2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

Highlander Hybrid

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2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Overview

Like its gas-burning siblings, Toyota’s 2014 Highlander Hybrid enters its third generation with a slightly different look, a few suspension tweaks and some fancy new standard and available cabin bling. This 7-passenger midsize/full-size hybrid crossover still boasts 3 rows of seating and 78.6 cubic feet of total cargo area, but an added 2.7 inches of overall length and 0.6 inches of girth for 2014 means more elbow room and 34% more grocery-toting space behind the third-row seatback. Additionally, the self-descriptive Base Highlander Hybrid trim is no more this year, leaving only the well-heeled Limited trim, while selecting the available (and brand new) Platinum Package results in the Limited Platinum sub-trim.

A new grille, restyled headlights and a rear fascia makeover join such newbies as a standard power moonroof and upgraded interior soft-touch materials. Meantime, larger Entune infotainment and trip-computer displays and some new options choices debut this year, while on-demand all-wheel drive (AWD) and V6-grounded gas-electric power remain standard.

Said power source includes, once again, a 3.5-liter variable-valve-timed (VVT) V6 gasoline engine mated with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), as well as a threesome of electric motors, one of which is dedicated to driving the rear wheels in AWD-compatible conditions. Selectable driving modes, Eco and EV, return to allow added fuel efficiency via either automatic engine stop/start technology or electric-only locomotion, depending on traffic situations. Mileage, by the way, is again estimated at 28 mpg city/28 highway, and believe it or not, this hybrid can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.

For 2014, the Highlander Hybrid Limited boasts, in addition to the previously mentioned new amenity add-ons, 19-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, roof rails and full power accessories, including heated outside mirrors. Standard leather-trimmed upholstery of course returns, as do heated power-adjustable front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, tri-zone auto climate control, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering.

Techno-goodies, meantime, include, besides the aforementioned upgrades, a standard navigation system with new 8-inch display, rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and a JBL premium audio system flaunting the ubiquitous single-CD player, 12 speakers and Toyota’s state-of-the-art Entune infotainment, including Bluetooth hands-free technology and smartphone apps.

Options for the 2014 Highlander Hybrid, meanwhile, include a new Driver Technology Package boasting adaptive cruise control, adaptive hi/lo-beam headlights and lane-departure warnings, with the just-introduced Platinum Package flaunting all that plus a heated steering wheel, perforated leather upholstery and heated second-row seats.

Finally, standard safety equipment once again falls under the auspices of Toyota’s Star Safety System and includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, 3-row head airbags and active front headrests. LED daytime running lights are also standard, as are front fog/driving lights, a blind-spot warning system, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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Highlander Hybrid

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