In comparing the 2021 Ford Explorer's and the 2021 Toyota Highlander's specifications and ratings, the 2021 Ford Explorer has the advantage in the areas of typical lower range of pricing for used cars, and fuel efficiency, interior volume and base engine power. The 2021 Toyota Highlander has the advantage in the areas of reliability, resale value and overall quality score. Based on this comparison of the 2021 Ford Explorer's and the 2021 Toyota Highlander's specifications and ratings, the 2021 Ford Explorer is a better car than the 2021 Toyota Highlander.
2021 Ford Explorer vs. 2021 Toyota Highlander Pricing
A used 2021 Ford Explorer ranges from $28,840 to $46,995 while a used 2021 Toyota Highlander is priced between $30,203 to $45,324.
2021 Ford Explorer vs. 2021 Toyota Highlander Resale/Retained Value
Looking at the 5-year depreciation rate for both models, the 2021 Ford Explorer loses 46.2 percent of its value and the 2021 Toyota Highlander loses 38.1 percent of its value. This means the 2021 Toyota Highlander retains 8.1 percentage points more of its value and has the advantage of higher resale value versus the 2021 Ford Explorer.
2021 Ford Explorer vs. 2021 Toyota Highlander Quality Rating
The iSeeCars Overall Quality rating for the Ford Explorer is 8.2 out of 10 while the Toyota Highlander's quality rating is 9.0 out of 10. This results in the Ford Explorer being ranked 6 out of 21 Best 7-Seater SUVs and the Toyota Highlander being ranked 1 out of 21. Out of 30 Best SUVs with 3 Rows, the Ford Explorer is ranked 9 and the Toyota Highlander is ranked 2. The Ford Explorer is also ranked 13 out of 30 Best Midsize SUVs while the Toyota Highlander is ranked 3 out of 30. The Ford Explorer is also ranked 18 out of 66 Best Crossover SUVs while the Toyota Highlander is ranked 2 out of 66.
2021 Ford Explorer vs. 2021 Toyota Highlander Reliability Rating
iSeeCars’ Reliability Rating for the Ford Explorer is 8.6 out of 10. For the Toyota Highlander the reliability rating is 8.7 out of 10. This gives the Toyota Highlander a slight advantage in reliability compared to the Ford Explorer.
Engine Power and Fuel Efficiency Comparison
For engine performance, the 2021 Ford Explorer’s base engine makes 300 horsepower, and the 2021 Toyota Highlander base engine makes 295 horsepower. The Explorer is rated to deliver an average of 24 miles per gallon, while the Highlander is rated to deliver an average of 23 miles per gallon. Both have a highway range of 501 miles. Both models use regular unleaded.
Passenger Space Comparison
While both models are crossover/midsize SUVs, the 2021 Ford Explorer has the advantage of offering more front shoulder room, front leg room, rear head room, rear shoulder room, and cargo space. The 2021 Toyota Highlander has the advantage in the areas of front head room and rear leg room.
Safety Ratings Comparison
When comparing crash test ratings from NHTSA, both the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota Highlander have the same average safety rating of 5 out of 5 Stars.
The Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander offer a diverse lineup of trim levels and powertrains. The Explorer is a slightly larger vehicle, offering more passenger and cargo room, but the Highlander can seat eight across its three rows, whereas the Ford can only seat seven. The base gas-engine Explorer costs a couple thousand dollars less than a comparable Highlander, but if you desire a hybrid powertrain, the Toyota is $10K+ less expensive. While both models offer optional all-wheel drive, the standard Ford Explorer is rear-wheel drive, whereas the front wheels do the work on the Toyota Highlander. Both SUVs provide a handful of connected services as standard, but the Highlander provides more functionality. Toyota also provides free scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles; Explorer owners must earn points through the FordPass app to access free services. Bottom line: If space, acceleration, and towing are important to you, the Explorer has the advantage. If fuel economy, reliability, and resale value top your list, consider the Highlander.