Toyota heard consumers while revamping the seven/eight-seat 2014 Highlander and replied to needs for even more cabin and cargo room, dynamic styling and also premium amenities. Requests for a more vibrant driving experience needs to have been professionally ignored, nonetheless, as the 2014's harsher trip is a tradeoff I do not assume lots of midsize SUV purchasers ought to have to live with in return for sportier handling.
Still, other improvements will most certainly attract customers that had scraped the previous Highlander off their list or at the very least to those who don't take into consideration a comfy flight a must-have. The 2014 Highlander's raised cargo area behind the basic third-row seat is a much-needed improvement; plus, it's easier to obtain into the 3rd row, which now sittings three and also bumps basic seating ability to eight.
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With upgrades that cover the schedule of LE, LE And Also, XLE, Limited as well as Limited Platinum trim degrees, the 2014 Highlander is currently in far better shape to take on the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2014 Ford Traveler as well as 2014 Honda Pilot.
I drove four-cylinder, six-cylinder as well as Hybrid 2014 Highlanders at a Toyota media event.
Outside & Designing
Toyota returned to the drawing board to upgrade its aging as well as stylistically devoid Highlander. Fast-forward to 2014, and also you can not call the Highlander boring looking any kind of longer. The 2013's dull appearance changes right into a hulking SUV with a beefier stance, bulging fenders and also bold front styling. Its visibility was big on the 2013 New York City International Automobile Program flooring where it debuted, as well as it looks just as great rolling down the street.
Just how It Drives
The driving experience isn't really the vehicle's most enticing characteristic, even with an array of appealing brand-new chassis as well as suspension modifications, so it excels the new SUV does so many other things well.
Toyota chose curved canyon as well as coastal roads in California to demonstrate the Highlander's new handling chops. Driving a 2013 as well as 2014 back to back, the 2014 does show higher levels of roadway grip as well as an improved steering action. It's even more sports when digging into a corner, though I would not call the Highlander enjoyable to drive. The 270-horsepower V-6 doesn't have an instant punch of velocity in the heavy Highlander. It's an unlike the lighter, 290-hp Hyundai Santa Fe, which is a "little" round of excitement to name a few similar three-row SUVs. A six-cylinder Highlander LE with front-wheel drive is 4,244 extra pounds, while a V-6, front-wheel-drive Santa Fe GLS is 3,933 pounds.
An unfavorable result of the Highlander's newly found characteristics is a choppier trip over rough roadways. After driving 2013 as well as 2014 versions, I could tell the 2014 sends more road blemishes through the framework as well as into seats. Hey, Toyota: It's OKAY to have an aggressive design as well as trip like a sofa; see the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.
On the upside, the 2014 Highlander has an extra significant sensation over rough roadways, with less rattles, squeaks and framework flex. It's a matured experience with enhanced audio insulation, acoustic glass as well as a stiffer framework assisting maintain outside sound minimal.
I briefly hung out in the four-cylinder Highlander with front-wheel drive, which Toyota expects to make up 5 to 10 percent of sales, and in the all-new Highlander Hybrid. Both the front-wheel-drive-only four-cylinder (20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined) and also all-wheel-drive-only Hybrid V-6 (27/28/28 mpg) are a little harsh around the sides as far as engine noise and also resonances. The Hybrid's gas mileage is reasonably the same for 2014, down 1 mpg in city rankings to 27 mpg however preserves its 28 mpg incorporated rating. The shift from electric to when the engine fires up is obvious with raw noises coming from under the hood, audible from throughout a parking area. Vibrations from the transition are minimal, however the sounds are audible to take notice.
An added 353 extra pounds contributed to the hybrid from three electric motors-- 2 in the front and also one in the back-- and also a nickel metal hydride battery is noticeable in just how the Hybrid drives compared with the Limited V-6 with four-wheel drive. It's a relaxed experience less ecstatic concerning speeding up and also taking care of even with 280-hp incorporated, as well as it also doesn't ride any type of smoother than the non-hybrid.
The Crossbreed's abnormally loud engine sounds would not be as much of a concern if the Highlander Crossbreed just weren't $48,160 with destination, $7,130 more than 2013-- a 2014 Lexus RX 450h is $47,320, though a lot smaller on the inside. The Highlander Crossbreed's high-end car price doesn't mirror luxury improvement since the feature-loaded Crossbreed Limited is the only Crossbreed offered; the less-expensive version obtained the axe for 2014.
The volume-seller V-6 is one of the most refined of the bunch, using smooth as well as predictable velocity 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 likewise a lot more competitive compared to the outward bound 2013 thanks to a brand-new six-speed transmission replacing a five-speed unit on V-6 versions. The all-wheel-drive system, which is likewise new, aids include 2 mpg highway over the 2013 version. All-wheel-drive Highlanders send torque to the rear wheels when slippage is spotted, versus the previous system that always sent torque to four wheels.
Part of the 2014's improvement consists of dialing up the indoor styling with various soft-touch as well as accent-stitched indoor panels that boost the classiness. The quality is Toyota-Avalon wonderful with a sewn control panel, steering wheel as well as soft-touch, high-grade products in prominent locations. Plastic areas that typically aren't textured, sewed or covered are still on the same level for the class. Also the base LE Highlander shows the virtually luxurylike niceness of the higher-optioned Limited trims.
Seats is comfortable in the first as well as 2nd rows with soft, broad front seats and also an extremely adjustable 2nd row that slides and reclines with two captain's chairs or the conventional three-seat bench setup-- captain's chairs are available on the XLE and also typical on the Limited. The rest of the Highlander could have been redone with dynamism in mind, however the seats talk with its comfort-focused origins. Many individuals on our staff will miss the 2013's removable second-row facility seat. I won't, as it was uneasy and cumbersome to eliminate as well as replace with the center table that stored under the center console.
In the 3rd row, Toyota increased size and included an added seat for a maximum ability of eight residents in common arrangement. A new, more portable rear suspension released the additional room. The third row still does not fit grownups with as much comfort as the bigger Chevrolet Traverse, yet it readies in a pinch. There are additionally new one-touch folding second-row seats on both sides. Previously, only the curbside seat folded up and moved forward via the one-touch lever. Third-row cyclists additionally benefit from the second row's raised seat traveling, which enables simple access and leave.
Functional design & Electronics
Technology is a huge emphasis in the 2014 Highlander and done extremely well. Toyota's Entune multimedia system functions much better compared to ever before compared with other Toyota cars where I've utilized the system. Working the Entune system's voice commands goes over. The versions I tested detected the different voice commands I spoke.
Those with bulky phones or that continuously have their phone connected to the SUV will appreciate a device storage step listed below the climate regulates that provides a pass-through for USB cords. There ought to disappear Medusa-like dangling of cords the equipment selector.
The common Entune on base LE models consists of a 6.1-inch touch-screen with backup video camera, USB port with iPod connectivity, supporting input, voice recognition, Bluetooth phone connection and also Bluetooth streaming sound. LE And also trims have Entune Sound Plus with a higher-resolution 6.1-inch screen, HD Radio and 90-day satellite radio subscription. The following step up is Entune Premium Audio with Navigating as well as Application Collection on XLE designs with an 8-inch touch-screen and also application suite with Pandora, Yelp and Facebook assimilation with a smartphone and coming with Entune downloadable application. A JBL stereo is basic on Limited trim degrees.
The huge facility storage space bin in between the pole positions could feed on anything plus-sized, like a handbag, iPad or Blu-ray collection for the offered rear-seat Blu-ray gamer. When you forget that Blu-ray at home, an interesting new attribute called Easy Speak transmits the growing voice of a mad mommy or dad via the rear stereo audio speakers using the Bluetooth microphone to maintain rowdy youngsters in check. Just how much extra family members concentrated can you get compared to providing a feature that allows parents to yell at kids?
Cargo, Towing & Storage space
Cargo space behind the third row enhances over the previous Highlander's sexy ledge, which struggled bring grocery stores, let alone a baby stroller or golf bag. The freight volume is currently rated at 13.8 cubic feet, up from 10.3 cubic feet. It's not a huge renovation, however at least it makes the area useful. It's still little compared to others in the section: The Traveler has 21 cubic feet and also the Pilot has 18 cubic feet behind the 3rd row. Toyota's hoax to increase cargo room entailed relocating all three rows of seats onward, adding length behind the rear wheels as well as making use of a more small rear suspension.
The power liftgate is an outstanding function to be standard on LE And also trim levels as well as above, as well as has a trick up its sleeve: It gets used to numerous elevations, not simply one or two predetermined height setups. With the liftgate in motion, customers can quit the liftgate as well as program it to available to that established elevation the next time. The attribute will make much shorter drivers and also proprietors of reduced garages very satisfied. (If the gate goes too expensive, shorter individuals could struggle to reach the power-close button on its bottom side.) One more distinct feature on the back is an oldie but a reward: On LE And also designs and above, the back window opens for very easy accessibility independent of the cargo entrance.
A 5,000-pound tow score on XLE and Limited trim levels has a conventional towing plan that consists of engine/transmission coolers and also upgraded radiator and generator. Hybrids could tow 3,500 pounds, V-6 LE/LE And also could tow 2,000 pounds and also a four-cylinder LE is ranked at 1,500 pounds.
The 2014 Highlander hadn't been crash-tested at the time of this writing.
The 2014 Highlander provides lower anchors and also tethers on outboard second-row seats for child-safety seats, but only a secure anchor on the center third-row seat.
Advanced security features are available, though just on the costly Restricted trim level where an unseen area monitoring system and rear car park assist are standard, and pre-collision, adaptive cruise ship control as well as lane departure warning are optional. Limited trim degrees are also the only versions with a back-up cam that uses anticipating standards to reveal the automobile's course-- a back-up electronic camera with set lines is basic on all other trim degrees.
Worth in Its Course
Toyota claims prices is up about $1,500 usually across the 2014 trim levels, that include additional attributes over the 2013. Base prices starts at $30,075 for a base four-cylinder LE with destination, while volume-seller XLE models with four-wheel drive are $38,360 as well as consist of natural leather seatsing with warmed pole positions, navigating, three-zone environment control, clever keyless entrance, second-row sunshades and even more. Prices for the XLE is really competitive to three-row midsize SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe.
The 2013 Highlander was really a midpack three-row SUV, hanging back in crucial locations like interior top quality, cargo room and also modern technology. Rest assured, if you're a Highlander proprietor seeking to update-- as long as you're unconcerned about ride quality-- the 2014 is not only a compelling upgrade, but likewise deserving of cross-shopping the segment's finest.