The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander made an early debut at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show. Toyota calls it the “ultimate family SUV” as a lengthened variant of a standard Highlander to provide a roomier third row for up to seven. It, too, coincides with the mid-cycle freshening of the 2023 Highlander, which is still part of the fourth-gen variant built on Toyota’s TNGA-K platform.
The sub-par third row has always been the Highlander’s most glaring drawback since entering the scene in 2000. It took a while, but Toyota’s changing that with the 2023 Grand Highlander. “This three-row model takes the Highlander legacy to an entirely new space while keeping our promise to deliver on electrification,” said Lisa Materazzo, VP of Toyota Marketing Group.
2024 Toyota Grand Highlander: What’s New?
Toyota was kind enough to divulge a handful of juicy details about its latest family hauler, but it didn’t say where most of the growth spurt developed. The Grand Highlander has an overall length of 201.4 inches (about 6.5 inches longer than a standard Highlander) and offers 33.5 inches of legroom in the third row. That’s more than the Ford Explorer, yet it falls slightly short of the VW Atlas, so maybe Toyota is up to something here.
Available “Beyond Zero” Hybrid Powertrain
We firmly believe people generally misunderstood Toyota’s “hesitance” to adopt full electrification. It was a matter of supply and demand, and the reality was Toyota saw that the scarce resources prompted the automaker to look further than battery electric vehicles to achieve zero emissions status. As a result, Toyota adopted a “diverse approach to carbon neutrality” with visions of moving farther than its initial “Beyond Zero” corporate strategy.
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid and Hybrid MAX are next to wear the “Beyond Zero” badge after the all-new Prius (the 2023 bZ4X also uses the term). The Grand Highlander Hybrid MAX, in particular, is the most powerful midsize SUV from Toyota’s stable, boasting 326 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque from its 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain. Meanwhile, the tamer Grand Highlander Hybrid produces 243 horsepower from its gas engine and hybrid setup.
The non-hybrid Grand Highlander comes standard with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 265 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. It’s essentially the same turbo four-pot from the standard-wheelbase Highlander. All three powertrain options are available with a front-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain (AWD). Moreover, all gas AWD and Hybrid MAX variants receive Toyota’s multi-terrain select system with three bespoke off-road driving modes: Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt, and Snow.
Brilliant Tech Features
Toyota promises that Grand Highlander will live up to its name, including all the awesome tech goodies awaiting the driver and passengers. It has a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with an intelligent assistant, cloud navigation, destination assist, over-the-air updates, and dual Bluetooth connectivity. It also has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, seven USB-C charging ports, and wireless smartphone charging. Oh, and it has 13 cup holders front to back!
Toyota Grand Highlander Trim Levels
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander will arrive in three trim grades across its three available powertrains: XLE, Limited, and Platinum. The base Grand Highlander XLE has 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, heated outside mirrors, power-operated and heated front seats, Softtex upholstery, and second-row captain’s chairs or bench seats.
Meanwhile, the Limited trim gets 20-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, LED driving lights, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated tiller, interior ambient lighting, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
The top-of-the-line Platinum adds heated and ventilated second-row seats, a panoramic moonroof, a heads-up display, paddle shifters (AWD gas and Hybrid MAX variants), and puddle lamps. In addition, all trim grades receive Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 with lane departure alert, pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, and proactive driving assist.
2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Availability
Buyers could expect the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander to arrive at U.S. dealerships by mid-to-late 2023. The official MSRP numbers remain forthcoming. We’re expecting the base Grand Highlander XLE to start at about $43,500, while the Hybrid MAX could start at around $54,000.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.