A third-row seat is a desirable feature for many car buyers, and more automakers are adding them to SUVs and crossovers. But any parent will tell you that communicating with kids in the “way back” can be a challenge, and it can also be a dangerous distraction if the driver has to turn around to be heard.
A feature called Driver Easy Speak in the new 2014 Toyota Highlander solves this problem and works like an in-car intercom. It uses a microphone in the front of the vehicle to pick up the driver’s or front passenger’s voice and play it over speakers in the back so that those in the second and third row can better hear it.
The feature is standard on the XLE and Limited upper trim levels and is activated and controlled by the center-dash touch screen. It doesn’t mute the stereo if it’s playing and it’s a one-way system, so those in the second and third rows can’t talk back. But it’s a feature that people buying the new Highlander – namely parents – will likely appreciate.
You can see it in action in the video above.
Originally published by MSN Autos