It’s difficult not to be impressed by the sportier offerings manufactured by Toyota, like the GR Corolla or Supra. However, vehicles like the Toyota Highlander are the bread and butter of the automaker’s model range. While the brand’s cars and crossovers are seen as boring, they at least carry a stamp of reliability. So when Toyota introduces the new 2023 Highlander, there’s not a ton of excitement, but improvements under the hood might entice a little more of your interest.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander will come with a new 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the SUV’s gasoline-powered models. The 265-horsepower inline-four makes 30 horsepower less than the 3.5-liter V6 engine it replaces. Though, the new engine is an improvement in two areas, torque and emissions. The turbocharged engine produces 310 pound-feet of torque, a 17 percent increase when compared to the outgoing V6 engine’s benchmark of 263 pound-feet. Toyota also claims that this new engine reduces the Highlander’s NOx and NMOG emissions by more than 50 percent.
The more premium trim levels of the Highlander such as XSE, Limited and Platinum models offer all-wheel drive. The performance-minded system features Dynamic Torque Vectoring with Drive Mode Select and Driveline Disconnect. The Highlander Hybrid Limited and Platinum models also feature all-wheel drive. However, on hybrid models, the gas-powered engine is mounted to the front axle while the electric motor drives the rear wheels.
The new Toyota Highlander will be arriving at dealerships this month. The base model with the new turbocharged four-cylinder engine starts at $36,420. The hybrid model starts at an MSRP of $40,220. While every Toyota on the road can’t be a GR Corolla, it’s interesting to see the prolific Japanese automaker keep performance in mind for the Highlander.