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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Profile

The SUV's profile, however, reminds me of a taller, longer version of the Toyota Venza.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Rearview camera

A rearview camera is also standard for this new model.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Hybrid model

Toyota's Highlander Hybrid (not pictured) will also make an appearance in the next generation.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

2014 availability

Expect the redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander to reach dealerships in early 2014.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
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