Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2015

Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2015: The 2014 Toyota Highlander's cavalcade of improvements make a previously dull, middle-of-the-road SUV stand apart with vibrant styling and also boosted household kindness.

Toyota paid attention to customers while redesigning the seven/eight-seat 2014 Highlander and also responded to demands for even more cabin and cargo room, dynamic designing and also premium features. Ask for a more vibrant driving experience should have been professionally neglected, nevertheless, as the 2014's harsher flight is a tradeoff I do not believe many midsize SUV buyers should have to deal with in return for sportier handling.

Still, various other renovations will certainly attract shoppers that had actually scraped the previous Highlander off their checklist or at the very least to those who don't think about a comfy flight an essential. The 2014 Highlander's boosted cargo room behind the standard third-row seat is a much-needed improvement; plus, it's simpler to obtain right into the 3rd row, which currently seatses three and bumps standard seatsing capacity to eight.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2015

With upgrades that cover the schedule of LE, LE And Also, XLE, Limited as well as Limited Platinum trim degrees, the 2014 Highlander is currently in 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 also Hybrid 2014 Highlanders at a Toyota media event.

Outside & Styling

Toyota went back to the attracting board to redesign its aging as well as stylistically devoid Highlander. Fast-forward to 2014, and also you can not call the Highlander boring looking any longer. The 2013's dull appearance changes right into a hulking SUV with a beefier stance, protruding fenders as well as strong front designing. Its existence was big on the 2013 New York International Auto Show flooring where it debuted, and also it looks equally as excellent rolling down the street.

How It Drives

The driving experience isn't really the auto's most enticing feature, despite having a variety of appealing new chassis and suspension modifications, so it's good the brand-new SUV does so many various other points well.

Toyota picked curvy canyon and coastal roadways in The golden state to show the Highlander's new handling chops. Driving a 2013 and 2014 back to back, the 2014 does display higher levels of roadway grip as well as an enhanced steering response. It's even more athletic when excavating into a corner, though I wouldn't call the Highlander fun to drive. The 270-horsepower V-6 doesn't have an instant punch of acceleration in the heavy Highlander. It's an unlike the lighter, 290-hp Hyundai Santa Fe, which is a "little" sphere of enjoyment among other comparable 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 extra pounds.

An unfavorable effect of the Highlander's newly found dynamics is a choppier ride over harsh roads. After driving 2013 and also 2014 designs, I could tell the 2014 transmits more road flaws with the chassis as well as into seats. Hey, Toyota: It's OK to have an aggressive design as well as ride like a sofa; see the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

On the upside, the 2014 Highlander has an extra considerable feeling over rough roadways, with fewer rattles, squeaks and also framework flex. It's a matured experience with boosted sound insulation, acoustic glass and a stiffer chassis helping keep outside noise minimal.

I briefly hung out in the four-cylinder Highlander with front-wheel drive, which Toyota anticipates to represent 5 to 10 percent of sales, and also in the brand new Highlander Crossbreed. Both the front-wheel-drive-only four-cylinder (20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined) and all-wheel-drive-only Crossbreed V-6 (27/28/28 mpg) are a little rough around the edges regarding engine sound and also vibrations. The Crossbreed's gas mileage is fairly unmodified for 2014, down 1 mpg in city ratings to 27 mpg yet preserves its 28 mpg integrated score. The transition from electric to when the engine fires up is recognizable with raw noises coming from under the hood, audible from throughout a parking area. Vibrations from the change are marginal, but the noises are loud enough to take notice.

An extra 353 pounds contributed to the crossbreed from 3 electric motors-- two in the front and one in the back-- as well as a nickel steel hydride battery is visible in just how the Crossbreed drives as compared to the Minimal V-6 with four-wheel drive. It's a kicked back experience less ecstatic regarding increasing and also dealing with even with 280-hp incorporated, and also it additionally doesn't ride any type of smoother than the non-hybrid.

The Hybrid's unusually loud engine sounds wouldn't be as much of a concern if the Highlander Crossbreed just weren't $48,160 with location, $7,130 greater than 2013-- a 2014 Lexus RX 450h is $47,320, however much smaller on the inside. The Highlander Crossbreed's deluxe car price does not mirror luxury refinement now that the feature-loaded Crossbreed Limited is the only Crossbreed supplied; the less-expensive version obtained the axe for 2014.

The volume-seller V-6 is one of the most fine-tuned of the lot, providing smooth as well as predictable acceleration as well as the most effective handling with all-wheel drive. The V-6-powered Highlander's gas mileage of 19/25/21 mpg with front-wheel drive as well as 18/24/20 mpg with all-wheel drive is additionally much more competitive compared to the outgoing 2013 thanks to a new six-speed transmission replacing a five-speed system on V-6 versions. The all-wheel-drive system, which is also brand-new, helps include 2 mpg freeway over the 2013 version. All-wheel-drive Highlanders send torque to the back wheels when slippage is found, versus the previous system that constantly sent torque to 4 wheels.


Part of the 2014's transformation consists of dialing up the interior styling with various soft-touch and accent-stitched indoor panels that improve the classiness. The top quality is Toyota-Avalon good with a stitched dashboard, guiding wheel and soft-touch, high-grade materials in prominent areas. Plastic areas that typically aren't textured, sewed or covered are still on the same level for the course. Even the base LE Highlander shows the almost luxurylike niceness of the higher-optioned Limited trims.

Seats fits in the first and 2nd rows with soft, broad front seats and also a very adjustable second row that moves as well as reclines with two captain's chairs or the common 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, however the seats speak to its comfort-focused roots. Lots of people on our staff will miss out on the 2013's detachable second-row facility seat. I won't, as it was awkward as well as bulky to remove and also change with the center table that kept under the facility console.

In the 3rd row, Toyota boosted size and added an added seat for an optimum capacity of 8 residents in typical setup. A brand-new, a lot more small back suspension freed the additional area. The 3rd row still doesn't fit adults with as much comfort as the bigger Chevrolet Traverse, but it's good in a pinch. There are also new one-touch folding second-row seats on both sides. Formerly, only the curbside seat folded up as well as glided onward using the one-touch bar. Third-row riders additionally take advantage of the second row's increased seat travel, which allows very easy access and departure.

Functional design & Electronics

Innovation is a massive emphasis in the 2014 Highlander as well as done very well. Toyota's Entune multimedia system functions much better than ever before compared to other Toyota vehicles in which I've used the system. Functioning the Entune system's voice commands goes over. The designs I evaluated noticed the various voice commands I spoke.

Those with bulky phones or that frequently have their phone attached to the SUV will value a device storage space step listed below the environment controls that supplies a pass-through for USB cables. There should be no more Medusa-like dangling of cable televisions entangling the equipment selector.

The typical Entune on base LE versions consists of a 6.1-inch touch-screen with backup electronic camera, USB port with iPod connection, supporting input, voice acknowledgment, Bluetooth phone connectivity as well as Bluetooth streaming audio. LE And also trims have Entune Audio And also with a higher-resolution 6.1-inch display, HD Radio as well as 90-day satellite radio membership. The following step up is Entune Premium Sound with Navigation and Application Suite on XLE designs with an 8-inch touch-screen as well as app suite with Pandora, Yelp as well as Facebook combination with a mobile phone and also coming with Entune downloadable application. A JBL stereo is common on Minimal trim levels.

The large center storage bin between the front seats can feed on anything plus-sized, like a handbag, iPad or Blu-ray collection for the available rear-seat Blu-ray player. And when you fail to remember that Blu-ray in your home, an intriguing brand-new function called Easy Speak transmits the flourishing voice of an upset mother or papa through the back stereo speakers via the Bluetooth microphone to maintain wild youngsters in check. Just how much a lot more family concentrated can you obtain than offering a feature that allows parents to yell at youngsters?

Freight, Towing & Storage space

Freight area behind the 3rd row boosts over the previous Highlander's revealing step, which had a hard time lugging grocery stores, not to mention a baby 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 massive improvement, yet at least it makes the area usable. It's still small compared to others in the section: The Explorer has 21 cubic feet and also the Pilot has 18 cubic feet behind the third row. Toyota's trickery to increase cargo area involved relocating all 3 rows of seats ahead, adding size behind the back wheels and utilizing a more small back suspension.

The power liftgate is an excellent feature to be conventional on LE Plus trim degrees as well as above, and has a dress up its sleeve: It adapts to numerous elevations, not just 1 or 2 established elevation settings. With the liftgate in motion, users can stop the liftgate and program it to available to that set elevation the following time. The feature will certainly make shorter motorists as well as proprietors of low garages really happy. (If eviction goes too high, much shorter individuals might struggle to reach the power-close switch on its bottom side.) An additional special attribute on the back is an oldie yet a reward: On LE Plus designs and above, the rear home window opens up for very easy accessibility independent of the cargo gate.

A 5,000-pound tow rating on XLE and also Limited trim levels comes with a conventional towing plan that consists of engine/transmission coolers and upgraded radiator as well as alternator. Hybrids can tow 3,500 extra pounds, V-6 LE/LE And also can tow 2,000 extra pounds and also a four-cylinder LE is rated at 1,500 pounds.

Safety and security

The 2014 Highlander hadn't been crash-tested at the time of this writing.

The 2014 Highlander supplies lower anchors and also tethers on outboard second-row seats for child-safety seats, however just a tether anchor on the center third-row seat.

Advanced safety and security features are readily available, though only on the pricey Limited trim degree where an unseen area tracking system and back car park aid are conventional, and also pre-collision, flexible cruise ship control as well as lane separation caution are optional. Restricted trim levels are additionally the only designs with a back-up electronic camera that uses predictive guidelines to show the car's path-- a backup video camera with set lines is standard on all various other trim levels.

Value in Its Class

Toyota states pricing is up about $1,500 usually across the 2014 trim degrees, which include added functions over the 2013. Base prices starts at $30,075 for a base four-cylinder LE with destination, while volume-seller XLE versions with all-wheel drive are $38,360 and include leather seating with heated front seats, navigating, three-zone environment control, wise keyless access, second-row sunshades as well as even more. Rates for the XLE is really affordable to three-row midsize SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Ford Traveler and even the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The 2013 Highlander was truly a midpack three-row SUV, lagging behind in crucial locations like interior high quality, cargo area as well as technology. Feel confident, if you're a Highlander owner seeking to upgrade-- as long as you're unconcerned regarding trip quality-- the 2014 is not just an engaging upgrade, but additionally deserving of cross-shopping the sector's finest.

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