When you imagine the perfect journey to your getaway near West Chester, Glen Mills, and Malvern, you likely think of owning a vehicle with agile handling, relaxing comfort, and plenty of advanced technology.

By choosing the 2020 Ford Explorer or the 2020 Toyota Highlander to lead the way, you'll be outfitted with enough power to reach your destination. However, to truly dominate every twist and turn, only one of these SUVs will go above and beyond your expectations.

To see which of these automobiles outperforms the other, let's dive into this 2020 Ford Explorer vs. Toyota Highlander vehicle comparison created by Fred Beans Ford of West Chester. Before long, you'll know exactly which of these cars is ideal for your family.

2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Toyota Highlander

Max Horsepower




10-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Terrain Handling

Available Terrain Management System™

Available Multi-Terrain Select

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

Available Intelligent 4WD

Available All-Wheel Drive

Passenger Volume

152.7 cubic feet

139.1 cubic feet

2020 Explorer vs 2020 Highlander: Performance & Power

Getting ready to hit the road with your loved ones? If so, be sure that you're equipped with plenty of impressive performance. That way, you can make quick maneuvers through traffic or soar past other cars on the highway.

Fortunately, the 2020 Ford Explorer assaults the asphalt with a standard 2.3L EcoBoost® engine that pumps out 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. With those numbers, a simple press of the accelerator will serve up a hefty dose of strength.

On the other hand, the 2020 Toyota Highlander comes with a standard 3.5-liter engine that produces 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque. Because this SUV falls short of what its Ford competitor has to offer, you may find your drive less engaging.

Additionally, the Ford offers two other engines across its trim roster. With the available 3.0L V6 powertrain that also sports EcoBoost® technology, you can rev up to a whopping 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. The result? A towing capacity of up to 5,600 pounds when properly equipped.

If efficiency is more important to you, a 3.3L Hybrid engine is also available that can keep you on the road longer between fuel-ups. Unfortunately, the 2020 Highlander only has one engine. This results in a lessened towing capacity, maxing out at 5,000 pounds, and no fuel-saving hybrid option.  

Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Toyota Highlander: Handling

When your family decides it's time to head down the not-so-beaten path, it's important to be armed with an SUV that can manage any type of terrain.

That's why the 2020 Ford Explorer offers up the available Terrain Management System™ that features a selection of ways to tackle the landscape. This includes seven Selectable Drive Modes all easily accessible with your center-console dial. Here, you can choose the right mode for your travel from these choices:  

  • Normal
  • Trail
  • Deep Snow/Sand
  • Slippery
  • Sport
  • Tow/Haul
  • Eco

By choosing one of these settings, your Ford Explorer will automatically adapt its functionalities to handle anything thrown its way.

Alternatively, the 2020 Toyota Highlander offers something similar with its Multi-Terrain Select. However, you have far fewer choices to configure your performance. This available feature only offers four modes: MUD & SAND, ROCK & DIRT, SNOW, and NORMAL. Because of this limitation, it's possible that you may not have the exceptional handling you need to surge along any kind of turf-especially when it comes to slippery conditions, off-roading, and efficient driving.

Explorer vs Highlander: Technology & Intelligence

To keep you connected to your favorite technologies while you're surging down the road, both the 2020 Ford Explorer and the 2020 Toyota Highlander adorn your cabin with dashboard touchscreen displays.

However, the Ford Explorer ups the ante on accessibility with its optional SYNC® 3 infotainment system. This comes with a collection of intuitive entertainment features, such as:

  • Apple CarPlay™ & Android Auto™ smartphone integration
  • Bluetooth® capability
  • SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  • In-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Ford+Alexa Amazon connectivity

While the system found inside the 2020 Toyota Highlander provides you with a few gadgets, it doesn't contain convenient tools such as Amazon Alexa capability. Unfortunately, that means that you may not have easy access to a myriad of services, like connectivity with your smart-home device, on-the-go shopping, and helpful voice-activated services.

Ford Explorer Technology Review

Ford vs Toyota: Standard Safety

Whether you're cruising down the highway on a road-tripping adventure or just running errands with your family in tow, safety is of the utmost importance. Luckily, both the 2020 Explorer and the 2020 Highlander offer intuitive driving aids that utilize some rather incredible technologies.

Standard in every Ford Explorer trim you'll find a suite of systems in the Ford Co-Pilot360™ technology. These raise your confidence on the road, elevate visibility, and ensure you and your family are safe. They include:

  • BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Rear View Camera
  • Lane-Keeping System
  • Automatic Emergency Braking with Pre-Collision Assist
  • Auto High-Beam Headlamps

As for the Toyota Highlander, you'll receive some similar driving-assistive technologies with its standard Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.0. Though this includes a few systems similar to the Explorer, like Automatic High Beams and a Pre-Collision System, it does not come standard with the very important blind-spot monitoring system. The lack of this feature may limit your visibility while changing lanes in the Highlander.

Ford Explorer Safety Review

2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Toyota Highlander Vehicle Comparison: Verdict

At Fred Beans Ford of West Chester, we're committed to furnishing you with a dynamic SUV to help your family set sail on your path in the West Chester, Glen Mills, and Malvern region. Though both vehicles prove to be top runners in the SUV market, we think drivers will love the additional accommodations the Explorer provides.

With the 2020 Ford Explorer as your comrade for any journey, you'll be packed up and ready to roll with top-notch performance, handling, technology, and safety. But you don't need to take our word for it!

Don't hesitate to discover more of what this automobile has to offer. Instead, contact us online or stop by our showroom to schedule your test drive today!

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Fred Beans Ford of West Chester

1155 West Chester Pike
Directions West Chester, PA 19382

  • Sales: 8555825335
  • Service: (610) 696-4700
  • Parts: (610) 696-4700

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