NEW CAR PREVIEW: 2014 Toyota Highlander (with video)

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Toyota has announced United States pricing for the third-generation 2014 Toyota Highlander, including the gas-electric hybrid version of the midsize SUV debuting at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Available in four grades – LE, LE Plus, XLE and Limited – the 2014 Highlander starts from $29,215, which means a $195 increase over the model its replaces. All gasoline Highlanders will come equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, except for the LE grade which can also has a 2.7-liter four-cylinder unit.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the new Highlander LE will range from $29,215 for the LE FWD four-cylinder to $43,590 for the Limited AWD V6 with the Platinum package.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid limited will range from $47,300 ($930 more than the 2013 iteration), and the Platinum model from $49,790.

Prices for the new Highlander take effect with the start of production in early December. The SUV in gas version will be available at dealers throughout the country in January, 2014. The hybrid will be available one month later.

The LE grade comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, and a host of standard features: Entune Audio with Bluetooth phone and streaming music, an integrated backup camera, seating for eight with second- and third-row 60/40 split fold-flat seats, air conditioning, heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators, smart storage compartments like an extra-large roll-top center console, an in-dash shelf with easy access to power and USB ports, a windshield wiper de-icer, and much more.

Standard equipment parade continues on the LE Plus grade with standard fog lights, an adjustable-height power rear liftgate and flip-up rear hatch window, eight-way power driver seat with lumbar support, Entune Audio Plus with XM & HD radio, three-zone automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Like the LE, the LE Plus is mono-spec.

The XLE grade adds standard smart key with push button start, leather-trimmed seats with heated front seats, Chromtec® roof rails and a tilt-slide moonroof, second-row integrated sun shades, Entune Premium Audio with Navigation, App Suite with an eight-inch touch screen display, anti-theft system, Homelink®,and a 5,000 lb. towing capacity. Options include seating for seven with second-row captain’s chairs, and a rear-seat Blu-ray® DVD entertainment system.

The Limited grade adds standard 19-inch Chromtec® alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sonar, seating for seven with second-row captain’s chairs, perforated leather-trimmed seats, heated and ventilated front seats and memory settings for the driver seat and side mirrors, four-way power passenger seat, and Entune Premium JBL Audio with Navigation and App Suite.

Comprehensive Safety

All 2014 Highlander’s will have eight standard airbags. Like every Toyota, Highlander will feature the standard Star Safety System™, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, an Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. All Highlander’s will also come equipped with a standard backup camera and Hill-start Assist Control. All AWD models will have an AWD LOCK switch.

Here’s the 2014 Toyota Highlander pricing:

LE L4 FWD $29,215; LE V6 FWD $30,520; LE V6 AWD $31,980; LE Plus V6 FWD $32,740; LE Plus V6 AWD $34,200; V6 FWD $36,040; XLE V6 AWD $37,500; LTD V6 FWD $39,640; LTD V6 AWD $41,100; LTD Plat. V6 FWD $42,130; LTD Plat V6 AWD $43,590.

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