2021 Toyota Highlander

2021 Toyota Highlander Review: Taking A Sword To The Competition

by Gerhard Horn

The Toyota Highlander is one of those cars that doesn't need a positive review to find buyers One glance at the sales figures reveals that it's a best-seller in the three-row midsize SUV segment. Available with a naturally-aspirated 295-horsepower V6 or a 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain, the Highlander caters to a broad audience. Since its introduction two decades ago, the Highlander hasn't moved away from its successful recipe. It's not the most inspiring to drive, but you get lots of safety equipment, a compliant ride, and legendary Toyota build quality. Still, the midsize crossover segment is tough, and in the wake of the recent economic onslaught over the last few years, people are more careful with their money. The Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot both offer more vehicle for less money, and in one of the largest segments in the US automotive industry, you can throw a stone and hit a different rival every time.

Read in this review:

2021 Toyota Highlander Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Toyota Highlander?

The big news is the addition of the Toyota Highlander XSE model, a designation generally reserved for sportier models. To differentiate it from the rest of the range, Toyota adds black exterior accents, model-specific 20-inch alloys, and a sportier suspension setup. All models now feature projector LED lights as standard, and Toyota's Safety Sense 2.5+ is also standard across the range. This safety suite includes pedestrian detection, road sign assist, and dynamic radar cruise control.

Pros and Cons

  • Practical, configurable seating arrangements
  • Impressive standard features
  • Comprehensive safety suite
  • Refined and quiet ride
  • Optional hybrid is light on gas
  • Third row cramped for adults
  • Uninspiring handling, despite the XSE's sportier suspension
  • Cluttered dashboard

Best Deals on Highlander

2021 Toyota Highlander Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
L
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,085
LE
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$37,285
XLE
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$40,085
XSE
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,680
Limited
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$44,040

Highlander Exterior

Toyota's Highlander isn't especially noteworthy in the design department. The front end is Lexus-like, featuring an aggressive grille that toes the line between acceptable and gratuitous. L, LE, and XLE models get a black grille with a silver-painted surround, while Limited and Platinum models get a chrome-plated surround. Uniquely, the new XSE has a black mesh front grille and a lower front spoiler. All models are now equipped with LED projector lights, and top-end models get 20-inch alloy wheels, whereas cheaper variants ride on smaller 18-inch wheels. The rear is generic SUV, but Toyota claims this Highlander features greater aerodynamic efficiency and reduced wind noise. A power tilting-and-sliding moonroof is fitted to higher-spec models, but even this does little to separate the Highlander from the rest of the crowd.

2021 Toyota Highlander Front View CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Front Angle View CarBuzz
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Dimensions

The Highlander has an overall length of 194.9 inches, increasing to 197.4 inches in XSE trim. All models ride on a 112.2-inch wheelbase. Overall width is rated at 76 inches, and it has a height of 68.1 inches. These dimensions make it similar in size to the Kia Telluride. The ground clearance is a useful eight inches, and according to the Japanese brand, the approach/breakover/departure angles are up to 18.1/16.7/23 degrees depending on the trim. That places it firmly in the softroader category, which means it should be fine on a well-kept gravel road. Curb weight starts at 4,145 pounds for the base Highlander L and LE FWD models and goes all the way up to 4,595 lbs for the hybrid derivatives in AWD guise.

  • Length 194.9 in
  • Wheelbase 112.2 in
  • Height 68.1 in
  • Max Width 76.0 in
  • Front Width 65.3 in
  • Rear Width 65.4 in
  • Curb Weight 4,145.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

Toyota's Highlander is available in a range of humdrum, inoffensive exterior colors. A total of eight are available, but not on all models. The base L model is only available in Magnetic Gray Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic, Opulent Amber, Blueprint, and Blizzard Pearl, which is the only extra-cost option at $425. Most models from the LE upwards get access to the full color palette, which adds Ruby Flare Pearl and Moon Dust at $425 each. The XSE's color palette is limited to the options that work well with its darker exterior accents, so this trim isn't compatible with Opulent Amber and Moon Dust.

  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Opulent Amber
  • Blueprint
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Moon Dust
  • Ruby Flare Pearl

Highlander Performance

The Toyota Highlander SUV is available in two flavors: a naturally-aspirated V6 and a more efficient hybrid. The 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft gas V6 is a smooth, relaxed powertrain. It's available in both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations, both using an eight-speed automatic transmission. If you add the available towing package, the gas Highlander is capable of towing 5,000 lbs. In hybrid format, the Highlander uses a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. The combination puts its power down via a CVT transmission. It's available in FWD, in which case the electric motor is part of the gearbox assembly, or in AWD hybrid form where there is no mechanical coupling between the front and rear axle. The engine powers the front wheels, while a single electric motor takes care of the rear. Hybrid models have a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs.

Toyota doesn't claim performance figures, but independent tests have shown that the gas model can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in an impressive 6.7 seconds. In our review of the Toyota Highlander, we found its acceleration to be good. The hybrid is slightly slower, taking 7.3 seconds to do the same. There are more powerful hybrid options out there. Ford's Explorer is a prime example, as it's both faster and can tow more. Toyota's focus appears to be fuel efficiency, however. In this particular segment, the latter makes more sense to us.

2021 Toyota Highlander Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Gauge Cluster CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

The 3.5-liter V6 engine equipped as standard is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Hybrid-wise, you can choose a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated motor with electric assistance.

The V6 produces 295 hp at 6,600 rpm, while the 263 lb-ft of torque only arrives at 4,700 rpm. It's a peaky old-school engine, and you need to work it hard when the entire family is on board. In everyday situations, the eight-speeder goes about its business quietly and efficiently. That's perfectly fine, considering the application.

The hybrid model is quite interesting in its approach. Whereas rivals like the Ford Explorer use hybridization to produce more power, Toyota uses it for ultimate efficiency. CVT transmissions are getting better, but they're still nowhere near as refined as traditional torque converter 'boxes. CVTs tend to work well in vehicles with plenty of low-down torque. The combustion engine produces 186 hp and 175 lb-ft by itself. These figures are poor, but the electric motor takes the combined power output up to 243 hp. The low-down torque comes from the electric motor, which fills the power gaps adequately.

We're not fans of CVTs, but this one works well enough. It doesn't make us want to get out of the Highlander and walk in front of an oncoming bus. The same could not be said of the first- and second-generation Prius.

  • Engine
    3.5L V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Highlander's brief is quite simple: keep it comfy. We find the addition of the XSE model and its sportier suspension a bit odd, but even that particular model errs on the side of comfort.

Since this is essentially a family car, it only needs to go forwards, backwards, and sideways without falling over. Preferably, the passengers should be comfortable as well.

Toyota hits the mark perfectly. The damping is spot-on, ensuring all passengers enjoy a ride smoother than a tall glass of warm milk. It does have a Sport mode, however, which is an oddity in a vehicle like this. Push the button and the throttle response is more aggressive. You can chuck it around a bit, and you'll be surprised at how agile it is - for a family carrier, that is - but it's still no Mazda CX-9. While it can hustle, it doesn't feel particularly happy about it. You get the feeling that it's going to call the PTA and report you for irresponsible driving. Cruising at the top legal speed in the USA is effortless and seems to be within the Highlander's comfort zone.

The suspension is also perfectly happy in mild off-road situations. It copes with a gravel road very well. You can load the whole family and explore the gravel roads in your area. You'd be surprised at the hidden gems you'll find on such trips. The only limiting factor is ground clearance, but since the Highlander doesn't have a transfer case or low-range, it was never built to do more than drive down a pleasant gravel road. The 4Runner caters to that segment.

Highlander Gas Mileage

Considering the Highlander uses an old-school V6, the gas mileage isn't that bad. The eight-speed gearbox is primarily responsible for the EPA-estimated figures of 21/29/24 mpg city/highway/combined for the FWD model and 20/27/23 mpg for the AWD derivative. The Highlander's hybrid powertrain is the undisputed champion of frugality. According to the EPA, the FWD model can return 36/35/36 mpg, while the AWD manages 35s across the board in its lower trim levels. Hybrid models are equipped with a 17.1-gallon tank, and gas models get a slightly larger 17.9-gallon tank. The estimated range from a full tank is 616 miles for the most frugal hybrid, down to 412 miles for the least efficient AWD V6.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    17.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/29 mpg
* 2021 Toyota Highlander L FWD

Highlander Interior

The Highlander's interior isn't much of a surprise as function takes priority over form. Hard-wearing plastics are used over softer, more fragile materials. This isn't a criticism, considering what the Highlander will be used for. Some kids can reduce a car to its basic components within hours, but their attempts will be moot here. Its old-fashioned dashboard layout lets down the Highlander. It almost looks as if they loaded a blunderbuss with buttons and emptied it on the center console, making for a much busier dashboard design than you'd find in the likes of the Kia Telluride. Over time, the driver will learn the basic layout of the controls, but initially, there will be a lot of time spent not looking at the road ahead. Standard features include three-zone climate control, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and dynamic radar cruise control.

2021 Toyota Highlander Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Climate Control CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Gear Shifter CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

The Highlander has three rows of seating, though the third row is only suitable for children. Two configurations are available. Base models get seating for eight, while mid to top-spec models have second-row captain's chairs, taking the seat count down to seven. Legroom is 42 inches in the front, 41 inches in the second row, and a much tighter 27.7 inches in the third row. That's the first clue that these seats are for kids only. Headroom is rated at 41.2/39.4/36.1 inches in the first/second/third rows on models without a moonroof and 39.6/39.4/36.1 inches on models with this feature. The second row's headroom dips down to 37.1 inches when the panoramic moonroof is equipped with the front-row headspace cut down to 38.4. From the driver's seat, there is good outward visibility although the steering wheel doesn't adjust perfectly for taller drivers, who will feel the need to stretch a bit more than is comfortable to reach the wheel.

  • Seating capacity
    8-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.0 in
  • Front Head Room 41.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.4 in

Interior Colors and Materials

As we said earlier, the new Toyota Highlander will likely be exposed to passengers with little respect for interior cleanliness and longevity. The doors and dash are covered in hard-wearing plastics, which aren't particularly pleasant to the touch, but at least they'll be able to cope with the pressure of family transport.

L and LE models come with fabric seats, available in Graphite or Black. The XLE trim upgrades to softer, more appealing SofTex upholstery, available in Graphite, Black, or Harvest Beige. The new XSE has a sportier interior, with upholstery to match. It's available in either Black Mixed Media (leather and cloth) or Cockpit Red leather. The Limited gets a full leather interior, available in the same color choices as the XLE's SofTex. Finally, the Platinum shares the Limited model's leather colors but adds Glazed Caramel as an additional color choice. All models besides the base L have a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Highlander Trunk and Cargo Space

The Highlander is slightly down on space compared to its direct competitors, but that doesn't mean it feels cramped. For a family of five, the Highlander has more than enough room. It still has 16 cubic feet of cargo capacity left over with all three rows in place. That's enough space for the daily school run or a week's worth of groceries. With the third row folded down, the cargo capacity increases to 48.4 cubes, and with the second row folded forward, cargo capacity increases to 84.3 cubic feet.

Interior storage is adequate. There are eight cupholders, four bottle holders, an armrest with a storage bin, and an oddly shaped space directly underneath the center air vents. An overhead console provides a handy place to store your sunglasses.

2021 Toyota Highlander Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Seat Belt CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Highlander Cargo Room CarBuzz

Highlander Infotainment and Features

Features

Toyota hits the mark perfectly when it comes to standard features. From the entry-level specification, the essential comfort and safety features are included as standard. On the comfort side, all Highlander models get tri-zone climate control, five USB ports, two 12V power outlets, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat. Toyota's Safety Sense 2.5+ is standard across the range and provides peace of mind. This safety suite consists of pre-collision with pedestrian detection and intersection support, road sign assist, full-speed radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams. All models come as standard with LED projector headlights. The LE trim adds a power liftgate, blind-spot warning, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter.

The XLE adds a power moonroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a universal garage door opener, and a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat. In addition to the sporty exterior treatment, the XSE model comes with ambient lighting and a carbon fiber finish on the instrument cluster. The Limited trim comes with leather-trimmed front- and second-row seating. The front seats are both heated and ventilated. This model also makes it easier to keep the kids on their best behavior via the Driver Easy Speak system. It consists of an integrated microphone located near the driver, and it amplifies said driver's voice through the cabin. You can also use this feature to tell dad jokes, though you might find it hard to convince the family to come along on an adventure.

The top-spec Platinum trim adds second-row heated seats, a ten-inch color head-up display, and a surround-view camera system.

Infotainment

Standard connectivity features across the entire range include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa compatibility, SiriusXM, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The size of the obligatory touchscreen interface depends on the trim you go for. The top-spec Platinum gets a 12.3-inch touchscreen interface, while the rest of the range is equipped with an eight-inch unit. The Limited trim adds navigation and an 11-speaker JBL sound system. The 11-speaker sound system is standard on the Platinum as well but the rest of the range gets a basic six-speaker setup.

If you go for a trim without the JBL sound system, we highly recommend adding it as an optional extra. A large car like the Highlander simply deserves something more than the standard six-speaker system. It sounds tinny and will distort quickly when you listen to anything with more pep than Beethoven. The JBL system has no problem coping with alternative, metal, or rock. In fact, it seems to like it when you get the Led out. That's slang for playing Led Zeppelin, in case you were born after the year 2000.

Highlander Problems and Reliability

Like most Toyotas, the Highlander leads a relatively trouble-free existence. At the time of writing, zero recalls had been issued for the 2021 model. However, the 2020 Highlander was recalled twice. The first was for an ECU error that may cause the car to stall, and the second for seat trim that may interfere with airbag deployment. The ECU recall only applies to non-hybrid variants. The Highlander's trouble-free nature is bolstered by its J.D. Power Survey score of 85 out of 100, which places it first in its segment and ahead of other SUVs like the Kia Telluride, Ford Explorer, and Chevrolet Traverse.

Every Highlander model is backed by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and a two-year/25,000-mile maintenance plan. An eight-year/100,000-mile warranty covers the hybrid system and a 10-year/150,000-mile warranty applies to the hybrid battery.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

Toyota Highlander Safety Reviews

Both the Highlander and Highlander Hybrid received five-star ratings from the NHTSA. In the IIHS review of the Highlander, the 2021 model was named a Top Safety Pick +, which is the highest award available. These Toyota Highlander ratings are not limited to a specific model and apply to the entire range.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

The Highlander boasts all of the necessary traditional safety items, including eight airbags with a driver's knee bag, traction and stability control, a reverse camera, and a tire pressure monitoring system. This year, Toyota's new Safety Sense 2.5+ is standard. It includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection and intersection support, road sign assist, full-speed radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams. The top trim boasts a ten-inch color head-up display.

In previous years, the Highlander was awarded a Top Safety Pick award. The new safety features elevate the Highlander to class-leading TSP+ status, which is hugely important in this family-oriented segment.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Toyota Highlander a good SUV?

The Highlander is an honest vehicle, and we respect that. Toyota's ad campaign shows happy kids and dusty gravel roads, no oversteering or a dubbed V8 soundtrack. This is a car that knows exactly what it is, and doesn't try to be more than that.

To us, the Highlander needs to be good in two departments. Firstly, as a people carrier. It ticks that box effortlessly if you ignore the tight third-row space, providing a comfortable and compliant ride. The standard features are just enough to keep everyone happy and entertained. Secondly, a family car needs to be safe. The addition of Toyota's Safety Sense 2.5+ suite deserves high praise. The rest of the package is more average. The engines aren't as advanced or powerful as the power plants in some rivals, but at least you know nothing will go wrong. The Highlander is comfortable, dependable, and safe. It's like your house, but on wheels.

There are more exciting and engaging cars out there, but if reliability, safety, and comfort are high on your list of must-haves, the Highlander is well worth looking at.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Toyota Highlander?

The entry-level L model is only available with the 3.5-liter gas engine and retails for $35,085 in the US. The LE trim costs $37,285, increasing to $40,085 for the XLE. The all-new XSE costs $41,680 and is only available with the gas engine. The Limited carries an MSRP of $44,040, while the top-spec Platinum has a price tag of $47,240. All-wheel drive is available across the whole range. On XSE, Limited, Limited Hybrid, Platinum, and Platinum Hybrid models, it adds $1,950 to the price. On the lower half of the range, which includes the L, LE, and XLE, AWD costs an additional $1,600.

The hybrid powertrain starts at $38,735 in LE guise. The hybrid XLE has an MSRP of $41,535 and the hybrid Limited goes for $45,490, while the top-spec hybrid Platinum costs $48,690, excluding AWD. The Toyota Highlander will cost over $50,000 if you choose the Platinum trim with AWD and the hybrid powertrain.

The price of the Toyota Highlander excludes the brand's destination charge of $1,175.

2021 Toyota Highlander Models

The Highlander is available in six trim levels, all available in FWD or RWD. They are the L, LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum. A hybrid powertrain is also available for all but the L and XSE trims. That's a total of ten models, or 20 if you include the AWD options of each.

The gas option is a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The hybrid uses a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated gas engine and two electric motors. It delivers a total system output of 243 hp, transferred to the road via a CVT transmission.

All models get a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. Most are equipped with an eight-inch unit, while the Platinum gets a 12.3-inch interface.

The base spec also includes tri-zone climate control, five USB ports, and eight-way power adjustment for the driver's seat.

As you go up the specification ladder, Toyota adds more comfort and convenience items. The LE gains a power liftgate, LED foglights, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter.

The XLE gets leatherette upholstery, a power moonroof, wireless charging, a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat.

The all-new XSE is meant to be the sportiest model in the range, which means it gets a sporty suspension tune and a host of interior and exterior design enhancements. These include interior ambient lighting, SofTex trimmed front and second-row seats, front seat heating, LED projector headlights with black accents, a black mesh front grille, and model-specific 20-inch alloy wheels.

Limited models add 20-inch alloy wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery for the front and second row, and an 11-speaker JBL sound system.

The top-spec Platinum offers the ultimate in convenience and luxury. It has rain-sensing wipers, a ten-inch head-up display, a digital rearview mirror, and a 12.3-inch infotainment system that can display a feed from the 360-degree camera system. You also get the Premium Audio system with dynamic navigation, adaptive headlights, front and rear park assist, and seat heaters for the second-row captain's chairs.

All models get Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ as standard. This safety suite consists of pre-collision with pedestrian detection and intersection support, road sign assist, full-speed radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams.

See All 2021 Toyota Highlander Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Packages are only available from the XLE trim and upward. The second-row captain's chairs can be replaced with a standard 40/20/40 bench at no additional cost. Upgrading to Premium Audio with dynamic navigation costs $1,040; this same upgrade can include or exclude the second-row bench seat but won't affect the price. The Premium Audio package (available on XSE) with an 11-speaker JBL sound system retails for $1,680. The Limited trim has an available 12.3-inch touchscreen display upgrade, including a surround-view camera with perimeter scan and curb view for an extra $1,050. There are no packages available for the top-spec model as it already comes with everything mentioned above as standard.

🚗What Toyota Highlander Model Should I Buy?

The Highlander range starts at just over $35,000 and goes up to over $50,000 depending on your choice of trim, engine, and drivetrain. That's a wide selection of models to choose from. The best model can usually be found in the middle of the lineup, and that's precisely where Toyota put the all-new XSE with all of its sportier adornments. It has all of the features you need, like tri-zone climate control, five USB ports, a power-adjustable driver's seat, LED headlights, and keyless entry with push-button start. In addition to that, the XSE has a good-looking set of 20-inch alloys, a mesh grille with a sportier bumper, a twin-tip exhaust, black roof rails, leather seats, and seat heating for the front passengers. The only extra we'd add is the $1,680 Premium Audio with dynamic navigation and an 11-speaker JBL sound system. If there could be only one, this would be the perfectly well-rounded Highlander.

Check out other Toyota Highlander Styles

2021 Toyota Highlander Comparisons

Honda Pilot Honda
Ford Explorer Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Highlander295 hp21/29 mpg$35,085
Honda Pilot 280 hp20/27 mpg$32,550
Ford Explorer 300 hp21/28 mpg$32,925

2021 Toyota Highlander vs Honda Pilot

These two vehicles are remarkably similar, though Honda doesn't offer a hybrid derivative. Both are powered by a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 gas engine mated to an automatic gearbox, with AWD available as an extra. Neither is particularly stylish, following the basic design language of their respective manufacturers. Their interiors also favor ruggedness and logic above all else. It's worth noting that the Honda's third row offers four more inches of legroom, making it the default choice if ferrying passengers is the main consideration.

The Pilot is better to drive and more comfortable - and that's about it. The Highlander and Pilot are essentially neck-and-neck, which is why we used to go with the Honda, which offered a better ride. This year, Toyota shoots into the lead thanks to its Top Safety Pick + award. As a vehicle that will constantly be ferrying families, safety matters more than anything else. For that reason, we choose the Highlander.

See Honda Pilot Review

2021 Toyota Highlander vs Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer makes life extremely difficult for the Highlander. The 2021 Ford Explorer matches Toyota's safety standard and adds a reasonable amount of fun for the driver. This family crossover is proof that you don't need to give up joy to transport a family. The base engine produces 300 hp and has a tow rating of 5,300 lbs. Ford's V6 hybrid powertrain packs an even more powerful 318-hp punch. The Explorer is even more spacious, the interior is more modern, and the ride is more balanced. It hits the list of targets right in the middle, and even though the upper trims are quite expensive, we think the Ford is worth it. It's equally as safe, too, but its biggest downfall is the interior quality, which feels cheaper and not as solidly put together as the Toyota.

See Ford Explorer Review

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2021 Toyota Highlander Video Review

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