Does Toyota Highlander Have 3rd Row Seating [And How Many Seats]?

The Toyota Highlander has been one of the most sought-after family crossover SUVs in the past few years. If you're considering the Highlander for your next car, then you may be wondering about its seating layout, seating capacity, and other features. We've compiled some interesting information for your reading pleasure.

All 22 models of the 2022 Toyota Highlander in the US come with 3-seater third-row seats. For total passenger capacity, models in the lower "L" and "LE" trim levels come with an 8-seater configuration. Alternatively, the higher trim level models offer a more comfortable and luxurious 7-seater configuration.

Would you like to know if the Toyota Highlander is ideal for your family's needs? Read on, and we'll help you understand more about this crossover SUV. Aside from seating arrangements, we will also touch on its features, performance, safety, and its competitors.

Toyota Highlander concept car - presentation in showroom, Does Toyota Highlander Have 3rd Row Seating [And How Many Seats]?

Do All Highlanders Have 3 Rows Of Seats?

 Toyota Highlander on a street in spring scenery.

The first generation of the Highlander debuted in 2001 with two rows of seats for five passengers. Also known as the Toyota Kluger elsewhere globally, this first-generation crossover received an optional third-row seating update in 2004. The third row increased passenger capacity to seven.

The second-generation, model year (MY) 2008 Highlander entered the US market in late 2007. Initially, both 5-seater and 7-seater variants were available. However, in later updates of this generation, Toyota USA dropped the 5-seater trims to make way for another Toyota model.

In 2014, Toyota gave the third-generation Highlander a wider body to allow a 3-seater 3rd-row bench-type seat.  Maximum passenger capacity increased to eight for lower trims. In turn, the higher trim models remained at seven passengers due to the new second-row captain seats.

The fourth-generation Highlander (MY 2020 to present) has the same three-row seating configuration as the previous generation. Lower trim models have an 8-passenger capacity, and higher trims have seven seats.

How Do You Access The Third Row On A Toyota Highlander?

Both the second-row captain chairs and the second-row 60/40 bench seats of the 2022 Toyota highlander have fold and slide functions to allow access to the third-row seats.  

Is Toyota Highlander 3rd Row Comfortable?

Like in many mid-size crossover SUVs, the Toyota Highlander's third-row seats are not as comfortable as the ones in front.  The third-row seats have the following dimensions:

  • Headroom - 36.1 inches (917 mm)
  • Legroom - 27.7 inches (703.5 mm)
  • Shoulder room - 55 inches (1,397 mm)
  • Hip room - 45.6 inches (1,158 mm)

These dimensions make the third row ideal for kids and perhaps some small adults. Apart from having their own air conditioning vents, these last-row passengers can also enjoy four cupholders and a reclining backrest function. 

How Big Is The Cargo Space In A Toyota Highlander?

The Toyota Highlander has a little more cargo space than most mid-size SUVs on the market today. Below are the cargo dimensions:

Behind the third-row seats, you will find 16 cubic feet (0.45 cubic meters) of cargo space. This may not seem like much, but it is enough for several bags of groceries.

Behind the second-row seats, there is an impressive 48.4 cubic feet (1.37 cubic meters) for your cargo. This means that with the third-row seats folded, you may also be able to bring your golf set or your fishing rod during your trip.

When all the second and third-row seats are folded, the 4th-generation Toyota Highlander boasts 84.3 cubic feet (2.39 cubic meters) of cargo space. With this cargo space, you may even be able to bring along your tent, cooler, and enough supplies and luggage for a week-long camping trip.

Even though the Highlander's cargo space is not the best on the market, it certainly is enough for most family activities.

What Kind Of Engine Does A Toyota Highlander Have?

The Highlander has ample passenger and cargo space for you to maximize, but is it powerful enough to haul all of them?  Yes, it is.  

The 2022 Highlander comes with two engine options - one gasoline and one hybrid.

  • The gas option is a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) gasoline engine. It produces 295 hp at 6,600 rpm and 263 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm. This engine is paired with Toyota's Direct Shift 8-speed Electronically-Controlled Automatic Transmission (ECT).
  • The hybrid option is a combination of a 2.5-liter 16-valve I4 DOHC gasoline engine and two electric motors. When they operate together, they put out 243 hp at 6,000 rpm and 175 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Hybrid models use Electronically-Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT).

Both engine options can have front-wheel-drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations.

How Much Weight Can A Toyota Highlander Carry?

Depending on the trim, the Toyota Highlander has a payload capacity ranging from 1,485 to 1,685 lbs.

Based on gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) and curb weights of the different trims, we can compute the Highlander's payload capacity. To illustrate, below are three sample Highlander variants with their payload capacities. 

  • Base Highlander L model, FWD - 1,685 lbs payload capacity
  • Mid Highlander XLE model, AWD - 1,565 lbs payload capacity
  • Top Highlander Bronze Edition, AWD - 1,505 lbs payload capacity

How Much Weight Can A Toyota Highlander Tow?

Unveiling Toyota SUV Highlander 2017 at New York International Auto Show at Jacob Javits Center

Apart from payload capacity, you may also be curious if you can hook up a trailer or camper to the Toyota Highlander. Good news - yes, you can! The Highlander can tow teardrop trailers, pop-up trailers, and small travel trailers.

The hybrid Highlanders are rated for 3,500 lbs maximum towing capacity. The V6 models, on the other hand, are rated for 5,000 lbs.

Is The Toyota Highlander Fuel-Efficient?

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the 2022 Toyota Highlander has combined (city/highway) fuel economy ratings from 36 miles per gallon (mpg) to 23 mpg, depending on the model.

  • Hybrid FWD models get an impressive 36 mpg combined (36 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway)
  • Hybrid AWD models get 35 mpg combined (35 mpg for both city and highway)
  • V6 FWD models get 24 mpg combined (21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway)
  • V6 AWD models get 23 mpg combined (20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway)

What do these EPA ratings mean?  The Hybrid models' fuel efficiency ratings are indeed impressive. In fact, these ratings are even better than that of a 2022 2.5-liter gasoline Toyota Camry (32 mpg combined). 

The V6 models, in turn, are still better than many other mid-size SUVs in terms of fuel economy. Below are some of the Highlander's competitors and their corresponding fuel economy ratings with their gasoline engines.

  • Honda Pilot - FWD 23 mpg combined, AWD 22 mpg combined
  • Hyundai Palisade - FWD 22 mpg combined, AWD 21 mpg combined
  • Kia Telluride - FWD 23 mpg combined, AWD 21 mpg combined
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee - 2WD 22 mpg combined, 4WD 21 mpg combined
  • Chevrolet Traverse - FWD 21 mpg combined, AWD 20 mpg combined

How Far Can A Toyota Highlander Go On A Full Tank?

Gas full meter

All V6 models of the Highlander have a fuel tank capacity of 17.9 gallons. The hybrid models, on the other hand, have 17.1-gallon tanks. By multiplying these tank sizes with their combined fuel efficiency ratings, we can determine how far the models can go on one full gasoline tank.

  • Hybrid FWD models - 615.6 miles 
  • Hybrid AWD models - 598.5 miles 
  • V6 FWD models - 429.6 miles
  • V6 AWD models - 411.7 miles

Is The Toyota Highlander A Safe Car?

Toyota Highlander concept car - presentation in showroom

Yes, the most recent safety ratings prove that the Highlander is a safe vehicle. In fact, the 2022 Toyota Highlander earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Furthermore, it also won the Top Safety Pick+ Award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Is The Toyota Highlander A Reliable Car?

Black Toyota Highlander car stands on a roadside in foggy morning

Yes, the Highlander is a reliable vehicle.  Based on the J.D. Power Consumer Rating, the 2022 Toyota Highlander scored an overall 83 points out of 100. The Highlander's scores in the different categories of this rating are as follows:

  • 82 points for quality and reliability - "Great" score
  • 80 points for driving experience - "Average" score
  • 91 points for resale value - "Best" score
  • 79 points for dealership experience - "Average" score

How Much Should I Pay For A 2022 Toyota Highlander?

As of May 2022, the different trims, as well as the starting prices of the 2022 Toyota Highlander, are as follows:

  1. L grade FWD - $35,855
  2. L grade AWD - $37,455
  3. LE grade FWD - $38,055
  4. LE grade AWD - $39,655
  5. Hybrid LE grade FWD - $39,555
  6. Hybrid LE grade AWD - $41,155
  7. XLE grade FWD - $41,055
  8. XLE grade AWD - $42,655
  9. Hybrid XLE grade FWD - $42,555
  10. Hybrid XLE grade AWD - $44,155
  11. XSE grade FWD - $42,650
  12. XSE grade AWD - $44,600
  13. Hybrid Bronze Edition FWD - $44,580
  14. Hybrid Bronze Edition AWD - $46,180
  15. Limited FWD - $45,010
  16. Limited AWD - $46,960
  17. Hybrid Limited FWD - $46,510
  18. Hybrid Limited AWD - $48,460
  19. Platinum FWD - $48,010
  20. Platinum AWD - $49,960
  21. Hybrid Platinum FWD - $49,510
  22. Hybrid Platinum AWD - $51,460

What SUVs Are In The Same Class As The Toyota Highlander?

ew Hyundai Palisade SUV parked in the parking lot

During the majority of the past decade, the Toyota Highlander has always been on the podium of America's mid-size SUV sales. It was third in sales from 2015 to 2017, and eventually, it grabbed the second spot from 2018 until 2021.  

Below are some of the competitors of the 2022 Toyota Highlander, as well as their corresponding starting prices.

  • Honda Pilot -$37,580
  • Hyundai Palisade - $33,150
  • Kia Telluride - $33,090
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee - $38,325
  • Chevrolet Traverse - $33,700

Wrapping Up

The 4th-generation Toyota Highlander has three rows of seats, with the third row capable of seating three passengers. Lower trims have 8-seater configurations, and higher trims have 7-seater configurations because of their second-row captain seats.

Thank you very much for reading, and we hope that we were able to help you understand more about Toyota Highlander.
For more interesting reads about SUVs and other automotive topics, check out these great articles.
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