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The 2020 Toyota Highlander Looks Redesigned beneath Some Weird Camouflage

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 1/16/2019 Joey Capparella
a car parked on the side of a road: The next-gen 2020 Toyota Highlander three-row SUV is soon to get redesigned and will transition to a new platform.© Glenn Paulina - Car and Driver The next-gen 2020 Toyota Highlander three-row SUV is soon to get redesigned and will transition to a new platform.

What It Is: The next generation of Toyota's mid-size SUV, the Highlander, wearing some distracting (and bizarre) camouflage so that we can't see its styling. Nevertheless, it's easy to tell that its shape won't change all too much with the impending redesign for 2020, as its profile looks similar to the current car overall. It will surely remain a three-row crossover slotting in between the RAV4 and the Sequoia, anchoring the family-oriented end of Toyota's SUV lineup for those who don't want the stigma associated with the Sienna minivan.

Why It Matters: Even as the current-generation Highlander has aged, its sales have continued to rise. It moved 244,511 units in 2018, 13 percent more than in 2017, and it is the second-best-selling three-row SUV in the country, after the Ford Explorer. But with a newly redesigned Explorer soon to hit the market, and Hyundai and Kia doubling down on this segment with their new Palisade and Telluride crossovers, Toyota needs to up the ante to stay competitive.

Platform: Like much of the rest of Toyota's lineup, the new Highlander will move to a version of the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA). These new platforms promise improved driving dynamics and more refinement, and we've been impressed with the improvements bestowed on the new Camry and Avalon, which ride on these same underpinnings.

Powertrain: Expect an updated version of Toyota's 3.5-liter V-6 engine to be the main powertrain; we wouldn't be surprised if the current base four-cylinder engine is dropped. A hybrid will be in the cards, too, promising improved fuel economy that's likely to surpass the current Highlander hybrid's 29 mpg combined. The V-6 is likely to use an eight-speed automatic transmission with either front- or all-wheel drive, while the hybrid should have a continuously variable automatic (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive thanks to a rear-mounted electric motor.

Competitors: Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder.

Estimated Arrival and Price: The Highlander will make its debut sometime this spring and go on sale before the end of 2019. It probably won't cost much more than the current car, which starts at $32,425.

More on the Toyota Highlander on MSN Autos >>

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