Toyota paid attention to consumers while upgrading the seven/eight-seat 2014 Highlander and also reacted to needs for more cabin and also cargo room, dynamic designing as well as premium services. Ask for a more vibrant driving experience needs to have been professionally neglected, however, as the 2014's harsher trip is a tradeoff I do not think numerous midsize SUV purchasers must have to live with in return for sportier handling.
Still, various other improvements will certainly interest customers that had actually scraped the previous Highlander off their list or a minimum of to those that don't consider a comfortable trip an essential. The 2014 Highlander's enhanced freight room behind the conventional third-row seat is a much-needed renovation; plus, it's much easier to get into the third row, which currently seatses three as well as bumps standard seatsing capacity to eight.
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With upgrades that cover the lineup of LE, LE Plus, XLE, Limited and also Limited Platinum trim degrees, the 2014 Highlander is currently in much better shape to handle the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2014 Ford Traveler and also 2014 Honda Pilot.
I drove four-cylinder, six-cylinder as well as Hybrid 2014 Highlanders at a Toyota media event.
Exterior & Styling
Toyota went back to the drawing board to revamp its aging as well as stylistically empty Highlander. Fast-forward to 2014, and also you can not call the Highlander boring looking any kind of longer. The 2013's dull look transforms into a hulking SUV with a beefier position, bulging fenders and also bold front designing. Its visibility approved the 2013 New York City International Vehicle Program floor where it debuted, and it looks just as good rolling down the street.
Just how It Drives
The driving experience isn't the automobile's most enticing quality, even with an assortment of promising new framework as well as suspension adjustments, so it's good the new SUV does so lots of various other things well.
Toyota chose curvy canyon and coastal roads in The golden state to demonstrate the Highlander's new handling chops. Driving a 2013 and 2014 back to back, the 2014 does display higher degrees of road grip and also a boosted guiding reaction. It's more athletic when digging into an edge, though I wouldn't call the Highlander enjoyable to drive. The 270-horsepower V-6 doesn't have an immediate punch of acceleration in the hefty Highlander. It's an unlike the lighter, 290-hp Hyundai Santa Fe, which is a "little" sphere of exhilaration among other similar three-row SUVs. A six-cylinder Highlander LE with front-wheel drive is 4,244 pounds, while a V-6, front-wheel-drive Santa Fe GLS is 3,933 pounds.
An unfavorable result of the Highlander's newfound dynamics is a choppier flight over harsh roads. After driving 2013 as well as 2014 designs, I might tell the 2014 transmits more road imperfections through the chassis and also right into seats. Hey, Toyota: It's OKAY to have an aggressive layout and also ride like a sofa; see the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.
On the upside, the 2014 Highlander has a much more considerable sensation over rough roadways, with fewer rattles, squeaks and framework flex. It's a matured experience with enhanced audio insulation, acoustic glass and a stiffer chassis helping maintain outside sound marginal.
I quickly hung out in the four-cylinder Highlander with front-wheel drive, which Toyota anticipates to make up 5 to 10 percent of sales, and in the brand new Highlander Hybrid. Both the front-wheel-drive-only four-cylinder (20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined) and also all-wheel-drive-only Crossbreed V-6 (27/28/28 mpg) are a little harsh around the edges as for engine noise and also vibrations. The Hybrid's gas mileage is fairly the same for 2014, down 1 mpg in city ratings to 27 mpg however preserves its 28 mpg integrated score. The transition from electrical to when the engine fires up is visible with raw noises coming from under the hood, distinct from across a parking area. Resonances from the shift are minimal, however the sounds are loud enough to take notice.
An added 353 extra pounds included in the hybrid from 3 electrical motors-- two in the front and also one in the back-- as well as a nickel steel hydride battery is recognizable in exactly how the Hybrid drives compared to the Limited V-6 with four-wheel drive. It's a loosened up experience much less excited about accelerating as well as dealing with despite having 280-hp incorporated, and also it additionally doesn't ride any smoother than the non-hybrid.
The Crossbreed's unusually loud engine sounds would not be as much of a problem if the Highlander Hybrid just weren't $48,160 with location, $7,130 greater than 2013-- a 2014 Lexus RX 450h is $47,320, however much smaller on the in. The Highlander Crossbreed's high-end car rate does not show luxury improvement since the feature-loaded Crossbreed Limited is the only Crossbreed provided; the less-expensive variation got the axe for 2014.
The volume-seller V-6 is one of the most refined of the lot, using smooth and predictable acceleration in addition to the very best handling with all-wheel drive. The V-6-powered Highlander's gas mileage of 19/25/21 mpg with front-wheel drive as well as 18/24/20 mpg with four-wheel drive is also extra competitive than the outgoing 2013 thanks to a brand-new six-speed automatic transmission changing a five-speed system on V-6 models. The all-wheel-drive system, which is likewise new, assists add 2 mpg highway over the 2013 variation. All-wheel-drive Highlanders send out torque to the back wheels when slippage is identified, versus the previous system that always sent out torque to four wheels.
Part of the 2014's change consists of calling up the indoor styling with various soft-touch and also accent-stitched interior panels that boost the classiness. The quality is Toyota-Avalon nice with a stitched dashboard, guiding wheel and soft-touch, top notch products in popular locations. Plastic areas that typically aren't textured, sewed or covered are still on par for the class. Even the base LE Highlander shows the almost luxurylike niceness of the higher-optioned Minimal trims.
Seats is comfortable in the very first and second rows with soft, wide front seats and also a highly flexible 2nd row that slides as well as reclines with two captain's chairs or the standard three-seat bench setup-- captain's chairs are offered on the XLE as well as common on the Limited. The rest of the Highlander might have been redone with dynamism in mind, but the seats speak with its comfort-focused roots. Many people on our staff will miss the 2013's removable second-row facility seat. I won't, as it was uneasy and also large to remove as well as change with the facility table that saved under the facility console.
In the 3rd row, Toyota boosted width and added an additional seat for an optimum ability of 8 residents in standard arrangement. A new, much more portable rear suspension freed the extra room. The 3rd row still does not fit adults with as much comfort as the larger Chevrolet Traverse, but it excels in a pinch. There are likewise brand-new one-touch folding second-row seats on both sides. Formerly, only the curbside seat folded and also glided forward by means of the one-touch lever. Third-row bikers likewise gain from the second row's increased seat travel, which permits easy access as well as exit.
Ergonomics & Electronics
Innovation is a substantial focus in the 2014 Highlander and also done very well. Toyota's Entune multimedia system functions better compared to ever before compared to various other Toyota automobiles in which I have actually made use of the system. Functioning the Entune system's voice commands is impressive. The designs I evaluated picked up on the different voice commands I spoke.
Those with cumbersome phones or who constantly have their phone attached to the SUV will certainly appreciate a tool storage walk below the environment controls that supplies a pass-through for USB cords. There should disappear Medusa-like dangling of wires the equipment selector.
The typical Entune on base LE designs consists of a 6.1-inch touch-screen with backup camera, USB port with iPod connectivity, supporting input, voice acknowledgment, Bluetooth phone connection and Bluetooth streaming sound. LE Plus trims have Entune Audio And also with a higher-resolution 6.1-inch screen, HD Radio and also 90-day satellite radio membership. The following step up is Entune Costs Sound with Navigation as well as Application Suite on XLE models with an 8-inch touch-screen as well as application suite with Pandora, Yelp as well as Facebook integration with a mobile phone as well as going along with Entune downloadable application. A JBL stereo is conventional on Restricted trim levels.
The massive facility storage container in between the pole positions can devour anything plus-sized, like a purse, iPad or Blu-ray collection for the available rear-seat Blu-ray gamer. And when you forget that Blu-ray in the house, a fascinating new attribute called Easy Speak sends the thriving voice of an angry mother or daddy through the rear stereo speakers by means of the Bluetooth microphone to maintain wild children in check. How much extra family members focused can you get compared to offering an attribute that allows moms and dads to chew out kids?
Cargo, Towing & Storage
Cargo room behind the 3rd row enhances over the previous Highlander's revealing walk, which had a hard time bring groceries, let alone an infant stroller or golf bag. The cargo volume is now ranked at 13.8 cubic feet, up from 10.3 cubic feet. It's not a huge renovation, yet a minimum of it makes the area usable. It's still small compared with others in the segment: The Traveler has 21 cubic feet and also the Pilot has 18 cubic feet behind the third row. Toyota's hoax to enhance freight room included relocating all three rows of seats forward, adding size behind the rear wheels and utilizing an extra portable back suspension.
The power liftgate is an impressive attribute to be common on LE Plus trim degrees and above, as well as has a dress up its sleeve: It adapts to various elevations, not simply 1 or 2 fixed height setups. With the liftgate moving, individuals could stop the liftgate as well as program it to open to that set height the next time. The function will make much shorter drivers and owners of reduced garages really delighted. (If the gate goes too high, much shorter people may have a hard time to get to the power-close button on its bottom edge.) One more one-of-a-kind attribute on the back is an oldie yet a goody: On LE Plus designs and above, the back window opens up for very easy accessibility independent of the freight gateway.
A 5,000-pound tow score on XLE and Limited trim levels features a conventional towing plan that consists of engine/transmission coolers as well as updated radiator and also alternator. Crossbreeds could tow 3,500 pounds, V-6 LE/LE Plus can tow 2,000 pounds as well as a four-cylinder LE is rated at 1,500 pounds.
Safety and security
The 2014 Highlander had not been crash-tested at the time of this writing.
The 2014 Highlander provides reduced supports and tethers on outboard second-row seats for child-safety seats, yet only a tether support on the middle third-row seat.
Advanced security features are available, though only on the costly Limited trim degree where an unseen area tracking system and rear auto parking aid are typical, and also pre-collision, adaptive cruise ship control and also lane departure caution are optional. Restricted trim levels are additionally the only designs with a back-up video camera that uses predictive standards to reveal the vehicle's path-- a back-up cam with fixed lines is common on all various other trim degrees.
Value in Its Course
Toyota says pricing is up around $1,500 generally throughout the 2014 trim levels, that include added features over the 2013. Base rates starts at $30,075 for a base four-cylinder LE with location, while volume-seller XLE designs with four-wheel drive are $38,360 as well as consist of leather seatsing with warmed front seats, navigating, three-zone environment control, smart keyless access, second-row sunshades as well as more. Prices for the XLE is extremely affordable to three-row midsize SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Ford Traveler or even the Hyundai Santa Fe.
The 2013 Highlander was absolutely a midpack three-row SUV, hanging back in vital locations like indoor high quality, cargo area as well as technology. Feel confident, if you're a Highlander proprietor seeking to upgrade-- as long as you're unconcerned about trip high quality-- the 2014 is not just a compelling upgrade, but likewise worthy of cross-shopping the segment's ideal.