Toyota showed off an upgraded version its Highlander family SUV for 2024. The new and more luxurious Grand Highlander premiered at the Chicago Auto Show on Wednesday night and goes on sale later this year. The company was quick to say it will not replace the current Toyota Highlander, just expand the nameplate.
The new Grand Highlander is all about creature comforts for passengers in all three rows. Not only does it have room for seven carryon suitcases behind the third row (with 14 extra cubic feet of storage space in total), it also has local storage and power points for seven to eight passengers.
The 2024 Grand Highlander was designed at the company’s Calty studio in Michigan and rides on the company’s modifiable TNGA-K platform along with the Sienna minivan, RAV4 SUV, several Lexus models and others.
“The Highlander has been a staple for Toyota in the U.S. and remains a popular choice in the three-row crossover market. It excels in nearly every category, but Highlander’s lackluster third row is one of its only shortcomings, and most of its closest rivals do better in this area,” Paul Waatti, manager of industry analysis at AutoPacific told Newsweek.
“With the segment’s intense competition and continued growth with a flood of Millennials squarely in the family-building life stage looking for three-row crossovers, it’s critical Toyota offers a product that better aligns with segment expectations – Grand Highlander does just that,” he said.
The updated cabin is centered around a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The sliding center console can hold a tablet, and phones can be wirelessly charged. Driver and passenger each get USB ports, as well as a tray for cords and other storage. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard; Wi-Fi is optional. A premium sound system from JBL is also offered with 11 speakers
Second row passengers are treated almost as well. Both sides get USB ports alongside an armrest if the captain’s chairs option is selected, the second row can also be had as a three-person bench. In two-person configuration passengers get a multipurpose tray and additional storage.
Third row passengers have individual USB ports, smartphone/tablet storage space, and two cup and bottle holders. It also features a support grip for getting and in out. The second row also slides and folds for easier ingress.
A heated steering wheel and power folding mirrors are offered on Limited and Platinum trims. Heated and ventilated second-row seats are offered on Platinum. Buyers can also get a 1,500-watt power outlet and a hands-free power back door in upper trims.
Three powertrains are available in the 2024 Grand Highlander. All three are offered with front- or all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. A 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is the base engine, Toyota hasn’t revealed the horsepower on it yet. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder with a hybrid system is next delivering 34 miles per gallon combined. The most powerful engine is called Hybrid MAX and delivers 362 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for a 60-mile-per-hour sprint time of 6.3 seconds and a tow rating of 5,000 pounds.
All three powertrains come with three drive modes (Sport, Eco, Normal). The gas all-wheel drive and Hybrid MAX powertrains add Multi-Terrain Select with Mud and Sand, Rock and Dirt and Snow modes.
“Grand Highlander builds on the success of the Highlander nameplate as a larger dedicated three-row product with a more livable third row and cargo space. The design and content packaging are well-resolved, and assuming competitive pricing, Grand Highlander should find an audience with ease,” said Waatti.
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, Automatic High Beams and new Proactive Driving Assist.
That last feature uses cameras and radar to “provide gentle braking into curves” and to provide brake and steering support when near a vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist.
Pricing won’t be revealed until later this year though the current The 2023 Toyota Highlander starts at $36,420. The most popular XLE model is at $41,820, and the Platinum trim starts at $49,075.