When the kind people of Toyota pulled up to my house and handed me keys to a 2014 Toyota Highlander, I had to look around for cameras and listen for a laugh track. How fun to have the opportunity to drive this beauty on family adventures for the week. After all, I practically live in my car so to enjoy one as sparkly and fresh-smelling as this gem was a treat, and it made our swim-school-parking-lot-traffic-jam tolerable while we explored new features.
Notable feature: AC for my actual rear. Yes. There’s AC in the rear of the vehicle with dedicated controls. But we fancied a special button we aptly named our “cooly cooler”. This is most certainly not what the Highlander Marketing team had in mind for product naming. Apologies for that. But the AC in this car meant business and during our hot week of summer run-around, we appreciated this completely.
Another favorite feature: Entune, an exceptional quality, HD audio experience. We’re music and technology fans, so we were excited to poke around here. It took all of 30 seconds to set up my Bluetooth (via iPhone 5) to access full control of phone contacts and an extensive music collection available on the touch-screen, hands-free or logical button access from the steering column. The audio was pristine quality and it will be sorely missed, as we took full advantage of this for our listening pleasure. (We might have left a few too many fingerprints behind.) There’s a full App Suite, USB and auxiliary ports, and a really, really comprehensive navigation system.
The drive was very smooth. It’s solid, felt safe and was very accommodating with 3rd row for carting kids, belongings and lots of random baggage. The back row folds easily for storage, groceries, beach chairs and other bits that don’t fit into the hatch – which also came with auto lift/close. (Fun.)
Another safety number: Reverse cam on the dashboard and other safety indicators like side-mirror sensors for passing vehicles to help overcome blind spots.
The kids really loved having their own “Captains Chairs” which were really roomy and had this flip up table in between for storing drinks, toys, bags, books and any random 12 things your kids decide must be in the car. (Those red things below are boxing gloves. Don’t ask.) Bonus points for that space reducing the number of times I had to turn around and break up hands-on horseplay.
In their own words:
Now, sadly, I must tell the children she’s leaving today. I am not certain they’ll allow it.
We really, really, really enjoyed our super hero of a ride this week. Any family would be pleased with the performance, safety record and a myriad of conveniences tailor-made with a busy family in mind. Check out all the awesomeness she has to offer.
We’ll miss you, sweet Highlander. We wish you could stay forever. Please come visit us again. #ToyotalHighlander #LetsGoPlaces
Sincerely, The Gaupp Family
Disclosure: I was provided with one week use of a 2014 Toyota Highlander to review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.