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2016 Ford Explorer vs. 2015 Toyota Highlander Review

Comparison Review

Introduction
These two midsize crossovers both offer three rows of seats and comfortable rides, but there are big differences. The 2016 Explorer was redesigned this year with new styling and an exciting new engine, while the 2015 Highlander can seat an extra passenger and is no slouch when it comes to amenities.

Performance/Fuel Economy
The Explorer has more engine options (3) than the Highlander, and it has more power under the hood at any level; its four-cylinder has more power, as do both of its V-6 choices as well. The Explorer also has two engines with turbocharging, part of Ford's EcoBoost engine family, while the Highlander's are naturally aspirated. This gives the Explorer a leg up when it comes to pure performance, however the Highlander wins when it comes to fuel economy, topping out at 20/25 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder which bests the Explorer and its maximum 17/24 mpg.

Interior
Thanks to its redesign, the Explorer offers more available technology than the Highlander including fast charging USB ports front and rear, which can charge devices twice as fast than standard ports. Both feature standard Bluetooth connectivity and air conditioning. Be sure to test out the infotainment systems on a test drive to see which you prefer, each has its strengths.

Comfort/Utility
The Highlander offers more seating flexibility; it can fit seven or eight passengers depending on second row configuration. The Explorer offers the same seating choices, but since it only has room for two passengers in its third row it only seats six or seven folks. However, the Explorer offers more cargo room, with 21 cubic feet of space behind its third row compared to only 13.8 for the Highlander. With the seats folded down, the two are very close in capacity, but don't expect to fill the Highlander with both people and luggage.

Safety
In crash testing, the Highlander performed better, earning a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS. The Explorer did add more driver aids in its redesign giving it the leg up on safety technology with features like 180-degree field of view cameras front and rear, and an active park system. Both offer forward collision warnings, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring.

Conclusion
It's really a matter of priorities with these two contenders. The Explorer has superior cargo room, technology, and (to our eyes) styling. But the Highlander is impressively more efficient and has better safety ratings. You really can't go wrong with either vehicle.

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Compare the 2016 Ford Explorer and the 2015 Toyota Highlander.

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2016 Ford
Explorer

More Details & Photos New 2016 Ford Explorer
MSRP*: $30,700 - $52,600

2015 Toyota
Highlander

More Details & Photos New 2015 Toyota Highlander
MSRP*: $29,765 - $44,140
Cash Back Rebate: Up to $750 Visit Rebate Center
Low APR Loan: As low as 0.90% --
Lease Incentive: -- As low as 4.32%
City MPG: 16 - 17 18 - 20
Highway MPG: 22 - 24 24 - 25
Engine(s): V-6 Inline-4, V-6
Seating Capacity: 7 - 7 7 - 8
Basic Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Overall Safety Rating
NHTSA Safety Information

Vehicle crash and safety data is provided by NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA testing was established by Congress to reduce highway deaths and injuries. Read an article on the current NHTSA crash test program.

Not Tested *****
Frontal Crash Rating
NHTSA Safety Information

Vehicle crash and safety data is provided by NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA testing was established by Congress to reduce highway deaths and injuries. Read an article on the current NHTSA crash test program.

Not Tested ****
Side Crash Rating
NHTSA Safety Information

Vehicle crash and safety data is provided by NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA testing was established by Congress to reduce highway deaths and injuries. Read an article on the current NHTSA crash test program.

Not Tested *****
Invoice*: $28,935 - $49,050 $27,175 - $40,300

Days On Lot: Comparing Ease of Negotiation

Days on Lot measures the average number of days a model sits on a dealer's lot before it's sold. This is one predictor of a dealer's willingness to negotiate.

Monthly Trend for:
2016 Ford Explorer

No Days On Lot Data

No Data

Monthly Trend for:
2015 Toyota Highlander

No Days On Lot Data

No Data

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