Friday, May 24, 2024
Should-you-buyShould You Buy a 2021 Toyota Highlander?

Should You Buy a 2021 Toyota Highlander?

To Hybrid or Not to Hybrid...

SUVs are always popular, which is why manufacturers continue to improve their offerings. Toyota is no exception with, among others, its much-loved RAV4 and of course its big brother, the Highlander who were both redesigned last year.

The fourth-generation Toyota Highlander arrived on the market as a 2020 model. It is offered, as it has been for several years now, in two versions, gasoline and hybrid. Earlier this year we covered the Highlander Hybrid, so this time we’re going to tackle the gas version.

The segment in which the 2021 Toyota Highlander falls offers a lot of competition. We’re talking about the Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Volkswagen Atlas, not to mention the beloved South Korean duo consisting of the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride. In short, if you want to look good in this segment, you better be on your best behaviour.

Although it’s available in a hybrid version, something few of its competitors can say, the gasoline version with its 3.5-litre V6, developing 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft. of torque, is among the most powerful in its class. It can also pull up to 5,000 lbs with the Towing Package which includes a high-efficiency radiator with an engine oil cooler and a more efficient fan.

In addition, a new version is being added to the lineup for 2021, the Highlander XSE. The latter, a “sport” model, adds a sport-tuned suspension, black roof rails and mirror caps, dual exhaust tips, a more aggressive grille and front and rear bumpers, and the headlights and taillights get smoked finish trim.

So, does the 2021 Toyota Highlander with its V6 offer enough to top the sales charts as it did a few years ago?  Let’s take a closer look.

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Why You Should Buy a 2021 Toyota Highlander:

  • The first reason why this is a good buy is that the Highlander is a Toyota product, therefore, it offers outstanding reliability.
  • Speaking of reliability, the 3.5-litre V6 engine, coupled with the 8-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission, forms a duo that would make many competitors jealous. Smooth and quiet, it’s also efficient with combined fuel consumption of 10.7 L/100 km.
  • Another huge plus is its excellent resale value on the used market.
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Why You Should Not Buy a 2021 Toyota Highlander:

  • If you’re looking for a three-row midsize SUV, the 2021 Highlander is unfortunately not for you. Third-row space is adequate for young children, but not much more. We’re talking about 100 mm less legroom than many competitors. And we’re not going to talk about how to reach the third row…
  • The multimedia system is also a bit dated, considering that the completely redesigned vehicle only arrived on the market a year ago. The graphics and image quality when using the cameras do not look “2020”, let’s put it that way.
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE | Photo: Olivier Delorme


In an evolving category where the offer is constantly renewed, the Toyota Highlander is doing well. It may not be the roomiest or the one with the best driving dynamics, but it’s still a Toyota vehicle.

The Japanese manufacturer, as mentioned above, offers exceptional resale value and reliability, and no one can take that away from the Highlander. The gasoline version of this SUV may not make it to the podium among mid-size three-row SUVs, but the hybrid version does, thanks to its great fuel economy rating.

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE | Photo: Olivier Delorme
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE | Photo: Olivier Delorme
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE | Photo: Olivier Delorme


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