Let’s cut to the chase. The 2014 Highlander Limited Platinum, with V6 and AWD, shouts “family time.” It boasts three rows plus plenty of cargo space. A lot of thoughtful planning went into this seven-seat SUV that automatically grabs your attention when you see the shelf in the dashboard. You start thinking of all the items you can place there.
I was thrilled to test this predawn gray mica-colored car in snowy weather. The heated steering wheel, heated seats and rear window wipers won me over. There was no need for me to venture into the snow to prepare the car for the road. I just needed to get in. If you’ve got this car on your list, you’re set for any season.
In summertime, the panoramic moon roof extends over the front and back seat for more sky views for everyone. The second row features captain’s chairs, allowing space in the middle for passengers wanting to move to the third row. The third-row, 60/40 split seat reclines and lays flat for extra cargo space when needed.
It could just be me, but the placement of the buttons on the steering wheel were a bit tricky for my thumb to memorize. Like texting on a cell phone, your thumbs need to grow accustomed to taking over. That took a while. When trying to blow my horn, I kept changing the radio station.
The roll-top console available under the armrest included a tray, but it made a distracting noise when it slid during my start and stops. The size of the Highlander allows you to drive it like a car, but with the space of a van, and it tows up to 5,000 pounds. It has a temporary spare tire on an 18” wheel. The attention to details in the Toyota 2014 Highlander underscores the designer’s desire for busy families to travel well. The MSRP is $43,590. The MPG is 18/24 city/highway.