Her and His Reviews

June 2014

Toyota Highlander Limited V6 AWD

There are always two sides to everything, right? Well, the truth is there are many more than that! To keep our car reviews innovative and well-rounded, we are providing you with not just one, but two points of view on the same exact vehicle – Her and His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate, women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

$43,703 $43,703
The 2014 Toyota Highlander is a master in performance. The exceptional V6 engine with 6 speed transmission is a powerful hauler - towing up to 5,000 pounds. The handling is strong and sturdy on all roads and surfaces. Turning on those 19" Chrome Wheels. This Highlander is equipped with a 280 horsepower, 3.5 liter four cylinder engine. Never had a problem at all with acceleration or handling, though the Highlander feels like a heavier, more substantial car than the previous generation.
Fuel Economy
18 city miles and 24 highway miles The mileage rating is 18 city, 24 highway, and 20 overall, and you will spend $1,500 more in gas costs over five years compared to the average new vehicle. Cost estimates are based on driving 15,000 miles a year on $3.55 cents a gallon gasoline.
The Car
What a ride. This 7 seater supports the needs of a small family with big travel needs or a big family on the go. Room galore with multiple storage space, comfort and almost-luxury materials used throughout the vehicle - including plush and roomy seats, and a well laid out dash. This truck like SUV has a style of its own.

With all the storage in the vehicle, the one thing that didn't work for us and probably not for a lot of women was the size of the console. Who can grab anything in the passenger front seat, let alone in front of the passenger seat? By sheer size, it wont happen. I guess that comes with the territory, but we found that awkward and frustrating... always having to unbuckle the seatbelt to get "over" there.

A great feature reserved for front and rear windows only is the defroster. The Highlander takes this one step farther and puts this feature on either side of the second window... Smart.
We just test drove the 2014 model, and it is vastly different from its predecessors. To be sure, it is still quiet, utterly appropriate for family needs, and built to last. None of that has changed.

But what HAS changed is the demeanor and message that the Highlander puts out there. It comes across as being a lot more expensive than it is, thanks to its elegant new design that has enough cues from previous Highlander models to entice loyal buyers, but also plenty of new pizazz and style to draw those new to the Highlander, as well as make it clear that this isn't your familiar Highlander, but a whole new chapter for the brand.

It also feels quite a bit more substantial underway on the road, like a heavier luxury car. I would not be surprised if a number of people who bought more expensive Lexus models will now shift to the Highlander.

We had a Limited model, and we can think of plenty of luxury SUVs that we would hop out of in a minute to jump into the Highlander Limited crossover we had.

It's roomy, it's comfortable, elegant inside and out, feels and appears to be far more substantial than previous Highlanders we've driven.
8 airbags, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring with Cross Trec Alerts. Anti-Lock Brakes. LATCH Anchors and Tethers for Children. Child proof rear doors. Much more. Star Safety system, which includes enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, eight airbags, child protector rear door locks, and on and on.
Features include a backup camera, Bluetooth phone, mega moonroof, NAV. Then there is the 12speaker JBL audio system and music streaming and a six-speaker audio system and even a rear-seat Blu-Ray entertainment system, Safety Connect was an upgrade. You get as standard equipment, the 3.5 liter V-6 with a six speed automatic transmission, full power accessories, including power steering and brakes, etc.; the vaunted star Safety System that includes enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, antilock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and Smart Stop technology, all sorts of airbags from knee to side curtain types, whiplash injury lessening front seats; auto on and off headlights, fog lights, privacy glass, adjustable power liftgate, power tilt and slide moonroof, 19 inch chromtec wheels, chromtek roof rail, seating for seven in sumptuous leather, backup camera with an eight inch display, rear parking sonar, the Entune Premium JBL system with an eight inch touch screen, air conditioning, a roll top0 console and armrest, an in dash shelf and other goodies.

Options on our car included a driver technology package that includes Safety Connect, pre-collision system with dynamic radar cruise control, lane department Alert with automatic high beam headlights, rear bumper applique, cargo net and other items, all of which brought the price to $43,703.
Aesthetics & Styling
The exterior makes this an attractive looker - not truck like at all for a big vehicle. Inside they use premium touch materials and excellent color-coordinated finishes for an overall universal appeal. Love the looks on the new generation of the Highlander. Looks elegant, handsome, up to date and way more expensive than it is in reality. The new Highlander is pretty roomy inside, with an additional three inches of length helping to improve that picture. The third row seat can get a bit uncomfortable for passengers, but both the second and third row seats can be lowered and raised in a snap-basically a one step flip of a lever for the second row seat, for instance, does the trick, and the seats are fold flat. I also loved the new rolltop console, which was deep, roomy and easy to use, and when closed, as quite comfortable as an arm rest.

And if you take a look at the dashboard, you'll see more than a passing resemblance to a Lexus. Lots of intricate stitching, brushed aluminum, two no-nonsense gauges, a nifty message center located between the two gauges.

One of our favorite features inside the car was the wide shelf under the dashboard, providing much needed space to put all of the little things we carry with us in cars but don't want to stretch over to the glove department to put them all away.

The knobs and controls were easy to operate and the Entune system is one of the best in the business, with Bluetooth being a snap to get set up, which also delighted me.
3 years/36,000 miles Basic Coverage. 5 years/60,000 miles Powertrain. 5 years/Unlimited miles corrosion. Three years/36,000 mile basic coverage, five year/60,000 miles powertrain warranty, five years/unlimited miles corrosion warranty.