Roseville, Calif.- Have you noticed something different regarding the Toyota Highlander this summer? The Japanese automaker released a version of next year’s model prematurely and it’s much larger than its predecessor.
Say hello to the new 2024 Grand Highlander, which is essentially a stretched version of the popular Highlander that has enjoyed wonderful success since it was introduced 18 years ago. The well respected Highlander had one major flaw, a cramped third row of seating. Due to its overall size increase, all versions of the Grand Highlander feature more accommodating third-row seating and additional cargo space.
The Highlander has been a huge success story right from the start. Debuting in 2005, sales of the Highlander were 137,409 that first year. Sales gradually rose to a high of 264,128 in 2021, its biggest year ever. But sales dripped by more than 41,000 last year and the 2023 Highlander sales have been even worse.
So, one might suggest the new Grand Highlander models are a major reason for the drop in sales – car buyers were waiting for the larger Highlander to hit the market, giving folks who love the Toyota SUV one more reason to purchase it.
Performance and Fuel Economy
This review will focus primarily on the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid, an SUV that not only offers good performance but also delivers terrific fuel economy – an estimated 34-37 mpg.
All Grand Highlander models are larger, measuring 201.4 inches in length, 72.1 inches in height, 78.3 inches in width, and come with a wheelbase of 116.1-inches. Still considered a midsize SUV, the Grand Highlander slots between the regular Highlander and the full-size Sequoia. Depending on the seating, the Grand Highlander can accommodate seven or eight passengers.
From a visual standpoint, there is nothing to gush about regarding the Grand Highlander’s appearance. Toyota has never been known for head-turning, attractive vehicles – the focus has primarily been on practicality. The somewhat bland-looking Grand Highlander fits the mold, and also keeps its interior devoid of luxury features.
The Grand Highlander hybrid comes with a hybrid powertrain, pairing two electric motors that combine with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder to produce 362 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. It goes 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds and has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The hybrid has front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available.
Safety & Handling
There’s nothing flashy about how the hybrid SUV handles, yet there’s no worries on challenging winding roads and its fine for around town errands. Standard driver safety features include automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist. adaptive cruise control, and lane centering
The Grand Highlander interior puts a clear emphasis on the family, making it practical and user-friendly. For example, there are exorbitant amount of cupholders – 13 to be exact. The SUV is also equipped with tablet cubbies in the removable center console between the second-row captain’s chairs. Note that some models have a second-row bench that will seat three people comfortably.
AT A GLANCE -2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid
- Performance: two electric motors, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 362 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 34-37 mpg
- Price estimate: $44,700 to $58,200
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 2 years/unlimited; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited; hybrid components: eight years or 100,000 miles
The driver is aided by two 12.3-inch displays on the dash, one of them a big infotainment touchscreen. Also standard is a wireless smartphone charging pad, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a power-operated liftgate,
The first two rows provide excellent head and leg room, while the third row easily houses adults under 6-feet tall and the seats recline for additional space. The cargo area is 20.6 cubic feet, roughly 41/2 inches more than the standard Highlander. When the rear rows are folded down the space is nearly five times larger at 97.5 cubic feet.
There’s lot to like about Toyota developing a larger version of its popular Highlander SUV. The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander hybrid is one of several choices and its fuel economy is a primary reason that it could be the most popular of the new SUV models.