Thursday, February 6, 2014

Highlander visits Lowcountry and ACE Basin

2014 Toyota Highlander Limited at the ACE Basin NWR

2014 Highlander price points

2014 dashboard with EnTune touchscreen and cell phones

Grove Plantation house and Grand Live Oaks,
and it was 29 degrees!!
The southern edge of the ACE Basin can be accessed by turning onto Parkers Ferry Road, driving past several private plantations on the way to the National Wildlife Refuge that is open to the public. When my friends at Toyota USA expressed an interest in bringing the all new 2014 Highlander to the Lowcountry, I directed their attention to this refuge.
I explained that the ACE Basin is more than a single refuge, it is a conservation movement that encompasses 350,000 acre along the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers. Much of that acreage is in Colleton County, but the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is in neighboring Charleston County, and lies on the southern banks of the Edisto River. The refuge also bears the name of U.S. Senator Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings since his impetus led to the federal protection of the ACE NWR.
The 2014 Highlander SUV is on sale now, and the Limited edition offers several new accessories like third row seating, full-size moonroof and cutting edge driving sensory tools. The center console features the EnTune audio system with satellite radio, access to apps like Facebook and or course a navigation system. I turned on the nav system by setting the NWR as a waypoint and let the voice and mapping system lead me down a road that I know by heart.
By far the most exhilarating part of my visit on January 27 came when I was on a rock road that traverses a swamp leading to the refuge gate. A voice chimed in that I had 1.2-miles to go, but was completely silent when three bucks crossed the road at mach speed just in front of my borrowed Highlander.

The three bucks were well spaced, had modest racks and I viewed them clearly. They ran with their heads up, acting as if my approach had spooked them. I couldn’t help but wonder that if I had been stationed at the same spot during a deer drive, would my shot have resulted in a hit or a miss. While I appreciated the close encounter with the deer, I wondered if the Toyota folks could have envisioned a deer and vehicle collision as part of my test drive? 

To read the remainder of my feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about Toyota USA click Highlnader or Tundra or Tacoma.

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