Introduced in 2001, the Toyota Highlander is one of North America's first car-based crossover SUVs. First generation models come as five- and seven-seaters and independent rear suspension. In 2004, wheels were upgraded from steel rims to alloy wheels. If you are researching pre-owned models, take a look at 2008 Highlanders on. In 2007, the 2008 model's significant redesign was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. A new 3.5-liter engine improved fuel economy and the front end has a modernized, more aerodynamic curve with new headlights and a front grille.
The 2014 Highlander model brings a sleek redesign with a noticeably larger grille and smooth lines from the shaped front end to the roof rails. With seating up to eight people—by way of a fold-down third row—you will be able to bring the whole family and then some on your latest adventure. It drives well thanks to the double-wishbone rear suspension. In addition, there is no need to worry about getting lost because the Navigation system—standard in the XLE and Limited models—is digitally interactive with the Entune audio so that your music and GPS work together seamlessly.
The 2014 Highlander is available in a few different model tiers. Starting at $29,215, the LE series has enough room to seat eight, gives you a choice of front or all-wheel drive, and EnTune audio with Bluetooth. The are two trims to choose from: the LE Plus and XLE. Upgrades include adjustable power liftgate with flip-up hatch window, three-zone climate control, leather interior with heated front seats, and a power tilt/slide moonroof. The top tier of the Highlander model is the Limited line, which starts at $39,640, and includes 19" chrome alloy wheels. This version is also available as a hybrid, featuring Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
The Highlander is a popular choice for those who want a car-like smooth ride with quiet operation. Its good fuel economy and plethora of safety features and entertainment options make it a smart choice for a family car.
TOYOTA HIGHLANDER SAFETY RATINGS
With the Toyota Highlander, you can be sure that extra attention has been paid to essential safety features. Their program is called the Star Safety System, a suite of active safety controls that work together to protect the vehicle's driver and passengers. Some features include Enhanced VSC (vehicle stability control), traction control, anti-lock brakes, and an airbag system consisting of driver and front passenger dual airbags, a driver knee airbag, and roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all rows.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2014 Highlander its highest ratings of "Good" in four out of five crash tests.
NOTEWORTHY ABOUT THE TOYOTAL HIGHLANDER
Forbes magazine named the 2008 Highlander one of the "Top 10 Most-Reliable Used Cars," citing its larger and roomier redesign, 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, and option for additional seating as features to look for. The Highlander was also named Intellichoice’s "Best Overall Value" for the past two years.