Toyota Highlander 2015 Review

toyota highlander 2015 review: The 2014 Toyota Highlander's cavalcade of renovations make a previously dull, middle-of-the-road SUV stand apart with vibrant styling as well as boosted family kindness.

Toyota listened to consumers while upgrading the seven/eight-seat 2014 Highlander and reacted to needs for more cabin as well as freight area, vibrant designing and premium features. Ask for an extra dynamic driving experience ought to have been professionally neglected, nevertheless, as the 2014's harsher trip is a tradeoff I don't think several midsize SUV customers must need to live with in return for sportier handling.

Still, various other enhancements will unquestionably appeal to shoppers who had actually scratched the previous Highlander off their listing or a minimum of to those who do not consider a comfy ride an essential. The 2014 Highlander's increased cargo area behind the common third-row seat is a much-needed enhancement; plus, it's less complicated to get into the 3rd row, which now seatses 3 as well as bumps conventional seatsing capacity to 8.

toyota highlander 2015 review

With upgrades that span the schedule of LE, LE Plus, XLE, Limited and also Limited Platinum trim levels, the 2014 Highlander is now in better form to take on the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2014 Ford Traveler and also 2014 Honda Pilot.

I drove four-cylinder, six-cylinder and Hybrid 2014 Highlanders at a Toyota media event.

Outside & Styling

Toyota returned to the attracting board to upgrade its aging as well as stylistically empty Highlander. Fast-forward to 2014, as well as you can not call the Highlander boring looking any kind of longer. The 2013's dull look transforms into a hulking SUV with a beefier position, protruding fenders and also bold front designing. Its existence approved the 2013 New York International Auto Program flooring where it debuted, as well as it looks just as excellent rolling down the street.

Exactly how It Drives

The driving experience isn't the automobile's most attractive feature, despite an array of promising brand-new framework as well as suspension adjustments, so it readies the brand-new SUV does so several other points well.

Toyota chose curvy canyon and coastal roadways in California to demonstrate the Highlander's brand-new handling chops. Driving a 2013 and also 2014 back to back, the 2014 does display greater degrees of roadway grasp and also an improved steering action. It's even more athletic when excavating right into an edge, though I wouldn't call the Highlander enjoyable to drive. The 270-horsepower V-6 doesn't have a prompt strike of acceleration in the heavy Highlander. It's a far cry from the lighter, 290-hp Hyundai Santa Fe, which is a "little" round of enjoyment among other comparable three-row SUVs. A six-cylinder Highlander LE with front-wheel drive is 4,244 pounds, while a V-6, front-wheel-drive Santa Fe GLS is 3,933 pounds.

A damaging impact of the Highlander's newfound characteristics is a choppier flight over rough roads. After driving 2013 and 2014 models, I can inform the 2014 transmits even more roadway blemishes through the chassis and also right into seats. Hey, Toyota: It's OK to have a hostile layout and flight like a sofa; see the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

On the advantage, the 2014 Highlander has a much more significant sensation over harsh roadways, with less rattles, squeaks as well as framework flex. It's a matured experience with increased sound insulation, acoustic glass and a stiffer framework helping maintain outside noise very little.

I briefly spent time in the four-cylinder Highlander with front-wheel drive, which Toyota anticipates to make up 5 to 10 percent of sales, and in the brand new Highlander Crossbreed. Both the front-wheel-drive-only four-cylinder (20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined) as well as all-wheel-drive-only Hybrid V-6 (27/28/28 mpg) are a little harsh around the sides regarding engine sound and resonances. The Crossbreed's gas mileage is reasonably unmodified for 2014, down 1 mpg in city ratings to 27 mpg yet maintains its 28 mpg integrated score. The shift from electrical to when the engine fires up is visible with raw noises originating from under the hood, audible from throughout a car park. Resonances from the change are minimal, but the noises are audible to take notice.

An added 353 extra pounds contributed to the crossbreed from three electrical motors-- 2 in the front and also one in the back-- as well as a nickel steel hydride battery is visible in exactly how the Hybrid drives compared with the Restricted V-6 with all-wheel drive. It's a relaxed experience less ecstatic about accelerating as well as managing even with 280-hp integrated, and also it also doesn't ride any smoother than the non-hybrid.

The Crossbreed's uncommonly loud engine noises would not be as much of a concern if the Highlander Crossbreed just weren't $48,160 with location, $7,130 more than 2013-- a 2014 Lexus RX 450h is $47,320, however much smaller on the in. The Highlander Hybrid's deluxe car cost does not reflect high-end improvement since the feature-loaded Hybrid Limited is the only Hybrid supplied; the less-expensive variation got the axe for 2014.

The volume-seller V-6 is one of the most fine-tuned of the bunch, offering smooth and also foreseeable velocity along with the very best handling with all-wheel drive. The V-6-powered Highlander's gas mileage of 19/25/21 mpg with front-wheel drive and also 18/24/20 mpg with all-wheel drive is likewise a lot more affordable than the outbound 2013 thanks to a brand-new six-speed automatic transmission replacing a five-speed unit on V-6 models. The all-wheel-drive system, which is additionally new, aids add 2 mpg highway over the 2013 version. All-wheel-drive Highlanders send torque to the rear wheels when slippage is found, versus the previous system that always sent torque to four wheels.


Part of the 2014's makeover consists of dialing up the indoor styling with countless soft-touch and accent-stitched interior panels that boost the classiness. The high quality is Toyota-Avalon good with a stitched dashboard, guiding wheel as well as soft-touch, premium products in noticeable locations. Plastic locations that typically aren't textured, sewed or covered are still on the same level for the course. Even the base LE Highlander exhibits the virtually luxurylike niceness of the higher-optioned Restricted trims.

Seating fits in the initial and 2nd rows with soft, large pole positions and also an extremely flexible 2nd row that glides as well as reclines with 2 captain's chairs or the common three-seat bench arrangement-- captain's chairs are offered on the XLE and basic on the Limited. The rest of the Highlander might have been redone with dynamism in mind, however the seats talk with its comfort-focused roots. Lots of people on our personnel will certainly miss the 2013's detachable second-row facility seat. I won't, as it was awkward as well as cumbersome to eliminate and replace with the facility table that stored under the facility console.

In the third row, Toyota enhanced width and added an added seat for a maximum ability of 8 passengers in conventional configuration. A new, much more small rear suspension released the additional space. The 3rd row still doesn't fit grownups with as much convenience as the larger Chevrolet Traverse, but it readies in a pinch. There are also brand-new one-touch folding second-row seats on both sides. Formerly, only the curbside seat folded up and also slid forward through the one-touch lever. Third-row bikers additionally take advantage of the 2nd row's enhanced seat traveling, which allows simple access and also departure.

Comfort design & Electronics

Modern technology is a substantial focus in the 2014 Highlander and also done extremely well. Toyota's Entune multimedia system works far better than ever compared with various other Toyota lorries where I've made use of the system. Working the Entune system's voice commands is impressive. The versions I examined detected the different voice commands I spoke.

Those with large phones or who constantly have their phone linked to the SUV will appreciate a tool storage space step listed below the environment controls that offers a pass-through for USB cables. There should be no more Medusa-like dangling of cords the gear selector.

The conventional Entune on base LE versions includes a 6.1-inch touch-screen with backup electronic camera, USB port with iPod connection, auxiliary input, voice recognition, Bluetooth phone connection and Bluetooth streaming audio. LE And also trims have Entune Audio And also with a higher-resolution 6.1-inch display, HD Radio as well as 90-day satellite radio subscription. The next step up is Entune Premium Audio with Navigating as well as Application Suite on XLE versions with an 8-inch touch-screen and application suite with Pandora, Yelp as well as Facebook assimilation with a smartphone and also coming with Entune downloadable application. A JBL sound system is conventional on Limited trim levels.

The large facility storage container in between the front seats could feed on anything plus-sized, like a bag, iPad or Blu-ray collection for the readily available rear-seat Blu-ray player. When you neglect that Blu-ray in your home, an interesting brand-new feature called Easy Speak sends the booming voice of an upset mother or father via the back stereo audio speakers via the Bluetooth microphone to keep wild youngsters in check. What does it cost? a lot more family focused can you get compared to providing an attribute that enables moms and dads to chew out kids?

Freight, Towing & Storage space

Cargo space behind the third row enhances over the previous Highlander's skimpy step, which struggled bring groceries, not to mention a baby stroller or golf bag. The freight quantity is now rated at 13.8 cubic feet, up from 10.3 cubic feet. It's not a substantial improvement, however at the very least it makes the location functional. It's still tiny compared with others in the section: The Traveler has 21 cubic feet and the Pilot has 18 cubic feet behind the 3rd row. Toyota's trickery to boost freight area entailed relocating all 3 rows of seats forward, adding size behind the back wheels as well as making use of an extra small rear suspension.

The power liftgate is an outstanding feature to be standard on LE And also trim levels and above, and also has a trick up its sleeve: It adapts to numerous heights, not simply 1 or 2 predetermined height settings. With the liftgate in motion, customers can quit the liftgate and program it to available to that set elevation the following time. The function will certainly make much shorter motorists as well as owners of reduced garages really satisfied. (If the gate goes too high, much shorter individuals could struggle to get to the power-close button on its bottom side.) One more special feature on the back is an oldie but a reward: On LE Plus models as well as above, the back window opens for easy access independent of the freight gateway.

A 5,000-pound tow score on XLE as well as Limited trim levels includes a common towing plan that consists of engine/transmission colders and also updated radiator and also generator. Hybrids can tow 3,500 pounds, V-6 LE/LE And also can tow 2,000 pounds and a four-cylinder LE is ranked at 1,500 pounds.


The 2014 Highlander had not been crash-tested at the time of this writing.

The 2014 Highlander provides lower anchors and also tethers on outboard second-row seats for child-safety seats, however only a secure support on the center third-row seat.

Advanced security functions are readily available, though only on the pricey Minimal trim level where a dead spot tracking system and also back car park assist are typical, and also pre-collision, adaptive cruise control as well as lane separation caution are optional. Minimal trim degrees are likewise the only models with a backup video camera that utilizes anticipating standards to reveal the car's path-- a back-up camera with fixed lines is standard on all other trim degrees.

Worth in Its Course

Toyota states pricing is up around $1,500 typically throughout the 2014 trim levels, which include added features over the 2013. Base pricing starts at $30,075 for a base four-cylinder LE with location, while volume-seller XLE models with all-wheel drive are $38,360 as well as include natural leather seating with warmed pole positions, navigating, three-zone climate control, smart keyless entry, second-row sunshades as well as even more. Prices for the XLE is extremely affordable to three-row midsize SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Ford Traveler or even the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The 2013 Highlander was genuinely a midpack three-row SUV, lagging behind in important areas like interior high quality, freight area and modern technology. Feel confident, if you're a Highlander proprietor wanting to upgrade-- as long as you're unconcerned concerning ride top quality-- the 2014 is not only an engaging upgrade, but also worthy of cross-shopping the segment's finest.