- Redesigned for 2014 with new interior/exterior designs
- Hybrid system produces 280-hp
- 27/28 mpg city/highway, a 27% increase over the gasoline version
Sporting updated styling inside and out, as well as more space for passengers and cargo, the 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a fuel efficient three-row crossover that arrives much improved for the new model year.
The Highlander Hybrid’s new design has increased interior volume without growing the exterior dimensions, which is a welcome addition. So much room has been added in fact, that the Highlander Hybrid’s seating capacity jumps from seven to eight passengers, thanks to 4.3 additional inches of third row width which was enough space to fit in an extra seat. There is also three more inches of forward/back travel for the second row and 34 percent more cargo room behind the third row. Despite the addition of a battery pack and electric motor, the Highlander Hybrid’s cargo and passenger room are not impacted; it has the same utility as the gas version.
On the outside, the new-look 2014 Highlander Hybrid has a longer, lower appearance with a wider front grille and added sculpting to the sides that give it more definition. The roofline has also been lowered, which improves aerodynamics. Toyota also worked to improve visibility in the new Highlander Hybrid, an often overlooked concern, with larger rear glass and repositioned front pillars. Unique hybrid badging and blue tinting in the front logo help to provide some uniqueness, but not much. There are also a few added standard exterior features, including larger 19-inch wheels, mudguards, a power liftgate, LED daytime running lights, and automatic headlights.
Under the hood, the Highlander Hybrid actually packs more of a punch than the Highlander. It uses the same 3.5-liter V-6 found in the gas version, but adds an two electric motors (front and rear) on top of that for a total power output of 280-hp, which also gives the Highlander Hybrid more towing capacity (3,500 vs. 2,000 pounds). All-wheel drive is also standard. Fuel economy figures check in at 27/28 mpg highway, a 27% increase over the best performing non-hybrid Highlander models.
Cabin improvements include better sound proofing that reduces wind noise, to better dashboard materials for a more premium appearance, and new technology features. Toyota’s Entune infotainment system is now standard, adding functionality as it moves up the trim levels including HD radio and an apps suite that includes Yelp reviews and navigation. Another new feature that will be welcome to families is called Driver Easy Speak; when engaged, the parent’s voice from the front seat is projected through the speakers, so the kids in the back can no longer say they didn’t hear you. The more upscale Highlander Hybrid adds standard features as well, including three-zone automatic climate control, navigation, HD radio, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and push button start. A panoramic moonroof and Blu-Ray rear seat entertainment system are optional.
Safety features on the 2014 Highlander Hybrid include eight airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability control, and a backup camera, all standard. There is also plenty of standard safety technology, such as rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts. The Highlander received a 2014 Top Safety Pick Plus award from the IIHS, their highest designation, and with the Highlander Hybrid sharing the same body structure we are confident in its safety performance as well.