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Toyota Highlander Turbo Review: Upgraded Engine and Advanced Technology

Image Source: Lena Philip / Shutterstock
The Toyota Highlander has traditionally featured a V6 engine, but this changed with the introduction of the 2023 model. The new Highlander has replaced the old 3.5-liter V6 with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Along with this engine upgrade, the 2023 Highlander also comes with significant technological enhancements.

The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 265 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, which is slightly lower in horsepower but higher in torque compared to the old V6. This new engine delivers increased low-end power, providing the Highlander with a more dynamic feel during city driving. During a test drive in Nashville, it was evident that the new engine offers ample power for acceleration, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that transitions smoothly between gears.

The smaller turbocharged engine is slightly more fuel-efficient. The front-wheel-drive version of the turbo engine achieves fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. These figures drop by 1 mpg each for the all-wheel-drive variant. Despite only a marginal 1 mpg improvement over the V6, the new engine reduces emissions by 50%. Moreover, the four-cylinder engine makes the Highlander more fuel-efficient than the V6 models of competitors such as the Honda Pilot and Kia Telluride.

Among the major updates is the inclusion of Toyota’s latest Audio Multimedia System, first seen in the 2022 Tundra and various Lexus models. This new system offers enhanced graphics and improved usability compared to the previous Entune system. Base models are equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen, while higher trim levels feature a larger 12.3-inch display. The Limited and Platinum trims also boast a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, providing a more contemporary feel to the Highlander’s interior. Other trim levels come with a 7-inch TFT display placed between the physical gauges. Toyota has also relocated the Qi wireless device charger to a small cubby below the infotainment screen.

The pricing for the 2023 Toyota Highlander begins at $37,755, including destination charges, for the base Highlander L with front-wheel drive. There are a total of six trim options available for consumers to select from.

With these enhancements, the 2023 Toyota Highlander stands out as an even better choice and remains a top contender for buyers seeking a midsize three-row SUV.

Image Source: Lena Philip / Shutterstock

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