2017 Toyota Highlander vs 2017 Ford Explorer

If you’re in the market for the ultimate family-friendly vehicle, you’ll quickly realize that you have quite a few options to choose from. The automotive market is filled with crossovers, SUVs and minivans that make the perfect family cars, which can make it challenging to determine exactly which one is best for you.

That’s where we come in! Our team here at Magnussen’s Toyota of Palo Alto is working to provide drivers with the information they need to make a solid decision for their next new vehicle. This time around we’re shining a light on the iconic Toyota Highlander and showing drivers how it compares to the popular Ford Explorer. It’s important to note we’re focusing just on the base models for each vehicle in an effort to keep the comparison fair and even.

View Toyota Highlander Inventory


2017 Toyota Highlander LE 2WD 2017 Ford Explorer Base FWD
3.5L V-6 Engine 3.5L V-6
20 city/27 hwy MPG 17 city/24 hwy
8-speed automatic Transmission 6-speed automatic
5,000 lbs. Standard Towing Capacity 2,000 lbs.

Test drive the 2017 Toyota Highlander in Palo Alto, CA

As we can see from the chart above, the 2017 Toyota Highlander LE and the 2017 Ford Explorer Base do have quite a bit in common. Each one is set with a large, powerful engine as well as an automatic transmission. The Highlander is slightly more efficient, and it’s capable of towing 3,000 more pounds than the Explorer. Let’s see how else these two compare.

When it comes to safety, both vehicles have quite a few standard features designed to keep everyone protected. The Highlander LE and the Explorer Base both come set with the following features: anti-theft protection, automatic headlights, child safety door locks, electronic traction control and low tire pressure indicators.

There is seating for eight in the Highlander, and there’s room for seven in the Explorer. Overall, there is slightly more cargo space and interior volume in the Explorer than in the Highlander. As for convenience, both vehicles are set with cruise control, dual climate control, keyless entry, backup cameras and steering wheel mounted controls. The Highlander comes out on top with heated exterior mirrors and a remote fuel filler door release.

Those interested in learning more about the 2017 Toyota Highlander are welcome to contact our team here at Magnussen’s for more details. Drivers are welcome to schedule a test drive online.

2017 Toyota Highlander front grille
2017 Toyota Highlander dashboard
2017 Toyota Highlander seating
2017 Toyota Highlander wheels

Toyota Highlander Palo Alto CA
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