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    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 william.maley@cheersandgears.comor 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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      Have you ever wondered what it would be to add all-wheel drive to a Prius? What about adding slightly more sport to a Corolla hatchback? Wonder no more as I can tell you some thoughts on the 2020 Toyota Prius AWD-e and Corolla XSE hatchback.
      Prius XLE AWD-e
      The Prius AWD-e powertrain is mostly the same as you'll find in the standard model - a 1.8L inline-four paired with an electric motor to provide an output of 121 horsepower. But, the e-AWD adds a second electric motor producing 7 horsepower and 40 pound-feet onto the rear axle. This provides extra traction and helps with initial acceleration (up to 6 mph). The other change deals with the battery as Toyota swaps the lithium-ion pack for a nickel-metal hydride. Toyota says the nickel-metal hydride chemistry has better resilience in extremely cold temperatures. Does the addition of a second electric motor make the Prius any faster? Not at all. It feels the same as the standard Prius; fine in stop-go driving, but struggling during hard acceleration such as merging onto a freeway. The AWD system is very unobtrusive, you don’t notice come on when one of the front wheels loses traction. There is an important caveat to note; this system only operates up to 43 mph. This is likely due to Toyota wanting to keep somewhat high fuel economy figures. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the Prius AWD-e at 52 City/48 Highway/50 Combined - the lowest of any Prius model. My average for the week was a slightly disappointing 47 mpg. Handling characteristics are the same as the standard Prius. It's slightly fun to drive on winding roads with minimal body roll, but the steering is lackluster. Ride comfort is excellent with most bumps being ironed out. The AWD option does make the Prius a more appealing option for those living in the snow belt who still want excellent fuel economy. Corolla XSE Hatchback

      Toyota wants to make it clear the XSE is the sporting version of the Corolla Hatchback and it shows on the exterior. There is a distinct rear wing, 18-inch wheels with black inserts, and a body kit that makes the hatchback stand out from the plain-jane SE. Power comes from the same 2.0L inline-four found in the SE, producing 169 horsepower. In my tester, I had the standard six-speed manual. The CVT is an option. I was hoping for a slight improvement in overall performance with the manual, but it’s similar to the CVT. The engine feels more suited around town where it can get up to speed pretty quick. But it does show some signs of struggling when trying to reach higher speeds. The manual transmission is a mixed bag. The throws are a bit too long for any sort of enthusiastic driving and it is slightly difficult to slot into the next gear due to the vague feeling gate. But, the clutch is very easy to modulate. Despite having a sportier tune for the suspension, I couldn't tell any difference in the handling between this and the SE hatchback I drove in 2020. Both feel agile and composed when driven on a curvy stretch of pavement. I will say the SE does a better job of minimizing impacts from bumps and potholes with smaller wheels. The only reasons I see picking the XSE over the SE is for the more aggressive looks and additional standard equipment (dual-zone climate control, 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster, and power-adjustable driver seat). Otherwise, the SE offers the same driving dynamics, manual transmission, and a slightly better ride for less money. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Prius AWD-e
      Trim: XLE
      Engine: 1.8L DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i Four-Cylinder, AC Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: ECVT, All Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 96 @ 5,200 (Gas): 71 @ 0 (Electric Motor 1): 7 @ 0 (Electric Motor 2): 121 (Combined)
      Torque @ RPM: 105 @ 3,600 (Gas): 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 52/48/50
      Curb Weight: 3,220 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: 
      Base Price: $28,375
      As Tested Price: $31,757 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Technology Package - $800.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Corolla Hatchback
      Trim: XSE
      Engine: 2.0 DOHC 15-Valve D-4S with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 168 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/31
      Curb Weight: 3,060 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $23,240
      As Tested Price: $26,450 (Includes $955.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Black Roof, Spoiler, and Side Mirrors - $500.00
      Adaptive Headlights - $415.00
      Rear Window Spoiler - $375.00
      Carpet Mat Package - $249.00
      Door Sill Protectors - $165.00
      Black Emblem Overlays - $129.00
      Mudguards - $129.00
      Door Edge Guard - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Protector - $89.00
      TRD Air Filter - $79.00
    • By William Maley
      For your consideration: Two unlikely sport sedans.
      The Toyota Camry TRD and Lexus ES 350 F-Sport may not seem like credible sport sedans at first glance. They may seem like tarted-up sedans in terms of looks, but nothing else. However, after spending a week in each one, I can say both are the real deal.
      Camry TRD
      This Camry is in your face about its sporting potential. It comes with a front splitter, side skirts, a distinct rear spoiler, and 19-inch TRD wheels with a matte black finish. I found it to be a bit much and wished Toyota offered a package that got you the goodies for the suspension and exhaust system while keeping the looks of a standard Camry. A sleeper of sorts. TRD models come with small touches inside such as red seatbelts, red stitching on the seats and dash; leather-wrapped steering wheel, and TRD floor mats. Otherwise, it is your standard Camry interior. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 with 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Yes, that's the same output as the Camry XLE V6 I drove earlier. But what TRD has done is added a new exhaust system that provides a nice growl. I'll admit I was surprised when I blipped the throttle at a stoplight and heard what came out. This is an engine you have to work slightly to get into its sweet spot of power - around the mid-range on the rpm band. But once you do, the engine delivers a smooth punch of power. I do wish the six-speed automatic wouldn't try to go into the highest gear ASAP to maximize fuel economy. Where TRD worked their magic is with the suspension. The car is lower than a standard Camry, along with being stiffer thanks to thicker underbody braces, stabilizer bars, and shocks. On a winding road, the Camry TRD feels much more athletic than the standard Camry with minimal body and a set of summer tires providing excellent grip. The only downside is the steering which needs a bit more weight. Ride quality is a bit more firm than a standard Camry, but the suspension does a decent job of minimizing the bumps and impacts. To top it all off, Toyota has priced the Camry TRD at a surprising point. With the two-tone paint on my tester, it comes at $32,920 - making this the cheapest way to get a V6 in a Camry. The added bonus is that the TRD is also the most fun you can have in Camry.
      ES 350 F-Sport
      Lexus takes a more sedate approach with the ES F-Sport with a mesh grille insert, new wheels, and a small lip spoiler. I think if they went overboard with the sporty touches, it would ruin the elegance of the standard ES design. I will say the grey on my tester makes the F-Sport kind of look somewhat bland. Going with either the blue or red helps it stand out. Under the hood is the same 3.5L V6 found in other ES 350s, producing 301 hp and 267 lb-ft. The behavior is similar to what I found in the Camry, needing to work it before a smooth rush of power comes on. The transmission doesn't have the same programming as the Camry's with trying to maximize fuel economy. It is ready to downshift at a moment's notice. I've praised the standard ES for making a real leap forward in handling as there is less body motion on windy roads when compared to the previous model. The F-Sport takes that a step further with a revised suspension and optional adaptive dampers - which my car had. Slip the drive mode into Sport+ and ES transforms into something that you can pilot with confidence on a twisty stretch of road. The dampers firm up to make body roll non-existent, and the steering feels more weighty when turning. When you decide to stop having fun and turn the drive knob to either normal or comfort, the F-Sport transforms a standard ES with a smooth and quiet ride. The price? Base is $44,635 and this fully-loaded tester comes in at $53,950 with destination. A bit hard to swallow when you consider that the Avalon TRD offers similar performance for slightly less money. But not everyone wants a sedan that screams "look at me", and thats where the ES 350 F-Sport shines. It may be sporty, but it keeps quiet about its intentions. Disclaimer: Toyota and Lexus Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: TRD
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,572 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $31,040
      As Tested Price: $32,920 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Two-Tone Midnight Black Metallic Roof and Rear Spoiler - $500.00
      Special Color - $425.00
       
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: ES 350
      Trim: F-Sport
      Engine: 3.5 DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $44,635
      As Tested Price: $53,950 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package - $2,900.00
      Triple Beam LED Headlights - $1,515.00
      Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intuitive Parking Assist w/Auto Braking - $1,065.00
      Adaptive Variable Suspension - $750.00
      Hands-Free Power Open/Close Trunk - $550.00
      10.2-inch Head-Up Display - $500.00
      Illuminated Door Sill - $400.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      F Sport Heated Leather Steering Wheel with Windshield Wiper Deicer and Fast Response Interior Heater - $180.00
      Door Edge Guard - $145.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00

      View full article
  • Posts

    • It may take some marketshare. It's likely to grabs a bunch of the 'look at me' vanity sales... maybe Leonardo DiCaprio will drive one to an awards show no one watches. But I doubt it'll break 100K in year 2- it just doesn't address truck buyer's needs & wants. Don't forget- that claimed $39K starting price doesn't go as fast nor tow as much, and Tesla raises prices just about MONTHLY... so a number announced going on 2 years ago now is likely going to be a good $5K more. And they're all going to be the same color. Also, the Tesla brand name doesn't carry any weight with the truck demographic. By nearly every metric, it has a steep uphill climb.
    • I get that leading in one or two metrics is meaningless, it is like those commercials that say car A has more standard horsepower than car B, meanwhile car B gets better fuel economy and has 2 option engines that car A doesn’t mention in their commercial. But the Cybertruck has a lot of good metrics, attractive price, and unique styling plus the Tesla brand name.  I think it will sell just fine, I’d be shocked if it wasn’t 100k units a year and I think they could do 200k.     I am not saying the Cybertruck will outsell the F150, but it will take a little market share from existing trucks.
    • Wow.  I didn't realize that.  It's the "reboot" of an older interior, and a very good job of it. Like that dome light on the side of the console.  I think I see a manual window crank.  If so, that's wild.
    • Terminally ill big boy:   
    • ^ You are conflating assembly point with company home country. - - - - - The infinitesimal differences in maximum rated towing or payload do not drive sales by themselves, as the major players are commonly within a few percentage points of each other. This has been patiently explained here numerous times; the 'top number' in a given criteria doesn't drive sales by itself. Ram TD has 1,075 TRQ whereas GMC/ Chevy has 910, but the Ram doesn't handily outsell its competition, thusly disproving your 'model'. Because that's exactly it- (and with trucks especially); they need to be competitive. And they are, and then truck consumers pick the BEST BALANCE of features and capabilities and personal preferences and PRICE and buy 'X'. The Tesla pickup tries to pass off uncompetitiveness in product with "re-invention", and it's just laughable. And what little actually tangible things it does offer (the front trunk, no fuel costs... I can't think of anything else) are going to be offered by a host of competitors by the time it ever gets out. Couple that with the LACK of certain features and it has an immense uphill battle for marketshare. When you ignore the vast data set of the 'Phoenix Rising' of pickups over the last 50 years and instead take a hard left turn and try to pitch it as 'This is what you really want', it just comes off as ill-prepared and unresponsive.
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