Greene Ford Compares 2015 Ford Explorer VS 2014 Toyota Highlander Near Buford, GA

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2015 Ford Explorer

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VS

2014 Toyota Highlander

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Highlander doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Explorer’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Highlander doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Explorer and the Highlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 3 times as many Ford dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer has more powerful engines than the Highlander:

Horsepower

Torque

Explorer 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

270 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

290 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Sport 3.5 turbo V6

365 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Highlander LE 2.7 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

Highlander 3.5 DOHC V6

270 HP

248 lbs.-ft.

Highlander Hybrid Limited 3.5 DOHC V6

280 HP

n/a

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Highlander doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Explorer’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Highlander are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander (255/50R20 vs. 245/60R18).

The Explorer’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Highlander Limited’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Highlander’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Explorer has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Highlander’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Explorer has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the Highlander (112.6 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Highlander.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Highlander XLE AWD (27.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 6.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Highlander (151.7 vs. 145).

The Explorer has .7 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front hip room, 2 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 1.4 inches more rear legroom, 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.9 inches more third row headroom and 5.5 inches more third row legroom than the Highlander.

The Explorer offers an optional rear tailgate seat that can be flipped rearward and used for tailgate picnics. (Do not use seat reversed while vehicle in motion.) The Highlander doesn’t offer a rear tailgate seat.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Highlander.

Explorer

Highlander

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

13.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.8 cubic feet

42.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

80.7 cubic feet

78.6 cubic feet

The Explorer has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Highlander doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Explorer Limited/Sport’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Highlander doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s exterior keypad. The Highlander doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Highlander’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Explorer Limited’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

The Explorer Limited’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Highlander doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Explorer as the 2011 North American Truck of the Year. The Highlander has never been chosen.

The Ford Explorer outsold the Toyota Highlander by 51% during 2013.

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