Riding High with the Toyota Highlander
Truth be told - I haven't owned a car with a third row since my kids were toddlers. But there is something to be said about having lots of space - especially when you travel with a four legged companion, grandparents and of course, our kids.
This summer, I had the chance to try out the brand new Toyota Highlander for one week. I happen to love getting the opportunity to drive a new car over the summer - especially because we love to take lots of road trips this time of year. Riding in a new car, with that distinct new car smell always makes me smile and I have to say, our set of wheels for the week did not disappoint. While my kids were in sleep away camp, we actually took the car for a road trip with our faithful companion Santana. Yes, our dog happens to love riding in cars so she instantly took to her new digs. We placed her crate in the trunk by flipping down the third row and she periodically poked her head out of her home to survey the scenery.
What I loved about the car - especially since we have kids and pets are the all weather mats that you can find throughout the vehicle. Nothing tracks mud and crumbs than those rubber mats and it makes it super easy to clean after you've been on a road trip with bags full of chips, dog treats, drinks, fruit and more.
The other elements I enjoyed was the fact that I could regulate the temperature on my side of the car. That's one thing my husband and I always disagree about - he's always too warm and I'm always too cold, so it was nice that I could select a nice balmy temperature for me, while he kept his side as chilly as a meat locker. The power seats were also quite comfortable. They actually include lumbar support so if you have a bad back, you can adjust the seat so that it makes it more comfortable to drive. Another great feature is the back up camera so that you don't miss anything or anyone who might be behind you. The camera also comes in handy for parking since there's a red bar that shows you when you are too close to the vehicle behind you.
The Highlander also includes traditional bells and whistles including an option for your bluetooth phone, the chance to sign up for Siriux XM radio and a Nav system. But what I also loved was the Entune app suite that enables you to listen to streaming radio from Pandora and make dinner reservations from one of my favorite apps, Open Table.
Another awesome feature...the trunk that opens and closes at the touch of a button making it easy to take out packages from the supermarket and close the trunk all with one hand. The car also came equipped with a sunroof, which we didn't use this time around since we weren't sure if Santana would use it as an escape hatch.
We did take a mini road trip during our week with our Highlander when we visited with my parents in Southampton. The four of us and Santana took a day trip to Greenport, Long Island one morning where Santana had a staring contest with my mom and couldn't contain herself whenever she saw another dog as we shopped at the local boutiques.
Overall, I have to say, I did enjoy giving the Toyota Highlander a whirl. The ride was incredibly smooth and as a mom, I really did appreciate all those extras that make driving an SUV super easy and fun. And even though I typically don't ride in a car with seating for seven, I have to say I did love having the extra space and would totally consider getting a Toyota once our car lease is up in a few months.
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary one week test drive of the 2014 Toyota Highlander. All opinions are 100% my own.