How Many Seats Does a Toyota Highlander have?

The Toyota Highlander was introduced in 2001 as the fifth model in Toyota’s SUV listings. The Highlander is an early model of a car-like SUV.

It is an SUV with a frame based on a car platform rather than a truck. Therefore, it is often considered a suitable crossover SUV for many passengers or large families.

Are you wondering if the Toyota Highlander’s seating capacity will meet your large family’s requirements? Before you go for a test drive and make payments for the Toyota Highlander, you need to know how many seats you’ll be getting and the determining factors for each option. 

For well-detailed information on the seating capacity of the Toyota Highlander, make sure you read this article to the end.

How Many Seats Does a Toyota Highlander have? Seven or Eight?

The earliest Highlander models had only two rows to seat five people. The three-row models were only introduced in 2004, increasing the seating capacity from five to seven.

Further upgrade to the third generation in 2014 increased the seating capacity to a maximum of eight seats with a wider third row. Finally, the current fourth-generation Highlander debuted as a 2020 model and retained these features.

The standard seating capacity for the current Toyota Highlander models varies depending on trim level: 

  • L and LE: 8 seats
  • XLE,  XSE, Limited, and Platinum: 7 seats 

In the Highlander’s upper trims, the second-row bench seat is automatically substituted for two captain’s chairs, improving interior comfort but reducing the overall seating capacity from 8 to 7.

The Toyota Highlander SUVs come with either seven or eight seats, depending on the options selected during purchase. Nevertheless, customers can return the second-row bench seat at no extra cost.  

How Many People Does a Toyota Highlander Seat?

The Toyota Highlander seats eight people at lower trims and seven at higher trims. It can seat up to eight people when fitted with a second-row bench seat or seven people when fitted with second-row captain’s chairs, reducing the seating capacity by one.

Precisely, eight-person seating is standard on the L and LE and available on the XLE in 2021 models, while seven-person seating is standard on the XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum. The Toyota Highlander 7 and 8-seater SUVs have an operative interior with three rows of seats, with the third-row seats being able to be folded when not in use.

Do all Highlanders Have Three Rows of Seats?

Despite the number of seats in a Highlander varying depending on the trim and customization, all Highlanders have three rows of seats. 

However, while the Toyota Highlander’s seats are cozy in the first two rows and the excellent head- and legroom for adults, the third row is another matter entirely. The seats on the third row are the most uncomfortable for adults and best suited for children only because it offers only a few inches of leg space.


Owing to its excellent seating capacity and well-built safety features, the Toyota Highlander models are great three-row crossover SUVs for families, huge families with many young children requiring ample car space.

The highlander also deploys TEMS, so read this article if you want to answer on how Toyota TEMS work.


  • Greg Fuller

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