The highly competitive midsize SUV category carries a number of options for drivers near Ithaca, Corning, and Binghamton. Maguire Toyota is taking a closer look at two of them, with this comparison of the 2019 Toyota Highlander vs. Ford Explorer.

With plenty of space for the entire family and a long list of interior amenities to enjoy inside the cabin, both the Highlander and Explorer are driver-friendly and passenger-friendly. We're starting with a closer look at these two cars and what they bring to the table:

2019 Toyota Highlander

2019 Ford Explorer


Up to 8

Up to 7

Cargo Space

83.7 cu. ft.

81.7 cu. ft.

Most Powerful Speaker System

12 speakers

12 speakers

Bluetooth® Streaming Audio



Rearview Camera















Inside the Highlander and Explorer Cabins

Both Toyota and Ford have built these vehicles to be comfortable and this begins with the seating setup in each. The Highlander carries seating for up to eight people, with the reclining 3rd-row seats offering maximum comfort for those long drives. The available 2nd-row captain's chairs provide seating for up to seven and similar versatility. On higher trims, these 2nd-row chairs can be upgraded to heated seats.

The Explorer has a 3rd-row 50/50 split-fold-flat seat along with a 60/40 split-fold-flat seat in the second row, offering seating for up to seven people.

When it comes to cargo space, both vehicles do a good job to provide plenty of it. You'll have a bit more space in the 2019 Highlander though. With the rear rows folded down, this SUV provides up to 83.7 cubic feet of cargo space. The max cargo space inside the Explorer is 81.7 cubic feet. 

Highlander vs Explorer Technology

The tech features found inside the Toyota Highlander are intuitive and highly capable with family-friendly features included. The standard touchscreen is a 6.1-inch setup, with Bluetooth® wireless audio streaming. The available Driver Easy Speak feature comes with a built-in microphone that can pick up your voice and transmit it to those seated in the back through the rear speakers.

If you're looking to increase infotainment capabilities, the available 8-inch touchscreen is the way to go. Part of the Entune™ multimedia bundle, this also comes with SiriusXM® Satellite Radio for access to commercial-free music, live sports, and talk. The base edition of the Explorer comes with Bluetooth® and a 4.2-inch display screen. Upgrading to the SYNC® 3 infotainment system will provide you with a larger touchscreen and Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ functionality.

Safety Features

Inside the Toyota Highlander, safety starts with the standard Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) system. These driver-assistive features are designed to protect you and others on the road. Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA) can detect lane departure and guide you back with small corrective inputs if it determines any drifting.

The Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/ PD) is also included in this safety suite. An in-vehicle camera and radar detect if there's a vehicle or pedestrian in front of you. The brakes will be automatically applied in some cases to minimize the possibility of a collision or to reduce its severity.

Available safety features inside the Ford Explorer include BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert, which will warn you if a vehicle is detected in your blind spot. The Lane-Keeping System vibrates the steering wheel if drifting is detected and can apply steering torque to help you return to the lane.

2019 Toyota Highlander vs Ford Explorer: The Last Word

When comparing the 2019 Toyota Highlander vs. Ford Explorer, it's clear why these two midsize SUVs are well-loved by drivers near Ithaca, Corning, and Binghamton.

The Toyota Highlander, with seating for eight, plentiful cargo space, and helpful standard safety technology, stands out on the roads. Contact us for a test drive at Maguire Toyota to see this midsize SUV up close, and we'll show you why it can make sense as your next car. 

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Maguire Toyota of Ithaca

370 Elmira Road
Directions Ithaca, NY 14850

  • Sales: 607-257-1515
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