April 14, 2015
We've posted a few updates about the rear seating in our 2014 Toyota Highlander, including our views on third-row seat access and comfort or how we like it during long-distance drives. After driving around my family of four plus two grandparents recently, I discovered a few new angles on our Highlander's rear seating.
April 6, 2015
"If I could give it zero stars I would."
"Entune failed us again."
"Toyota, you should be ashamed of yourself and this app."
These are quotes from just a few of the recent user reviews on Toyota's latest Entune app in the iTunes stone. The total rating for Entune is 1.5 stars. I was curious. Does it really suck that bad? It was time to find out with our 2014 Toyota Highlander.
March 17, 2015
Last fall, a friend I've known more than half my life announced his plans to marry. I and many of his friends raised a hallelujah. I'd only met his lady a few times, but it was enough to see that she was smart, pretty and ambitious, and that our boy was fortunate to be even a waterboy in this girl's league.
She'd grown up spending winter vacations in Park City, Utah, when her parents would load the kids in a wagon and Dad would put the hammer down and cover the distance from their Chicago home in a day. So they decided to marry in Park City since it was a fairly equidistant point to gather both sides of friends and family. A wedding in a ski town is not an opportunity to waste.
I asked fleet whisperer Mike Schmidt if he could spare a four-wheel-drive for the occasion. Another friend would join me for the drive and the Ram 1500 was an obvious choice. But it had plenty of miles already and this was before its recent meltdown. The F-150 and Chevy Colorado were other options, but Mike asked if I'd consider our 2014 Toyota Highlander.
March 10, 2015
Although I have driven our 2014 Toyota Highlander countless times during the past 10 months, I have only just realized that the family hauler we picked traded a rear-seat DVD package for a giant sunroof.
February 9, 2015
You'd expect pretty much any car seat to fit into a large, family-first vehicle like our long-term 2014 Toyota Highlander. For a personal Highlander, I'd probably go with one of the lower-line models (below our Limited Platinum) so I could get a center seat in the second row. But the captain's chairs in our long-term Highlander are still very car seat-friendly, particularly with their nice, flat seat-bottom cushions and multiple seat-back recline positions.
My child's very large rear-facing convertible car seat fit easily. And I was blown away by how much legroom still remained for the front passenger.
December 19, 2014
Oak Glen, California is a small town just east of Yucaipa on the southeast portion of the San Bernardino Mountains. I try to go every fall to visit some of the area's many apple orchards and stock up on the beautifully cloudy apple cider. You can mosey around the rows of trees and pick your own apples during the autumn, but my schedule prevented me from visiting during the busy season. I couldn't procure my own apples in December, but I still wanted to grab some of the good stuff to use in a Warm Vanilla Cider recipe I found one day as I casually lurked on Martha Stewart's Web site. So I grabbed a few friends, tossed them into the 2014 Toyota Highlander and headed for the mountains.
December 12, 2014
When I drive the 2014 Toyota Highlander I feel like a little kid sitting in her parent's car. The long seat bottom cushion hits my short legs about mid-calf. And the headrest of the driver seat is slightly above my head, even when lowered as far as it will go. Not an ideal driving position for me.
For the record, Magrath says he doesn't feel he needs any thigh support when he drives the Highlander because the seats fit his longer legs just fine.
October 30, 2014
I'm on a mission to declutter my life and home. I started adopting the 15-minute plan. I set a timer then tackle a project for 15 minutes. When the alarm goes off I move on to another task. It really helps keep things in order. And if you despise cleaning as much as I do, you don't feel so bad knowing you only have to do it for 15 minutes.
I have a way of accumulating a lot of stuff. To help with clean-up I took a trip to The Container Store. If you give any credence to astrological signs having certain personality traits, you'll want to know that this store is a Virgo's dream. That store has a solution to organize anything in your life. They even have a hanging tissue box holder.
For the record, I decided not to get it. But I got lots of other bins and cabinet organizers and piled all of my purchases into the back of our long-term 2014 Toyota Highlander.
October 22, 2014
I'm not sure which door I opened most during the past three days while driving our 2014 Toyota Highlander, the driver's door or the rear hatch.
October 21, 2014
Dan Edmunds recently praised the navigation in our long-term 2015 Porsche Macan. The vehicle position icon, instead of being centered, is offset to allow for more map space in the vehicle's projected path. Luckily for me, our long-term 2014 Toyota Highlander has a similar design.
September 22, 2014
Parties, picnics and potlucks have eaten up my last few summer weekends, and the 2014 Toyota Highlander has been a big help in safely delivering my family and our "assigned" dishes.
Last weekend's high school choir picnic required enough homemade Chinese Chicken Salad to feed 12 people.
September 18, 2014
The time had come for my Girl Scout troop to "bridge" from Cadettes to Senior-level scouts.
Since this ceremonial adventure typically includes a real bridge, we packed our 2014 Toyota Highlander full of outdoor party supplies and headed to a local expanse of greenish grass, complete with a drought-stricken stream and wooden-plank bridge.
September 11, 2014
I quite liked driving our long-term 2014 Toyota Highlander this weekend. It was the first time I've driven it.
But today it sprinkled a little bit in usually sunny Southern California, and I noticed this odd squeak/squelch/squerch when I was closing the driver-side window.
I took a video of it. Check it out.
August 22, 2014
Back in July Matt reported that his hands were too large to be able to reach the USB port in our long-term 2014 Toyota Highlander. It's hidden away in this tiny space behind the shifter.
August 12, 2014
It's summer. It's hot, as in 108 degrees hot. You're perspiring profusely as you hop into your sunbaked 2014 Toyota Highlander to go home from work. It's got cooled front seats. That should be a godsend. But it's not.
August 7, 2014
Our 2014 Toyota Highlander isn't going to wow you like our new Jaguar F-Type. It's just a vehicle for getting it done. It's there for taking your kids to school. Going to work. Picking up your kids from school. Going grocery shopping. Taking your kids to an Organized Sport that you hope will somehow benefit them but really just seems to suck up all of your weekend time and forces you to stand around talking to other parents who you really don't like anyway.
But if you're going to live this life of paradise, you might as well do it with a Highlander.
August 4, 2014
If you're a parent with more than one kid, there has probably been a time when you've been driving and needed to yell at your little miscreants in back. You've likely said things like, "Bobby, stop touching your sister." "Jackie, for the tenth time, stop kicking my seat." "If you guys can't get along I'm just going to turn around right now."
With the 2014 Toyota Highlander, Toyota is hoping to make this a little easier with the Driver Easy Speak feature.
July 31, 2014
The 2014 Toyota Highlander comes standard with a third-row seat, giving it either a seven-passenger or eight-passenger capacity depending on whether you've got the captain's chairs (like ours) or the second-row bench. So maybe you've got to take your spouse, your two kids and your in-laws out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. How's the Highlander going to do?
July 28, 2014
When writing about cars for a living, one of the things you have to guard against is falling down the enthusiast well. We all have an idea of what makes an enthusiast. He or she is the car expert in their social circle, the one who subscribes to the magazines, reads the Web sites, follows new models and commits 0-60 times to memory. It's tempting to write for this reader because you don't have to explain as much.
July 25, 2014
A friend told me he recently moved into product planning at a major automaker. He comes from the engineering corps, but apparently you can't wait for old engineers to peel off into retirement if you want to rise in that department. Not if you want a steadily rising paycheck, anyway.
July 10, 2014
Last weekend the Oldhams packed up the Edmunds long-term 2014 Toyota Highlander and we went glamping.
That's glamping with a gl. As in glam camping. It's how the modern urbanite roughs it. And it's kinda become a thing.
July 08, 2014
I have big hands. Not long, just...pudgy. I don't think the 2014 Toyota Highlander was made for people with fat hands. At least the front shelf storage area isn't.
July 1, 2014
Most of the interior pieces in our 2014 Toyota Highlander fit well and look decent. But the knobs controlling temperature for the dual-zone climate control could be better. They move laterally way too much and utterly lack precision.
June 30, 2014
Our 2014 Toyota Highlander came with this first aid kit. It's a family car. Families need Band Aids.
But wait, there's more...
June 27, 2014
If you haven't sat in the back of a 2014 Toyota Highlander then you can't fully appreciate the space and utility available there. One of the SUV's coolest second-row features is this flip-down cup holder/table.
June 26, 2014
Our 2014 Toyota Highlander has a massive center console. Seriously, this thing is big.
April 15, 2014
A car tends to accumulate lots of random stuff in the course of a long road trip, and our run to Reed College and the University of Oregon in our new 2014 Toyota Highlander long-term test vehicle is no exception.
Fortunately, the Highlander's design team has built in a few clever storage features, the most prominent of which is The Shelf.
The Shelf runs under the dash from a point just out of range of the driver's right knee to the passenger's door. It looks unobtrusive and somewhat stylish when empty, and the list of the things it can hold is long: keys, phones, those little travel size Kleenex packets, pens, pay-to-park receipts, iPhone cords (there's even a hatch in the bottom to thread the business end to the USB jack below), Starbucks gift cards, my wallet and those archaic paper foldy things called road maps.
The surface is slightly tacky so our junk doesn't scoot around much in corners. However, as Confuscious once said, "Pens and pencils are easy to roll. Deal with it."
April 14, 2014
The timing couldn't have been better. My wife and I needed something spacious to take on a Spring Break road trip with our eldest daughter and her friend, and our brand-new 2014 Toyota Highlander long-term test vehicle arrived at the perfect moment. And Toyota's fairly simple break-in procedure, which lasts just 621 miles, was complete just before we were scheduled to load up and head north.
The girls have been accepted to colleges in Oregon. My daughter is about 90-percent sure she'll attend the University of Oregon this fall. Her friend has been accepted at Reed College in Portland but hasn't yet seen the state, let alone the city or the campus. The TV show Portlandia is her only reference point.
A side trip to visit my parents on the Oregon coast will make this a 2,500-mile journey when all is said and done.
For now, we've only just crossed the border on the first leg of our journey. But I can already tell the 2014 Toyota Highlander is much better suited to this trip than our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe proved to be last fall on the very same roads in almost identical circumstances. The difference is night and day.
April 11, 2014
This is easily one of the best features in the new 2014 Toyota Highlander. It's just a plain old storage shelf, but its location in the middle of the dash makes it perfect for holding keys, a wallet or even the largest of cellphones.
April 4, 2014
Apparently, Toyota didn't quite learn its lesson with the Tundra pickup. You might recall that when the big Tundra debuted in 2006, it had a pretty glaring issue with the design of its center stack.