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Toyota News & Reviews

Toyota Highlander Limited AWD

The Toyota Highlander Limited AWD is the latest version of Toyota’s midsized crossover SUV. Redesigned in 2020, it offers three-row seating for up to eight passengers. Neighbors would not let us borrow their kids for the weekend, so we just pretended we were carrying that many. The Napleton News even faked a “Don’t make me stop this car” moment, to see what that felt like. (It brought back memories of 1970 era road trips, btw).

What’s the Toyota Highlander Limited AWD all about?

The right side hero shot of the Highlander.

For 2023, the Toyota Highlander features a single engine choice. Gone is the V6 engine from last year’s model. In its place is a new 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine delivering 265 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Although that’s fewer horsepower than the engine it replaces, it now has more torque and the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds. That, incidentally, is the same tow rating from last year’s V6 engine.

The 2.4-liter turbo engine powering the Highlander.

The Highlander comes with standard front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive an available add-on. It mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Toyota Highlander is available in several trim levels ranging from the base, Highlander L, the LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, Platinum, and Bronze Editions. There is also a Highlander Hybrid range with the Hybrid LE, Hybrid XLE, Hybrid Limited and Hybrid Platinum.

What about the looks of the Highlander Limited?

The Toyota Highlander drives away.

The Toyota Highlander follows the Toyota ethos of “make no waves.” Here, it truly doesn’t. Instead, we have a two-box design that has curvy mass-inducing power bulges throughout the design. These impart a massive look, while maintaining a low-key look that avoids boldness, and avoids looking dated.

Twenty-inch aluminum alloy wheels do their part to look appropriate for the overall size of the Highlander.

The inside line on the Toyota Highlander Limited AWD

The full width dashboard of the Toyota Highlander.

While the standard Highlander carries up to eight passengers in a two-three-three configuration, our tester was equipped with front buckets, a pair of captain’s chairs in the middle row and a three-wide folding rear seat. That’s seven by our count and would likely be the most popular seating arrangement available.

The front seats of the Highlander Limited.

Inside, users will find eight cupholders, a Qi wireless charger and dual 12.3-inch screens with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

From an entertainment standpoint, buyers of the two higher trim levels will be able to take advantage of a JBL highline audio system. The brand is from the same parent company known for Mark Levinson, Bang & Olufsen and Harman Kardon audio systems.

The rear cargo area of the Toyota Highlander.

Behind the wheel of the new Highlander Limited AWD.

Getting behind the wheel of is one of those no surprise experiences that we hope for in our lives. As with most other Toyotas, you get inside the vehicle, buckle up, push the starter button and be off.

Acceleration from the 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is quite stout considering that it’s missing two cylinders when compared to the older engine. The interior is quiet except for those times where you need maximum power such as when entering a highway. Otherwise, it never becomes intrusive as you approach cruising speed.

The all-wheel drive configuration gave us extra confidence while driving on wet South Florida roadways. Torque-vectoring helped to cut corners in a shorter fashion than if you actually had to tiptoe your way around a turn.

Overall, the new Toyota Highlander Limited AWD offered all you expect from the brand. Namely, high quality, great resale value and no surprises. In most cases, you can’t expect to get any better than that.

Rolling in the Toyota Highlander.

Toyota Highlander Limited AWD Specifications

2023 Toyota Highlander Limited AWD
Engine Type 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder
Horsepower 265 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 310 lb-ft @1,700 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy (Combined/City/Hwy) (24/21/28)
Suspension F/R MacPherson Strut / Multilink
Turning Circle 37.4 ft.
Also Available Hybrid, FWD, various trim levels.
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 5 star
Max Seating Capacity 8
Wheelbase 112.2 inches
Overall Length 194.9 inches
Width 76.0 inches
Height 65.3 inches
Cargo Room (Behind 1st, 2nd, 3rd row) 84.3/48.4/16.0 Cubic Feet
Headroom, Front 38.4 inches
Headroom, 2nd 39.4 inches
Headroom, 3rd 36.1 inches
Legroom, 1st 42.0 inches
Legroom, 2nd 38.7 inches
Legroom, 3rd 28.0 inches
Shoulder room, 1st row 59.0 inches
Shoulder room, 2nd row 58.4 inches
Shoulder room, 3rd row 55.0 inches

This post was published on July 20, 2023

Mark Elias

I've loved everything on wheels: Trains, Planes and definitely Automobiles. I am constantly in search of the latest in new technology, which makes our lives better each day, but will always respect the classics. You can't continue forward without first taking a look back at where you've been.

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