Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
You’d hope that something this big on the outside would be pretty capacious on the inside, and the Toyota Highlander doesn’t disappoint. Up front, you’ll find plenty of leg room, oodles of head room and lots of breathing space between you and your front passenger. The door bins are a bit small, but they’re more than made up for by a huge central storage area between the seats, another smaller cubby in front of the gearlever, a shelf above it and another for the front passenger.
Rear passengers are treated to loads of leg room, especially with the bench slid to its rearmost position, and lots of head room, even with the panoramic sunroof that’s standard on both trims. There’s plenty of width to accommodate three and a virtually flat floor unlike the Audi Q7 and BMW X5, while the rear door bins can accommodate a small bottle of drink and a few other odds and ends.
You’ll have to rely on muscle power to erect the third row of seats and move the second row to access them; fortunately, they’re not too heavy to move, although some may prefer the fully electric seats found in posh Land Rover Discoveries. Getting in the very back isn’t too tricky because the Highlander has big doors and a decent aperture to fit through.
Once you’re back there you’ll find good head room and decent leg room if you slide the second row forwards a little. The footwell isn’t particularly deep, though, so you’ll find your knees pushed up towards your chin. It’s certainly decent for the class, although we’d point out that the Kia Sorento is almost as roomy and significantly cheaper to boot.
We’ve already touched on seating flexibility a little, but to clarify, the second row of seats can be slid backwards and forwards, reclined, or folded flat in a 60/40 split. That's handy, but not quite as good as the Q7’s 40/20/40 split. The third row is split 60/40 and can also be reclined, too.
Obviously, the Toyota Highlander's boot isn’t vast with all seven seats up, although you’ll still get a few shopping bags in there even without using the storage under the floor. You can hide the load cover under there when it's not in use – a process made far easier by it being telescopic.
On paper, if you fold down the third row of seats, you’ll have more room than in an Audi Q7. Fold down the second row, too, and it’s getting on for the size of a This extended loadbay is flat, too – perfect for that bit of antique furniture you’ve had your eye on.
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