The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander aims to take everything great about the existing Highlander and turn it up a couple notches. It's a bigger, bolder SUV that promises more power, more space, and a sharp new look to boot.
The Grand Highlander's purpose, according to Toyota, is to offer a mid-sized SUV with comfortable, spacious seating in all three rows. While the existing Highlander does offer three rows, the Grand Highlander will offer more space to comfortably seat full-sized adults throughout the vehicle. To that end, cargo space has also been expanded. Behind the third row, the Grand Highlander has enough room for seven carry-on suitcases, making it the ultimate airport shuttle for your barbershop septet. Meanwhile, with the seats folded down, there's a mighty 98 cubic feet of storage available.
To support this grandiosity, three powertrains are available. There's a 2.4-liter turbo gas engine, a 2.5 liter hybrid, and the performance-focused Hybrid MAX. At this stage, we know the two lower engine specs will be available in both FWD and AWD trims. Toyota has also stated the 2.5-liter hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy figure of 34 mpg.
As for the Hybrid MAX powertrain, it's set to deliver a mighty 362 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque in the Grand Highlander. It's an absurd figure for a family SUV, and shows just how far things have come in the past few decades. It's most likely a 2.4-liter hybrid engine related to the one in the Toyota Crown, and will make the Grand Highlander the most powerful mid-sized SUV Toyota has ever built. It will be paired with AWD as standard. The Hybrid MAX models will also offer 5,000 lbs of towing capacity and a zero-to-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds—just not both at the same time.
Outside, the design draws from the Highlander, but is more aggressive and angular overall. If you took a trouser press to the sides of the smaller SUV, and worked out some of the creases, you'd be right in the ballpark for the Grand Highlander's shape. The design is perhaps sharpest at the rear, where the squared-off tail lights and clean bumper design give it a purposeful, modern look.
Inside, the Grand Highlander is well-appointed with creature comforts. It will feature a standard 12.3-inch infotainment screen, while the center console is set up with enough space to house a tablet if so desired. There's also a wireless charger in the console, along with two USB ports and three cup holders for your favorite beverages. The front passenger gets a further USB port for their own personal use.
The second row isn't left out either. There's a separate HVAC control panel for the back passengers, along with left and right USB ports. Bench seat configurations will get cupholders in the center armrest, while captain's seat setups will get a rear console complete with cupholders and a multipurpose tray. As for the third row, it's also provisioned with more USB ports, storage for smartphones and tablets, and yet more cupholders.
The overarching idea is that the Grand Highlander should allow seven fully-grown adults to road trip in comfort. Beyond mere seating space, every seat is provisioned with access to charging and cupholders, meaning there's little need for passing phones and drinks back and forth across the rear rows. Notably, all seven USB ports in the car are Type C, so buy your charging cables accordingly. The car also offers a WiFi hotspot for 4G internet connectivity, though in this respect, it only allows five devices to connect at the same time.
Overall, while the Grand Highlander is well-equipped to haul seven adults in comfort, it may not end up being used that way. Be honest: if you're over 30, when was the last time you saw six of your friends in the same place? In reality, the Grand Highlander is most likely to end up as a bigger, better hauler for the local under-10s soccer team, sitting just beneath the larger Toyota Sequoia. Expect to get stuck behind one of these in the school line soon, with price and on-sale dates due to be revealed this summer.
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