The 2021 Toyota Highlander is the brand’s competitor in the growing mid-size class where buyers prioritize comfort and cargo capacity and where a high fuel economy plays a major role as well. The recently redesigned Highlander improved all mentioned aspects for the fourth-generation version while made also a technological leap. The newest Highlander is more agile and comfortable while riding thanks to the structural and mechanical upgrades. The model is also powered by the adequate V-6 gas engine while buyers can switch to the hybrid powertrain if they want the class-best fuel economy.
The Highlander learned a lot from the Toyota RAV4 which leads the game among the compact-sized crossovers and arrived all-new for the 2019 model year. The newest Highlander adopted some styling cues from the brand’s best-selling model while had also the class demands in mind. What is sure, Toyota made a good job with the recent redesign of the three-row Highlander and the model will remain a top pick in the class.
As for the changes for the 2021 version, there won’t be many. Toyota will repeat the same powertrains and expect the same trim options as well. There will be just a few changes in the equipment organization and new color options for the new model year.
2021 Toyota Highlander: Design
The 2020 Highlander is all-new from the ground up and Toyota won’t change much on the 2021 version.
The fourth-generation Highlander is based on the widely used Toyota New Global Architecture which is also the foundation of the most recent Camry and RAV4. Thanks to the use of the new modular and lightweight platform, the Highlander has multiple benefits in the ride quality and agility as well as efficiency and ability to implement the new technologies.
The Highlander adopted also a new styling theme for the recent redesign and the next version will stay unchanged in that regard. Buyers should expect new color and wheel options to appear with the 2021 Toyota Highlander and Toyota might also offer a new special edition version.
The fourth-generation Highlander has more chiseled body lines mixed with the reshaped grille and new lights. Toyota stretched also the wheelbase of the model to open more room inside.
The next 2021 Toyota Highlander will again offer seven and eight-seat configurations and come well-equipped from the base version. The buyers can also count on up to 73.3 cubes of the cargo space when the rear rows are out of function. Behind the second row will be 40.6 cubes of the cargo room or 16.1 cubic feet with all seats up.
Every Highlander will come with at least an 8-inch touch screen and Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Toyota will also install the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety systems in every version. The package includes lane-keeping assist, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlights.
The lower grades will come with the cloth upholstery while the model will switch to the simulated leather in the mid-grade version. The two top trims will get perforated leather upholstery and things like the heated seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, JBL sound system, 20-inch wheels and more.
2021 Toyota Highlander: Performance, MPG
The 2021 Toyota Highlander will again offer the gas-powered and hybridized powertrain options.
The non-hybrid Highlander will rely on the 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. This combination will be good for 295 hp and torque of 263 lb-ft. The V-6 powered Highlander will tow up to 5,000 pounds and mange up to 22 mpg combined fuel economy.
The Highlander Hybrid should provide the class-best fuel economy if the thing remains the same in the segment. This version employs a 2.5-liter non-turbo engine, electric motors, a nickel-hybrid battery and CVT. The combined output is 240 hp and buyers should expect around 34 mpg combined.
In both gas-powered and hybrid versions, the Highlander will be available with the two- and four-wheel drive. The V-6-equipped Highlander will come with two four-wheel-drive versions. The lower grades will offer the system which can route up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels. A more sophisticated system will be available in the top grades. The system includes several drive modes, dynamic torque vectoring and drive disconnect. The AWD Hybris setup has a rear-axle electric motor.
2021 Toyota Highlander: Release, Price
The 2021 Toyota Highlander will go on sale in late 2020. The price range should again start from around $34, 000.