2021 Toyota Highlander AWD base model review | Car Reviews

Auto123 assessments the 2021 Toyota Highlander LE foundation AWD design.

Soon after staying specified a complete redesign in 2020, the Toyota Highlander continues to be unchanged for 2021. Measured by dimensions, the three-row crossover sits just higher than the Venza and just beneath the 4Runner in the Japanese automaker’s lineup.

We analyzed the Limited variation last 12 months and have been quite constructive about this new Highlander. Except that it value $54,029, which won’t make it pretty obtainable to families on a spending budget who need to have an eight-seat auto. We asked to attempt an entry-degree variation and Toyota came as a result of with an LE AWD variation. Price? $forty six,309. Indeed, that’s however far from low-priced!

So what do you get for $forty six,000?
Effectively, you get fabric seats, of pretty very good excellent and pretty relaxed. Most importantly, they search like they have been conceived to endure the assaults of little ones and, one imagines, their toes, their toys, their treats and their chewing gum. The cloth of the seats appears to be strong and tough.

For that healthy sum, you also get plastic panels in the course of the auto. The dashboard, doorway jambs and centre console are all produced of thick plastic that is frankly not pretty enjoyable to the contact. Effectively, I suppose you could say they are also there with attacks from the minimal types in intellect.

On the other hand, storage area abounds inside the Highlander, no matter which variation you go for.

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2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, interior

Much more very good information is that, even in this foundation variation, Toyota does not skimp on security options. We applaud the company for making it a priority to supply necessary security options in all of its versions. The Toyota Safety Feeling two. suite of systems is hence incorporated with the entry-degree variation. You’ll locate a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise command with a whole variety of speeds, a lane departure warning system with steering help and a lane preserve aid system.

You’ll also get 4 electric power home windows. Certain, giggle, but we issue this out due to the fact we in some cases check drive more high-priced autos that really don’t have this choice.

The Highlander is produced for those who want place for all the associates of the household. In this LE variation, it can accommodate 8, as described. Retain in intellect, having said that, that the 3rd row is designed for youthful little ones or adolescents. Older folks can sit in the 3rd row, but truthfully, we really don’t see them being there for prolonged visits. The good thing is, the second-row seats can be moved forward 30 mm to alleviate fairly the suffering of those powering them.

All occupants will locate loads of sites to retail store cups, smartphones and other toys. Teenagers and tweens will be happy with the USB outlets sprinkled about – there are five in whole.

When everyone’s on board, you can however depend on 456 litres of cargo area. Need to have more place? Unload the 3rd-row passengers, fold down their seats and you’ll have 1,a hundred and fifty litres. With second-row seats also vacated and folded down, you’re looking at two,076 litres of cargo area. Some persons will just have to walk or acquire the bus, that’s all.

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, trunk

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, trunk

The motor
A 3.5L V6 that develops 295 hp and 263 lb-ft sits less than the hood of the Highlander, mated to an eight-velocity automated transmission and an all-wheel drive system. Notice that there is a front-wheel-drive L variation, which we really don’t endorse specified our local weather.

The V6-Four wheel drive combo is skilled ample to deliver a smooth everyday drive and to shift this two-ton SUV with self esteem. Effectively equipped, it can even tow up to 5,000 lb.

This LE variation is intriguing due to the fact it delivers all-wheel drive and an eight-seat configuration. It also has a great deal of security options and Toyota won’t skimp on the comfort options that will make its everyday use satisfying.

The variation we analyzed retails for $forty six,309. The foundation L variation with front-wheel drive (which will no lengthier be available in 2022) begins at $forty two,809.

As ahead of with the Highlander, for an added $two,000 you can enhance to the hybrid variation. If you really don’t need to have to haul 5,000 lb and want to reduce your gasoline consumption (due to the fact you must know that the non-hybrid Highlander works by using up 11.8L/100km), the hybrid is a intelligent decision and the added $two,000 will rapidly pay back for itself. With this system, you can assume to get about eight.0L/one hundred km in blended use. Get out your calculators!

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, profile

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, profile

The competitiveness
How does the Highlander fare versus the competitiveness? Here is how:

Kia’s Telluride, with a foundation selling price of $forty eight,505, has a nicer interior than the Highlander. There’s also more place in the 3rd row and it can be smoother to drive than the Highlander. The only problem with the Telluride is that there is no hybrid variation. So, we endorse the Highlander as prolonged as you get it in hybrid variety.

The Hyundai Palisade begins at $forty one,399. As with the Telluride, the interior of the Palisade is pretty person-welcoming and enjoyable to live with on a everyday foundation. The exterior search is a minimal polarizing, but you’ll have ot make up your personal intellect. The V6 motor is also pretty smooth and only the hybrid variation of the Toyota helps make us lean to the Japanese design forward of this Korean SUV.

Mazda’s CX-9 begins at $40,950 for 2022. It’s a little bit dated and must be obtaining a makeover before long. Pro: It’s powered by a 250-hp four-cylinder motor that does really well to deliver a really dynamic drive. Con: The 3rd row of this midsize SUV is more tricky to accessibility than the Highlander’s. Pro: We also like the CX-9’s exterior styling and driving working experience. Con: There is no hybrid variation for the CX-9. We would choose the Toyota, as the Mazda is at the conclusion of its lifetime in its existing configuration.

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, front

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, front

The Honda Pilot is available in Canada for $forty four,890. This is a serious competitor to the Highlander, as both equally have demonstrated reliability and pretty very good resale worth. The Pilot’s interior is pretty roomy and the comfort on board is outstanding. You can healthy 8 persons more conveniently than in the Highlander, but you’ll have a minimal much less place for luggage.

Like the CX-9, having said that, this Pilot is starting to age, and must obtain an update before long. We would all over again lean to the hybrid variation of the Highlander. In case the hybrid variation is not a decision for you, then we would swing our vote over to the Pilot which delivers more usability than its Japanese competitor.  

Finally, the Ford Explorer, which begins at $forty four,769 in XLT trim, delivers a identical interior to the Highlander. It’s powered by a four-cylinder motor making 300 hp and 310 lb-ft, and is mated to a 10-velocity automated transmission. This mix helps make the Explorer a entertaining-to-drive auto with crisp, more energetic acceleration than the Toyota. The 3rd row is quick to accessibility and the auto was designed to accommodate families. We like this Ford, and if you’re intrigued in both equally, we can only counsel you check drive both equally cars.

For us, we really feel the Explorer provides a generally American auto working experience, even though the Highlander is far more usual of Japanese products and solutions. Major shock there.. The Explorer delivers a hybrid variation, but to accessibility it, you have to choose the Limited trim then choose the hybrid choice, which raises the selling price to $fifty three,029. That’s nearly $10,000 added to get the hybrid variation. Also, all through our last check drive, we were not truly persuaded by the frugality of the Ford’s motor. So we’d go with the Highlander all over again.

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, headlight

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, headlight

We like

Offered in hybrid variation
House on board

We like much less

Much too much plastic
3rd row for minimal types only
The selling price is high, even in the basic variation

The competitiveness

Ford Explorer
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Palisade
Kia Telluride
Mazda CX-9

See also: 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Evaluation: When four Doesn’t Add up to six

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, rear

2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD, rear



2021 Toyota Highlander LE AWD pics