2021 Toyota Highlander XSE Shows Its Sporty Side In Chicago
6 February 2020 - motor1
It's not just an appearance package, either.
Toyota is making a full-on assault on the 2020 Chicago Auto Show with trucks and SUVs. Among the various special editions of the Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner is this athletic Highlander which is not a special edition. It's a sporty new XSE model – a first for Toyota's three-row crossover – promising a bit more street cred for family outings.
There are some obvious appearance changes compared to the standard Highlander. As with most sporty upgrades, you'll find an abundance of black trim around the headlights, on the roof rails, side-mirror caps, window trim, and up front with the grille and lower fascia. Actually those components are redesigned and exclusive to the XSE, with the fascia receiving a larger lower intake and a chin spoiler. The headlights are XSE specific as well, and at the rear, there's a chrome exhaust tip to boot. Of course, no sport package would be complete without exclusive wheels on the outside and carbon fiber trim on the inside. Red and black trim for the interior completes the look.
However, the XSE is not strictly an appearance upgrade. The 3.5-liter V6 still makes the same 295 horsepower (220 kilowatts) as the standard model, but Toyota does firm up the suspension a bit for better poise on the street. The electric power steering is also recalibrated to offer more of a sporty feel. Otherwise, the XSE can be equipped with either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive, with the latter capable of sending 50 percent of its power to the rear wheels.
Toyota doesn't mention pricing for the new XSE, but the company says it will slot into the Highlander lineup between the XLE and Limited models. It will go on sale this fall for the 2021 model year.