2022 Toyota Highlander XSE V6 AWD Review – Not Flashy, Not Fussy

Extremes are easy to write about.

Just as sportswriters would prefer to cover either contending teams or basement dwellers instead of those that win about as much as they lose, most auto writers find it easier to describe sexy sports cars or to lampoon rolling failures.

This is why writers who are itching to show you how well they can use a thesaurus are almost as happy to see a Mitsubishi Mirage arrive at their home as they would be a Ferrari. Almost.

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Adventures in Marketing: The Toyota Venza Attempts to Steal Subaru's Thunder

Toyota’s all-new Venza fills a two-row, crossover-sized void between the smaller RAV4 and the larger Highlander, and is essentially a return to what the Highlander was originally. To help draw in buyers to its resurrected nameplate, Toyota decided to use a long-standing Subaru ad trope: the family pet.

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2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum V6 AWD Review - Victim of Timing

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is a pretty good improvement over the previous generation, building off an already strong foundation, but unfortunately for Toyota, it comes along just as Kia’s Telluride and Hyundai’s Palisade soar towards class dominance.

Ask anyone who made big plans for after March 1, 2020, and they’ll tell you – timing is everything.

In Toyota’s case, a very, very good three-row family hauler is getting lost in all the hype about the two outstanding Korean entries.

Somewhere, a Toyota sales manager sobs in his coffee in between Zooms.

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A Bit More Brutal: 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE Arrives in Chicago

With the next-generation 2020 Toyota Highlander now riding atop a new platform, the manufacturer has decided to grow its sport-adjacent XSE trim level by throwing it into mix for the 2021 model year. The model took a bow at the Chicago Auto Show on Wednesday.

Settling between the XLE and Limited trims, XSE uses the same 3.5-liter V6 (295 horsepower, 263 lb-ft of torque) that’s now found in all non-hybrid Highlanders. The performance boost come by way of suspension upgrades and a few tweaks to the electrically assisted power steering unit. Everything else is cosmetic, but Toyota believes it will all come together to create a sportier driving experience.

The automaker says it’s giving the model the “XSE treatment,” adding it’s aimed at “people who need SUV practicality but really miss driving sport sedans.” While we’re not sure how much overlap exists between Highlander shoppers and sports-sedan enthusiasts, semi-sporting packages and trim lines are standard practice these days. They must hold some level of appeal, or manufacturers wouldn’t insist on dangling them in front of us.

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Put on a Happy Face: 2020 Toyota Highlander Dons New Platform, Ditches Old Engine

There’s no other way to say it. Toyota’s Highlander is a bonafide success story, and the next-generation model appearing for 2020 will undoubtedly continue the midsize crossover’s built-in popularity, regardless of what Corey thinks of the new grille.

Toyota debuted the new Highlander on Wednesday, calling attention to a new platform shared with the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES and a hybrid variant that blows the previous model’s fuel economy out of the water.

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2020 Toyota Highlander Appears At New York Auto Show

While you were sleeping, Toyota rolled out the fourth generation of its three-row Highlander crossover. It is an all-wheel drive box powered by a V6 engine, packed with gadgets, and offering an optional hybrid powertrain. Given the tastes of car buyers in this segment, none of these things are surprising.

What is surprising is that this nameplate has been around for 20 model years. Perhaps it’s because your author has never been in the market for a rig like the Highlander, or that the model’s ubiquity has caused the thing to fade into the background like proverbial wallflowers. Whatever the case, Highlander is nearly old enough to order its own drinks, and it’s put on a new set of clothes for the occasion.

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2020 Toyota Highlander Appears Ahead of New York Debut

Not content with releasing a high contrast, nearly blacked-out photo or rendering of its upcoming fourth-generation Highlander, Toyota decided to go all artsy-fartsy. In place of a single image, Toyota commissioned an artist to create a 3D art installation made up of 200 individual panels.

Buyers, however, will be more interested in the actual, physical vehicle, which makes its debut on April 17th at the New York Auto Show. A sales stud, Toyota’s three-row midsizer promises a new platform and slightly sexier flanks.

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Toyota Introducing Blacked Versions of Camry and Highlander

Toyota will be unveiling blackened versions of the Camry and Highlander at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, indicating that we’re one step closer to the trend ending. Factories started adopting the “murdered-out” look a few years ago after the movement gained steam in the aftermarket. Now it’s cropping up on the most mainstream of models.

Officially, the Japanese automaker claimed its newest Nightshade Editions are “preempting the earlier sunset associated with the end of Daylight Savings Time.” But we know they’re primarily an opportunity to markup existing models by adding a few darkened bits of trim. However, you’re unlikely to mind if you’re interested in conveying a more-sinister image on the road.

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Finally, The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Is Affordable And Actually Starts To Make Sense

For far too long, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has been an especially costly version of Toyota’s popular three-row crossover.

Fortunately, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s base price drops by $11,600 in 2017 as Toyota introduces two additional lower trim levels, which have eased the cost burden of upgrading to the hybrid.

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2017 Toyota Highlander: Start-Stop For (Almost) All

Toyota unveiled a refreshed 2017 Highlander in advance of next week’s New York International Auto Show. The only external clues appear to be a wider, deeper grille, hiding a host of mechanical and interior upgrades. A new, direct-injected 3.5 liter V6 is paired to an equally-new eight-speed automatic.

The new V6 also features a fuel-saving start-stop system on all but the “only on the lot to advertise a low lease payment” LE model.

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Doug Drives: How the Hell Does the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Not Have Any Competitors?

I was driving along the other day and I realized something: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is currently the most popular vehicle in North America.

Okay, this might be a slight exaggeration. For instance, I am told that the bicycle is quite popular. But on a list of today’s most popular vehicles, the Highlander Hybrid is right up there with the bicycle, and the wheelchair, and that Ford pickup that sells more units in an afternoon than Ferrari sells globally in an entire calendar year.

It is very obvious to see why the Highlander Hybrid is so popular. For one thing, it’s a normal family SUV with three-row seating, which is incredibly hot right now; so hot that I am quite certain it is not actually possible to rear children in today’s society without a three-row SUV. If you showed up at a child’s birthday party in a Toyota Camry, and you had forgotten to dress your child, and you had brought the wrong child, and your child was vomiting all over everything in sight, people would not call attention to your child-related issues. They would ask: Why don’t you have a three-row SUV?

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Review: 2014 Toyota Highlander

One day, about a month ago, a vehicle that I had never really given much thought to entered my consciousness quite forcefully. My phone rang, and on the other end was a family member informing me that my sister-in-law had been involved in a serious auto accident. She had been traveling through an intersection when another motorist had run the red light going the opposite direction. It was a hard hit. In fact, the impact was severe enough to flip my sister-in-law’s car was onto its roof. What’s more, her three-year-old son, my nephew, had been in the back seat. They both left the accident totally unharmed.

Her car? A 1st gen Toyota Highlander. So, at least in part, I owe the safety and security of my extended family to the car-based Toyota mid-sized CUV.

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First Drive Video Review: 2014 Toyota Highlander

TTAC had its first bite at the 2014 Highlander recently. Be sure to bookmark TheTruthAboutCars.com for the written review in the coming days and a full-on drive review based on a week in Toyota’s new crossover in a few months.

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Verdict: Operator Error

I recently watched a rather disturbing YouTube video. In it, a Toyota Highlander is seen terrorizing a quiet suburb, not unlike a kid with a loud exhaust on his car, or worse: a neighbor who hasn’t mowed his lawn for a few weeks.

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2014 Toyota Highlander, BCAS Edition
  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.