Can a Highlander tow a camper? (a complete review)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can a Highlander tow a camper? We will discuss Toyota Highlander towing capacity, engine, performance and behaviour on the road.

Can a Highlander tow a camper?

A Toyota Highlander is more than capable of towing a caravan. The towing capacity of the vehicle will vary, depending on the model, but it is usually between 1500 and 5000 lbs, which is more than enough for a light caravan, camper or trailer. 

Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity

SR 4×4 Double Cab V6 6-Speed Automatic Short Bed
TRD Sport 4×4 Double Cab V6 6-Speed Manual Short BedLimited 4×4 Double Cab V6 6-Speed AutomaticTRD Pro 4×4 Double Cab V6 6-Speed Automatic Short Bed
Towing EquipmentStandardStandardStandard
Tongue Load (lb.)Standard w/ V6 Tow Package350/640680/640660/640
Towing Capacity (lb.)Standard w/ V6 Tow Package3500/64006800/64006600/6400

How to install a towing hitch to a Toyota Highlander Hybrid 

The Toyota Highlander is one of the few hybrids that can tow a trailer. The 2011 model has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. This will allow you to tow a medium-size cargo, boat or caravan. 

Trailer safe begins with proper trailer lighting. Before each trip, make sure the trailer lights are operational and comply with state and local regulations. Installing a trailer wiring harness on the Highlander can be done with a few basic tools. 

Things You Will Need:

  • Screwdriver
  • 12 volt light
  • pole wiring
  1. Open the tailgate of the Highlander and remove the bolts that hold the taillights to the vehicle. Pull the lights out of the orbits.
  1. Turn the vehicle’s ignition to the first position and activate the vehicle’s indicator lights.
  1. Clip a 12-volt test light wire for a ground connection near one of the taillights. Any bare metal surface, such as a rack element or the unpainted screw, will work.
  1. Check the wires feeding the taillight with the test light. When the bulb turns on they have found the power source for the indicator. Repeat this step to find the correct cables for the left and right signals.
  1. Plug the brown wire into the 4-way connector with the correct wire for vehicle position lights with a whiskey connector. These work by placing a wire in each slot and closing the latch.
  1. Connect the green wire from the harness to the source of the right turn signal, the yellow wire to the left turn signal, and the white wire for the high ground. A typical ground wire on a Toyota is black or white.
  1. Wrap the connections with electrical tape and connect the loose wires to the body with cable ties.
  1. Run the plug end of the connector through the light plug and past the edge of the interior body panel so that it is in the cargo area.

Reviewing the new Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander has a length of 4,950 mm and promises enough space for all seven passengers. According to the technical data, the second row of seats can slide on a length of 180 mm, so that the passengers on the last row can also benefit from generous legroom. 

Toyota mentions that the Highlander’s trunk has a capacity between 658 litres and 1,909 litres, depending on the position of the last two rows of seats.

For the interior, Toyota has prepared an infotainment system with a 12.3-inch diagonal screen, a head-up display, a system for wireless charging of mobile phones, ventilated seats and a central rear-view mirror capable of capturing images of the rear traffic from a video camera so that visibility is not diminished due to the position of the seats in the back row.

The hybrid system delivers 244 horsepower (engine torque has not yet been communicated), and the electric motors are backed by a Nickel-Metal (NiMH) battery located under the second row of seats. The AWD-all-wheel drive system is also part of the Japanese manufacturer’s offer.

According to Toyota representatives, Highlander will have an average combined consumption of 6.6 litres / 100 kilometres, while the average CO2 emissions will be 146 grams/kilometre.

Toyota has also prepared a system for selecting driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail).

The Japanese manufacturer also emphasizes the safety offered by Highlander. Thus, the seven-seater SUV will be available with the following technologies: automatic emergency haymaking system with function for detecting pedestrians both day and night, adaptive cruise control, function for recognizing traffic signs and an assistant for maintaining the lane rolling.

Toyota Highlander: Engine and behaviour

The Toyota Highlander features a next-generation Toyota hybrid engine. Only the Yaris has more advanced engineering since although the Toyota Highlander arrives in Europe in 2021, it is the same car that began to be marketed in the United States in 2019.

Its total power is 248 hp and four-wheel drive. What does this imply? Like the Toyota RAV4, it incorporates two electric motors, one on each axis. The thermal block adds 190 hp of power (12 extra compared to the RAV4), while the front electric motor is the most powerful of the two available: 134 kW. Behind, the power is 40 kW.

This allows us to move the Toyota Highlander with amazing ease despite its size and weight (over two tons). It is surprising how this engine is able to move the car with great smoothness, with such low consumption. Approved 7 l / 100 km, although we stayed, during the test, at 7.7 l / 100 km.

This is because the Toyota Highlander, at speeds above 70 km / h, disconnects the four-wheel-drive to circulate only with the front end. An act that increases efficiency, like the reconnection of the all-wheel-drive when braking or decelerating: the objective is to achieve a greater regeneration of electrical energy. In this way, the support provided by the electric motors is always guaranteed.

In terms of driving modes, it has three usual modes: ECO, normal and sport. The first softens the use of air conditioning and acceleration to reduce fuel consumption. The normal version is the standard, while the sport version stiffens the steering and makes the pedal more sensitive to the touch.

In addition to these three, there is the EV Mode, which allows driving in 100% electric mode for 2-3 kilometres in case of having the battery fully charged (1.9 kWh of nickel-metal hydride) and the trail mode, specific for outdoor areas. asphalt, which makes stability control more aggressive. In fact, according to Toyota, the Highlander is capable of transferring 80% of the engine torque to the rear axle.

This allows that, with good winter tires, you can enjoy the snow without problems. The car on muddy or snow-covered tracks moves like a fish in water, although it is several steps below the Toyota Land Cruiser, the brand’s specialist for offroad territory. In exchange for this loss of off-road power, we came across a car with pleasant suspensions for driving on the highway and smoothness of driving that is inappropriate for a vehicle of this size.

What do you think? Please let us know if you have any comments or questions about the content.

FAQ on Can a Highlander tow a camper?

How good is the Toyota Highlander?

Toyota Highlander is a very good and agile truck, has good acceleration, feels very light and takes off with ease, at the change of the traffic light or when you merge onto the road. On the performance of the automatic box, the changes are fast, precise and docile we liked.

How many kilometres per litre does a Highlander drive?

Something to keep in mind is the fuel economy, which as in any three-row SUV, is not high. In the city, we averaged 5.1 km / l, and on the highway – going and back from CDMX to Cuernavaca – the average ended at 10.4 km / l.

Where is the Toyota Highlander made?

The Highlander is assembled in a factory located in Fukuoka, Japan.

Which is better: Toyota Highlander or Kia Sorento?

The Kia Sorento obtains its maximum score as a Good and cheap car, in which it reaches a score of 7 out of 10 possible points. … The Toyota Highlander Hybrid stands out especially as a Good and cheap car, in which it gets a 5 score.

What engine does the 2020 Highlander bring?

The 2020 Highlander will be powered by the same engine as before, a 3.5-litre V-6 that delivers 295 hp and 263 pound-feet of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. 


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