2014 Toyota Highlander: Paradise Machine
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.
The advantage of a three-row crossover like the Highlander is undeniable. Keep the third row folded and you've got the space you need to haul a good-sized amount of stuff. Or, if you have to take your neighbor's kids to the Organized Sporting event, you can raise those seats and bring your passenger carrying capacity to six people (excluding the driver and front passenger).
Granted, you can't take six people and haul a bunch of stuff like you can with something like a Chevy Suburban or Ford Expedition. But the flipside of that is that the Highlander thankfully doesn't drive like a boxy, trucky SUV. This is a Toyota that might surprise you. It's stable and secure around turns. The V6 is strong and nicely complemented by the responsive six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is solid, too, at an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined.
Plus, when you get the fancy pants Highlander Limited with the Platinum package like our long-termer, you get features galore to make your paradise life even better. The power liftgate and keyless ignition and entry are handy, the 8-inch touchscreen is sharp-looking, the JBL audio system can pump out the movie Frozen's "Let It Go" song with gusto and panoramic sunroof is a kid pleaser. If it's safety you're concerned about, our Highlander covers you with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and forward collision warning and mitigation.
Yeah, you could say I'm pretty fond of our Highlander.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,059 miles