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Foot-Activated 2020 Toyota Highlander Liftgate Easy to Use, Including Video Demo

Learn how to operate the hands-free, foot-activated power liftgate for 2020 Highlander.

When we first met the all-new fourth-generation 2020 Toyota Highlander earlier this year, we were introduced to an impressive evolution of the best-selling midsize SUV in the country. Sleek and sophisticated exterior and interior styling. More technology than ever before. Improved safety features designed to limit distractions and keep people safe.

Speaking of technology (and convenience and safety), one new feature will really help when you just don’t have enough free hands.

Meet the 2020 Highlander hands-free, foot-activated, height-adjustable power liftgate.

Available 2020 Toyota Highlander trim levels

All 2020 Toyota Highlanders LE grade and above have a power liftgate that can be operated by hand. However, when you move up in trim level to Limited and Platinum, both for 2020 Highlander Hybrid and gasoline models, your vehicle is equipped with foot-activated functionality as well.

2020 Toyota Highlander Limited AWD interior

On a slight tangent, you can also find this feature on the 2020 RAV4 as well.


VIDEO: Demo of foot-activated liftgate shows how easy this is to operate. Feel free to Subscribe to my Toyotajeff YouTube channel for an entire library of Toyota how-to videos, review videos and comparison videos.

How to use 2020 Highlander Power Liftgate

I feel this foot-activated liftgate function improves convenience for people who own a 2020 Highlander. Think of how many times you walk up to your vehicle with your hands full of groceries, sports bags, babies and baby gear or practically anything else. You are annoyed because you do not have even a free finger or hand to reach down and open the hatch. Being able to open your back liftgate with just your foot can make opening and closing much easier and you do not have to put anything down just to use it.

But is it simple to use?

I have toyed around with different motions and ways of using my feet to try and open the power liftgate. One way I tried is the easiest and seems to work every time.

Stand about two feet behind your rear bumper, right in the center of your Highlander. Kick with a motion as though you are about to kick a kickball. You will hear a beep and see taillights flash and then the tailgate will begin its rise.

Use the same “kickball kick” motion to close the tailgate.

Making adjustments to power liftgate

Your multi-information display behind the steering wheel is where you make adjustments, including turning the foot sensors on and off, as well as controlling the height adjustments of the liftgate.

2020 Toyota Highlander Limited kick sensor

Use the controls on the left side of your steering wheel to make changes. You especially want to make sure you have both the power liftgate and the foot sensors turned on. Height adjustment settings allow for 6 different possible heights and functions. Follow the picture displays to find your ideal height easily.

2020 Toyota Highlander Limited kick sensor hands-free liftgate

The nice thing about offering different pre-set height settings is that it makes opening and closing the back hatch simple, regardless of whether you are taller or shorter. One size fits all might be the appropriate thing to say.

Time for your thoughts on 2020 Toyota Highlander

One potential pitfall that Toyota is working on is that you are not able to install a tow hitch to Limited and Platinum trim levels while also being able to utilize the foot kick sensors for the liftgate. We are hoping this is remedied soon.

What do you think of the 2020 Highlander so far? Have you seen or bought one in person and how do you like it?

Do you think you would benefit from the foot-activated power liftgate?

Thanks for reading everyone. Please bookmark Torque News / Toyota News page for the latest Toyota news, how-to’s and reviews.

See you next story when I show you how to get the best mpg possible in your new 2020 Highlander Hybrid.

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Mark Day (not verified)    March 13, 2020 - 12:04AM

Balancing on one leg, while holding heavy goods, may not be the safest method of hatch opening. Maybe voice-recognition would be a better way.

mark oconnell (not verified)    April 20, 2020 - 11:00AM

do not buy this car for this feature, it works about one in one hundred times that we try to use it . not a very dependable feature. like everything else about vehicle

Kevin (not verified)    October 21, 2020 - 8:03PM

I agree with previous comments that the feature works about one in hundred times. I do it exactly as instructed and it is not reliable.

LB (not verified)    December 10, 2020 - 11:41AM

This feature may be sensitive to your specific Highlander. I found it works 7 of 10 times if I stand about a foot away from the trunk and use my right foot in a sweeping motion under the trunk (sweeping right to left). Hope it works for you guys...!