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Toyota Highlander Third-Row Seating

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Many drivers appreciate the extra comfort and space that comes with third-row seating. For commuters with large families, it provides the convenience that you wouldn’t get in a smaller vehicle. 

You benefit from an increase in seating capacity for two or three, allowing the vehicle to accommodate 6 or 8 passengers. In addition, you get enough room for different types of cargo. In today’s post, we’ll look at the Toyota Highlander third-row seating and tell you everything you need to know. 

Toyota Highlander Third-Row Specs

The 2022 Toyota Highlander is currently available in eight trims. These include the base L and LE, and the upper Hybrid, XLE, XSE, Hybrid Bronze Edition, Limited, and Platinum trims. The base L and LE models can accommodate eight passengers. Thanks to the bench-seating arrangement offered in the second and third rows. 

The higher trims come with two captain’s chairs in the second row, which reduces the seating capacity to seven. Overall, the first row offers 44.2 inches of legroom for the driver and front passenger. The second row provides 38.4 inches, which is enough for average-sized adults, while the third row offers a mere 27.7 inches of legroom. 

It’s good to note that the third row is not ideal for adults of any size. It is only suitable for younger and smaller kids. Most passengers will find it cramped. The space provided means that you won’t be able to use the third row every day.


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What Model Years of Toyota Highlanders Have the Third Row?

For Toyota Highlander models made between 2001 and 2004, buyers only get two rows of seats that can fit five passengers. This changes for model years 2004-2007, including a third-row bench seating arrangement that increases passenger capacity to seven. 

The second-generation (2008-2013) offers the same seating capacity, with models providing either five or seven seats, depending on the trim you pick. For the third generation (2014-present), a sliding second-row is available as a point of entry and seating for up to eight passengers. 

Effect of Toyota Highlander Third-Row Seating on Cargo Space

On top of all the space you get for people in the Toyota Highlander, there’s adequate storage space for your cargo. The vehicle offers 13.8 cubic feet of cargo volume when all seats are in use. This is enough to fit sports gear, groceries, or four carry-on suitcases. 

The Highlander will enable you to fold the second row for heavy-duty items such as furniture, storage bins, and bicycles. You get 42.3 cubic feet of cargo space when you fold down the third row. This allows you to fit outdoor gear or vacation luggage. 

You can configure your cabin in different ways to create the ideal passenger-to-cargo ratio. This provides a whopping 83.7 cubic feet of space to work with. Plus, both the second-and third-row seats fold 6040 with ease for convenience.


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Standard Features That Come with Toyota Highlander Third-row Seating

As standard, the Toyota Highlander features cloth upholstery, a reclining and sliding second-row bench seat, and an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat. As an option, you get to choose between synthetic and genuine leather for your upholstery, ventilated and heated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, four-way adjustable passenger seat, heated second-row seats, leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, heated steering wheel, and second-row sunshades. 

The vehicle also provides LATCH connectors for child safety seats. The connectors are available as two complete sets for the outboard seats in the second row. You also get a tether anchor for the second-row and third-row middle seats. For the second row, additional lower anchors are also provided. 

Comparison Between Toyota Highlander Third-row Seating and Its Competition

The Toyota Highlander competes against the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, Volkswagen Atlas, Nissan Pathfinder, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, and Kia Sorento. Here’s how much legroom each model offers compared to the Toyota Highlander third-row seating.



The Toyota Highlander offers the least amount of third-row legroom with 27.7 inches of space. While passenger space is more generous overall when compared to other models, the vehicle can only accommodate children and short adults in its last row.

The only models that aren’t that different from the Highlander are the Nissan Pathfinder at 28 inches and the Mazda CX-9 at 29.7 inches. From there on, all other models provide more space and comfort for larger adults.

The Kia Telluride comes fourth at 31.4 inches. It is then followed closely by the Kia Sorento and Subaru Ascent at 31.7 inches. The Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse provide adequate space for passengers at 31.9 and 33.5 inches. The VW Atlas is one of the most spacious at 33.7 inches, while Ford Explorer tops the list with 40.9 inches of legroom.


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Should You Get the Toyota Highlander for Third Row Seating?

Is the Toyota Highlander a good buy if you’re looking to seat more passengers? Absolutely! However, it will depend on the occupants you plan to sit in the third row. At the end of the day, the Highlander is a midsize SUV, and it’s a good-sized one at that.

The first two rows are adult-friendly, with plenty of room and creature comforts. However, the third row isn’t going to be a comfortable space for full-sized adults. Unless you’re seating very small adults on the third row, the furthest back seats are best reserved for teens and small children. The 27.7 inches of legroom just wouldn’t cut it for larger occupants, but children and teens.

Unfortunately, this limits the utility of the Highlander as an eight or seven-seater SUV. Therefore, we can’t recommend the Highlander if you’re looking to accommodate all adults. You’re better off going for a full-size SUV like the Toyota Sequoia or the Kia Telluride for larger third-row legroom.

However, if you’re strictly hauling kids in the third row, the Highlander is a top-notch family SUV.


The Toyota Highlander is one of the many family favorites available on the market for third-row seating. Despite its cramped third row, this midsize SUV offers the seating capacity you need for night-outs with family and friends. Its versatility and practicability have made it a top choice for many buyers across the United States.

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