Crossover & Midsize

What Features Come Standard on the New Toyota Highlander?

The Toyota Highlander is a reliable, safe, and roomy three-row SUV that’s the perfect choice for families. In its 20th year of production, the Highlander remains popular because it continues to provide solid value at all trim levels. 

The standard Toyota Highlander is the L trim level for 2020 that starts at an MSRP of $34,600. It offers some outstanding standard features, including an important one that has been updated for the better for this year. Here’s a breakdown of the goodies that come standard on the Toyota Highlander inside and out thanks to Toyota.

The Toyota Highlander’s engine and drivetrain

The 2020 Toyota Highlander at the New York International Auto Show
The 2020 Toyota Highlander | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The new Toyota Highlander is powered by a new standard engine, which is used not only in the L trim level but also in the LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims. It’s a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed transmission. The fuel economy for the base engine is 21 MPG city and 29 MPG highway.

The larger engine is a much-needed improvement over the 2019 model’s 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that was mated with a six-speed transmission. The inline-four engine produced only 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. 

This update also increases the SUV’s towing capacity, which is now 5,000 pounds. The 2019 model year was only able to tow up to 1,500 pounds. The Highlander’s standard drivetrain is front-wheel drive.

The Toyota Highlander’s exterior & interior features

The Toyota Highlander’s exterior has been sharpened up a bit for 2020, but the outside standard features, while useful, are typical for an SUV in this segment. LED headlights and taillights, as well as daytime running lights, come standard on the Highlander.

Other exterior features include a smart key system on the SUV’s front doors and a liftgate with a push-button start, heated power outside mirrors, and 18-inch painted alloy wheels. 

A three-zone automatic climate control system ensures that everyone on board the Toyota Highlander is comfortable. Power door locks and windows, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel all are standard equipment. A 4.2-inch LCD instrument gauge display and six tie-down cargo hooks also come standard.

The SUV seats eight passengers. The second-row sliding and reclining bench seats have a 60/40 split and fold flat. The third row also has 60/40 split, fold-flat third-row seats with sliding headrests and recline function. 

And, like the Hyundai Palisade and the Kia Telluride, the Toyota Highlander has a standard in-car intercom system that enables the driver to talk to passengers in the second and third rows.

Infotainment and safety

The Toyota Highlander has Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Alexa for Amazon as well as a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and SiriusXM satellite radio. The hardware that supports infotainment includes a six-speaker audio system, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, four USB ports, two 12-volt outlets, and a wireless smartphone charger.

Safety is a key in the Highlander because the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 bundle is standard. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams are all rolled into this bundle.

Two more safety features are included in the safety package. One is the road sign assist, which uses a camera to identify traffic signs such as speed limit signs. It then displays them on the instrument gauge display. The other safety feature is lane tracing assist. When Toyota’s version of adaptive cruise control is enabled and if the road has visible lane markers, lane tracing assist uses these markers to keep the Highlander in its lane.

Additional standard safety features include a backup camera, a rear-seat reminder, and a tire pressure monitor. The SUV also comes with vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS, and electronic brake-force distribution. The Highlander also uses a telematics system to connect with emergency services and to help locate the SUV if it gets stolen.

As with most of its vehicle lineup, Toyota packs a ton of standard features into its 2020 Toyota Highlander. These features make it safe, comfortable, and family friendly. Buyers who are considering a new midsize SUV will find the Toyota Highlander to be an appealing option.