The venerable Highlander has been a strong seller for Toyota since its debut back in 2001, when it helped usher in the era of uni-body crossovers. Back then, the Highlander represented a solid alternative to the mundane four-door sedan with its higher ground clearance, upright view of the road and tidy dimensions. Five passengers and a decent amount of cargo could trudge though snow or down wooded paths with more confidence than in a Camry , thanks to the available all-wheel drive. The little CUV That Could embodied the premise of the whole crossover craze; combining the on-road manners of a car with SUV-like capabilities in a smart package.
The Highlander moved into its second generation in 2008, and received a mid-life refresh in 2010. Those changes helped it stay competitive, but the time has come for the next generation. Enter: the all-new 2014 Highlander.
Everything inside and out has a new look. Sharper, crisper lines make the CUV more manly and rugged, while its overall look still labels it as civilized. It rides on the same wheelbase but has grown some three inches, giving more rear passenger legroom.
An eight-passenger configuration is available on mid-level trims, and a powerful 3.5-liter V-6 can send power to all four wheels when the right option boxes are checked. Both the four-cylinder and hybrid models return for 2014, but with improved fuel economy.
I had the chance to drive the Highlander through the “snowpocalypse of 2014” along the icy streets of Charleston, South Carolina, as the town suffered its first snowfall in years.
Click past the jump for our 2014 Toyota Highlander review