The Toyota Highlander is underwhelming

Wait, before you go all-in for a Toyota Highlander, make sure it really is the best SUV option for your needs. There might be another 3-row SUV that meets your needs a little better. Check out specs and reviews about the 2020 Toyota Highlander before making your final decision. 

Is the Toyota Highlander a good SUV? 

The Toyota Highlander seems to be an OK SUV competing in a class against excellent three-row options. It ranks in the middle of the pack compared to rivals. For example, it ranks in 16th place out of 26 options for the best 3-row SUVs, according to the U.S. News. 

2020 Toyota Highlander driving down the street
2020 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

One of the reasons for being just OK comes from its price. The Toyota Highlander starts around $34k, making it a pricer option in its class. The Kia Sorento comes in at $26k, and the Dodge Durango begins around $30k. 

Toyota Highlander performance 

Part of the reason the Toyota Highlander ranks lower than competitors is because of its weak fuel economy. It only gets up to 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. However, if you want more fuel efficiency, you can check out the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. 

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum
2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum | Toyota

On a positive note, the Toyota Highlander does have a pretty impressive engine. It comes with a 3.5-liter V6 option that provides 295 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The Toyota Highlander can tow up to 5,000 lb, making it well equipped to haul your boat. However, the Dodge Durango can tow between 6,200 to 7,800 lb. 

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Also, one of the cons U.S. News listed about the 2020 Highlander included its lackluster acceleration. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, which seems pretty fair, in our opinion. 

Edmund’s tested the 2020 Toyota Highlander too and found that it was slower than the Kia Telluride. However, they also found issues with the handling. The Toyota Highlander feels like a larger SUV that can be more difficult to park and maneuver in tight spaces. 

This performance is lackluster even after the Toyota Highlander received body roll control to enhance control and stability around turns. If you go for the optional all-wheel-drive feature, then stability and handling should be improved. 

2020 Toyota Highlander features 

U.S. News found that the 2020 Toyota Highlander has a cramped 3rd row. There are only 16 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk area too. However, you can access up to 80.4 cubic feet of cargo space when the seats are folded flat. 

The 2020 Toyota Highlander also has a lower quality interior compared to rivals. Taller drivers may have difficulty getting comfortable in the shorter seats. Also, the seats are narrow and have a thin layer of cloth. The Kia Telluride is noted as being a much more comfortable option. 

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE front
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE front | Toyota

Also, rivals come with more standard features than the 2020 Toyota Highlander. It doesn’t come with electronically controlled braking, downhill assist control, front and rear parking assistance, blind-spot monitoring, or leather seats. You may be able to do better with other options like the Subaru Ascent, Kia Telluride, and Dodge Durango.