I've been considering purchasing a 3 row SUV for the past 6 months. Still haven't pull the trigger but, I've gained a moderate amount of knowledge on the subject.
The 2021 - 22 Highlander is indeed an excellent choice. However, depending on the amenities and trim level that you want, it may be hard to find one for $45K, especially after tax is added.
Another potentially great choice would be either the Kai Sorento hybrid (available in 2-3 row models) or the Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid (5 seater only). These Korean "twins" are modestly smaller than the Highlander but quite space efficient and a fair amount less costly. While they can't match Toyota's stellar reputation for reliablity (particularly back in the day when you got yours). Given your history, I suspect you are not going to be racking up huge miles and you would have a 10 year powertrain warranty as back up if something went awray with either Korean model.
Or since you "live in the deep South" perhaps a AWD rig isn't a necessity. In that case a mini van such as the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid would give you more room, more comfort, more versatilty at a better price. After a few early hickups the Pacifica Hybrid has garnered high praise by the press and owners alike as a very comfortable,versatile, fuel efficientand relatively reliable rig with one of the easiest to use entertainment / Navigation systems available.
Any 2017 or later model will have a wonderful bevy of safety and convenience features that you 2013 was missing. They can take a bit of getting used to, but once that happens very few folks would go back to the simpler models.
Check out Alex on Autos Utube reviews for excellent reviews on any of these cars and please let us know what conclusions you come to.