What to make of the redesigned and reimagined 2020 Highlander Hybrid
Hey, guess what: Hybrid family crossovers don’t need 306 hp. Sounds obvious, right? For the 2020 model year, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid shifts its focus, becoming less powerful, likely more affordable, and way more efficient than its predecessor. Although we haven’t yet had a chance to drive the new three-row hybrid crossover, Toyota’s updates may just make the 2020 Highlander Hybrid an option for more buyers than before.
Here are six reasons to care about the new hybrid SUV:
The new hybrid model improves fuel economy — by a lot. Toyota says the 2020 Highlander Hybrid will hit 34 mpg (6.9 L/100 km) in combined city/highway EPA testing. That’s a huge leap from the last-gen model’s 28-29 mpg (8.4-8.1 L/100 km) combined.
Ahh, So THAT’S How They Did It
One of the key ways Toyota facilitated that efficiency-leap was by making the 2020 model a four-cylinder crossover. Where the last-gen model had 306 total-hybrid-system horsepower with a 3.5-liter V-6, the 2020 model starts with a 2.5-liter I-4 and has 240 total system horsepower. So will that make the new Highlander Hybrid a slug? Count on MotorTrend to bring you the answer once we get our hands on one for testing. As for the last-gen V-6 powered Highlander Hybrid model, it hit 60 mph in 7.4 seconds.
The outgoing Highlander Hybrid is an all-wheel-drive only model with a starting price of almost $40,000 USD. With the new 2020 model offered with front- and all-wheel drive plus a four-cylinder powertrain replacing the more powerful V-6, expect a slightly lower price. Expect pricing info to arrive closer to when the hybrid model goes on sale in February 2020.
The Supra of Crossovers?
Don’t count on Supra-like responses from any three-row crossover, but the 2020 Highlander Hybrid’s Sport mode should help when you want a temporary, extra boost from the hybrid powertrain. Normal and Eco modes are also part of the package, but keep in mind this is a hybrid and not a plug-in hybrid; don’t expect to go very far on EV power alone.
Thanks to a battery pack that fits under the rear seats, Toyota says that the hybridized Highlander can haul just as much stuff as the regular V-6 model.
It’s Finally Here!
Every 2020 Toyota Highlander will roll out of the factory with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard, but if you go for the high-end Platinum model, a 12.3-inch screen takes its place.
Learn more about the 2020 Toyota Highlander here.