The Toyota Highlander is already a versatile player in the SUV segment thanks to its versatility, style, and hybrid performance. However, what would happen if you took the Highlander, stretched it out, and added more of what family buyers want? Toyota thinks it has the answer with the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, which aims to not only answer that burning question but also transform itself into another sales success for the Highlander nameplate.
Grand Highlander, Bigger and More Capable Than Ever
At first glance, the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander looks like a standard Highlander that has been stretched through a taffy puller. However, it’s thankfully more than that, with the exterior styling adopting a more assertive personality. The front fascia ditches the droopy look and embraces a new front grille piece with more aggressive-looking headlights giving the Grand Highlander a sportier face than its slightly smaller cousin. The rest of the look is a more slab-sided affair but
The wheelbase of the Grand Highlander has also been stretched, and that extra slice of length helps give occupants more interior room. It also helps lead the eye to the rear of the SUV, where new taillights help give the SUV more poise while a sharp upsweep moves towards the rear bumper and its tidy set of dual exhaust tips. Toyota has taken a few pages out of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s playbook, especially with some of the sportier elements it infused into the Grand Highlander’s design. Toyota hopes that this will help the Grand Highlander lure in Jeep buyers, but it will be interesting to see if the Grand Highlander is capable of doing just that.
Lexus Inspired Interior Gives Grand Highlander Upscale Vibe
Slip inside the Grand Highlander, and we’ll understand if you thought you entered a Lexus product at first glance. Toyota wanted to give the SUV a higher dose of luxury, and it has done so thanks to the addition of standard equipment like a fully digital instrument cluster, wireless phone charging pad, 12.3-inch infotainment system, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities across the entire lineup.
The second row comes standard as a bench, but buyers can swap it out for second-row captains chairs, with the second row benefitting from several USB charging ports as well as built-in cupholders and extra storage to house water bottles and other small items. The third row is often treated as a penalty box for passengers, but the Grand Highlander makes sure to coddle these passengers too thanks to their own separate USB-C charging ports, cupholders, and a special handle that helps make entering or exiting the third row easier. All told, the Grand Highlander has seven different USB charging ports and an impressive 13 cupholders for occupants to use. Toyota claims that these impressive features do their part to make the 2024 Grand Highlander the ultimate road-trip vehicle and also work hand in hand with other available features, including a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front and second-row seats, power-folding mirrors, and the Toyota Multimedia Audio System.
Grand Highlander Silences Skeptics With Performance
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander will also be making a statement when it comes to delivering the goods on performance, with the model offering buyers three different engines to choose from. The base engine is a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, with the hybrid-equipped naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder serving as the middle-of-the-road option. The 363-horsepower 2.4-liter HYBRID MAX engine is topping out the trio, with the SUV being the third model to use this engine, following the Toyota Crown and the Lexus RX. The company didn’t reveal performance specs for the other two engines but look for them to mirror what’s already seen on the standard Highlander.
In a curious move, Toyota equipped the Hybrid Max with a six-speed automatic, a noticeable difference from the eight-speed and CVT that defines the traditional Highlander family. Toyota claims that this transmission was picked to deliver more of the performance and fuel economy that SUV customers want. Still, it’s also an outlier in a segment where nine and ten-speed automatics are rapidly becoming more common. Toyota didn’t divulge torque or fuel economy figures for the Hybrid Max but confirmed that the Grand Highlander can tow 5,000 lbs when properly equipped.
When Can I Buy One?
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander will go on sale later this year. Toyota didn’t reveal final pricing information in the Windy City but look for that information to be revealed sometime in the summer. The Grand Highlander will be available in three trim levels: XLE, Limited, and Platinum, with the XLE and Limited models being the two volume-focused models in the lineup.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.