This is a somewhat random topic, but I wanted to share in case anyone is curious… Yes, the SportBrella XL does fit in the rear cargo area of the new Highlander. At a diagonal, and only with the 3rd row seats folded down.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the SportBrella is really just a giant umbrella with side flaps. You can use it upright, or lay it on its side to provide shade at sporting events. The regular SportBrella has an 8-foot diameter, whereas the SportBrella XL version spans 9 feet.
With four club soccer players in the house, we spend a lot of time on the sidelines of soccer fields around here. I’ve thus been searching for a portable shade source. The SportBrella looked like a good solution, and the SportBrella XL looked even better.
The only problem was that I wasn’t sure it would fit in the Highlander’s cargo area. The stated “travel dimensions” are 58″ long with a diameter of 5.5″. For comparison, the regular SportBrella is listed as being 54″ long with a 4″ diameter when packed for travel.
Based on my measurements, I was pretty sure that it would fit. My greatest concern was maneuvering it through the liftgate opening and into position across the cargo space. I just didn’t want to order one online, find out that it didn’t fit, and have to ship it back, so…
I found one at a local sporting goods store, bought it, and took it out to the car to see if it would fit. That way I’d just have to walk it back in to get my money back if it didn’t. But, as you can see below, it fits perfectly well.
It’s hard to see from this shot, but the 2nd row seats are all the way back, and the righthand section is actually reclined, but it fits just fine. And it’s not hard to maneuver in and out. In fact, I can easily stash or retrieve it through the rear window hatch, without even opening the liftgate.
Now that you know it fits, you can save yourself a trip to the store and just order one online without fear of having to return it. As of this writing, they’re selling for $69.99 w/free shipping from Amazon.