2020 Toyota Highlander | The Family Dog

We review the new Toyota Highlander to discuss the good and bad and technical changes. With CUVs and SUVs from everyone, it’s going to be difficult to make a choice for the right family vehicle. The Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Mazda CX9 are just a few that compete for buyer’s money, which will you choose?

How you doing i’m in the brand-new highlander and i’ve already done a video during the launch of this vehicle with matt moran motoring so we got to spend a good day with it the different trim levels and now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty the exterior is more forward like most toyota products it’s trying to inject a little bit of flair now some people

Hate that others enjoy the fact that it’s not just some sterile bread box but i’m not gonna talk much about that i’m gonna talk about the interior space and the pros and cons of toyota design and i had a chance to talk to two of the elite engineers for drivetrain and interior and what they explained to me they are from japan and they had to spend a lot of time

In the u.s. to understand what the market here wants out of a product like this and essentially what they said is they want customers want a minivan that’s not a minivan they want an suv they want a little bit more ruggedness but all the usability that comes from a minivan with higher ride height more durability ruggedness and that’s what you’re gonna see on

The interior space the other poke that they try to inject on the upper trim levels is almost entry-level luxury features like what looks to be wood the leather coating the cross stitching and a lot of the contrasting colors that you’re starting to see and it is a very nice change it’s a very welcome change and it basically eliminates the need for you to go up

Market to get the things that you used to now let’s talk about the usability the center stack area has two enormous cupholders a storage area with a pass-through for a cable for a phone or whatever you’re charging your personal devices you have a nook and cranny for two charging ports a usb port a 12 volt port basically they try to jam as much in here while still

Keeping the core things that you use a mechanical shifter there’s no digital rotary knob or digi stick you still have physical controls for your off-road modes your drive selector and all the things that you need to access every day are all physical you don’t have to use a touchscreen for any of that which is great but let’s get into some the electronics as

Much as they do the mechanical and physical design great they still haven’t figured out electronics and now they’re starting to combine some of their hvac controls removing them out of the physical part like your vent control you have to use the touchscreen and like many manufacturers they like well you know let’s just make the screen bigger because that’s what

Everybody else is doing and it has no practical purpose to make anything better than other have other than just having a big screen so that’s the big negative thing the other negative part is toyota’s electronics stuff like it’s always beeping it’s always beeping for something like when you turn it off if you happen to have the door open that’s got a beep at you

I get it get out of the car and i want to open the hatch well i can’t open the hatch if the keys in the car if i push the button to open the hatch the hatch won’t open nope i have to either go in the back and stand there or i have to physically unlock the car first there’s all these little strange details electronically that you have to deal with with this car

Because the lawyers got involved from liability there’s all these dings beeps boop’s to remind you that you could possibly die from just doing nothing and that is like one of the biggest annoyances with toyota and lexus products i know why it’s there but you might notice that right away when you drive this but everything else is super functional let’s get in the

Backseat and check that out well you want to know about the back seats don’t you take a look at it wow wow it does everything you want seats to do namely for a back seat it’s just as usable as the front however you have manual controls and because you’re dealing with captains chairs well it’s easy to crawl on the back whether you have a bum knee of spinal cord

Injury if you’re a child or an adult you can get back there it’s not as usable as a minivan but it’s pretty close the doors open very wide and that’s typical with newer toyota’s and the overall leg room headroom and shoulder room in the back is enormous this is where my driving position is however i edge i drive like a 90 year old woman so i’m super close to the

Wheel and really the only negative part is if you’re somebody like jack singapore who is constantly talking about how big he is the guy can’t stop talking about it it makes me sick he says that the thigh cushions aren’t long enough for his his meaty little legs but you got to remember a lot of the market research that was done by the japanese on this they take

An account at the average height of an american females about 5 foot 3 inches so these seats are perfect so get in it obviously figure that out if it’s good for you back seats are comfortable but let’s talk about the hatch when you’re done playing with the hvac controls in the back the seat heaters your individual climate control you want to know you can stuff

Things back here i stuffed a lot of things back there i put a couple ladders because all i do is build things with my hands i work with my hands i can’t stop working with my hands and right now i’m in the middle of building a gingerbread house for my family and friends so you can fit all of that back there and that’s the main point of this get in it look at

It compare it to like the telluride in palisade you’re gonna find a lot to like here but let’s get in the shop and talk turkey about the mechanical attributes underneath a new highlander i’m not gonna bore you with too many technical details only the things you need to know so this is shared on the same architecture as the camry avalon and rav4 however it’s

Been beefed up it’s been beefed up because it’s larger its taller and it’s more rugged yes it’s it’s supposed to haul a lot more so you have larger aluminum knuckles larger control arms the way that the underbody looks is far more covered up you have these nvh covers which also help with aerodynamics this reduces road noise into the cabin so you feel a lot more

Refined however they haven’t sacrificed things and serviceability you can still get to your drain plug you can still get two things here without having to drop every single panel on that which is super if you’re gonna own this long-term now there are no adjustable dampers there’s no electronically controlled dampers or air ride or any of that because again this

Is supposed to be that non luxury product but that also reduces complication but i’m gonna take you to the back where that’s a majority of the technical detail in the back of the highlander we see a large multi-link rear end all steal all the components control arms the knuckle the subframe you have a spare tire bolted up here which is also part of the crash

Structure of this believe it or not now the biggest selling point if you don’t care about any of that is the rear differential when you get the platinum or the limited trim level you get a torque vectoring unit what is that okay on demand all-wheel drive systems are basically an on and off switch the front tire slip break traction it sends power to the bag and

It tries to split it left and right the thing is is when you start to break traction let’s say on this tire it will just continue to spin and it can’t control power to either wheel with the torque vectoring unit with the clutch and with the electronics it can send all the power to one side and none to the other which makes this a much more dynamic or a better

Controlled unit for gravel trails being snuck it stuck in the snow or ice and it gives you a better driving feel in terms of handling something that a lot of the on-demand systems can’t do by design so again platinum and limited trim only other than that when you go to the lower trim levels you just get a on demand system basically an on and off switch in the

Back now if you get the hybrid version they do not have a mechanical system that connects the front to the rear it is a all-wheel drive which is a large electric drive unit that sits back here and it’s all run electronically through wiring so when you brake traction to the front wheels it will tell that electric motor to send power to the rear end and that’s

How the hybrid unit does it but let’s get this on the road and see how it drives setting off in the toyota highlander v6 let’s take a look at how this gets off the line not that you’re ever going to be mashing down your throttle this is one of the better v6 is that you’re gonna ever buy in the modern age of vehicles at least in the affordable realm the only

Competitor this has directly that i could even remotely say that feels similar that you would consider buying is the kia telluride and the hyundai palisade which are essentially the same same car this is toyota’s next generation family hauler in many ways like i talked about in the interior it has this minivan ish feel but more raised up you have a much better

Command of the road there is a ton of glass in here which means you’re not going to be struggling for sight lines you can see out of the sides easily without having to rely on all these safety sensors and you feel good in the upper trims with the panoramic roof it’s a very connected vehicle to your outside surroundings which is a great change from many of the

Modern and smaller suvs so ride quality the big thing here is this is very comfortable it’s pretty quiet as well you have acoustic laminated front glass and there’s not a ton of road noise that comes from this but there’s a little bit more wind noise than i think that you get off of from the highlander versus like the telluride the telluride is also much softer

More cushiony more pillowy and i’m not that’s not to say that this isn’t soft because this is very soft but what they trade off just a little bit in that ride quality is the fact that you have more stable nisour confidence in the driving experience so if you’re somebody that lives in mountainous areas or hills or areas of more turns and you’re not just going flat

All the time you feel like you can drive this and it’s gonna stay flat it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna roll over on itself like the palisade and the telluride do so that’s that’s kind of the trade-off between the two the other thing is the all-wheel-drive system when you get to the upper trim levels like this with the torque vectoring unit and i talked about

This in the rav4 and toyota’s doing this now in the upper trims this is a far better all-wheel drive setup more dynamically for the road which you’re going to be using it a lot more it’s better when you’re getting out in inclement weather like wet your wet traction is gonna be amazing and your ability to turn through wet and slippery conditions is far better

Than just an on-demand all-wheel drive system that just kind of sends power to the back when you need it this will give you the power to each wheel in the rear and it makes it for a more stable sensation that you get from just all your traditional like budget all-wheel drive setups now the other big pros of this is the v6 now the big thing with the v6 in toyota

Products and if you’ve come from a vehicle like the sienna or any of the v6 products you’ll know fleet companies or cab companies livery companies that have used the sienna with the 3.5 get four to five hundred thousand miles out of the engines and that’s one of the key things that you’re gonna want or that’s one of the key things or key reasons why you’re gonna

Buy this over some of the competitors is that you know that while there may be trade-offs in electronics there may be other trade-offs with this you’re still going to have the reliability factor of the highlander and the sienna and the camrys and the avalon’s and the equal lexus products that you know that you could buy this assuming there’s not some catastrophic

Issue and production that you can buy this and you’re still gonna have this for 10 years plus and not have to worry about it and to me in a family hauler that’s one of the most important attributes or one of the most important things that you could possibly have when you’re buying buying a suv specifically now i’m gonna go through this this water here and this is

Another reason why you’re gonna benefit from some of the ground clearance of an suv you don’t have to worry about things like you do in like a car you know if i had a camry i’d probably be pretty concerned about going through this type of puddle and it’s not a big puddle this is like real-world stuff you’re gonna have to deal with in many areas of you know washed

Out roads i can pop power through this i can power through most situations on trails or you know if you’re if you really need this to tow or haul and you’re more gravel sections i appreciate the point that this is very usable without sacrificing much in terms of road manners like you would on a bigger suv or a truck based suv this is a great balance in terms of

Drivability and i mean it’s just it’s such a joy to drive this but i will also say that as good as all of these things are it’s still boring and i think that’s what you’re gonna have to look at here there’s not a lot of character there’s not a lot of soul to driving this and i’m not saying that you’re buying this for that but if this is gonna be your all-in-one

Vehicle and at $45,000 plus when you load this up you’ve got to think about is this something you’re gonna be happy with long term and i think they balance everything very well but this is definitely a more sedate driving experience and again are there more exciting vehicles or they’re more luxurious vehicles yes and you know toyota is always on the conservative

Edge of all of that so that’s the counterpoint but let’s get into the final thoughts and talk about the pros and cons final thoughts on the toyota highlander which this is not i was at the press or media event and i got to drive it for real now and look at the underbody i had access to the engineers and the people inside of toyota who helped to explain what they

Were trying to do and here it is if you’re someone looking for a three row suv with a bit of towing capacity it is one of the better three rows on the market if you are not looking for a three row or you don’t need the people moving capacity there are much better more focused and interesting suvs on the market now what toyota tried to do compared to the previous

Generation as they looked at this this graph of performance drivability reliability practicality interior design exterior design and they were trying to just elevate subtle things they took a conservative approach because if they go too crazy you alienate their core buying group somebody that doesn’t want too much of fanciness so compared to the previous gen it

Drives better they’ve added the new architecture the torque vectoring differential which when you compare it to something like a palisade or a telluride which drives like a sofa this still rides soft but it gives you more confidence it just is a better driving and riding vehicle the interior space is feels a little bit closer to an entry-level luxury car so it’s

Not as bland there there’s just more character overall in the entire experience of this and they kept what worked from the previous gen like i talked about the sienna owners and the previous highlander owners are seeing three hundred four hundred thousand miles out of an original motor it’s a vehicle that you know it’s gonna last them the resale value is also

Not horrendous like some of the competition that is why you would buy this this is something that people value in a product that is supposed to be that everyday appliance if you want more drama there’s plenty other vehicles out there that are gonna do so many things better but you’re trading off some of the things that i talked about so hopefully that helps you

Make a decision on what to look at thanks for watching i’ll see you next time you you

Transcribed from video
2020 Toyota Highlander | The Family Dog By savagegeese