- Redesigned for 2014
- New interior and exterior designs; added passenger and cargo room
- Seating capacity expands to eight passengers
Redesigned for 2014, the Toyota Highlander three-row crossover SUV now offers an upgraded interior, improved styling, and more space for passengers.
The Highlander’s new design, besides changing up the appearance of the SUV, has also increased interior volume without increasing the exterior dimensions, which is a welcome addition. So much room has been added in fact, that the Highlander’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, making this the largest, most versatile Highlander yet.
On the outside, the new-look 2014 Highlander 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, an often overlooked concern, with larger rear glass and repositioned front pillars. 18-inch wheels are standard, while 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, and automatic headlights are optional.
Under the hood, the Highlander’s two engine options carry over from 2013. The base engine is a 187-hp, 2.7-liter four-cylinder with a 270-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 optional for those who want more power. Both come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, a new feature on V-6 models which only offered a five-speed last year. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional. Toyota also says they’ve revamped the Highlander’s suspension and handling characteristics to improve steering and driving dynamics.
Inside, the Highlander also sees large improvements, from 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 now the kids in the back will definitely hear you. A panoramic moonroof, rear seat entertainment system, heated and ventilated front seats, and second-row sunshades are optional.
Safety features on the 2014 Highlander include eight airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability control, and a backup camera, all standard. There is also plenty of available safety technology, such as rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and lane departure warning.