The 2021 Toyota Highlander as one of the most futuristic grilles of any family SUV this year. It’s doing more than just one-upping itself. It’s one-upping everything in its class. And while we agree that the Highlander is still affordable, we love that Toyota has created a Highlander that can go full on luxury for people willing to pay premium prices. Sometimes you want to go that extra mile for your family. Finally, Toyota lets you. Our 2021 Toyota Highlander vs 2020 Toyota Highlander near Pittsburgh.
The newest addition to the trim lineup is an exquisite XSE trim. This is the big one you want to look at if you’re a person who demands only the most luxurious features for your SUVs. In addition to a more luxurious cabin, though, it also offers blacked out exterior features and a gorgeous set of 20-inch wheels. The 2020 Highlander boasted LED headlamps in the lineup, but the 2021 model gets LED headlamps throughout the entire trim lineup, a huge boost in appearance for the brand. A revised grille sports an almost wing’s like chrome icon at the top of the smaller grille, with a sharp tiger-nose design that isn’t found in any other model on earth right now. If you want an SUV that puts its front end/best end first, then the Highlander is definitely it. Lower wheel arches also offset the new grille in a way that draws attention to all the new blacked out/chrome features. The stretched LED headlamps are also striking. They span almost the entire length of the hood.
The interior of early trim Highlander models are nicely equipped with contemporary amenities. You get premium cloth seating in an arrangement of colorful options, Qi-Wireless device charging starting on the XLE trim, and a solid touchscreen infotainment system. Starting on the XLE, things get really nice! You’ll find SofTex trimmed front and second row seating that’s heated in the front. A power tilt/slide moonroof lets you open up the skies above to your passengers. A hands-free power liftgate is part interior/exterior feature, but we believe your passengers will appreciate your much better mood thanks to the hands-free assist from the Highlander. Your Limited boasts leather-trimmed seats with heating and ventilation and a booming 11 speaker JBL system that rumbles out your favorite tunes, podcasts, and even phone calls from the fam.
Toyota kept the powertrain steady in 2021. It’s a 295 horsepower 3.5L V6 engine that’s ready to rumble alongside an 8-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 60 is a little over 6 seconds, and that’s not bad when you consider the size of the Highlander. It’s a sweet spot of speed for the model’s frame, and that’s why Toyota didn’t tinker too much with the mechanical features of the 2021 Highlander. Sometimes you get it just right. Why change it? Now, that’s before we dig into the fact that the Highlander now has a hybrid powertrain to go along with that 295 horsepower gas engine. You can choose the gas engine/electric motor combo and get 243 horsepower. It’s a small price to pay for all the money you’ll save on gas, and let’s face it, not having to fill up all the time is a luxury. The hybrid gets a CVT gearbox, and it is definitely worth the switch.
The new Highlander has already been given a 5-star rating by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Oversight by the NHTSA is one of the best ways to know if you’re buying an extremely safe SUV. The Highlander gets even better this year! It is also a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. That’s your big two agencies who make sure that your family can trust the SUV brand you’re buying. New sensors this year are more numerous and sensitive to your surroundings. You’ll get improved automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection (now picks up cyclists) and a blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert one-two punch that assures your family on another big driver-assist feature. There’s also semi-autonomous steering as the Highlander gets one step closer to being the “self driving SUV” we all dream of. It’s not quite there yet, but it’s closer than the 2020 Toyota Highlander.
Are you ready to get to know the 2021 Highlander at Taylor Auto Group? Give the gang here a call to schedule your first test drive and learn about our all-new specials on the model.