What a way to see New England, the Toyota Highlander

As part of our fabulous tour of the East Coast, the nice people at Toyota arranged for us to evaluate the Toyota Highlander and I have to admit I’m more than a little impressed.IMG_20140617_093323

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is large, roomy and upscale. It’s an excellent option for car shoppers with an aversion to thirsty SUVs.

For most of the trip there were four of us in the car and while our car did not have the optional three-passenger third-row seat which would have bumped maximum passenger capacity to seven. The second row was very comfy for the kids with a pair of captain’s chairs and more cup holders than they knew what to do with.

My 6’5″ nephew positively glowed at the leg room in front when we drove up to the tip of Maine. The ride was comfortable and actually allowed him to stretch out his legs.

I can’t say enough about how this vehicle handles. First, the car is HUGE – roomy and all over a large vehicle, but it drives like a sporty car.  Power is provided by a 3.52014-06-23 16.31.07-liter V6 engine, which along with three electric motors and a battery pack, produces a combined 280 horsepower. Making passing along the back roads of New England speedy and safe!

All-wheel drive is standard, as is a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Fuel mileage is very impressive for a three-row crossover at an EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined.

The Limited, which we drove, include a sunroof, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a back-up ca2014-06-23 16.31.27mera, Bluetooth, smartphone app integration and a premium audio system with satellite radio and an iPod/USB interface.

In reviews, the newest Toyota Highlander Hybrid has earned high marks for its high fuel economy and upscale interior that’s roomy enough for larger families. This three-row crossover also feels composed around turns, and the ride quality on the highway is smooth and very quiet. Price could also be a concern, as the hybrid is considerably more expensive than the regular Highlander. But if you can comfortably afford the Highlander Hybrid, it’s an admirable all-around crossover that’s bound to please.

Disclosure: We want to thank Toyota, who loaned us the 2014 Highlander for twelve days for the purposes of evaluation and this review.

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