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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago in the AAA Green Car Guide, which initially focused entirely on rating fuel-efficient, low-emitting vehicles.

For the 2021 edition, we've expanded the focus of the guide to include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and the development of autonomous vehicles.

home Home » Search Results » 2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum AWD
How The Car Guide Rating Works
Test Results and Rankings:
The green cars tested by the ARC are evaluated on the basis of 13 categories: emissions, fuel economy, crashworthiness, braking, acceleration, handling, cargo-carrying capacity, ride quality, interior noise, ease of entry and exit, maneuverability, roominess, and visibility. The scores for the categories are totaled, and the cars are ranked from high to low.

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum AWD

Vehicle Type: SUV/Minivan Gasoline
 overall score
Category Ranking: 9
Vehicle Price
Base Price: $48,800
Price as Tested: $51,112
Fuel Information
Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 17.9
EPA City mpg20
EPA Highway mpg27
EPA Combined mpg23
with specific headlights
Advanced Safety Features
Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
Advanced Headlights [S]
Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
Blind-Spot Warning [S]
Forward-Collision Warning [S]
Lane-Departure Warning [S]
Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
[S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:
star star star star star
Overall Observations
Toyota has built its reputation providing comfortable, reliable transportation; the automaker maintains that tradition with its midsize Highlander SUV, redesigned for 2020. The Highlander's exterior is sleeker and more stylish than the outgoing model's - especially the grille and front fascia - but our testers gave the cabin layout and styling mixed reviews. The interior has some nice creature comforts, such as heated and cooled front seats and three-zone automatic climate control, but the materials quality is nothing special for a vehicle costing 50 grand. There's more cargo space behind the third-row seat than in the 2019 edition - but less than the competition's. All Highlanders come with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (295 hp) and an 8-speed automatic transmission. That combo is smooth and powerful enough to accelerate the big SUV safely up to highway speeds and also delivers decent fuel economy for the Highlander's size (23 mpg in combined driving). A hybrid option (see page TK) is available for those looking for even better gas mileage. In sum, the Highlander provides its occupants with a serene, compliant, and comfortable ride - just don't expect an exciting driving experience.
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Strengths and Weaknesses
Strong Points
  • Quiet, spacious interior
  • Toyota Safety Sense ADAS, including LED adaptive headlights
  • Lots of features for the price
Weak Points
  • Polarizing interior style
  • Poor rearview-camera quality
  • Touchy throttle
Vehicle Specifications
Model year tested: 2020
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/5
Curb weight (lbs): 4500.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 194.9 / 76.0 / 68.1
Wheelbase (in): 112.2
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 36/36,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S
Front and rear tire size: 235/55 R20
Max towing capacity (lbs): 5000
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Auto 8-speed
Drivetrain type: All wheel
Engine/motor: 3.5L V6 DOHC
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 295 @ 6600
Test Data
Test Vehicle Scores
Advanced Safety Features: 10.00
Fuel Efficiency: 3.51
EPA Emissions Score: 5.00
Acceleration: 5.03
Braking: 5.64
Crashworthiness: 5.52
Handling: 7.20
Ride Quality: 7.86
Interior Size: 4.09
Easy of Entry and Exit: 7.49
Visibility: 8.01
Interior Noise: 6.60
Cargo Capacity: 4.95
2020 BMW X3 XDrive30e
More Details
Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Hybrid
mpg: 21/27
Price as Tested:  $65,020
 out of 130
2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place SUV/Minivan
More Details
Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 127/114
Price as Tested:  $53,190
 out of 130
2020 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE
More Details
Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 80/72
Price as Tested:  $84,276
 out of 130
2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Small
More Details
Vehicle Type:  Small
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 127/108
Price as Tested:  $43,735
 out of 130
2020 Volvo S90 T8 E-AWD R-Design
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Large
More Details
Vehicle Type:  Large
Fuel Type:  Hybrid
mpg: 28/31
Price as Tested:  $73,840
 out of 130
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