2023 Toyota Highlander drops the V6 for a turbo inline-four

Toyota has been holding onto naturally aspirated V6s longer than many automakers for its mainstream products, but that seems to be coming to an end. The 2023 Toyota Highlander will be losing its V6 in favor of a turbocharged four-cylinder. It also gets some other small updates such as a new infotainment system.

The new engine is a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four, and it makes 265 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. That’s 46 more pound-feet of twist than the 3.5-liter V6 made, but power is down by 30 horses. The four-cylinder also gets the same 24 mpg combined as the V6, though Toyota claims lower NOx and NMOG (non-methane organic gas) emissions. Towing capacity remains the same at 5,000 pounds, and the engine can be paired with the same eight-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive. The hybrid powertrain continues to be available, as does the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system for XSE, Limited and Platinum models with the turbo engine.

The other main changes to the Highlander have to do with screens and infotainment. All Highlanders now get the touchscreen infotainment system that made its debut in the Lexus NX. It features natural language recognition and over-the-air updates, plus wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The standard size infotainment screen is 8 inches, but a 12.3-inch screen is available as an option on some trims and standard on others. The instrument panel has been updated with bigger screens, too. The L and LE trims move up to a 7-inch display in their instrument clusters instead of the 4.2-inch one from last year. On higher trims, a fully-digital instrument panel is available measuring 12.3 inches, rather than the 7-inch screen and physical dials previously featured.

A few other small tweaks are scattered across the range. Highlanders with wireless phone charging now have the charger in the center stack for easier access. XLE and XSE trims now have foot-activated power liftgates, and Limited and Platinum trims get standard power-folding mirrors. The sporty XSE and Hybrid Bronze Edition models continue to be available, and a couple new colors for the interior and exterior are available.

Exact timing and pricing for the 2023 Highlander haven’t been announced, but it should go on sale sometime this year. In the mean time, if you want the 2022 Highlander V6, strike while the iron is hot. 

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