One of the most popular family haulers in North America is coming with a big update for the next year. It is getting a new turbo-four engine, which should ensure better efficiency and performance than the outgoing naturally-aspirated V6. The upcoming model will also bring some novelties on the inside, in terms of new infotainment and instrument cluster screens. Other than that, things will remain largely the same. Therefore, we don’t expect significant changes regarding price, while the launch date of the 2023 Toyota Highlander should be scheduled for the last quarter of the year.
In any case, you may count on familiar characteristics of the current-generation Highlander, which has been around since 2020. This SUV has many great things to offer, starting from a well-designed cabin, full of quality materials. We like the long list of standard and available equipment, while the hybrid version offers pretty impressive fuel economy. On the other hand, the biggest complaints go to the tight third row, as well as to unimpressive handling.
2023 Toyota Highlander Gets New Engine
As we’ve just mentioned, the biggest novelty for the next year will be the introduction of the new turbo-four engine. The company’s new 2.4-liter turbo-four will replace the current V6 and from what we know so far, the max output will go around 265 horsepower. That’s 30 horses less compared to the outgoing V6 but we still expect better driving dynamics, as the new engine will feature significantly more torque, 309 pound-feet. At this point, details about fuel efficiency are still unavailable.
On the other hand, the hybrid version will continue in the same way. The 2023 Toyota Highlander will continue to use the same system, based on a 2.5-liter inline-four engine, with a combined output of 245 horsepower. That’s enough to satisfy most drivers in terms of driving dynamics, while we particularly like its amazing fuel economy, which goes around 36 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
2023 Toyota Highlander Design
Design-wise, the 2023 Toyota Highlander won’t bring any notable changes. We are about to see the same design that was introduced in 2020, which still looks quite fresh and competitive. The SUV features a design that combines conservative and modern design solutions that will certainly age well. For that reason, we expect minor updates only, such as new color options.
Mechanically, the Highlander features a design based on the TNGA platform. Compared to the previous generation, this SUV is lighter and more maneuverable. However, it still isn’t as fun to drive as some rivals, especially models like Mazda CX-9. On the other hand, the ride is smooth and comfortable. The suspension setup is on the soft side and absorbs road imperfections with ease.
When it comes to interior design, the 2023 Toyota Highlander will bring a few updates. The biggest one will be the introduction of the new digital instrument cluster, which will be reserved for higher trim levels only. The same is with the newly available 12.3-infotainment screen. Other than that, we might see new color schemes and some new materials, but the overall design will remain the same.
So, you may count on a cabin that offers great build quality and nice materials, which generally looks pretty elegant. Also, the first two rows of seats are very spacious and comfortable, while the third row is tight.
When it comes to the cargo area, you may count on about 16 cubic feet behind the third row, and 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row for a maximum of 84.3 cubic feet. That’s about average for the mid-size SUV segment.
As we already mentioned, the next year’s model will come with a couple of novelties, such as a new digital instrument cluster. Other than that, things shouldn’t change all that much. We expect that base models will come standard with goodies like an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, five USB ports, a Wi-Fi hot spot, proximity keyless entry and tri-zone automatic climate control. The list of upgrades should include things like a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an 11-speaker audio system, wireless charging, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener, ambient interior lighting, a household-style power outlet, a panoramic moonroof.
When it comes to safety features, all models should come standard with a rearview camera, rear-seat reminder, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane trace assists, traffic-sign recognition, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control etc.