Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota Highlander?

Sometimes when an auto manufacturer comes out with a vehicle refresh, the differences aren’t very noticeable. When a new generation is introduced with a full redesign, you will typically see dramatic differences in both design and performance. This can mean significant savings depending on whether a buyer prefers a new or used model. Let’s take a look at this for buyers considering a new or used Toyota Highlander

2020 Toyota Highlander
2020 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

Midsize SUVs have been a popular alternative to the minivan for quite some time. The 3-row Toyota Highlander was one of the first of these crossovers to enter the market. It competes with SUVs like the Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, and Honda Pilot. The Highlander is a bit smaller in size than those mentioned above, but the 2020 redesign features new technology, engine performance, and tons of safety that comes standard. Now that we’ve discussed how it compares within the market, let’s consider the benefits of a new model or an older generation of the Toyota Highlander.

New or used Toyota Highlander? What’s the difference?


The new model has some athletic curves and a modern look, while the 2019 model used sharper lines in its structure. Both of these are nice-looking SUVs, but the current 2020 style looks most compelling. The 2019 and 2020 models are relatively similar in height and width. However, the latest design is two inches longer.


The new Highlander’s slightly larger size over its predecessor brings more interior space. It will still have three-row seating with up to eight seats or seven if you prefer captain’s chairs in the second-row. Space is always accommodating in the first two rows, and the third row gets somewhat more legroom over last year, but it is a little crowded for this class. Cargo space is generous, particularly if users fold-down their back seats.

Upgrading an older engine could cost more 

2019 Toyota Highlander
2019 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The 2019 Highlander’s biggest issue has been addressed in the 2020 model. To get a powerful V6 engine, you always had to upgrade. A vehicle of this size truly needed the larger engine. Toyota listened to its customers, and in the 2020 Highlander, the V6 is standard. Front-wheel drive also comes standard, and an all-wheel drive is optional, as is common with most of the vehicles in this class.


2020 Toyota Highlander
2020 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

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Infotainment got a significant upgrade in the Highlander for 2020. The 2019 Highlander comes standard with a six in a display that can be upgraded to an eight in. Only the newest Highlander offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. No older models provide this as a feature. You’ll also get Amazon Alexa and the option to upgrade to a 12.3-in display with more features in the 2020 model.


Cost is always a significant consideration when deciding between new or used. The 2020 model will start around $34,600. The previous year, a 2019 Highlander has a starting price of $31,300. However, the 2020 engine comes standard with a V6 engine. To get the same engine in an older 2019 model could start the Highlander at $36,000 or more. A buyer should also factor in resale value that would depreciate for just the one year difference in generation. In this instance, buying an older model would cost you more than buying brand new. 

With much more advanced technology, a new engine, and more roominess, a new 2020 Toyota Highlander is an excellent upgrade over an older model. Some might be throwing shade at the price of the latest model, but take into consideration the standard V6 and the generous number of standard features compared to a used model. We believe it’s still the most substantial value in a 3-row family vehicle.