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Toyota Highlander vs Ford Explorer


If you need a midsize SUV for your next getaway near Danvers, Peabody, or Salem, MA, then it’s likely you have your eye on the Toyota Highlander and the Ford Explorer as two of your top candidates.

They both make great picks. They’re highly capable SUVs and very popular among drivers. Plus, they both have a lot of high-tech attributes and are packed full of the features you’ll need for a weekend away. The thing is, you can only choose one, so which one of these models has what it takes to offer more of what you want from your next SUV?

To help you figure that out, the team of experts here at Ira Toyota of Danvers compared the Toyota Highlander vs. Ford Explorer. Check out our comparisons below to see what we’ve found. When you’re done reading, you’re welcome to contact us to take your top pick for a test drive.

Highlander vs Ford Explorer: Smart Safety Systems

When you have a fun trip planned, you want to know you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle that will help you reach your destination safely. That’s why we love that both the and the Ford Explorer come packed full of standard smart safety features, such as the following:

  • Backup Camera
  • Automatic High Beams
  • Pre-Collision System

The cameras you’ll have at your disposal allow you to view the area directly behind your vehicle with clarity. As a result, you’re able to effectively maneuver while backing in or out of a parking spot at the office, the store, or your favorite restaurant.

The Highlander and the Explorer both also boast Automatic High Beams that prevent oncoming drivers from being distracted by your vehicle’s high beams. They automatically lower the beams until other motorists have gone by.

Both of these vehicles come standard with systems designed to help avoid an accident. The Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection that you’ll find in the Highlander uses an integrated camera and radar system to help mitigate or avoid impact with another vehicle or a pedestrian. The Explorer is equipped with Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking.

Unfortunately, this feature does not watch out for pedestrians like the system you’ll find in the Toyota.

The Toyota Highlander also has Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Once you’ve pre-set the distance you prefer to maintain between you and a vehicle in front of you, it uses radar technology as well as a camera on the windshield to adjust your speed accordingly.

While this is a standard aspect of the Highlander’s base trim, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control over in the Ford Explorer requires an upgrade before it’s available.

Highlander vs Ford Explorer: Exterior Dimensions

Next, let’s take a look at the overall sizes for these two SUVs. Their exterior measurements are in the table below:





Toyota Highlander 112.2 inches 194.9 inches 76 inches 68.1 inches
Ford Explorer 119.1 inches 198.8 inches 78.9 inches 69.9 inches

The Ford Explorer is the larger vehicle, letting the Highlander come out on top once again. This is because its smaller stature makes cornering around tighter turns or parking quite a bit easier.

Toyota Highlander parked on gravel 2022 Toyota Highlander front view

Highlander vs Explorer: Technology & Comfort

When you enter the cabin of either the Toyota Highlander or the Ford Explorer, you’ll find a spacious 3-row interior with more than 80 cubic feet of total cargo volume. The Toyota has a maximum seating capacity of eight passengers, while the Ford can seat a maximum of seven passengers.

This means someone may have to stay behind if you’re driving the Explorer.

To give you an idea of what it’s like inside these on-road companions, we’ve compiled a few of their interior dimensions. See the table below:


1st-Row Headroom

2nd-Row Legroom

3rd-Row Hip Room

Toyota Highlander 41.2 inches 41 inches 45.6 inches
Ford Explorer 40.7 inches 39 inches 40.9 inches

While the Explorer has a lot of room throughout its three rows, these numbers make it clear that the Highlander has the room necessary for everyone on board to make themselves comfortable. Additionally, both SUVs keep you cozy with available heated seats that make it easy to battle those frigid winter temperatures.

As you drive, you can stream music directly from your phone or take hands-free calls via Bluetooth® wireless connectivity, which comes standard in both vehicles. The Highlander and the Explorer also both have standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™. These features integrate your smartphone with your infotainment touchscreen display so you can safely access your favorite apps on the go.

Speaking of that touchscreen display, the Highlander has an available 12.3-inch touchscreen, while the Explorer has an available 10.1-inch touchscreen. The 10.1-inch screen is sizeable for its class, but the 12.3-inch screen in the Highlander provides a bigger overall picture when you’re following navigation or quickly adjusting your road-trip playlist.

With such a large screen at your disposal, you’ll still be able to devote the necessary amount of attention to the drive itself.

Toyota Highlander vs Ford Explorer: Which One Will You Drive?

We hope you have a better idea of which SUV you want to drive after reading our 2022 Toyota Highlander vs. Ford Explorer comparison. If you like what the Highlander can offer your commutes around Danvers, Salem, or Peabody, Massachusetts, then contact the team at Ira Toyota of Danvers to try it out.

A member of our team will be able to help you set up a day and time that fits with your schedule to experience it for yourself. Contact us to test drive the Highlander today!

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Ira Toyota of Danvers 42.554999, -70.965083.