What's good about the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid?
There are so many three real utility vehicles out there today.
How can you possibly choose the one that's best for you and your family?
Seriously, look at all these choices.
But out of that crowd, there is at least one easy recommendation based on its rock solid track record over the last two decades.
Toyota's Highlander is pretty much always a smart choice.
Making this crossover even more compelling.
It has been completely redesigned for 2020.
Now I've been testing a platinum trim hybrid all wheel drive model this week and I've got to say there is a lot I really like about this vehicle.
But of course there are a few things as well, that I'm not so fond of.
Right out of the chute I have got to give Toyota credit.
This new Highlander looks great.
As you can see the grill up front is broad and smiling, accentuated with this nice little wisp of chrome up top.
Moving rearward you are sure to notice Those big meaty fenders which really give this vehicle a planted look.
This crossover is both distinctive and attractive, something Toyota really hasn't managed to pull off lately.
I mean, have you seen the Avalon front end?
It's like 98% grille and the other 11% is Toyota badge Styling is a win for the Highlander, but third row legroom is not an that gets a dislike from me.
Now, I understand almost no vehicles in this class will comfortably accommodate adult passengers in their rear most seats for any length of time.
This is pretty much it.
Kids only zone but this Toyota's third row leg room is about the smallest of all of its major competitors.
Looking at the numbers it offers nearly six less inches of leg room back here than a Chevy Traverse and that difference is huge.
That's not enough.
This lower cushion is basically on the floor, which means my knees are up in the air My head is jammed into the ceiling.
Does this look comfortable to you?
Now that the fire department has extricated me from that third row seat, I can tell you about something else I really like about this Toyota Highlander and it is the hybrid drive train.
No, it's not terribly exciting, but this is smooth.
Quiet and more than up to the challenge of hauling around this three row utility vehicle.
The heart of this system is a 2.5 liter gasoline four cylinder engine.
It's matched to a pair of electric motors that among other things function as a continuously variable transmission.
Total system output here measures 243 horsepower.
But what's far more impressive than that is the efficiency Platinum trim models with all wheel drive sticker at 35 miles per gallon city and 34 highway combined.
They should return 35 mpg.
Now in pretty heavy footed driving.
I have had no trouble averaging better than 31 miles to a gallon so if you take it a little bit easier EPA score should be right in the ballpark for you.
In comparison, a rear drive Ford Explorer hybrid is only rated at 27 miles per gallon city, 29 Highway, and 28 combined.
If you grab four wheel drive, of course those figures drop even further, which just makes this Toyota's efficiency score is all the more impressive.
Next up another dislike I want to know who thought it was a good idea to put this vehicles available wireless charging plate underneath the center armrest.
I have course words for you sir or madam.
Not only is it too small to accommodate larger phones in cases mine for instance will not sit on this plate flat It also blocks access to what is a very deep and versatile center console.
I have so many questions about this design decision.
While I'm still sitting in the captain's seat, let's talk about this machine's beautiful interior.
Another element I like Yes, the dashboard may be oddly asymmetrical but the materials used and the overall versatility are both excellent.
Now there are acres of buttery soft leather in here.
And if you're wondering, this color is actually called glazed caramel.
It's rich looking.
It feels great.
And it should be exclusive to the Range tapping Platinum model.
Beyond that the various storage cubbies in here are super useful.
There is no shortage of USB ports and of course there's plenty of comfort.
Well, at least in the first two rows.
By now you may have noticed this, it's a 12.3 inch color display.
It's also something I dislike, no there's nothing wrong with the screen itself rather the infotainment system is what gets my [INAUDIBLE] Up.
Toyota's multimedia offerings tend to have outdated user interfaces and complicated menus and well this one isn't terrible.
It's Pretty much more of the same.
It can be difficult to use, it's not very pretty.
And then they've got a weird smattering of physical buttons immediately underneath the screen and I don't understand this layout.
At least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.
So you only have to use this for as long as it takes you to plug your phone in.
So what, like a minute tops?
That's still more time than it takes to realize how refined this Highlander is.
After about 10 seconds behind the wheel, you should realize it's a lot like a Lexus.
Both smooth and quiet matte is something I really like.
The ride quality is supple and the steering is light to the touch, but still quick enough to make the Highlander feel at least a little bit agile, higher end models.
Do have laminated front window glass, which helps keep the outside world at bay and makes it easier to enjoy the available 11 speaker JBL sound system just to net satellite radio to Kidz Bop and rock out
The 2020 Highlander is an excellent trail road crossover, certainly of the segments best, specially in hybrid form.
I love that drive train and the efficiency it provides but this vehicle could have been even better and I dislike the fact Toyota didn't push just a little bit harder push a little farther with this redesign.
The Hyundai palisade and Kia telluride are the shining stars in this segment right now.
They're stylish and versatile, comfortable, refined, and of course they offer loads of tech.
These corporate siblings are good at just about everything better at some things than this Toyota Hey, thank you very much for watching but before you close this browser tab and go watch more cat videos or research how to make sourdough bread, could you please subscribe to the Road show YouTube channel it would really help us out.