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Deep-Sixing the Six: The 2023 Toyota Highlander

2023 Toyota Highlander front 3/4 view

The big story for the 2023 Toyota Highlander is one of subtraction.

2023 Toyota Highlander hood up

2023 Toyota Highlander four-cylinder turbo

The V6 engine option is gone---replaced by a 2.4-liter turbocharged four. And it's not a straight horse(power)trade, either. The V6 made 295 horsepower---the four is only good for 265.

But hey---gotta be better on EPA fuel economy estimates, right? Yeah, kinda---20 city/27 highway becomes 21 city/28 highway. Worse, it's loud. Not good loud, either. Four-cylinder bordering on agricultural loud. And no quicker---zero to 60 is still a 7.5-second proposition.

2023 Toyota Highlander rear seat

2023 Toyota Highlander front seats

2023 Toyota Highlander instrument panel

Our tester was the 2023 Toyota Highlander Limited AWD. Base price, including destination, $49,360. As usual, that comes with a ton of standard equipment, including Toyota's comprehensive Safety Sense 2.5+ active safety suite, 20-inch chromed wheels, LED headlights, taillights and fog lights, heated power-folding outside mirrors with puddle lamps, a hands-free power liftgate, a power moonroof, a 12.3-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 11-speaker JBL audio system with subwoofer and amp, heated and ventilated power front seats, memory setting for the driver's seat, integrated second-row sunshades, and wireless charging.

2023 Toyota Highlander steering wheel and gauge cluster

2023 Toyota Highlander center console

2023 Toyota Highlander center stack

There was only one extra-cost option on our test vehicle---$850 for a panoramic view monitor. So the bottom line of the window sticker comes to $50,210.

2023 Toyota Highlander front view

2023 Toyota Highlander side view

2023 Toyota Highlander rear view

The Highlander is a great choice as a vehicle in and of itself. Our workaround on the engine noise issue would be to skip the four and get the Highlander Hybrid. It's smoother, quieter, nearly as quick and the EPA fuel economy estimate leaps to 35 city/34 highway. You'll make up the tiny difference in price with fuel savings very quickly.


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