Toyota's 2014 Highlander SUV gets a truckish redesign

The new 2014 Toyota Highlander's new design features a front end that, no doubt, draws a lot of inspiration from the automaker's line of trucks.

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Trapezoidal grill

The trapezoidal grill that leads the 2014 Highlander is similar in design to the intakes on the front of Toyota's Tundra and Tacoma trucks and the Sequoia SUV.

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Profile

The SUV's profile, however, reminds me of a taller, longer version of the Toyota Venza.

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Engine options

Not much has changed beneath the Highlander's sheetmetal. It's offered with the same four-cylinder and V-6 engine options as the previous model and is still available in front- and all-wheel drive configurations.

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Rear suspension

A redesigned double-wishbone suspension on the rear axle eliminates the need for strut towers and frees up valuable interior volume.

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Overall length

Despite the increased interior space for cargo and passengers, the Highlander's overall length has only been increased about 3 inches.

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Improved handling

We're told that the Highlander's chassis is now more rigid than before and its steering is more responsive.

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Power lift-gate

The ability to customizable the rear hatch's opening height should keep owners of garages or carports from banging the power lift-gate on a low ceiling.

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Dynamic Torque Control

The all-wheel drive model boasts a new feature called Dynamic Torque Control, which can send up to 50% of available power to the rear axle on demand.

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Display audio

The cabin makes increased use of soft touch materials on the dashboard and touch points. Toyota's display audio system is a standard feature.

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Rearview camera

A rearview camera is also standard for this new model.

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Entune technology

It's not pictured here, but an 8-inch version of Toyota's Entune infotainment system is also available for users who want navigation and app integration.

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Hybrid model

Toyota's Highlander Hybrid (not pictured) will also make an appearance in the next generation.

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2014 availability

Expect the redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander to reach dealerships in early 2014.

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