2014 Toyota Highlander: Car Seat Check

By Jennifer Newman  on March 11, 2014

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The redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander is a big step up from the previous generation when it comes to family life. The 2014 model fit three child-safety seats across the second row — something the old model couldn't do — and it has a tether anchor in the third row, allowing parents to install a forward-facing convertible. The previous-gen Highlander didn't have a tether anchor in the third row. Everything isn't perfect when it comes to fitting car seats, but the 2014 Highlander has made excellent progress on this front.

More Car Seat Checks

How many car seats fit in the second row? Three

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two

What We Like

  • The second-row seats slide forward and back and the seatbacks recline, allowing for a lot of flexibility when fitting kids and their car seats in the back.
  • The two sets of lower Latch anchors in the second row's outboard seats are mostly easy to use, but the anchors closest to the middle seat are a little harder to get at because of seat belt buckles and other hardware blocking access. Reclining the seatback opened up the seat bight for better Latch access.
  • The rear-facing infant seat fit well in the second row. We only had to move the front passenger seat forward one "click," which didn't affect our tester's legroom or comfort.
  • The rear- and forward-facing convertibles fit well in the second row.
  • The booster seat fit well in the second row. Although the seat belt buckle is somewhat recessed in the seat cushion, the booster didn't slide over it because the seats are wide.
  • The second row moves forward easily to create a passage to the third row — even with a car seat installed — but the opening may not be big enough for some adults. Kids shouldn't have any problems getting to the third row.

What We Don't

  • The third row's tether strap's location means a forward-facing convertible must be installed in the middle seating position. We used a seat belt to install it, and the car seat fit well, but our convertible is so wide that we had to jam the booster seat in next to it. There wasn't enough space to fit our hands between the two car seats when buckling up.
  • The booster is a tight fit even without the convertible seat next to it since the third-row cupholders jut out into the seating area, pushing the booster over the top of the seat belt buckle.

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Grading Scale

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.

B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks

Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.

We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.

Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

Toyota Toyota Highlander Car Seat Check Crossovers Family Family Cars SUVs Safety


Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear.  Email Jennifer