Why the 2021 Toyota Highlander is Popular: An Overview

May 26th, 2021 by

Fuel efficiency, safety, and style are some of the top priorities for most people when choosing a new vehicle. The 2021 Toyota Highlander is all of that and then some.

In this article, we’ll explore all the features that make the Highlander one of the most popular vehicles of 2021. And you’ll understand why it was named one of the top ten mid-size sport utility vehicles by U.S. News and World Reports.

Keep reading to learn more.


You won’t find a better option than the 2021 Toyota Highlander for hauling the kids to school, band practice, and dance class while still having room for all their equipment plus a week’s worth of groceries.

Four-door access and a third-row seat can seat up to eight comfortably. The first two rows offer up to 40 inches of legroom with slightly less than that for the third row. The smaller members of the family should be completely at ease being seated there.

Sixteen cubic feet of cargo space can expand to give you more than 84 cubic feet of space when the second and third rows are folded. Even so, the 16 cubic feet is ample room for groceries and a dance bag or whatever else your crew needs to carry.

Fuel Efficiency

With the cost of fuel creeping higher and higher, buyers are more conscientious of fuel efficiency than ever before when making vehicle buying decisions. You won’t be disappointed with the offerings from Toyota this year.

City mileage for the 2021 Highlander averages 21 miles per gallon while highway mileage averages 29, giving the Highlander boasting rights of an impressive average combined gas mileage of 25 miles per gallon.

For serious fuel efficiency, you should consider a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. According to the EPA, you can expect an amazing 35 miles per gallon from the inline-4 and electric motor of the mid-size hybrid SUV.


When it comes to your family, safety is a primary concern. You’ll be glad to know that among 2021 vehicles, the Toyota Highlander was awarded a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the highest honor awarded by the organization.

The Highlander also earned a five out of five for overall safety from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Frontal crash and rollover tests earn four stars while the side crash test earned five stars.

Toyota has gone above and beyond in equipping the Highlander with ample safety features. You can expect the following standard features:

  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Lane Keep Assistance
  • Lane departure warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Forward collision warning
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane trace assist
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Rear-seat reminder
  • Rearview camera

Optional safety features include:

  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Head-up display
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Rearview mirror camera

Other safety features include side-impact beams, airbags for all three rows, low tire pressure warning, airbag occupancy sensors, and rear child safety locks.


With six trims to choose from, not including the Hybrid options, most Highlanders will come standard equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine creating 295 horsepower. Pair that with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either all- or front-wheel drive for up to 5,000 pounds of towing capacity.

The four-wheel independent suspension guarantees a smooth ride and effortless steering. The eighteen-inch wheels that come standard on the L, LE, and XLE absorb bumps along the road only a tad bit better than the 20-inch tires that come standard on the XSE, Limited, and Platinum trim.

Expect quick acceleration from the all-wheel-drive models. The Highlander easily goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.2-7.4 seconds. Couple that with Toyota’s reputation for quality and dependability, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Improved Style and Options

Just because you’re driving a family hauler doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish. The 2021 Highlander does an excellent job of bringing sporty style to the exterior design of all the trims offered this year. You won’t be accused of driving a “mom car” when you show up to soccer practice in one of these.

The Highlander is available in L, LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims with the new sportier XSE option being the newest addition to the 2021 lineup. Toyota promises a sportier drive with adjustments made to the suspension and steering in the XSE.

Looking for even more style and options? Consider the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid options. Ranked #1 in Hybrid and Electric SUVs by U.S. News and World Report, the Highlander Hybrid is available in four trims to give you the best ride possible.

The Hybrid LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum all come standard equipped with a four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that combine to give you 243 horsepower, an automatic transmission, and standard front-wheel drive.

Interior Comfort and Technology

Comfortable and adjustable front seats along with a second and third row provide ample space for seven or eight to ride comfortably. Cloth seats are standard in the base trims, but faux leather ones are an optional upgrade.

Standard Infotainment features include an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, five USB ports, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

If that isn’t enough, even more tech options are available as options including navigation, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, an 11 speaker JBL premium audio system, and ambient lighting.

Test Drive a 2021 Toyota Highlander Today

Style, comfort, safety, practicality, performance, and fuel efficiency leave no room for doubt that the 2021 Toyota Highlander has something to offer everyone.

When you’re ready to pick out your favorite trim, give us a call at Universal Toyota. One of our friendly and knowledgeable sales staff will be happy to schedule a test drive for you.

Posted in Highlander