The all-new Toyota Highlander SUV boasts a clean interior that was redesigned for the latest model year. Horizontal lines on the dashboard escort your eyes from one end, stopping at the centralized multimedia screen, and spans all the way to the front passenger's side door. A few big round knobs made the cut for the 2014 model year, but three flat buttons now flank the standard 6.1-inch touch screen on each side. Storage space is abundant throughout the cabin and a cavernous center console can swallow at least 58 standard size juice boxes. A sliding 2nd-row seat gives way to an optional third row which now offers seating for eight.
Representing the first run of the third generation, the Highlander now sports a bolder, more chiseled look. This redesigned exterior styling is still aimed at family-centric customers with hopes of more male buyers using the Highlander as their daily driver. More defined side panels play into the aerodynamic look Toyota was going for when it first sketched this latest Highlander. Not as round as the one it replaces, the new Highlander still goes after Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot sales.
Notable Standard Equipment
Opting for the base front-wheel drive Toyota Highlander will land you 18-inch split 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, halogen headlights, Entune Audio with AM/FM/CD and a MP3/WMA-capable 6-speaker stereo, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, day/night rearview mirror, and three 12-volt auxiliary power outlets (two up front and one in the second row). Standard safety features include eight airbags, Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children (LATCH) points, stability and traction control, and antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution.
Notable Optional Equipment
The vast majority of options and packages can be found on the Limited and Hybrid Limited trim levels. These packages feature an abundance of cutting-edge safety features including lane-departure, dynamic radar cruise control and automatic high beams as well as heated 2nd-row captain's chairs, a panoramic moonroof, a heated steering wheel, and a rear-seat Blu-Ray and DVD entertainment system.
Under the Hood
The base 2014 Toyota Highlander crossover SUV relies on a 2.7-liter inline-4 cylinder engine with 185 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission for motivation. This model is only available in a front-wheel-drive configuration. The automaker asserts, however, that 90 percent of all transactions will include the 3.5-liter V6 variant. The V6 engine is available in either front-drive or all-wheel drive on everything except for the top-tier Hybrid Limited trim, where only a V6 AWD setup is offered. The V6 engine is paired up with an electronically controlled automatic transmission. The hybrid drivetrain consists of the same 3.5-liter V6 gas engine but is assisted by two electric motors to produce 280 horsepower. During EPA testing, the Highlander Hybrid turned in 28 mpg on the highway.
185 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/25 mpg
270 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 (front-wheel drive), 18/24 (AWD)
3.5-liter V6 + AC 650-volt permanent-magnet motors
280 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
215 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/28 mpg
The 2014 Toyota Highlander SUV starts at just under $30,000 and that will bring you the LE trim level with a 4-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. The Highlander LE with a V6 engine will set you back a cool $31,380. The top-trim Limited starts at $40,500 for front-wheel drive and $41,960 for all-wheel drive. The Hybrid Limited commands a $48,160 price tag. We expect our Fair Purchase Price values to mirror real-world transaction prices right around sticker price. Then there's the Highlander's resale value, which is known to be one of the strongest in its segment. Some other similar models to the Highlander include the Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot.
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