2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Canada Review – Toyota’s TNGA platform continues to make its way through the lineup, with the fourth-generation 2020 Highlander as the newest vehicle to receive the architecture. It’s called TNGA-K in this application and it marks Highlander as being brand new from scratch.
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Canada Review
It certainly sees it: aggressive folds on the doors and new 20-inch wheels (a Highlanders first) help add a chiseled look to the profile; The front end gets a black grille of L, LE, and XLE grades, and a pair of lower intakes that look better suited to a performance SUV as opposed to a three-row family mover (with room for seven or eight). The top-tier Platinum trim, meanwhile, gets a silver painted front bumper and rear fascia.
It’s not overly fancy, either. Toyota says wing mirrors and taillights are designed to help reduce drag. Five new colors join the three from 2019: magnetic gray metallic, a blue called “moon dust”, Ruby flare Pearl, Blueprint and lavish amber.
Inside, meanwhile, Toyota says this is the most beautiful Highlander ever. There are several padded surfaces inside, optimized sound deadening throughout the cabin for easier conversation, LED mood lighting on platinum and limited trims, and perforated and embossed leather trim on the platinum model, as well as a new brown interior. Base L and LE models get cloth seating, while Mid-grade XLE gets Softex synthetic leather.
Tech-Wise, Highlander gets Android Auto support by default on all trims, which is Apple CarPlay and an eight-inch infotainment display. The Limited and Platinum trimmer gets an 11-speaker 1,200 watt JBL sound that can also upgrade your compressed digital audio to achieve a more true-to-life sound. The Platinum trimmer gets a 12.3 inch screen, and wireless charging is also standard.
Power comes from either a gas V6 (295 hp, 263 lb-ft of torque) or — surprise, surprise — a hybrid. It is a next-generation system, however, that Toyota claims the 2020 Highlander has a 6.9 L / 100km fuel economy rating, making it the most fuel-efficient Highlander ever.
Standard mounting of Toyota safety Sense 2.0, meanwhile, provides pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, dynamic cruise control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High-Beam Damping and Lane Tracking Assist.
The 2020 Highlander hybrid uses a 2.5 L four-cylinder engine as well as two electric motors that combine for the 240 HP total system. Toyota says much of the improved fuel economy is helped by smaller, smoother electric motors, as well as a quasi-sequential shift system that increases regenerative braking in steps every time you bump the Shifter backwards.
The battery pack has also been shrunk for even more weight saving and fuel economy. It also means it can fit under the rear seats and does not take any cargo space as a result. Cargo Room, meanwhile, has benefited from Highlander’s extra 60mm of total length, allowing for 456 L of space behind the third row, 1,150 behind the second row, and 2,076 L behind the first row. The second row can also slide another 30 mm forward. While 60 mm may not sound like much, even in the third row it feels spacious and easily habitable for adults. The second and first ranks, meanwhile, should be Tobias enough for most any body type.
The transition to TNGA-K, meanwhile, has allowed for a stiffer unibody but also new suspension tuning for a better turning radius. Speaking of which: a total of three AWD systems (and one FWD option that we are willing to bet maybe two buyers will go for) are available; the base system can send up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear wheels, while the limited and platinum trim system also allows the torque to be split between the two rear wheels, and can do so preventively by monitoring the steering and throttle. The hybrid model, meanwhile, gets an electric motor on the rear axle to power the rear wheels. In non-hybrids, the rear axle is disconnected during cruising for better fuel economy. There are three drive modes — normal, Eco, and sport — while an EV mode allows All-EV cruising assuming certain criteria (speed, distance, etc.) are met.
When you need AWD, Hill start Control, trailer Sway control and downhill assistant control are all available for safe progress, while the V6 model can carry up to 2,267 kg and gets trailer Sway control. Not bad for a people mover.