2014 Toyota Highlander First Drive — Autoblog

12 Июн 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
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Midsize like the Toyota Highlander to play a thankless role in the of today’s modern family.

really too bad. With the to hold several hyperactive and tons of cargo while everyone safe and comfortable in all of climate conditions day in and day out, true heroes in the lives of of thousands of families across the Yet their car-apathetic owners immediately forget about as soon as their work is And nearly all midsize crossovers are ignored by enthusiasts whose begin to glaze over at mention of the phrase third

The biggest change to the 2014 is obviously its exterior appearance. has been pursuing more styling within its entire line for some time and the Highlander has finally received its This new-generation crossover is three inches longer and a wider than the outgoing and its stance has become much aggressive, with a lowered and sculpted door panels. The fascia is striking in the way it integrates the new trapezoidal grille, wraparound and chiseled fenders. And in the back, the new of the liftgate, taillights and bumper is and more attractive.

The Highlander stand out quite as much might want it to.

I’m a fan of Toyota’s look overall. sleeker, more modern and more athletic. But even so, the still looks a lot like vehicles in this segment. Put it to a Ford Explorer or Nissan (two other recently crossovers), and the similarities in stance, design and roofline are obvious. A lot of has to do with safety, aerodynamics and packaging, of course, but the reality is the Highlander doesn’t stand out as much Toyota might it to.

As before, the standard Highlander with two different engine This time out, the four-cylinder produces 185 horsepower and 184 of torque, while Toyota’s 3.5L V6 makes 270 hp and 248 lb-ft. The V6 is a operator, but for an all-new vehicle, the is not particularly powerful by class Both engines are mated to a automatic transmission, along the buyer’s choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. How many you want driven will the Highlander’s fuel economy, the V6/FWD model at an EPA-estimated 19 per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, the V6 AWD at 18 mpg and 24 highway, and the four-cylinder/FWD model 20 mpg and 25 mpg highway.

As is Toyota’s way, also a gas-electric model. The Hybrid pairs the same-size V6 on the Atkinson cycle with a electric drive motor-generator, additional power and fuel over the standard Highlander. The which includes an electronic variable transmission, has impressive 280 hp and 27 miles per gallon city and 28 mpg Those fuel economy are actually the same as the previous Highlander Hybrid, even the vehicle has increased in weight by 100 pounds.

None of these are particularly thrilling, but they get the job done.

I probably don’t need to you that none of these are particularly thrilling, but they get the job done. Most Highlander will opt for the V6, says Toyota, and the right move. This is a heavy vehicle (the V6 AWD can up 4,508 lbs) and that power is an asset when it to climbing hills and merging freeways, even though it means sacrificing some economy.

I didn’t have any about the Highlander’s handling, is surprisingly good for a larger The steering feel is sportier that of the previous generation and roll has been minimized, that allowed me to feel confident on the snaking roads run along the cliffs near Big Any vehicle that allows the to take those hundred-foot-high at speed without breaking a cold sweat is good in my

A big player in keeping the driver on the road, too, is the standard Safety System, which the usual suite of electronic nets, such as anti-lock traction and stability control, brake-force distribution, brake and so-called Smart Stop to assuage fears of unintended Improved visibility courtesy of the A-pillars helps driver as well.

It’s a very near-luxury experience.

Other safety features include parking sonar, blind monitor with rear alert, lane departure auto high-beam headlamps and cruise control with system.

New spring rates and absorbers combined with the MacPherson front suspension and rear suspension also in a very smooth ride. has also improved the Highlander’s vibration and harshness (NVH) so road and wind noise are It’s a very pleasant, experience. Honestly, if I was blindfolded and I was behind the wheel of a Lexus I’d probably believe it.

Toyota has made a number of to the Highlander’s interior, including spaciousness along with a of comfort and convenience features. are softer to the touch and, on grades, there are premium all over the place, including woodgrain trim, a leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob, and knit roof lining.

All feature a new in-meter-cluster Multi-Information Toyota’s Entune infotainment is also standard on all trims, but has functionality on higher models It’s a good system, all in I experienced minimal lag when between menus and the graphics are better than those on other systems. On higher levels, Entune can come XM satellite and HD radio, an app suite for like Yelp. a premium JBL system and navigation.

My favorite new on the Highlander is Driver Easy

My favorite new feature on the Highlander is Easy Speak. When engaged, the driver’s voice is through the speakers, allowing him or her to at the kids all the way in the back when start putting food in other’s hair. It saves on one’s vocal cords and gets the message across to the ones, especially if the vehicle is with the optional JBL speakers.

Toyota Comfort

on the higher grades, the Highlander has a of components that have no being in a new model in 2013. The of these is the plastic seat-heater knob, which looks and like the volume control on an old Walkman. The second is a digital that appears to have taken from a cheap These two parts can be found in Toyota models including in its luxury arm. It’d be to assume that Toyota and found themselves with a full of these cheesy but the truth is that they are prized for their ease-of-use by those sorts of repeat who fill out J.D. Power and Reports surveys.


I had some problems with the of the cabin, too. Most the infotainment screen is a long from the driver’s seat. So so, in fact, that every I wanted to change the radio or switch to the navigation instructions, have to lean way over and take my eyes off of the road. The way the is designed makes it feel roomier up front, but it comes at the of convenience. Of course, it’s to use the redundant controls on the steering but they don’t cover all of the unit’s functionality.

[Cargo is a little bit smaller than the Explorer, Honda Pilot or Santa Fe, and well short of the Chevy Traverse.

Because the length of the Highlander has increased by three inches while a new dashboard and seat design, the is roomier than ever. Up head, shoulder and legroom are The second row, which in the form of either a three-person seat or two captain’s chairs, is nice and comfortable. Ingress and to the third row has been improved, and back there is much pleasant than it was with the generation. The third row still a great place if you’re an but if you’re generally sticking back there for shorter it should work just

Cargo space is rated at cubic feet. That’s a bit smaller than the Ford Honda Pilot or Hyundai Fe. and well short of the larger Traverse. At least the third row can fold down in a 60/40 and there’s a one-touch power with selectable memory settings, a super feature for of shorter stature.

The Highlander can be had in one of grades, each of which with different levels of and convenience features: LE, LE Plus, XLE and and all grades offer both FWD and The 2.7L four-cylinder, however, is available on the LE trim and the Hybrid comes in Limited trim.

for the Highlander starts at $29,215 $860 destination) and climbs all the way up to a $49,790 for a Hybrid with all of the and whistles. Interestingly, Toyota that household income for buyers is nearly double of standard Highlander shoppers. that’s why Toyota has decided it can get with offering the greener in premium-only form and charging $50,000 for it. The markup makes for an reality that Hybrid will probably never their money back in gas But, hey, being always requires at least a sacrifice, right?

Toyota says that the XLE be its most popular trim The XLE I tested, which was in addition to a Hybrid and LE, came with a few options, such as navigation, and a middle-of-the-road $40,170.

All in all, the combination of safety, comfort, attractive styling and predictable dynamics makes it a solid for the family on the go. It’s still not a exciting vehicle, and it never be, but Toyota’s strategy of keeping the close to its roots while improvements both inside and out it will continue to play an role in the lives of men, and children across the nation. though it may never get the recognition it deserves.

Vital Stats

3.5L V6 Power: 270 HP / 248 LB-FT 6-Speed Automatic Drivetrain: AWD Weight: 4,508 LBS Seating: Cargo: 78.6 CU-FT 18 City / 24 HWY Base Price: As-Tested Price: $40,170

Toyota Comfort
Toyota Comfort
Toyota Comfort
Toyota Comfort

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