Pleasing and comfortable to ride, the new Toyota Highlander for 2021 isn’t a no-brainer pick for shoppers looking for a larger family crossover. Some of its strengths include a refined cabin, a functional cabin, seating capacity for up to eight people, a strong and smooth V6 engine, and a serene compliant ride. Its release date should be expected mid next year.
The new Toyota Highlander for 2021, which is in its fourth year of the vehicle’s present generation, remains one our favorites in this segment. For a majority of shoppers who are turned off by the thought of owning a V8-powered toy-hauling juggernaut or minivans, the highlander, with its third rows of seating, undoubtedly hits the right spots.
Whichever the trim level you choose, the vehicle has a long standing in terms of a comfortable and spacious cabin. You also have the option of reducing the seating capacity to eight people if you opt for the second-rose captain’s chairs. Driving the Highlander has never been this better. It comes with a V6-powered engine mated to a six-speed auto transmission that makes the driving experience smooth and effortless.
Interior wise, Toyota has provided lots of contemporary smartphone-integrated services and tech tools that make life inside the Highlander bearable for long distances. Unlike other vehicles in its segment, the vehicle packs enough goodness that has made it difficult for us to recommend any other vehicle. Nonetheless, it is always great to sample other vehicles in the segment before making you ultimate decision. As such, some of its alternatives include the 2021 Ford Explorer, 2021 Dodge Durango, and the 2021 Honda Pilot.
Available Trims – Toyota Highlander
The midsize three-row crossover is offered in a walloping five trims: base LE, LE Plus, XLE, Limited, and the top-rated Limited Platinum trim. The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is reviewed separately.
Interior Changes & Exterior Review – 2021 Toyota Highlander
The refreshed base LE trim offers standard cloth seating, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 60/40-split third-row seating, a CD player, USB/iPod interface, a six-speaker audio interface, manually-adjustable front seats, 18” alloy wheels, a 6.1” central touchscreen interface, a rear spoiler, automatic headlights, adaptive cruise control, heated outside mirrors, reclining and sliding 60/40-split second-row seats, and voice controls.
Opting for the LE Plus gets you a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8” display screen, HD and satellite radio, an eight-way power driver seat, an adjustable-height power liftgate, a flip-up rear hatch window, foglights, and an automatic climate control (tri-zone).
Upgrading to the XLE adds a 110-V power outlet smartphone app integration, driver voice amplification for rear passenger communication, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, a navigation system, an 8” central display, leather upholstery, keyless ignition and entry, roof rails, a sunroof, and retractable second-row sunshades.
At the top of the food chain is the Limited trim that offers driver memory settings, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitoring system, LED running lights, 19” wheels, rear-cross traffic alert, a four-way power passenger seat, ventilated and heated front seats, ambient interior lighting, a blind-spot monitoring system, and second-row captain’s chairs.
The trim above can also equipped with the optional Driver Technology package which offers automatic collision notification system, stolen vehicle location, a frontal impact crash mitigation system, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning system, and adaptive cruise control.
2021 Toyota Highlander Engine Specs
A 2.7l four-cylinder engine rated at 185 horsepower and 184 lbs. of torque comes equipped under the hood of the base 2021 Toyota Highlander LE trim. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission system which transfers the power to the front wheel. Its fuel consumption according to EPA stands at 20/25/22 mpg in the city/highway/combined.
Optional for the LE and standard for the rest of the lineup is a 3.5L V6 engine rated at 270 hp and 248 lbs. of torque. Again, the power here is transferred by the six-speed automatic transmission system to either the front-or all- wheel-drive system. The EPA ratings for the V6 are 19/25/21 mpg for the FWD, and 18/24/20 mpg with the AWD.
2021 Toyota Highlander Price & Release Date
The redesigned Toyota Highlander for 2021 will probably hit our dealerships mid-next year according to online sources. And with just $29,990 to spare, you will be riding one of the Highlanders home.