Unveiled in a world premiere on Wednesday night, just before the start of the Chicago Auto Show, this model slots below the Sequoia as an alternative for families that need to sit seven or eight but don’t necessarily want a full-size SUV.
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Brand New Design
The Grand Highlander isn’t just a larger version of the Highlander, which is fresh from a significant mid-cycle update. It’s a brand new product with a unique and more muscular look. Check out the sharper and boxier design, the oversized lower front grille and the various accents that emphasize its longer (+16 cm) and wider (+6 cm) exterior dimensions. Available wheels range from 18-20 inches in diameter.
Inside, the layout is different once again. The dashboard, centre console (with three cupholders), armrest, instrument cluster and standard 12.3-inch touchscreen (powered by Toyota’s new multimedia system with virtual assistant) are all specific to the Grand Highlander. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel can be found on every model.
In the second row, a conventional bench seat or a pair of captain’s chairs are available, the latter complete with a multi-function tray and additional storage.
As for the third row, Toyota says it accommodates normal-sized adults, not just kids, thanks to 14 cm of extra legroom. Also, with close to 600 litres, there is apparently enough space behind the seats for seven carry-on suitcases.
With all second- and third-row seats folded down, cargo capacity amounts to nearly 2,800 litres, or about 400 litres more than in the Highlander. By the way, a power liftgate is included as standard.
Three Powertrains, Including Two Hybrids
In Canada, the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander will be available in three trim levels including XLE, Limited and Platinum Hybrid MAX—all with standard AWD. The first two can be powered by either a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine or a hybrid system based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine. Output and torque are not specified yet, but the same powertrains in the regular Highlander generate 265 hp and 243 hp, respectively.
The third option, clearly the best one, is a Hybrid MAX system focused on performance. It uses the aforementioned turbo-four engine and cranks out 362 hp along with 400 lb-ft. of torque. Toyota claims that 0-97 km/h sprints are achieved in 6.3 seconds. Maximum towing capacity is rated at 5,000 lbs.
Every Grand Highlander model gets Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, the automaker’s most advanced and comprehensive suite of active safety and driver assistance features. The list includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian (Daytime & Low-Light) & Daytime Bicycle Detection, Intersection Support & Emergency Steering Assist, Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Curve Speed Management, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Road Edge Detection, Lane Tracing Assist with Enhanced Line & Road Recognition, Road Sign Assist and Automatic High Beams.
So, how much will the new 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander cost? We will find out this summer, shortly before the start of sales, but the base price will likely be closer to the Highlander ($45,650) than the Sequoia ($76,050). If you crave luxury, don’t miss the equally new Lexus TX coming later this year as a replacement for the three-row RX L.