Toyota’s Family-Hauler gets a Makeover

Toyota took it’s popular, but some might say almost-invisible Highlander in for a re-design…and out came a bit of a “looker”.

The ’14 Highlander has a stronger, somewhat more “chiseled’ look about it.   It’s three inches longer and a half an inch wider than it’s predecessor…but will still fit into the average garage with no issues.

You’ll find it quieter, roomier, and a bit safer than previous models…with better visibility, too.

While you might find an occasional Highlander with a 2.7 liter 4-cylinder, most will have a 3.5 liter, 270 HP regular-gas V-6 coupled to a new 6-speed automatic.   You can also order the Highlander in Hybrid trim, should you like.   The 6 is rated at 19 city and 25 highway.   We came in right in the middle….around 22.5 in mixed city / highway.

With second row captains’ chairs, the Highlander seats 7….or with a bench in the second row, 8.

The Highlander has a number of family-friendly features, as you’d expect.   Sliding, reclining second-row seats and a power rear hatch with a flip-up rear window are just a few.

Highlanders will come in four flavors….LE…LE Plus…XLE and Limited.

A base LE will sticker around 30K.   Our test Highlander was an XLE…with just about everything.  18” alloys, heated leather seating with power lumbar, moonroof, roof-rails, second row sunshades and all the connectivity that you’d expect.

It’s a driver-friendly vehicle as well.   The roll-top console can swallow a handbag, and Toyota has designed a shelf running under the length of the dash…a perfect place for cell phones, sunglasses and odds ‘n ends.

The Highlander has been a good seller for Toyota.   My guess is that the ’14 Highlander will prove to be even more popular.


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