With over 200,000 examples bought yearly, the Toyota Highlander is among the hottest three-row SUVs bought at this time. All-new simply final 12 months, it options ample cargo house, a powerful security suite, and 4 distinct powertrain combos. With a half-dozen trim ranges, patrons face a big selection of prospects. To assist slender it down, we have compiled the next trim evaluation as a straightforward approach to navigate these selections.
2021 Toyota Highlander L Trim Professionals and Cons
New entrants on this section imply that even the Highlander L should ship a powerful worth recreation to stay aggressive with the formidable Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride duo. The Toyota boasts eight-passenger seating, however the third row within the Highlander is critically cramped. Just like the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, V-6 energy is customary within the Highlander. Producing a good 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, we discovered the three.5-liter V-6 engine to be surprisingly thrashy. On the flip facet, Highlander comes out on prime with gas economic system, with FWD variations rated at 21/29 mpg metropolis/freeway and AWD netting 20/27. The Telluride is rated at 20/26 mpg (FWD) and 19/24 mpg (AWD); the Palisade is identical, besides the FWD mannequin is available in at 19/26.
The Highlander shines in different respects, together with considerable storage nooks and cubbies all through the inside. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is customary, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. We do want, nonetheless, that the infotainment know-how and graphics had been a bit extra fashionable. An influence driver seat is customary, together with three-zone computerized local weather management.
With these options, 18-inch alloy wheels, and obtainable AWD, the Highlander presents a good bundle within the L trim, although no choices are supplied. For extra facilities, you may should improve to the next trim.
2021 Toyota Highlander LE Trim Professionals and Cons
Finances-conscious patrons will most definitely gravitate towards the LE trim of the 2021 Highlander. Essentially the most notable improve is the addition of an influence liftgate. The LE trim additionally provides LED foglights and a leather-trimmed shift knob and steering wheel. Extra security options abound, together with rear cross-traffic alert, a blind-spot monitoring system, and facet mirrors with blind-spot indicators. Toyota additionally throws in 5 USB ports, although we’re curious why none of them is positioned close to the third row. There are two within the second row, nonetheless, however they’re inconveniently positioned close to the ground on the middle console.
For a premium of roughly $2,000 over L, this trim will most definitely enchantment to those that worth the comfort of an influence liftgate with out requiring many extra choices.
2021 Toyota Highlander XLE Trim Professionals and Cons
One other $2,000 past the non-hybrid LE locations you in a 2021 Highlander with the XLE trim. Extra consolation is the purpose of this trim, which features a energy sunroof, roof rails, a wi-fi charging pad, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, second-row captain’s chairs, and heated energy entrance seats. The XLE additionally sports activities an upgraded 7.0-inch coloration data show within the instrument cluster.
The heated and energy seats may be probably the most engaging a part of this trim bundle. This could possibly be the candy spot for a lot of patrons, because the Highlander XLE gives a powerful worth play within the section.
By way of effectivity, Toyota’s ace within the gap comes within the type of the Highlander Hybrid. Out there on LE, XLE, Restricted, and Platinum trims (however not L or XSE), this powertrain will get you a 2.5-liter I-Four hybrid powertrain producing a mixed 243 hp, and it is obtainable in both FWD (36 mpg mixed metropolis/freeway) or AWD (35 mpg mixed) variants. As each metropolis and freeway mileage are rated virtually the identical, you may see a profit no matter the place you drive. Though the gas financial savings is noteworthy, the four-cylinder is annoyingly coarse and ugly at full throttle. On all trim ranges, the Hybrid premium is $1,400.
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE Trim Professionals and Cons
Surprisingly greater than only a beauty bundle, the XSE trim earns its “S” with a stiffer, sport-tuned suspension, firmer steering, and 20-inch wheels. In fact, there are additionally loads of beauty modifications to underscore the sporty nature of the XSE, together with a mesh entrance grille, a metallic grey rear decrease bumper, color-keyed facet rocker panels, black roof rails, and a twin-tip exhaust. The actually adventurous will spec the red-leather seating to enrich the faux-carbon fiber finishes within the inside.
That is the trim MotorTrend not too long ago examined, and whereas it was barely faster from Zero to 60 mph than the XLE and Platinum trims, we actually did not discover a lot of a distinction within the experience or dealing with. Befitting its sporting nature, the XSE trim is barely obtainable with the V-6 engine.
No Highlander is synonymous with efficiency, anyway, so this trim is especially for the extrovert who desires somewhat aptitude of their individuals hauler. That particular purchaser will probably be joyful to justify the $1,600 premium over the XLE.
2021 Toyota Highlander Restricted Trim Professionals and Cons
The facilities actually begin to pile on within the Restricted trim. Energy-folding facet mirrors function puddle lamps, and LED foglights are added up entrance. There is a bit of glitz discovered within the addition of 20-inch chrome wheels. The primary- and second-row seats are trimmed in leather-based, the entrance seats are heated and ventilated, and the motive force seat beneficial properties 10-way energy articulation with energy lumbar help. If rear-seat passengers are being unruly, an overhead console microphone allows the motive force to venture their voice to the rear audio system.
Energy customers will respect the 120-volt outlet between the entrance seats, and built-in navigation is obtainable. Lastly, the facility liftgate could be operated hands-free.
This can be a lot of extra tools, which is mirrored in its $6,800 enhance over the L trim (and $4,000 over XLE).
2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum Trim Professionals and Cons
One of many advantages of the Platinum trim is that second-row passengers are handled to a nicer expertise by way of heated captain’s chairs in addition to a panoramic moonroof. To not be outdone, entrance passengers have entry to a touchscreen that grows to 12.Three inches and a JBL sound system that options 11 audio system. We discovered the sound high quality of this method to be glorious, with clear, robust imaging even at larger volumes.
The addition of adaptive headlights, digital rearview mirror, and surround-view digicam programs are helpful, however the 10-inch coloration head-up show displays on the sprint, and we discovered it distracting.
All advised, the Platinum trim includes a blended bag of upgrades, and it is a strong enhance of $3,200 over Restricted.
So Which 2021 Toyota Highlander Mannequin Is Finest?
If sporting pretensions aren’t your factor, the Restricted is the very best all-around trim, obtainable with each front- and all-wheel drive in gasoline or hybrid variations. Restricted can also be the primary trim that makes the 12.3-inch touchscreen obtainable.
2021 Toyota Highlander Trims:
- Restricted (MT‘s decide)