Appealing directly to the "I want it all" philosophy of family car buying -- specifically, midsize crossover SUVs -- Toyota put us in the $41,960 all-wheel-drive Limited version of its new Highlander. You can get into a 2014 Toyota Highlander for about $10,000 below that high-dollar mark (and if you get the Highlander Hybrid, you can go even higher), but if you love leather, V6 engines, power everything, ultra-Entune/JBL audio and captain's chairs in the second row, you're probably going to wind up here.
The V6 Highlander is such an easy SUV to drive. We were struck by its quiet and the easy-going control of the Highlander's suspension. The Limited's standard all-wheel-drive system keeps the 3.5-liter V6's 270 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque working overtime in the passing lane, though it is more than plenty for day-to-day duties. In a long weekend of jaunts through the city and on the highway, our fuel economy averaged out to a combined 20 mpg, exactly as promised by the window sticker.
Every-time-you-drive elements like acceleration, turning, shifting and stopping were all executed with direct grace and ease. Plus, sitting up high always feels like you're in control.
If you can learn to enjoy the Highlander's blistered headlights and taillights, the shape will grow on you. Even with a long front overhang, the 2014 Highlander's highly-visible hoodline makes it a precise partner when heading into parking spaces.
The interior surrounded by the Highlander Limited's shape is generous in equipment and space. The first row and sliding 2nd-row captain's chairs have enough room to comfort virtually anyone. The third row is for kids, as it should be, with decent access for scrambling arms and legs. While not as cargo-friendly as many of its competitors, the Toyota Highlander does give you a huge rear opening and seats that fold flat.
If you want to dive deeper, read our full review of the 2014 Toyota Highlander.
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