Next-gen Toyota Highlander debuts in the USA

Daniel Fowler
April 19, 2019

In this stretched guise, the Highlander offers 30mm of additional interior length compared to its predecessor, with legroom in the second and third rows prioritised.

In the main cabin, Toyota claims the infotainment system's 12.3-inch touchscreen will be the largest in the class, although it is unclear whether Apple Car Play and Android Auto will be available on Australian models.

The Highlander switches to a new platform shared with the Toyota Camry and RAV4, and its styling is a combination of the two.

Aside from the new-look exterior, the biggest changes may be under the hood where Toyota offers gas and hybrid options for 20202.

That's well down on the Explorer Hybrid's 318 hp, although a conventional 295-hp V-6 hooked up to an 8-speed automatic transmission is standard on the 2020 Highlander. Toyota touts a 5,000-pound towing capacity when an available tow package is added.

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After all, it made up with Apple and ended up stocking the Apple TV and providing that platform with the Prime Video app , too. With Chromecast support, those with the Prime Video mobile app can cast content to their TVs and watch it on a larger screen.

The all-new Highlander rolls on Toyota's new TNGA-K platform that promises enhanced driving refinement. When putting the Highlander together, Toyota says it made "extensive use of high-strength steel" to give it a stiffer structure than the outgoing edition.

The gas engine employs Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system by Electric motor (VVT- iE) on the intake camshaft, and VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft. If that system sounds familiar, it is because it is the same one used in the new RAV4 Hybrid. Additionally, the battery pack so small it is installed under the rear seats, freeing up cargo or passenger space. And the hybrid version, due in February, boasts a 17 percent increase in fuel economy.

For the first time, the hybrid version of the Highlander - which had been all-wheel drive only - will be available in either awd or front-wheel drive.

$31,530, the Highlander Hybrid - from $37,170. Selecting ECO mode enables a feature called Auto Glide, which limits engine braking when the driver lifts from the accelerator pedal, acting like a neutral gear to allow the vehicle to coast further. XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims replace the middle bench with two individual captain's chairs. Toyota offers the new Highlander in five grades starting with L and going to LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum. Opt for the hybrid powertrain and the optional all-wheel-drive system consists of a second electric motor that works as a differential to split power between the rear wheels. It's popularity is something Toyota takes quite seriously, meaning the company has been quite methodical with its complete redesign of the 2020 Highlander, focusing in on elegance and efficiency.

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