This post is proudly brought to you by the lovely people at SouthEast Toyota, who let me take the awesome 2014 Toyota Highlander for a 5 day spin.
Most people know that day to day I rock and roll in a minivan. The ultimate mom mobile, but not the sexiest of rides. I have no dreams of a Ferrari, but I do sometimes gaze longingly at SUV’s and I always imagine having that new car smell and the chance to start over without cereal ground into every seat. It’s a mom dream, right? Well, listen up. I got to drive the 2104 Toyota Highlander for almost a week and it is one pretty cool SUV.
I may have been a little over the top emotional about these 5 days in the Highlander, as I was in the middle of a move and my minivan was trashed. I needed a little break from all the packing and lugging of boxes. So, for a few days, the kids and I experimented with everything we could in this SUV and I have the scoop for you!
My Favorite Things about the 2014 Toyota Highlander
It isn’t a minivan. Look how sassy it looks! I drove the Blizzard Pearl color with the giant moon roof. It’s just plain pretty. The 2014 Highlander Limited has 3rd row so my people could all fit with their car seats. More on that later.
The 2014 Highlander has a smooth drive that I really loved. It feels much more like a sleek car than a bulky SUV or my minivan.
The backup camera is awesome. I’m not the world’s best backer upper with all those kids making all the noise and such. This camera shows what is directly behind your car and the angle of your car. It might sound silly, but it was so much easier to back down our shared driveway in this rental unit with the Highlander than my van. In fact, I don’t back my van down it. I do a million point turn to go forward. Not so in the Highlander!
In addition to the backup camera, the Limited I drove had blind spot detectors in the side mirrors and rear cross traffic alert that lets you know if you are swerving out of your lane. You can turn these on or off.
There is room for all your kids and your stuff in the 2014 Highlander. I love that vehicles these days have all the nooks and crannies to stash your cups and your phone and your purse. I somehow struggle to keep a clean car, but the space is there. The Highlander has a cool compartment for your purse that can open from either side or all the way. It can hold a lot more than just a purse, unless your bag is really enormous.
The kids were able to reach the cup holders and storage in the back seat, which is nice. In a lot of cars there are cup holders but little arms can’t reach them. The console table flips down when not in use for easier access to the 3rd row.
The whole family loved the voice activated features. You can talk to the radio, the navigation and even sync your phone so you can call people with your voice and talk to them through the car. That’s right, you do not need to touch your phone. I would say my kids found this to be the most fun thing ever.
My Thoughts on Size and Car Seats
Finally, we fit in something besides a minivan! I will say it was tight for 3 five point harnesses, but fine if I used a booster for my 7 year old instead of her normal seat. The third row is raised higher than the second row and the tether anchor is in the center location. This makes a bigger child in that location very tall and directly behind the rear view mirror.
Things looked a whole lot better with the booster positioned to the side in the 3rd row. Forgive the terrible picture. The point is, I could see again!
I also want to point out that the 3rd row seats easily fold down for a ton of storage in the back. They also split 60/40 so you can have a person sitting in the back with the other area open for storage. The multiple configurations allow you to make room for whatever you need.
Overall, my main need in a vehicle is space. For bopping around town, the Highlander was an amazing car for us. I think with 3 kids that are in 5 point harnesses and a penchant for road trips, we would we be a bit tight on space in the back for all of our bags and beach gear and coolers and such. With 2 kids this would not be an issue. The back of the Highlander is really big. It seats 7 with the 3rd row and there is available option to have a bench seat in the 2nd row instead of captains chairs, which would allow you to seat 8. With 3 kids not in car seats, they could all 3 sit in that row, so that may be something to try.
Overall Thoughts on the 2014 Toyota Highlander
Having had 5 days to rock and roll in the 2014 Highlander, I have to say I really enjoyed this ride. It is a fun car to drive and quite a looker. I liked being a little higher up and I loved the technology in this car. It has a lot of room for families. My only caveat is for families with 3 little ones. I do admit I missed the sliding doors of my van. They spoil me. I love all the things Toyota put on the Highlander. Now I suppose I should really try out the Sienna or Sequoia since I had all those kids so close together and I bet they have the same wonderful touches as the Highlander.
We give the 2014 Highlander 2 thumbs up for sure and I want to thank SouthEast Toyota for the opportunity to get away from my messy life for a few days and enjoy this vehicle.
You can check out all the ways to customize your 2014 Highlander. If you have any questions about the Highlander, please feel free to ask them here in the comments. You can also find SouthEast Toyota on twitter and check out all of their cars and features and their inventory all over the Southeast.
If only all cars stayed new and amazing forever and ever, right?
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by SouthEast Toyota. They furnished my family with the 2014 Highlander to give it a spin and share my thoughts as well as a gift card. As always, the thoughts presented here are all my own.