Some automobiles, and Toyotas particularly, commonly obtain described by automobile fanatics as "appliances." The contrast is made in between a Camry and also a fridge, or a Corolla and also a washering, for example. The ramification (commonly less than kind) is that these cars have characteristics that are much less enjoyable and also more useful. One wouldn't take a fridge to an autocross, or drag-race a washing machine from a stoplight. But for millions of individuals around the world, a home appliance is specifically just what they want in a car-- something they do not have to consider to make use of, that isn't really eccentric or extravagant, that's trusted and also simple. For those individuals, lots of Toyotas are definitely ideal-- as well as the 2013 Highlander is the peak of such appliancelike, comfortable, practical reasoning.
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This is the last year for this design of Highlander, with a brand-new 2014 model on its manner in which was unveiled at the 2013 New York City International Vehicle Show in March. Nevertheless, there's a great deal to such as concerning the present Highlander, which has roominess, power, convenience and also energy in droves.
Nothing Fancy, Just Basic Skills
The form is familiar by now, with fairly hostile styling that has actually been replicated by a number of producers. (The new Nissan Pathfinder, for example, looks a lot similar to this Highlander in lots of means.) It's a clean, moving design that suffers a little bit from wheels that look slightly too small in the base V-6 trim degree I evaluated. If you like the method it looks, nonetheless, get one currently, as the 2014 model will certainly obtain a rather substantial designing update that's not to everybody's liking.
The inside is in a similar way pleasing. Nothing shocking, simply well outlined, extremely comfortable and also made from high-grade materials that have been screwed with each other well. In advance, the reduced, soft-touch dashboard and high seating placement integrate for a powerful sight over the hood, with outstanding visibility to the sides and also rear too. Controls on the center control board allow and also clear, with big switches and also chunky handles that make operating the climate-control system a breeze (sorry). The determines are brilliant, clear as well as easy to read at a glimpse. There's nothing remarkable about the forms as well as textures in right here, however there's absolutely nothing to annoy either-- unless you're somebody who needs some aesthetic interest in your transportation choice, as there's none to be found in the limitless sea of gray plastic extending from door to door. A minimum of in the Highlander it's decent plastic, unlike in some other Toyota products, like the Venza.
Seating is versatile as well as astonishingly spacious, specifically in the 2nd row, which showcases unbelievable amounts of legroom. This is a three-row SUV, consisting of a fold-down seat for 2 people in the cargo location, accessible through the fold-and-tumble second-row seats. That third row is large enough for full-sized adults, yet legroom is seriously endangered. This is just a midsized SUV, besides, not a full-sizer like the Toyota Sequoia or Chevrolet Traverse. Folding up the second row for entry to the third is simple, with takes care of atop the seatbacks creating straightforward procedure even by children. Both the 2nd as well as 3rd rows fold up level, producing a large cargo area able to hold huge, bulky items.
Interior electronics are fundamental and not awfully complicated on the entry-level Highlander (the just significant options my test version had were a V-6 engine and also four-wheel drive). The conventional touch-screen multimedia present is large as well as easy to use, however a second, smaller sized screen over it presented restricted automobile information, as well, with simply a handful of display screens to pick from. You can choice up a Highlander to the hilt with things like Toyota's Entune (a cloud-based home entertainment as well as details system), a navigation system as well as even more, however my tester had none of that-- just satellite radio and also a windshield-wiper heating system, part of the $60 Winter Bundle. On the bonus side, an absence of functions means the interior is minimalist and uncomplicated. It also means there's little to do however drive.
Roly-Poly, yet Not Pokey
Fortunately, driving the Highlander is just as pleasant as being in or looking at one. In the base design, power originates from a common 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine making 187 horse power, yet my tester had the optional 3.5-liter V-6 engine, bumping horsepower as much as a much more confidence-inspiring 270 hp. In real Toyota style, the V-6 is the picture of smoothness, a lot so that the only method to recognize it's performing at idle is to blip the pedal. Hit that same pedal while the Highlander's on duty, as well as you're awarded with strong, seamless velocity. A six-speed transmission is typical with the four-cylinder, yet the V-6 comes only with a five-speed automated. A gasoline-electric hybrid version is additionally readily available. With the exception of the crossbreed, nonetheless, the drivetrain overall is a little bit behind the moments-- most rivals are using six-speed automatics across the array, plus turbocharging or at least direct-injection innovation. The good news is, a lot of buyers will not be aware of any type of technological shortage thanks to the Highlander's buttery procedure as well as simple and easy acceleration.
Exactly what they could notice, nevertheless, is fuel economic situation. Highlanders with the base four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive are rated 20/25 mpg city/highway-- okay for a large seven-seat cruiser. Fuel economic situation drops to 18/24 for the bigger V-6 engine, or even better, to 17/22 mpg, when you add all-wheel drive. My week with the Highlander returned 19 mpg in blended driving; okay, yet certainly not class-leading any longer. It falls well short of the brand-new all-wheel-drive Nissan Pathfinder, rated 19/25 mpg, and also the new seven-seat Hyundai Santa Fe, which is available in at 18/24 mpg. It also typically matches the much larger Chevrolet Traverse for mixed gas mileage rating (19 mpg), as well as does 1 mpg better in the city as well as 1 mpg worse on the highway. The Highlander schedule's gas economic situation champ is the crossbreed, ranked 28/28 mpg, yet that comes with a substantial rate costs and with common all-wheel drive.
The Highlander is obviously tuned for convenience rather than driving fun. As the suspension is soft, the body activities are tippy and also the entire vehicle rolls as well as lolls in fast corners. You will not be doing any perky driving in this family truckster, but exactly what you enter return is superb flight top quality that's smooth even over some of one of the most terribly damaged sidewalk, aided by tall sidewalls on the 17-inch tires that take in bumps with little sound or disturbance to your tranquility. Hang an iPad on the seatback, and also the munchkins will not be troubled by roadway conditions in the smallest. Faster highway driving is just as calm and hushed.
The current Highlander has been crash-tested by both the National Highway Web Traffic Security Management and also the Insurance Coverage Institute for Freeway Safety. NHTSA rated the Highlander 4 out of five stars generally, while IIHS provided the Highlander its top rating of Excellent in all its major examinations, earning it Leading Safety Select standing.
When it comes to devices, the Highlander has all the requisite electronic safety measures, like traction control, antilock brakes and also a digital security system. Front, side, motorist's knee and side drape airbags are conventional. There was no backup cam on my test lorry, however it's a $699 option on base models (criterion on all other trim degrees), a rather obviousing noninclusion from the tools list for a supposed family members car.
Highlander in the Market
The Highlander V6 all-wheel drive I tested had one noteworthy quality that could not be ignored: a fairly reduced as-tested cost of $33,477, consisting of an $845 destination fee. The starting price for this base V-6 design with four-wheel drive is $32,690, suggesting alternatives on my tester were couple of: only a $60 Cold Weather Bundle, a $29 first-aid kit, a $49 cargo net and also a rather pricey $649 three-row floor mat package. If you wish to avoid the V-6 and also four-wheel drive, the Highlander with a four-cylinder engine as well as front-wheel drive starts at $29,865. At the other end of the range is a fully packed Highlander Hybrid Limited four-wheel drive, which starts at $47,215-- rather a dramatic array.
Midsize SUVs have been taking control of for minivans in family-hauling duties, as well as the number of entrances in the field is higher than ever. Requiring seven seats does reduce the list down ever so a little. The Highlander's primary competitors are the Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia, Ford Explorer, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-9 and also Dodge Durango. If you can deal with just five seats, add the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Murano, Ford Side, Toyota Venza and also Kia Sorento. That's more than a loads various other lorries to consider, demonstrating exactly how affordable this section really is. The closest matches are the Pathfinder, Explorer as well as Santa Fe (not the Santa Fe Sporting activity, mind you, which is a smaller sized, five-seat version). The Pathfinder includes just a V-6 and constantly variable transmission, while the Santa Fe's seven-seat model uses just a V-6. The Traveler provides two V-6 engines and also an optional turbo four-cylinder, all mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. All are equivalent in regards to space, price and utility, however the Highlander's rivals generally have the advantage in gas economic climate and on-board innovation.
The 2014 Highlander will finally obtain a six-speed transmission for its V-6 engine, which should improve gas economic climate and acceleration. It also gets seating for 8 thanks to a larger freight location and a bigger third-row seat. Engines will carry over the same, nonetheless, meaning there will certainly still be no direct-injection or turbocharging. The exterior and interior updates look excellent and must maintain the Highlander affordable, and that's actually all Toyota needs to do to keep the Highlander's sales numbers up-- cosmetic adjustments that maintain it fresh in an ultra-competitive market. Toyota currently has the energy, comfort, competence and also family-friendly components down pat. Working on its visual charm as well as on-board modern technology will only strengthen the Highlander's position.