2014 Toyota Highlander Review
2014 Toyota Highlander Review
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Used Highlander for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Refined interior appointments
- quiet, compliant ride
- stellar V6 with new six-speed transmission
- seating for eight
- fresh technology offerings.
- Lackluster four-cylinder engine
- feels bigger on the road than previous Highlanders.
The 2014 Highlander is fully redesigned. Highlights include improved interior quality, available eight-passenger seating, a height-adjustable power liftgate and a six-speed automatic transmission for V6 models.
The reinvented three-row 2014 Toyota Highlander progresses in key areas while staying true to its no-nonsense roots. It's a top choice in the family crossover class.
With all the family-friendly crossovers on the market these days, it's a full-time job just keeping them straight. So allow us to make your job a little easier. The 2014 Toyota Highlander is the granddaddy of this segment, and it's back this year with a whole new bag of tricks. A decade and a half ago, the original Camry-based Highlander became the first vehicle to blend the versatility of a midsize SUV with the ride and handling of a sedan. Now, facing a legion of tough rivals, the all-new, third-generation 2014 Highlander is out to regain its edge.
Truth be told, the second-generation Highlander was still a stud when Toyota put it out to pasture last year. We even called it an "ideal choice" in some respects, which is high praise indeed for a family hauler on its farewell tour. But that doesn't mean there wasn't room for improvement. In particular, the hard plastic dashboard failed to impress at this price point, as did the unremarkable technology features it housed. Also, the Highlander's rear accommodations had begun to feel a bit cramped by midsize crossover standards, especially in the third row. A reinvention wasn't strictly necessary, but signs of aging were increasingly apparent.
Take a look at the 2014 Highlander and it's apparent that the rest of the segment may now be playing catch-up. The new dashboard is a welcome addition, as Toyota has ditched the generic hard panels in favor of supple surfaces with artful curves. A larger 8-inch touchscreen is available, while desirable add-ons like adaptive cruise control help bring the options list up to date. Thanks to an extra 3.7 inches of width in the third row, there are now three seats back there instead of two, making the Highlander one of the few crossovers in this class with room for eight. The driving experience has been refined, too, with reduced cabin noise and a responsive new six-speed automatic transmission for the faultless V6 engine.
In light of all these improvements, we awarded a top "A" grade in our 2014 Toyota Highlander rating. Of course, that's not to say that Toyota's redesigned crossover is the best at absolutely everything. If you want a truly adult-friendly third row, for example, the 2014 Ford Flex would be a better bet. Another perennial favorite of ours is the 2014 Mazda CX-9, which is more fun to drive and offers more cargo space as well. There's also the handsome-looking and sportier 2014 Dodge Durango or the three-row 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, which stacks up nicely against the Highlander across the board.
But the Highlander has history and the Toyota nameplate on its side, and it's better than ever for 2014. Here's how you remember the all-new Highlander: It's the one that got this whole party started, and now it's the latest three-row crossover to raise the bar.
Performance & mpg
The base Highlander LE starts with front-wheel drive and a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 185 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is a six-speed automatic. Fuel economy is rated at an unimpressive 22 mpg combined (20 mpg city/25 mpg highway): barely better than the much stronger V6.
Optional on the LE and standard on all other trims is a 3.5-liter V6 engine, rated at 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque in this application. The transmission is again a six-speed automatic, but you can specify either front- or all-wheel drive. The front-wheel-drive V6 configuration is rated at 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city/25 mpg highway), while the AWD V6 drops a tick to 20 mpg combined (18 mpg city/24 mpg highway). At the Edmunds test facility, we recorded a 7.3-second 0-60-mph time for an XLE AWD, which is about a second quicker than the average for this large crossover SUV segment.
A properly equipped Highlander V6 can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
The 2014 Toyota Highlander comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, a driver knee airbag, a front passenger seat-cushion airbag and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is also standard. In a simulated panic stop from 60 mph at the Edmunds test facility, a Highlander XLE AWD managed a braking distance of 116 feet, a very good distance for this class. The brake pedal has a squishier feel than we'd like, but this won't be a deal breaker for most buyers.
The Limited trim gets a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, and its optional Driver Technology package adds a frontal collision warning and mitigation system (with automatic braking), lane-departure warning and Toyota's Safety Connect telematics (emergency assistance, stolen vehicle location and automatic collision notification). Unfortunately, these items are unavailable on lesser Highlander trims.
In government crash tests, the 2014 Toyota Highlander earned a rating of five stars overall, with four stars in frontal crash tests and rollover tests and five stars in side crash testing. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Highlander received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Highlander received the second-highest rating of "Acceptable." Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
On the road, the first thing we noticed is that the 2014 Highlander feels longer and wider -- which, to be fair, it is (by about 3 inches and half an inch, respectively). Whereas the previous Highlander drove much like a tall Camry, the new one feels more broad-of-beam. Nonetheless, the meaty three-spoke steering wheel inspires confidence, and if you drive quickly around a tight turn, the Highlander remains secure, with plenty of grip. As long as you're not looking for handling as confident as the Mazda CX-9's, you'll likely find the Highlander sharp enough.
Of course, the Highlander's bread and butter is ferrying passengers around in comfort, and here it excels. The cabin remains hushed at speed, and road impacts are generally shrugged off by the compliant suspension, though the Limited's 19-inch wheels don't do the ride any favors. Most Toyota Highlander buyers end up with the tried-and-true V6 engine, and it's easy to see why: You get almost the same fuel economy as with the base four-cylinder, along with an extra 85 hp and some of the smoothest acceleration in any crossover at this price. The new six-speed automatic transmission is a notable upgrade over the old five-speed automatic, providing quick, precise downshifts that make the 2014 Toyota Highlander feel quicker than it is.
Perceived cabin quality wasn't a strength of the previous-generation Highlander, but Toyota has made amends. Gone are the bland hard plastics that used to cover the dashboard, supplanted by supple surfaces with fancy stitching at the seams. The gauge cluster has a more contemporary look than before, thanks in part to the multifunction information display that sits in the middle (especially the XLE and Limited's larger color version). Although the base 6.1-inch central touchscreen is, well, a bit basic in both form and function, the newly available 8-inch unit is more satisfying with its improved graphics and functionality.
Toyota has baked a number of handy storage features into the 2014 Highlander's interior. There's a unique shelf on the dashboard, for instance, that's a perfect resting place for phones, with a hole in the bottom that lets you feed in cords from the power point below. Also, the storage box under the console armrest is much more spacious than before, providing what Toyota describes as enough room for a large purse (hopefully "murses" fit as well, since the Highlander's styling is said to be manlier this time around).
Regrettably, the previous Highlander's slick 40/20/40-split second-row seat with its removable center seat has been discontinued, so there's only the standard 60/40-split bench seat and the available captain's chairs. On the bright side, those second-row seats slide farther forward now, permitting easier access to the third row. If you're expecting big-time space in the way back, we should warn you that adults will still find it cramped relative to some rivals. Kids will be fine, though, and the three-across seating bolsters the Highlander's credentials as a minivan substitute. The XLE and Limited also have a neat feature that allows you to use the Bluetooth microphone to broadcast your voice to people seated in the rear through the Highlander's speakers. Now you can say, "I'm turning around right now if you guys don't cut it out!" all you want without craning your neck.
On the cargo-carrying front, the new height-adjustable power liftgate with memory height settings (standard on LE Plus trims and higher) is a boon in garages with low ceilings. Maximum hauling capacity has dropped to 83.7 cubic feet, however, from the previous generation's robust 95.4 cubes. The new Highlander does offer 13.8 cubes behind the third-row seat, which beats last year's 10.3.
2014 Toyota Highlander models
The 2014 Toyota Highlander is a three-row midsize crossover offered in LE, LE Plus, XLE and Limited trim levels. Eight-passenger seating is standard on the LE, LE Plus and XLE, while seven-passenger seating (featuring second-row captain's chairs instead of a three-person bench) is optional on the XLE and standard on the Limited. Note that the related Highlander Hybrid is reviewed separately.
The base LE gets things started with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, cruise control, a rearview camera, a height-adjustable driver seat, a sliding and reclining 60/40-split second-row seat, a 60/40-split third-row seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch central touchscreen and a six-speaker CD sound system with an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.
Picking the LE Plus gets you foglights, a flip-up rear hatch window, an adjustable-height power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, upgraded upholstery with synthetic leather ("SofTex") accents, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio and HD radio.
The XLE boasts 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, roof rails, keyless entry/ignition, leather upholstery for the first and second rows (SofTex for the third), an upgraded driver information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 110-volt power outlet in the second row, retractable second-row sunshades, driver voice amplification for communicating with rear passengers ("Driver Easy Speak"), an 8-inch central touchscreen and the Entune App Suite with mobile-app integration (compatible smartphone required).
Finally, the top-shelf Limited comes packed with 19-inch wheels, LED running lights, ambient interior lighting, heated and ventilated front seats, driver memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat, dual second-row captain's chairs with a table in between, a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts, rear parking sensors and a 12-speaker JBL audio system.
The Limited offers two exclusive options packages. The Driver Technology package includes automatic high-beam control, adaptive cruise control, a collision mitigation system with automatic braking, a lane-departure warning system and Toyota's Safety Connect telematics. The Platinum package starts with the Driver Technology package and adds a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel and heated second-row captain's chairs.
Optional on both the XLE and Limited is a rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-inch display and a Blu-ray player. As noted, the XLE is also eligible for the second-row captain's chairs, though if you want them to be heated, the Limited's the only way to go. There are no factory options on the LE and LE Plus.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.75 out of 5 stars
Quiet and comfortable
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I purchased the 2014 Highlander after owning a 2006 model for eight years and 130K miles, with minimal problems. The 2006 was a hybrid, and I miss the better MPG, but without a tax credit I couldn't justify the additional $12K (2014 hybrids only come in the highest trim levels). I'm 6'3", and the new model is just enough bigger inside to sleep in comfortably with the second and third … rows down. I'm a conservative driver, and so far (1900 miles) I'm getting 20.6 mpg overall; when it's time for a tire change, Michelins with lower rolling resistance may add a mile or two. The steering is more responsive than the previous model.
4.88 out of 5 stars
The Good, The Bad, & The Beautiful
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I have owned this vehicle for about a month and a half now; Prox. 4000 miles. Bought the XLE over the LE Plus as the price difference was minimal as compared to some of the luxury upgrades that are standard with the XLE package; ie: Leather, heated seats, larger touch screen radio, moon roof, etc. My family also owns a 2011 Toyota Sienna with the limited trim package. The Highlander has … a much more quiet ride, comfier seats, plenty of room in the 2nd & 3rd rows (I'm 6'-4") so I do not fit in most mid-size SUV's...
5 out of 5 stars
2014 is awesome !
Limited Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I have owned my new Highlander Limited with platinum package for a week and a half now, and I must say this SUV is totally different from my 2008 Highlander. From the upgraded luxury of materials inside, to the super quiet and smooth ride with the new 6 speed transmission, it is fun to drive. The steering is a favorite improvement..you can feel the road with precise handling and no … sloppy feeling to the wheel. The seats are very comfortable, with plenty of room front and back. All of the tech features are great, and a big help. The multi info system is awesome, and it is right between the gauges .The JBL stereo is great, and I enjoy the big screen for Entune and navigation. So many apps!
4.63 out of 5 stars
Definitely a family car
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
The 2014 Highlander XLE AWD does has what it takes to be successful. It has a decent pick up, not very sporty, but thats what you get when driving a big car. The best aspect of pick up is when you are merging in a freeway and it delivers. It has cool interiors and nice safety features (annoying to some). For e.g. you cannot set a route on the navigation unless the vehicle is at full … stop. You can speak to the voice command to set the via route though. The voice needs some training. the ride is smooth and quieter than any other big car I have driven. the seats are very comfortable. The handling is nice and of course it has the Toyota reliability.
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover18.5%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2014 Toyota Highlander
Used 2014 Toyota Highlander Overview
The Used 2014 Toyota Highlander is offered in the following submodels: Highlander SUV. Available styles include XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), XLE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), LE Plus 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), LE 4dr SUV (2.7L 4cyl 6A), LE Plus 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited Platinum 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), LE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and LE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned Toyota Highlander models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 270 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2014 Toyota Highlander comes with all wheel drive, and front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2014 Toyota Highlander comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2014 Toyota Highlander?
Price comparisons for Used 2014 Toyota Highlander trim styles:
- The Used 2014 Toyota Highlander XLE is priced between $24,990 and$29,590 with odometer readings between 45502 and102576 miles.
- The Used 2014 Toyota Highlander Limited is priced between $23,998 and$28,998 with odometer readings between 62553 and123441 miles.
- The Used 2014 Toyota Highlander LE Plus is priced between $22,998 and$28,590 with odometer readings between 31036 and89895 miles.
- The Used 2014 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum is priced between $23,595 and$32,998 with odometer readings between 41558 and114483 miles.
- The Used 2014 Toyota Highlander LE is priced between $21,998 and$22,998 with odometer readings between 91545 and117334 miles.
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Which used 2014 Toyota Highlanders are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2014 Toyota Highlander for sale near. There are currently 31 used and CPO 2014 Highlanders listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $21,998 and mileage as low as 31036 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2014 Toyota Highlander.
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Should I lease or buy a 2014 Toyota Highlander?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.