Considering that the popular mid-size crossover has been redesigned recently, we don’t expect bigger changes for the 2021 Toyota Highlander, which will represent the second production year of the second best-selling three-row crossover in North America. The new model comes with loads of improvements, so we don’t expect any major modifications for the second production year. Improvements are notable in all aspects. First of all, there is a new exterior styling, much more attractive than before.
The new model also brings ride quality to the next level, while the interior comes not just with a new layout, but with significant improvements in terms of space and practicality. Finally, there is a new hybrid powertrain. It features less power than before, but it makes Highlander the most fuel-efficient three-row SUV on the market. All in all, the list of novelties is pretty impressive, so we don’t expect to see 2021 Toyota Highlander with any particular novelty. The launch date should be scheduled for the last quarter of the next year.
2021 Toyota Highlander Design
In terms of base design characteristics, we definitely won’t see any particular changes. The recent redesign has brought a completely new design. It rides on the company’s new TNGA platform, which improves driving characteristics and comfort notably. Also, we should mention that the new model is or about two inches longer, which brings benefits on the inside.
When it comes to the styling, you can easily notice narrower headlights and taillights. The grille is also smaller and follows Toyota’s latest aesthetical approach. A winger “Toyota” badge is also a nice touch. The crossover comes standard with 18-inch wheels. If you pick 2021 Toyota Highlander Limited or some other higher trims, you may count on bigger, 20-inch alloys. The new model looks notably more attractive, but the company claims aerodynamics improvements as well.
On the inside, you will notice a new dashboard layout. Of course, it is highlighted by a large high-mounted touchscreen. Base models come with an 8-inch screen, while higher trims come with a unit that measures 12.3 inches diagonally. Just like the 2020 model year, the new Toyota Highlander 2021 will come with the same three-row seating configuration. Base models can accommodate up to eight passengers. Higher trims come with second-row captain’s chairs, which reduce seating capacity to seven.
As we already mentioned, the new model is for about two inches longer, which is quite notable if you check the legroom in all three rows. All seats are comfortable, with great support for longer trips. When it comes to the cargo space, there are around 16 cubic feet behind the third row, and 40 cubic feet once you fold the third row down.
The cabin is also well-equipped. Besides the aforementioned touchscreen, you can also count on loads of other tech goodies, including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa. Also, wireless charging is available, while the power-adjustable driver’s seat is available across the whole range. Another thing we like about this cabin is excellent visibility in all directions.
2021 Toyota Highlander Engines
The 2021 Toyota Highlander will carry on with a couple of familiar powertrain options. The standard model will carry on with a well-known 3.5-liter V6, which is good for about 295 horsepower and comes in pair with 8-speed automatic transmission. This engine delivers pretty good driving dynamics, while the max towing capacity goes around 5.000 pounds, which are pretty typical ratings for the class. When it comes to fuel economy, you may count on pretty similar ratings as for the previous-generation model, which returns around 23 mpg in a combined ride.
On the other side, the 2021 Toyota Highlander hybrid version will be far more efficient. It’s not the most powerful powertrain you can find in the class, but mpg ratings are impressive. It is a system that combines a 2.5-liter gasoline engine with two electric motors, for a max output of 240 horsepower. The average fuel economy goes around 33 miles per gallon, which are pretty much unparalleled ratings for the class.
Finally, some reports are suggesting another powertrain option for the next year. The company is still quiet on this matter but we would definitely like to see some more powerful engine options in the offer. It could easily be a turbocharged V6 engine, or another hybrid system, based on a V6 engine as well. More details should be known in the future.
2021 Toyota Highlander Release Date and Price
Whether the 2021 Toyota Highlander arrives with new features or not, we don’t expect it will hit the market earlier than usual. Most likely, it will arrive sometime late in the next year. When it comes to the price, we are still waiting for the numbers for the 2020 model year. Still, we have no doubt that the new model won’t be much more expensive than the outgoing version, which starts at around 32.000 dollars.