The redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander is better than its predecessor in almost every category: it’s roomier, comfier, quieter, smoother, more efficient, and more evolved. Evolution comes at a price, and of all the superlatives attached to the Highlander, “most expensive” might be the most noteworthy.

Though the bestselling three-row crossover SUV is only about $1,500 more expensive than the outgoing model, on average, the range-topping Platinum Hybrid eclipses $50,000. It’s just a number, but it requires a psychological leap worth scrutiny.

Our gas-only Platinum tester exceeded $51,000. That’s about $4,000 more than a loaded 2020 Kia Telluride or 2020 Hyundai Palisade. On the other side, the 2020 Ford Explorer Platinum can tip $60,000. That’s just goofy.

It makes the 2020 Highlander Platinum seem reasonable; 1 in 7 Highlander shoppers spend up for the…

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