The 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid and 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid are both three-row SUVs that are new for 2020. The Explorer can seat seven, whereas the Highlander can seat up to eight. So, which is right for you? Your Keystone Ford team located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania has your back! Here is a quick comparison to help you decide which option is best suited for your family.
Maximum towing capacity for the Highlander is 3,500 lbs. versus the Explorer which can tow up to 5,300 lbs. Right off the bat you can see that these vehicles are not comparable in this area. The 2.5L four-cylinder engine in the Highlander pales in comparison to the Explorer’s more powerful 3.3L V6 engine. Just as the engine size differs, the power output of the vehicles follows suit with the Highlander only able to achieve up to 243 horsepower and 263 lb. ft. of torque in comparison to the impressive 318 horsepower and 322 lb. ft. of torque the Explorer outputs. The transmissions of these competitors also vary, the Explorer being equipped with a reliable 10-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift® versus the electronically controlled continuously variable transmission in the Highlander.
When it comes to taking the family on off-road adventures, the Explorer fits that bill better than the Highlander. The Highlander has simplistic driving modes including: Normal for everyday driving, ECO for maximum efficiency, Sport for improved acceleration, Trail for extra traction, and EV for short distance and low speed electric-only driving. On the other hand, the Explorer offers up to seven driving modes making it easier to customize your drive to the current conditions. These additional modes include all those offered for the Highlander along with Deep Snow/Sand, Slippery, and Tow/haul. The Explorer’s driving modes also come with special 3D animated graphics in the new available 12.3” digital driving cluster for an easier visual of the current driving mode selected.
Due to its higher power output, the Explorer has a slightly lower fuel efficiency than the Highlander. Getting 27 mpg City / 29 mpg Highway with its Rear Wheel Drive configuration or up to 23 mpg City / 26 mpg Highway with its available Intelligent 4-Wheel Drive. The Highlander will take you a bit further with up to 36 mpg City / 25 mpg Highway with its Rear Wheel Drive and up to 35 mpg City / 24 mpg Highway with its All-Wheel Drive configuration.
Both vehicles have available comfort features like a panoramic / twin-panel moonroof. The Explorer Hybrid comes standard with features such as a heated leather steering wheel and leather seating, which require an upgrade to attain in the Highlander Hybrid. Ford has also done a better job of aligning interior details just right. Elevating things like their leather seats with micro-perforation and accent stitching versus the simplistic leather-trimmed seating offered in the Highlander. No matter where you choose to go, the little things make the difference between a comfortable ride and an uncomfortable ride.
The infotainment systems in both of these high-end vehicles are sure to please. They both come with some extremely useful features such as Wi-Fi connection capabilities. The Explorer steps its game up again in the infotainment arena by including standard features such as wireless charging whereas that feature requires an upgrade in the Highlander.
The Highlander offers upgrades including a hands-free liftgate and ambient lighting, whereas those features are standard on the Explorer. The Explorer also comes with PowerFold® third row seats whereas the highlander’s rear seats are manual folding. The Explorer outdoes the Highlander in regards to cargo space as well. With a maximum of 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front row and 18.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat, it beats its competitor’s 84.3 cubic feet maximum cargo space and 16 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat.
The Explorer also has features such as the capless fuel filler and the MyKey® system that the Highlander doesn’t offer. Ford’s MyKey® allows you to add a whole new level of parental control to any new driver. By having the ability to restrict driving settings such as top speed, maximum audio volume, and the requirement for seat belt usage based on the user’s keyfob settings, you’re able to promote good driving habits.
Lastly, safety is a top concern for both the Explorer and Highlander. Both vehicles offer extensive safety features ensuring confidence in any driver who happens to be behind the wheel. Auto High Beams are one advanced feature that comes standard on both vehicles. The Explorer also comes standard with Rain-Sensing Wipers whereas that feature is only available on the highest Highlander Hybrid trim.
When comparing the Explorer Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid, it is easy to tell which is the more capable option. Because Ford only offers the Hybrid version of the Explorer in the Limited Trim option, it comes standard with a larger number of upgraded features compared to the Highlander. With the exception of fuel economy, the Explorer excels past that of its competitor in every other category, making it the superior choice for a family vehicle. When you are ready to test drive your new Explorer Hybrid, our team at Keystone Ford is standing by to assist you!