Toyota has expanded its lineup of three-row SUVs by introducing the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, a larger and more luxurious version of the popular Highlander. The Grand Highlander offers more space, features, and power than its smaller sibling, making it a compelling choice for families needing room for up to eight passengers and their cargo.
What's New for the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander?
The Toyota Grand Highlander is an all-new model for 2024, joining the Toyota family as the largest and most premium SUV in its portfolio. It shares its platform and powertrains with the Highlander, but it has a longer wheelbase, a longer body, and a more spacious interior. Its distinctive design also sets it apart from the Highlander, with a bolder grille, sleeker headlights, and a more sculpted rear end. The Grand Highlander is available in four trim levels: LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum. All models come standard with a hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a total output of 243 horsepower. A gas-only powertrain with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 295 horsepower is optional on all trims except the LE. Both powertrains are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The Toyota Grand Highlander starts at $43,070 for the LE hybrid model with front-wheel drive, which is $3,000 more than the equivalent Highlander. The XLE hybrid model adds features such as leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a sunroof, and blind-spot monitoring for $45,570. The Limited hybrid model ups the ante with leather seats, ventilated front seats, a JBL sound system, a hands-free liftgate, and a surround-view camera for $49,570. The Platinum hybrid model tops the range with quilted leather seats, heated second-row seats, a head-up display, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and adaptive headlights for $53,570. Adding the V6 engine costs $2,000 on all trims except the LE, which is unavailable. Adding all-wheel drive costs $1,600 on all models.
We think the XLE hybrid model offers the best balance of value and features for most buyers. It has enough comfort and convenience amenities to make long trips enjoyable without breaking the bank. We would also opt for the all-wheel-drive system for better traction and stability in slippery conditions.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Grand Highlander's hybrid powertrain delivers smooth and quiet performance with adequate acceleration and passing power. The transition between gas and electric modes is seamless, and the regenerative braking system is well-calibrated. The V6 engine provides more punch and responsiveness but consumes more fuel and makes more noise. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and smartly in both powertrains.
The Grand Highlander's handling is composed and confident, with good steering feedback and body control. The ride quality is comfortable and refined, easily absorbing bumps and road imperfections. The Grand Highlander also has impressive off-road capabilities, thanks to its available all-wheel-drive system that can vary torque distribution between the front and rear wheels depending on the terrain. The Grand Highlander also has several drive modes that can adjust the throttle response, transmission shift points, steering effort, and traction control settings to suit different driving scenarios.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Grand Highlander's hybrid powertrain is one of its main selling points, as it offers excellent fuel efficiency for a large SUV. According to the EPA estimates, the Grand Highlander hybrid can achieve up to 36 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 35 mpg combined. That's significantly better than the Highlander hybrid, which gets 35 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 35 mpg combined. It's also much better than the Grand Highlander's gas-only counterpart, which gets 21 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined. The Grand Highlander hybrid also has a longer driving range than the gas-only model, thanks to its larger fuel tank. The Grand Highlander hybrid can travel up to 630 miles on a single gas tank, while the gas-only model can only go up to 504 miles.
We have not yet tested the Grand Highlander's fuel economy in real-world testing, but we expect it to perform similarly to the EPA ratings. We will update this section once we have the results.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Grand Highlander's interior is spacious, upscale, and well-equipped. The cabin is adorned with soft-touch materials, wood accents, and ambient lighting. The seats are comfortable and supportive, with plenty of adjustments and options for heating, ventilation, and massage. The Grand Highlander can accommodate up to eight passengers in three rows of seats, or seven passengers if you opt for the second-row captain's chairs. The third row is more spacious than the Highlander's, with more legroom and headroom. The Grand Highlander also has more cargo space than the Highlander, with 18 cubic feet behind the third, 48 cubic feet behind the second, and 84 cubic feet behind the first.
The Grand Highlander comes with a long list of standard and available features that enhance comfort and convenience. Some of these features include a dual-zone or tri-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, a wireless charging pad, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a digital rearview mirror. The Grand Highlander also offers several storage compartments and cupholders throughout the cabin.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Grand Highlander's infotainment system is easy to use and packed with features. The base model comes with an 8-inch touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi hotspot. Higher trims get a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen that adds navigation, satellite radio, and HD radio. The Grand Highlander also offers a 10-inch head-up display that projects key information on the windshield, such as speed, navigation directions, and driver-assist alerts. The sound quality is superb, thanks to the standard six-speaker sound system or the optional JBL sound system with 11 speakers.
The Grand Highlander also has many smart features that enhance safety and convenience. Some of these features include a keyless entry and start system, a remote engine start system, a hands-free power liftgate, a surround-view camera system, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.