2023 Toyota Highlander Turbocharges the Crossover Experience

The 2023 Toyota Highlander Turbo Trucks OnToyota
The 2023 Toyota Highlander now features a 2.4-liter turbocharged I4 engine as the base model's powertrain.
The engine replaces the 2022 model's naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and produces 265 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander will start at $37,755 and should hit dealer showrooms this month.
Toyota's Highlander has been chugging for over 20 years and launched its fourth generation in 2019. Back then, the Highlander offered Toyota's crossover fans a new design while sticking with proven powertrains, starting with the requisite 3.5-liter V6 and Toyota's bread-and-butter hybrid system. To reduce the Highlander's emissions, for 2023 the 3.5-litre engine is out and in its place is a 2.4-litre turbocharged I4.
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The turbocharged four-cylinder is down 30 horsepower compared to the larger V6, with the base Highlander sending 265 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The four-cylinder cranks out the torque, though, beating the 3.5-liter's 263 lb-ft at 4700 rpm by 47 lb-ft at a lower 3000 rpm in the rev range. turbochargers work.
While you'd expect this to result in a significantly different driving experience, it really isn't that different. The turbo-four might not be quite as smooth as its V6 predecessor, and on occasion some extra noise was noticeable in the cabin (easily resolved by listening to the Encanto soundtrack or playing your favorite podcast), but the folks at Toyota do avoided aggressive tip-in tip-in and made the driving experience nearly identical to the outgoing 3.5-liter V6.
If you're wondering why Toyota is going to all the trouble and incurring the expense of replacing its beefy 3.5-litre V6, the answer is simple: emissions. Although the turbocharged I4 doesn't outperform the V6 in terms of fuel efficiency and only rakes in another mpg combined, Toyota says the turbocharged mill halves harmful NOx emissions. That means this machine is significantly more environmentally friendly than last year's base model.
As for the rest of the Highlanders: It's still good! Aside from the engine, the Highlander is dynamically virtually unchanged at launch since our time. It handles dips and dives well, has solid sight lines and offers solid comfort for family-conscious crossover shoppers. Almost as important as a new powertrain for the base model, the system of the Highlander Hybrid is unchanged.
It's worth noting that the Highlander's interior is still inviting. It has a revamped infotainment system that feels snappy and has solid native navigation, although many will likely jump straight to using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Seating seven or eight, depending on configuration, the Highlander will no doubt still fill the bill for minivan-averse buyers with a need for lots of seats.
Toyota only slightly increased the base price of its 2023 Highlander to $37,755 from the current model's starting price of $37,190. The new Highlander should be hitting school pickup lines nationwide this month.
Do you think Highlander customers will even notice the new powertrain? Tell us your thoughts below.

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