2021 Toyota Highlander


Ranked #3 in Midsize Suv

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Starting MSRP 

$35,085 - $49,190

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Key Spec of 2021 Toyota Highlander
fuel economy


fuel type

Regular Unleaded


295 hp @ 6600 rpm

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

ProsConsWhat's New

Sharp and attractive exterior design 

Useless third-row seat

New sporty-looking XSE trim 

An exhaustive list of standard features

Average trunk space

Plush and silent cabin

Cluttered interior design

Good all-round visibility 

2021 Toyota Highlander Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: December 28, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

The three-row SUVs are the perfect companions for a large family and the Toyota Highlander has been one of the favorites for the Americans for the better part of the last two decades ever since it was first introduced. In spite of rising competition in this segment from the fellow Japanese and the new Korean brands, the Highlander is a best-selling SUV of its class and the extensive list of features and great value is what has helped it achieve this feat.

2021 Toyota Highlander Latest Updates

  • Oct' 27, 2022 : 2023 Toyota Grand Highlander Spy Shots Surface Read More »
  • Oct' 10, 2022 : All-New 2023 Toyota Highlander Prices Begin at $36,420 Read More »
  • Sep' 26, 2022 : Here's F1 Driver Daniel Ricciardo's Updated 2023 Car Collection Read More »

Trim wise pricing breakdown

NameInvoice PriceMSRPNumber of Listings
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)$37899$41685619 Listings
Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)$40048$44040136 Listings
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Over All Rating


Out of 10

Notable Rankings

#3 in Midsize Suv

#6 in Suv

Pictures & Videos


L$35,085 onwards
Read review

  • 18-inch painted aluminum Wheels
  • 2 - 1st row LCD monitor
  • 60-40 split-bench Third row seats
  • A-Spec Sport Seats
  • Heated mirrors
  • Remote keyless entry

LE$37,285 onwards
Read review

  • Front Fog/driving lights
  • Siriusxm AM/FM/HD/Satellite, seek-scan Radio

XLE$40,085 onwards
Read review

  • Driver Lumbar support
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Sliding and tilting glass Sunroof
  • Softex leatherette Seat trim

XSE$41,680 onwards
Read review

  • Interior ambient lighting
  • Navigation system
  • Sport-Tuned suspension
  • Unique sporty styling cues

Limited$44,040 onwards
Read review

  • Leather Seat trim
  • Navigation system
  • Parking assist

Platinum$47,240 onwards
Read review

  • 20-inch painted aluminum Wheels
  • Rain Sensing Windshield wipers

New Toyota Highlander For Sale

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2022 Toyota Highlander XLE

XLE (Natl) 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $549/mo
Good deal
$4,304 Below market
RMV: $44,768
Sarasota, FL
MSRP $42,969
Check Availability

2022 Toyota Highlander XSE

XSE (Natl) 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $569/mo
Good deal
$4,415 Below market
RMV: $46,336
Sarasota, FL
MSRP $44,564
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2022 Toyota Highlander XLE

XLE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 295 hp 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $559/mo
Good deal
$4,276 Below market
RMV: $45,502
Nottingham, MD
MSRP $44,268
Check Availability

2022 Toyota Highlander XLE

XLE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 295 hp 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $560/mo
Good deal
$4,214 Below market
RMV: $45,502
Wilsonville, OR
MSRP $44,308
Check Availability

2022 Toyota Highlander XLE

XLE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 295 hp 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $560/mo
Good deal
$4,214 Below market
RMV: $45,502
Wilsonville, OR
MSRP $44,308
Check Availability

2022 Toyota Highlander XLE

XLE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 295 hp 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $560/mo
Good deal
$4,214 Below market
RMV: $45,502
Wilsonville, OR
MSRP $44,308
Check Availability

2022 Toyota Highlander XSE

XSE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 295 hp 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $587/mo
Good deal
$4,405 Below market
RMV: $47,668
Nottingham, MD
MSRP $46,517
Check Availability

2022 Toyota Highlander XSE

XSE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 295 hp 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $588/mo
Good deal
$4,306 Below market
RMV: $47,668
Nottingham, MD
MSRP $46,646
Check Availability

2022 Toyota Highlander LE

LE (Natl) 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 8A)

Dealer Price
Est. $510/mo
Good deal
$3,664 Below market
RMV: $41,284
Nottingham, MD
MSRP $40,397
Check Availability

Colors and Styles

Build Car
blizzard pearl

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

The 2021 model year sees no changes as the SUV recently received a complete overhaul just the previous year and only sees an addition of a new sporty-looking XSE trim. The striking design is what attracts buyers first and the comfortable and well-insulated cabin loaded with plenty of creature comforts make all the difference. The 2021 Highlander starts at an MSRP of $36,260 as it competes against the likes of the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Hyundai Palisade

2021 Toyota Highlander SUV front view
2021 Toyota Highlander SUV rear view


The 2021 Highlander is now offered in 6 different trims with two drivetrain options to better suit each and every budget of the buyers. The base L trim comes packed with plenty of features with the LE and XLE trims adding a few more convenience functions. The newly introduced XSE trim gets an aggressive exterior design with black exterior accents and unique 20-inch wheels, along with a sportier calibration for the suspension. The Limited trim gets most of the latest technology and creature comforts while the Platinum trim takes it a notch further. 






















Key Features

Adaptive Cruise Control

Front Fog/Driving Lights

Universal Remote Transmitter

Black Roof Rails

Automatic Parking Assist

Adaptive Self-Leveling Headlights


Lane Departure Warning

Blind Spot Warning

Multi-Level Heating Front Seats

SofTex Cloth / Leatherette Seat Trim

11-speaker 1200W JBL audio system

Reverse Tilt Passenger Mirror When Vehicle In Reverse


6-speaker audio system

Leather Steering Wheel

Leatherette Upholstery

20-inch Alloy Wheels

Front And Rear Parking Sensors

Multi-Level Heating Rear Seat


3 Months Of Paid Satellite Radio

Pre- & Post-Collision Safety System

Sliding & Tilting Glass Sunroof


Heated Steering Wheel

Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers


Three Zone Climate Control

LED Taillights


Ventilated Front Seats


8-Way Power Driver Seat


Leather Upholstery


Cloth Upholstery


Front, Side, And Rear View Camera


18-inch Painted Alloy Wheels


20-inch Chrome Alloy Wheels


Which trim should you buy?

Although the Highlander offers an abundant number of creature comforts and features, the prices rise considerably as well, and hence it is better to opt for the XLE trim with AWD that gets plenty of usable features and practicality while also keeping the prices in check. 

Engine and Performance

The 2021 Highlander does not see any changes to the powertrain and continues to be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine under its hood which produces 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission as standard with the power being sent to the front wheels only. There is an option for an all-wheel-drive setup that improves practicality in slippery and snowy conditions.

2021 Toyota Highlander SUV engine bay

The performance is pretty strong for a midsize SUV as it manages a 0-60 mph sprint in 6.7 seconds and crosses the quarter-mile marker in under 16 seconds. The performance is linear and the engine does not feel strained in most circumstances but one has to work the gears to keep the engine in the meat of its powerband. The 5,000 lbs towing capacity is one of the best of the segment and the Highlander offers a wholesome performance overall. 


Toyota Highlander L

Ford Explorer Base

Honda Pilot LX

Hyundai Palisade SE







3.5L, Naturally Aspirated V6

2.3L, Turbocharged Inline-4

3.5L, Naturally Aspirated V6

3.8L, Naturally Aspirated V6







8-speed automatic

10-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

8-speed automatic


295 hp @ 6,600 rpm

300 hp @ 5,500 rpm

280 hp @ 6,000 rpm

291 hp @ 6,000 rpm


263 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

310 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm

262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm

0-60 mph (sec)





Quarter Mile (sec)





Top Speed (mph)





Towing Capacity (lbs)





In terms of performance, the Ford Explorer with its turbocharged Ecoboost engine is the stand-out performer in the segment. It not only achieves a blisteringly quick 0-60 mph acceleration but also manages to tow upto 5,300 lbs. The Honda Pilot is pretty quick as well but lacks in the towing department, whereas the Hyundai Palisade is the slowest of the pack with the towing prowess on par with the Highlander, which is also the priciest of the lot. 

How does the 2021 Toyota Highlander SUV handle?

The Toyota Highlander was designed with family usage in mind that includes daily driving to the schools and office with weekend getaways for the family with a trunk full of luggage. And although the Highlander is no Mazda in terms of driving dynamics, the SUV surprisingly feels planted and stable when switched to Sport mode that tightens up the throttle response, and the chassis remains flatter and more agile.

That is with the standard model, the sportier XSE trim with stiffened suspension setup should do even better in the high-speed corners. The car feels comfortable at both low and highway speeds and takes on broken pieces of roads rather well. The AWD system offers enough grip to take on the dirt and slippery wet roads comfortably but the limited ground clearance means one can only venture off the road only to a certain extent in the Highlander. 

2021 Toyota Highlander Braking Performance

The lightweight construction of the Highlander and the modern-day safety systems assures a good and confident feel behind the wheel in a panic braking scenario. The 13.3-inch front and rear disc brake rotors do a great job of stopping the car at a braking distance of 116 feet in the 60-0 mph braking test. 

2021 Toyota Highlander SUV brake rotor


Toyota Highlander

Ford Explorer

Honda Pilot

Hyundai Palisade

Brake Rotors - Front (in)





Brake Rotors - Rear (in)





Curb Weight (lbs)





60-0 mph (ft)





The Ford Explorer weighs a bit more and employs a larger set of front and a smaller set of rear brakes and hence travels farther than the Highlander. The Hyundai Palisade takes over 10 feet more than the Highlander to stop while the Honda Pilot which weighs the least has the longest stopping distance here.

Fuel Economy

Toyota is known for building dependable and frugal vehicles and in spite of its large dimensions, the Highlander manages an overall fuel efficiency of 24 mpg as rated by the EPA. Opting for the AWD reduces the fuel economy by 1 mpg in each aspect but the sizable 17.9-gallon fuel tank does a decent job of offering around 400 miles of driving range on a single tank of gas. 


Toyota Highlander

Ford Explorer

Honda Pilot

Hyundai Palisade

MPG (City)





MPG (Highway)





MPG (Combined)





Fuel Tank Capacity (gal)





Range (City / Highway / Combined) (miles)

376 / 519 / 430

376 / 501 / 430

390 / 527 / 449

357 / 489 / 414

The turbocharged engine under the hood of the Explorer returns pretty fuel economy ratings as that of the Highlander and also has an identical gas tank capacity. The Honda Pilot on the other hand is marginally less frugal but employs a much larger gas tank which translates to a class-leading driving range. The Hyundai Palisade has the highest fuel consumption and in spite of the larger fuel tank, struggles to offer a decent driving range. 


The cabin of the Highlander isn’t as striking or appealing as its exterior and instead offers a simple and logical layout of controls that are well within the reach of the driver but sometimes feel cluttered. The materials aren’t as premium as many of its rivals but feel robust and utilitarian with no compromise being made in terms of fit and finish quality. 

2021 Toyota Highlander SUV front seats

In terms of space, the front and second-row have ample amount of space wherein 5 adults can be seated comfortably even on longer journeys. That being said, managing to fit 8 occupants and not making any compromise in the first two rows means the third row is best only suited for young kids. The 16 cu-ft of trunk space can be extended to 48.4 cu-ft with the third row folded while folding down the second row opens up 84.3 cu-ft of space.


Toyota Highlander

Ford Explorer

Honda Pilot

Hyundai Palisade

Seating Capacity





Front Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)

41.2 / 59.0 / 42.0

40.7 / 61.8 / 43.0

40.1 / 62.0 / 40.9

40.7 / 61.2 / 44.1

Second Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)

39.4 / 58.7 / 41.0

40.5 / 61.9 / 39.0

40.2 / 62.0 / 38.4

40.1 / 60.8 / 42.4

Third Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)

36.1 / 55.0 / 27.7

38.9 / 54.6 / 32.2

38.9 / 57.6 / 31.9

37.8 / 55.2 / 31.4

Trunk Capacity (cu-ft)





The Ford Explorer and the Hyundai Palisade have the most spacious front row of seats and also offer a much larger trunk at the rear. The Palisade is in fact the most spacious amongst all the SUVs present here. The Honda Pilot offers a more balanced layout with plenty of space in all three rows while the Explorer has the most spacious third row but compromises a bit in the second-row legroom. 

  • 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat including power lumbar support and 4-way power-adjustable front passenger seat
  • Heated/Ventilated Front Bucket Seats w/seat memory function
  • Bucket Folding Captain Heated Manual Reclining Fold Forward Rear Seat w/Manual Fore/Aft
  • Fixed 60-40 Split-Bench 3rd Row Seat w/Manual Recline and Manual Fold Into Floor
  • Leather Upholstered Dashboard and Seat Trim w/Leatherette Door Trim Insert
  • Tilt/Telescoping Heated Leather/Piano Black Steering Wheel
  • Three-Zone Automatic Air Conditioning w/Separate rear seat controls
  • Digital Rearview Mirror w/HomeLink
  • Head-Up Display

What’s there to keep you entertained?

Toyota offers all sorts of amenities and technology that one would expect from a modern-day family SUV. The base model gets an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system which also features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard along with Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi hotspot, and SiriusXM satellite radio. 

2021 Toyota Highlander SUV infotainment screen

The higher trims feature a larger 12.3-inch head unit which also gets the dynamic navigation system as standard. The standard audio system lacks depth and feels brash but the premium JBL audio system available on the higher trims is flawless and enhances the drive during both, the family on weekend trips and the daily boring office drives.

  • The 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa integration
  • 11-speaker 1200-Watt JBL Clari-Fi Premium audio system w/subwoofer
  • HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month All Access trial
  • Wi-Fi Connect mobile hotspot w/up to 2GB within 3-month trial
  • Dynamic Navigation w/up to 3-year trial and Destination Assist w/1-year trial
  • Dynamic voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth
  • Safety Connect & Remote Connect w/1-year trial and Service Connect w/10-year trial

The exterior of the Toyota Highlander is nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd of midsize SUVs with the same old large and aggressive grille and chunky bumper with chrome embellishments. No doubt the 2021 Highlander looks striking and appealing but there is very little that would distinguish it radically from its peers and siblings. 

2021 Toyota Highlander SUV 

The overall design is pretty sleek and has a pretty low drag coefficient which aids it in the fuel efficiency department. The standard 18-inch wheels are first for the segment and look really good while the optional 20-inch wheels have their own appeal, makes the ride a bit harsher but doesn’t make it uncomfortable by any means. 


Toyota Highlander

Ford Explorer

Honda Pilot

Hyundai Palisade

Curb Weight (lbs)





Length (in)





Width (in)





Height (in)





Ground Clearance (in)





Wheelbase (in)





The Ford Explorer is longer, wider, and taller than most of its competitors and hence has a more spacious cabin to offer. The Honda Pilot and the Hyundai Palisade on the other hand are pretty identical in terms of exterior dimensions but the Pilot rides much lower to the ground which limits off-road abilities. The Explorer has the highest ground clearance but the difference between the ride heights of the Highlander, Palisade, and Explorer is minuscule. 

  • Automatic Projector Beam Auto-Leveling Directionally Adaptive Auto High-Beam Daytime Running Lights Preference Setting Headlamps\
  • High Grade LED Projector Headlights
  • LED Brakelights
  • Power Liftgate w/Lip Spoiler
  • Rain Detecting Variable Intermittent Wipers w/Heated Wiper Park
  • Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Tilt Down Function and Turn Signal Indicator
  • Panoramic Moonroof
  • 20-inch Painted Alloy Wheels

Toyota is known for providing a safe haven for its buyers and their families and the 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA and the “Top Safety Pick+” accolade from the IIHS is a clear testament to that. A number of safety functions and features are available as standard right from the base trim while the higher trims add even more driver aids to make it a complete package. A highlight of the most prominent safety features available with the 2021 Highlander is listed below. 

  • Pre-Collision System
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Front and Rear Parking Assist w/Automatic Braking
  • Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning

2021 Toyota Highlander vs Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer not only costs much less than the Toyota, but it also offers a blistering performance without any compromise in the efficiency and towing departments. The cabin is very spacious and feels a bit more premium than the Highlander. The base Explorer isn’t as loaded as the Highlander but overall feels a lot more valuable than the Explorer. Therefore, we would recommend Explorer for its spacious and premium cabin and potent powertrain. 

Ford Explorer

2021 Toyota Highlander vs Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is also one of the more popular products of the segment and similar to Toyota’s Highlander, is also a large volume seller for its manufacturer. That being said, the 2021 Highlander has a higher towing capacity and fuel economy while the braking performance is better than Toyota. The Pilot may have a more usable third row of seats but it compromises space for the front two rows to make it happen. Therefore, it is better to opt for the feature-loaded Highlander over the Pilot on any given day.

Honda Pilot

2021 Toyota Highlander vs Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade is a striking-looking SUV that makes sure to stand out from the crowd with people turning around to have a second look at it. It is one of the most affordable products in the segment and also offers plenty of features. Although the towing capability is on par with the segment, the acceleration and braking performance is sedate while the fuel economy is below par as well. The cabin is very spacious and feels premium with no compromise made for either the passenger or luggage space. Therefore it is a tie for us and we feel it depends on what you want from your family SUV, Toyota provides frugal comfort while Hyundai offers premium and spacious appeal to its cabin.

Hyundai Palisade


Final Verdict

There is a reason why the Toyota Highlander is one of the best sellers for Toyota in the market. The 2021 update has made it an even more exciting prospect with many of the goodies baked right into the base trim onwards. The performance is pretty decent while the fuel efficiency is pretty high. The cabin lacks premium appeal but feels solid and built to last. Thus, if you are on the lookout for a three-row family SUV, the 2021 Toyota Highlander is one of the best you can buy at this price point. 


vehicle bio
base price


body style

4dr SUV

engine type

211 cu in

horse power

295 hp @ 6600 rpm


263 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm


8-Speed Automatic


194.9 in


112.2 in


76 in

curb weight

4195 lbs


68.1 in

Ground Clearance

8 lbs

passenger volume

139.1 cu ft

cargo volume

84.3 cu ft

passenger capacity

5 Seats

fuel economy

20/23/27 mpg

highway range

483.30 mi

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

Toyota Highlander 5 year Cost To Own

Cash Price(MSRP)
5 Year Cost To Own
Total 5 year Cost To Own -  $44,601
Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5total
Financing Interest$1,682$1,352$1,002$626$227$4,889
Taxes and Fees$2,826$255$243$232$218$3,774
Total Cost-To-Own$10,674$7,801$7,533$9,238$9,355$44,601
Read more about Cost-To-Own »

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