3 Reasons to Buy the 2023 Toyota Highlander and 3 Reasons You May Want to Pass
The 2023 Toyota Highlander offers three-row seating and options for front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) and gas-only or Hybrid powertrains. With Toyota’s outstanding reliability, safety, 11 trim levels, and seating for seven, the Highlander outsells other three-row midsize SUVs in its class. Let’s take a closer look at the 2023 Toyota Highlander.
2023 Toyota Highlander at a glance
Gas-only 2023 Toyota Highlanders come with a 265-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged I4 backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission and a choice of FWD or AWD.
Hybrid Highlanders feature a 2.5-liter I4 and two electric motors totaling 243 horsepower backed by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and the option for FWD or AWD. All drivetrains include LED headlights and taillights, power windows and locks, dual-zone climate control, and smartphone connectivity.
Toyota’s basic warranty covers the Highlander for three years or 36,000 miles, with a powertrain warranty of five years or 60,000 miles. The Highlander also comes with a five-year rust warranty, two years of roadside assistance, and two years or 25,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
Pros and cons of the 2023 Toyota Highlander
TrueCar placed the 2023 Toyota Highlander fifth on its list of Best SUVs. The following is an expansion of its pros and cons list from the review.
- Toyota’s new four-cylinder provides improved fuel economy and more torque than last year’s V6. While last year’s V6 got good fuel economy, the new I4 improves the EPA-estimated combined mpg to 25. At the same time, the 2023 Highlander’s turbocharged 2.4-liter I4 makes 310 lb-ft of torque compared to the 2022’s V6 with 263 lb-ft.
- The base Highlander LE has lots of standard technology with features like a Smart Key System, a backup camera with path projection, an engine-immobilizing anti-theft system, vehicle stability control, hill start assist, three-zone climate control, five USB ports, 7-inch LCD gauge cluster, a six-speaker sound system, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s even an available dash-integrated smartphone shelf with wireless charging capability.
- Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ (TSS 2.5+) suite of driver assistance safety features comes standard on all 2023 Highlanders. TSS 2.5+ includes pre-collision automatic braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, lane tracing, road sign assist, and dynamic radar cruise control.
- The 2023 Highlander is more expensive than most of its competitors. Class rivals from Kia, Hyundai, and Chevrolet offer competitive features at lower prices, but similar models from Jeep and Honda cost more. The 2023 Highlander appears well-positioned to take advantage of Toyota’s reputation and continue as the class leader in sales.
- The new I4 has less horsepower than previous V6-equipped models. With 265 horsepower, the 2.4-liter I4 has 30 less horsepower than last year’s V6. And while the four-cylinder does get better gas mileage, it’s only one mpg better. The big news is the improvement in torque which might not help when passing a semi-truck at highway speeds, but it’ll help move the substantial Highlander off the line at a stoplight.
- The Highlander has limited legroom for adults in the third row. Cramped third-row legroom could be a significant con if taking six adults across the country. If that kind of road trip is in your future, get a bigger SUV. Otherwise, if your passengers include a couple of teenagers and two pre-teens, you won’t have a problem fitting them and two adults in the 2023 Toyota Highlander.