2020 Toyota Highlander review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
7 photos

Toyota Highlander highlights

Customer rating


  • Comfortable and quiet ride
  • Attractive power and EPA estimates from the V6 engine


  • Third-row seats and trunk space aren't as roomy as in some rivals
  • Hybrid's engine sounds unrefined at full throttle

Mileage (EPA estimate)

20 city, 27 highway, 23 combined

Pricing for current inventory

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7 photos

Redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander brings more style and bit more space

Toyota gave the Highlander a comprehensive redesign for the 2020 model year. There's a bolder new look outside, a more stylish cabin inside, and a host of technical and equipment revisions to ensure the Highlander's place as a strong pick. The 2020 model also builds on its long-running appeal for families. There's a bit more cargo space, though still less than the biggest of its rivals. But the Highlander has always been prized for its about-right size, and it's unlikely buyers will need more passenger or cargo space. And this year the Highlander finally gets Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ smartphone connectivity on all trims along with a Toyota Safety Sense™ suite of driver aids.

The previous base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine is no more, and all gas-powered Highlanders get the desirable 3.5-liter V6 with 295 hp. It's a smooth engine paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is offered as an option. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is good, too, though not as impressive as the numbers for the all-wheel-drive Hybrid model, which uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder mated to electric motors. We'd stick with the conventional power and one of the midtier trims like the LE, which comes with everything you could possibly want, as well as a few desirable extras like a power tailgate and blind-spot monitoring. All-new, and all good, the 2020 Toyota Highlander is even easier to recommend against its competition.

All Toyota Highlander years

What is new for the 2020 Toyota Highlander?

  • The Highlander is available in a variety of new trims, including the L and Platinum.
  • The LE Plus, Limited Platinum, and SE trims have been discontinued for 2020.
  • Highlander trims have been upgraded with Leatherette Seats, Head Up Display, 20 Inch Plus Wheels, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto as standard equipment this year.
  • The LE trim now comes with Rear Air Conditioning, Smart Key, Blind Spot Monitor, Power Seat(s), Power Hatch/Deck Lid, and Satellite Radio Ready as standard equipment.
  • The Limited trim now comes with Heated Steering Wheel and Quad Seats as standard equipment.

2020 Toyota Highlander trims

Curious how Toyota Highlander trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities






Toyota Highlander photos

5 reasons to buy the 2020 Toyota Highlander

1. Driver-assistance technology

2020 Toyota Highlander: Tech Dash | CarMax

No matter the trim, every 2020 Toyota Highlander includes several driver-assist features as standard. For example, dynamic cruise control is designed to automatically brake and accelerates the vehicle on the highway, and automatic high beams turn off by themselves when oncoming cars are detected. Lane departure is designed to alert you if you drift outside the lane markers, and can actually center the car autonomously.

2. Great towing capability

You can add an optional factory-fitted tow package to the 2020 Toyota Highlander, comprised of a heavy-duty radiator, engine oil cooler, and improved fan performance. When installed, the pickup is capable of towing an estimated 5,000 pounds with the 3.5L V6 engine, when properly equipped.

A Trailer Sway Control function uses the onboard stability control to mitigate unwanted trailer movement.

3. Excellent for long distances

2020 Toyota Highlander: Engine | CarMax

The 2020 Toyota Highlander gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg for the V6 AWD model and an EPA-estimated 23 mpg for the V6 2WD model, making it a great choice for a lengthy drive.

This is due to its innovative powertrain. Plus, one of the highlights of the 2020 Highlander is a standard engine start-stop system. The ignition shuts off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop and instantly restarts when the brake pedal is disengaged, with no additional input needed from the driver. This combined with a comfortable ride will have you booking your next road trip ASAP.

4. Premium interior

2020 Toyota Highlander: Backseats | CarMax

With so many upscale features, the 2020 Highlander has a plush interior that you’ll love sitting in. Padded surfaces utilize softer materials, and there's continuous stitching from the door trim to the instrument panel. In addition, Limited and Platinum grades offer leather upholstery.

5. Cutting-edge multimedia

Occupants can enjoy the latest in connectivity in every 2020 Toyota Highlander. Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Waze, and SiriusXM satellite radio are all supported within the built-in infotainment system. In addition, XLE and higher trims add Dynamic Navigation.

Similar vehicles

If you're interested in the 2020 Toyota Highlander, you should also check out these similar vehicles from Previous generation years.

Image of Toyota Sequoia | CarMax

Toyota Sequoia

The 2019 Toyota Sequoia is a full-size, V8 SUV that offers AWD and 4WD options to get you around town. Although this vehicle isn't a pickup truck, it offers a tow hitch and full roof rack for your needs. It also features a fold-away third-row for extra interior storage. Have a large family or group of friends? The 2019 Toyota Sequoia seats up to eight passengers. The 2019 Toyota Sequoia comes standard with:

  • Power hatch/deck lid

  • Sunroof

  • Running boards

  • Heated front seats

  • Third-row seating

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings


RepairPal gave the Toyota Highlander an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Toyota Highlander 6th out of 32 among Midsize SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander features and specs

XLE 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Fold-Away Third Row
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Leatherette Seats
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Air Conditioning
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear Sunshade
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Sunroof(s)
  • Third Row Seat
  • Traction Control
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Navigation System
  • Parking Sensors
  • Quad Seats
  • Running Boards
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 40.4"/M 41"/R 27.7"

Head room

F 38.4"/M 39.4"/R 36.1"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity


Max towing capacity

500/5000 lbs.



2020 Toyota Highlander FAQ

More about the 2020 Toyota Highlander

Color options

Exterior colors:

  • Blizzard Pearl

  • Blueprint

  • Celestial Silver Metallic

  • Magnetic Gray Metallic

  • Midnight Black Metallic

  • Moon Dust

  • Opulent Amber

  • Ruby Flare Pearl

Interior details

  • 16.1 cubic feet of storage space behind the third row

  • 40.6 cubic feet of storage space with the third row folded

  • 73.3 cubic feet of storage space with both the second and third rows folded

  • L and LE grades come standard with a second-row bench and can seat total of eight people

  • XLE, Limited, and Platinum grades come standard with two second-row captain's chairs and can seat a total of seven people

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