ComfortComfort All Highlander Hybrids include three rows of seats. The front buckets and second row bench are comfortable enough, but the tiny third row is suitable only for small children.
As with any vehicle that is designed to carry multiple passengers, the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid needs to be comfortable, and for the most part, it is. The front bucket seats are fairly wide, and the cushioning is firm but supportive. The power adjustments on the driver’s seat work with the tilt steering wheel to provide a suitable driving position, though one of our editors did suffer a sore lower back after a 500-mile stint behind the wheel. The heated seats on our Limited tester worked quickly, and all models feature a headliner contoured for added headroom in all three rows. Each front seat includes a fold-down, padded center armrest, though we wish they were wider and could be adjusted for a more customized fit. Thanks to doors that open wide and a good hip point, most folks should have no problem getting in and out of the Highlander Hybrid.
Second-row passengers sit on a 60/40 folding bench seat that is spacious, comfortable, and equally easy to enter and exit as the front. Padding is added to the front seatbacks to protect occupants’ knees, headrests offer a generous range of vertical adjustment, and padded door and fold-down center armrests are well placed. The second-row seat, which feels a bit softer than the front buckets, folds nearly flat, and slides forward to provide access to and improve passenger room for the third-row bench.
All 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid models come standard with that third bench, which folds flat into the cargo floor using a simple strap, and can be raised just as easily using a small recessed handle on the seatback. But be mindful that the third-row is only suitable for young children. To gain access, the passenger’s side of the second-row bench slides forward and there’s a small outboard “step” inside the doorframe that helps with stumbling into the rearmost bench. However, this requires some serious crouching, and even larger children might find it difficult. Once seated, third-row passengers will be hard pressed to find any leg or foot room, though that problem can be alleviated somewhat by sliding the second-row bench forward. Yes, there’s a seat back there, but just make sure it’s never where your adult butt gets planted.