2020 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER MEDIA DRIVE EVENT
A family tree will never stop growing and the same will go for the three-row family carriers we call crossovers. The more a household populates, the more demand for extra seats and cargo capacity seemingly increases. But more seats and room isn’t the only thing that is in constant demand. As technology constantly progresses, we’re starting to see rapid changes from manufacturers at an alarming rate. What used to be a complete redesigned every 8-10 years is now shrinking to nearly every 6 years. As such, after only 6 years on the market, the 3rd generation Toyota Highlander quickly went into retirement and was re-engineered into something with more spirit, innovative technology, and enhanced performance.
Utilizing Toyota’s new global architectural platform (TNGA-K) that is shared between the RAV4, Camry and Avalon, the Highlander gets a completely new objective when it comes to driving ergonomics and comfort. This revamped chassis increases driving characteristics with improved handling and ride quality. The only component carried over from the previous generation Highlander is the 3.5-liter V-6. Granted, Toyota does make a prodigious six-cylinder engine, so why pension off something that keeps doing what it does best. Producing 295-horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque paired with an 8-speed automatic, there will be plenty of pep in its get-a-long.
With the popularity of the hybrid system growing from the previous generation, a whole new system has been engineered. Dropping the V-6, the new powertrain will produce a combined 243-horsepower from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electrical motor matched with an eCVT automatic. Despite losing power, there is a 24 percent increase in fuel economy as it is expected to see near 36-mpg on the highway and over 600 miles of range. Perhaps we’ll need to do another fuel challenge. A new form of technology comes with another acronym, PED, Predictive Efficient Drive – this system tracks your daily routes and driving style to learn the best way to optimize fuel efficiency.
For the first time, hybrid models will be available in front-wheel drive on all trim levels. All-wheel drive will be an available option and on upper grade trim models such as the Limited and Platinum, we see an advance dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive system for improved handling and performance. All all-wheel drive models including the hybrid power trains will feature a multi-terrain assist system.
Surrounded by premium, the new interior brings in fresh styling, mixed with some previous attributes. The lower dash storage area returns with a standard 8-inch touch screen infotainment display that will feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity with Amazon Alexa. Premium models with offer the opportunity to upgrade to a huge 12.3-inch wide screen display with an incredible 1200-watt, 11-speaker JBL audio system. All models will never have to worry about family feuds with 5-USB ports standard and Wi-Fi connectivity via AT&T service. Should a quarrel occur, the retuned Easy Speak system allows the driver to dominate its occupants.
Pricing for the Highlander starts around $34,600. The hybrid LE front-wheel drive starts at $38,200. While the hybrid system is not quite readily available on the market, we should see it hitting dealership floors in the coming months. The recently revealed Highlander XSE with specialty tuned sport suspension, and sportier traits is soon to be released to the public sometime in the fall of 2020.
With over 24 different family crossovers on the market, its difficult to stay up-to-date – the new 2020 Toyota Highlander checks all the right boxes when it comes to our family and fitting all the extra baggage they come with.