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Toyota Highlander SUV boot space, practicality and safety

2021 - 2022 (change model)
Practicality rating: 4.5 out of 54.5

Written by Tom Wiltshire Published: 14 June 2022 Updated: 14 June 2022

  • Seven-seat interior with lots of flexibility
  • Storage around the cabin is excellent
  • Hybrid system doesn’t infringe on cabin space

How much space is there?

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. 

Toyota Highlander rear seats
Toyota Highlander rear seats

The second row is great too, with space for a six-foot adult to stretch out. These seats slide fore and aft by 180mm, too, which allow you to effectively balance legroom between the middle row and the third row. You’ll also find Isofix child seat mounting points in the two outer seats.

The third row isn’t as spacious as that in the Land Rover Discovery, and though adults will fit they won’t be as comfortable. That’s mostly down to the height of the floor versus the seat cushion. With that being said, it’s far from bad, and there’s more room than you’ll find in many popular seven-seat SUVs such as the Peugeot 5008.

Boot space and storage

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 an average 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 models get an electric tailgate. On top-spec Excel Premium cars, it’s gesture-operated by waving a foot under the rear bumper.

Toyota Highlander boot
Toyota Highlander boot

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

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 bulkier 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.

Is it easy to park?

All-round parking sensors and a reversing camera are standard, which make this large and bulky SUV easier to park than it might otherwise be. Top-spec Excel Premium cars come with 360-degree cameras to make life easier yet.

However, there’s no denying it’s a big car, and the view out of the rear is somewhat limited, so you’ll need a big space and to rely on your mirrors and cameras.

How big is it?

  All Toyota Highlander models
Length  4,966mm
Width  1,930mm
Height  1,755mm


  • 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.

Euro NCAP rating

Ratings for this model not available

Equipment and options

Each trim level will have different equipment offerings.
Basic equipment (32)
  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • ABS
  • Air conditioning
  • Alarm
  • Audio remote
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • 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 reach adjustment
  • Traction control
Standard Equipment
Optional Equipment
Excel Standard Equipment
  • n/a
Excel Optional Equipment
  • n/a
Excel Premium Standard Equipment
  • n/a
Excel Premium Optional Equipment
  • n/a


Length 4966mm
Width 1930mm
Height 1755mm
View full specs