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Base model shown as 2020 L FWD (Natl)
2020 Toyota Highlander L FWD (Natl) - front view

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Top Features of Base Model

  • Generous list of standard driver-assist features
  • Strong fuel economy
  • Choice of gas-only and hybrid powertrains
  • Impressive reliability
Pro Review

Toyota Highlander: Everything You Need to Know

About the Toyota Highlander:

Looking for a capable SUV? The Toyota Highlander impresses with its smooth driving dynamics and comfortable accommodations. It comes with a long list of standard amenities, and it achieves strong fuel economy.

This midsize crossover SUV provides standard three-row seating and can be configured to accommodate seven or eight passengers. A gas-only powertrain is standard, and a hybrid powertrain is available for drivers who want optimal fuel efficiency. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available.

Midsize SUVs are hugely popular with car shoppers who are looking for comfortable, roomy family transportation. The Toyota Highlander is easily one of the top picks in this very competitive segment.

What’s New in the 2019 Toyota Highlander?

The Highlander adds an optional Nightshade Special Edition package for the 2019 model year. This package is offered in a limited run of 5,000 units and includes the following features:

  • Black window trim
  • Black rear spoiler with LED center-mounted stop lamp
  • Black shark-fin antenna
  • Black exterior door handles
  • Black mirror caps
  • Red-stitched carpeted floor mats

Toyota last redesigned the Highlander for the 2014 model year. Other than the addition of the new package, the Highlander carries over for 2019 with no significant changes.

The gas-only 2019 Highlander is currently offered in six trim levels:

  • LE
  • LE Plus
  • XLE
  • SE
  • Limited
  • Limited Platinum

With the hybrid variant, four trim levels are offered:

  • LE
  • XLE
  • Limited
  • Limited Platinum

What Does the 2019 Toyota Highlander Compete With?

The Highlander’s rivals include these midsize SUVs:

With its long list of standard driver-assist features and roomy cabin, the Highlander is a great choice for parents who are on the hunt for capable family transportation.

Exterior Design of the 2019 Toyota Highlander

The Highlander’s exterior design is modern and sleek. A huge grille with a ladder of metal rungs dominates the front fascia. Scowling headlights and bold sculpting on the hood and side panels give this SUV an assertive look.

Base models come with standard exterior features such as:

  • Projector-beam halogen headlights
  • Daytime running lights
  • LED taillights
  • Heated power-adjustable exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals
  • 18-inch wheels
  • Rear privacy glass

The range of optional exterior features includes roof rails, fog lights, and a sunroof.

Interior Style in the 2019 Toyota Highlander

The Highlander’s cabin is reasonably stylish and very comfortable. An asymmetric dashboard leads the way up front, and attractive metal accents help give the interior an upscale appearance. High-quality materials are used throughout, and there are lots of soft-touch surfaces.

All models come with three rows of seating. The driver’s seat is agreeable on both long and short commutes, and the second row offers enough headroom and legroom to keep tall passengers happy. However, the cramped third row is best left for kids.

A second-row bench seat is standard, and this allows the Highlander to seat eight. With the optional second-row captain’s chairs, passenger capacity drops to seven.

The base Highlander comes standard with interior features such as cloth upholstery and air conditioning. On all models, the two rearmost rows recline for optimal comfort, and they also fold flat to increase cargo space. The second row’s spacious dimensions and standard LATCH attachments make installing child seats a breeze.

With the second- and third-row seats lowered, the Highlander provides up to 83.7 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s enough room to handle outsize Home Depot purchases with ease. Keep in mind, though, that rivals like the Subaru Ascent provide even more room for cargo.

The Toyota Highlander offers a number of appealing interior options. The list includes:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Three-zone automatic climate control

What Technology Comes in the 2019 Toyota Highlander?

Up-to-date tech equipment is a must-have for many car shoppers, and the Toyota Highlander comes nicely equipped. A standard 6.1-inch touchscreen offers access to the infotainment system’s many features. This interface is simple to use, with an intuitive menu layout. All models come with Bluetooth phone connectivity, allowing passengers to make hands-free phone calls.

The list of optional tech features includes:

  • Satellite radio
  • Navigation system
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • 12-speaker JBL stereo
  • Rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-inch display screen and two wireless headphones

Though the Highlander offers a respectable range of standard and optional tech amenities, two features are notably absent: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. These amenities are available in rival models like the Honda Pilot.

What Kind of Safety Features are in the 2019 Toyota Highlander?

Driver-assist features can help make your time behind the wheel safer and less stressful. The Highlander offers several of these technologies as standard equipment. All models are equipped with:

  • Adaptive cruise control: This feature helps the Highlander maintain a constant distance behind the vehicle that immediately precedes it on the freeway.
  • Lane-departure warning system with steering assist: This amenity issues a warning if the Highlander ventures beyond its lane, and it can help the driver with corrective steering.
  • Forward collision warning system with pedestrian detection: This system is able to detect objects or pedestrians in the vehicle’s path, and it warns the driver if a collision is imminent. It will automatically deploy the brakes if the driver fails to react to its warning.

The Highlander also provides a range of optional driver-assist technologies, including:

  • Blind-spot monitor: This feature issues a warning if the driver attempts to make a lane change when there’s a vehicle in the Highlander’s blind spot.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert: This technology warns the driver if there’s an object in the vehicle’s path when it’s reversing.
  • Front and rear parking sensors: These let you know if the vehicle is in danger of hitting an object when entering or exiting a parking space.

What Is the 2019 Toyota Highlander Like to drive?

Highlander buyers can choose from three engines:

  • The base powerplant is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that provides 185 horsepower and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission.
  • A 3.5-liter V6 is also available. It generates 295 horsepower and is paired with an eight-speed automatic.
  • With the Highlander Hybrid, a V6 and electric motors combine to produce a net output of 306 horsepower. This powerplant is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The Highlander feels sure-footed on the road, and it delivers smooth handling that can make daily commutes a lot more pleasant. The 3.5-liter V6 delivers crisp acceleration, and it’s worth the upgrade from the base four-cylinder engine.

Although it’s a sizable vehicle, the Highlander feels relatively nimble from behind the wheel. Outward visibility is good, and the cabin remains fairly serene at highway speeds. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is offered for improved traction in wet or snowy weather.

Among all Highlander models, the hybrid provides the best fuel economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Highlander Hybrid achieves mileage of up to 30/28 mpg in city/highway driving.

Should I Buy a New Toyota Highlander?

With its roomy cabin and agile handling, the 2019 Toyota Highlander is an excellent pick for car shoppers who need capable family transportation. Its available hybrid powertrain provides excellent fuel economy, and the Highlander comes with a modern range of active safety features.

Should I Buy a Used Toyota Highlander? Are There Any I Should Avoid?

The Highlander has a reputation for reliability, and this makes used models an attractive bet. Toyota last redesigned the Highlander in 2014, and this update brought in many desirable driver-assist features, such as adaptive cruise control. If you want access to a full range of modern driver-assist technology, we’d recommend getting a model that’s from 2014 or newer.

How Much Does the New Toyota Highlander Cost?

Pricing for the base-model 2019 Toyota Highlander LE starts at $31,530. The Highlander comes with a generous range of standard features, so this price represents good value.

Pros and Cons of the 2020 Toyota Highlander


  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Agreeable handling
  • Long list of standard driver-assist features
  • Crisp acceleration from the available V6


  • Apple CarPlay isn’t offered
  • Android Auto isn’t available
  • Cramped third-row seat
  • Less cargo space than some rivals
Model History

The Toyota Highlander was launched in the U.S. in 2001. It was redesigned for the 2008 model year and again in 2014. The 2014 redesign brought in a host of modern driver-assist features, so models from this era are your best bet if you want the latest active safety equipment.

Specs & Key Features of the 2020 Toyota Highlander


Body Style
Sport Utility
3.5L V6 DOHC
295 hp
8-Speed Automatic
Passenger Doors
Passenger Seating
Front Wheel Drive
City MPG

Key Features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Audio
  • Back Up Camera
  • Bluetooth
  • Cruise Control
  • LCD Monitor
  • LED Lights
  • Lane Departure Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Monitors
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Tinted Glass

More Features

  • Engine: 3.5L V6 DOHC -inc: dual overhead cam and aluminum alloy block w/aluminum alloy cylinder head
  • Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic -inc: Direct shift and electronically controlled,
  • 3.003 Axle Ratio
  • GVWR: 5,830 lbs
  • Engine Auto Stop-Start Feature
  • Transmission w/Oil Cooler
  • Front-Wheel Drive
  • Engine Oil Cooler
  • 150 Amp Alternator
  • Towing Equipment -inc: Trailer Sway Control
  • 1685# Maximum Payload
  • Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
  • Front And Rear Anti-Roll Bars
  • Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing Steering
  • 17.9 Gal. Fuel Tank
  • Single Stainless Steel Exhaust
  • Strut Front Suspension w/Coil Springs
  • Multi-Link Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front Vented Discs, Brake Assist, Hill Hold Control and Electric Parking Brake
  • Wheels: 18" Painted Alloy
  • Tires: P235/65R18M
  • Wheels w/Painted Accents
  • Steel Spare Wheel
  • Compact Spare Tire Stored Underbody w/Crankdown
  • Clearcoat Paint
  • Body-Colored Front Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
  • Body-Colored Rear Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
  • Black Wheel Well Trim
  • Chrome Side Windows Trim
  • Body-Colored Door Handles
  • Body-Colored Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Manual Folding and Turn Signal Indicator
  • Fixed Rear Window w/Fixed Interval Wiper and Defroster
  • Deep Tinted Glass
  • Variable Intermittent Wipers w/Heated Wiper Park
  • Fully Galvanized Steel Panels
  • Lip Spoiler
  • Black Grille w/Metal-Look Surround
  • Front License Plate Bracket
  • Liftgate Rear Cargo Access
  • Tailgate/Rear Door Lock Included w/Power Door Locks
  • Fully Automatic Aero-Composite Led Low/High Beam Auto High-Beam Daytime Running Lights Preference Setting Headlamps w/Delay-Off
  • Perimeter/Approach Lights
  • LED Brakelights
  • Without Front Fog & Driving Lamp
  • Radio: Audio System -inc: 6 speakers, 8" touch-screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa compatible, USB media port, hands-free phone capability, advanced voice recognition, music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, SiriusXM w/3-month All Access trial, Connected Services--Safety Connect w/1-year trial and Wi-Fi Connect w/up to 2 GB within 3-month trial, See for details,
  • Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Speed Compensated Volume Control, Steering Wheel Controls and External Memory Control
  • Streaming Audio
  • Window Grid Diversity Antenna
  • Bluetooth Wireless Phone Connectivity
  • 2 LCD Monitors In The Front
  • Front Bucket Seats -inc: 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat and 4-way manual adjustable front passenger seat,
  • Driver Seat
  • 4-Way Passenger Seat -inc: Manual Recline and Fore/Aft Movement
  • 60-40 Folding Split-Bench Front Facing Manual Reclining Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat w/Manual Fore/Aft
  • Manual Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
  • Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Engine Coolant Temp, Tachometer, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
  • Power Rear Windows and Fixed 3rd Row Windows
  • Fixed 60-40 Split-Bench 3rd Row Seat Front, Manual Recline, Manual Fold Into Floor, 3 Manual and Adjustable Head Restraints
  • Front Cupholder
  • Rear Cupholder
  • Proximity Key For Doors And Push Button Start
  • Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, 4 Door Curb/Courtesy, Illuminated Entry, Illuminated Ignition Switch and Panic Button
  • Remote Releases -Inc: Mechanical Fuel
  • Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
  • Distance Pacing
  • Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning
  • Rear HVAC w/Separate Controls
  • HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts and Headliner/Pillar Ducts
  • Locking Glove Box
  • Driver Foot Rest
  • Interior Trim -inc: Metal-Look Instrument Panel Insert, Metal-Look Door Panel Insert, Metal-Look Console Insert and Metal-Look Interior Accents
  • Full Cloth Headliner
  • Leatherette Door Trim Insert
  • Urethane Gear Shifter Material
  • Fabric Seat Trim
  • Day-Night Rearview Mirror
  • Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors w/Driver And Passenger Illumination
  • Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage, Mini Overhead Console w/Storage, Conversation Mirror and 2 12V DC Power Outlets
  • Front And Rear Map Lights
  • Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
  • Full Carpet Floor Covering
  • Carpet Floor Trim
  • Cargo Area Concealed Storage
  • Cargo Space Lights
  • Safety Connect with 3-year trial Tracker System
  • Anti-Theft System w/Immobilizer
  • Instrument Panel Bin, Driver / Passenger And Rear Door Bins
  • Power 1st Row Windows w/Front And Rear 1-Touch Up/Down
  • Delayed Accessory Power
  • Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
  • Systems Monitor
  • Trip Computer
  • Outside Temp Gauge
  • Analog Display
  • Seats w/Cloth Back Material
  • Manual Adjustable Front Head Restraints and Manual Adjustable Rear Head Restraints
  • Front Center Armrest and Rear Center Armrest
  • 2 Seatback Storage Pockets
  • 2 12V DC Power Outlets
  • Air Filtration
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD)
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA) Lane Keeping Assist
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA) Lane Departure Warning
  • Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
  • Curtain 1st, 2nd And 3rd Row Airbags
  • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
  • Driver Knee Airbag and Passenger Cushion Front Airbag
  • Rear Child Safety Locks
  • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
  • Back-Up Camera w/Washer

Warranty Options for the 2020 Toyota Highlander (5)










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Available Trims for the 2020 Toyota Highlander (54)

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Safety Ratings for the 2020 Toyota Highlander

US NHTSA Crash Test Results

Results shown are for the 2020 Toyota Highlander L FWD (Natl):

Overall Rating
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
Overall Side Crash Rating
Side Barrier Rating
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat
Combined Side Rating Front Seat
Combined Side Rating Rear Seat
Rollover Rating