2020 Toyota Highlander Video: High Tech, Nice Cabin but Interior Space, Transmission Lag

2020 Toyota Highlander Video: High Tech, Nice Cabin but Interior Space, Transmission Lag

04/07/2020

Redesigned for the 2020 model year, the Toyota Highlander boasts high-end technologies — even among base models — and impressive cabin materials on higher trim levels. But space for people or luggage is not its forte. That’s a historical weakness for the Highlander and one that’s improved only modestly in this fourth-generation overhaul.

Related: 2020 Toyota Highlander Review: More in Some Ways, Not in Others

Without the prior generation’s base four-cylinder engine, the Highlander gets a standard, carryover V-6. Saddled with a little less curb weight than before, the V-6 moves the SUV with sufficient, smooth-revving power. Stay hard on the gas, and the Highlander feels legitimately quick at higher revs.

Unfortunately, the transmission gets indecisive when you need more power while in motion. It’s a longstanding problem for Toyota’s eight-speed automatic: Try to pass slower traffic, and multigear downshifts result in some gear hunting as the eight-speed picks one gear, then another, rather than doing it all at once. It all happens quick enough, but it could stand to be more seamless.

We found less fault with the Highlander’s impressive EPA fuel economy — 23 mpg combined, and that’s for the non-hybrid. (You can read our thoughts on the hybrid variant, which Toyota also redesigned, in our full Highlander review.)

For the rest of my thoughts on the redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander, check out the full video below.

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  • 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE and Special 4Runner, Tacoma Tundra Distinguish Themselves
  • 2020 Toyota Highlander: Everything You Need to Know

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