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Ford Explorer vs. Toyota Highlander

Compare repair costs, reliability, and owner reviews

Ford Explorer

$722
Average Annual
Repair Cost

Toyota Highlander

$460
Average Annual
Repair Cost

Overall Reliability Rating

3
1
2
Group 4
Group 4
Above Average
The Ford Explorer Reliability Rating is 3.5 out of 5.0, which ranks it 21st out of 26 for midsize SUVs. The average annual repair cost is $722 which means it has average ownership costs. The frequency and severity of repairs are both fairly average when compared with all other vehicles.
4
1
2
Group 4
Group 4
Excellent
The Toyota Highlander Reliability Rating is 4.5 out of 5.0, which ranks it 8th out of 26 for midsize SUVs. The average annual repair cost is $460 which means it has lower than average ownership costs. The frequency and severity of repairs are both fairly average when compared with all other vehicles.
Cost
Average annual repairs total
$722
inexpensive
expensive
$460
inexpensive
expensive
Frequency
Average annual repair shop visits
0.46
not often
very often
0.41
not often
very often
Severity
Percentage of annual repairs that are urgent
12%
not urgent
urgent
11%
not urgent
urgent

Overall Car Ratings & Details

5
(9)
4
(70)
3
(44)
2
(15)
1
(5)
The Ford Explorer ranks highest in exhaust and ranks lowest in drive train.
67% of reviewers would recommend this car.
“I have so much to say about this SUV. Once again, Ford outdid themselves. I too had the Eddie Bauer edition and it was so reliable, it was a workhorse. When it first came out, big SUVs weren't aro...”
“I have so much to say about this SUV. Once again, Ford outdid themselves. I too had the Eddie Bau...”
5
(12)
4
(15)
3
(3)
2
(1)
1
(0)
The Toyota Highlander ranks highest in engine and ranks lowest in body.
“I bought the 2002 Highlander Limited used with 52,000 miles. The best vehicle that I have ever owned. I had the transmission rebuilt at 212,000 and just replaced both knock sensors at 223,500 mil...”
“I bought the 2002 Highlander Limited used with 52,000 miles. The best vehicle that I have ever o...”

Vehicle Comparison Rundown

The Toyota Highlander and the Ford Explorer are both midsize, three-row SUVs. Both come with front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Both of these vehicles are top sellers in their category.

As similar as they may appear, there are some notable differences between them:

  • The Toyota Highlander is available in a hybrid version.
  • The Explorer offers more powerful standard (290 vs. 155 horsepower) and optional (365 vs. 295 horsepower) engines than the Highlander.
  • The Highlander has more total cargo space behind the front row (83.2 cubic feet vs. 80 cubic feet).
  • The Highlander includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane keep assist and a pre-collision system as standard equipment.
  • The Highlander has a higher reliability rating and, on average, costs less to maintain each year.

Comparing these two SUVs comes down to what you value most. If you like to have lots of power at your command, then the Ford Explorer will likely satisfy you more. If you prefer lots of space, value a high level of standard safety technology, or would like your SUV to be a hybrid, then the Toyota Highlander is probably the answer.

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