2014 Toyota Highlander: Maxing The Payload
June 19, 2014
Our front-wheel-drive, Limited trim level 2014 Toyota Highlander is rated to handle 1,385 pounds of payload. That's not the Highlander's max rating, though. An LE model can handle an additional 70 pounds.
Thirty-seven boxes of hardwood flooring, each weighing about 40 pounds, exceeded the Highlander's rating by about 100 pounds. I thought it over. With some clever Tetris-ing, I could probably bring home all of the boxes. There was still plenty of room lengthwise behind the front seat backs and more room to reach the roof. Surely the extra 100 pounds wouldn't cause long-term harm to our Highlander's suspension or components. Surely the Highlander is capable of transporting five NFL linemen, right?
I erred on the side of caution. It required re-arranging (and lowering) the load and a second 60-mile round trip to the flooring vendor. But it meant that each load was well under payload rating and gave me a broader margin of safety for any evasive maneuvers. I felt like I'd cheated the Highlander out of an opportunity to prove itself. In fact, I'd probably just avoided an opportunity to prove myself an idiot.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor