2014 Toyota Highlander: Beverage Bus
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.
Product planning sounds like a tough gig. You have to manage minutiae and sweat mind-numbing details. If you work for one of the Asian automakers, you have trans-Pacific conference calls at 10:00 p.m. I told my friend that in his new position of influence, he must not forget cupholders. Americans love cupholders, I reminded him, especially wide ones like those in our 2014 Toyota Highlander. These cavities are massive, wide enough for a 40-ounce Klean Kanteen with a roughly 3.5-inch diameter.
Finding these in the Highlander is a bit of a surprise, though. This isn't a car that necessarily plays to the adventure lifestyle customer, the ones who regularly tote cans of this size. Little too big and bulky. Or maybe, rather, it's a perfectly pitched product plan, aimed at the both the yoga moms and their polycarbonate water jugs and the wholesale Starbucks drinker.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor