Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Is 1 of the Worst-Rated Toyota Models by U.S. News

Toyota makes lots of different kinds of vehicles, and the brand has a reputation for making reliable and safe models too. U.S. News recently took a look at the overall ratings that it gave to 2020 Toyota vehicles and picked out the highest-scoring models. The 2020 Toyota Highlander came in near the bottom. Here’s a look at why.

A breakdown of the ratings

The 2020 Highlander wasn’t the only Toyota with a less-than-stellar overall score from U.S. News. The Tundra (6.5), Sequoia (6.8), Land Cruiser (7.1), and Tacoma (7.4) didn’t have great overall scores either, all rating lower than the Highlander for 2020. The Highlander and the Toyota 86 both had scores of 7.6 out of 10.

There were 14 Toyotas with higher scores. The Sienna, Prius Prime, Prius, and Yaris were all given a 7.8. The Corolla got an 8.0, while the RAV4 and Corolla Hybrid got an 8.1. A number of the Toyota hybrids were highly rated, including the Highlander Hybrid, with an 8.2. The Avalon Hybrid and Avalon both got 8.3. The RAV4 Hybrid and Supra both received an 8.4. The Camry was given an 8.5, while the Camry Hybrid led the way with an 8.7.

What’s not so great about the Toyota Highlander

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is held back by its passenger room and its performance abilities. The SUV does have a third row, but it’s tight and better for kids than for adults. It has a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine, generating 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, but it doesn’t provide much performance.

U.S. News says that “the engine is not as punchy as it could be” but that “it’s perfectly serviceable.” The Highlander lags behind its competitors in acceleration as well as handling. And, while it has a nice, redesigned interior, it still isn’t quite as nice as its competitors. The infotainment system is good, although, according to U.S. News, the navigation system has dated graphics.

The upsides to the Toyota Highlander

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Despite its rating, the 2020 Toyota Highlander is still a good SUV, and its negative points aren’t that serious. On the plus side, the Highlander has been fully redesigned for the 2020 model year. According to U.S. News, it now has “bold new styling” and “high-end cabin materials.”

Its V6 engine provides a nice ride and good fuel efficiency. The EPA has rated it for 21 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway, which is better than average even though it has a larger engine than some of its competitors. All-wheel drive is an available option.

For tech, it has a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 2020 Highlander is the first model year to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 12.3-inch touchscreen is an available option. It also has more standard safety features, including road sign recognition. All trim levels come with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver-assist features.

It has a good amount of cargo room and slightly more than last year’s model, although it doesn’t have the most in its class. The SUV also has an excellent predicted reliability rating and a 10 out of 10 for predicted safety.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander does come in 15th among both the 22 midsize SUVs that U.S. News rated and the ratings for Toyotas, but its pluses may outweigh its minuses for some buyers. It has the misfortune of competing against outstanding competitors. For 2020, it has a starting price of $34,600. For a more highly rated Highlander, consider the Highlander Hybrid, which has a starting price of $38,200.