As two top models for families and adventurous drivers, the Toyota Highlander vs. Ford Explorer sparks a recurring debate with each new model year. How can you possibly separate these acclaimed SUVs when trying to make the right choice for your lifestyle around Quincy, Crawfordville, and Tallahassee? While the pair have some overlapping traits, as you begin to dig into the specifications of each model, you’ll find they’re actually quite unique.
The reason our staff at Peter Boulware Toyota wanted to craft this comparison is to help provide an honest, straightforward review of the Highlander and the Explorer!
The new age of automotive design is heavily trending toward hybrid motors that draw their power from a mixture of traditional gas engines plus electric batteries. So, which brand does the hybrid better: the Ford Explorer or the Toyota Highlander? If your definition of “better” means higher fuel economy, then the Toyota Highlander easily outpaces its Ford counterpart.
At best, your hybrid Explorer is going to return an EPA-estimated 27 city/29 highway MPG. By contrast, the 2.5L 4-cylinder hybrid of the Toyota Highlander is going to peak at an impressive 36 city/35 highway MPG.1
Space is likely going to play a vital role in your car search when comparing 3-row SUVs. While the 2020 Toyota Highlander and the Ford Explorer are close in size, the Highlander supports eight passengers to just seven in the Ford and has a number of other advantages, too.
Another good example is in their cargo room. If you’re like many other families who use the second row to support passengers but often fold the third row flat to open more storage space, the Highlander gives you an edge with 48.4 cubic feet of trunk space compared to 47.9 cubic feet in the Explorer.
While you have the kids or other passengers in the second row, they’ll enjoy the 41 inches of legroom in the Toyota rather than the more cramped surroundings of the Explorer that offers just 39 inches in the back.
Customizing an SUV to have the features and specifications your lifestyle demands is much easier with the Toyota Highlander than with the Ford Explorer. With the Ford, you’ll have five trims to choose among—helpful, sure, but it pales in comparison to the nine trims offered by the Highlander.
The standard Explorer is merely called the Ford Explorer, while subsequent trims include the XLT, the Limited, the ST, and the Platinum.
Toyota starts off the Highlander trims with the L, the LE, and the Hybrid LE, before moving to the XLE, the Hybrid XLE, and the Limited. Beyond that, you can enjoy the Hybrid Limited, the Platinum that sports premium technology, and the Hybrid Platinum.
When you sum up the Toyota Highlander vs. Ford Explorer comparison, it’s all about the Toyota SUV being more efficient, spacious, and customizable. See the Highlander up close and experience it for yourself near Quincy, Tallahassee, and Crawfordville by coming to Peter Boulware Toyota.
1 2020 preliminary mpg estimates determined by Toyota. EPA estimates not available at time of posting. Actual mileage will vary.