2021 Toyota Highlander Review, New XSE Trim Available

2021 Toyota Highlander side

After years of waiting, the popular 2021 Toyota Highlander has been refreshed and the manufacturer introduced a new trim called XSE. At first glance, this trim features many improvements over the regular model and it provides unique ride quality and driving experience.

From what we heard, the new model will arrive later this year, starting just below $35,000. Like the previous model, the new one comes with the same two engine options. The base model uses 3.5-liter V6, while the optional one comes with a hybrid system.

2021 Toyota Highlander

2021 Toyota Highlander Exterior

The upcoming 2021 Toyota Highlander sports a slightly larger design that is easily recognizable. According to the latest reports, this SUV has grown a couple of inches in length, which translate more interior room.

Highlander’s front fascia comes with notable updates, housings a new pair of LED headlights and broader grille. Viewed from the side, the models L, LE, and XLE models sports 18-inch wheels and 20-inch wheels come standard on the Limited and Platinum grades. Overall, this SUV is looking more angular than the rounded Honda Pilot. The rear also comes with similarly athletic aesthetic, including LED taillights and bumper color body.

Cabin Specs

The interior of Toyota Highlander is getting some sort of makeover. Definitively, cabin styling now matches its updated exterior design. Like the current model, the base L and mid-range LE models offer eight-passenger seats using bench seats in the second and third rows. Moreover, a seven-seat arrangement with second-row captain’s chairs is available on higher trims.

As we can see, materials throughout the cabin are better than those on the last-generation Highlander. Going up to Limited and Platinum trim, buyers will get more premium elements and comfort. However, models like Palisade or Telluride provides more for invested money.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The new 2021 Toyota Highlander comes standardly with an 8.0-inch infotainment system, that can be upgraded to a 12.3-inch display jumping to Limited and Platinum models. Besides that, Highlander features an 11-speaker JBL audio system, SiriusXM satellite radio, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration for all models.

2021 Toyota Highlander interior

2021 Toyota Highlander Powertrain

The all-new Toyota Highlander offers a choice of two powertrains. The first unit that powers the base model is a standard 3.5-liter V6 delivering 295 horsepower. This engine is more potent than the competitors in class and is pretty stronger. Like before, this unit is available with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.

However, the next engine under the Toyota Highlander is using a hybrid system. This model consists of os a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder powertrain and it uses electric motor. Thanks to that, it delivers 306 horses, which is a significant boost over the previous model that produces 243 horsepower. This Highlander Hybrid also differs from the outgoing model, because it comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system.

2021 Toyota Highlander side look

Release Date and Price

The manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the new 2021 Toyota Highlander starts at $34,600, plus a destination charge of $1,120. Stepping up to the more recommendable LE model price will jump to $36,800. The Highlander Hybrid begins at $38,200 and spans to $48,250 for a Platinum model. XSE’s new trim starts at $42,000.

As you can see, Highlander cost more than the Honda Pilot, which begins at $31,550. Other rivals are Subaru Ascent, Nissan Pathfinder, Volkswagen Atlas, Chevrolet Traverse, and Mazda CX-9.


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