By Jennifer Geiger on November 20, 2013
Competes with: Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot
Looks like: Its styling matches its updated-for-2014 non-hybrid sibling
Drivetrain: An electric motor teams with a 3.5-liter V-6 for a total of 280 hp; CVT
Hits dealerships: February 2014
We got up close and personal with Toyota's redesigned midsize crossover at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, but the Highlander's hybrid sibling is making its global debut in L.A. this year. The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, a three-row crossover, seats seven and goes on sale in February with a base price of $48,160, which is $930 more than the 2013 model. All-wheel-drive V-6-equipped non-hybrid models start at $32,840 for 2014; all prices include an $860 destination fee.
Like its non-hybrid sibling, the 2014 version got a styling makeover. It wears the same muscular look up front and sleek body side lines. It's around 3 inches longer and a half-inch wider this year.Interior
Inside, there are leather-trimmed seats in the first and second rows, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. A new 4.2-inch color display screen provides driver information, including an energy monitor and eco driving indicator.
Standards include Toyota's Entune multimedia system with navigation and app suite, which uses an 8-inch touch-screen. Options include a Blu-ray rear entertainment system.
Captain's chairs are standard in the second row, and the third row is a 60/40-split bench with seating for three passengers. Toyota says rear cargo space behind the third row has increased by 34 percent this year.
Under the Hood
The all-wheel-drive Highlander Hybrid pairs an electric motor with the same 3.5-liter V-6 as the outgoing model; Toyota says the pair is good for a total of 280 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission is the sole transmission. Like last year's version, the Highlander Hybrid can again cruise at low speeds on electric power only. Toyota claims the hybrid will deliver excellent fuel efficiency, but official numbers aren't out yet. The 2013 version is EPA rated at 28/28/28 mpg city/highway/combined.
Standard features include a backup camera and hill start assist. Newly available options include rear parking sonar, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and a precollision system.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer