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The Toyota Highlander midsize SUV and the RAV4 compact SUV are the best-selling models in their respective segments. And drivers that are drawn to the Toyota brand often choose between the two models. Both have much to offer — but the 2023 Toyota Highlander has one huge strength over the 2023 Toyota RAV4: a roomier cabin.

2023 Toyota Highlander has a roomier cabin than the 2023 Toyota RAV4

Front angle view of gray 2023 Toyota Highlander midsize SUV
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

A selling point of SUVs is their ability to comfortably haul people with their spacious interiors — and on this front, the 2023 Toyota Highlander is the better choice. It’s larger than the 2023 Toyota RAV4. As a result, it has a much roomier cabin. It can seat up to eight passengers and has a three-row layout, compared to five passengers and a two-row layout for the RAV4.

Front angle view of white 2023 Toyota RAV4 compact SUV
2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Also, the Highlander has a total passenger volume of 141.3 cu-ft, while the RAV4 offers just 98.9 cu-ft. Additionally, the midsize SUV provides more legroom compared to the RAV4, with 42.0 inches (vs. 41.0 inches) for the front seats and 38.7 inches (vs. 37.8 inches) for the second-row seats.

Furthermore, the Highlander offers more cargo space — with a maximum storage capacity of 84.3 cu-ft. In comparison, the RAV4 provides only 69.8 cu-ft of total space for storage. For hauling both people and cargo, the Highlander is the roomier SUV. 

2023 Highlander also has a more upscale interior than the 2023 RAV4

Seats in 2023 Toyota Highlander midsize SUV
2023 Toyota Highlander | Highlander

In addition to being more spacious, the cabin of the 2023 Toyota Highlander is more upscale than the one in the 2023 Toyota RAV4. The midsize SUV has higher-quality craftsmanship with a greater use of premium materials — especially for the upper trims. Overall, it has a more luxurious look and feel. 

Furthermore, the Highlander offers premium features that you can’t get for the RAV4. For a good view of the sky above, there’s the panoramic moonroof. The midsize SUV also offers a head-up display, which projects driving information onto the windshield. Additionally, for optimal comfort on long drives, you and your passengers can enjoy sitting in the quad bucket seats. 

Other premium features offered for the Highlander — but not available for the RAV4 — include a rear climate control system, illuminated vanity mirrors, a mirror memory system, and remote engine start.

Other benefits of the Toyota Highlander over the RAV4

The 2023 Highlander SUV has some other benefits over the 2023 RAV4. This includes a stronger base engine. The Highlander’s turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four delivers 265 horsepower, compared to 204 horsepower for the RAV4’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Also, the Highlander has greater towing capabilities. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds, compared to 3,500 pounds for the RAV4. 

Furthermore, the Highlander performed better than the RAV4 in IIHS crash tests. It earned a “good” rating for the updated tests for the “moderate overlap front” and “side” parts of the SUV — but the RAV4 only achieved an “average” rating. 

The 2023 Toyota Highlander has a huge strength with a roomier cabin than the 2023 Toyota RAV4. When deciding between the two SUVs, the more spacious cabin is a key element to keep in mind.

Related 2023 Toyota Highlander: Features, Price, Specs, & Overview

2023 Toyota Highlander: Features, Price, Specs, & Overview