2020 Toyota Highlander gets Top Safety Pick award from IIHS

Sven Gustafson



Toyota's redesigned 2020 Highlander midsize SUV has earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with the familiar caveat that the rating applies only to certain headlight packages available in certain trim levels.

The fourth-generation Highlander comes with three headlight options. IIHS rates the static LED reflectors, the base version that comes on the L, LE and XLE models, as poor, which is why the crossover missed out on being named a Top Safety Pick+. The static LED projector headlights on the Limited and Hybrid Limited trims rated acceptable, while the curve-adapted LED projectors on the Platinum versions earned good ratings.

Toyota redesigned the three-row midsize crossover for 2020 with more rear cargo room, thanks to an extra 2.36 inches of length from building it atop the TNGA platform. It has a standard front crash prevention system that earned superior ratings for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash tests, avoiding collisions in the former category at both 12 mph and 25 mph and avoiding or significantly minimizing collisions in the latter.

The combustion Highlander is now offered only with the carryover 3.5-liter V6 making 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, while the Highlander Hybrid moved to a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder that pairs with two electric motors (or three in the all-wheel drive version) for a combined 243 hp. Toyota has not provided a torque figure for the hybrid.

Toyota sold 239,438 Highlanders in 2019, down 2.1%. It’s the company’s No. 2 SUV in sales behind the RAV4, and fifth top-selling model behind the Tacoma pickup, Corolla, Camry and RAV4.