The 2014 Highlander is finally looking like a classy option versus its sibling, the wildly-popular Lexus RX crossover. But while the RX has always made its rich appearance a selling point, the previous Highlander was best described as “forgettable.”
No more. This new series really cleans up the styling, while keeping the same fundamental proportions and $29,000 base pricing.
On that side of the three-engine range, the Highlander runs a front-drive 2.7-liter four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower and 24 MPG on the highway.
Buyers who need AWD can choose between the V6 gasoline engine and the V6-plus-battery Hybrid setup.
There are huge mileage and cruising refinement benefits to the 231-horsepower Hybrid model, but there is a slight cut to third-row legroom and a big jump in curb weight.
The Hybrid does not offer the value-oriented LE and XLE trims, in favor of just the Limited and Limited Platinum. Pricing for the Hybrid tops out just below $50,000 – but does bring some Audi Q7 style via its alloy roof bars, gloss black grille and special dark wheel finishes.
For most, the V6 with 270 horsepower will be a perfect fit. Available in front or all-wheel-drive, the Highlander now brings a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the V6 trims.
Real-world performance of this torque-converter automatic will be an asset versus the Pathfinder V6’s CVT configuration.
The Hybrid Highlander runs something called AWD-i as standard, which works much like the Lexus RX450h in how the batteries run the back wheels with up to 103 pound-feet of torque, while the V6 power all goes to the front.
The full 2014 Highlander pricing by trim level is available below, with deliveries to start in early February to Toyota dealers nationwide.
2014 Highlander Pricing
|MSRP Change (%)|
|6967||Hybrid LTD. Plat.||V6||AWD-i||N/A||$49,790||N/A||N/A|
All prices listed above exclude the Delivery, Processing, and Handling
Exterior Gallery – 2014 Highlander
Interior Gallery – 2014 Highlander
Official Release from Toyota below.
All-New 2014 Toyota Highlander
- All-New Dynamic, Sleek Exterior Design
- Refined, Premium Interior with Advanced Technologies
- New Six-Speed Automatic with Sequential Shift on V6 Models
- Added Standard Features and New Technologies at Value Pricing
Dashing through the snow in a 270-horse all-new Highlander. Active families will be able to add holiday cheer to their new year when the all-new 2014 Highlander sport utility vehicle (SUV) begins rolling into dealer showrooms later this month. The all-new fuel-efficient Highlander Hybrid will arrive at Toyota dealers in mid-February 2014.
The all-new Highlander is a no-compromise mid-size three-row SUV that brings together the best in style, technology, comfort, capability, and safety. Its exterior design conveys both refinement and strength, which complements a totally redesigned interior that will raise the bar in its segment.
With three-row seating for up to eight, an array of standard features, a host of available in-cabin technologies, and increased cargo capacity, the new Highlander offers a nuanced balance of style, comfort and utility. The total package is capped off with three powertrain choices: a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, a powerful V6 with a new six-speed transmission that will produce excellent all-around capability, and a V6-powered Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain that delivers fewer emissions and segment-leading miles-per-gallon for a three-row mid-size SUV.
Sophisticated, Dynamic Exterior is Sleek and Strong
Sophisticated and dynamic, the new Highlander and Highlander Hybrid feature a progressive silhouette, a lower roofline for improved aerodynamics, and sculptured side-door panels. The exterior has grown in length by approximately three inches while width has increased one-half inch, conveying a sleek and strong appearance.
From the front, Highlander’s hood merges with a redesigned trapezoidal grille, wraparound headlamps and deeply chiseled fenders for a more aggressive appearance.
The length of the profile, from the front fenders to the rear quarter panels, boldly stands out with sculptured wheel wells at the corners, allowing for prominently protruding wheels. The total package is capped off by a newly designed height-adjustable rear lift-gate with an available one-touch power open/close and driver selectable memory height settings, and taillights and a bumper that exude style and strength.
Highlander’s body structure includes high-strength steel in the front pillars for increased rigidity. Visibility was improved through precise repositioning of the front A-pillars, while the size of the rear quarter glass has been increased to provide a wider view for the driver and a feeling of openness for passengers.
Refinement is enhanced through improved noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) measures. Interior noise reduction is achieved through a 30 percent expansion of silencing insulation coverage in the floor areas. Acoustic-type glass is used for the windshield to help reduce noise entering the cabin, and even the panoramic moonroof design works to help reduce wind noise, even when the moonroof is open.
Vibration is minimized through expanded coverage of the dash silencer, enhancements to body sealing, and the strategic placement of three hydraulic engine mounts. Improvements in the exhaust layout have been made for additional noise and vibration reduction.
Premium Interior Design with Advanced Functionality
Toyota engineers raised the bar on interior design for the mid-size SUV segment by adding even more refinement and functionality to the new Highlander and Highlander Hybrid. The 2014 model will offer a premium interior highlighted by increased spaciousness for up to eight people, and an array of standard comfort, convenience and technology features.
The new Highlander’s interior utilizes premium materials to offer an upscale experience, with most models featuring standard contrast seat stitching. All Highlanders will come equipped with a soft-touch instrument panel; and silver-painted, satin, and chrome-plated accents that are thoughtfully placed throughout the interior. Wood-grain pattern trim can be found on the front dash and door trim of
Limited grade models for an added touch of elegance. Premium fabrics, available smooth and perforated leather-trim seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob add to Highlander’s redesigned upscale interior. The adoption of a high quality knit roof lining and available second-row sunshades add to Highlander’s refinement and comfort.
A new massive roll-top center console provides a comfortable armrest, or when fully opened is large enough to hold a large handbag. All Highlanders will feature a newly designed LCD in-meter-cluster Multi-Information Display available in 3.5-inch black & white or 4.2-inch color display. Available ambient lighting around the front dash and doors add to the refined environment.
The second row offers bench-seating for three passengers or two captain’s seats featuring a collapsible side tray with cup holders for added convenience. Getting into the third-row is made easier with the addition of a one-step second-row sliding seat function on both driver and passenger sides that provides nearly three more inches of space for easier entry and exit to the third-row. An overall interior width increase of 3.7 inches in the third-row and a standard recline function creates added comfort for up to three passengers. Like the second-row bench, the third-row will be 60/40 split for added passenger and storage flexibility and convenience. Rear cargo space behind the third-row has also increased by 34 percent for added storage.
Additional available convenience features include an Automatic High Beam Headlight System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Smart Key, driver’s seat memory, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s seats, and a heated steering wheel.
New Grade Strategy
Highlander will be available in four well-equipped grades: LE, LE Plus, XLE and Limited. Each will offer both front-wheel (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD). AWD gas models will include standard Dynamic Torque Control.
All Highlander grades feature a 3.5-liter V6 engine and new six-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission that offers selectable manual sequential shifting. The LE grade is also available in a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and the Limited grade is available with a hybrid powertrain.
Who Needs Options?
The value of the new Highlander shines through looking at the list of standard equipment. In fact, both the LE and LE Plus grades are mono-spec, offering great content, with no complicated packages to order.
The LE grade comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, Entune Audio featuring a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth® phone and music streaming, an integrated backup camera, seating for eight with second- and third-row 60/40 split fold-flat seats, heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators, smart storage compartments like the roll-top center console, an in-dash shelf with easy access to power and USB ports, a windshield wiper de-icer, and much more.
The standard equipment parade continues on the LE Plus grade with standard fog lights, an height-adjustable power rear liftgate with flip-up rear hatch window, eight-way power driver seat with lumbar support, Entune Audio Plus with XM & HD radio, three-zone automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Like the LE, the LE Plus is mono-spec.
The XLE grade adds standard smart key with push button start, leather-trimmed seats with heated front seats, Chromtec® roof rails and a tilt-slide moonroof, second-row integrated sun shades, Entune Premium Audio with Navigation, App Suite with an eight-inch touch screen display, anti-theft system, Homelink®,and a 5,000 lb. towing capacity. Options include seating for seven with second-row captain’s chairs, and a rear-seat Blu-ray® DVD entertainment system.
The Limited grade adds the following standard features: 19-inch Chromtec® alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sonar, seating for seven with second-row captain’s chairs, perforated leather-trimmed seats, heated and ventilated front seats and memory settings for the driver seat and side mirrors, four-way power passenger seat, and Entune Premium JBL Audio with Navigation and App Suite.
Options for both the gas and hybrid Limited grade models include a rear-seat Blu-ray® DVE entertainment system, Driver Technology Package, and Platinum Package.
The Driver Technology Package includes:
- Safety Connect (includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification. Available by subscription), Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Automatic High Beam Headlights.
The Platinum Package includes:
- Driver Technology Package,
- Panoramic Moonroof
- Heated Steering Wheel
- Heated Second-row Captain’s Chairs.
Improved Dynamic Performance, Handling, Efficiency
The new Highlander is available in three powertrains. A 3.5-liter V6 is equipped with a variable intake manifold and dual Variable-Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which controls phasing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts to optimize torque and fuel efficiency. The V6 generates 270-horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 248 lbs.-feet of torque at 4,700 RPM. Acceleration and fuel efficiency are improved thanks to a new six-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission (ECT) that offers selectable manual sequential shifting. Fuel efficiency is EPA rated at 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined on FWD models and 18/24/20 for AWD.
The LE FWD offers a 185-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine also equipped with VVT-i and teamed with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. EPA fuel efficiency is 20 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined.
The new Highlander will provide a more dynamic driving experience, with new technologies that include Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive (AWD), enhancements in suspension performance, and optimized electric power steering. The spring rates and the shock absorbers have been optimally tuned to help enhance the vehicles handling characteristics.
Highlander will have a MacPherson strut front suspension, double-wishbone rear suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels and available 19-inch alloys.
Highlander’s Dynamic Torque Control AWD system automatically shifts from front-wheel drive (FWD) to AWD when accelerating or when sensors detect wheel slippage. The driver is able to view the torque-distribution settings on the meter display.
The Dynamic Torque Control AWD system continuously monitors and controls the torque transfer between the front and rear wheels via an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in the rear differential.
Front to rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive (100:0) automatically engaged under normal driving conditions to help improve fuel consumption.
The Dynamic Torque Control AWD system uses information sent from various sensors (speed, steering angle and speed, throttle angle and yaw rate) to automatically govern the transmission of torque to the rear wheels, as required.
A sophisticated, high-speed interactive management system coordinates control of the Dynamic Torque Control AWD, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Electric Power Steering (EPS) systems to enhance Highlander’s performance, handling and safety.
Highlander Hybrid: Added Power and Fuel Efficiency
The Highlander Hybrid model’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system pairs the 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with a high-torque electric drive motor-generator for additional power and fuel efficiency. Net horsepower adds up to an impressive 280 with an EPA fuel rating of 27 mpg city/28mpg highway/28 mpg combined, best in class for a three-row mid-size SUV.
All Highlander Hybrid models will be equipped with electronic on-demand all-wheel-drive with intelligence (AWD-i). With new technologies that include enhancements in suspension performance, and optimized electric power steering, the new Highlander Hybrid provides a more dynamic driving experience.
Highlander Hybrid is equipped with a MacPherson strut front suspension, double-wishbone rear suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and 19-inch Chromtec® alloy wheels.
Comprehensive Array of Safety & Convenience Features
All 2014 Highlander’s will have eight standard airbags. Like every Toyota, Highlander will feature the standard Star Safety System™, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, an Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. All Highlander’s will also come equipped with a standard backup camera and Hill-start Assist Control. All AWD gas models will have an AWD LOCK switch.
New available safety and convenience features include rear parking sonar, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Alert with Automatic High Beam Headlights, and a Pre-collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the new Highlander LE will range from $29,215 for the LE four-cylinder FWD to $43,590 for the Limited V6 AWD with Platinum Package. Prices for the all-new 2014 Highlander take effect with the start of production in early December.
The Highlander Hybrid Limited will have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $47,300, with the Hybrid Limited with Platinum Package carrying an MSRP of $49,790.
Highlander MSRP’s do not include the Delivery, Processing and Handling (DPH) fee of $860. The DPH for Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.
All Highlanders are assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) in Princeton, Ind., which will also export Highlanders to 12 countries around the world. TMMI employs over 4,000 American workers.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles.
The Highlander will also come standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The all-new 2014 Highlander delivers the total package of bold exterior styling, refined interior design, excellent performance, and great overall value. Tis the season to be jolly!
2014 Highlander Pricing
|MSRP Change (%)|
|6967||Hybrid LTD. Plat.||V6||AWD-i||N/A||$49,790||N/A||N/A|
All prices listed above exclude the Delivery, Processing, and Handling
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
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