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#9

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $47,300 - $49,790
Invoice: $43,185 - $45,459
MPG: 27 City / 28 Hwy
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Toyota Highlander Hybrid Interior

The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's cabin is praised by reviewers for its generous use of upscale materials, tasteful stitching details and attractive trim. Some reviewers compliment the Highlander Hybrid's cabin by calling it Lexus-like. Test drivers agree that the Highlander Hybrid has comfortable and spacious front- and middle-row seats and that the third row has ample space for kids. Many also like that the standard touch-screen interface for stereo and navigation functions is simple and works well.

  • "Toyota clearly sweated the details this time around, and the result is a palpably premium environment, even in the lower trim levels. The gap between Toyota and Lexus has narrowed considerably here, which is good, because the Highlander actually costs as much as a Lexus if you want all the fixings." -- AutoTrader
  • "Happily, though, the Highlander's interior receives an extreme makeover for 2014, and it's nice enough to pass muster at the hybrid's elevated price. Gone are the bland hard plastics that used to cover the dashboard, supplanted by supple surfaces with subtle stitching at the seams." -- Edmunds
  • "Fit and finish are excellent, and the new soft-touch dashboard imparts a higher quality feel than the hard plastic Toyota used in the past." -- MSN Autos
  • "Surfaces are softer to the touch and, on higher grades, there are premium materials all over the place, including (simulated) woodgrain trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and high-quality knit roof lining." -- Autoblog

Seating

The Highlander Hybrid seats seven and comes standard with leather upholstery in the front and middle rows of seats and leatherette upholstery for the third row, as well as power-adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats. A heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats are optional. According to automotive journalists, the Highlander Hybrid's front seats are comfortable, offer plenty of head-, leg- and shoulder room and are positioned for a commanding view ahead. The second-row seats are also comfortable and spacious, reviewers add, and slide pretty far forward to make it easier to enter the third row. Some say the third row is fairly cramped, but others note that there is plenty of space for kids.

  • "Up front, head, shoulder and legroom are superb. The second row, which comes in the form of either a three-person bench seat or two captain's chairs, is also nice and comfortable. Ingress and egress to the third row has been improved, and sitting back there is much more pleasant than it was with the previous generation. The third row still isn't a great place if you're an adult, but if you're generally sticking kids back there for shorter journeys, it should work just fine." -- Autoblog
  • "Front passengers sit on comfortable seats with a good view of the road, but the driver's seat doesn't have enough adjustments and range of motion for an ideal seating position." -- MSN Autos
  • "Since the Hybrid only comes in Limited trim, it doesn't offer the three-person second-row bench that's standard on lesser Highlander models. The two captain's chairs are quite pleasant, however, and they slide farther forward than they used to, permitting easier access to the third row. Speaking of the way-back, adults will still find it cramped relative to some rivals, but kids will be fine and the three-across seating in the third row bolsters the Highlander's credentials as a minivan substitute." -- Edmunds
  • "In back, the second-row seats slide forward farther than before, making third-row access appreciably easier. It's still pretty cramped back there for adults, but the new 3-across bench means you can carry an extra kid, if necessary." -- AutoTrader
  • "Though the third row in some other SUVs is best left to children, in this case I could actually fit back there relatively comfortably, and I'm 6 feet tall. Thinning out the backs of the front seats allowed for more space in both the second and third rows. The amount of legroom in the second row feels downright decadent, almost like in a stretched limousine. Comfortable seats add to the vibe." -- Forbes

Interior Features

Standard features on the 2014 Highlander Hybrid include a power sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera and Toyota's Entune system with the Entune App Suite and 12 JBL speakers, navigation, an 8-inch touch screen, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio and HD Radio. A panoramic sunroof, a rear-seat Blu-Ray player, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control are optional.

Reviewers write that the Highlander Hybrid's climate and infotainment controls are intuitive, adding that the touch screen has a crisp display and that its touch controls work well, though some critics wish there was a dedicated navigation button.

See full 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid specs »

  • "The dash features touch-sensitive audio and phone controls, and it comes standard with various versions of Toyota's Entune infotainment system. We usually don't prefer touch controls as they can be hard to hit just right, but these worked every time." -- MSN Autos
  • "… the 2014 Highlander Hybrid thankfully shares the regular version's all-new cabin, highlighted by upgraded materials, better storage options and a tech-forward dashboard with a sharp-looking 8-inch touchscreen." -- Edmunds
  • "The interior controls are well laid out and easy to use. The optional 8-inch screen with navigation responded quickly to every touch. The only gripe is the lack of a dedicated button to jump directly to the navigation menu." -- Forbes

Cargo

The Highlander Hybrid has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 42.3 behind the second row and up to 83.2 cubic feet with both rear rows folded. The Highlander Hybrid's overall cargo space is on par with that of many other three-row SUVs in the class, but behind the space of class leaders like the Chevrolet Traverse and Mazda CX-9, which offer 100 cubic feet or more. Test drivers are pleased with the Highlander Hybrid's available cargo space, noting that the area available behind the third row is usefully sized. Others add that the center console is very spacious, and large enough for many beverages or a sizeable purse.

  • "When hauling needs arise, the Highlander Hybrid doesn't let its ample battery pack get in the way. There are a usable 13.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row (a notable improvement from last generation), expanding to 42 cubes with the third row folded and a maximum 82.6 cubic feet of capacity with both rear rows folded." -- Edmunds
  • "The storage bin in the center console is truly cavernous. Toyota says it can fit 38 soda cans or 70 juice boxes-not that anyone would pack so many beverages. The point is that it can easily accommodate a large purse, which is an important consideration for female drivers." -- Forbes
Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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