By on December 20, 2013

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TTAC had its first bite at the 2014 Highlander recently. Be sure to bookmark TheTruthAboutCars.com for the written review in the coming days and a full-on drive review based on a week in Toyota’s new crossover in a few months.

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49 Comments on “First Drive Video Review: 2014 Toyota Highlander...”


  • avatar

    The “pentagon” front makes me think: “Mitsubishi Outlander”

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      It makes me think “Sad Audi”.

      “Hey Audi, why so sad?”

      “Because I’m not an Audi. I unintentionally accelerate like an Audi. But I have none of the style or prestige.”

      “But you counter that with made in Japan quality, right?”

      “No, I’m made in Indiana.”

      “Hey, at least that’s the US. They’re going to be building Audi SUVs in Mexico.”

      “Have you been to Indiana? I wish a cartel would kidnap me from that place.”

      “Well, you’re scheduled for a facelift in three to four years, hopefully that will cheer you up.”

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      I’m seeing trapezoid. And it reminds me of a toaster Cylon.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Is this gaping maw (lack of)style a thing with Toyota now? God, no one there has a pencil or a clue.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Don’t like those bulging plastic head/tail lights at all, as the car ages and develops cataracts,they will become more noticeable.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    The outgoing Highlander also has those headlights and tailights that bulge out at certain angles. I hate it. And the grill looks too much like it’s trying to look like the Tundra’s little btother.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    They need to fix the grille. Badly.

    But the rest of this car is a huge improvement. That interior is leaps and bounds better and at the top of the class.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The Highlander is now on the 3rd generation. VW’s 3-row crossover is coming when, 2016?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Alex – FYI on the chromed alloys, my mother’s 03 Liberty came with chrome plated plastic hubcaps over the alloys although they could be removed. The chrome never seemed to flake off after a couple of winters but they did crack along the edges. In about five years two of the four (both drivers side) either fell off or were stolen and she had me removed the two survivors for a uniform look.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Great video, you hold my attention on a model I’m not interested in & a segment I’d like to see banned.

    Kudos to Toyota for rear passenger legroom (what a concept!) and the simple but innovative passenger intercom system. Now Toyota try and put quality rear legroom in a car and you’d have my attention. The new Avalon doesn’t appear as roomy as the old one, although this may be just my perception.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Banned? I love this and the Pilot. With the seats folded down, they can carry a lot, and they look much better than a minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have to say in the position of a family man (which I am not) I’m going with the minivan only because (1) minivan sliding doors are much more practical for passengers/cargo in both rows and (2) crossovers are heavy minivans that cost more, and are designed to look like SUVs because people like to delude themselves.

        They also get better gas mileage, comparing Odyssey to Pilot:

        2013 Odyssey V6 6spd auto
        19/28/22

        2013 Pilot V6 5spd auto
        18/25/21

        If you need a truck buy a truck, if you need a kid hauler suck it up and buy a minivan (or wagon or full size sedan if they existed). Why buy a minivan that looks like a truck for more money, get less mileage, and less functionality?

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=7&year=2013&make=Honda&model=Odyssey&srchtyp=ymm

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/Feg/bymodel/2013_Honda_Pilot.shtml

        • 0 avatar

          Plus minivans are cool. Huge SUVs are not. My opinion of course.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Actual SUVs aren’t my fav but in theory could serve a purpose. Things that look like SUVs but have no capabilities are people haulers and minivans do it so much better.

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            The Tahoe is very cool. Tempted to take a close look at the new generation due out shortly.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            jimmyy, check them ALL out, and then decide what you want to bet your money on.

            It’s a crap shoot. Our 2008 Japan-built Highlander has been and continues to be a strong performer and hasn’t had any problems.

            The 2009, 2010, and 2011 American-made Highlanders purchased by my wife’s three sisters had all sorts of issues and recalls.

            They traded the Highlanders for 2014 Grand Cherokees based on our excellent experience with our 2012 Grand Cherokee and are also having all sorts of issues with the electronics and transmission.

            Best bet is to check them all out before laying your money down. Good luck.

        • 0 avatar
          jimmyy

          Because the CUV has much better resale value than a minivan. It is all about the money.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ah I agree money is important, but if money is in the top three of your concerns in auto ownership why are you buying new in the first place? If minivans have poor resale than snaking a clean CPO’d one should be a better buy, right?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m with you 28. Though I don’t want to to see the segment banned, it’s a segment that does nothing for me. I’d like them banned when they’re before me blocking my view though ;)!

      A minivan is much better than this. Give me a minivan anyday.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Exactly, minivan FTW.

        I say banned because in my country we have various agencies always trying to ban or control what the auto industry does, but they never ban anything worth banning. Case in point, these xenon headlights. While sure they look cool, they completely blind me in my non autodim rearview mirror at night. But that’s ok, blinding people isn’t a problem, its those damn V8s and carbon emissions that threaten drivers on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Agreed with banning CUVs, though I’m less about all out banning them and moreso about stopping automotive globalization, I can’t believe how spineless so many car companies have become in the pursuit for cheap money. I guarantee that if 5-wheels became a thing or having 9 sets of LEDs, every single car company would jump on board be it Kia or Rolls Royce.

      If carmakers want to save money they need to stop building so many variants, just look at how many cars are made from GolfJetta bits.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        By building different variants from one platform you’re able to spread that cost out. That goes directly back to car economics 101. You’ll see people drive a Pilot, but wouldn’t buy a Odyssey as they have no use for it.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’d say folks who love Pilot but wouldn’t love Odyssey (or have any use for it as you put it) are rubes since Pilot is a platform mate of Odyssey. There are plenty of arguments for an against a car purchase but the “I wouldn’t be seen in it” is the most hypocritical when the model you do like is a close cousin. Just more evidence of the PT Barnum’s famous thoughts on American consumers.

          “While many SUVs at the time sat on truck platforms, the Pilot rode on a platform borrowed from the Acura MDX and the Honda Odyssey, as well as the Honda Accord. It featured a unibody design and a suspension tuned to provide responsive handling and a comfortable, car-like ride.”

          http://www.cargurus.com/Cars/Honda-Pilot-Overview-d594

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I don’t care for the chrome strip on the grill. But, I will be picking up one of these within the next few weeks. It will be the base LE model with the V6.

    I owned several of the last generation, including a nearly 2 year old one on my driveway. I like that vehicle a lot. Looks like I will be getting about 20K for trade in … paid 26K for it … it has 37K miles. Usually, I do a little better than that.

    And, that was a great video. It appears a few have already shown up on dealer lots in the Boston area.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    Am I the only one who thinks Alex looks a little like Dave Foley?

  • avatar
    iNeon

    All that work, and all Toyota did was make every competitor look better. Even Journey.

    Are they intentionally trying to make themselves be/look like an underdog?

  • avatar
    rhears

    Hi Alex, thank you for another superb review. Re the headlamps (and in this case tail lamps) that protrude I find them hideous. I figured they were aerodynamically inspired as I could not believe any designer would add this look intentionally. Curious why the Europeans have not tried it if it is so helpful re air flow. In any case it bugs me enough to stay European with my cars.
    I want to say that your reviews have set a new standard in automotive media, well above any I’ve seen before, and I’ve been a car nut for a long time and read more than a few. In fact I had left TTAC as I felt the reviews had become more clever than useful. Somehow Mr. Farago was able to combine the two most artfully but after his leaving not so much. The effort you put into researching and explaining the details of these vehicles is much appreciated and brought me back to TTAC. All the best. richard

  • avatar
    ambulancechaser

    Top broadcasting tip for next time: Either run the lav mic up your shirt and hide the cable around your waist or attatch it to your jacket lappel, to an RCA loop, and put the transmiter pack in your jacket inside pocket. That mic cable running down the front of your shirt looks aweful. I was in a hurry doesn’t count.

  • avatar
    EX35

    God, that interior looks cheap. Here’s to hoping that the 2015 Pilot hits it out of the park because there is no way I would plunk down nearly $40K for one of these.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Did I state that Alex said the interior looks cheap, or was I merely stating my opinion based on my own perception? It’s a tough one, take your time.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      So do I believe the man in the video interacting with the interior in person, or the internet commenter who is squinting at a video but still inexplicably believes said opinion is worth posting? I’ll take my time on that one too.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Hey! New upbeat end-title music! Thank you Alex and thank you Kevin Macleod. I like it very much and think it works much better for these video reviews.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    We have Kluegers at work as they are called in Australia.

    I have driven them on open roads and in urban areas and found them to be on par with a Camry on which they are based.

    They are not good high speed driving vehicles as they have the same tendency to ‘float’ around like the Camry does (around and above 160kph).

    The V6’s in them are thirsty above 130kph as well. I would think you are lucky to get 18-20 litres per 100km (12mpg) out of them.

    I hope Toyota have made these into decent touring vehicles. In Australia these are sold to middle class families who wish they could off road, but don’t know how and wives use them to take the kids to school in.

    There are better vehicles out there for your money like a 2.2 TDi Kia Sorento. Much better buy and it’s much more economical (can tow very well) and can deliver around 6.5 litres per 100kph with 320ftlb of torque and 180hp.

    As I’ve always stated Toyota build a reliable and ordinary vehicle and charge a premium for nothing special.


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