2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum in new Moon Dust color

The new 2020 Toyota Highlander – now fourth generation – is well positioned to continue as a top seller in its segment.

Since becoming a mid-size three-row SUV, Highlander has been a perennial vehicle of choice for families looking for value and performance in their SUV.  

Built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) platform, Highlander for 2020 is slightly longer, tougher, smoother riding and quieter than before.  Offering FWD, AWD and Hybrid versions, five trim levels with more features – Highlander pricing starts at just (MSRP) $34,600.

We recently spent a week all around Central Texas in a new 2020 Highlander.  Having driven every generation before this one, we can tell you, this is the best yet.

2020 Toyota Highlander AWD Platinum – as tested

Our top-of-the-line Highlander AWD Platinum test vehicle came in their new Moon Dust exterior with Harvest Beige interior.   The MSRP was $48,800.  Adding the special paint, a couple of accessories and delivery – it priced at $51,112.


The 2020 Highlander is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine producing 295 horsepower with 263 lb.-ft. of torque and features Stop/Start for added fuel economy.  Power is delivered through an 8-speed Automatic Transmission to either the front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) system.

Our Highlander was equipped with Electronic (On-Demand) All-Wheel Drive featuring Dynamic Torque Vectoring w/AWD Driveline Disconnect.  The system uses FWD in normal driving, switching automatically to AWD when slippage is detected. The AWD system can send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels, distributing left or right as needed for traction.

In addition, Highlander Platinum has a driver-selectable Snow Mode + Drive Mode Select that includes Eco, Normal and Sport modes.

For more challenging terrain, the driver can use the Multi-Terrain Select system to navigate Mud/Sand or Rock/Dirt conditions.  With 8-inches of ground clearance and approach/departure angles of 17.9 and 23 degrees respectively, Highlander handles moderate off-road situations nicely.

Highlander tows too.  Equipped with Trailer Sway Control plus Hill Start and Downhill Assist – it handles trailers up to 5,000 pounds.


The sculpted redesign of Highlander Platinum features a Black Front Grille w/Chrome Surround, Chrome Plated Lower Fascia, Silver Painted Front Bumper and Rear Fascia.

Lighting is new with Adaptive Front Lighting (Auto-Leveling) LED Projector lamps, LED Projector LED High Output Fog Lights, LED Strip Daytime Running Lights and LED Tail and StopLights

Other features of note include a Panoramic View Moonroof w/ Sunshade, Hands-Free Power Liftgate, Color Keyed Heated Power Mirrors w/Puddle Lights, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Roof Rails, Rear Bumper Scuff Plate, Liftgate Window and Backup Camera Washer.

In a first for Highlander, the Platinum trim level comes with 20-inch Platinum Alloy Wheels mounted w/235/55R20M tires.


The Highlander cabin is generously sized, well-appointed with Ambient LED Lighting, Faux Wood Door and Dash Trim, Illuminated Sill Scuff Plates, Cargo Area Tonneau Cover, Second Row Sunshades, Padded Seat Surfaces with contrasting stitching and more.

Nice touches we noted included the Soft-Touch Roll Top Center Console w/Removable Tray and the In-Dash Split Level Shelf front of console and in front of the passenger seat.


Front seating is Embossed Perforated Leather with both heating and ventilation. The driver seat is 10-way power with passenger adjustment 4-way power.


Highlander Platinum comes with fold-down leather trimmed Captain’s Chairs Second row seating.  Seats are fold-down, heated and have armrests and cupholders.

Third row seating is a 60/40-fold flat bench with sliding headrests and recline feature.

Cabin climate is kept comfortable with a Three-Zone Filtered Climate system, second and third row venting and a separate Second Row Control Panel.

The additional length of Highlander is in the cabin. Added to the rear – it increased the cargo space behind the third row to 16-cubic feet.  In addition it allows a longer fore/aft adjustment of the second row Captain’s Chairs for easier third row access.

Driver Convenience

There are lots of driver convenience features in the Highlander Platinum including Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Land Departure Alert and Lane Steering Assist. A 7-inch LCD Color Multi-Information Display with instrument clusters displays relevant vehicle information real time. Navigation – in addition to the center stack screen – is displayed on a 10-inch color Head Up Display directly in front of the driver.

The display also provides road sign and speed limit information. For close-in maneuvering parking – there is a Bird’s Eye View Camera with gridlines, Perimeter Scan, 360 degree overhead plus curb view. A very nice touch is the Driver Easy Speak which amplifies the drivers voice to rear seating in the event ‘adult’ supervision of younger members of the family is required.

Tech / Infotainment

Highlander Platinum is outfitted with a Premium Audio system w/Dynamic Navigation – anchored by an 11-speaker JBL 1,200-watt Audio system.  A 12.3inch HD touchscreen with three screen split capability manages the system efficiently. System features include Bluetooth wireless and streaming, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Alexa compatibility, SiriusXM, WAZE, Wi-Fi connectivity and more.

Supporting devices of any type are 4 USB Ports, two 12V outlets and a 120V outlet at the rear of the center console.

And, because we are always ‘in touch’ in one way or another, tucked inside the center console is a Qi Wireless Smartphone Charging pad to insure you never run out of charge.


The 2020 Highlander safety features include Toyota Safety Sense TSS 2.0.  Toyota Star Safety System and Toyota Safety Connect.

Other notable safety elements include, Rear Passenger Seatbelt Reminder, Rear Seat Passenger Reminder, Tire Pressure (individual tire) Monitoring, Hill Start Assist Control, Downhill Assist Control, Front and Rear Parking Assist w/Automatic Braking, Electronic Parking Brake, Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Cross Traffic Alert,


Warranty on the 2020 Toyota Highlander includes 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive, 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain and 5-year/unlimited-mileage Corrosion Perforation protection.

Additionally – Highlander is covered by the ToyotaCare Complimentary Maintenance Program which covers all factory scheduled service for 2-years or 25,000 miles.

2020 Highlander Lineup

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is available in five trims – adding the new base ‘L’ trim level this year. The other trim levels are LE, XLE, Limited and Platinum.  All come in both FWD or AWD versions. Learn more about the new Highlander here: https://www.toyota.com/highlander/

The Highlander lineup for 2020 also includes a hybrid in four trim levels.  They are LE, XLE, Limited and Platinum – in either FWD or AWD versions.  Get more information at: https://www.toyota.com/highlanderhybrid/

KEY DATA:   2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum AWD 

  • Model:                                        Highlander
  • Trim                                            Platinum
  • Class:                                          Mid-size SUV 3-Row
  • Seating:                                      Seven
  • MSRP:                                         $48,800              
  • As Tested:                                  $51,112
  • Engine:                                       3.5L DOHC V6
  • Horsepower:                              295 @ 6,600 rpm
  • Torque:                                      263 lb.-ft. @4,700 rpm)
  • Transmission:                            8-Speed Automatic
  • Drive System:                            On Demand AWD w/ Dynamic Torque Vectoring
  • Wheel size                                 20–inch Painted Alloy
  • Fuel Economy                           20/27/23 mpg    city/highway/combined
  • Fuel Tank                                   17.9 gallons
  • Tows                                           5,000 pounds
  • Range                                         Over 450 miles highway