Toyota Highlander 2015 Review

Toyota Highlander 2015 Review: The 2014 Toyota Highlander's cavalcade of improvements make a previously bland, middle-of-the-road SUV stand apart with strong designing as well as improved household friendliness.

Toyota heard consumers while revamping the seven/eight-seat 2014 Highlander and also replied to needs for more cabin as well as freight room, dynamic designing as well as costs services. Requests for a more dynamic driving experience needs to have been respectfully overlooked, nonetheless, as the 2014's harsher ride is a tradeoff I do not think many midsize SUV customers ought to have to cope with in return for sportier handling.

Still, various other renovations will definitely interest buyers that had damaged the previous Highlander off their listing or at least to those who do not take into consideration a comfortable flight an essential. The 2014 Highlander's increased cargo room behind the conventional third-row seat is a much-needed improvement; plus, it's much easier to obtain right into the third row, which currently sittings three and also bumps conventional seating capability to 8.

Toyota Highlander 2015 Review

With upgrades that span the lineup of LE, LE And Also, XLE, Limited as well as Limited Platinum trim levels, the 2014 Highlander is now in far better form to take on 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 & Designing

Toyota returned to the attracting board to revamp its aging and stylistically empty Highlander. Fast-forward to 2014, and you can not call the Highlander boring looking any longer. The 2013's dull appearance transforms into a hulking SUV with a beefier stance, protruding fenders as well as bold front styling. Its existence was big on the 2013 New York International Auto Program flooring where it debuted, and also it looks just as great rolling down the street.

How It Drives

The driving experience isn't really the auto's most enticing feature, despite a variety of appealing brand-new chassis as well as suspension adjustments, so it readies the brand-new SUV does so numerous various other points well.

Toyota chose curved canyon and also 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 higher levels of road hold as well as a boosted guiding feedback. It's more athletic when digging right into an edge, though I wouldn't call the Highlander fun to drive. The 270-horsepower V-6 does not have a prompt punch of velocity in the hefty Highlander. It's a far cry from the lighter, 290-hp Hyundai Santa Fe, which is a "little" ball of excitement among other comparable three-row SUVs. A six-cylinder Highlander LE with front-wheel drive is 4,244 extra pounds, while a V-6, front-wheel-drive Santa Fe GLS is 3,933 extra pounds.

An unfavorable result of the Highlander's newly found dynamics is a choppier ride over harsh roadways. After driving 2013 and also 2014 versions, I can inform the 2014 sends even more road imperfections through the chassis and also right into seats. Hey, Toyota: It's ALRIGHT to have an aggressive layout as well as trip like a sofa; see the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

On the upside, the 2014 Highlander has a much more significant feeling over harsh roadways, with fewer rattles, squeals as well as chassis flex. It's a matured experience with enhanced audio insulation, acoustic glass and also a stiffer chassis helping keep outside sound marginal.

I briefly hung around in the four-cylinder Highlander with front-wheel drive, which Toyota anticipates to account for 5 to 10 percent of sales, and also in the all-new Highlander Hybrid. Both the front-wheel-drive-only four-cylinder (20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined) and also all-wheel-drive-only Hybrid V-6 (27/28/28 mpg) are a little harsh around the edges as for engine sound and also vibrations. The Hybrid's gas mileage is fairly unmodified for 2014, down 1 mpg in city scores to 27 mpg however preserves its 28 mpg combined score. The shift from electric to when the engine fires up is recognizable with raw sounds originating from under the hood, audible from throughout a parking lot. Resonances from the transition are minimal, yet the sounds are audible to take notice.

An extra 353 extra pounds added to the hybrid from 3 electric motors-- two in the front and one in the back-- and a nickel steel hydride battery is recognizable in how the Hybrid drives as compared to the Restricted V-6 with all-wheel drive. It's a loosened up experience much less excited about speeding up and managing despite having 280-hp integrated, as well as it likewise doesn't ride any kind of smoother compared to the non-hybrid.

The Hybrid's abnormally loud engine noises would not be as much of an issue if the Highlander Hybrid just weren't $48,160 with destination, $7,130 greater than 2013-- a 2014 Lexus RX 450h is $47,320, though much smaller sized on the within. The Highlander Hybrid's deluxe vehicle price does not show high-end refinement since the feature-loaded Hybrid Limited is the only Hybrid used; the less-expensive variation got the axe for 2014.

The volume-seller V-6 is one of the most fine-tuned of the bunch, offering smooth and also foreseeable acceleration along with the best handling with all-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 four-wheel drive is likewise extra competitive compared to the outward bound 2013 thanks to a new six-speed automatic transmission replacing a five-speed unit on V-6 versions. The all-wheel-drive system, which is also brand-new, assists include 2 mpg highway over the 2013 version. All-wheel-drive Highlanders send out torque to the back wheels when slippage is discovered, versus the previous system that constantly sent torque to 4 wheels.


Part of the 2014's improvement consists of dialing up the interior styling with various soft-touch and accent-stitched interior panels that enhance the classiness. The top quality is Toyota-Avalon good with a sewn dashboard, guiding wheel as well as soft-touch, high-quality materials in noticeable places. Plastic locations that typically aren't textured, stitched or covered are still on the same level for the class. Also the base LE Highlander shows the nearly luxurylike niceness of the higher-optioned Restricted trims.

Seating fits in the first and second rows with soft, large front seats and an extremely flexible second row that glides as well as reclines with two captain's chairs or the conventional three-seat bench setup-- captain's chairs are readily available on the XLE and common on the Limited. The remainder of the Highlander could have been redone with dynamism in mind, but the seats talk with its comfort-focused origins. Many people 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 bulky to get rid of and also replace with the facility table that kept under the facility console.

In the 3rd row, Toyota enhanced size and added an extra seat for a maximum ability of 8 occupants in conventional arrangement. A new, more small rear suspension released the extra space. The 3rd row still doesn't fit grownups with as much convenience as the bigger Chevrolet Traverse, yet it excels in a pinch. There are also brand-new one-touch folding second-row seats on both sides. Previously, only the curbside seat folded as well as glided forward via the one-touch lever. Third-row bikers also gain from the 2nd row's boosted seat travel, which allows very easy entry and also leave.

Comfort design & Electronics

Technology is a big emphasis in the 2014 Highlander and also done very well. Toyota's Entune multimedia system functions much better compared to ever before compared with other Toyota vehicles in which I've utilized the system. Working the Entune system's voice commands is impressive. The models I examined detected the various voice commands I spoke.

Those with cumbersome phones or that continuously have their phone linked to the SUV will certainly value a tool storage space walk below the environment manages that provides a pass-through for USB cords. There ought to disappear Medusa-like dangling of cords entangling the gear selector.

The standard Entune on base LE designs includes a 6.1-inch touch-screen with backup cam, USB port with iPod connectivity, complementary input, voice acknowledgment, Bluetooth phone connection as well as Bluetooth streaming sound. LE And also trims have Entune Sound And also with a higher-resolution 6.1-inch screen, HD Radio and also 90-day satellite radio registration. The next step up is Entune Costs Audio with Navigating and also App Collection on XLE models with an 8-inch touch-screen as well as application suite with Pandora, Yelp as well as Facebook combination with a smart device as well as going along with Entune downloadable application. A JBL stereo is conventional on Minimal trim levels.

The massive facility storage space container between the pole positions could feast on anything plus-sized, like a handbag, iPad or Blu-ray collection for the offered rear-seat Blu-ray gamer. And when you forget that Blu-ray in your home, an intriguing brand-new function called Easy Speak transfers the booming voice of an angry mama or father via the back stereo speakers using the Bluetooth microphone to maintain rowdy youngsters in check. Just how much more family concentrated can you get than giving a feature that permits parents to chew out youngsters?

Freight, Towing & Storage space

Freight room behind the third row enhances over the previous Highlander's revealing ledge, which battled bring groceries, let alone an infant stroller or golf bag. The freight volume is now ranked at 13.8 cubic feet, up from 10.3 cubic feet. It's not a significant enhancement, yet at least it makes the location functional. It's still small compared with others in the segment: The Traveler has 21 cubic feet as well as the Pilot has 18 cubic feet behind the third row. Toyota's hoax to enhance cargo space involved relocating all 3 rows of seats ahead, adding size behind the rear wheels as well as making use of an extra portable back suspension.

The power liftgate is an impressive feature to be basic on LE And also trim degrees as well as above, and also has a trick up its sleeve: It gets used to various heights, not just 1 or 2 fixed height settings. With the liftgate moving, customers can stop the liftgate and program it to open to that established height the next time. The attribute will make much shorter motorists and also owners of reduced garages extremely happy. (If eviction goes expensive, much shorter individuals could battle to reach the power-close button on its lower edge.) An additional distinct attribute on the back is an oldie yet a reward: On LE And also models as well as above, the rear window opens for easy access independent of the cargo entrance.

A 5,000-pound tow score on XLE and also Limited trim degrees has a conventional towing package that consists of engine/transmission colders as well as upgraded radiator as well as alternator. Hybrids could tow 3,500 pounds, V-6 LE/LE Plus could tow 2,000 extra pounds as well as a four-cylinder LE is rated at 1,500 pounds.


The 2014 Highlander had not been crash-tested at the time of this writing.

The 2014 Highlander offers reduced supports as well as tethers on outboard second-row seats for child-safety seats, however just a secure anchor on the center third-row seat.

Advanced security features are available, though only on the costly Limited trim degree where a blind spot surveillance system and rear parking aid are typical, as well as pre-collision, adaptive cruise control and also lane separation warning are optional. Restricted trim levels are likewise the only versions with a back-up camera that makes use of predictive guidelines to show the car's path-- a back-up camera with set lines is common on all other trim levels.

Worth in Its Course

Toyota says rates is up about $1,500 typically across the 2014 trim degrees, that include extra functions over the 2013. Base prices starts at $30,075 for a base four-cylinder LE with location, while volume-seller XLE versions with all-wheel drive are $38,360 and also consist of leather seating with heated pole positions, navigation, three-zone environment control, wise keyless entry, second-row sunshades and even more. Rates for the XLE is really competitive to three-row midsize SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Ford Traveler and even the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The 2013 Highlander was absolutely a midpack three-row SUV, hanging back in vital areas like interior high quality, cargo space and innovation. Feel confident, if you're a Highlander owner aiming to upgrade-- as long as you're unconcerned regarding trip quality-- the 2014 is not just an engaging upgrade, yet also worthwhile of cross-shopping the segment's best.

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