The brand-new 2021 Toyota Highlander will deliver a more appealing exterior design, based on a new Architecture-K platform. As a result, the interior will be more spacious, while Toyota takes care that every model comes fully-equipped. Also, the new Highlander features better dynamics and improved fuel economy.

This 3-row SUV can accommodate up to eight passengers and includes two new engines. One of which is a hybrid with the best fuel economy rating in the class. The upcoming Highlander will be slightly larger than the previous version, at 194.4 inches of overall length. The main rivals are similar 3-row midsize SUVs like Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot.

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2021 Toyota Highlander Concept

2021 Toyota Highlander comes with sophisticated exterior design, with a chiseled lined and more muscular stance than before. The upcoming mid-size SUV will offer five trim levels: L, LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum. As you can guess, the exterior will include different design elements on the upper trim levels. For example, the L, LE, and XLE versions have a black grille with silver trim.

The Limited and Platinum adds chrome accents around the black grille. Another difference is a chrome-plated rear fascia, as well as the exclusive projector-beam headlamp. On top of that, the two higher trim levels add first-ever 20-inch wheels. The seating configuration will also vary depending on the trim level. The L and LE offer a second-row bench and a room for up to eight passengers.

On the other hand, the XLE and Limited cuts that number to seven, by adding the second-row captain’s chair. The cargo space behind the third-row offers 16.1 cubic feet of space. However, with that 60/40 split function cargo expands up to 40.6 cubic feet.

If you won’t need even more than that, don’t worry – just fold two rear rows and you’ll get 73.3 cubic feet of space. The company’s new generation Architecture-K provides extensive use of high strength steel, which gives a stiffer unibody structure. The Highlander dynamics are improved as well, thanks to the new platform, which uses an independent strut front and multi-link rear suspension.

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Colors

The forthcoming 2021 Toyota Highlander brings a very opulent color palette, with the nine exterior color variants, and four tints for the cabin. Toyota is famous for its safety features and performance-oriented vehicles. But, the visual aspect is equally important for the Aichi-based carmaker. So, let’s see what the have to offer this time, shall we?

For the exterior, the customers may choose between MIdnight Black Metallic, Blizzard Pearl, Predawn Gray Mica, and Salsa Red Pearl. Of course, the higher trims deliver even more vibrating hues. The Limited and Platinium color options are Unique Alumina Jade Metallic, Toasted Walnut Pearl, Shoreline Blue Pearl, and astonishing Red Ooh La La Rouge.

As for the interior, the base model comes with the only black as a color option. The LE adds Black/Ash, while the XLE has Almond. The Saddle Tan is reserved for the Platinum and Limited trim levels.

Standard Equipment

The entry-level of 2021 Toyota Highlander is equipped with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Alexa In-Car connectivity. The Waze is available as a standard feature with Apple CarPlay. All Highlander vehicles come with a Toyota Safety Connect, with a free one-year subscription. Furthermore, you’ll find a 3-zone automatic climate control, 4.2-inch MID in the instrument panel, and an 8-way power driver’s seat.

The list of standard features continues with a multimedia 8-inch touchscreen display, front seat reading light/cargo area lights, auto up/down for all power windows, and privacy glass on the rear side. The XLE adds dynamic navigation, which comes as standard for Platinum and includes a larger 12.3-inch center display. The upper trims also have a JBL Premium audio system, with 1,200 watts and 11 speakers.

2021 Highlander will introduce the second generation of the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system. All models get a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with a steering wheel, and automatic high beams. In addition, customers can count on full-range radar-based smart cruise control, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist. Higher levels include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and rear cross-traffic braking.

Engine

Under the bonnet of standard 2021 Toyota Highlander will be a front-wheel 3.5-liter V6 engine. This unit makes 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, which enables a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. The standard transmission is 8-speed automatic. Moreover, the Highlander will offer two all-wheel-drive systems.

The first one is the on-demand system, available on L, LE, and XLE. This system sends up to 50% of the torque to the rear axle. In the same way, Limited and Platinum models include a more refined system with dynamic torque vectoring, various driving modes, and a driveline disconnect. The drive modes involve multi-terrain selections mud, sand, rock, dirt, and snow for better off-road capability.

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2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The most interesting feature of 2021 Toyota Highlander is the hybrid powertrain. The hybrid will deliver greater output and better fuel economy than the previous version of Highlander Hybrid. The 2021 version comes with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder unit with two electric motors. The combined output is 240 hp, with an EPA-estimated 34 mpg. Remember that the previous Hybrid was able to return 28 mpg.

Also, the hybrid version will be available in either front or all-wheel drive. The AWD deploys a rear-mounted electric motor to run the rear axle. Highlander Hybrid can work in three different driving modes – Normal, Eco, and Sport. One of the innovative and hybrid-only features is a Predictive Efficient Drive system.

This feature examines daily driving habits and tunes the regen charging and discharges the battery, taking advantage of the driving style. The more miles the vehicle travels, the more data is gathered, which allows the system to modify and adjust while driving.

Release Date and Price

The official price of 2021 Toyota Highlander is still unknown. But, we expect that the MSRP will be somewhere close to the 2020 model. The current Highlander starts at $31,400 and climbs up to $48,900 for the Platinum trim level.

The company says that the mid-size SUV will be ready for the dealerships by the end of 2020. The vehicle is covered with a 6-month/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Likewise, Hybrid models will get additional 8-year/100,000-mile coverage. All models include two years of free maintenance and ToyotaCare road assistance.

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