2021 Toyota Highlander XLE vs. 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE

2021 Toyota Highlander XLE vs. 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE

Toyota is known for its reliability and affordability with advanced features and technology. Toyota Highlander three-row SUV with sporty aesthetics and chassis and has a dynamic appearance. It features a unique grille, fascia, lower spoiler, top wheels, and air vents. 

XSE has different looks when compared to the XLE and comes with an appearance package. It comes with a distinctive body kit that focuses on driving and delivers an outstanding experience. Both the trims have their exclusivity under the hood that delivers a smooth and exciting driving experience.

XLE vs. XSE High or Higher Performance?

The three-row off-road SUV is all set to embark on his journey in the United States with powerful powertrains. Highlander has rugged, sporty aesthetics, dynamic handling accelerating on a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 295 horsepower, 263 lb-ft of torque with an eight-speed transmission, and optional all-wheel-drive. 

XSE comes with 20-inch wheels with responsive suspension and steering wheel settings. XLE and XSE steering wheel are weighted, comes with a different mode that works according to the driver’s comfort. XSE is a fresh face to the Highlander line-up offering the best of tech and features that captivate the buyer’s attention at one glance.

The three-row SUV runs aggressively on the road with the same powertrain that makes it difficult to choose which is more sporty than the other. XSE has a firm grip with the Goodyear Eagle Touring Tires while XLE comes with the Michelin Premier LTX tires that impact the ride quality.

The driving comfort and weight steering wheel in Highlander control the ride while off-roading.

Interior and Exterior XLE vs. XSE


The interior of the XSE has a fresh face with the addition of red leatherette at a lesser cost in the second and third row. XSE model has designated styling that makes it stand out from the crowd with designing cues same as Camry and Avalon. Highlander buyers can opt for the standard black seats and faux carbon trims in the dashboard.

XLE has premium red leatherette with beige interior and brown materials. XSE comes with a large grille with an egg-crate pattern, headlamps, decor, sleek trim pieces at the SUV corner in the front. The major difference seen in the Highlander is the addition of a Multi-Terrain selector that takes the command by the knob in XSE and with a button in XLE. 

The three-row SUV comes with three driving modes Mud, Sand, Normal, Rock, and Dirt. XLE has standard projector-style LED headlamps while XSE comes with the LED  fog lights. XSE and XLE come with five USB ports, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple car play, Android Auto. XSE has an optional JBL audio system and a standard navigation system and XLE has a premium sound system at an extra cost.

Should I buy 2021 Highlander XSE or XLE?

XSE is new and driver-focused with a 20-inch wheel and all-season tires pumping up the three-row SUV with sporty cues. The all-wheel-drive has an additional cost of $1950 with the navigation and JBL audio package at an MSRP of $43,625. XSE comes with the JBL package, cargo cross on the roof, weather floor mats, sports-tuned suspension, ambient interior lighting, front and rear parking sensors, and 11-speaker JBL premier stereo speakers.

XLE is stiff with the older design, a steering wheel behind the wheel. XLE has lesser high-tech features and few features in the cabin area. It offers standard all-wheel-drive with all-weather traction, LED headlights, a power-adjustable drive, the smart key system with push-button start, three-zone automatic control, USB ports, and more at a starting price of $39,910.

Specifications 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE 2021 Toyota Highlander XLE
Engine 3.5-liter V6  3.5-liter V6 
Horsepower 295hp 295hp
Transmission Eight-speed automatic Eight-speed automatic
Torque 263lb-ft  263lb-ft
Seating Capacity 6 7
EPA 20/27/23 20/27/23
0-60mph 6.9 6.8
MSRP  $44,805 $42,805