The Toyota Highlander has been one of the staples of Toyota's line for many years. However, with the last redesign occurring several years ago, Toyota felt it was time for an upgrade and redesign. They really delivered by designing a vehicle with cleaner lines, without sacrificing any of the tried and true functionality and comfort.
The 2014 redesign features a more open trapezoidal front grill and longer headlights that wrap around to the quarter panels, with fog lights still a standard feature. In keeping with the design theme of the front of the vehicle, the rear panel of the Highlander replaces its square tail lights with more rectangular and sleeker tail lights that again wrap around the rear quarter panels. The side panel windows have also been trimmed with more pronounced chrome edging that encompasses the entire window whereas the 2013 model only ran across the base. Also, the rear window has been made more angular to replace its boxy predecessor.
The 2014 Highlander has thoroughly eliminated any of the boxy feel you may have felt with the older models. If you remember, the Highlander of the early 2000s was quite boxy, and Toyota has certainly come a long way with the aesthetics of this new model.
The interior is where Toyota has really made huge strides in this ever popular mid-sized SUV category. To start, the rear interior width has increased by 4.3 inches, allowing the Highlander to feature a three person third row seat for the first time, allowing for a total of 8 people to be seated comfortably in the car.
The overall length of the Highlander has also increased by about 3 inches. That may not seem like much, but when you realize that the added 3 inches allows the Highlander to increase its cargo space behind the third row by up to 34 percent, it makes a lot of sense since usually, there is little to no room behind the third row seat of a mid-sized SUV.
The 2014 Highlander did also not short out on tech features. Standard on the Highlander is a 6.1-inch audio display and a rear back up camera display. Also standard audio features include an auxiliary input, USB input, and power point. The center console display is also less cluttered with smaller turn knobs and climate control options that are more compact and conform to the design of the center console.
The performance in the 2014 Highlander has one big difference compared to the 2013 model. The 2014 Highlander added a sixth speed to its automatic transmission giving it better fuel economy. The four-cylinder Highlander continues to only be available in front-wheel drive while the Highlander hybrid is only available in all-wheel drive. Additionally, the 3.5 liter V6 comes available in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive.
Driver safety has also not been overlooked. Some of the 2014 Highlander's safety features include:
- Blind spot monitoring - Warns you of cars in your blind spot.
- Rear parking sonar - Lets you know how close you are to other parked cars.
- Lane departure alert - Warns you if you drift out of your lane.
- Rear cross traffic alert - Warns you of other cars as you back out of a parking spot.
- Pre-collision system - Can predict a crash before it happens and help reduce the effects of the crash.
- 8 standard airbags
Availability & Conclusion:
The Highlander has been one of Toyota’s best sellers over the years and in realizing that, Toyota knew not to mess with the essentials of what made it a great mid sized crossover SUV. At the same time, they've made some significant updates to the design and features for a truly impressive, stylish, and functional ride. If you're wondering, it should be available in dealerships early 2014, probably around the end of January. For updates, keep an eye on this page and visit our Boston Area Toyota dealership for more information!