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If you’re in the market for a three-row SUV, then the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander are both excellent options to consider. However, critics have discovered a few 2022 Ford Explorer advantages to consider over the 2022 Toyota Highlander. 

The 2022 Ford Explorer vs. 2022 Toyota Highlander 

The 2021 Ford Explorer parked on the street
2021 Ford Explorer | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2022 Ford Explorer and 2022 Toyota Highlander are both great SUV options to consider. It’s pretty tricky to pick between the two. However, both SUVs have pros and cons for different types of drivers. 

According to Kelly Blue Book, the Ford Explorer is more fun to drive. It has a rear-wheel drive setup, while the Toyota Highlander has standard front-wheel drive. This provides the Explorer with more responsive handling and grip. 

But this comes at the expense of fuel economy. The Highlander Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 36 mpg in the city and up to 35 mpg on the highway. The Explorer Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and up to 28 mph on the highway. 

The Explorer has more power 

If you want an SUV for towing, then the Ford Explorer might be the better choice. It comes with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The 3.3-liter V6 engine and electric motor provide 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque. 

You can also upgrade to the 3.0-liter V6 engine for 400 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. When properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5,600 lbs and carry a payload of up to 1,815 lbs. 

The 2022 Toyota Highlander comes with a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine with 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors to provide 243 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. 

When properly equipped, the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 lbs and carry a payload of up to 1,685 lbs. The Highlander Hybrid can tow up to 3,500 lbs, while the Explorer Hybrid can tow up to 5,300 lbs. 

Both vehicles can be equipped with all-wheel drive. However, the Ford Explorer Timberline is a dedicated off-roading trim. It features a lifted suspension, limited slip rear axle, all-terrain tires, and intelligent four-wheel drive. 

The Explorer has more space 

2022 Toyota Highlander XLE Bronze Edition, everything bronze inside and out.
2022 Toyota Highlander XLE Bronze Edition | Toyota

If you have kids, cargo, and pets to haul around, then you need space for them! The 2022 Ford Explorer offers 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats with up to 87.8 cubes total. There are 48 cubic feet behind the second row with the third-row seats folded down. 

In the 2022 Toyota Highlander, you can access up to 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat with up to 84.3 cubes total. It provides 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row, with the third row folded flat. 

The third row in the Explorer is also larger, with 32.2 inches of legroom and 38.9 inches of headroom. The third row of the Highlander offers 27.7 inches of legroom and 36.1 inches of headroom. 

You can get started in a Ford Explorer for about $33,745. The Toyota Highlander begins at around $35,405. They are closely matched as great options to consider, but the Explorer is a little sportier, can tow more, and offers more space.


The Toyota Highlander Continues Its Reign Over the Ford Explorer