The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander is finally here, and we saw it in the flesh a few hours ago at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show. While we expected more space, we didn't expect it to look this different from the regular Highlander. We quite like the results, and it's clear Toyota didn't just stretch it out but gave it a new design to help differentiate it from its smaller (but still three-row) sibling.
More than just a bigger interior (and exterior), the all-new Grand Highlander also gets Toyota's Hybrid Max powertrain as an option. This is the same powertrain that shows up in the new Toyota Crown sedan and the new Lexus RX 350h. It isn't available on the current Highlander Hybrid, so that helps to differentiate the Grand Highlander further. Let's take a closer look at the new, larger 3-row SUV.
What Makes It Grand?
First things first. The Grand Highlander gets the name because it's bigger. It's taller and wider than the Highlander and the room should be commensurate inside. While no dimensions have been shared for the seating, we do know it's got more headroom and legroom in rows 2 and 3. That third row was the biggest complaint about the standard Highlander model, which didn't even increase from the previous generation.
Secondly, the Grand Highlander eschews the Highlanders' curvy fenders and replaces them with a handsome but more conservative slab-sided body. We think it works really well for the bigger SUV. The front end is also more truck-like, exuding similarities to the 4Runner, especially the leading edge of the hood. The grille setup is also similar with a smaller grille up top and the larger portion just below it, separated by body trim. The fascia is more vertical, too. The styling is more conservative, but we think it works really well.
The taillights get thin LED elements, and the C-shaped units are different from the Highlander's single trapezoidal shape. Instead of the Highlander's deeply sculpted rear flanks, the Grand Highlander opts for regular rear quarter panels that focus on the bulge of the fenders. The rear glass is also more squared off, and there's a body-colored plastic swath between the taillights. Twin round exhaust pipes look great peeking out from the lower corners, unlike the boring single unit that comes out from underneath the regular Highlander.
The cargo section of the Grand Highlander has 20.6 cubic feet of stuff behind row three, 4.6 more than the regular Highlander. With the seats folded flat (see above), the Grand Highlander's cargo capacity jumps to 97.5 cubic feet, a whopping 13.2 more cubic feet than the regular Highlander. That's a significant upgrade and one that large families will want.
The Interior Gets Upgrades
The Grand Highlander's cabin looks different, too. The look of the seats is similar, but the dash is layered differently, and the infotainment screen has more of a floating effect. Standard equipment across the Grand Highlander line includes a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, wireless phone charging, seven USB-C ports, 13 cup holders, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist and automatic high-beam headlights.
As you travel up the trim levels, there are larger, differently styled wheels, LED lighting, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated and ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, and full speed adaptive cruise control.
The Grand Highlander's top dog Hybrid Max powertrain mates a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a pair of electric motors and a six-speed automatic transmission. It's good for a substantial 362 horsepower. It can also tow 5,000 pounds. If you want lesser engines, the Grand Highlander will get the Highlander's powertrain in the form of a base turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder, and the optional naturally aspirated 2.5-liter hybrid four-cylinder found in the Highlander Hybrid. The engines will be available with either front- or all-wheel drive.
No pricing has been announced, but that should all come to light prior to its 2023 sale. We can't wait to check it out.