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Full-size SUVs are just what you need for ample space, extra passenger accommodations, and off-road potential. The versatility provided by SUVs is unmatched be every other vehicle model. Not only does this type of vehicle often offer the power of a pickup truck, but it can also transport several passengers within its cabin. SUVs, like the 2021 Toyota Sequoia and the 2021 Toyota Highlander, perform well both on and off the road. Their flexibility of different types of road surfaces is what makes them so desirable to buyers who enjoy a little of both worlds.
Toyota models are known for their sturdy durability and long-lasting reliability, so when this brand produced two SUVs for customers to consider you can imagine how popular they quickly became. Portraying a look that is bold, yet innovative, both models rise above what we know typical SUVs to look like. They do not let their rugged durability get in the way of their pleasing aesthetics, either. The 2021 Toyota Sequoia and 2021 Toyota Highlander hide their off-road abilities well with their premium appearance attributes. So, you can take on into the city at night and then out to the sand dunes the next day. This is an incredible feat, even for a contemporary SUV to accomplish.
Although both models are quite extraordinary, when it comes time to purchase a single vehicle you will have to decide between them. Despite their similar exterior appearance, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia and the 2021 Toyota Highlander are different in almost every aspect, including design, interior facets, power, and fuel economy. Let us look at the features that set these two exceptional SUVs so far apart from one another.
Size and Styling
One of the main aspirations of a full-size SUV is to provide enough seating for owners with large families and multiple friends to take advantage of. The 2021 Toyota Sequoia and the 2021 Toyota Highlander make this a priority by incorporating seating for up to eight passengers in each model. Within these seats, the amount of leg room is nearly identical in each SUV. However, passengers in the Highlander will get substantially more headroom in the front and rear, while Sequoia riders will get more shoulder room in all rows. It really is a trade-off that is governed by the exterior design and dimensions of these SUVs. The fact of the matter is that there is plenty of room within both options for all your family and friends.
Moving on to areas that make more of an impact on buyers, the exterior styling of the 2021 Toyota Sequoia and the 2021 Toyota Highlander is quite different. On the outside, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia sticks with what it knows and has not had any element redesigns in a few years. In comparison, the 2021 Toyota Highlander has attempted to put a modern spin on a more traditional family wagon. Although the Highlander looks more sophisticated, the premium attributes of the Sequoia send its price soaring over that of the Highlander. This is not without merit, though. High-class features, a powerful engine, and off-road attributes govern the overall style of the 2021 Toyota Sequoia. At the same time, the modern accents of the 2021 Toyota Highlander pair well with its innovative hybrid powertrain.
Not only do these models pride themselves on their comfort for multiple passengers, but they also strive to create an accommodating space for cargo stowage. From the specifications of each model, it appears the 2021 Toyota Sequoia takes the integration of cargo area more seriously than the 2021 Toyota Highlander. After all, the Sequoia boasts 120 cubic feet of cargo area in the rear, while the Highlander seeks to match that but falls short with just 84.3 cubic feet of cargo area to offer. The difference in cargo area between the seats of each of these SUVs models is a bit less extensive, but when considered overall the 2021 Toyota Sequoia triumphs over the 2021 Toyota Highlander in this area.
Bold and powerful in their own ways, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia and the 2021 Toyota Highlander go above and beyond to provide distinctive power for their drivers. The Toyota Sequoia does so by integrating a 5.7-liter V8 gas engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission under the hood. This setup allows the Sequoia to generate up to 381 horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. Offering rear-wheel drive to buyers, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia sets the tone for its powerful performance right from the start. Built upon the same chassis style as a pickup truck, it is no wonder why the 2021 Toyota Sequoia continues to impress us with its unrequited enthusiasm for taking on large loads.
The 2021 Toyota Highlander competes aggressively with the 2021 Toyota Sequoia, but it just cannot keep up with the intuitive power of the former model. It does, however, compete well with rivals in the same market space. A 3.5-liter V-6 engine that uses gasoline for power is standard in the Highlander. This engine is married to an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive configuration. With this setup, the 2021 Toyota Highlander manages to produce 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of raw torque. The only thing that could make this SUV better are additional powertrain choices.
Taking note of this desire, the 2021 Toyota Highlander branched out and designed a hybrid model to offer to buyers. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is matched up with two electric motors to generate up to 243 horsepower. A choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is complimented well by a modern CVT. Allowing buyers to achieve the space of a full-size SUV along with fuel efficiency, the 2021 Toyota Highlander’s hybrid option is also widely popular.
Offering a hybrid powertrain is quite advantageous for the 2021 Toyota Highlander, because neither this model nor the 2021 Toyota Sequoia offer amiable fuel efficiency in their gasoline engine formats. This is expected of SUVs, because they are larger, heavier, and equipped with more capable engines. The 2021 Toyota Highlander performs better than the 2021 Toyota Sequoia when their gasoline engines are put side by side. The Highlander manages to average 29 highway mpg, despite its size. However, the Sequoia does not manage its size and power with its fuel economy as well, so it tops out at 17 highway mpg. As a result, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia is much thirstier than the 2021 Toyota Highlander, so individuals who are intent on using their SUV for frequent commuting or highway driving will want to take this into consideration.
Comfort, Options and Performance
Comfort and appeal are two qualities that must be balanced in an SUV to make it desirable for buyers. The 2021 Toyota Sequoia and 2021 Toyota Highlander do their best to keep these qualities in the forefront of their interior design elements. Comparatively, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia is more successful at this concept than the 2021 Toyota Highlander. The Highlander keeps value-driven facets as a top priority in its interior design, the Sequoia reaches out a bit to incorporate more luxury level attributes. Neither one of these SUVs are particularly upscale, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia edges in that direction more so than the 2021 Toyota Highlander. However, the Highlander has come a long with recent improvements in its modern attributes for its 2021 model.
When it comes to technology upgrades, the 2021 Toyota Highlander place more emphasis on this aspect than the 2021 Toyota Sequoia. Standard on the Sequoia, a 7.0-inch standard infotainment touchscreen accompanies all models. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also integrated, as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot that must be maintained. Available is rear seat entertainment system and premium audio setup for an additional cost. In comparison, the 2021 Toyota Highlander offers a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen from the start, which can be upgraded to a 12.3-inch display in higher trims. 4G LTE Wi-Fi, an 11-speaker premium audio system, and Amazon Alexa are all added to the Highlander's available upgrades, as well.
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These two Toyota SUV models take safety seriously, which is obvious in their robust array of standard safety feature offerings. The 2021 Toyota Highlander has been given a five-star safety rating by the NHTSA and named as a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. These are close to the highest awards that can be given by these agencies. Although the 2021 Toyota Sequoia has not been rated by either agency, yet, we have high expectations for its achievements in these areas. In fact, the 2020 Toyota Sequoia was awarded a four-star rating for rollover safety, but it has not been fully tested, either.
What we do affirmatively know about each of these models is that they offer a wide array of driver assistive safety features that come standard. This is quite the feat for a modern SUV, as many of them offer a few standard amenities with many available upgrades scattered in. The 2021 Toyota Sequoia and the 2021 Toyota Highlander work hard to ensure passengers are safe in all their trim levels. Each of these SUVs integrations modern safety enhancements like automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control as standard. These driver assistive safety features allow the vehicle to help drivers maintain awareness and avoid potential hazards that often go undetected.
Which Model to Choose?
Overall, the choice between a 2021 Toyota Sequoia and a 2021 Toyota Highlander is all yours. Yet, there are a few variations between the two that you should keep in mind. The 2021 Toyota Sequoia remains largely untouched from its prior model year, and it shows in many ways that cannot compete with the modern Toyota Highlander. Although each of these SUVs models are big and bold, each one also utilizes these advantages differently than the other.
If it is power and prowess you are looking for, the larger and more capable engine of the 2021 Toyota Sequoia will serve you well. This SUV plays into the idea that this type of vehicle can easily travel off-road when it is not busy transporting families. It can tow more than the Highlander, but it does so at a cost. The Sequoia is much less fuel efficient than the Highlander, and it is also rather simplistic in comparison to the former model.
The 2021 Toyota Highlander, in comparison, is much more modern than the Sequoia. While it does not boast as much horsepower or agility, it does attain much better fuel economy. This is partly due to the option hybrid powertrain of the 2021 Toyota Highlander that allows it to be attractive and sustainable at the same time. The Highlander is also renowned for its safety and puts more effort into its tech attributes. It also manages to do all of this at a cost that is less than the 2021 Toyota Sequoia.
Everyone must make their own choice between the 2021 Toyota Sequoia or the 2021 Toyota Highlander. If it were us, we would prefer the amenities of the 2021 Toyota Highlander over the 2021 Toyota Sequoia. However, those with a drive for off-road travel or a need for frequent towing may find the Sequoia to be a better option. In our opinion, though, the 2021 Toyota Highlander is much more dynamic and affordable.