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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    New York Auto Show: 2014 Toyota Highlander


    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    March 27, 2013

    Toyota pulled the covers off the third-generation 2014 Highlander today at New York Auto Show.

    The Highlander's exterior is much more muscular than the outgoing model with a large grille, pointy headlights, and slab sides, and large, blocky flared fenders. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, while nineteen-inch wheels are optional.

    Compared to the outgoing Highlander, the 2014 Highlander is 2.7 inches longer and 0.6 inches wider. That means there is 34% more cargo room and the third row is 4.3-inches wider, making it a more livable space. You have the choice of either seating for seven or eight people.

    Standard equipment will include a back-up camera, Hill-start Assist Control, 6.1-inch touchscreen with Toyota's Entune infotainment system, and Bluetooth.

    Engine choices are the same as the outgoing Highlander. They are a 2.7L four-cylinder as the base and a optional 3.5L V6. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission which should improve fuel economy numbers by one or two MPGs. A Highlander Hybrid will also be available.

    The 2014 Highlander arrives at dealers in early 2014.

    Source: Toyota

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at [email protected]or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2


    NEW YORK, March 27, 2013 - - The all-new third-generation 2014 Toyota Highlander mid-size SUV made its world debut today at the 2013 New York Auto Show.

    An all-new exterior design conveys both refinement and strength, complementing a new interior that will raise the bar in the mid-size SUV segment. With three-row seating for up to eight, an array of standard features, a host of available in-cabin technologies, and increased cargo capacity, the new Highlander will offer a nuanced balance of style, comfort and utility. The total package is capped off with three powertrain choices: a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine a powerful V6 with a new six-speed transmission that will produce excellent all-around capability, and a V6-powered Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain for enhanced mileage and fewer emissions.

    Sophisticated, Dynamic Exterior is Sleek and Strong

    Sophisticated and dynamic, the new Highlander features a progressive silhouette, a lower roofline for improved aerodynamics, and sculptured side-door panels. The exterior has grown in length by approximately three inches while width is increased one-half inch, conveying a sleek and strong appearance.

    From the front, Highlander’s hood merges with a redesigned trapezoidal grille, wraparound headlamps and deeply chiseled fenders for a more aggressive appearance.

    The length of the profile, from the front fenders to the rear quarter panels, boldly stands out with sculptured wheel wells at the corners, allowing for prominently protruding wheels. The total package is capped off by a newly designed rear lift-gate with one-touch power open/close and driver selectable memory height settings, and taillights and bumper that exude style and strength.

    Highlander’s body structure will include high-strength steel in the front pillars for increased rigidity. Visibility has been improved through precise repositioning of the front A-pillars, while the size of the rear quarter glass has been increased to provide a wider view for driver and occupants.

    Refinement is enhanced through improved noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) measures. Interior noise reduction is achieved through a 30 percent expansion of silencing insulation materials in the floor areas. Acoustic-type glass is used for the windshield to help reduce noise entering the cabin, and even the panoramic moonroof design works to help reduce wind noise, even when the moonroof is open.

    Vibration is minimized through expanded coverage of the dash silencer, enhancements to body sealing, and the strategic placement of three hydraulic engine mounts. Improvements in the exhaust layout have been made for additional noise and vibration reduction.

    Premium Interior Design with Advanced Functionality

    Toyota engineers raised the bar on interior design for the mid-size SUV segment by adding even more refinement and functionality to the new Highlander. The 2014 model will offer a premium interior highlighted by increased spaciousness for up to eight people, and an array of standard comfort, convenience and technology features.

    The new Highlander’s interior utilizes premium materials to offer an upscale experience, with most models featuring standard contrast seat stitching. All Highlanders will come equipped with a soft-touch instrument panel; and silver-painted, satin, and chrome-plated accents that are thoughtfully placed throughout the interior. Wood-grain pattern trim can be found on the front dash and door trim for an added touch of elegance. Premium fabrics, available smooth and perforated leather-trim seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob add to Highlander’s redesigned upscale interior. The adoption of a high quality knit roof lining and available second-row sunshades add to Highlander’s refinement and comfort.

    A new roll-top center console box with a dampened sliding door provides a comfortable armrest, or when fully opened is large enough to hold a large handbag. All Highlanders will feature a newly designed in-meter-cluster Multi-Information Display. Available ambient lighting around the front dash and doors add to the refined environment.

    The second row offers bench-seating for three passengers or two captain’s seats featuring a collapsible tray with cup holders for added convenience. Getting into the third-row is made easier with the addition of a one-step second-row sliding seat function that provides nearly three more inches of space for easier entry and exit to the third-row. An overall interior width increase of 4.3 inches in the third-row and a standard recline function creates added comfort for up to three passengers. Like the second-row bench, the third-row will be 40/60 split for added passenger and storage flexibility and convenience. Rear cargo space behind the third-row has also increased by up to 34 percent for added storage.

    Additional available convenience features include an Automatic High Beam System, Auto Cruise Control, Smart Key, driver’s seat memory, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s seats, and a heated steering wheel.

    Improved Dynamic Performance, Handling, Efficiency

    The new Highlander will be available in three powertrains. A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine is equipped with a variable intake manifold and dual Variable-Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which controls phasing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts to optimize torque and fuel efficiency. The 2.7-liter engine is teamed with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.

    A 3.5-liter V6 is also equipped with dual VVT-i and a variable intake manifold. Acceleration and fuel efficiency are improved thanks to a new six-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission (ECT) that offers selectable manual sequential shifting.

    The Highlander Hybrid model’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system pairs the 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with a high-torque electric drive motor-generator for additional power and fuel efficiency.

    The new Highlander will provide a more dynamic driving experience, with new technologies that include Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive (AWD), enhancements in suspension performance, and optimized electric power steering. The spring rates and the shock absorbers have been optimally tuned to help enhance the vehicles handling characteristics.

    Highlander will have a MacPherson strut front suspension, double-wishbone rear suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels and available 19-inch alloys.

    Highlander’s Dynamic Torque Control AWD system automatically shifts from front-wheel drive (FWD) to AWD when accelerating or when sensors detect wheel slippage. The driver is able to view the torque-distribution settings on the meter display.

    The Dynamic Torque Control AWD system continuously monitors and controls the torque transfer between the front and rear wheels via an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in the rear differential.

    Front to rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive (100:0) automatically engaged under normal driving conditions to help improve fuel consumption.

    The Dynamic Torque Control AWD system uses information sent from various sensors (speed, steering angle and speed, throttle angle and yaw rate) to automatically govern the transmission of torque to the rear wheels, as required.

    A sophisticated, high-speed interactive management system coordinates control of the Dynamic Torque Control AWD, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Electric Power Steering (EPS) systems to enhance Highlander’s performance, handling and safety.

    Advanced In-Cabin, Multimedia Connectivity

    All new Highlanders come equipped with Toyota’s Entune™ multimedia system. The Display Audio system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth® and voice recognition is standard, while an eight-inch touchscreen system and Toyota’s Entune™ app suite with12 JBL speakers is also available.

    The new Highlander will also offer an available Rear Seat Entertainment system with an RCA coaxial input terminal at the rear of the center console to allow external devices, such as gaming systems, to be connected.

    Comprehensive Array of Safety & Convenience Features

    All 2014 Highlander’s will have eight standard airbags. Like every Toyota, Highlander will feature the standard Star Safety System™, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, an Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. All Highlander’s will also come equipped with a standard backup camera and Hill-start Assist Control. All AWD models will have an AWD LOCK switch.

    New available safety and convenience features include rear parking sonar, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a Pre-collision System.

    All Highlanders are assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) in Princeton, Ind. The all-new Highlander will reach dealer showrooms in early 2014.

    2014 HIGHLANDER PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS

    POWERTRAIN

    2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with VVT-i

    Transmission: Six-speed ECT-i

    Drive System: Front-Wheel-Drive

    3.5-liter V6 engine with VVT-i

    Transmission: Six-speed ECT-i

    Drive System: Front- and All-Wheel-Drive

    Hybrid Synergy Drive with 3.5-liter V6 Engine and Electric Motor

    Transmission: Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

    Drive System: All-Wheel-Drive

    EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS (inches)

    Overall Length: 191.1

    Overall Width: 75.8

    Overall Height: 68.1

    Wheelbase: 109.8

    Ground clearance: 8.0-inches

    Wheels: 18-inch alloy wheels

    19-inch alloy wheels (Limited)

    Tire Size: 18-inch: 245/60R18 (LE and XLE)

    19-inch: 245/55R19 (Limited)

    Towing Capacity: 5,000 lbs. (V6 only)

    Seating Capacity: 7 or 8

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Here's what Toyota does very well: Puts unattractive, in-cohesive, messy design language to the top of the American sales charts. This Highlander carries on the tradition quite well with the new Tundra and RAV-4.

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    The overall shape isn't bad, in fact at first balance I thought it looked pretty good, but in typical Toyota fashion they botch the details. Especially how the head and taillights aren't flush with the sheet metal, they just stick out there, and I hate that. I also don't like the chrome eyebrows on the headlights. LEDs may be all the rage, but they look better than chrome.

    Also that grill looks like two different designs stacked on each other. Look at the massive gaps around the chrome strip that connects the monobrow, and how the chrome outline of the lower grill ends at the headlights.

    post-1757-0-85626500-1364409241_thumb.pn

    That's just terrible.

    As for the interior, it's a typical Toyota mess of different design ideas thrown in a blender.

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I attached the red and black wires to the circuit breaker, installed the ground wire and then installed the circuit breaker into the panel. I also at this time wrapped each wire from the laundry outlet in proper electrical tap and a wire twist to add additional protection and secured them out of the way in the panel corner. I also at this time used my torque screwdriver to ensure proper torque on the wires. With the installation completed at the panel side, I turned back on the 200-amp circuit enabling the house to have power and was time to go enable the charger unit. Here ChargePoint+ has an outstanding cellphone app to enable you to finish up the setup of the charger. I was able to connect to the unit via WiFi and set the unit to 70 amp circuit hardwired. I also then connected it to my house WiFi for internet access. This allowed me to do a update on the unit for software. Here ChargePoint has on the left side of the unit indicators for WiFi connection. Green is good and as you can see in the picture above, I have WiFi connection and the alert is showing green so no issues with the charger. Upon using the regular ChargePoint software app on my smartphone I was able to complete setting up an account and final configuration of my charger as a home charger unit. The unit is green when not in use but ready to be used. During Charging the unit is a pulsing blue. At this point, I had a functional Level 2 240V 50amp hardwired home EV charger with CCS connector. What did this cost me, simple a total of $1,032.23 Level 2 ChargePoint+ Home Flex hardwired charger: $549.99 plus $54.99 sales tax before $200.00 rebate. Total Cost of Materials: $391.77 which was from Home Depot & Lowe's. Tools bought for the job: $110.48 which comprised of a 6 AWG wire striper and a Torque Screwdriver set from Harbor Freight. Electrical Permit: $125 from the city. Best part of this is the cheap charging we get at home at .10 cents per kW. The ChargePoint app allows me to track and monitor in real time our costs and amount used, so it will make it easy to subtract it from the electrical bill to see the house use versus the EV. The app shows that I am constantly at the 11kW controller capabilities of home charging from Kia. This brings me back to why I titled this the Good, Bad and the Ugly. New Service request is the ugly as the costs of the new service from my power supplier has costs that have never been talked about before to me and I still have to pay for the electrical use which makes this the ugly when you are looking at a five figure cost. The bad is clearly adding the new service panel and the associated costs to an electrical company to do the work, pretty much double what the auto industry has stated having a Level 2 home charger installed would actually cost. Good is for those of you who are willing to learn and do the work, a DIY install is in my humble opinion a very cheap way to go even though it did take a chunk of my time, I have no regrets about learning the process to install and dealing with my city on installation. End result is a quality home charger that will serve me well for many years. Please post any questions or comments, happy to respond on this personal journey into home charging of my EV. View full article
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