2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: A Compelling 7-Passenger SUV

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Dec 18, 2019.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] Every new addition solidified the idea that the all-new 4th gen Highlander is one of the best 7-passenger SUVs available.

    Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – December 18, 2019

    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid


    From the NYIAS earlier this year, the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Preview provided our first look at the all-new 4th gen Highlander Hybrid. Our next opportunity, Toyota’s Electrified Past, Present and Future event in Greensboro, NC this past October provided us our first static vid. And finally, from the Miami Auto Show this fall, a few more additions to the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid were shown.

    The all-new 4th gen Toyota Highlander Hybrid provides a much-improved eye-catching design, the latest all-around safety equipment, and Toyota’s longstanding ability to provide consumers superior durability and reliability. The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will reach showrooms this coming February.

    Based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) underneath the skin and the brands exceptional 2.5L Hybrid drivetrain under the hood, the all-new Highlander provides future owners with a 36-mpg combined rating. This 7-passenger SUV is more efficient than every 5-passenger non-hybrid 2020 compact and midsize sedan available in the U.S. today!

    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Trims Breakdown

    The 2020 Highlander Hybrid delivers a choice of four trims, LE, XLE, Limited and Platinum.

    LE includes the following:
    • Toyota Safety Sense 2.0
    • 18” alloy wheels
    • 3-zone auto climate
    • 2-in. Multi-information Display (MID) in instrument panel
    • 8-way power driver’s seat
    • Auto up/down for all windows
    • Multimedia with 8” touchscreen display
    • Front seat reading lights and cargo area light
    • LED headlamps and taillamps
    • Privacy glass on rear side, quarter and liftgate windows
    • Smart Key entry on front and back doors
    • Auto LED headlamps with Auto High Beam
    • Power liftgate
    • Blind Spot Monitor
    • LED fog lamps
    • Leather-trimmed wheel and shift knob
    XLE adds:
    • 10-way power driver’s seat
    • 2nd-row sun shades
    • 4-way power front passenger seat
    • 7” Multi-information display
    • Auto dimming rear-view with garage door opener
    • Plated interior door handle
    • Heated front seats
    • LED fog lamps
    • Machined alloy wheels
    • Second Row Captain’s Chairs
    • Power tilt and slide moon roof
    • Roof rails
    • SofTex trimmed seats and door trim

    Limited adds:
    • 120V 2nd-row power outlet
    • 20” Limited alloys
    • Ambient interior lighting
    • Cargo area cover
    • Driver’s seat memory
    • Hand’s-free power liftgate
    • Heated and ventilated front seats
    • “Highlander” puddle lamps
    • Perforated leather trimmed seats in Beige, Gray or Black
    • Metal door scuff plates
    • Projector beam headlamps with chrome bezels
    • Wood interior trim
    • JBL Audio System
    • Embedded navigation system
    • Laminated front side window glass
    • Premium Projector style headlamp
    Platinum adds:
    • 12.3” Multimedia head unit
    • 20” alloys
    • Adaptive self-leveling headlamps
    • Additional leather Caramel seating color
    • Digital display rear view
    • Embossed, perforated leather trimmed seats
    • Head-up display
    • Heated 2nd-row seats
    • Illuminated door scuff plates
    • Panoramic moonroof
    • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
    • Birds eye camera

    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Exterior Design

    The LE and XLE include a black front grille with silver trim, while the Limited and Platinum use a black grille with chrome trim and chrome-plated lower rear fascia, projector headlamps and the Highlander’s first-ever 20” alloy wheels. The Platinum also includes a silver painted front bumper, rear fascia, and a unique 20” wheel.

    The all-new 4th Gen Highlander is 2.36 inches longer and the second row slides an extra 1.2 inches further forward than the current 3rd gen.

    The TNGA-K platform provides a stiffer unibody structure with independent struts up front and an independent rear multi-link out back.

    The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE arrives with standard second-row bench and seating for eight. The XLE and Limited includes Captain’s Chair and seating for seven or a second-row bench for seating for eight. The Platinum includes Captain’s Chair second row with seating for seven. The seat folding features make it easy to enter the third row. Third row passengers are provided their own climate control with a three-zone climate control. As shown in the vid, that third row is big time tight and only for the youngest or smallest individuals to occupy.

    With all seat rows in use, Highlander offers 16.0 cu. ft. of volume behind the third row. Folding the 60/40 split fold-flat third-row seatbacks down provides 48.4 cu. ft., and folding the second row down yields a total of 84.3 cu. ft.

    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Interior and Conveniences

    Softer padded surfaces and a more tailored look with stitching that continues from the door trim to the instrument panel with nicely integrates multimedia and HVAC controls are just a part of the story. A Qi wireless charger can be added to the center console and on Limited and Platinum grades, new ambient LED lighting adds a modern look while steering wheel controls are on all grades are set in.

    Sound-damping/soundproofing materials have been added throughout the vehicle. The Limited and Platinum include thicker laminated front side window glass to further reduce cabin noise.

    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Drivetrain and Efficiency


    Toyota introduced its first hybrid drivetrain into an SUV in the 2006 Highlander. 14-years later, the 2020 is without question the most fuel-efficient 7-passenger SUV available anywhere.

    The heavily atkinsonized 2.5L I4 is mated to two electric motors in a hybrid system that’s more compact, and more efficient than before. The gas engine employs Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system by Electric motor (VVT-iE) on the intake camshaft, and VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft. A variable cooling system (electric water pump, electric thermostat) and a fully variable oil pump also improve engine efficiency.

    243 total system horsepower and up to an estimated 36 combined mpg is a result, a 24-percent improvement over the previous-generation Highlander Hybrid’s 29 combined MPG. The Highlander Hybrid is now available in either FWD or AWD.

    To reduce the hybrid transaxle’s size and weight, the reduction gear is now a parallel shaft gear, rather than a planetary gear, and a new multi-function gear integrates the power-split planetary ring gear, parking gear, and counter-drive gear. New computer integration and a smaller, lighter power stack installed directly above the transaxle reduces energy transmission losses.

    The battery pack fits under the rear seats without taking up any cargo or passenger space.

    The Highlander Hybrid’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) analyzes the driver’s daily driving habits and upcoming road and traffic conditions to more efficiently charge and discharge the hybrid battery accordingly alongside actual driving. In my experience, this claim is dubious at best.

    The 2020 Highlander Hybrid uses a unique AWD system with a separate rear-mounted electric motor and no mechanical connection between the transmission and rear wheels. The system helps to reduce understeer.

    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Infotainment

    On the infotainment front, The Platinum trim incorporates a new 12.3” high resolution touchscreen display while an 8” is standard on the rest.

    It is also equipped with standard with Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Alexa In-Car compatibility, Waze, SiriusXM, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

    The XLE, Limited, and Platinum includes embedded Navigation. Google Maps via both Android Auto and Apple Car Play is far better however.

    The 1,200 Watts and 11-speaker JBL Premium Audio System is standard on the Limited. Clari-Fi technology attempts to rebuild the lows that are absent within a compressed digital audio formats.


    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Safety

    The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is equipped with the second-generation of Toyota Safety Sense and finally provides 360 degrees of safety with the following:
    • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD)
    • Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
    • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)
    • Automatic High Beam (AHB)
    • Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
    • Road Sign Assist (RSA)
    • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
    • Parking Support Braking and Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) are available depending on the model grade
    The standard backup camera features a dynamic projected path. A Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, is on the Limited and standard on Platinum providing a live 360-degree view around the vehicle.

    The 2020 Highlander is equipped with eight airbags, including side curtain airbags for all three rows. Toyota’s Star Safety System includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Pricing (FWD/AWD)

    LE - $38,200/$39,800
    XLE - $41,000/$42,600
    Limited - $45,050/$47,000
    Platinum - $48,250/$50,200

    D&H = $1,120.

    This is pretty slick as the Hybrid trim from the bottom LE to the top Platinum has the Hybrid costing just $1,400 over that of the standard gas engine model.

    With the average price of a U.S. gallon of fuel costing $2.53/gallon, the $1,400 difference between the 24-mpg combined rated non-hybrid and 36 mpg combined rated Hybrid would take just 40,250 miles to cover the small premium price. This is the lowest Toyota Hybrid upcharge in history and one that should move any future buyer towards the much more efficient hybrid.

    The 2020 Highlander Hybrid can be purchased in Blizzard Pearl – read white as a $425 option, Silver, Black, Gray, Blue, Red, Light Blue, and Brown.


    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Warranty

    Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against perforation from corrosion for 60 months with no mileage limitation. Hybrid-related components that require repairs needed to correct defects in materials or workmanship are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles, whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. The HV battery is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles, whichever comes first, and is transferrable across ownership.

    The 2020 Highlander also comes standard with ToyotaCare, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance, for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and 2 years of Roadside Assistance, regardless of mileage.

    Altogether, the all-new 2020 HiHy has seen improvements across every metric. Ride and Handling has improved, infotainment with the addition of Android Auto has finally caught up, 360-degrees of protection provides safety with the XLE trim and the Toyota RCC system is the best in its segment. Finally, the Efficiency. As mentioned above, a 7-passenger SUV with a 36 mpg combined rating bests or matches the best of the compact non-hybrid segment.

    If you were to consider a 7-passenger SUV, would you want it to be a 24 mpg vehicle or a 36 mpg combined rated one for just $1,400 or 3 percent more cost? I think the answer to this question is an easy one.

    #Toyota #Highlander #Hybrid #HiHy
    BillLin and kbergene like this.
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    A FB friend posted that the angle of the instrument hood/binnacle does not match the infotainment/HVAC controls surrounds. He is right as the angle of the dash pic I posted showed they do not match. It was skewed.

    From straight on when I was behind he wheel, the right side of both matched very closely.

    2020 Toyota Highlander

    Upper dash closeups.​

    BillLin likes this.
  3. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Why would the two have to match? Free floating is a more distinctive effect, isn't it?
    xcel likes this.
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Bill:

    I really like the free floating displays look, as it is like frameless mirrors, upscale and clean. Unless they rise to high and ruin my view of the Garmin or smartphone in their mounts. The slightly curved left and standard curved right does look a little out of place from the passenger seat.

    BillLin likes this.
  5. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Ah, that's what you were referring to... thanks. I guess the displays have different target audiences, one more for the driver and the rest for everyone in the vehicle. A VR (3d) image would help. ;) Not that I would bother to hook one up to read CleanMPG of course. :D
    xcel likes this.
  6. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    If I don't go the way of the RAV4 Prime, I'll have to consider this comfy looking traveling living room. :) So I can have discussions with the wife. :)
    xcel likes this.
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Bill:

    My mom really likes her 2020 RAV4 Hybrid as it does everything she wants, she still has her Prime for local driving. I still wish she would have waited for the RAV4 Prime however.

    BillLin likes this.
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    My key takeaway from the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid release is the efficiency matches or best all of the non-hybrid compact and midsize offerings available to us today. A 36 mpg combined rating is really efficient for a 7-passenger SUV.

    Mainstream 2020 Compact Lineup EPA Ratings


    BillLin likes this.
  9. royrose

    royrose Member

    The article says that the $1400 hybrid up charge is lowest in Toyota History but that is not a fair comparison. The Rav4 hybrid (which has AWD included) is $800 more than the AWD gas model. Yes, going from a FWD Rav4 gas to a Rav4 hybrid costs $2200 more but that includes the $1400 that adding AWD to the gas FWD would cost.

    And, yes, the Highlander hybrid is available with FWD while you must get AWD with the Rav hybrid, but I if your going to say the Highlander up charge is less at least put an asterisk on it.

    I suppose you could argue that the eAWD system of the hybrid is different than the mechanical AWD system in the gas models but that doesn't change the numbers.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
    BillLin and xcel like this.
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Roy:

    Great point!

    My mom purchased a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid XLE with the Cold Weather and Convenience pkg. for just under $31k last month.

    The FWD/AWD RAV4 LE is $25,850/$27,250 vs the AWD RAV4 Hybrid LE at $28,100.

    BillLin likes this.
  11. litesong

    litesong litesong

    Yeah, yeah, we know. You'll take it out & get 50 or 60MPG (maybe not over 5000 foot mountain passes)....... but with included passengers......LAST CALL! ALL ABOARD!!

    P.S. Just remembered the U-tube videos of the Cruise Ships pulling away from the docks..... while late-returning passengers are running down the docks, waving their hands & shouting. Might be easier for the Highlander to return to its Port of Call.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  12. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Are you saying the Highlander is a boat ?
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  13. litesong

    litesong litesong

    You're right. The Highlander is smaller than a ship.
    EdwinTheMagnificent, xcel and BillLin like this.
  14. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Toyota Indiana Completes $1.3 Billion Modernization Project; Adds 550 New Jobs

    2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid


    Toyota Indiana (TMMI) invested received an additional $700 million and added 150 new jobs to complete the transformation of its plant modernization project, announced in January 2017.

    The project added 550 new jobs and represented a total new Toyota investment of $1.3 billion, which was used for retooling, new equipment installation and advanced manufacturing technologies.

    Since 1996, Toyota Indiana’s total investment is approximately $5 billion and total employment exceeds 7,000. The plant has the capacity to assemble more than 420,000 vehicles annually.

    This new investment is part of a broader commitment from Toyota to invest $13 billion in its U.S. operations over a five-year period through 2021. To date, Toyota has committed approximately $7.1 billion of the announced total; cumulative direct investment in the U.S. exceeds $28.4 billion.

    Today’s news was announced where the all-new 2020 Highlander recently began production.

    Toyota Indiana (Princeton) -- TMMI will focus on production of mid-size SUVs and minivans including the Toyota Highlander, Highlander Hybrid and the Toyota Sienna. TMMI will cease production of the Toyota Sequoia by 2022.

    BillLin likes this.
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    All-New Toyota Highlander Goes Wherever It’s Needed in 2020 Super Bowl Advert

    From aliens and adventure to wild west outlaws, Toyota brought the action to this year’s Big Game to spotlight the all-new 2020 Toyota Highlander. In the spot, titled “Heroes”, actress Cobie Smulders is behind the wheel of the powerful SUV in the role of action hero and mother, as she rescues a cast of characters in familiar movie moments.

    The spot, which appeared in the first ad break of the fourth quarter, features the Highlander Platinum grade. The ad kicks off the “GO HIGHLANDER” campaign for the fourth-generation Highlander, the best-selling retail model in the midsize SUV segment since 2016.

    The spot was created by Toyota’s agency of record, Saatchi & Saatchi. A high-intensity movie trailer music piece, which was uniquely composed for the spot, carries the viewer through each twist and turn of the Highlander’s exciting journey.

    It was funny. ;)

    BillLin likes this.
  16. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    My mom has a 2008 Highlander Hybrid that has served her pretty well. It will probably be replaced with a 2020 Highlander Hybrid or RAV4 Hybrid in the next year or so. I'd prefer the RAV4, mainly because it's around $10k cheaper, but both vehicles are probably solid choices.
    xcel and BillLin like this.

Share This Page