If you're looking to upgrade your current vehicle to a capable midsize SUV, you'll want to consider the Ford Explorer and the Toyota Highlander. Both of these cars can handle lots of passengers and offer plenty of versatile cargo capacity, without being cumbersome to maneuver. How do you know which of the two is the best option for your particular needs?

This comparison of the 2017 Ford Explorer vs. Toyota Highlander from the team at Pecheles Ford will help you answer that question. We'll provide the information you'll need to compare the two side by side, allowing you to make an informed decision as to which is the best fit for your family's lifestyle.

Overview: Explorer vs Highlander

The Ford Explorer offers a maximum power output of 365 horsepower, while the Highlander maxes out at 295 horsepower. If you often need to accelerate quickly to highway speeds, a powerful engine may be a strong consideration for you. The Explorer offers three different engine options, while the Highlander offers two, so you'll be able to select the one with the right amount of power for your needs. Both SUVs come with standard front-wheel drive, but can be upgraded for improved traction on slippery road conditions.

To find out more about the 2017 Ford Explorer, check out this full vehicle review.

Space to Stretch

With all seats in use, you'll find 21 cubic feet of cargo space in the Ford Explorer, compared to just 13.8 cubic feet in the Toyota Highlander. In the front seat of the Explorer, you'll find 41.4 inches of headroom, while the Highlander has 39.5 inches of headroom in the front seat. In the back seat, the Explorer offers 40.6 inches of headroom and 39.5 inches of legroom, while the 2017 Highlander has 39.6 inches of headroom and 38.4 inches of legroom.

A Comfortable & Convenient Ride

Both of these SUVs have been praised for their quiet, comfortable cabins and smooth ride quality. If you'd like to take your SUV for an off-road spin, the Explorer can be equipped with a Terrain Management System™ that offers four different driving modes: Normal, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Grass/Gravel/Snow.

Both the Explorer and the Highlander come with standard cloth upholstery that can be upgraded to leather. Heated front seats are also available on both models, as well as heated second-row seats. The Explorer also offers a heated steering wheel for ultimate luxury on chilly winter days in Washington, Greenville, and New Bern.

Tech Features: 2017 Explorer vs 2017 Highlander

Both vehicles come fitted with a standard rearview camera, USB ports for charging your devices, and a 6-speaker audio system. Ford's unique MyKey® system is a bonus for parents with new teen drivers. You'll be able to set speed and volume limits so you can enforce some rules even when you're not in the car with your teen.

2017 Ford Explorer vs Toyota Highlander

Ready to make the upgrade to a midsize SUV for your commutes around Washington, Greenville, and New Bern? We think that customers will appreciate the Explorer's powerful engine, large cargo and passenger space, and available off-roading systems. Contact Pecheles Ford today to schedule a test drive. 

Make an Inquiry


Pecheles Ford

4020 Highway 264 W.
Directions Washington, NC 27889

  • Sales: 252-616-0246
  • Service: (888) 508-8463
  • Parts: (888) 522-1806


  • Monday 8:30AM - 6:30PM
  • Tuesday 8:30AM - 6:30PM
  • Wednesday 8:30AM - 6:30PM
  • Thursday 8:30AM - 6:30PM
  • Friday 8:30AM - 6:30PM
  • Saturday 8:30AM - 6:30PM
  • Sunday Closed