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2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Preview

Pros: The more assertively styled and technology-laden 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid stands out with a smooth hybrid powertrain that makes it behave like an ordinary vehicle. Fuel economy is quite attractive given its size and weight, while the suspension delivers a plush, comfortable ride. You can even tow loads of up to 1,587 kilos (3,500 lbs). Toyota's legendary quality and reliability are also part of the equation. 

Cons: Aimed at large families, the 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid may still lack a bit of space where the third row and trunk are concerned. What's more, despite the updated, more masculine look, some people won't appreciate the minivan-like profile. 

Toyota Highlander hybrid
Photo: Toyota

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Price: While the regular Toyota Highlander starts at $31,680, the 2014 Highlander Hybrid retails from $43,740 due in part to its advanced hybrid system and standard all-wheel drive. The more luxurious XLE and Limited models cost $46,145 and $52,695, respectively. No optional package is available at the moment.

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Fuel Economy: Despite weighing around 2,200 kilos, the 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid burns as little as 6.7L or 6.8L/100km in the city (depending on the trim level) and 7.2L/100km on the highway. With a 65-litre tank, you can travel more than 930 kilometres between fill-ups.

Improvements and Changes: The design is all new, both inside and out. The increased dimensions translate into extra room: The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid can now seat up to eight (LE, XLE) and haul about 30% more cargo behind the third row. Interior ergonomics and comfort have been improved, too.

The fully revised suspension and recalibrated electric power steering promise enhanced ride and handling. All models get a new Display Audio system (with SMS-to-speech and email-to-speech functionality), as well as a one-touch adjustable power liftgate with selectable memory height settings.

Don't Miss: The new Easy Speak system uses a hands-free microphone installed in the overhead console enabling front occupants to be heard by second- and third-row passengers through the speaker system.

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Powertrain: No changes here, basically. The Highlander Hybrid combines a 3.5L V6 engine with a trio of electric motors (two driving the front axle and another driving the rear axle) to generate 280 net horsepower through a continuously variable transmission. An EV mode helps you save gas in low-speed situations.

Safety: Standard features include stability and traction control, disc brakes with ABS, brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, eight airbags, a backup camera, hill-start assist, hill descent control, and active torque control. In Limited trim, you also benefit from a pre-collision system, lane departure alert, blind spot monitor, and rear cross traffic alert.

Comparing the 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: The only direct threat comes from the Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid. Other alternatives include the efficiency-minded Ford Explorer EcoBoost, Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel (5 passengers), and Volkswagen Touareg TDI (5 passengers).