From the side, a strong and muscular character line sweeps up the back to the black-framed wheels. It can be used on a choice of 18- or 20-inch wheels – the current model has 19 wheels. Overall, the crossover is 2.4 inches longer; The wheelbase was stretched by the same amount. At the same height it is also a bit wider, but the roofline is cone-shaped.
The lattice shape is reflected in the tailgate, which now opens with a kick, and thanks to the ease of switching from steel to steel, a lighter composite plastic increases. The taillights are also slimmer.
The 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine is gone, but the 3.5-liter V-6 with 295 hp and 263 lb-ft surpasses the eight-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is optional; it still draws 5,000 pounds and should still get 26/20/22 mpg with AWD. Dynamic Torque Vectoring ̵
The hybrid version brings together Toyota's 2.5-liter Dynamic Force I-4 combined with an electric motor 240 hp. It runs in the Atkinson cycle and has an updated CVT. Old-school nickel-metal hydride batteries stowed under the backseat (no lithium-ion batteries here), but there are few electric vehicles sneaking over the driveway at night. The engine is new to the Highlander and over time you can get the hybrid in front-drive form, which lowers the cost. The hybrid can pull 3,500 pounds. Ford has added an Explorer hybrid that can pull 5,000 pounds.
The new platform is more rigid, with a new front MacPherson strut and updated A-arm rear suspension. Toyota, who switched to TNGA, have been more agile on the road, though we have to wait for them to check on the Highlander.
Inside is a 12.3-inch touchscreen from Toyota (the 8.0 infotainment screen remains on the lower bezels). The Highlander is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The driver has a configurable 7.0-inch display with crisp graphics.
Thanks to Toyota for three easily accessible USB ports in the front with a compartment at the top for the phone and a passage for the charging cable. On the passenger side there is a second shelf. Wireless charging is standard at XLE and above. Wi-Fi is available for up to five devices.
The rearview mirror has become digital and uses a camera that lets you see if the SUV is filled to the brim. A heated steering wheel, heated and cooled leather front seats and second-row heated seats are standard on the upper trim but otherwise not available. A panoramic sunroof extends over the first two rows.
The seats include captain's chairs in the second row, in which a vehicle with seven people or a seat can accommodate eight people. Second-row passengers receive two USB ports, a 120-volt power outlet, and climate control. Press a button to tilt and move the seat to move to the third row. The third row folds flat by hand to create a larger cargo space. The hold behind the third row increases from 13.8 cubic feet to 16.1.
Recent releases include LE, LE Plus, XLE, Limited and Limited Platinum. This changes to L, LE, XLE, Limited and Platinum. The LE and higher are available as hybrids.
Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0), which recognizes cars, cyclists and pedestrians, is standard; It also reads street signs, road markings or the roadside. The car will accelerate, brake and steer as needed, keeping its pace with adaptive driving and staying on track.
The first Highlander debuted at the 2000 New York Auto Show, and the current model dates from the 2014 model year. Toyota sold 243,933 highlanders last year compared to 227,732 explorers.
The 2020 V-6 Highlander will go on sale in December; the hybrid will arrive in early 2020.