What is Toyota Highlander PWR mode? (Explained)

The Toyota Highlander PWR mode allows the Highlander to use more fuel so the vehicle can accelerate faster. The engine will also use more power. To turn on the PWR mode, it will either be a button on the dashboard or near the radio/AC, or it will be an option on the menu.

What is the Toyota Highlander PWR mode?

The Toyota company developed many great and useful technologies for their vehicle to make the driving process safer for drivers, and Toyota has a few hybrid vehicles in its catalog of vehicles now. 

As you may or may not know, the Toyota Highlander is one of those hybrid vehicles. Toyota’s hybrid vehicles have what is called a PWR mode.

The Toyota Highlander also has the PWR mode. It is part of the Prius hybrid line of vehicles.

What is the PWR mode and why is it important to hibernate vehicles?

The PWR mode, also known as the power mode, allows the driver to keep the internal combustion engine revving.

When the internal combustion engine is on, the vehicle’s throttle will respond faster, and it will use more fuel. The acceleration will also be smoother.

Many videos on YouTube demonstrate the differences in acceleration between regular driving mode and PWR mode. Even large vehicles like the Toyota Highlander can pick up speed much faster when it is in PWR mode.

How can the driver turn on the PWR mode in their Highlander?

Now that you know what the PWR mode can do, you may want to turn it on manually from time to time. The method to turn off the PWR mode depends on the model and year of the Toyota highlander. 

Some Highlander models will have a PWR mode button near the radio and others will have the PWR button on the steering wheel. Some may have it near the shift. Other models will have the PWR mode available only through the console menu.

When you turn the PWR mode on, don’t expect it to take full effect immediately. Wait about 15 seconds, and then you will feel the Highlander accelerate faster.

The same goes for turning off PWR mode. It will take a couple of seconds for the throttle to return to normal mode.

How is Eco Mode different from PWR mode?

PWR mode, also known as power mode, will allow the throttle to allow more fuel into the combustion chamber of the engine, which will make your vehicle accelerate faster and smoother. 

However, the eco mode will lower the amount of power you can use when driving your highlander. You can’t accelerate as fast. But you will save energy in your battery and not use as much fuel.

Common issues of the Toyota Highlander PWR

My vehicle’s PWR keeps turning on automatically when I start the engine – PWR mode is supposed to turn off when the driver turns off their Highlander, and it should not turn on automatically. 

There are a few reasons for this issue. The PWR button might be stuck, so it sends a signal to the ECU when the driver starts the car.

If the PWR mode button is not a physical button but an option on the console’s digital menu, then it could be a software glitch. 

Resetting your Highlander’s ECU can wipe all of the bad data and settings, so the PWR is turned off. just be sure to recalibrate the braking system after resetting the ECU.

PWR mode will not turn on – when the driver turns on the PWR mode, a small light on the dashboard should turn on with it.

If the light does not turn on, then your vehicle’s PWR is not turning on. It is most like a fault connector that is preventing the PWR from turning on. 

You will have to go to a Toyota-certified mechanic to have this problem fixed. It is not a good idea to change out the PWR switch yourself. It is not like changing a fuse. You may not put your connector or switch back together with the right way.

When I apply pressure to the acceleration pedal, there is a delay in how long it takes for the vehicle to speed up. – when PWR mode is fully on, there should be no delay between the pedal and the rate of acceleration. 

If you do notice a delay, then the issue could be a clogged air filter or a dirty throttle body. The air filter collects dirt and grime from the air before it can get into the engine. But the air filter can eventually become clogged and dirty. 

Cleaning the air filter will not only allow the filter to trap more dirt and grime, but it will also allow clean air to pass through into the engine at a faster rate.

If the issue is the throttle, then it could be dirty, damaged, or broken. If the throttle is dirty, then the throttle door will not open as fast as it should when the driver applies pressure to the acceleration pedal. 

Claiming it and re-oiling it will get rid of this issue. But a damaged or broken throttle body needs to be prepared and replaced immediately. The cost of a new throttle can be up to $650.

If the PWR mode is not working, is it safe to drive my Highlander?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to drive your Highlander if your PWR mode is not working.

PWR mode does not affect the brakes. It is true that it affects the speed of acceleration, but only when it is on. When the mode is off, your vehicle will either be in a normal mode, or it will be an eco-mode.

It is important to know why the PWR mode is not working, as you may want to use the mode in the future. The issue could be bad wiring or a bad throttle sensor


The Toyota Highlander has a PWR mode which allows the vehicle to accelerate faster. It will use more fuel, but acceleration will be smoother. The PWR mode should not turn on automatically. 

If there is a delay between the driver pressing down on the acceleration pedal and the vehicle accelerating, the two most common issues are a dirty or broken throttle or a dirty air filter.

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!

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