2020 Toyota Highlander vs Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse, Kia Sorento

Toyota's popular Highlander three-row crossover SUV enters its fourth generation with a brand new 2020 model debuting on Wednesday at the New York Auto Show.

When the family carrier comes on sale in December, it will face formidable competition in the form of the newly developed Ford Explorer, as well as segment supports such as the Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse and Kia Sorento. Let's dive into the numbers and see how the redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander stacks up with some of the segment's finest and most popular vehicles.

Engine, transmission and towing

First, the Highlander will be available only with the transfer route 3.5-liter V6 engine with the same horsepower, torque and towing figures as last year's model. The eight-speed automatic transmission is also transmission. In February next year, the Highlander Hybrid will be rolled into dealerships with a powertrain that is much different from the 201[ads1]9 Highlander Hybrid.

Instead of electrifying a V6 engine up to 306 horsepower, the new four-cylinder Highlander Hybrid needs to work with 66 fewer ponies. But because the hybrid is now the base fuel, standard horsepower is up to 55, making Toyota much more competitive with the segment's second base power.

Fusing four-cylinder frugality electrons means significantly improved efficiency. Toyota estimates that the 2020 Highlander Hybrid will get 34 miles per gallon combined, a significant improvement of 5 mpg over last year. The most effective version of the other (only gas) mid-size transitions listed here is an average of 23 mpg combined, so the Highlander Hybrid can turn it average by 11 mpg, should capture potential buyers. Ford has not yet launched fuel economy specifications for its new Explorer Hybrid, which is on sale this summer, but the V6 power can put its characters more in line with the 2019 Highlander Hybrid.

At this early stage, Toyota has not specifically said whether the Highlander Hybrid will use a continuously variable transmission. But from how Toyota has described it so far, the transmission sounds like the concept of CVT used in the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, so it's probably safe to assume that the Highlander Hybrid will incorporate this type of transmission as well.

Toyota has not yet provided a hybrid rating for a hybrid, but if the smaller 2019 RAV4 Hybrid can tow 1,750 pounds, its big brother should be able to pull at least as much.

Engine, transmission and towing comparison

] Engine Power (hp) Torque (lb-ft) Transmission Towing (lbs.) [19659011] Toyota Highlander Hybrid
2.5 liters I4
240 n / a n / a 1,750 (est)
Toyota Highlander V6 3.5 liter V6 295 263 8-speed automatic 5000
Ford Explorer Hybrid 3.3 liter V6 318 336 10-speed automatic 5000
Ford Explorer 2.3 EcoBoost 2.3 liter turbo I4 300 310 10-speed automatic 5300
Ford Explorer 3.0 EcoBoost 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 365 380 10-speed automatic 5600
Honda Pilot 3.5 liter V6 280 262 6 or 9 speed automatic 5000
Chevrolet Traverse 2.0 liter turbo I4 255 295 9-speed automatic 1 500
Chevrolet Traverse V6 3.6 liters V6 310 266 9-speed automatic 5000
Kia Sorento
2.4 liters of I4
185 178 6-speed automatic 2000
Kia Sorento V6 3.3 liter V6 290 252 8-speed automatic 3500

Technology and Safety

2020 Highlander comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on an 8-inch touch screen, as well as satellite radio and Wi-Fi in the car. Available features include built-in navigation, a 12.3-inch touch screen and an 11-speaker, 1200-watt JBL premium audio system .

Like the Highlander, 2020 Ford Explorer will also be well equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 8-inch touch screen and Wi-Fi. The Honda Pilot is not as generous with standard technology, where everything you get is a 5-inch LCD monitor (in fairness most buyers buy higher trim levels, which have more comparable feature sets). Things look up again with the Chevy's Traverse. It comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a 7-inch touch screen as well as Wi-Fi.

Don't assume the affordable price Kia Sorento is this comparison's cab-tech department slacker. Kia comes pretty well equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a 7-inch touch screen.

As for advanced driver assistance features, Highlander shines with its standard Toyota Safety Sense range of features. Features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, automatic beams and adaptive cruise control. Blind spot monitoring and backward crossing of traffic alert are all fitted, but the base clip, while a 360 degree camera is standard on the top Highlander Platinum.

2020 Ford Explorer seems to be quite well equipped with standard pedestrian detection automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and automatic high beams. There is even a self-cleaning rear camera in case you vacuum it while doing some light off-roading, or, more likely, during snow or wet weather.

Honda Pilot's standard technical assistant technology is much more comprehensive than its cab technology. With Honda you get automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic beams. Traverse and Sorrento, on the other hand? Diddly squat. If you want driver assistance at the SUVs, you have to pay extra.


Last year, Highlander offered mid-pack cargo space. This year, Toyota now offers less than mid-pack cargo spaces. With the third row folded, the 2020 model is down a few cubes against the 2019 model, but when folding the second and third row, the new Highlander offers 10 cubic feet less space than its predecessor.

Volume Comparison (cubic feet)

Vehicle Set up 3. row board 2. and 3rd row board
Toyota Highlander 16.1 40.6 73.3
Ford Explorer 18.2 47.9 87.8
Honda Pilot 16 47 83.9
Chevrolet Traverse 23 57.8 98.2
Kia Sorento 11.3 38 73

Headphones and Legrums

Toyota has not yet released headphones and legroom statistics for its new Highlander, so let's hope that the reduced load output specifications above are not a bad omen for the newly developed SUV.

Last year the Highlander skin with its superior front legroom, but all the way back in the back came the third row head in the last place against the competition listed below. To add insult to injury, 2019 Highlanders' third row of legroom was an embarrassing 27.7 cubic feet. Hopefully, Toyota has learned its previous generation lesson.

Headphones / legroom comparison (inch)

Vehicle Windscreen Front legroom 2. red headroom radar bones 3. row of headgear 3. row legroom
Toyota Highlander n / a n / a n / a n / a n / a n / a
Ford Explorer 40.7 43 40.5 39 38.9 32.2
Honda Pilot 40.1 40.9 40.2 38.4 38.9 31.9
Chevrolet Traverse 41.3 41 40 38.4 38.2 33.5
Kia Sorento 39.5 44.1 39.3 39.4 36.3 31.7


When it came to base prices last year, you couldn't get a Highlander over $ 50,000. It is unlikely that you will also be able to exceed a $ 50,000 trim-level price on the 2020 model. That's at least partly because last year's Hybrid Limited with the Platinum Package used a more expensive V6 engine. This year's hybrid uses 4-cylinder power, while the V6 option stands alone. These changes will help Highlander stay price-competitive, rather than being listed through the stratosphere as the exclusive-looking Ford Explorer Platinum, which starts with just shy of $ 60,000.

When it comes to Explorer, Ford will announce Explorer Hybrids pricing soon, but at the moment it is safe to assume that the price is around 2019 Highlander Hybrids 38,265 base price.

Three-row crossover SUV pricing

Vehicle Price (incl. Destination)
] Toyota Highlander Hybrid FWD $ 34,425 (est)
Toyota Highlander V6 AWD $ 49,500 (est)
Ford Explorer $ 33860
Ford Explorer Hybrid $ 38,000 (est)
Ford Explorer Platinum $ 59345
Honda Pilot LX $ 32495
Honda Pilot Elite $ 49065
Chevrolet Traverse L $ 31125
Chevrolet Traverse High Country $ 54395
Kia Sorento L $ 27335
Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD $ 47535

According to this story of the tape, the 2020 Toyota Highlander is definitely more competitive than before. The hybrid economy's fuel economy should be a particularly compelling drawing. Updated infotainment and a healthy package of driver assistance features will also not hurt, either, but shortened space can.

Now all that's left for us to take the new Toyota Toyota Highlander for a spin, so keep it locked here on the Roadshow for our upcoming first-time revision.

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