Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Seven-seat interior with lots of flexibility
  • Storage around the cabin is excellent
  • Hybrid system doesn’t infringe on cabin space

The Highlander is one of the largest cars Toyota sells – smaller only than the long-wheelbase Land Cruiser and the decidedly van-like Proace Verso.

Those exterior dimensions have been well-used and translate into a spacious interior with seven seats and a cavernous boot.

The front seats are particularly wide, soft and comfortable, as you’d perhaps expect for a car that sells very well in the USA. The second row is great too, with space for a six-foot adult to stretch out.

The third row’s a little tighter. Unlike the Land Rover Discovery, you won’t particularly want to seat adults back here, at least not for long trips – but they’ll be fine on short journeys, and there’s plenty of space for children.

The second row slides fore and aft by 180mm, too, allowing you to effectively balance legroom between the seats. Isofix child seat mounting points are present in the two outer seats.

Interior stowage space is excellent, and has been very well thought out – not always a given, even in cars that purport to be family friendly. The Highlander offers a big glovebox and a large centre cubby under the armrest for larger items, while storage for smaller oddments is ample – there are smartphone-sized pockets in all four doors, ideal when every passenger has their own device.

Boot

The Highlander’s boot is one of the biggest around, even among similar large SUVs. With all seven seats in place, there’s still 332 litres of space – that’s the size of a good-sized supermini’s boot, and easily enough to accommodate a family’s weekly shop.

Drop the third row of seats, meanwhile, and you’ll liberate 658 litres – and with both rear rows of seats folded there’s a cavernous 1,909 litres up to the roof. The rear seats also go totally flat, making it easier to load bulky or awkward items, while all cars get an electric tailgate. On top-spec Excel Premium cars, it's gesture-operated by waving a foot under the rear bumper.

If that huge boot still isn’t enough for you, the Highlander will tow a trailer up to 2.0-tonnes in weight.

Safety

  • Not yet tested by Euro NCAP
  • Loads of standard safety kit
  • Similar RAV4 scores highly

The Toyota Highlander hasn’t yet been tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP, but the signs are encouraging for it scoring well when it is.

North American market models were very highly rated by the USA’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, earning their highest commendation – a Top Safety Pick+.

The mechanically similar, albeit smaller, RAV4 SUV scored a full five stars when NCAP tested in 2019, which is a further encouraging sign.

Toyota’s loaded the Highlander with active safety aids, too, as part of its Advanced Toyota Safety Sense pack. All models come with autonomous emergency braking capable of detecting vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in day or night conditions. There’s also Emergency Steering Assist and Intersection Turn Assist, both of which will actively steer you away from an impending collision.

Lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam headlights, blind spot monitors and rear cross traffic alert complete a thoroughly impressive armada – and it’s all standard equipment on both of the Highlander’s trim levels.

Basic equipment

The basic equipment list includes equipment that is standard across all versions of the Toyota Highlander SUV.

  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • ABS
  • Air conditioning
  • Alarm
  • Alloy wheels
  • Audio remote
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • CD
  • Driver`s airbag
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric mirrors
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front electric windows
  • Headlight washers
  • Heated seats
  • Height adjustable drivers seat
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Lumbar support
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • PAS
  • Passenger`s airbag
  • Rear electric windows
  • Remote locking
  • Roof rails
  • Sat Nav
  • Side airbags
  • Space saver spare wheel
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Traction control

Equipment by trim level

To view equipment options for a specific trim level, please select from the following list:

Excel equipment

Excel standard equipment
Same as basic equipment
Excel optional equipment
None available

Excel Premium equipment

Excel Premium standard equipment
Same as basic equipment
Excel Premium optional equipment
None available