In an industry that’s as competitive as the world of the automobile, timing is of the essence and a determining factor that means the difference between success and failure. Each year, the various manufacturers look closely at the current needs of consumers and how they can provide options that not only cater to them but surpass expectations. First arriving in 2001, when the SUV began gaining widespread notoriety and popularity, the Toyota Highlander has since become one of the best-regarded offerings for the average consumer.
While the compact and crossover SUV has certainly been on an upward trajectory in popularity in recent years, there will always be a need for full-sized SUV models with three rows of seating and ample storage space. With Toyota’s lengthy track record of offering consumers reliable vehicles that promote safety, fuel economy, and sustainability, it’s no wonder why the Highlander remains a standout midsize three-row SUV. Every year, Toyota proves why they’re the most trusted and reliable brand in the world, and today we’re going to see that practice in action as we take an in-depth look at the 2023 Toyota Highlander. In an age where consumers want a vehicle with it all, Toyota delivers everything you could ask for.
Starting MSRP: $36,620 [a]
Horsepower (hp): 265
Torque (lb-ft): 309
Max. Cargo Volume. (cu.ft.): 84.3
As is to be expected with any new vehicle manufactured by Toyota, there’s great excitement both behind the wheel and underneath the hood. And because performance is a cornerstone of any vehicle’s capability, that’s where we’ll begin with our assessment of the 2023 Toyota Highlander.
2023 marks a notable change for the SUV, as the V6 engine has been replaced with a 2.4L four-cylinder engine. With 265 hp and the capability to generate 309 lb-ft of torque, it’s a perfect example of having the ability to do much more with less. Optimum performance is enhanced courtesy of an eight-speed automatic transmission. Drivers looking to maximize fuel economy will be interested to know that a hybrid version of the Highlander is also available.
The hybrid variation of the Toyota Highlander features a 2.5L four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors and a continuously variable transmission which is certainly appealing to drivers who need to navigate within the city limits. Testing conducted by the EPA has shown that drivers can expect 36 MPG when in the city and 35 on the highway. This amounts to an impressive range of 616 miles between fill-ups and savings of $2,000 over the course of five years compared to the industry average.
FWD is standard on the Highlander, with AWD being available for those who have hard work to accomplish and rigorous roads to travel upon. A maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs makes the Highlander adept at hauling, with the hybrid model getting a lower rating of 3,500 lbs. With the ability to handle the stop-and-go traffic patterns of the city and the rough-and-tumble world of off-roading, Toyota once again illustrates its capability to adapt to a wide range of consumer needs.
When we were children, our parents always stressed that we should never judge a book by its cover. While the exterior design of the Toyota Highlander has more or less remained consistent over the past few years, it still has plenty of curves and style to appeal to our fondness for aesthetics. And if the exterior exudes style, then the interior certainly makes use of a unique blend of refinement and sophistication.
Depending upon what you’re looking for in terms of seating arrangements, the Highlander can either have two bench seats to comfortably seat eight adults. If you’re in the market for something a little more upscale, second-row captain’s chairs can be installed for a comfortable experience for seven. Adaptable seating arrangements aside, there’s also plenty of storage space. With over 84 available cu.ft. of room for groceries, provisions, and yard sale finds, the Toyota Highlander certainly makes the most of the allotted space.
Aside from the practical aspects of what makes the SUV a favorite among the family-oriented, Toyota has gone above and beyond to elevate the style of the interior to compete with some of the more luxurious offerings from across the industry. Anchored by an available infotainment screen that measures out past 12 inches (an 8-inch screen is standard on base trims), the screen’s placement is embedded into the dashboard and sits slightly above the level of the steering column. This ensures visibility without making too much of a distraction.
As far as what Toyota equips the console with, it’s a literal buffet of high-end technological features. Standard on all Highlander models is compatibility with both Apple and Android products, as well as a 4G LTE hotspot to ensure connectivity wherever you travel. SiriusXM satellite radio and Amazon Alexa integration are also included, and for those who want to experience the sound of music instead of the road, an available JBL stereo system with 11 speakers are perfect for the audiophile in all of us.
Perhaps one of the most eye-catching attributes of the Highlander’s interior is the two-toned color scheme which seems to be influenced by some of the high-end European offerings that have become more accessible in recent years. This penchant for style and the technological attributes that are in place makes for a vehicle that quite literally checks all of the boxes in terms of what drivers want and need. The Highlander’s cutting-edge tech is further complimented by a refined style that is simply unmatched.
There’s no denying the importance of safety when looking at any vehicle, regardless of the make or model. And when it comes to manufacturing vehicles that are known for their wide array of safety features, sustainability, and quality assurance, Toyota has one of the most impressive track records in the automotive industry. This concept of putting the safety and well-being of their customers as a top priority continues with the many features that come standard on the 2023 Toyota Highlander.
While there’s no denying that the features put in place by manufacturers in the modern era bear a close resemblance to one another, the question on many consumers’ minds is one of what comes standard and what’s obscured by upper trim levels and high prices. Luckily, Toyota believes in giving their customers more, and the features that every Toyota Highlander is equipped with speak to this.
First and foremost, the level of safety you’ll have behind the wheel is exemplified by collision testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This government-mandated testing is conducted each year, and the 2023 Toyota Highlander received a five-star rating, the highest award possible. This testing is completely objective and made available to the public to provide oversight in making a well-informed decision about what vehicles are safest on the road.
When it comes to the standard features of the 2023 Toyota Highlander, the operative term is “more for your money.” The two biggest attributes that make any driving experience safe are reaction time and maintaining focus. Reaction time can only be developed with experience behind the wheel, but with features such as a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, courtesy of the standard Toyota Safety Sense suite, you’ll have an extra set of eyes looking out for you. One of the biggest breakthroughs in driving assistance technology to emerge in recent years has been the development of adaptive cruise control. Toyota understands this crucial driver assistance tool, which is why the Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is included in the standard package as well.
Other safety and driver assistance enhancements include tools like Lane Tracing Assist, which will activate during the cruise control, and will use sensors to detect lane markings to ensure the vehicle is staying within them. Road Sign Assist will use the vehicle’s camera’s to detect speed limit and stop signs and prominently display them on the Multi-Information Display to ensure the driver is aware of them. When driving with reduced visibility at night, the Highlander’s Automatic High Beams will automatically turn on to increase visibility and turn off when an oncoming vehicle approaches.
While the SUV has changed considerably since the Toyota Highlander debuted in 2001, the unwavering devotion to quality on the part of the brand has certainly remained consistent. If you’re looking for a dealership that possesses these same qualities and practices them daily, look no further than the experts at Faith’s Toyota. As a part of the Faith’s Automotive family, they’re committed to service and excellence of the highest quality.
No matter what you might be looking for in a vehicle, they’ll provide the knowledge that’s necessary for you to make an informed decision regarding your next purchase. Not only will they help you choose the right vehicle, but they’ll also provide you with financing options that perfectly fit your budget and the routine service required to keep it on the road for years to come. That’s the difference the team at Faith’s Toyota offers their customers, and they cannot wait to help get you behind the wheel of the exciting 2023 Toyota Highlander today.
[a] MSRP may change without notice. See dealer for complete details.