New Toyota Highlander spied with chiseled body, loses cardboard cladding
12 February 2019 - Autoblog
It still looks like a big RAV4
A new Toyota Highlander is on its way, and this is the second time one of our spy shooters has caught it out testing. Initially, we saw a Highlander with bizarre cardboard cladding, but this prototype is outfitted in more traditional car camouflage. And boy has Toyota covered it up.
Some details are still recognizable through the camo such as the grille and headlights. It's easy to tell the grille on this generation of Highlander apart from the grille on the old, especially when they're lined up right next to each other. There appear to be curved ridges showing through the black, unlike the straight bars we see on the Highlander directly behind it. Much thinner, LED headlights are displayed alongside the new grille, poking through their shrouding. The side mirrors have new mounting points and are shaped differently, too.
We clearly aren't meant to see much more of the SUV beyond that, because Toyota has it well and truly covered. That said, the new sheet metal's outline is more prominent and visible under the heavy fabric than it was under sheets of cardboard. This crossover looks like it's going to take after the new, chiseled RAV4. This is a good thing as far as we're concerned, because the new RAV4 is a huge improvement over its predecessor's styling. Maybe it'll even inspire Toyota to give the TRD team a go like they did with the just-revealed RAV4 TRD Off-Road.
Perhaps the biggest question now will be the vehicle's rear. A big tent-like outcropping is positioned in the back to make sure we can't determine any sort of angle or shape on the D-pillar. Expect something a bit edgier than the generally bland Highlander of today, but Toyota probably won't be giving up any functionality for a tapered roof design.
When the Highlander comes out, the big news will most likely be its platform. Toyota is expected to move it onto the much improved TNGA platform underpinning most new Toyota passenger cars we see nowadays. Competition is ramping up in the midsize three-row SUV segment with the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride being completely new entries. Ford just revamped the Explorer, too, so Toyota will have plenty of fresh competition for this reborn Highlander.