2014 Toyota Highlander: Anti-Excitement On The Road to 20,000 Miles
April 10, 2015
I've been watching a lot of Roadkill episodes on YouTube recently. Now those guys know how to make a road trip eventful. To elevate my recent 2014 Toyota Highlander road trip to similar levels of excitement, I feel like I should have: a) disabled two out of the Highlander's six spark plugs; b) replaced the Highlander's suspension bits with those from a 1973 Corolla; c) let a family of squirrels live in the interior for a month prior; and d) wear nothing but Freiburger-approved shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops.
Alas, I did none of the above. But I did complete my road trip up with a total of approximately 800 miles while also vaulting past 20,000 miles on the odometer. I'm also not sunburned, frostbitten, exhausted, filthy or otherwise deranged. I'll consider that a win.
I had a few different family relatives over the Easter holiday ask me what I thought of the Highlander and I found myself answering with a simple "It's great!"
Because, really, it is. For carting around a family of four for hundreds of miles, I can't think of much else I'd want or need. The Highlander is very comfortable, respectably quick and fuel-efficient, not completely oversized and bulky, handsome enough on the outside, and packed with plenty of useful technology, safety features and storage spaces.
What it's not, of course, is cheap. Our loaded tester has an MSRP of $43,427. But drop down to the still nicely-equipped midrange 2015 LE Plus and you're looking at an MSRP of $35,535 (and obviously less with Edmunds TMV or Price Promise).
Our Highlander cleared 20,000 miles while on my trip. It happened somewhere along Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles. Alas, I was negligent in snapping a picture of the odometer for the momentous event until 31 miles later. And then I mistakenly deleted the photo off my camera. Rookie!
Covering approximately 800 miles, mostly highway driving at 70-plus mph (and about half while running the A/C), the Highlander averaged 23.6 mpg. That compares well to the EPA highway estimate of 25 mpg.
Our Highlander won't be in fleet much longer. Compared to, say, our Mustang or F-Type, it's not very exciting. Compared to Roadkill's gonzo Crusher Camaro, the Highlander is anti-excitement. But as a get-it-done workhorse, I'll miss it all the same.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 20,321 miles