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2018 Toyota Highlander vs 2018 Ford Explorer

When looking for your next SUV, you're probably hoping to find affordability, good fuel economy, and a nice host of features and technology systems. It's not hard to find these attractive traits in any given SUV, but the distinction is how well each SUV incorporates all of them. In other words, where's the line between meeting these expectations 'very well' and 'well enough?' For many people, that line is drawn in the 2018 Toyota Highlander vs 2018 Ford Explorer. While the Explorer is a good SUV, the Highlander is a great one. Upon closer examination, the separation between the two becomes apparent rather quickly, as outlined in our chart below. In many key categories, the Explorer just can't keep up with the Highlander.

2018 Toyota Highlander


2018 Ford Explorer

$31,030 Base MSRP $32,140
20/24/22 mpg Fuel Economy (city/hwy/combined) 17/24/20 mpg
Standard Adaptive Cruise Control Available
384/461 mi. Driving Range (city/hwy) 316/446 mi.

2018 Highlander vs Explorer

First, the base model of the Highlander is over $1,000 more affordable than that of the Explorer. Next, as estimated by the EPA, the 2018 Toyota Highlander earns three more city-mpg than the 2018 Ford Explorer. Better yet, that translates to an extra two combined-mpg! Furthermore, that gives the Highlander a much longer driving range in the city, as well as a significant advantage on the highway, too. In other words, the overall fuel economy of the Highlander keeps it on the road longer than the Explorer; this means that Highlander customers save money on the price tag, as well as at the gas station in the years ahead. Finally, every model of the Highlander comes with standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which allows for a significantly smoother driving experience wherever the open road may lead you. For all of the aforementioned reasons, many SUV shoppers agree that the 2018 Toyota Highlander vs 2018 Ford Explorer comparison is a fine example of the difference between 'good' and 'great;' and that the Highlander is simply on a higher level of customer satisfaction than the Explorer.
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