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2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD Review

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD

This week I test drove the 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD, one of the most popular larger vehicles. What was most impressive about this vehicle is the very reliable features that come standard with the Highlander.

As you can see from the pic, The Toyota Highlander is Colossal in it’s stance and appearance. It looks as good as it is functional. We enjoyed the interior space and nice technology. It is a great vehicle for longer road trips with multiple people. There are may reasons to consider owning the new 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD. Let’s dive into the details.




The 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD exterior remains the same but for the added XSE trim level. This includes a sports suspension system and a few extras to make it stand out over the other trims.


  • At the front, it is improved with the new LED headlights
  • It also gets a new unique facia with a lower spoiler and new look grill, which is combined with the black air intake
  • The air intake is integrated into the bumper and front spoiler for a more aggressive look
  • With these changes at the front, it will stand out a from the rest and will get a lot of fans who will like it
  • Blackened headlights change the looks and stand out nicely with the silver and other neutral colors
  • 20-inch wheels that come with a black accent give the Highlander a more athletic look
  • The black mirror caps and window frames are a perfect match for the black accent wheels
  • Black roof rails are standard with the XSE trim, but you can add a cargo crossbar at extra cost
  • The dual exhaust tips at the back further improve the sporty look of the XSE
  • You will also find LED tail lights on the XSE trim of the Highlander.




The 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD interior of the model we tested comes with black leather seats. There are not a lot of changes in the 2021 XSE model, but there are a few nice improvements you will enjoy.


  • You can choose between black or red leather at no extra cost
  • Another nice addition is carbon fiber trim that surrounds the touchscreen of the infotainment system
  • The smaller screen is much easier to work with because of the easy side buttons
  • With a lot of extra storage added in the usable trays at the bottom of the dashboard, you can store everything
  • As usual, you have a lot of feet space for the front and the back seats
  • The XSE comes with a seven-seater option, and the chairs are quite comfortable with a lot of support
  • The cabin is spacious with a nice airy feel with great views from all seats
  • A lot of headroom is available in the cabin, but the third-row seat is a bit crampy
  • Up to five USB ports and a wireless charger are included to make this vehicle great for modern people
  • Three of the chargers are located in the center console, and others are distributed to the back seats
  • The seats of the second row and third row can be folded to make more space at the back




The 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD features a 3.5L V6 engine with a power output of 295HP and 263 pound-foot of torque. It gives a combined economy of 24mpg, which is not that bad for this size vehicle.


It also has an 8-speed automatic gearbox with front-wheel drive.


Special Options/Package


The 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD comes with many great features standard, but you can choose mixed media seat trim.




The 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD comes standard with many safety features for a much safer drive experience. Following is a list of some of the standard safety features.


  • Vehicle stability control
  • It is equipped with eight airbags, including side curtain airbags for all rows
  • Electronic brake force distribution
  • Traction control
  • Brake assist and anti-lock braking system
  • Smart stop technology



This is a great all around SUV. It does have style but also functionality. It is priced right and when you start adding up the features and capabilities, I think you will agree this is a value at this MSRP.

The 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD is a nice improvement with standard safety features and a new look. The MSRP for the 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD starts at $39,834 base level.

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