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It's December 18 in most parts of the US (except where I am) -- here's the first "first drive" review I found, and it's from Canada.


It's a fairly positive review. They praised the handling and only had this negative about noise in sport mode at full throttle:

The only shortcoming was some intrusive drivetrain noise when in sport mode and giving it full throttle. Much of that can be attributed to the continuously variable transmission that delivers the combined 243 horsepower to the four wheels.
Hopefully more to follow during the day.
 

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2020 Highlander Limited, Moondust / Graphite, RAV4
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It's December 18 in most parts of the US (except where I am) -- here's the first "first drive" review I found, and it's from Canada.


It's a fairly positive review. They praised the handling and only had this negative about noise in sport mode at full throttle:



Hopefully more to follow during the day.
Yeah, I'm hoping for some nice video's on these (gas and hybrid) models. My guess is we will need to read / watch more then one, as each reviewer likely didn't do reviews on the gas, the hybrid, the base, the middle of the road model and the upper trim levels
 

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2020 Highlander Hybrid
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I'm always amazed at how these reviewers compare multiple driving impressions to outgoing models or other vehicles which they probably haven't driven in months. If I drive a rental vehicle for a week and then get back into my car, it feels like a different vehicle, entirely.
 

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Motor1 is not wrong. in canada this will be overpriced and under equipped. i still like it though and will be pricing one out
 

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2020 Highlander Limited, Moondust / Graphite, RAV4
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I'd say, many are please but point out the steep price and smaller size for the money. And when you look at the competition, I too am a bit surprise they didn't go up against them a bit better. A few thousand less in price, would seemed to go along way towards many thinking it is a nice upgrade.

They (Toyota) did some of the same things with the Avalon from one year to the next.

No Sun / Glasses tray in headliner
No Coin Tray in dash
No Reclining Rear Seats, and a few other things, but the price went up and not down.

I guess it's the test drive that will make the difference, not what the car has or doesn't have anymore. I won't miss any features I don't currently have that's for sure.
 

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This is very much a placeholder model, future of a lot of vehicles in toyota line-up uncertain and looks like highlander is one of them, kick the issue down the road a bit with this one. I think 3rd gen will go down as the peak of the highlander, this new model is just trying to build on that in a bit of an absurdly retro fashion, almost the same vehicle, they might as well of kept the 2019 and just upgraded the tech etc.
 

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Everything about this seems to be geared at retaining existing Highlander customers. The basic driving experience and value proposition has not changed with improved visibility, comfort, better infotainment system, comfort, and fuel economy while retaining the ease of maneuvering and parking. They honed in on their median customer which is a female with passengers rather than adding performance appearance packages to draw in other demographics. They are taking advantage of a high degree of loyalty among Toyota customers who probably aren't asking for much more than a better Highlander to replace the one they currently own. That's why nothing is really winning over the reviewers other than the best-in-class hybrid fuel economy. It's like movie or technology reviewers who say "There's nothing outstanding, here but if this is the kind of stuff you like..."

It also sound like the hybrid would be a killer Uber/Lyft XL vehicle with the outstanding city fuel economy and battery warranty to compliment the Prius.
 

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well i think it is clear that it is under equipped compared to almost all the competition in the mid-higher trims. all the reviewers cite the atlas, telluride and pallisade (all garbage options in my opinion). atlas is riddled with TSB's and even 2 (TWO) class action lawsuits. pallisade and telluride have multiple electrical TSB's out. No thanks.

rear seats cannot be moved easily for access to 3rd row with child seats in place. The 8 passenger model does not have anchor tabs in the middle seat for child seats. Was hoping you could get 3 across like many competitors. my wife will not be happy about this...
 

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While not intentional, it sure seems like the 2019 models might start selling as the 2020, aren't getting rave reviews, good, but not the Palisade or Telluride or Explorer, or Atlas killer some of us were hoping for. This might be good in the sense pricing maybe a bit more flexible, although everyone looking to purchase one, won't be watcj=hing these reviews
 

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The question is whether the negatives are enough to make existing Highlander owners switch brands: eliminating the rear hatch; downsizing the hybrid engine; not improving the 3rd row; price bump; less aggressive/non-performance/non-offroad experience. I'm guessing not.

The most striking thing about the 4th gen is how similar it is to the 3rd gen. It's not going to be exciting to anyone but it will likely be the default replacement vehicle for existing owners. What I'm most excited about is that if my 3rd gen goes down for whatever reason, I won't have to replace it with the same technology and will at least be able to upgrade.
 

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Motor Trend predict the hybrid will be popular:

Almost no one will care about that reduction in power.
2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum Hybrid AWD 1

https://www.motortrend.com/cars/toyota/highlander-hybrid/2020/2020-toyota-highlander-hybrid-review/

The 2020 Highlander rides on a new advanced platform, but what really encapsulates this new family hauler is a revised storage tray. Yes, really.

 

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I think the bottom line here is that they all like it, they just don't love it, when they compare to the other models available. Most are bigger and roomier, some are equipped very close and all appear to be less money, so Highlander isn't coming across as the one choice anymore and in it's class, it's not class leading anymore.
 
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