What's New for 2014:
- Redesigned inside and out
- Longer, wider, but lower roofline
- 4-cylinder, V-6 and hybrid powertrains
- New 6-speed automatic with V-6
- Optional AWD with Dynamic Torque Control
- Quieter cabin, higher-quality materials
- Easier access to third-row seat
- More cargo space behind third-row seat
- Simplified lineup and reduced options
- New safety technologies
The redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander is a midsize crossover SUV with 3 rows of seats and seating for up to 8 passengers. It competes against the Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, and Nissan Pathfinder for favor among American families.
Models and Features
Toyota offers the 2014 Highlander in four levels of trim: LE, LE Plus, XLE, and Limited. Upgrading from the LE to the LE Plus provides a V-6 engine, fog lights, power rear liftgate with variable height adjustment and a flip-up glass window, 8-way power driver's seat, triple-zone automatic climate control, and an upgraded audio system with satellite and HD Radio.
The Highlander XLE adds leather seats, an audio system with an 8-in. touch-screen display and Entune App Suite technology, navigation system, keyless passive entry with push-button starting, and a power sunroof. Additionally, the XLE features heated front seats, integrated second-row sunshades, universal garage door opener, and more.
At the top of the lineup, the Highlander Limited is equipped with 19-in. wheels, LED running lights, heated and ventilated front seats, memory for the driver's settings, a 4-way power front passenger's seat, second-row captain's chairs, and a premium sound system. The Highlander Limited also includes rear park-assist sensors, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Options and Packages
The Highlander LE and LE Plus are offered one way, with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system and dealer-installed accessories the only options. Choose the Highlander XLE and factory options include AWD, second-row captain's chairs and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Limited models can be upgraded with the rear-seat entertainment system, Driver Technology package, and a Platinum package. The Driver Technology package is equipped with automatic high-beam headlights, lane-departure warning, dynamic radar cruise control with a pre-collision system, and Safety Connect services including Automatic Collision Notification and Emergency Assistance. The Platinum package includes these features plus a panoramic glass sunroof, heated steering wheel, and heated second-row seats.
Under the Hood
A 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 185 horsepower is standard for the Highlander LE, driving the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The LE with optional AWD--and all other Highlander models--feature a 270-horsepower V-6 engine paired with a new 6-speed automatic transmission that includes manual shifting capability. The AWD system automatically sends up to half of the V-6 engine's power to the rear wheels when the Highlander is accelerating or when the front wheels slip, and can be locked into 50:50 front-to-rear split at low speeds for maximum traction.
A gas-electric hybrid powertrain is available for the Highlander Limited, making a combined 280 horsepower. All Highlander Hybrid models have a continuously variable transmission (CVT), can operate on electricity alone for short distances at low speeds, and return what Toyota says is \"best-in-class\" fuel economy.
What does \"best-in-class\" mean? In the Highlander Hybrid's case, the numbers are 27 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The Highlander LE with the 4-cylinder engine is rated to return 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Models equipped with the V-6 engine range from a low of 18 mpg in the city with AWD to a high of 25 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive.
Safety Ratings and Technology
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that the 2014 Highlander is a \"Top Safety Pick\" due to its performance in crash tests. Choose the Highlander Limited with the Driver Technology package and this SUV earns a \"Top Safety Pick+\" laurel for its \"Advanced\" front crash prevention rating.
All 2014 Highlander models have a standard reversing camera and Toyota's Smart Stop Technology, which is designed to prevent the SUV from accidentally accelerating as long as the driver is pressing down on the brake pedal. The Highlander Limited features a standard blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.
Exclusive to the Highlander Limited, the Driver Technology package adds dynamic radar cruise control with a pre-collision system that can identify when an accident is unavoidable and automatically applies the brakes to slow the SUV prior to impact. This package also contains automatic high-beam headlights, a lane-departure alert system, and Safety Connect telematics. With an active subscription, Safety Connect's Automatic Collision Notification system contacts 9-1-1 when the Highlander's air bags deploy in order to speed rescuers to the scene of the accident.