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Toyota upped their game with the new 2023 Highlander and its turbo 4-cylinder. The hybrid version would still my favorite, though. The Ascent still has more 3rd row legroom. The competition is getting fierce in the SUV arena.

The new turbo 4-cylinder on the Highlander gets the same mpg's as the outgoing V6. Manufacturers are trying reduce emissions and that is what the turbo does to some extent. Will Highlander owners miss the old V6, probably so. How do you like the placement of the volume knob - nearer the passenger than the driver? That's so the passenger can turn up the music, when she gets tired of hearing you blabber on about nothing.
Lots of changes announced!
  • Gas models will be turbo-charged 2.4L engines, with same EPA rating as V6 has now. It will still have auto stop/start.
  • Dual 12.3-inch LED screens standard on both Limited and Platinum, one of which replaces the instrument cluster.
  • Single 12.3-inch screen becomes optional on XLE and XSE
  • Content will fill the entire center 12.3" screen
  • Limited and Platinum get power-folding mirrors.
  • Gets the new "Toyota Audio Multimedia" system, including wireless AA/CP
  • Qi charger moved out of center console and into dash (in shelf, below radio/center screen)
  • XLE and XSE get kick sensor for power back door along with Limited and Platinum
  • New exterior color "Cypress" (green, currently available on Sienna)
  • Darker interior accents on Beige and Caramel will be black instead of brown
  • Bronze Edition available in both gas and hybrid
  • XSE gets new black 20" wheels
  • Second row seats: Bench standard on L, LE; Captains Chairs standard on all other trims (gas and hybrid). Bench available as an option on XLE gas, XLE hybrid, and Limited gas.
The Service Connect trial has been shortened from 10 years to 3 years, meaning that's how long remote start from the key fob would work for free IF it's even equipped with remote start from the fob. (Press release doesn't mention that.)

 

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2.4L engines, with same EPA rating as V6 has now. It will still have auto stop/start.
Lost me right there. Maybe auto manufacturers are trying to use that feature to push people toward EV's... it can't just be for EPA numbers. Its absolutely awful!
Having just experienced the shudder of a slipping CVT and driving a rental with that 'feature' it feels exactly the same. Its a Santa Fe I'm driving so maybe Toyota did it better, but considering the experience has been similar in every car I've driven with auto stop/start its a no-go for me. I'd rather pay $100k for a 3 row EV, if there was one available, than be handed keys to anything with auto start/stop. Did I mention I don't like that feature?
 

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2021 Ascent Touring
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Lost me right there. Maybe auto manufacturers are trying to use that feature to push people toward EV's... it can't just be for EPA numbers. Its absolutely awful!
Having just experienced the shudder of a slipping CVT and driving a rental with that 'feature' it feels exactly the same. Its a Santa Fe I'm driving so maybe Toyota did it better, but considering the experience has been similar in every car I've driven with auto stop/start its a no-go for me. I'd rather pay $100k for a 3 row EV, if there was one available, than be handed keys to anything with auto start/stop. Did I mention I don't like that feature?
It's flawless on the hybrids, for obvious reasons. But I've never driven a fully ICE car with auto start/stop that did it well. Even the BMW/Mini system is crap (on both my wife's Cooper Countryman JCW and my friend's M6).
 
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