2020 Toyota Highlander: All-New SUV Teased And Ready For NY Show Debut

Toyota’s next-generation 2020 Highlander crossover is scheduled to make its official public debut at the New York International Auto Show next Wednesday, April 17th at 9:10 a.m EDT.

Ahead of its unveiling, the Japanese automaker has sought the services of augmented reality artist Michael Murphy in order to create a 3D illusion that sees the Highlander suspended on nearly-invisible strings like something out of the ending of Interstellar.

A more dynamic design

This very same 3D rendering will also be projected into the night sky on buildings around New York City leading up to the show, allowing people the chance to admire some of the 2020 Highlander’s new design lines, including what Toyota describes as a “powerful stance with a modern, sophisticated attitude.”

As for how long it took Murphy to create the 3D illusion, apparently that was a two-month long process. He began by creating 3D printouts using a rendering of the car, before hand-painting each piece. In the end, 200 individual pieces was strategically placed to make the 2020 Highlander appear three-dimensional as if floating through the air.

What does it really look like?

We brought you images of a prototype back in February that didn’t have those annoying cardboard panels applied to the bodywork, like older test cars. Thanks to the more conventional camouflage, we could tell that the 2020 Highlander looked slightly bigger than the current model, while featuring a RAV4-inspired design with a large grille and sleek headlights that seem to push back into front fenders.

Still, we expect the Highlander to feature an overall elegant design compared to the youthful RAV4, using a more angled D-pillar.

While no specifics have been released to the public, we believe Toyota has focused on helping the Highlander lose a bit of weight, while also giving it more efficient powertrains – meaning some type of an electrified variant is definitely in the cards.


  • dumblikeyou2

    As nice as this nameplate is, it seems to be the choice of dirtbags with families in recent years.

    • man

      Is the whole family thing making you super jelly 🙂

    • Patrick Bong

      Is the Tundra the choice of families with dirtbags?

  • Rocket

    A larger Highlander means Toyota will finally have a real player in the 3-row segment. But now they’ve created a sizable gap in the lineup. Venza 2.0?

    • man

      AWD Camry Sport Wagon like the old Honda Crosstour would work, but Toyota can sell Highlander at higher profit margins, so unlikely.

      • Rocket

        That’s essentially what the Venza was, which proved to be not macho enough for a crossover and not sporty enough for a wagon. Plus it had a cheap, poorly designed interior and a rough-but-not-remotely-sporty ride. Hopefully Toyota learned from their mistakes.

        • MarketAndChurch

          Not to mention that there are many people who want a larger SUV without the 3-rows, and don’t want an SUV that is too large because it has 3-rows. Something with more room than a Rav4, where 5 people can sit with a lot of space for them and their stuff, but something that is also not as long or wide as a 3-row crossover.

  • ME

    There goes new Santa Fe sales.

    • Rocket

      Different class. More like the Palisade, but don’t worry too much for Hyundai, they’ll be fine. It’s Honda and Nissan that have reason to be concerned.

      • NoMan2015

        Exactly; Toyota doesn’t really have something that directly competes with the Santa Fe, Edge, Murano, Passport…at least not yet. I’d wager we’ll see something to slot in between the RAV-4 and the Highlander in the next year or two.

        • man

          That will be 2 years too late with the new Honda Passport out already. Got a nice V6 in that.

          • Rocket

            The decision likely would have been made before they decided to enlarge the Highlander, which means development would already be well underway. Assuming there is a new model coming, we could see it soon.

          • NoMan2015

            Agreed. The Highlander is the perfect example of this. We only saw one set of spy shots a month or two ago, and here it is about to debut. Toyota is amazing at keeping things under wraps until just before they debut. We could see something in that segment by this fall from them.

          • NoMan2015

            Given how popular this segment has become and how many new additions there are to it, I hardly think buyers will care if it debuts next year or the year after. It will still sell a ton…and by that time people might be trading in their Passports after two years…

        • .. EL CHAPO THA GREAT 🤴🏻

          What about the forgotten Blazer?

          • NoMan2015

            Blazer too, I just wasn’t making an exhaustive list.

      • .. EL CHAPO THA GREAT 🤴🏻

        Nissan? The last time i heard, the pathfinder was still struggling with their sales

        • Rocket

          All the more reason for them to be concerned, right? First the Ascent followed by the Koreans, and now a more competitive Highlander.

  • no25

    I’m digging the shape so far! Also, applause to a creative way of teasing it, Toyota

  • Harry_Wild

    Looks like the current Highlander! That is good! How about a more powerful engine option, Toyota?

  • charlotteharry57

    Looks more like a refresh than an all-new model. Following the very controversial RAV4 redo (and mostly lukewarm reviews), this is probably a very smart move.

    • PhilMcGraw

      It’s not a refresh. That I can guarantee you. It’ll be built on the new TNGA platform.

      No model “refresh” gets built on entirely new platforms and has entirely bigger dimensions.

      • NoMan2015

        …Pretty sure the comment was just saying it LOOKS like a refresh, not that it actually is one.

        • PhilMcGraw

          Ok and it won’t look like a refresh either. If you look at the front end it looks very different from the Highlander already in production. The entire grille is different and the lights are different as well. It will also be larger in every dimension. So, no, it will not even “look” like a refresh.

          • NoMan2015

            Dude…chill. The side profile looks quite similar, no one is talking about anything besides this teaser. You couldn’t see anything in the spy pics of the side detailing. Lots have seen that similarity on the other sites I follow

          • PhilMcGraw

            I am chill. It seems that you enjoy being correct and not like being told otherwise.

            And the article does include the spy photos that clearly show the front so I’m not sure how you can say “no one is talking about anything besides this teaser”. Perhaps you should’ve read the entire article? I’m not sure.

          • NoMan2015

            …keep on commenting lol. You’ve been correcting me and the original comment, not the other way around.

          • PhilMcGraw

            Ok I’ll keep commenting then.

          • NoMan2015

            Let’s wait until we see the full thing…perhaps?

  • Dennis Scipio

    I can’t wait to see how the new Highlander will stack up compared to the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride for example.

  • ErnieB

    But it looks just as boring as the current one. I don’t see how this is an attractive vehicle.. The Telluride and the Explorer are so much nicer.

    • .. EL CHAPO THA GREAT 🤴🏻

      The new explorer is worst than the current one, what are you talking about?

    • songoku64

      New explorer is probably the ugliest in this segment, love that’s rear drive tho


    Next stop, LA auto show is where the next gen sienna will be debut

  • WalthamDan

    Looks like someone grabbed the ends and stretched it. Windows and doors in the profile look shorter and slightly longer, Then they added a RAV4 front end and some stretched tail lights. Please dump the default ECO setting. Its still driving me nuts after two years.

  • SpongeBob99Swell
  • Paul

    After that teaser video I need to go get my meds.

  • timii

    I can bet they’ll give it the Camry V6. And a four cylinder. Still not better than the telluride

  • Super Rob

    I want a 35mpg Hybrid. Honda should be coming out soon with the Pilot hybrid.

  • 31/12/2999

    Oh great another Land Rover

  • محمد علي

    Looks like a hybrid between Rav4 shape, Mazda CX rear and a Lexus face.

  • Jason Panamera

    If it won’t sell well, it will be nolander.

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