$15,557 - $21,321

2013 Toyota Highlander Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2013 Toyota Highlander was new.


Interior: 7.9

Reviewers say the 2013 Toyota Highlander’s interior is appointed with high-quality materials on all trim levels, and is well-assembled, though not especially flashy. Critics say its seats are for the most part comfortable and all of its controls are easy to use. The overall feel of the Highlander’s cabin is well-made and functional, according to most reviewers.

  • "The 2013 Toyota Highlander SUV has an attractive if somewhat conservative interior." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2013 Toyota Highlander features one of the more attractive cabins in the segment, especially in the top-of-the-line Limited model." -- Edmunds
  • The Base model's interior is fitted with above-average-grade plastics, but the fuzzy headliner feels cheap. The SE's leather looks and feels nice. Its other interior bits are notably more upscale of the Base." -- Consumer Guide


The 2013 Highlander can seat up to seven people in three rows. Cloth seats are standard on the base trim, while upper trims come with power-adjustable front seats and either easy-to-clean fabric or leather, depending on the trim level. Heated seats are included on models with leather upholstery. Reviewers say the front seats are comfortable and offer plenty of space. In back, they note that the third row is comparatively easy to access thanks to the split-folding middle row, but also say the third row isn’t particularly spacious. However, this complaint is common among many affordable midsize SUVs.

  • Highlander's seats are nicely supportive, and there's ample headroom and legroom. Getting into the cabin requires a bit of a step up, which feels a bit odd considering this isn't something we really notice on rival crossovers. Rear visibility is obscured by the 2nd-row headrests and thick roof pillars." -- Consumer Guide
  • "While the Highlander's third row is less spacious than that of some rivals, it's easy to reach thanks to a nifty 40/20/40-split second row with a removable center seat that facilitates walk-through access." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

A new Plus trim arrives for 2013, bridging the gap between the base model and the well-equipped SE and Limited trims. The base Highlander comes standard with a six-speaker stereo with USB and auxiliary input ports and Bluetooth. A backup camera is standard on all but the base trim. A navigation system with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, HD Radio and satellite radio are optional on the SE trim. The Limited trim comes standard with a nine-speaker JBL stereo. A power sunroof is standard on the top two trims. A rear-seat entertainment system is optional on the Limited trim.

Critics say that the Highlander’s gauges are easy to read, and controls for the stereo and climate system are within easy reach and straightforward to operate. Reviewers haven’t offered much opinion on Entune in the Highlander, but the system garners mixed reviews in other Toyota models.

See the full list of 2013 Highlander features and specs »

  • "Gauges and controls boast a familiar and straightforward layout, making them a cinch to use." -- Edmunds
  • "All have large, easy-to-read gauges and high-mounted audio and climate controls." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Big round knobs on the dash for the radio and climate control are easy to use even when wearing bulky winter gloves." -- Kelley Blue Book


The 2013 Highlander can carry 95.3 cubic feet of cargo with the second and third rows folded. This figure is okay, but one rival notes that it trails the maximum capacity of rivals like the Chevrolet Traverse. Behind the second row, there are 42.3 cubic feet of cargo space, and 10.3 cubic feet behind the third row. Reviewers say that small-item storage in the Highlander is very good. Another critic notes the usefulness of the independently-opening window on most trims, which allows access to the rear of the cargo area without opening the entire liftgate. A power liftgate is included on the top trims.

  • "There are loads of little storage spaces thoughtfully placed. …" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • There's only grocery-bag space behind the 3rd-row seat. It folds flat to create a decently sized cargo hold. Unfortunately, the 2nd-row seat backs are quite cumbersome to fold and don't lay flat. All but the conventional Base model have a useful separate-opening glass in the rear hatch, which is a rare convenience in this class. Top-notch small-item storage includes generously sized bottle holders and other nooks and crannies." -- Consumer Guide
  • When you have cargo to haul, the Highlander offers 95.4 cubic feet of space with the second- and third-row seatbacks folded down. It's a robust figure and better than many competitors, but GM's full-size crossovers offer even more." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • Fold all the seats down, and the Highlander's 95.4 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume is class-competitive. With the second and third rows up, however, there's just 10.3 cubic feet of cargo volume -- small for this league." -- Cars.com (2011)

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