If you’re looking for a three-row family SUV, performance is probably not at the top of the priority list. But with the 2021 Toyota Highlander, you get a skilled midsize SUV in terms of performance and comfort. The 2021 Toyota Highlander has expanded its trim lines to include the XSE model, which combines its sporty design and sport-tuned suspension to the everyday functionality that a family needs.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the 2021 Toyota Highlander.


The 2021 Toyota Highlander will give you the performance and convenience that you need from a three-row SUV. Similar to a family station wagon, the car offers more than enough space needed for a family car but tops this up with many other features.

You can choose between the standard V-6 engine, or go the extra mile with the hybrid option for more power with the assurance that both come with an all-wheel drive.

As for the interior, there are three seat rows, which is the main selling point of the car. There is a fully equipped cabin with diverse storage cubicles and an infotainment system.

Adding a plus for safety, the Toyota Highlander comes with a set of driver-assistance functions, but this doesn’t mean that the car is built for speed. You can enjoy its decent acceleration performance that works for daily activities.


Power and Performance

The 2021 Toyota Highlander comes standard with a 295-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which comes with 8-speed automatic transmission and a front or all-wheel drive. As for the optional engine, you get the Highlander Hybrid with two electric motors and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, both offering an impressive combination of 243 horsepower.

Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo

While the lower trim lines can take up to eight people, with bench seats on the two back rows, the higher trim lines feature space enough for seven people with captain seats in the middle row. In most cars in the Highlander series, you can fit four suitcases in the cargo area, with a focus on comfort. If comfort is on top of your priority list, the Platinum and Upscale Limited models would do better than others.

Most Highlander models come with an 8-inch infotainment screen, while the Platinum and Highlander Limited offer a 12.3-inch display. Toyota also fits the different trim lines with 11-speaker JBL audio system, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio.

Fuel Economy

The Highlander V-6 is estimated to offer you up to 29mpg on the highway when you use the front-wheel drive, while the all-wheel-drive offers 27mpg.

If you use the Highlander Hybrid engine, you have an impressive 36mpg and 35mpg for front and all-wheel drives on the highway.

Warranty and Maintenance

Toyota is impressing its customers with two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance, giving itself an edge over the competition. While the limited warranty covers 36,000 miles or three years, the powertrain warranty’s coverage is for 60,000 miles or five years. Then, the hybrid component warranty covers 100,000 miles or eight years.


The 2021 Toyota Highlander has its manufacturer’s suggested retail price between $35,085 and $49,190, depending on the trim line that you go for. The XLE model offers the most value for its money, with a wireless smartphone charging pad, heated front seats, power sunroof, and more.

Your budget can also increase or decrease depending on the package you choose, and the Dynamic Navigation package is the top pick with Premium Audio, an upgraded stereo system, and in-dash navigation.

You might also have to spend an extra $1,600 if you want the all-wheel drive, and cars with the Highlander Hybrid engine come with an extra cost of $1,400.

Is 2021 Toyota Highlander Reliable?

Generally speaking, yes, it is. The 2021 Toyota Highlander is safe to use, offers overall comfort, and is fuel-efficient. The company is also giving you an impressive safety net in terms of warranty and maintenance. The Highlander has not had any safety recalls since released, and its basic warranty plan protects new and existing customers from damage to the car.


The 2021 Toyota Highlander earned a five-stars rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is the highest possible score. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) was named a Top Safety Pick. With these two alone, you can be assured that all the cars in this series are completely safe.

You can also expect different driver-assistance features, like lane-keeping assist, automatic high-beam headlamps, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

What people are saying about the 2021 Toyota Highlander

Demand and anticipation for the 2021 Toyota Highlander were high since it was announced that it was being redesigned in 2020. Many customers have commended and complimented the cars, especially in the aspect of safety, family-friendliness, impressive power, and the running boards. Most comments also include praise for the quiet engine, with one customer saying that it feels like you’re in your living room.

Although there have been some complaints about the car, there are mostly nitpicks and defects with the car like a rod bearing failure, metal shavings in the engine, and poor customer response from Toyota.

Even with this, most customer comments on the 2021 Toyota Highlander are praising the interior, ride quality, fuel efficiency, comfort, appearance, and reliability, assuring prospective customers of high Toyota quality.


For most people thinking of buying a 2021 Toyota Highlander model, the top contenders are Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride. In terms of acceleration and performance, Highlander is just behind these two leading models, which is why some customers are still weighing their options.

The Kia Telluride would impress you with its handsome design, high value, and luxury, all packed in the three-row mid-size SUV, while the Hyundai Palisade sets itself apart with a spacious design, smooth powertrain, and seamless on-road drive. These two competitors run on the same platform but with different selling points that also separate them from the 2021 Toyota Highlander.



image color picker
Pavlo Prannyk
Latest posts by Pavlo Prannyk (see all)