2023 Toyota Highlander Refresh: Less Horsepower Isn’t a Problem

Are you ready to lay your eyes on the refreshed Toyota Highlander? It at least looks better than before. However, don’t get stuck on the fact that the 2023 Toyota Highlander has less power because it didn’t exactly lose muscle.  

How much power does the 2023 Toyota Highlander have? 

2023 Toyota Highlander refresh
2023 Toyota Highlander

The 2023 Toyota highlander has a new turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine with 265 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. These numbers seem great at first glance until you realize that the 2022 model has more horsepower. 

Say goodbye to the old 3.5-liter V6 engine with 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. So, while we can celebrate the fact that the torque increased by 17 percent but the hp dropped by 30. But the new engine is just as fuel-efficient as the old one with reduced emissions. 

The Highlander can still tow up to 5,000 lbs like the outgoing model. Also, there’s a new trailer sway control system to make towing a bit easier. However, we aren’t sure if the acceleration speed is impacted. 

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid features the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 243 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. It can tow up to 3,500 lbs. 

What’s new for the Toyota Highlander? 

Aside from the new gas-powered engine, the 2023 Toyota Highlander gained new screens. The 4.2-inch screens in lower trims were replaced by a 7.0-inch unit. Higher trim levels gained a new 12.3-inch screen. The touchscreens are powered by Toyota’s latest UX system. 

The top-spec Limited and Platinum trims got a new 12.3-inch digital instrument gauge cluster and standard power-folding mirrors. Also, three-zone climate controls are included, while a hands-free power liftgate is standard across all models. 

You can opt for a red and black two-tone interior with the XSE model. According to MotorTrend, the wireless charging pad was moved from the center console to the instrument panel for easier access. 

Each Highlander model features improved sound dampening materials for a quieter interior. The Limited and Platinum trims gained standard acoustic glass too. 

The JBL premium audio system provides crisp sound through 11 speakers. Plus, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included. 

Is the Highlander better for off-roading? 

2023 Toyota Highlander interior
2023 Toyota Highlander interior | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota Highlander gained moderate capability upgrades. Font-wheel drive is standard, but the gas-powered and Hybrid models can be equipped with all-wheel drive. There are two AWD systems. 

With the L, LE, and XLE models, the AWD system sends 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels during limited-slip situations. 

The XSE, Limited, and Platinum trims have an upgrade AWD system, with drive mode selection torque vectoring and driveline disconnect. The system can disengage rear wheels when AWD isn’t needed to save more fuel in FWD. 

Also, the XSE trim now comes with 20-inch wheels and gains a specially-tuned suspension with tuned steering for a sportier experience. A new twin exhaust tip completes its look. 

So far, less horsepower doesn’t seem like a problem, but hopefully, we will get behind the wheel of the 2023 Toyota Highlander to test the new engine. Until then, we will keep you updated with the latest news. 

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