There’s No Contest Between the 2021 Toyota Highlander and 2021 Dodge Durango

The 2021 Toyota Highlander and 2021 Dodge Durango are three-row SUVs in a field of solid SUVs. Still, if you’re looking at both the Highlander and the Durango, you’ll find there’s no contest. The 2021 Highlander’s Consumer Reports ratings are so much higher than the Durango’s that there’s really no contest. 

A dark blue 2021 Toyota Highlander on a quiet road.
2021 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The 2021 Toyota Highlander and 2021 Dodge Durango have similar road-test scores, but the Highlander’s overall score is higher   

The 2021 Toyota Highlander gets an 86 for its road-test score, and the 2021 Dodge Durango gets an 83. Yet the Highlander’s overall score is an 84 to the Durango’s 49. So what’s behind those road test scores?

Consumer Reports gives the 2021 Toyota Highlander a 4/5 for its acceleration. It takes 7.3 seconds to go from 0 to 60. The Durango is only slightly slower, at 8.3 seconds, though it also gets a 4/5.

The transmission in the Durango is slightly better, at a 5/5 to the Highlander’s 4/5. While both the Highlander and Durango get a 3/5 for routine handling, the Durango only gets a 2/5 to the Highlander’s 3/5 for emergency handling. 

The Highlander has all the safety features

The 2021 Toyota Highlander comes standard with everything that Consumer Reports recommends. This includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking at city and highway speeds, lane-keeping assistance, and lane departure warning. Consumer Reports also says that pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning are important to have. Other features to look for are anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and daytime running lights. Rearview cameras are standard in all new cars. 

Both the IIHS and NHTSA have crash-tested the 2021 Toyota Highlander. The IIHS gives it all good ratings. The NHTSA gives it five stars for everything except for the overall frontal-crash, overall frontal-crash on the driver side as well as passenger side, and the rollover rating for both 2WD and 4WD. Each of these gets four stars. 

The Durango’s standard safety features are disappointingly limited

The 2021 Dodge Durango comes with disappointingly few of the safety features that Consumer Reports recommends. Only rear-view camera, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control are standard in the 2021 Dodge Durango. Everything else is optional, with the exception of pedestrian detection, which isn’t available.

Crash-test ratings in the 2021 Dodge Durango aren’t perfect. While the moderate overlap, side crash and roof crush are good, the front small overlap on the driver side is only marginal. There are currently no front small overlap, passenger side ratings, or rear crash ratings. 

The NHTSA gives the 2021 Dodge Durango four stars for overall crash, overall frontal-crash, and overall frontal-crash on the driver and passenger sides four stars. Everything else gets five stars, except for the rollover ratings. The 2WD rollover rating is four stars, while the 4WD rating is just three stars. 

It’s clear that the decision between the 2021 Toyota Highlander and 2021 Dodge Durango is pretty easy. Although the Durango has a decent road test score, its overall rating and lack of standard safety features don’t help it. Some of its safety ratings also aren’t great. If you’re torn between the Highlander and the Durango, the Highlander is the way to go.

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