The 2014 Highlander is powered by one of three different drivetrains. Base models make due with a 2.7L 4-cylinder engine making 180 hp. In this guise, the Highlander is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway. The mid-level V6 displaces 3.5L and makes 270 hp, while the top of the line hybrid uses an electric motor in conjunction with a V6 to make 280 hp. The hybrid Highlander returns 27 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, extremely impressive numbers for a vehicle equipped with third-row seating. The Highlander comes standard in front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is an option for those who need it.
There are four trim levels offered on the 2014 Toyota Highlander: LE, LE Plus, XLE and Limited, which offers buyers plenty of options.
LE is the most basic trim, and is the only trim to feature the smaller 4-cylinder engine. However, it still comes loaded with 18-inch wheels, an Entune stereo with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a backup camera, Bluetooth streaming, heated mirrors, a couple of USB ports and third-row seating.
Stepping up to LE Plus adds a number of desirable items. Highlights include a height-adjustable power rear liftgate, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, satellite HD radio, 3-zone automatic climate control, fog lamps and a leather wrapped steering wheel.
The XLE trim includes a smart key and push button start, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, roof rails to help secure extra luggage, rear window shades, an 8-inch touch screen, Homelink, a navigation system and a moonroof.
The top spec Limited trim offers buyers 19-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, various parking aids and a blind spot monitor, perforated leather seating, heated and cooled front seats, and a powered passenger seat. The Limited Highlanders are also the only trim that can be equipped with the optional hybrid powertrain.
Options include a Technology package with radar-controlled cruise control, a Lane Departure system and automatically dimming high beams; as well as a Platinum package, which includes everything in the technology package along with a heated steering wheel, heated second row seats and a panoramic moonroof. A Rear Seat Entertainment system is also optional.
Safety is aided by anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control, as well as optional items like a blind-spot monitor. Of course, should an accident occur, the Highlander is equipped with eight airbags in order to minimize any possible damage to its occupants.
The Toyota Highlander in showrooms today has essentially been around since 2014. Sure, it received a midcycle update a couple years ago, but it's still largely the same ol' Highlander. Against fresher competitors like the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent and Volkswagen Atlas, Toyota's three-row stalwart has a hard time standing out.
But that doesn't mean you should overlook the Highlander. Toyota'shas had impressive staying power in its current generation. In fact, the Highlander had its best-ever sales year in 2018, with more than 244,000 of them finding homes. It might not be the freshest three-row offering, but I can certainly see why it has appeal.
Thesoldiers on into 2019 with no styling tweaks, save the new LED foglights on my Limited-spec test car. Still, Toyota's midsizer wears fairly bland sheetmetal and styling. It doesn't look bad, but it certainly doesn't have much curb appeal.
The Good The Highlander offers supreme ride comfort, a smooth and punchy V6 drivetrain and spacious interior accommodations for people in the first two rows.
The Bad Third-row space is only sufficient for small kids and the Entune infotainment system lacks features.
The Bottom Line Toyota's three-row crossover still has plenty to offer, but is in need of an update.
Step into a Highlander Hybrid for $39,320.
If you want a four-door sedan with Toyota reliability but are turned off by more-mainstream Camrys, check out the TRD model. Thanks to chassis and appearance enhancements it looks and feels like a different car entirely.
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