Toyota paid attention to customers while upgrading the seven/eight-seat 2014 Highlander and reacted to demands for more cabin and also cargo space, dynamic designing as well as premium facilities. Requests for a more vibrant driving experience must have been professionally disregarded, nevertheless, as the 2014's harsher ride is a tradeoff I do not believe numerous midsize SUV buyers need to have to live with in return for sportier handling.
Still, other enhancements will unquestionably attract buyers who had actually scratched the previous Highlander off their listing or at the very least to those who do not consider a comfortable flight an essential. The 2014 Highlander's increased freight space behind the basic third-row seat is a much-needed renovation; plus, it's much easier to obtain into the 3rd row, which currently sittings 3 and bumps common sitting capacity to eight.
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With upgrades that span the lineup of LE, LE And Also, XLE, Limited and Limited Platinum trim levels, the 2014 Highlander is currently in much better form to tackle the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2014 Ford Explorer 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 went back to the drawing board to revamp its aging and stylistically empty Highlander. Fast-forward to 2014, as well as you cannot call the Highlander boring looking any longer. The 2013's ho-hum look changes right into a hulking SUV with a beefier stance, bulging fenders and also bold front designing. Its existence approved the 2013 New York City International Auto Show floor where it debuted, and also it looks equally as good rolling down the street.
How It Drives
The driving experience isn't really the car's most enticing characteristic, even with an array of encouraging new chassis and also suspension adjustments, so it readies the brand-new SUV does so lots of various other points well.
Toyota chose curved canyon as well as seaside roads in California to demonstrate the Highlander's brand-new handling chops. Driving a 2013 as well as 2014 back to back, the 2014 does exhibit greater degrees of road hold as well as a boosted guiding reaction. It's even more athletic when digging into an edge, though I wouldn't call the Highlander fun to drive. The 270-horsepower V-6 doesn't have an immediate strike of acceleration in the hefty Highlander. It's an unlike the lighter, 290-hp Hyundai Santa Fe, which is a "little" ball of enjoyment 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 adverse impact of the Highlander's newly found dynamics is a choppier flight over harsh roads. After driving 2013 as well as 2014 models, I might inform the 2014 transfers more road imperfections with the chassis and into seats. Hey, Toyota: It's OKAY to have an aggressive layout and ride like a sofa; see the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.
On the upside, the 2014 Highlander has a much more substantial sensation over harsh roads, with fewer rattles, squeaks and also chassis flex. It's a matured experience with increased audio insulation, acoustic glass and a stiffer framework assisting keep outside sound minimal.
I quickly hung out in the four-cylinder Highlander with front-wheel drive, which Toyota expects to account for 5 to 10 percent of sales, as well as in the all-new Highlander Hybrid. Both the front-wheel-drive-only four-cylinder (20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined) as well as all-wheel-drive-only Hybrid V-6 (27/28/28 mpg) are a little rough around the edges as far as engine noise and vibrations. The Hybrid's gas mileage is reasonably unmodified for 2014, down 1 mpg in city rankings to 27 mpg yet keeps its 28 mpg incorporated ranking. The shift from electric to when the engine fires up is noticeable with raw noises coming from under the hood, audible from across a parking area. Vibrations from the change are marginal, however the sounds are audible to take notice.
An added 353 extra pounds added to the crossbreed from 3 electrical motors-- two in the front and one in the back-- and a nickel steel hydride battery is obvious in how the Hybrid drives compared to the Limited V-6 with four-wheel drive. It's a loosened up experience less excited regarding accelerating and also managing despite 280-hp combined, as well as it likewise doesn't ride any kind of smoother than the non-hybrid.
The Crossbreed's abnormally loud engine sounds wouldn't be as much of an issue if the Highlander Crossbreed just weren't $48,160 with location, $7,130 greater than 2013-- a 2014 Lexus RX 450h is $47,320, however a lot smaller on the within. The Highlander Hybrid's luxury auto rate does not show deluxe refinement now that the feature-loaded Hybrid Limited is the only Crossbreed offered; the less-expensive version got the axe for 2014.
The volume-seller V-6 is the most refined of the lot, providing smooth and also foreseeable acceleration in addition to the best handling with four-wheel drive. The V-6-powered Highlander's gas mileage of 19/25/21 mpg with front-wheel drive and 18/24/20 mpg with all-wheel drive is likewise more affordable than the outward bound 2013 thanks to a brand-new six-speed transmission changing a five-speed device on V-6 models. The all-wheel-drive system, which is additionally new, helps add 2 mpg freeway over the 2013 variation. All-wheel-drive Highlanders send 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 transformation includes dialing up the indoor styling with countless soft-touch as well as accent-stitched indoor panels that enhance the classiness. The high quality is Toyota-Avalon good with a sewn control panel, guiding wheel as well as soft-touch, top notch products in popular locations. Plastic locations that aren't textured, sewed or covered are still on the same level for the class. Also the base LE Highlander emanates the virtually luxurylike niceness of the higher-optioned Restricted trims.
Seats is comfortable in the first as well as second rows with soft, large pole positions and also a highly flexible 2nd row that glides and also reclines with two captain's chairs or the typical three-seat bench configuration-- captain's chairs are readily available on the XLE and common 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 people on our personnel will miss out on the 2013's detachable second-row facility seat. I won't, as it was awkward as well as bulky to remove as well as change with the facility table that stored under the center console.
In the third row, Toyota increased width as well as included an extra seat for a maximum ability of eight occupants in common arrangement. A new, a lot more small rear suspension released the added area. The third row still doesn't fit adults with as much convenience as the bigger Chevrolet Traverse, but it excels in a pinch. There are additionally new one-touch folding second-row seats on both sides. Previously, only the curbside seat folded up as well as glided ahead by means of the one-touch lever. Third-row cyclists also gain from the 2nd row's boosted seat travel, which permits simple access and leave.
Functional design & Electronics
Technology is a significant focus in the 2014 Highlander as well as done very well. Toyota's Entune multimedia system functions much better compared to ever before compared to other Toyota automobiles in which I've made use of the system. Functioning the Entune system's voice commands goes over. The designs I evaluated detected the various voice commands I talked.
Those with bulky phones or that continuously have their phone connected to the SUV will value a tool storage walk listed below the environment regulates that offers a pass-through for USB cords. There need to be no more Medusa-like dangling of wires entangling the gear selector.
The typical Entune on base LE models consists of a 6.1-inch touch-screen with backup cam, USB port with iPod connectivity, supporting input, voice recognition, Bluetooth phone connectivity as well as Bluetooth streaming sound. LE And also trims have Entune Audio And also with a higher-resolution 6.1-inch display, HD Radio as well as 90-day satellite radio subscription. The following step up is Entune Premium Audio with Navigating and also Application Collection on XLE versions with an 8-inch touch-screen and application suite with Pandora, Yelp and Facebook assimilation with a smart device and also accompanying Entune downloadable application. A JBL stereo is standard on Limited trim levels.
The enormous center storage bin between the pole positions could devour anything plus-sized, like a handbag, iPad or Blu-ray collection for the readily available rear-seat Blu-ray player. And when you forget that Blu-ray at home, an interesting new function called Easy Speak transmits the thriving voice of an upset mom or dad with the back stereo audio speakers using the Bluetooth microphone to maintain rowdy youngsters in check. What does it cost? extra household concentrated can you get than supplying an attribute that permits moms and dads to chew out children?
Freight, Towing & Storage
Cargo space behind the third row boosts over the previous Highlander's revealing walk, which battled bring grocery stores, not to mention a baby stroller or golf bag. The freight quantity is now rated at 13.8 cubic feet, up from 10.3 cubic feet. It's not a huge renovation, but at the very least it makes the area useful. It's still little compared to others in the sector: The Explorer has 21 cubic feet and also the Pilot has 18 cubic feet behind the third row. Toyota's trickery to boost cargo space involved moving all three rows of seats onward, adding length behind the back wheels and also using a much more small rear suspension.
The power liftgate is an outstanding attribute to be conventional on LE And also trim degrees and also above, as well as has a dress up its sleeve: It gets used to numerous elevations, not simply a couple of fixed height settings. With the liftgate in motion, customers could stop the liftgate as well as program it to open to that set elevation the following time. The function will make shorter chauffeurs as well as proprietors of low garages really happy. (If the gate goes expensive, much shorter individuals may battle to reach the power-close switch on its bottom edge.) An additional unique feature on the back is an oldie however a goody: On LE And also models and above, the rear home window opens up for easy gain access to independent of the cargo entrance.
A 5,000-pound tow score on XLE and also Limited trim degrees includes a standard towing bundle that includes engine/transmission colders and also updated radiator and alternator. Hybrids can tow 3,500 extra pounds, V-6 LE/LE And also could tow 2,000 pounds as well as 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 supplies reduced supports as well as 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 readily available, though just on the expensive Restricted trim level where a dead spot monitoring system and also back auto parking aid are typical, and pre-collision, adaptive cruise control and also lane separation warning are optional. Limited trim degrees are also the only versions with a backup video camera that uses predictive standards to show the vehicle's path-- a back-up video camera with set lines is common on all various other trim degrees.
Worth in Its Class
Toyota states prices is up around $1,500 on average throughout the 2014 trim degrees, which include additional functions over the 2013. Base pricing begins at $30,075 for a base four-cylinder LE with destination, while volume-seller XLE versions with all-wheel drive are $38,360 and also consist of natural leather seatsing with warmed pole positions, navigation, three-zone environment control, smart keyless access, second-row sunshades and also more. Pricing for the XLE is very 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 important locations like interior quality, cargo space and technology. Rest assured, if you're a Highlander proprietor planning to update-- as long as you're unconcerned concerning flight high quality-- the 2014 is not just a compelling upgrade, but additionally worthwhile of cross-shopping the segment's ideal.