The 2020 Toyota Highlander may be all-new, but it very much represents an evolution of a tried-and-true formula. Not only was the Highlander one of the first midsize crossovers, launched at time when the Explorers and Blazers of this world were based on truck platforms, but it went on to be one of the best-selling. Since then, each of the succeeding generations has been a bit bigger than its predecessor, which is the case with this new fourth-generation model, based on Toyota’s now-ubiquitous TNGA platform and specifically the longer K version used in the Camry, Avalon and RAV4.
However, despite adding 2.36 inches in overall length, all of which has gone into the cargo area, the Highlander remains one of the smaller three-row crossovers. Whereas most new or redesigned segment entries like the 2020 Kia Telluride and 2020 Ford Explorer get attention with big interior numbers, the new Highlander is sticking with what has worked. If customers were demanding the Highlander go jumbo, or were choosing something bigger, you’d better believe Toyota would’ve made them happy. That it didn’t go big should be a strong indication that customers are perfectly OK with a smaller-than-average entry.
In any event, a second-row bench seat and its consequent eight-passenger capacity is standard on the L and LE trim levels, and a no-cost option on the XLE and Limited. They come standard with second-row captain’s chairs and a consequent seven-passenger capacity.
Highlander feature content breakdown:
Standard equipment on the Highlander L includes 18-inch alloy wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, accident avoidance tech features (see above), LED headlights, rear privacy glass, proximity entry and push-button start, an eight-way power driver seat and the 8-inch touchscreen.
The LE additions include a power liftgate, blind-spot warning, LED fog lamps, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The XLE additions include automatic headlights, roof rails, a sunroof, heated front seats, driver power lumbar, a four-way power passenger seat, SofTex vinyl upholstery, second-row sunshades and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The Limited additions include 20-inch wheels, a handsfree power liftgate, upgraded LED headlights, a cargo cover, driver memory settings, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, integrated navigation and a JBL sound system upgrade.
The Platinum additions include adaptive and self-leveling headlights, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof birds eye parking camera, a head-up display, a digital rearview mirror camera, perforated leather upholstery, heated second-row seats and a 12.3-inch touchscreen.