What Is Power Mode in Toyota Highlander? [All You Need to Know]

The Toyota Highlander is a popular mid-size SUV that has been a fan favorite for many years. With its spacious interior, smooth ride, and ample features, it’s no wonder why so many people choose this vehicle for their daily commutes or family road trips.

However, one feature often overlooked is the Power Mode, which can enhance the driving experience for those who want a bit more oomph behind the wheel.

In this article, We’ll dive into what Power Mode is in the Toyota Highlander and how it can benefit you if you crave a more dynamic driving experience. So, buckle up, and let’s explore the power of the Toyota Highlander!

What is Power Mode in Toyota Highlander?

Power Mode is a feature in Toyota Highlander that adjusts the vehicle’s transmission shift points and throttles mapping to provide more responsive acceleration and improved throttle response.

When activated, Power Mode increases the engine’s RPM and makes the throttle more sensitive, resulting in a more dynamic driving experience.

This feature is particularly useful when drivers need to overtake other vehicles, merge onto highways, or climb hills. Below are some of its features:

  • Improved throttle response
  • Transmission shift points
  • Increased RPM
  • Sportier driving experience

How Does Power Mode Work in Toyota Highlander

Power Mode is a feature in Toyota Highlander that enhances the vehicle’s performance and driving experience. When Power Mode is activated, it changes the transmission shift points and throttle mapping, providing more power and responsiveness.

Also, when driving in Power Mode, the vehicle becomes more responsive to the driver’s input.

For example, when the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the vehicle will accelerate more quickly, providing a more dynamic driving experience.

This feature is particularly useful when overtaking other vehicles, merging onto highways, or driving up steep hills.

Benefits of Power Mode in Toyota Highlander

1. Improved Responsiveness

One of the most significant benefits of Power Mode is the increased responsiveness it provides. By adjusting the throttle response and transmission shift points, Power Mode makes the vehicle more responsive to driver inputs, allowing for more precise control and an engaging driving experience.

2. Better Performance

Power Mode also performs better by increasing the engine RPM, power, and torque. This is particularly useful when driving up steep hills, towing heavy loads, or navigating challenging road conditions.

3. Increased Towing Capacity

With its enhanced performance, Power Mode can help increase the vehicle’s towing capacity. This is especially useful for drivers who need to tow heavy loads, such as boats or trailers.

4. Improved Fuel Efficiency

While Power Mode does consume more fuel, it can also help improve fuel efficiency by optimizing the engine’s performance. Power Mode allows the vehicle to operate more efficiently, providing better acceleration and performance.

5. Enhanced Driving Experience

Perhaps the most significant benefit of Power Mode is its enhanced driving experience. The increased throttle response and improved performance make driving more enjoyable, while the sportier driving dynamics add to the fun.

6. More Confident Driving

The improved throttle response and transmission shift points in Power Mode can also help drivers feel more confident on the road. Whether it’s merging onto a busy highway or passing another vehicle on a narrow road, the increased responsiveness of Power Mode can help drivers feel more in control.

7. Better Handling

Power Mode can also help improve the handling of the Toyota Highlander. With its sportier driving dynamics, Power Mode allows drivers to take corners and curves more smoothly and confidently, providing a more engaging and satisfying driving experience.

8. Faster Heating and Cooling

Power Mode can also affect the heating and cooling systems in Toyota Highlander. When activated, Power Mode can increase the fan speed and adjust the air conditioning system to provide faster cooling or heating, depending on the weather conditions.

9. Improved Acceleration

Power Mode can provide better acceleration, making it easier to overtake other vehicles or accelerate quickly from a standstill. This can be particularly useful when quick acceleration is needed to avoid a collision or navigate a difficult road condition.

How to Activate Power Mode in Toyota Highlander

Step 1: Start Your Vehicle

Before activating Power Mode, ensure your Toyota Highlander is turned on and in Park or Neutral.

Step 2: Locate the Drive Mode Button

The Drive Mode button is typically located near the gear selector or on the center console. It may have an icon of a car with a curved arrow or the letters “S” or “SPORT.”

Step 3: Press the Button

Press the Drive Mode button to cycle through the different driving modes until you reach Power Mode. The instrument cluster may display a message indicating that Power Mode has been activated.

Step 4: Adjust Your Driving

Once Power Mode is activated, you’ll notice a more responsive throttle and a sportier driving experience. You can now enjoy the benefits of increased acceleration, better towing capacity, and improved handling.

When to Use Power Mode in Toyota Highlander

1. Accelerating Quickly

Power Mode can be useful when accelerating quickly, such as when merging onto a highway or passing another vehicle. It provides a more immediate response from the engine, allowing you to get up to speed more quickly.

2. Towing a Heavy Load

If you’re towing a trailer or hauling a heavy load, Power Mode can provide better towing capacity and improved performance. It lets you control your vehicle better and helps prevent the engine from straining under the extra weight.

3. Driving on Hilly Terrains

Power Mode can help you control your vehicle better when driving on steep hills or mountainous terrain. It provides better acceleration and improved handling, allowing you to navigate inclines and declines easily.

4. Enjoying a Sportier Driving Experience

If you want a more engaging and dynamic driving experience, Power Mode can provide a sportier feel to your vehicle. It allows you to enjoy better performance and improved handling, which can be especially fun on winding roads or in other challenging driving conditions.

Note: It’s also important to note that Power Mode may not be suitable for all driving conditions. For example, using Power Mode on wet or slippery roads may reduce traction and decrease control over your vehicle. Similarly, using Power Mode in heavy traffic or other crowded driving conditions may not be appropriate, as it can increase the risk of accidents or collisions.

Common Issues of the Toyota Highlander Power Mode

1. Decreased Fuel Efficiency

One of the biggest issues with Power Mode is that it can decrease your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. This is because Power Mode requires more power from the engine, which can result in higher fuel consumption.

2. Increased Engine Wear and Tear

Using Power Mode frequently can also increase wear and tear on your vehicle’s engine and transmission. This is because the increased power output puts more strain on these components, which can cause them to wear out more quickly over time.

3. Reduced Traction

Another issue with Power Mode is that it can reduce your vehicle’s traction, particularly on wet or slippery roads. The increased power output can cause your tires to spin or lose traction, which can be dangerous and result in loss of control.

4. Risk of Accidents

Using Power Mode inappropriately or without proper training can also increase the risk of accidents or collisions. This is because the increased power output can make it more difficult to control your vehicle, especially in crowded or challenging driving conditions.

5. Reduced Engine Lifespan

Using Power Mode too frequently or inappropriately can also reduce the lifespan of your vehicle’s engine. This is because the increased power output and higher engine speeds can put more stress on the engine’s components, which can cause them to wear out more quickly over time.

FAQs on Power Mode in Toyota Highlander

Is It Safe to Drive My Highlander If the Power Mode Is Not Working?

Yes, it is safe to drive your Toyota Highlander even if the PWR mode is not working. The PWR mode is an optional feature that enhances the driving experience by providing more responsive acceleration and shifting, but it is not necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle.

Will My Toyota Highlander Consume More Fuel In PWR Mode?

Yes, driving your Toyota Highlander in PWR mode can increase fuel consumption. This is because PWR mode allows the engine to rev higher and work harder, requiring more fuel.

The increased power and responsiveness provided by PWR mode come at the cost of reduced fuel efficiency. If you are always driving in PWR mode, you may need to refuel more frequently and spend more money on gas.

Read: Engine Oil Dipstick Hard to Read


Power Mode is a useful feature that can enhance the driving experience in the Toyota Highlander. This feature provides extra power and acceleration when needed, making it a useful tool for drivers looking for a more responsive ride.

However, using Power Mode judiciously is important, as it can have potential drawbacks. 

One of these drawbacks is increased fuel consumption, which can lead to more frequent refueling and higher expenses.

Also, by understanding how Power Mode works, when to use it, and its potential downsides, you can make the most of this feature while keeping your Highlander running smoothly and safely.