2024 Toyota Grand Highlander review by Caranddriver.com

July 12th, 2023 by

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander

by Drew Dorian

Toyota Grand Highlander Sunset

 

If you’re drawn to the Toyota Highlander SUV but feel that it isn’t quite big enough for your family, the 2024 Grand Highlander might be the answer you’re looking for. It earns its grand naming convention not for its style, features, or luxury appointments, but because it’s a stretched version of the current Highlander. The Grand Highlander offers more space for people and cargo inside its elongated body, with most of the stretch going to a roomy third row. Three powertrains are offered, starting with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Two different hybrid powertrains are also offered, including a 362-hp variant called Hybrid Max. A host of driver-assistance features is standard, and the Grand Highlander is offered only in upscale XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims—so perhaps it is a bit grander in that way after all.

What’s New for 2024?

Although it uses the Highlander name, the Grand Highlander is a new addition to the Toyota lineup when it goes on sale sometime in summer 2023.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Highlander Trim Pricing

Only three trims are offered on the Grand Highlander, so those hoping for a cheap L or LE trim won’t find those options on the list. The entry-level trim is the XLE, a designation typically given to mid-range Toyota models. We think it’s the one to go with, as it comes well-equipped with features such as power-adjustable heated front seats, a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, a wireless smartphone charging pad, a power-operated liftgate, and a suite of driver-assistance features.

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Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Three different powertrains are offered in the Grand Highlander, including two shared with the regular Highlander model. The standard setup is a 265-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder with either front- or all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Grand Highlander Hybrid uses the same hybrid powertrain as the Highlander Hybrid, which combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors to make a combined 243 horsepower. The top-spec offering will include the Hybrid Max powertrain that pairs the turbocharged 2.4-liter with an electric motor for a net 362 horsepower. Toyota says the Grand Highlander can hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and can tow up to 5000 pounds with the Hybrid Max setup. We had a chance to drive the nonhybrid and the Hybrid Max in Hawaii and came away impressed with the latter’s quick acceleration and both models’ smooth-riding nature. While the Grand Highlander won’t raise a driver’s pulse on a twisty road, it does serve its purpose well and other than a steering wheel with a too-light feel, it’s nicely set up for errand-running, kid-toting, and road-tripping.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

While the EPA hasn’t released fuel economy estimates for the Grand Highlander yet, Toyota says the 2.5-liter hybrid will be the most fuel-efficient and expects a 34-mpg combined rating. When we get a chance, we’ll test the Grand Highlander’s fuel economy for ourselves on our 75-mph highway fuel economy route. For more information about the Grand Highlander’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Grand Highlander comes by the grand part of its name honestly, with a roomier cabin than the standard Highlander model. The third row of seats benefits most from the Grand Highlander’s larger size and boasts enough space for fully-grown adults. The Grand Highlander’s interior styling is different, too, including a more symmetrical dashboard design. The XLE is the Grand Highlander’s entry-level model, and it comes with plenty of convenience features that family buyers will appreciate, including a power-operated liftgate, heated front seats, second-row window shades, and a host of USB and power outlets throughout the cabin. When equipped with a second-row bench seat, there’s space for eight passengers, but those seeking a seven-seat arrangement will be able to swap that bench out for captain’s chairs.

Infotainment and Connectivity

All models come with a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen running Toyota’s latest software interface; a 7.0-inch digital display in the gauge cluster is also standard, but Limited and Platinum models get a larger all-digital 12.3-inch gauge display. Buyers will also find a wireless smartphone charging pad on every model. An 11-speaker JBL stereo upgrade is offered on Limited and Platinum models.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

All Grand Highlander models come with a suite of driver-assistance features that Toyota calls TSS 3.0. In addition to basics such as blind-spot monitoring and automated emergency braking, the package also includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, and a road-sign recognition system. For more information about the Grand Highlander’s crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Standard adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature

 

-TJ

 

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