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Toyota Highlander 4th Generation… A Mature and Capable SUV

Toyota has mastered the art of staying on message and repeating the basics to post car sales records that will stand forever in automotive history. So as the 2020 Toyota Highlander rolled in with a new 4th generation rig, a rewind back to 2001 recalls the first edition of this model as a rather awkward early car based SUV platform.

The new Highlander has grown into its robust namesake image with a more athletic look bolstered by modestly bigger length, width and wheelbase, and moved with resolute confidence by a Toyota stalwart 3.5 liter 295 horsepower V6. With six trim levels, front wheel and all-wheel drive options.

The Hybrid Highlander is powered by the familiar 2.5 liter Atkinson cycle I-4 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4, dual coaxially mounted electric motors, below rear seat mounted battery pack with a CVT transmission. Overall efficiency of the new Hybrid plant is up 24% on more compact and lighter design.

With a base Highlander L starting at $34,000 and topping out just shy of $47,000 with the Platinum Trim – an $48,000 for the Hybrid — this SUV stays true to the practical and reliable Toyota ethic, with roomy and borderline elegantly appointed 3-row seating inside with good cargo space.

The technology suite of the Highlander is notable for a very convenient touchscreen climate control function, and the Safety Sense 2.0 systems including auto braking, lane departure assist, lane tracing assist, road sign assist and adaptive cruise control.