2020 Toyota Highlander
Frank Washington | 6/23/2020, 10:07 p.m.
The lane keep program allowed us to choose lane center, steering assist, sensitivity of the system and sway warning. The new Highlander can tow up to 5,000 lbs.
The seatbelt monitor told us which seat was occupied and was there a seatbelt in use. Just what you need if you’ve got kids in the second or third row or both.
The touch infotainment screen was 12.3 inches wide. It could display information in three sections, and they could be changed much like a smartphone. Press an arrow and other information would slide in.
It was housed in what reminded us of a hand-held mirror with a stem turned on its side. The screen was in the top half, the bottom half held the climate controls and the neatly packed controls for the heated and cooled seats were there, too. And there was the thinnest line of black buttons in between for home, menu, audio, and map. It was nicely done.
These were just some of the amenities. You can’t go anywhere without an engine and the 2020 Highlander had one of Toyota’s most reliable power plants. It was the 3.5-liter V6. In this configuration it made 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque and it was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. And thank somebody that it did not have paddle shifters.
The combination got 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined. The engine was quiet, shifts was buttery smooth, and the ride was tame. The 2020 Highlander had an independent front suspension and a multilink rear suspension. The ride was both smooth and quiet.
There are three all-wheel drive systems available on the Highlander. Ours had what Toyota is branding dynamic torque vectoring. There was also driveline disconnect on our top of the line Platinum model. It could distribute torque between left and right wheels and send 50 percent of the push to the rear wheels.
It had Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 as standard equipment. There was a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beam, lane tracing assist and road sign assist. Our model also had a heated steering wheel, but we think it was included on the Platinum trim and not a stand-alone option.
It also had blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, parking support braking and intelligent clearance sonar, automatic high beams, and a power liftgate and rain sensing windshield wipers were part of the package.
And the equipment went on and on. Our test vehicle also had voice controls, satellite radio, Bluetooth for hands free phone calls, internet streaming, a navigation system and a bird’s eye view camera.
Prices start at $34,600. But we had the top of the line 2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum. It listed at $51,112. We can say it was worth every dollar.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com