Toyota listened to customers while revamping the seven/eight-seat 2014 Highlander and responded to needs for even more cabin and cargo space, dynamic designing and also costs features. Requests for an extra vibrant driving experience needs to have been professionally ignored, however, as the 2014's harsher ride is a tradeoff I don't believe numerous midsize SUV purchasers must have to live with in return for sportier handling.
Still, various other improvements will certainly appeal to buyers that had actually scraped the previous Highlander off their list or at least to those that don't think about a comfortable trip a must-have. The 2014 Highlander's increased freight room behind the basic third-row seat is a much-needed renovation; plus, it's simpler to get right into the third row, which currently seats 3 and also bumps basic seating capability to 8.
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With upgrades that extend the schedule of LE, LE And Also, XLE, Limited as well as Limited Platinum trim levels, the 2014 Highlander is now in better shape to tackle the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2014 Ford Explorer and also 2014 Honda Pilot.
I drove four-cylinder, six-cylinder and Hybrid 2014 Highlanders at a Toyota media event.
Outside & Styling
Toyota returned to the attracting board to revamp its aging and stylistically empty Highlander. Fast-forward to 2014, and you cannot call the Highlander boring looking any kind of longer. The 2013's dull appearance changes into a hulking SUV with a beefier stance, bulging fenders and also bold front styling. Its existence was big on the 2013 New York International Car Program floor where it debuted, and it looks equally as great rolling down the street.
How It Drives
The driving experience isn't the automobile's most attractive attribute, even with an array of promising brand-new chassis and suspension adjustments, so it's good the brand-new SUV does so many other points well.
Toyota chose curvy canyon and also seaside roads in California to show the Highlander's brand-new handling chops. Driving a 2013 as well as 2014 back to back, the 2014 does show higher degrees of roadway grasp and also a boosted guiding feedback. It's even more athletic when digging right into a corner, though I would not call the Highlander enjoyable to drive. The 270-horsepower V-6 does not 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 enjoyment to name a few 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.
A negative impact of the Highlander's newfound dynamics is a choppier flight over rough roadways. After driving 2013 as well as 2014 models, I could inform the 2014 sends even more roadway flaws through the framework and also into seats. Hey, Toyota: It's ALRIGHT to have a hostile layout and also flight like a couch; see the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.
On the upside, the 2014 Highlander has a much more substantial sensation over harsh roadways, with fewer rattles, squeals as well as chassis flex. It's a matured experience with increased audio insulation, acoustic glass and a stiffer framework assisting keep outside sound very little.
I quickly spent time 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 Crossbreed. Both the front-wheel-drive-only four-cylinder (20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined) as well as all-wheel-drive-only Crossbreed V-6 (27/28/28 mpg) are a little rough around the edges as far as engine sound as well as vibrations. The Hybrid's gas mileage is reasonably unmodified for 2014, down 1 mpg in city scores to 27 mpg however maintains its 28 mpg combined ranking. The change from electrical to when the engine fires up is obvious with raw noises originating from under the hood, audible from across a parking lot. Resonances from the shift are marginal, however the noises are loud enough to take notice.
An extra 353 extra pounds included in the hybrid from three electrical motors-- two in the front as well as one in the back-- and a nickel steel hydride battery is noticeable in how the Hybrid drives compared to the Minimal V-6 with all-wheel drive. It's a kicked back experience less fired up concerning accelerating and managing despite having 280-hp integrated, and also it likewise doesn't ride any type of smoother than the non-hybrid.
The Crossbreed's abnormally loud engine noises wouldn't be as much of a problem if the Highlander Crossbreed weren't $48,160 with destination, $7,130 more than 2013-- a 2014 Lexus RX 450h is $47,320, however much smaller on the in. The Highlander Hybrid's luxury auto rate doesn't show deluxe refinement since the feature-loaded Hybrid Limited is the only Crossbreed used; the less-expensive version obtained the axe for 2014.
The volume-seller V-6 is the most improved of the lot, using smooth as well as predictable velocity along with 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 and also 18/24/20 mpg with all-wheel drive is likewise much more competitive than the outward bound 2013 thanks to a new six-speed automatic transmission changing a five-speed device on V-6 models. The all-wheel-drive system, which is also brand-new, assists include 2 mpg highway over the 2013 version. All-wheel-drive Highlanders send torque to the rear wheels when slippage is found, versus the previous system that constantly sent torque to four wheels.
Part of the 2014's improvement includes calling up the indoor styling with various soft-touch as well as accent-stitched interior panels that enhance the classiness. The high quality is Toyota-Avalon great with a stitched control panel, steering wheel as well as soft-touch, high-quality products in prominent locations. Plastic locations that typically aren't textured, sewed or covered are still on the same level for the course. Also the base LE Highlander exhibits the nearly luxurylike niceness of the higher-optioned Restricted trims.
Seating fits in the first and also 2nd rows with soft, wide pole positions and also a highly adjustable second row that glides and reclines with 2 captain's chairs or the conventional three-seat bench configuration-- captain's chairs are readily available on the XLE as well as basic on the Limited. The remainder 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 certainly miss out on the 2013's detachable second-row facility seat. I will not, as it was unpleasant and also large to get rid of and replace with the facility table that saved under the facility console.
In the third row, Toyota boosted size and also added an added seat for an optimum capacity of 8 passengers in typical configuration. A new, a lot more portable back suspension released the added room. The third row still doesn't fit grownups with as much convenience as the bigger Chevrolet Traverse, however it readies in a pinch. There are additionally brand-new one-touch folding second-row seats on both sides. Formerly, just the curbside seat folded up as well as slid ahead through the one-touch bar. Third-row motorcyclists additionally take advantage of the 2nd row's boosted seat travel, which enables easy access as well as exit.
Functional design & Electronic devices
Technology is a substantial emphasis in the 2014 Highlander and also done extremely well. Toyota's Entune multimedia system functions better compared to ever before compared to various other Toyota vehicles where I've made use of the system. Functioning the Entune system's voice commands goes over. The models I checked noticed the different voice commands I spoke.
Those with bulky phones or who frequently have their phone connected to the SUV will value a gadget storage step listed below the environment controls that supplies a pass-through for USB cords. There must disappear Medusa-like dangling of cable televisions the gear selector.
The conventional Entune on base LE versions includes a 6.1-inch touch-screen with backup cam, USB port with iPod connectivity, complementary input, voice recognition, Bluetooth phone connection as well as Bluetooth streaming audio. LE And also trims have Entune Sound Plus with a higher-resolution 6.1-inch screen, HD Radio as well as 90-day satellite radio registration. The following step up is Entune Premium Sound with Navigation as well as Application Suite on XLE designs with an 8-inch touch-screen as well as application suite with Pandora, Yelp and also Facebook combination with a smartphone and coming with Entune downloadable application. A JBL sound system is common on Minimal trim levels.
The large facility storage bin between the pole positions could feed on anything plus-sized, like a purse, iPad or Blu-ray collection for the readily available rear-seat Blu-ray gamer. When you neglect that Blu-ray in your home, an interesting brand-new attribute called Easy Speak sends the flourishing voice of an upset mother or papa via the rear stereo audio speakers through the Bluetooth microphone to maintain wild children in check. Just how much more family members focused can you obtain than supplying a function that permits moms and dads to chew out children?
Cargo, Towing & Storage space
Cargo room behind the third row improves over the previous Highlander's revealing ledge, which had a hard time carrying groceries, not to mention an infant stroller or golf bag. The cargo quantity is now rated at 13.8 cubic feet, up from 10.3 cubic feet. It's not a big renovation, but at the very least it makes the location functional. It's still small compared with others in the sector: The Explorer has 21 cubic feet as well as the Pilot has 18 cubic feet behind the 3rd row. Toyota's trickery to enhance cargo room entailed relocating all 3 rows of seats onward, adding size behind the rear wheels as well as utilizing a more compact rear suspension.
The power liftgate is an excellent feature to be common on LE And also trim degrees and above, and has a dress up its sleeve: It adjusts to numerous elevations, not just one or two predetermined elevation setups. With the liftgate in motion, individuals can stop the liftgate and also program it to open to that established height the following time. The attribute will make much shorter drivers and owners of reduced garages very delighted. (If the gate goes too expensive, shorter folks might battle to reach the power-close switch on its lower side.) One more special attribute on the back is an oldie yet a goody: On LE Plus designs as well as above, the back home window opens up for easy accessibility independent of the freight entrance.
A 5,000-pound tow rating on XLE and also Limited trim degrees has a common towing package that consists of engine/transmission colders and updated radiator and generator. Hybrids can tow 3,500 extra pounds, V-6 LE/LE And also can tow 2,000 pounds and a four-cylinder LE is rated at 1,500 extra pounds.
Safety and security
The 2014 Highlander had not been crash-tested at the time of this writing.
The 2014 Highlander gives lower anchors and also tethers on outboard second-row seats for child-safety seats, but only a secure support on the middle third-row seat.
Advanced safety and security functions are available, though just on the pricey Restricted trim level where a dead spot surveillance system and also back car parking help are standard, and pre-collision, adaptive cruise control as well as lane departure caution are optional. Minimal trim degrees are additionally the only versions with a backup electronic camera that utilizes predictive guidelines to reveal the car's path-- a back-up camera with set lines is conventional on all other trim levels.
Worth in Its Class
Toyota claims prices is up around $1,500 typically across the 2014 trim levels, which include added features over the 2013. Base pricing 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 include natural leather seatsing with heated front seats, navigation, three-zone climate control, wise keyless access, second-row sunshades as well as more. Pricing for the XLE is extremely affordable 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, lagging behind in important areas like interior quality, freight space and innovation. Rest assured, if you're a Highlander proprietor looking to update-- as long as you're unconcerned concerning ride top quality-- the 2014 is not just an engaging upgrade, yet likewise worthwhile of cross-shopping the section's best.