What Is the Power Mode on a Toyota Highlander?

Recently, Toyota manufacturers have decided to expand their catalog by including hybrid vehicles. These new variations embrace the latest technology and hence come with great features to enhance the driver’s experience. Among these vehicles is the Toyota Highlander, and one of its outstanding features is the PWR mode. 

The power mode, commonly PWR mode, on the Toyota Highlander is incorporated into the design of the model to allow it to use more fuel so it can have comparatively faster acceleration. When engaged, the engine also uses more power. This mode can be engaged and/or disengaged from a button usually located on the dashboard. 

This article digs deeper into the same, highlighting the importance of the PWR mode, and how to engage and disengage it. 

What Is the Power Mode on a Toyota Highlander?

what is the power mode on a toyota highlander

Toyota manufacturers are renowned and a household name for many car owners, and for a good reason. For one, it is known to incorporate many convenient and useful technologies into the design of its models in a bid to make driving better and safer.

Moreover, this brand has several hybrid vehicles in its catalog for interested parties. One of the best-selling hybrid models is the Toyota Highlander. 

The Toyota Highlander came into the market with a bang. One of its selling points as a hybrid vehicle is the PWR mode which gives the car unique accelerating capabilities.

The power mode (PWR mode) is a very interesting feature. It works to ensure that the internal combustion engine keeps revving. If that is achieved, it means that the throttle will deliver a faster response and use up more fuel. In turn, acceleration will be smoother. 

There is usually a distinct difference between accelerating in normal driving mode and PWR mode. Luckily, with large vehicles such as the Toyota Highlander, you get to enjoy the benefits of both.  

How Do You Engage/Disengage Power Mode?

With the knowledge of the importance of the PWR mode, the next thing is to learn how to engage or disengage it. You may want to use it from time to time while driving. However, the method of disengaging the power mode will vary depending on the year and model of the Toyota Highlander. 

Most of the Highlander models have the PWR button located near the radio, others have it near the shift, and others have it located on the steering wheel. Other models even have it only available through the console menu. You can check all these locations to find where the PWR mode button is on your Toyota Highlander. 

Once the PWR mode is turned on, it is not likely to start taking effect immediately. It will take approximately 15 seconds before the vehicle starts accelerating faster. The case is the same when you disengage the mode—you will have to wait a few seconds before the throttle is brought back to normal mode. 

What Are the Most Common Problems With the Toyota Highlander PWR?

Unfortunately, the new PWR mode comes with some issues. There are several common problems that Highlander drivers have experienced when using this mode. 

For one, the mode may automatically turn on when you rev the engine, but that should not be the case. The PWR is not designed to turn on automatically, but it should automatically turn off when the engine is turned off. This issue can be attributed to several problems. The common one is that the PWR button may be stuck and thus sends signals to the ECU when the engine is turned on. 

On the other hand, if the PWR mode button on your Highlander is an option on the console’s digital menu, it is likely to be a software glitch. The next course of action should be to reset the ECU and wipe out all the faulty settings and data to turn off the PWR. Ensure that you recalibrate the braking system while you are at it. 

Another common problem is the PWR not turning on when you press the button. Generally, when you engage in the PWR mode, it should be accompanied by a small light on the dashboard to notify you that it is on. If this light is not on, then the PWR mode is also not on. A faulty connector is likely to be responsible for this.  

Furthermore, sometimes you may experience a delay between the pedal and the rate of acceleration when the mode is on. This issue is likely to stem from a clogged air filter or a dirty throttle filter. 

What Is the Difference Between Power Mode and Eco Mode?

Both the power mode and eco mode are very useful in a Toyota Highlander, with very distinct differences in terms of purpose. The power mode is put in place to allow more fuel into the combustion chamber which prompts the throttle to accelerate faster. On the other hand, the eco mode lowers the amount of power going to the engine. It reduces the overall amount of fuel that you use when driving the Highlander. 

With the eco mode engaged, you cannot accelerate as fast. On the bright side, this makes sure you save some energy in the battery and do not use up much fuel, thus saving money in the long run.


If there is any problem going on with the PWR mode, you need to take your car to a Toyota-certified mechanic. It is not advisable to handle it by yourself since the PWR switch is not like changing any other fuse. It is very much likely that you will not follow the right procedure when putting the connector back together. 

The condition of the PWR mode does not risk your safety while driving. It has no effect on the brakes, so you need not worry about them failing as well. Moreover, it only affects the acceleration speed when it is on. When off, your vehicle can either operate on eco-mode or normal mode. However, you are advised to get to the root of the problem if your PWR mode is not working as soon as possible. 

If your throttle is broken or damaged, it is important to have it prepared and replaced immediately. Purchasing a new throttle may cost you around $650.

Final Words

The PWR mode on Toyota Highlanders is a great addition to any car. It allows drivers to accelerate faster when need be. Although there are some common problems that come with this mode, they can be easily fixed, so you can get on to enjoying the benefits. 

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