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2017 VS 2016Highlander comparision

Discussion in 'Stock 2011 - 2019 Ford Explorer Discussion' started by Robert Stowell, November 24, 2016.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Robert Stowell

    Robert Stowell New Member

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    Hi , first post as newbie. Currently have a a 2014 4Runner just past warranty, 28K miles. Also a 1997 XLT Explorer that I still love, 189K and still going kinda strong. Have had a number of major issues with the 4Runner so thinking of dumping it. Have narrowed my search to either a 2017 Explorer or 2016 Highlander. They seem to be quite similar vehicles.

    Live in the Northeast , so will be dealing with snow and occasionally on some rough dirt roads.

    A few questions;

    How does the Explorer handle in the snow ? I would be purchasing the 4 WD model, so is the '17 4WD similar to what my '97 has ? The 97 can get through up or over anything that I have encounted as far as snow or on back roads.

    Roof rack, will the factory cross bars support a canoe , and can you up "open" up the rails so you can run ties underneath the rail ?

    Thanks, Robert Stowell
     
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  3. thefranchise713

    thefranchise713 Well-Known Member

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    The current generation Explorer is very different from a '97 in terms of the drivetrain. IIRC, that had a true Auto/4H/4L/2H selection.... here, it's an always on AWD system, good for snow but not nearly as much for offroading.

    If you do end up in a 2017 Explorer, be sure NOT to get the panoramic moonroof. It reduces the roof-carrying capacity considerably.
     
    Last edited: November 24, 2016
  4. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Welcome to the Forum Robert.:wave:
    As you can see from my signature, I have had 3 Highlanders. Although I'm not that familiar with the 2016 model I originally switched to the 2011 Explorer with 2 years on my last Highlander lease when a fellow worker agreed to take it over. The main reason I decided to change was because the 5th generation Explorer switched to a car based (unibody) construction. This should answer one of your questions. The Explorer is FWD biased and only switches to AWD when conditions (slippage) warrant. It does not have a low gear setting or a locking differential. It does have a Terrain Management System (TMS) which is basically a dial with Normal. Sand, Mud & Ruts and Snow settings. https://www.ford.com/suvs/explorer/...ideos/terrain-management-system/FMEP0291000H/ The Explorer is capable of light to moderate off roading but is also limited by its ground clearance. As for the roof rack cross bars, they are an option. The maximum weight is 45 lbs with the moonroof and 100 lbs without. Not sure what you mean by "open up the rails". If you want to read the Manual on the Explorer you can do so by going to; https://owner.ford.com/tools/account/how-tos/owner-manuals.html You can download a PDF copy as well. I have also found that Toyota seems to be a couple years behind in the little extras that you can find on the Explorer, depending of course on the trim level you chose. I also think that the Highlander's drivetrain is similar to that of the Explorer so neither will have the ability of your current one.

    Peter
     
  5. Robert Stowell

    Robert Stowell New Member

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    Peter, Thanks for the info and the links. The reason I went to a 4Runner was it was body on frame, figured it would last me 15 years or so. Not much out there like that anymore in a "mid sized SUV ". A bit reluctant to go to a unibody SUV as I am concerned about longevity and durability.

    My "open the rails" question refers to the length rails as they seem like they are part roof ,which prevents you from tying to or under them.

    I did test drive 17 ,rides nice as expected although I did find that the drivers side wheel well cramps your left leg a bit as it extends quite far over towards the brake. Getting some pricing on a XLT, then we will see what they offer for the 4Runner and go from there. I'll let you know how I make out .

    Thanks Robert
     
  6. Robert Stowell

    Robert Stowell New Member

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    Thanks for the moonroof info
     
  7. Ellocovg

    Ellocovg Member

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    Both the Highlander's and the explorers roofrack are flush to the truck no way to go underneath them. On the highlander the roofrack is actually a plastic decorative fake out if you get the optional crossbars they screw in to a fixed non sliding position where as with the explorer you can slide them to adjust the spacing. My main complaint of my explorer is that the footwell is horrible but you do somewhat get used to it or better said learn to adjust your foot positioning.
     
  8. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Yes, the roof rails on the 2016 and 2017 are flush with the body but I'm guessing the cross rails would have room under them. The Explorer does come with a kind of eye bolt anchor that can be screwed into the rails and act as tie down points.

    Peter

    eye bolts.JPG
     
  9. Robert Stowell

    Robert Stowell New Member

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    Thanks for the good info . Highlanders fixed crossbar would be a drawback from my perspective. Ill have to take another ride in the Explorer and see if I think I can adapt to tte footwell. Being 5'7 , it certainly isn't as much as an issue as it is for those 6 footers.
     
  10. NEWPORTNJ

    NEWPORTNJ Active Member

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    Peterk9, those bolt you show that screw into the roof rail does it comes with the explorer or that is extra if you get the cross bar ?
     
  11. Ellocovg

    Ellocovg Member

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    I'm 6'2" 250 size 12 feet, both feet are a pain not just my left foot. I had to learn how to brake when I'm wearing my boots I can't hit the brake pedal dead center because my foot gets caught up on the Hvac ducts I have to catch the right third of the brake pedal where there's a little more space. After I got used to it it's a non issue just weird on a bigger SUV to be so limited on footwell space.
     
  12. Ellocovg

    Ellocovg Member

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    Those eyelet bolts come with all explorers not with the optional cross bars. Mine came in the third row cup holder/cubby armrest on the left side.
     
  13. NEWPORTNJ

    NEWPORTNJ Active Member

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    I'll check mine.. thanks
     
  14. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    As Ellocovg said, those come with the vehicle. Mine were in the glove box. There doesn't seem to be standard 'hiding' place for them.

    Peter
     
  15. NEWPORTNJ

    NEWPORTNJ Active Member

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    Found mine in the same bag where the mats came in, since i bought the explorer deep mats because we are in winter season, they put those on for me first i'll use the carpet ones in the summer time. Thanks all for your help...Gobble Gobble watch your diet guys....
     
  16. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    No problem here. Our Thanksgiving was last month.;)

    Peter
     
  17. NEWPORTNJ

    NEWPORTNJ Active Member

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    O, Yes you are in Canada....
     
  18. Linux3

    Linux3 New Member

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    I have a friend with a 2017 Highlander and we've done some comparos. The Ford 'feels' bigger than it is. The Highlander rides softer but than I have a Sport so...
    We both like the look of the Explorer interior. The Highlander is busy looking. Have not had much snow yet so I can't comment on the TMS.
    Explorer is FWD biased, kinda. On the left dash screen I can select a display to see what wheels are getting what.
    On start from a stop all 4 wheels get power, all the time. As speed is reached the Explorer becomes more and more FWD. At steady speed it is FWD.

    I carry a couple of kayaks and was pretty unhappy about the roof rails but the Highlander is no better.
    Thule now makes adapters that bold to the eye bold locations and then normal risers and cross bars can be used. I have no idea if or what is available for the Highlander. My friend never uses the rack.

    I too live in the NE US and love the smart remote start. Cold weather the seat heaters, steering wheel heater and defrosters all come on with remote start. How weather the A/C, and seat coolers come on. Remote start is a very expensive option on the Highlander and not at all smart. It just starts the car. My friend is soooo envious.
     
  19. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Roof rack on Highlander will support 165 lbs (75 kg), compared to 45 with moonroof or 100 without for the Explorer. Highlander also has AWD lock.

    Peter
     
  20. Ellocovg

    Ellocovg Member

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    I have the basic remote start on the key fob that was part of the xlt package I think and it is awesome. I love how it doesn't turn on the headlights or the radio but does turn on the heat, also the car doesn't turn off when you open the door like most cars with smart key do. I have auto start on the wife's car and if I forget to turn off the radio/headlights before I turn it in I probably scare the heck out of the neighbors at 5am not too mention if I didn't leave the heat on the windows are still frosted and interior freezing.
     
  21. veloduffer

    veloduffer Member

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    My friend has a 16 Highlander and I compared it to my '15 Explorer Limited, here are the things that I noted:
    • Explorer is quieter - less road noise
    • Ex sound system is much better
    • Ford MyTouch is easier and better - I know folks complain and was always criticism by the auto mags but Toyota and Honda had terrible info systems and never got dinged for them; lots of complaints on the Toyota forum.
    • Ford's tech features are generally more advanced and cost less
    • Highlander has better legroom, particularly in the 2nd row
    • Highlander is narrower inside - driving behind one yesterday and I mistakenly thought it was a Rav4 because it looked so narrow
    I was a long time Toyota owners (Camry, Sienna, Highlander) and thought the Ford was overall a nicer ride (but it's modestly better and could be happy in an HL too). I do love the Smart Remote - heated seats and steering wheel are turned on and the car's temp is adjusted to 72 degrees automatically.

    Also, I'm 6-ft and never have been bothered by the footwell.
     

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