2021 Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity, Payload Capacity and Curb Weight

If you have a 2021 Toyota Highlander and need to know your towing capacity, you have come to the right place.

Here you will find all the GCWRs, max trailer towing weights, payload capacity and GVWR suggested by Toyota. The information is collected from the 2021 Toyota Highlander Brochure and 2021 Toyota Highlander Owners Manual and 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owners Manual.

The 2021 Toyota Highlander has a max trailer towing capacity of 5,000 lbs for all variations and 3,500 lbs for hybrid. Any weight over 1,000 lbs requires a separate trailer braking system.

Toyota says that the tongue weight for any towing should be no more than 11% of the trailer weight and as low as 9%. So this should be taken into account when setting up your trailer.

2021 toyota highlander towing capacity featured image

2021 Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity

The 2021 Toyota Highlander can tow up to 5,000 lbs when properly equipped. The vehicle either has a GCWR of 10,830 lbs for the 2WD or 10,935 lbs for the AWD vehicles.

The hybrid vehicles are slightly different and can only tow 3,500 lbs.

DriveTowing CapacityGCWR
2WD5,000 lbs10,830 lbs
AWD5,000 lbs10,935 lbs
Hybrid 2WD3,500 lbs9,460 lbs
Hybrid AWD3,5009,500 or 9,565 lbs
2021 Toyota Highlander Towing Capacity Chart

Though the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 lbs (or 3,500 lbs hybrid) it can only tow that much with a trailer that is equipped with it’s own set of brakes. Any trailer weight being towed over 1,000 lbs also requires this feature on both the gas and hybrid cars.

2021 Toyota Highlander Tongue Weight

Tongue weight refers to the weight exerted on a trailer hitch/ball mount. Generally speaking the tongue weight should usually be between 10-15% of the total trailer weight.

However, Toyota specifies that for the Highlander this should be between 9-11% of the total weight. This means for a Highlander carrying the max capacity, the tongue weight should be between 450 and 550 lbs.

Towing Features

The Toyota Highlander is not equipped to handle towing in its stock form. You will need to install the necessary equipment, including a hitch, to tow with this vehicle.

But you can purchase a tow hitch and appropriate wiring harness through Toyota.

They all, however come with Trailer Sway Control as a standard feature.


There are 10 trims in the 2021 Highlander, both gas and hybrid versions. These are:

  • L
  • LE
  • XLE
  • XSE
  • Limited
  • Platinum
  • Hybrid LE
  • Hybrid XLE
  • Hybrid Limited
  • Hybrid Platinum

Each of these vehicles has various features available such as interior and exterior design. When it comes to towing there is no impact on the max towing capacity, but the extra features do make an impact on the payload capacity, or the maximum weight that can be carried.

This impact is due to the varying weights of the vehicle.

Payload Capacity

The best way to check the payload capacity is to find the GVWR listed on the certification sticker inside the driver’s side door. But they are mentioned in the e-brochure or owners manual which are shown below.

The total maximum payload capacity in all of the 2021 Highlander is between 1,530 lbs and 1,685 lbs.

TrimPayload Capacity
Curb Weight
Hybrid LE1,6305,9604,330
Hybrid XLE1,5955,9604,365
Hybrid Limited1,5305,9604,430
Hybrid Platinum1,5305,9604,430
2021 Toyota Highlander Payload Capacity

2021 Highlander Engine Specs

Gas Engine 3.5 L

The engine in the gas vehicle is the 3.5 L V6 Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC). It supplies 295 hp @ 6,600 rpm and 263 lb.-ft @ 4,700 rpm.

Hybrid 2.5 L

The engine in the Hybrid Highlander is a 2.5 L L4HV Double Overhead Cam (DOHC). It supplies net 243 hp, and 175 lb.-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm.

Additional Resources


Toyota states that the 2021 Toyota Highlander has a max towing capacity of 5,000 lbs and 3,500 lbs for the hybrid version.

Though this guide provides good guidance on how much you can tow with your 2021 Highlander, you should always calculate your own towing capacity.

Not sure how? Read: How is Towing Capacity Calculated? Here you will find a helpful calculator as well.

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