suite of standard safety and driver-assistance features under the umbrella of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. Hence, the SUV is very safe and a total worry-free ride. Some key safety features are:

  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Front collision mitigation
  • Blindspot monitor
  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Aerial view camera system (optional)

2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Competition

7.0/10

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs 2020 Lexus RX 450hL

Both vehicles from Toyota, serve different purposes. While the RX 450hL is more focused on luxury and drivability, the Highlander is more focused on practicality and affordability. If you want a practical family cruiser that offers excellent fuel economy, look no further than the Highlander. If you want a more stylish and more luxurious hybrid with no regard for practicality, then the Lexus is the one. However, both are excellently reliable machines.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Another Japanese hybrid that is way pricier than the Highlander. The Acura MDX Hybrid focuses on being fast and offering a sporty handling experience. It is luxurious too, and also practical, thus if you want a practical yet luxurious vehicle for your family, then MDX is a great choice. However, we would still choose the Highlander any day, when it comes to practicality and fuel economy. 

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

The Ford Explorer Hybrid is way costlier than the Highlander. Its primary focus is on practicality and less on performance. So, if the Highlander is not practical enough for you, then you might want to go for the Explorer. However, if you want a cheaper SUV with the best fuel economy, then going for the Highlander is the only option left. For us, the Highlander comes out to be the better value for money offering.

2020 Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV Final Verdict

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the only three-row hybrid SUV at its price segment. The competitions are all priced quite a bit higher. The Highlander offers an excellent blend of superb fuel economy and practicality. While it is not the fastest and also not the most athletic to drive, it offers a posh interior with tons of tech and safety features. We don’t see any reason not to recommend the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, especially since it is the only choice at this price bracket.

Similar Cars

2020 Lexus RX 450h hybrid
2020 Lexus RX 450h hybrid

MSRP: $47,550- $50,880

7.7/10