2021 Toyota Highlander Adds Sporty XSE Trim. No, Not Ironically.

  • The Toyota Highlander is gaining an XSE model, which will come with sportier tuning for the suspension and steering, as well as an aggressive look.
  • The trim will be available this fall on the 2021 Highlander.
  • The Highlander XSE has the same engine as the standard model, a 3.5-liter V-6.

Mainstream SUVs aren’t exactly known for their sporty attributes, but the likes of Ford, Jeep, and others all offer performance variants of their SUVs—and now Toyota is jumping on the bandwagon. The company is expanding the available trims on the Highlander to include XSE, a level which brings with it upgraded and sportier looks, as well as performance-tuned steering and suspension.

When we drove the Highlander last December, we thought it provided a “snooze-worthy driving experience.” The XSE trim, then, is an attempt to wake up the Highlander with a more athletic and aggressive stance that includes a significantly larger lower air intake and sharper-angled headlights. It also gains a chrome dual-tip exhaust.

That exhaust is more for aesthetics than anything else. The Highlander XSE is paired with the same 3.5-liter V-6 churning out 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque that comes on the standard Highlander. The XSE comes with the same eight-speed automatic transmission and is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Toyota claims that it has retuned the suspension with stiffer springs and dampers and the addition of a rear anti-roll bar; the steering is also said to provide sportier feel.

Inside, the Highlander XSE has a unique color scheme with includes red accents and red leather seats.

This new trim level will go on sale this fall as a 2021. So now we’re wondering: Will a Highlander TRD be next?

Source: Motor -


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