2019 Ford Edge vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Edge have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Toyota Highlander doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The Edge has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Highlander doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Compared to metal, the Edge’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Highlander has a metal gas tank.

Both the Edge and the Highlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and front and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Edge is safer than the Toyota Highlander:

Edge

Highlander

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

96

195

Neck Injury Risk

27%

47%

Neck Stress

200 lbs.

509 lbs.

Neck Compression

23 lbs.

73 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

209

291

Neck Injury Risk

32%

32%

Neck Stress

180 lbs.

219 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

121/25 lbs.

387/392 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Edge is safer than the Toyota Highlander:

Edge

Highlander

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.6 inches

Hip Force

281 lbs.

348 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

297

372

Hip Force

585 lbs.

829 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Ford dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Edge’s warranty.

Reliability

The Edge has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Highlander doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Edge has a standard 760-amp battery. The Highlander’s 604-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

The Edge’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 65 more horsepower (250 vs. 185) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 184) than the Highlander’s standard 2.7 DOHC 4 cyl. The Edge’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6. The Edge ST’s standard 2.7 turbo V6 produces 40 more horsepower (335 vs. 295) and 117 lbs.-ft. more torque (380 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Edge ST is faster than the Toyota Highlander V6:

Edge

Highlander

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.4 MPH

92.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Edge gets better fuel mileage than the Highlander:

MPG

Edge

FWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

Highlander

FWD

2.7 DOHC 4-cyl.

20 city/24 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6 w/Start/Stop

21 city/27 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

LE Plus 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

LE 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the Edge’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Toyota only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Highlander LE Plus/XLE/Limited/Platinum.

The Edge has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Highlander doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Ford Edge higher (5 out of 10) than the Toyota Highlander (3 to 5). This means the Edge produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Highlander every 15,000 miles.

The EPA certifies the Ford Edge as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Toyota Highlander is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Edge AWD’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Highlander:

Edge AWD

Edge ST

Highlander

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

12.9 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

13.6 inches

12.2 inches

The Edge ST’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Highlander are solid, not vented.

The Edge stops much shorter than the Highlander:

Edge

Highlander

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Edge ST’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander (265/40R21 vs. 245/60R18).

The Edge ST’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Highlander SE/Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Edge ST offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Highlander’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Edge has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Highlander’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Edge has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Edge’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Highlander doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Edge’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the Highlander (112.2 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

The Edge ST handles at .83 G’s, while the Highlander AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Edge ST executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the Highlander LE (26 seconds @ .7 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Edge ST has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Highlander (8.2 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Edge to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Edge is 3.7 inches shorter than the Highlander, making the Edge easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Edge uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Highlander doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Edge ST uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Highlander doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Edge has 1 inch more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom, .4 inches more rear hip room and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Highlander.

The front step up height for the Edge is 1.8 inches lower than the Highlander (17.5” vs. 19.3”). The Edge’s rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the Highlander’s (18” vs. 19.5”).

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Edge SEL/Titanium/ST’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Highlander doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Edge’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Highlander doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The Edge uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The Edge has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Highlander doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Edge offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Edge Titanium/ST’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Edge’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Highlander’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Edge and the Highlander have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Edge is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Highlander prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

On a hot day the Edge’s driver can lower the front windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Highlander can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Edge SEL/Titanium/ST’s exterior PIN entry system. The Highlander doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Edge’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Highlander’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Edge Titanium/ST offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Highlander doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Edge Titanium/ST offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Edge Titanium/ST’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Highlander doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Edge is less expensive to operate than the Highlander because typical repairs cost much less on the Edge than the Highlander, including $341 less for a starter, $221 less for fuel injection, $184 less for a fuel pump and $760 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Ford Edge and the Toyota Highlander, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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