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2014 Toyota Highlander: Redesigned crossover has great space

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Toyota Highlander

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The Toyota Highlander has gotten a makeover for the 2014 and the results are, well, a bit mixed, depending on your perspective.
The good news is that in the interior, there’s more space, and this three-row SUV now seats eight, up from seven. Seating in the third row is a little tight, but not bad at all for kids.
And, Toyota says the cargo area behind that third row has grown by more than a third.
That’s terrific, because if you are hauling six, seven or eight people, you’re bound to be hauling some stuff, too, so might as well have room for it.
The exterior design is where we’re not quite as thrilled.
In our admittedly very subjective opinion, the previous version of the Highlander looked much more SUV-ish, and less wagon-ish, which we loved.
With this restyling, the Highlander has a lower roof and lower overall stance, even though the body dimensions are virtually unchanged.
The good news about the lower roof is that it provides better aerodynamics, according to Toyota, which can aid fuel efficiency.
We likened the previous version to a nice, smaller sibling of the 4Runner.
For some reason, we glance at this one and see a few ghosts of the departed Chrysler Pacifica. Not a spitting image, mind you, just a vague resemblance.
The engine choices are unchanged, with a base 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 187 horsepower and a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 270 horsepower.
Both are linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. Previously, the V-6 had a five speed.
Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city, 25 highway for the four-cylinder and 18 and 24 on the six-banger – pretty good numbers for a vehicle of this size.
The revised suspension gives a nice boost to driving dynamics.
In addition to the spaciousness of the interior, it also has great amenities, such as the Entune infotainment system and optional panoramic moonroof and second-row sunshades.
The Highlander really has a luxury feel to it.
The Highlander starts at around $30,000 and ranges to about $44,000.
For a roomy, nicely appointed family vehicle, the Highlander is a great choice.

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