Car Review: Toyota Highlander’s recent makeover produces a fine-tuned midsize crossover

The Toyota Highlander is a popular choice for a three-row crossover. So when it came time to for a redesign, Toyota made the 2020 Highlander a bit bigger and added some tech along with a modernized look. The Highlander now has a more muscular look than before, with flared fenders that swallow the large 20-inch wheels on my top-of-the-line Platinum model.

The remake has a more pleasant interior with added space. The heated and ventilated front seats have better quality leather than previous Highlander models.

The second row of captain’s chairs provide plenty of comfort for long rides. The third row has more space than before, but it’s still better for children than adults. Cargo space increases behind the third row.

There is a new 12.3-inch touch screen with better graphics, and it’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The Highlander has grown some, and it feels a bit bigger when you first get behind the wheel. After a few miles, you get used to the larger footprint. The V6 generates plenty of power for most buyers, but it makes most of its power in the higher rev ranges.

I found the Highlander handles the daily commute with comfort in a quiet cabin, and is soaks up most bumps with ease.

Cost: $48,800; as tested $51,112
MPG: 20 mpg city; 27 mpg highway (sticker). I managed 21.1 mpg in 327 miles of mixed driving.
Options: $425 special color; $318 carpeted floor mats and cargo mat; $350 cargo cross bars; $99 universal tablet holder
Safety: Toyota Safety Sense 2.0; pre-collision system with pedestrian detection; full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control; lane departure alert with steering with steering assist; lane tracking assist; blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert; bird’s eye view camera; front & rear parking assist with auto braking
Things to know: Toyota remakes its popular midsize crossover with more style, better technology and more space. It will help in a competitive market with newcomers trying to steal the spotlight.

Pros:

  • Added space with more cargo area behind the third row of seats
  • Calm and quiet ride over multiple road surfaces and street conditions
  • Added technology; Apple CarPlay and now Android Auto available

Cons:

  • Costly when choosing the top-of-line Platinum model
  • Cargo space still behind some of the competition
  • Third row is best for children and not adults

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