The verdict: Toyota redesigned its three-row SUV for 2020, giving the Highlander more safety, tech and convenience features. The Highlander is available with second-row bench seating or second-row captain’s chairs. We tested a Platinum all-wheel-drive model with captain’s chairs, and while we found a lot to like about the second row, the third row was lacking in many ways.
Does it fit three car seats? No
Take a look at how the Latch system and each car seat scored, below, in our Car Seat Check of the 2020 Toyota Highlander.
Related: Search Car Seat Checks
- Latch: The two sets of lower anchors are exposed and easy to use. The second-row captain’s chairs have tether anchors midway down the seatbacks. They’re easy to find and use. There are no lower Latch anchors in the third row and just one top tether anchor.
- Infant: The infant seat was easy to install and our front passenger had plenty of legroom.
- Rear-facing convertible: This seat also went in easily and again, there was ample legroom for the front passenger.
- Forward-facing convertible: Installation was easy and after removing the head restraint, the convertible fit well in the second row.
- Booster: In the second row, the booster fit well. The seat belt buckles are nestled into the bottom of the seat cushions, but stay in place when raised up. They should be easy enough for kids to grasp and use independently.
- Third-row access: The second-row captain’s chairs can slide forward even with a car seat installed, creating a kid-sized pathway to the third row. Without a car seat installed, the captain’s chairs fold and slide forward to create a wide pathway. The step-in height is good and there are two cutouts in the doorway to make it easier to climb in.
- Third-row booster: There wasn’t a lot of room for the booster in the third row. Two of the three seats in the third row are too narrow to accommodate our booster seat. We tried to install it behind the driver’s seat in the third row, but the seat sat on top of the seat belt buckle, which is nestled into the seat cushion. It fit better behind the passenger side. The third row’s fixed head restraints made it tough to situate the booster flat against the seatback. Also, with the second-row captain’s chairs all the way back, legroom and footroom would be very tight in the row behind, even for younger kids.
- Third-row forward-facing convertible: We were unable to install the convertible in the third row due to lack of space. The car seat’s base is too wide, and it covered the seat belt buckle. Because there’s only one top tether anchor, there’s not a lot of flexibility about where the car seat can be installed in the third row.
About Cars.com’s Car Seat Checks
Editors Jennifer Geiger, Jennifer Newman and Matt Schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter 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. Learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks.
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.
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