Interior of 2021 Highlander


  • All Highlander models come with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ (TSS 2.5+).
  • The Traverse's own safety suite doesn't come standard on the base model Traverse L.
  • The Highlander comes with a three-year trial subscription to Safety Connect®. The Traverse comes with OnStar® and Chevrolet Connected Services capabilities, but it lacks a trial subscription.

Vehicle makers today are committed to safety, especially in family-friendly categories, like SUVs. While you're driving around with precious cargo, know that the 2021 Highlander has you covered.

Standard Safety Features

All 2021 Toyota Highlander trims come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ (TSS 2.5+). This active suite of safety features includes: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist(LDAw/SA), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and Road Sign Assist (RSA).

The Chevrolet Traverse also has its own safety suite called Chevy Safety Assist. It has comparable features like Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and IntelliBeam. However, these features don't come standard on the base trim Traverse L. The Chevy Safety Assist package becomes available on the LT Cloth. For most of these driver-assistive technologies standard, you'd need to get the Traverse RS or higher. To get Adaptive Cruise Control standard, you'll need the Traverse High Country.

On top of all that, Highlander drivers also gain access to a three-year trial subscription of Safety Connect®. This offers Roadside Assistance, Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, and Automatic Collision Notification. The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse is OnStar® & Chevrolet Connected Services capable, however, you will need to purchase a plan to use similar features like Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance.

For more comprehensive safety features at no extra cost regardless of trim, drivers may prefer the 2021 Highlander.

Driver using the 2021 Highlander touchscreen display


  • All Toyotas come with the ToyotaCare plan for 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and includes 24/7 Roadside Assistance for 2 years, unlimited mileage.
  • Chevrolet models come with roadside assistance and Chevy Complete Care, but it only covers maintenance for the first 12 months.
  • Both SUVs offer a standard three-year, 36,000-mile basic and five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

When committing to a big investment like a new car, drivers want a vehicle that will last. Warranties that help keep your car running better for longer are a big plus and can help cut down on long-term costs.

ToyotaCare and Warranty Coverage

To prove their commitment to "Quality, Durability, Reliability" all new Toyota vehicles come with ToyotaCare. This program includes factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. It also includes a 24/7 Roadside Assistance program for two years and unlimited miles to help handle some of life’s curveballs.

Chevy also offers 24-hour Roadside Assistance for 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, the comparable Chevrolet Complete Care only covers one oil and oil filter change, tire rotations, and DEF tank refills for diesel-equipped models for the first 12 months of ownership.

Looking at warranty coverage, both vehicles offer standard three-year, 36,000-mile basic and five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranties. Chevy offers an anti-corrosion warranty for six years or 100,00 miles. In contrast, Toyota offers its Corrosion Perforation warranty for five years and unlimited miles. The Highlander also has warranties for its hybrid systems and battery. The warranty for the hybrid system lasts for 96 months/100,000 miles, whichever comes first. The hybrid battery warranty lasts 120 months/150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

2021 Highlander towing a boat


  • The Highlander has an available hybrid engine. The Traverse doesn't offer a hybrid model.
  • For impressive MPG ratings, whether you choose a hybrid or not, choose the Highlander.
  • The Highlander also comes out ahead in standard towing capabilities with a 5,000 lb. towing capacity. The Traverse can only tow up to 1,500 lbs. without additional equipment.

Performance features help make your drive easier. Whether it's having enough towing power to haul all your gear or the fuel economy ratings that may help to save you gas, the 2021 Highlander has it all.

Power and Fuel Economy

Starting with the heart of the vehicle, both SUVs have standard V6 engines and plenty of horsepower. The Highlander gas models have 295 HP and 263 lb.-ft. torque while the Traverse has 310 HP with 266 lb.-ft. torque. Only the Highlander has a hybrid engine available as well which has a 243 combined net HP and 175 lb.-ft. torque.

When looking at brute strength, the Highlander comes out ahead in towing capability. All gas engine Highlanders come ready to tow up to 5,000 lbs.. The hybrid engine can tow up to 3,500 lbs.. Comparatively, the Traverse has a Max Conventional Trailering load of up to 1,500 lbs. You can add an optional trailering package to bring the Traverse’s max towing to 5,000 lbs., but it will come at an additional cost.

The Highlander has better fuel economy ratings. The Highlander L FWD has an EPA-estimated rating of 21/29/24 (city/highway/combined) MPG. As mentioned before, the Highlander also has an available hybrid engine across 4 models. The hybrid models with FWD have EPA-estimated MPG ratings of 36/35/36 (city/highway/combined). In comparison, the Traverse L FWD has EPA-estimated MPG ratings of 18/27/21 (city/highway/combined). For higher models, like the Traverse RS AWD, the fuel economy ratings go down to an EPA-estimated 17/25/20 (city/highway/combined).

Conclusion: Highlander vs. Traverse

The fourth generation 2021 Highlander and the Traverse are powerful mid-size SUVs with plenty of room, active safety features, and the latest interior touches. While both competitors are popular, the Highlander has some features that put it in the lead for performance, safety, and a lower ongoing cost of ownership.

  • Highlander gas engine models come standard with the capacity to tow up to 5,000 pounds, while none of the trim packages for the Traverse can match it.
  • All 2021 trim packages of the Toyota Highlander come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ (TSS 2.5+), while a similar Chevy Safety Assist feature isn't available on the Traverse with the basic trim.
  • A hybrid engine option is only available with the Highlander.
  • The Highlander has better EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings, with the Highlander L FWD hitting the roads with an EPA-estimated rating of 21/29/24 (city/highway/combined) MPG.
  • The Highlander comes with the ToyotaCare plan for 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and it also comes with 24/7 Roadside Assistance for 2 years and unlimited mileage.
  • The Highlander comes with access to a three-year trial subscription of Safety Connect®.