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A blue 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander is shown driving on a highway after visiting a Toyota dealer.

Five Things Toyota Is Doing Right With the Grand Highlander

If you haven’t heard, a new model will join the lineup at the Toyota dealer near you: the all-new Grand Highlander. This is an SUV designed for large families, with three rows of seats inside, plus a lot more for drivers looking for a big vehicle like this to get excited about. You’d think that any time a car company reveals a first-ever model, everything about it would be a win, yet that’s not always true, and sometimes a vehicle will be surprisingly uninspired or even downright unimpressive. That’s not the case with the Grand Highlander.

Toyota knows what they’re doing—there’s no denying that—and this new model’s reveal and subsequent details make that abundantly clear. If you’re a Toyota fan, and you’ve been hoping to see something exciting and new in a midsize SUV, then you should definitely start paying attention. Even if you’re not sure what kind of vehicle you want for your next ride, this is a model that you’ll want to keep your eyes on because it’s sure to turn a lot of heads. Let’s take a look at the Grand Highlander and what Toyota’s done right.

A family is shown inside of a 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander.

#1 – Its Spacious Interior

I’m not an automotive engineer, but I assume that one of the first things you need to decide on when designing a new vehicle is the class you want it to fall into; everything else would need to spiral out from that. Toyota had a huge range of options available to them when designing a new vehicle; while they already had options in pretty much every category, it’s pretty well established at this point that people can never have too many compact crossover models to choose from. But Toyota went with another midsize model similar to what they already had in the Highlander: they made it bigger, and we got the Grand Highlander.

Just like the standard Highlander, this is a three-row SUV that gives you plenty of seating for a growing family, but it’s more spacious inside than the original model. The third row of seats gives you room for up to eight passengers, though seven-passenger models are also available, and since this is larger than the existing Highlander, your passengers will be more comfortable. In particular, the third row can be enjoyed by a long-legged adult, not just children or adults that you don’t like very much. The Grand Highlander has about 21 cu.ft. of rear cargo volume on offer and 97.5 cu.ft. of total cargo volume; by comparison, the Highlander has 16 cu.ft. in the rear and just over 84 cu.ft. of total cargo space—so you can see how much bigger this new model really is.

#2 – An Impressive Engine

There are three engines available for the Toyota Grand Highlander, with two of them being available on other Highlander models. There’s a standard 2.4L I-4 engine that’s the same as the one you can get on the Highlander, along with a 2.5L hybrid engine that’s essentially what you can find on the existing Highlander Hybrid model. Those engines are fine, but what really sets the Grand Highlander apart is the third option; it’s why this section was titled with a singular noun rather than a plural.

This available option is a 2.4L Turbocharged engine paired with an electric motor; known as the Hybrid MAX, this engine delivers 362 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, making for a fantastic driving experience. With this bad boy, the Grand Highlander becomes the most powerful midsize SUV that Toyota has ever made, and it can go from zero to sixty in just 6.3 seconds. Not only that, but it can handle up to 5,000 lbs of maximum towing capacity, making this a fantastic choice for hauling a boat, trailer, or camper behind you.

The black interior and dash of a 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander is shown.

#3 – Three Trim Levels

Sometimes having lots of trim levels to choose from is a good thing since it makes it easy to customize your vehicle to just what you want. In some cases, however, these options will create only the ILLUSION of choice, particularly when you have numerous trims missing important things like a decent engine or certain safety features. That’s when a simplified lineup of trim options is a better choice, since it makes it easier to ensure you get great features.

The Toyota Grand Highlander keeps things simple with just three trims to choose from: XLE, Limited, and Platinum. These are higher-end trims that you can find on other models, so this SUV starts with great features right off the bat. For example, the standard Highlander model is available as L, LE, XSE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum; by cutting out half of these trims, you can get right to the good stuff and know that any Grand Highlander on the market is loaded with impressive things like…

#4 – Interior Tech Features

By giving the lower-level starting trims the slip, the Grand Highlander can deliver solid interior features in every model. A 12.3-inch infotainment multimedia display is standard inside the Grand Highlander, perfect for connecting with other devices and using Navigation or other available features. There are seven USB-C ports for devices to connect to for charging: three up front, two in the middle, and two for third-row passengers. Available Digital Key functionality makes it easy to lock and unlock doors, start the engine, and more using the Toyota app on compatible devices, while the available Panoramic View Monitor system uses cameras to give the driver a 360-degree view around the vehicle.

The standard infotainment display is joined by a 7.0-inch digital display cluster for the driver, while a larger 12.3-inch cluster display is offered in higher trims along with an 11-speaker JBL sound system. This sort of technology is just the start, as additional features like an available panoramic roof make riding in the Grand Highlander considerably enjoyable. The interior also has numerous luxurious touches available, like heated and ventilated seating, with leather-trimmed seats and accent details throughout, making this SUV quite stunning.

A family is shown near a blue 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander.

#5 – Standard Safety Features

Although Toyota hasn’t yet revealed all of the details about the safety features of the Grand Highlander, they’re sure to be impressive. For starters, it will likely have the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 package—the latest version of its incredible suite of active driver assistance features. This includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, a Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, and Automatic High Beams. Additional systems like a Blind Spot Monitor are also available to make the Grand Highlander even savvier.

All This & More

This is only the tip of the iceberg regarding what Toyota is doing with the Grand Highlander, but it shows that they’re doing everything right. Some drivers might balk at the lack of lower trim levels, but even starting with the XLE, the Grand Highlander is expected to still be a very accessible option for a wide range of families while delivering fantastic standard features inside and out.

A three-row midsize SUV that an adult can comfortably fit into the rear seats of is something you don’t often see on the market, but Toyota has come through with this one. In the years ahead, it will be interesting to see if this shakes up Toyota’s lineup at all, particularly with three Highlander models available, but for now, there’s a great new option for drivers in search of something with more space inside to enjoy.

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