2014 Toyota Highlander: Third-Row Seat Access and Comfort
July 31, 2014
The 2014 Toyota Highlander comes standard with a third-row seat, giving it either a seven-passenger or eight-passenger capacity depending on whether you've got the captain's chairs (like ours) or the second-row bench. So maybe you've got to take your spouse, your two kids and your in-laws out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. How's the Highlander going to do?
Pretty well, I think. There are two levers to slide the second-row seat forward (the one on the seat back is the one in the photo). Both are clearly marked, and sliding the seat forward is pretty easy. Going all the way forward provides a decent space to step through (more than the last Highlander). With the captain's chairs like our Highlander has, you can also just step between them.
The third-row seat's legroom and headroom are certainly suitable for children or young teens. The seatback also reclines and has adjustable head restraints. Amenities include two cupholders and an overhead air vent for each outboard position.
If you're putting your kids' grandparents back there, though, it might be a little more problematic. I'm 5-foot-10-inches tall, and my head rubs up against the headliner. I have to tilt my head a little to fit. There is enough legroom for me, though. That legroom is partially influenced by where you position the second-row seat. But I set both the first and second row seats for normal adult comfort and still had enough legroom in the third row. Of course, it's not exactly comfortable, as the low-mounted seat has my legs and knees angled up. Also, while it's technically a three-person seat, you're never going to want to put three teens or adults back there.
Some larger three-row crossovers like the Chevrolet Traverse or the Ford Flex are going to give you a little more third-row space. But realistically the Highlander will have most family life situations covered.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,913 miles