2014 Toyota Highlander: Well Suited For Long Highway Drives
July 30, 2014
It's summertime. It's time to pack up your family and head out for the Great American Road Trip to Wally World. But what are you going to drive? "A Tesla Model S!" you might say, having gained inspiration from our record-setting LA-to-NYC drive (and back).
The more practical and obvious choice, though, would be something like our 2014 Toyota Highlander.
I haven't yet taken an exhaustive trip like that in our Highlander. (In fact, fellow editor Dan Edmunds, who also did the Tesla drive, drove our Highlander to Oregon earlier this year.) But I did do a recent six-hour highway stint in our Highlander and came away pretty impressed. Of course, there's a good amount of room inside for a family of four and their luggage. The driver seat is very comfortable for multiple hours, and there's a lot of storage for your personal effects, such as the big center console bin and the (more controversial) dashboard storage tray.
Even more impressive in my opinion is the way the new Highlander drives. It's stable and secure on the highway in a way that you may not expect from a Toyota SUV. The ride quality is smooth, certainly, even with our Platinum trim's 19-inch wheels. But this softness doesn't translate into the vehicle wallowing over bumps and dips. Hit some undulations and the Highlander stays composed. The steering is direct, too. You just point and the Highlander obediently follows.
I'm less sure of how the Highlander fares in regards to quietness. There seemed to be a fair amount of wind noise on my drive coming from around the side mirrors, or at least more than I expected. This is something that Dan also noted on his Oregon trip update. However, in our official Edmunds testing, the Highlander posted a very quiet decibel reading at highway speeds. So I'm not sure what to think, honestly.
Overall, though, our Highlander is a very impressive long-distance companion.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,890 miles