Trucks & SUVs

Is the 2020 Toyota Highlander a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle?


One of the most popular midsize SUVs on the market happens to be the Toyota Highlander. This third-row sport utility vehicle checks off a lot of the boxes for many people. But the question most people want to know concerns how fuel-efficient the SUV is and if it’s worth their while. 

US News & World Report has their list of the best midsize SUVs out there for 2020. Fuel economy is one item they check for when they score these vehicles. Here’s what they found with the Highlander. 

A brief look at the 2020 Toyota Highlander

On US News & World Report’s list of midsize SUVs, the 2020 Toyota Highlander ties with the Nissan Murano for the #15 spot. They gave it a score of 7.6 from a possible 10 points. 

It earned that spot with its decent amount of cargo space, good predicted reliability rating, high-quality interior materials, and smooth ride. However, the third-row seating is too cramped, and the engine, putting out 295 hp, feels weak compared to some of its other rivals. 

You can get it with either front-wheel drive or AWD, depending on your preference. The drivetrain will come with a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine that’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a four-cylinder that comes along with the hybrid version.  

How well does the Highlander stack up when it comes to fuel economy? 

With the six-cylinder and front-wheel drivetrain, the base model has an EPA rating of 29 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined. That comes out to an average of 4.2 gallons per 100 miles. 

You can expect 27 highway miles per gallon for the all-wheel-drive model, and only 23 mpg combined. The AWD version has the same 3.5-liter motor that the base model does. 

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid model has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine powering it up. This front-wheel drivetrain version gets 35 mpg on the highway and 36 mpg combined. It averages out to be 2.8 gallons per 100 miles. 

The Highlander AWD model surprisingly gets pretty close to the same EPA ratings as the FWD version does. This four-cylinder can get 35 highway miles per gallon and 35 mpg combined. Because of that, it averages 2.9 gallons for a hundred miles instead. 

On the Limited and Platinum AWD hybrid models, the Highlander has an EPA rating of 34 mpg on the highway, and it’s one mile per gallon less than the FWD hybrid model. The combined rating remains the same at 35 mpg. 

How does it compare to other midsize SUVs in its class?

According to The Department of Energy, the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Hyundai Palisade came in the #1 and #2 spot on the best midsize SUV list. With a score of 8,5, the Santa Fe gets 29 highway mpg. The Palisade, with its score of 8.4, has a rating of 26 mpg on the highway. 

Kia has its Telluride and the Sorento on the list as well. The Telluride, which ties for the #2 spot, gets 26 mpg on the highway as the Palisade does. The Sorento ties for the #5 spot, and it’s rated to get 29 highway miles per gallon. 

The other vehicle, tied in the fifth spot, is the Dodge Durango, which also received an 8.1 score from US News & World Report. The EPA ratings for this SUV comes in at 26 highway miles. 

So, the Highlander’s fuel economy ratings for the non-hybrid versions are pretty average with its rivals. However, it’s important to note that the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorento base models come with four-cylinder engines compared to the Highlander’s V6. 

Overall, the Toyota Highlander has decent fuel economy ratings for the non-hybrid versions. The Hybrid models perform better than expected with their estimated 34-35 mpg figures. 

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