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 new Toyota Highlander made quite a first impression, quickly leaping its way up toward the top of the increasingly popular three-row SUV class. It's also one of the only vehicles in its segment that's available with a hybrid powertrain, and that seems like the most compelling option to us at Roadshow.
That's why we've decided to add a 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to our long-term test fleet, to put this luxurious people-mover to the test over the course of 12 months. It'll haul all our gear and go on many a road trip, and we're curious to explore all of its many features as it moves around the country to various Roadshow staffers.
The Highlander's gasoline-electric option is available across a number of trim levels, pairing a two-motor hybrid system with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Total system output is rated at a just-average 243 horsepower, and in its most efficient, front-wheel-drive guise, the EPA says the Highlander Hybrid should return 36 miles per gallon in the city, 35 mpg highway and 36 mpg combined.
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