5 Reasons the new 2023 Toyota Highlander Should Be on Your List

You can now order a new 2023 Toyota Highlander, and the latest model year looks like the old one but has a few updates that should put it on your list. It has a new, more powerful, engine and couple more options, and even a lower base price. Pricing for the new 2023 Highlander SUV starts at $36,420, which means you can option-out a Highlander fairly well for less than $40,000.

The Highlander seats seven or eight

Red interior of a 2022 Toyota Highlander three-row suv. Why is the XLE trim the most popular?
2022 Toyota Highlander with red interior | Toyota

The new 2023 Toyota highlander is a large, three-row, SUV that has more room than the 4Runner, but slightly less than the bigger Pilot. In fact, it’s the same SUV as the Lexus RX. That means that first, second, and third-row passengers all get generous legroom. You can order one in seven-passenger trim with two captain’s chairs in the middle row, or with a bench that adds an extra seat.

It even has generous legroom in the second row, with up to 41 inches of legroom. The third row is a bit more cramped, but small adults should be comfortable in the way back.

The Highlander has an all-wheel drive option

Two 2023 Toyota Higlanders
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

One feature that adds utility to your sport utility vehicle is certainly all-wheel drive. In the Highlander’s case, however, there are two different types of all-wheel drive. The hybrid model uses a gas engine to power the front wheels and an extra electric motor to power the rears separately. The gas versions get a more traditional system, and AWD is a $1,175 option on the gas-powered version.

You can get a hybrid Highlander

Toyota makes a distinction between the regular Highlander and the Highlander Hybrid. They’re pretty much the same vehicle, but while the standard Highlander has a 295-horsepower V6 and all-wheel drive is optional, AWD is standard on the Hyrbid. It comes with a gas engine in front and in the back it gets an electric motor that gives it electric on-demand all-wheel drive standard with a combined 243 horsepower. Of course Hybrids excel at efficiency, and the Highlander Hybrid gets 33 mpg in town, and 35 mpg on the highway, compared 22 city and 29 highway for the new gas version.

The Hybrid can tow 3,500 pounds, while the front-0wheel drive gas-powered version can tow 5,000 pounds. It starts at $40,228.

The Toyota Highlander is safe, reliable

2023 Toyota Highlander parked inside an art gallery
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The 2022 Toyota Highlander earned Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is the highest ranking IIHS gives. Also, Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ is standard on the Highlander.  Toyota Safety Sense is what Toyota calls its suite of safety features for the Highlander. In the Highlander, that means eight airbags, as well as braking assist, radar cruise control, lane keeping assist, and smart stop technology.

Toyota also offers Safety Connect, which can call emergency services, on a one-year trial subscription standard.

The new Highlander has a better engine

Two 2023 Toyota Highlanders
Two 2023 Toyota Highlanders | Toyota

Don’t let the lower horsepower figure fool you. The new highlander may have fewer ponies, with just 265 compared to the 2022’s 295, but the torque figure is now up to 310 lb.-ft from 263 in the new engine That means you’ll likely see more off-the line grunt from the new engine, while getting better fuel economy. The Highlander, too, uses a more traditional eight-speed automatic, instead of the frustrating variable transmissions that many of its competitors use.

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