Share This Post

Consumer / Mama's Product Picks

This Mom’s Take on the 2014 Toyota Highlander and What Features You Will Love (Think: Parallel Parking)

2014 Toyota Highlander for Moms

When Toyota invited several writers to test out the brand-spanking-new 2014 Toyota Highlander, I jumped at the chance to review it from a mom’s point of view. My own family will soon be in the market to replace an aging car. What vehicle will work best for our active and on-the-go lifestyle?

Cutting to the chase, I am highly impressed by several well-though-out features in the 2014 Toyota Highlander.

First, a gorgeous and luxurious entry awaits the driver. There is no slot for an ignition key; the key fob simply has to be in the vicinity (this is a new-to-me feature). I like the look of the ambient lighting. And see that center console? That could hold a huge purse or 60 juice boxes (that was demonstrated!) — enough for both your kid’s soccer team and their rivals.

2014 Toyota Highlander drivers seat

I not only drove this Sports Utility Vehicle, I also rode in both the second and the third rows. Some models have two captains chairs in the middle row and some have a bench seat with convertible console. The end result is comfortable seating for 7 or 8.

Toyota has reconfigured safety features around the body to allow for this ginormous moon roof. My kids would squeal with delight had they been with me.

2014 Toyota Highlander sun roof is huge

Have you ever wished your kiddo could guide you into a parallel parking space, the way the ground crew helps airline pilots? Then you’ll love the Highlander’s efforts to idiot-proof your backup parking (I bet this feature makes your insurance rates go down, as well).

Help with parallel parking

There are hidden features that aren’t as apparent. For example, would you ever guess that the Toyota emblem on this grille doubles as a collision sensor? It can tell if a front-end accident is about to happen and apply brakes before you even know you’re in danger.

safety sensors behind the Toyota Highlander grille logo

One of the challenges for a busy mom who’s getting kids and stuff here and there is that we have only two arms. When one of those arms is needed to close the back of an SUV while holding groceries, a sleeping kid, a dog pulling on a leash, a cup of coffee or snacks for a volleyball team, said mom is severely limited. I was impressed with the ease of opening and closing the back hatch of the 2014 Highlander — literally the touch of a button.

Toyota Highlander hatch back opens and closes easily

There’s so much more to a car but we know THIS absolutely does matter: the Highlander has 10 cup-holders. Ten — one less thing for Junior and Missy to fight about! (And Moms and Dads can each have their coffee and drink their water, too.)

Highlander has 10 cup holders

There are dozens of options to find just the right Highlander for your family, including hybrid power (gas mileage is rated between 21 and 25 mph) and nine exterior paint colors (I’m partial to the “Moulin Rouge Mica”). Pricing starts under $30,000.

How much is a 2014 Toyota Highlander?

The Highlander was fun to drive — tight handling, comfy seating, responsive navigation and entertainment system (it didn’t hurt that the test drive was in Santa Barbara, CA). The Toyota Highlander is on the very short list of cars I hope to have in my garage next.

Want to investigate further for your family?

Disclosure: Toyota made my test drive in Santa Barbara possible for purposes of writing an honest review.


Lori Holden's book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open AdoptionLori Holden blogs from metro-Denver at and can also be found @LavLuz on Twitter. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, written with her daughter’s birth mom, is available through your favorite online bookseller. If you know anyone who is parenting via adoption (open, closed, foster, international) or donor conception (sperm, egg, embryo), or is a birth parent, check this book out as a thoughtful anytime gift.

Lori Holden
Author: Lori Holden

Share This Post


  1. You had me at parallel parking. We’re in the market and this looks awesome. Must head over to my dealership for a test drive!

  2. That feature was a fabulous — and functional — one to behold.

Leave a Reply