2014 Toyota Highlander: Handy Interior Storage
April 18, 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."
The mood lighting you see above doesn't come on at night unless you shut off the engine or open the door. The idea is to remind you of the items you've stashed there so you don't walk off and leave something important behind.
It's not so deep that you lose things in the dim recesses and it's ridiculously easy to wipe clean when it gets grubby.
The Shelf gets a huge thumbs-up from me and my crew.
And then there's this roll-top center console box.
You can open the back part if that's all the access you need.
And then you can open the front part if you need a larger opening. The cavity inside is deep enough to swallow a purse or, in our case, leftover pizza. There's a removable shelf about halfway down and they've placed near the bottom in case you want to charge anything laying on said shelf.
Two cupholders sit in front of the console box, and the front and rear doors have map pockets with notches molded in to steady cans of soda, water bottles or the like.
Another two cupholders are built into this folding tray between the rear seats. It folds down and out of the way if you'd rather use the space for something else.
All of it works great, but I must say I'm a bigger fan of The Shelf than I thought I would be when I first laid eyes on it.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,509 miles