So, you have a big family but can’t stomach the idea of a minivan. Well, there’s a three-row crossover SUV out there for you — in fact, there’s quite a few of them. One of the most popular is the Toyota Highlander, which has been completely redesigned for 2020. Making its debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, the 2020 Highlander is nicer on the inside, more fuel-efficient and has a little more storage space … but not much.
Related: More New York Auto Show Coverage
The outgoing generation of the Highlander wasn’t a bad-looking SUV, but it was kind of aggressive, especially with a giant grille. This redesign is a lot cleaner, with a smaller grille and a little bit tidier appearance overall. And it’s larger — about 2.4 inches longer.
When you get inside, there’s still lots of storage space, including the nice shelf that the prior generation introduced. There’s now a divider in the middle along the dashboard so your phone won’t slide away when you take a corner. There’s still a big ol’ compartment underneath the center armrest and what seems like an upgrade in cabin materials.
There’s a big center display screen now, too — up to 12.3 inches in diagonal size, with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Unfortunately, only the highest of five trim levels gets that large display. The others get an 8-inch screen, which is more run-of-the-mill.
In the second row, the seats seem to be a bit higher off the ground than the prior generation, which should help if you have adult passengers. However, the third row was very tight in the prior generation of the Highlander, and that doesn’t seem to have changed with the redesign. It’s still very confined and low to the floor, with wafer-thin seats. Toyota says the second row has more sliding range, which might allow you to negotiate some extra room for your knees, but you’ll still be squatting on the ground back there — not very comfortable if you’re an adult.
More From Cars.com:
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- Throwing Nightshade: Toyota to Debut New Camry, Highlander Packages in L.A.
- What’s the Cost of Filling Up a 2018 Toyota Highlander?
Behind the third row, the prior generation was dinged for a pretty tight cargo area with all three rows of seats upright. Toyota is still being coy about cargo specs, but we measured and it does seem like the new Highlander has a couple of inches of extra room compared to the prior generation.
For more information, check out the video above to learn about the redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander as seen at the 2019 New York auto show, where we got up close to it.
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