The Toyota Highlander which was hugely improved in 2020, has now confirmed the 2021 Model with not any major changes to its existing 2020 Toyota Highlander Model. The vehicle has lately developed a lot of good characteristics for its price and is now more astonishing in terms of look and feel. The Highlander offers various alternatives and a hybrid engine to compete with segment leaders like Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade, and the Ford Explorer in the mid size three row SUV segment.
Maneuvering the concepts of the SUV market the vehicle lands upon the most prestigious remarks of the lot. The Toyota Highlander is a fashionable high quality family SUV that allows maximum space and offers a stable and safe journey. However, the 2021 next generation Toyota Highlander SUV has revealed many details about itself and makes room for an XSE trim that was very much on the news. The price of the vehicle starts from $34,810 in the US and goes up to $48,915.
The 2021 Toyota Highlander is a much anticipated vehicle but it let’s down with not much changes for the upcoming year. With the reliable 3.5L V6 engine the Highlander promises for a great performance and paired with those 8 speed automatic transmission it delivers a reliable operation.
8.1/10 Pricing and Features
7.9/10 Engine and Performance
7.8/10 Fuel Economy
2021 Toyota Highlander Pricing and Features
The 2021 Toyota Highlander trim levels comprise five trim options: L, LE, XLE,XSE, Limited, and the Platinum. All these trims offer FWD or All wheel drive options to beat with the competition. The updated Prices for the 2021 Toyota Highlander models is now available. However, we can see it is quite similar to the past as nothing much has changed except a couple of hundred dollars with all the trims. However, From the previous year, the trim line of the 2021 Toyota Highlander has been updated and now gets an all-new XSE trim priced for $41,405 for the FWD and AWD will cost $43,355.
power driver seat
All L features
All LE features
All XLE features
All XLE features
All Limited features
front heated seats
LED Projector lamps with black accents
power panoramic moonroof
20-inch alloy wheels
heated second-row seats
leather steering wheel
Twin tip exhaust
surround-view camera system
automatic emergency braking
power passenger seat
Faux wood trim and ornamental dash trim with ambient interior lighting
cooled front seats
The L trim offers power driver seats, 8.0 inch touchscreen infotainment, along with 18 inch wheels and safety features like automatic emergency braking.
The LE trim offers blind spot monitoring system, leather steering wheel, power liftgate and Fog lamps along with a list of comfort and safety features.
The XLE trim has the best to offer you with features inclusive of front heated seats, power passenger seats, power sunroof, and roof rails.
The All-new XSE trim offers ambient interior lighting, LED Projector lamps with black accents, 20-inch alloy wheels, and twin tip exhaust.
The Limited trim is a costly one among the trims but it gets great features such as JBL speakers, navigation function, 20 Inch wheels, cooled front seats function.
The Platinum is the top trim which allows features such as a 12.3 inch touchscreen, surround view camera system, heated second row seats and power panoramic moonroof.
2021 Toyota Highlander Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty
The 2021 Toyota Highlander is no different from the 2020 model. Like most Japanese brands, the Toyota Highlander is also known for its unmatched value, reliability, and superior service compared to other brands. Be it J D Power reports or customer satisfaction reports, the Toyota Highlander has been a favorite for the masses in the mid size three row SUV over the decade.
Reliability and Ownership Costs
If you look across the trims you will notice that the Toyota Highlander offers great features for its price being a three row mid size SUV. Toyota is known for building great cars with unquestionable reliability and build quality. Toyota has also been awarded as Best Resale Value: Brand in 2019 by Kelley Blue Book's, KBB.com.
As per J.D. Power report the vehicle scored a rating of 83/100 in 2019. The Vehicle stands for its reliable performance, resale value, built quality and reliability and drive experience. Toyota alike other Japanese brands has an interesting and outstanding reputation for customer satisfaction and ease of maintenance for the vehicles.
The 2021 Toyota Highlander prices have not been officially released and once available will be updated here in the below table. MSRP of the vehicles differ from state to state due to institutional taxes and other demographic costs.
Toyota vehicles are easy on maintenance and the 2021 Toyota Highlander will not become an exception we all know. The cost of owning a 2021 Toyota Highlander is calculated in reference with the 2020 year model as both are identically and mechanically similar. We’ve calculated the various costs that will incur while owning the vehicle for a period of 5 years.
Taxes and Fees
Real Cost to Own
In terms of the ownership costs, the vehicle will be costing you an estimated $46,000 for a period of 5 years. This is quite low especially when you compare it with other rivals in the market. Maintenance and repairs are pocket friendly for a three row mid size SUV.
The Brand Toyota delivers you confidence when you own its vehicle. It does live up to its reputation of being one of the most reliable brands in the industry, owing to great warranty figures and roadside assistance packages. With a network of over 1400 dealers and service providers the brand rules the roads in the US. It offers great customer service with 24*7 toll free roadside assistance, substitute transportation and travel protection.
3 years/36,000 miles
5 years/60,000 miles
24-hour roadside assistance
7 years/ unlimited miles
Toyota’s unmatched warranty can be compared from the above table. With all the above warranty policies, Toyota also offers an additional Rust Through Coverage for its vehicles for a period of 5 years / unlimited miles which covers corrosion perforation of the sheet metal and the body.
2021 Toyota Highlander Buying Advice
The 2021 Toyota is presumed to continue the same trims as in 2020, the vehicle will continue the muster of similar features in its trims. Buying a XLE trim will make for a better deal for the features it offers and the price it comes for. The All wheel drive setup is a better option with all the trims and should be considered while buying.
The 2019 Toyota Highlander received a score of 83 for quality and reliability in the JD Power report. Mechanically, the Highlander is easy to maintain and is more sorted compared to other brands.
Is buying a used car Toyota Highlander a good idea?
The Brand Toyota has been awarded as the best resale value brand in 2019 by Kelley Blue Book's, KBB.com. Toyota vehicles are easy to maintain, tough and reliable. Moreover it comes with Toyota’s comprehensive warranty policies which covers the engine unit and powertrain for a period of 5 years or 60,000 miles whichever is earlier. According to the depreciation value, the 2019 model years are the best ones to look out for. The total reliability of an used Toyota Highlander is 7 years, and the 2019 version gives it around 6 more years of perfect usability.
2021 Toyota Highlander Engine and Performance
Toyota Highlander offers you with two engine options, a gasoline and a hybrid one, but the one which we are discussing here is the gasoline one. Toyota Highlander is driven by a 3.5L V6 engine which has an old repute for performance and reliability on its part. The Highlander’s engine produces 295 hp of power and is paired to a 8 speed automatic transmission unit. The vehicle offers 2 drive setups with an All wheel drive and a front wheel drive.
2.5L Inline-4/3.5L V6
2.3L Inline-4/3.0L V6
Power [hp @ RPM]
Torque [lb-ft @ RPM]
Both the Kia Telluride and the Hyundai Palisade come with a bigger engine setup of 3.8L V6 and are more powerful than the Toyota Highlander, however, we feel the Toyota Highlander is a practically powered vehicle for a 3 row midsize SUV.
2021 Toyota Highlander Acceleration And Braking Performance
Acceleration of the Toyota Highlander does not fail to impress either and is notably similar to what the more powerful vehicles such as the Kia Telluride and the Hyundai Palisade gives you. The Toyota Highlander is a sprint performer for a three row mid size SUV with a 0-60 times of just 7.2 seconds.
0-60 mph (in seconds)
Quarter mile (in seconds / miles per hour)
Top Speed (in miles per hour)
The 263lb ft of torque that pushes the vehicle on the ground is comparatively similar with the other rivals and helps in achieving an agile and quick performance on the road. The V6 pulls with great force and tackles the winds to impress with its huge size. However, we haven't tested the 2021 Toyota Highlander but the similar mechanics in the coming model will result in the same performance as later models.
2021 Toyota Highlander Fuel Economy
Toyota is a sensible car maker with a lot of good things. The most accomplishing thing the vehicle derives from its brand is low cost of ownership. Low costs means lesser costs on fuel expenses, the Toyota Highlander is a fuel efficient three row mid size SUV with a great mileage output. It delivers 20 miles for a gallon on city drives and 27 miles per gallon on highways.
Fuel Capacity (Gallons)
Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)
Looking at the rivals, the Kia Telluride also offers similar mileage output but the Hyundai Palisade and the Ford Explorer fail by a couple of miles from the Highlander.
2021 Toyota Highlander Interior
The Toyota Highlander mid size three row SUV is the most well-packaged and feature loaded option in the market, with a practical, modern, and hugely spacious cabin. The 7 seater has ample legroom in the front and second row but the third row disappoints for being baby carriers. The third row is only limited for carrying childrens or babies with lesser legroom and can be used as a storage space when seats fold down flat.
However, there’s good comfort regardless of whether you're seated up front or on the second or third rear row. The Highlander offers easy access through the large doors with large openings, both upfront and at the rear. Seating position of the driver is tall and upright and the second rows also offer power adjustment seats with the XLE trim.
1st Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)
2nd Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)
3rd Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)
Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)
Trunk space of 16 cubic feet behind the rear third row seat is commodious but is not in par with the rivals. The third row folds flat to provide extra space and storage. Although with that space behind the third row you can store four suitcases.
How’s the 2021 Toyota Highlander’s infotainment system?
Unlike predecessors, the 2021 Toyota Highlander's offers an 8.0 Inch touch screen infotainment option. The Limited and Platinum top trims only offer a 12.3 touch screen interface and are more intuitive to use. It also gets a 11 speaker JBL audio system and SiriusXM satellite radio connectivity.
The 2021 Toyota Highlander will also feature a 4G LTE Wi-fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility and voice command integration in the top trims.
2021 Toyota Highlander Exterior
Exterior styling refinements to the all new 2021 Toyota Highlander three row mid size SUV are undisclosed for now. In terms of styling the vehicle’s exterior lookout is more curvier and gentle with the 2020 update. The metallic finish on the vehicle gives its an unmatched gloss. The huge size of the vehicle does not offer bulkiness and the front grill aids the vehicles outlook by several times.
The exterior is filled with quintessential works on all four fronts. The rear looks more classy and sporty than the predecessor model with the 2020 updates. Toyota has managed to keep the looks more modern and stylish and it does stand up to industry standards and segment expectations.
2021 Toyota Highlander
2020 Kia Telluride
2020 Hyundai Palisade
2020 Ford Explorer
Curb Weight (lbs)
Ground Clearance (inches)
Compared with the rivals the Toyota Highlander has the similar external specifications including ground clearance, wheelbase, length and width and just less by a couple of inches from the 2020 Kia Telluride and its cousin Hyundai Palisade.
2021 Toyota Highlander Safety
The Toyota Highlander has remained a tough contender when it comes to safety and reliability in its segment. The vehicle was awarded the prestigious “Top safety pick of the year” award by IIHS in 2019. Also in crash tests conducted by IIHS and NHTSA the vehicle has scored an overall 5 star safety rating in the year 2019. The newer models have not been tested yet but it gets superior safety features and an edge over the previous model.
2021 Toyota Highlander Competition
2021 Toyota Highlander Vs Kia Telluride
The three row midsize SUV has seen many battles for supremacy but this isn't any battle. This time it is a fight between two similarly competitive rival Asian car brands. The Kia telluride gets a massive 3.5L V6 engine and is more powerful than the Highlander but practically both have the same mission of carrying 7 passengers just as a minivan does. In terms of luxury and comfort both also have a similar feel. However, the design and styling in the Kia Telluride is more appealing both inside and outside.
The massive grill in the front and the plush interior design excites one very soon.
2021 Toyota Highlander Vs Hyundai Palisade
After comparing the Highlander with the Kia Telluride there is nothing much to be compared with its cousin the Hyundai Palisade. The Palisade is a popular name in the three row mid size SUV segment and beats the Highlander in many aspects such as the Usability of controls, media and connectivity, second and third row seats space, storage spaces, cargo space and interior design.
However the Toyota Outlander offers a more refined ride quality and safety features.Still with the similar acceleration, braking and handling the Palisade registers a win win over the Highlander for its interior quality.
2021 Toyota Highlander Final Verdict
To conclude the entire review we have managed to pick some of the strongest points of the Toyota Highlander and it seems the Highlander gives you enough reasons to buy one. The Highlander offers great ride and body control, crisper steering, a strong and reliable engine and a smart transmission setup which is ultra responsive on roads and perfect build quality with high end safety features on board. The price also returns a clear value for money with Toyota’s reliability and assurity. We recommend the Toyota Highlander for its reliability and ride quality only if you are ok with the cramped third row in a 7 seater.