• |
  • |
  • Styling Showdown: 2013 vs. 2014 Toyota Highlander

Styling Showdown: 2013 vs. 2014 Toyota Highlander

Bigger, Bolder, More Functional

Edward A. SanchezMay 3, 2013
The midsize SUV segment is not one traditionally known for its particularly sexy or daring styling, with a few exceptions. And over the last decade, the brand has often played it the safest when it comes to styling is Toyota, which has personified safe, predictable and non-offensive design. So the rather rakish lines of the 2014 Highlander took us a little by surprise.
Photo 2/23   |   2014 Toyota Highlander
It still doesn't rival Range Rover, or arguably even Mazda in terms of taking styling risks, but for a Toyota, it's probably one of the most eye-catching SUV designs we've seen from them since the debut of the Venza in 2009. Starting at the front, the 2014 model has a much deeper, larger grille opening, with headlamp and turn-signal housings that taper halfway up the front fenders, giving the new model a much more powerful road presence from the front.
Photo 3/23   |   2012 Toyota Highlander
The side surfacing is also distinctly different on the new model, with a pronounced beltline crease that runs from the rear of the front wheelwell to the rear taillights and an indentation along the bottom of the doors. The most notable side surfacing on the 2013 model was pronounced vertical fender flares front and rear.
Around back, the 2014 Highlander shows a number of influences from other peer vehicles, such as the Nissan Pathfinder, Mazda CX-9, and, dare we say it, even Toyota's own Sienna minivan, which we think is one of the best-looking models on the market, so it's meant as a compliment. There's even a hint of Jeep Grand Cherokee, especially from the rear three-quarter angle, with its triangulated rear-quarter window and horizontal taillights.
Photo 10/23   |   2014 Toyota Highlander
Moving to the inside, the styling has a considerably more angular feeling to it. Although we sometimes use the term "angular" to connote dated or uninspired, in this case, it lends the Highlander's cabin a more upscale look, similar to the effect the redesign had on the Avalon sedan. The shifter receives a leather boot from last year's gated gear selector, and the steering wheel adopts a sportier-looking three-spoke design. The 2013 model's recessed cylindrical gauge housings have been scrapped in favor of a more traditional cluster, which we think looks less busy and contrived.
Photo 11/23   |   2013 Toyota Highlander
Possibly the biggest news for the 2014 Highlander is a significant 4.3 inch increase in width in the third row, generally the least desirable seat in the house, at least if you're an adult. This facilitates a snug, but credible eight-passenger capacity in the 2014 model, whereas the 2013 model was limited to seven-passenger seating, even with a second row bench.
All in all, we give the 2014 Toyota Highlander a thumbs-up for its redesign, giving it a more assertive, distinctive presence while simultaneously increasing practicality. What do you think of the new Highlander's styling?

2015 Toyota Highlander Specifications

VIEW ALL
Fair Market Price $27,967
MSRP $29,765
Editors' Overall Rating
Mileage 20 City / 25 Highway
Engine 2.7L I4
Horse Power 185 hp @ 5,800 rpm
Torque 184 ft lb of torque @ 4,200 rpm
See all Specifications

MOST POPULAR

Truck Trend Network

TRUCK RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

Toyota Highlander

Fair Market Price
$27,967
Editors' Overall Rating
Basic Specifications
MSRP: $29,765
Mileage: 20 / 25
Engine: 2.7L I4
get a free quote

Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truckin
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
SUBSCRIBE TO A MAGAZINE
TO TOP