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2021 Toyota Sequoia vs Highlander

2021 Toyota Sequoia vs Highlander
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2021 Sequoia vs Highlander - How do they stack up? What are the differences?

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.

The 2021 Toyota Sequoia and Highlander are a cut above the rest. These stylish yet rugged SUVs boast incredibly durable construction, allowing drivers to confidently go from city streets at night to sand dunes during the day - an extraordinary feat for any vehicle! With their bold look that merges modernity with innovation, these two models will surely become popular choices among SUV buyers in search of reliability and off-road capabilities all wrapped up into one package.

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 Sequoia and the 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 Toyota Sequoia and the 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.

The 2021 Toyota Sequoia and Highlander offer two distinct options for drivers with different needs. Those looking for a more classic look will no doubt be drawn to the familiar styling of the Sequoia, which comes with plenty of high-end features despite its higher price tag. For those in search of something trendier, however, the Highlander's modern spin on an age-old family wagon is sure to appeal; plus it has a hybrid powertrain like few others can match! Either way you go though - great design awaits both inside and out when choosing between these popular Toyotas.

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 Sequoia takes the integration of cargo area more seriously than the 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 Sequoia triumphs over the Highlander in this area.


The Sequoia and Highlander are built to impress, with the former particularly standing out due its 5.7-liter V8 gas engine that produces 381 horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. of torque paired with a six-speed automatic transmission – allowing for an energetic drive from the get go! Harnessing power derived from pickup truck chassis architecture, this beast makes light work of hefty loads as well - exuding unmatched enthusiasm along every mile covered.

The Highlander can't quite outpace the intuitively powerful Sequoia, but it still makes an impressive showing against its similarly-sized market rivals. It comes powered by a standard 3.5 liter V6 engine - capable of 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque when combined with the eight speed automatic transmission and front wheel drive configuration – begging for more powertrain options to make this already formidable SUV even better.

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 Highlander, because neither this model nor the 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 Highlander performs better than the 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 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

The 2021 Toyota Sequoia and 2021 Highlander offer drivers distinct interior designs to appeal to different tastes. While the Highlander prioritizes value-driven qualities, the Sequoia strikes a balance between comfort and luxury features for an elevated driving experience. Recent improvements have also been made on both models, ensuring optimal performance without sacrificing their signature attributes that make them desirable in today's market.

When it comes to technology upgrades, the Toyota Highlander place more emphasis on this aspect than the 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 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.


Toyota's SUVs are some of the safest vehicles on the market, as evidenced by their impressive array of advanced safety features and award-winning records. Both Highlander and Sequoia have been lauded for their exemplary performance - while one earned a five-star rating from NHTSA with IIHS making it a Top Safety Pick, another was awarded four stars in rollover tests despite its yet unfinished evaluation process. With these feats under its belt, expect truly unparalleled levels of security when you get behind any wheel adorned with that iconic logo.

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 Sequoia and the 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?

If you're looking for a big and bold SUV, but don't know if the Toyota Sequoia or Highlander is right for you, it all comes down to how much modernity matters. The Sequoia hasn't changed too much in recent years so may lack some of the new features that make its cousin stand out from the crowd; however, this also means what makes it unique remains intact. It's an age-old choice: stick with familiarity versus embracing innovation - your decision awaits.

With the Toyota Sequoia, off-road exploration combines with family transportation seamlessly. It boasts a larger and more capable engine than some of its competitors - like the Highlander -- providing extraordinary power for any adventure you may take on. However, be aware that this extra capability comes at a cost; it has lower fuel efficiency in comparison to other models such as the Highlander and offers fewer bells and whistles throughout its design.

The Toyota Highlander is the perfect balance between modern and eco-friendly, boasting a hybrid powertrain that gives it impressive fuel economy. It also leads in safety technology as well as providing great value for money when compared to its Sequoia counterpart. With more tech at your fingertips without compromising on quality, the Highlander is ideal for anyone looking to save time and make their next drive green.

When it comes to selecting between these two respected Toyota vehicles, the 2021 Highlander and

Sequoia offers contrasting experiences. The Highlander delivers an unparalleled driving experience with plenty of modern amenities for a reasonable price; however, those in search of off-road action or who need powerful towing capabilities may prefer the robust features that come standard on the Sequoia. No matter which you choose as your ride - both promise top shelf performance from one of every driver's favorite automotive brands.

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