2019 Toyota Highlander

Interior


#6 out of 23 in Midsize SUVs

$31,680 MSRP
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2019 Toyota Highlander Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 8.2

The 2019 Toyota Highlander's cabin is comfortable, quiet, and classy. The first two rows are roomy and pleasant, especially with the optional second-row captain's chairs. However, the third row is exceptionally small, and there is very little cargo room when all seats are in place. Tech features are numerous and get a thumbs up for ease of use.

  • "The quality of materials is high, and during our one-year long-term test of a Highlander, everything in the cabin remained nicely screwed together. Impressive." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "Step into the new Highlander and you'll find a comfortable driving position; refreshingly straightforward controls that are logically located, clearly marked and intuitively functional; and plenty of attention to detail as far as utility is concerned. All of this simplicity is rendered in a pleasing design comprised of appealing materials." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • The materials in the back (with the exception of the flip-up tray between the seats) are nicer than any other SUV save a Mercedes. I don't love the way the dash looks, but functionally, it's brilliant with that shelf for phones and stuff. There's no reason for the sunroof to have two buttons to control it, and the reach for the stereo tuning knob on the stereo is way too far." -- Motor Trend (2017)

Seating

The Highlander comes standard with cloth upholstery and manually adjustable front seats. In its base configuration, this 3-row SUV seats eight people with a 60/40-split second-row bench seat that slides and reclines. Upper trim levels replace this with a set of captain's chairs. These are more comfortable and make it easier to access the rearmost seats, though they reduce the total seat count to seven. A 60/40-split flat-folding third-row seat is standard in all models. Seating upgrades include synthetic and genuine leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and a heated steering wheel.

The front seats are agreeable and offer a good view of the road. Even adults will find the second row relaxing, especially when the Highlander is outfitted with the captain's chairs. The third row works fine for children but is too cramped for most grownups.

  • "Lexus lite. The Highlander's seats, ride comfort and utterly silent atmosphere are nearly as good as you'll find in SUVs from corporate cousin Lexus." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "The comfortable front- and 2nd-row seats are great for long drives, and little ones in the third row will be satisfied, although adults should skip it." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Although the 2017's dimensions are identical to last year's, there's a change in the seating area that makes the Highlander more flexible: an additional 1.4 inches of forward and back travel for the sliding second row. Not only does this make the third row easier to access, it also offers extra third-row legroom that was sorely lacking in the previous year's model." -- Cars.com (2017)

Interior Features

The Highlander's technology is simple and easy to use, with several appealing family-friendly items on the options list. Every model comes with an infotainment system that features a responsive touch screen. However, this display and some controls require a stretch to reach.

Standard features include a 6.1-inch touch screen, five USB ports, Bluetooth, voice recognition, a rearview camera, and Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). The high-tech systems grouped under TSS-P are a pre-collision system with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

Options include an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, smartphone-linked navigation, an integrated navigation system, the Entune app suite, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, Driver Easy Speak, proximity key entry, push-button start, tri-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, a rear-seat entertainment system, a surround-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

See 2019 Toyota Highlander specs »

  • "With the Highlander's Driver Easy Speak, cries of 'DON'T MAKE ME PULL THIS CAR OVER' are reduced to a mere vocal warning via an intercom system that allows the driver's intention to be conveyed loud and clear to 3rd-row-seat occupants." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • Toyota's touchscreen interfaces aren't the flashiest or most feature-packed, but they are easy to use. The 8-inch version (standard on most models) is notably quick to respond to inputs and features large, easily pressed icons." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "It's a long reach to some controls, particularly the touch screen." -- Consumer Reports (2018)

Cargo

The Highlander has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third row. That's on the small side for this class. Fold down the rear seats, and you'll get 42.3 cubic feet behind the second row and up to 83.7 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats down. Every trim but the base LE comes with a flip-up rear hatch and a power liftgate.

  • "The Highlander's 2-piece rear hatch offers the convenience of a flip-up glass window. This design makes it easier to load and unload items without valuable cargo rolling out the back, or the family pooch making a break for freedom." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "A third row … folds flat easily for more cargo stowage." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • The Highlander offers an average amount of cargo capacity for the segment, regardless of how many rows are in place. Some others offer more space behind the third row, notably the Ford Explorer." -- Edmunds (2018)
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