A family is shown gathered around a campfire on a beach beside a blue 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander.

Grand Highlander: The Highlander’s Roomier Roommate

Toyota has been producing its Highlander since the year 2000, providing a great multi-purpose SUV to drivers worldwide. The first Highlander found a balance between function and style that few SUVs had achieved at that time, and it has remained so beloved that Toyota decided to make an extended three-row variant called the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander. With more legroom, headroom, and cargo space, the commodious Grand Highlander is sure to make road trips more pleasurable for your friends and family.

Its sturdy, dynamic design reflects the active and athletic nature of its owners’ lifestyles, ready for anything and looking stylish while doing it. The new Grand Highlander has a bold appearance and performance, with three engine options, Toyota’s legendary safety suite, and tons of high-tech features, making it sure to be one of the most popular SUVs of the 2024 lineup.

A woman is shown loading the trunk of a blue 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander on a beach.

Calling ‘Dibs’ on a Seat May Be a Thing of the Past

The enriched rear seating of the 2024 Grand Highlander provides more legroom, headroom, and comfort features than both its predecessor and its competitors. That and two second-row captain’s chairs should be plenty to seat the average family, but if you know you’ll be needing as much seating as you can get, you can upgrade from seven passenger accommodations to eight by opting for the second-row bench. The second row has its own sunshades, and even the base SofTex-adorned seating provides a great look and comfortable ride.

The XLE trim comes standard with this SofTex covering, available in light gray or black. For those who choose either the gasoline or Hybrid powertrains, the Limited trim comes with leather linings—with the same color options as the XLE—while the Platinum trim adds the color “portobello” to the mix. The Limited trim with the Hybrid MAX powertrain upgrades its seating to Ultrasuede with leather trimming, also in light gray or black, while the Platinum trim with the Hybrid MAX powertrain replicates the color options of the original Platinum trim but for the Ultrasuede seat coverings.

The Grand Highlander has numerous USB-C ports throughout the interior, enabling all its passengers’ devices to recharge without scheduling time with the power cord, and regardless of which row they occupy. The Limited and Premium trims also provide a power outlet that can provide 100 watts with the gas engine or 1500 watts with the Hybrid or Hybrid MAX engine.

Cargo space is a major consideration when deciding on which SUV is right, and the Grand Highlander makes that decision easy with a total of 97.5 cu.ft. of cargo space freed up by the stowage of the two back rows. With all the seats up, the rear cargo space is still a generous 21 cu.ft., providing enough room for several suitcases, a squad’s sports gear, or two weeks’ worth of groceries. All this is accomplished without even folding the third-row seats, allowing you to utilize all eight seats and still have room for your luggage.

The second row has a removable center console for storage, and the available built-in heating for the second row will keep your whole family cozy on chilly early mornings. Even the steering wheel can be heated, with the right accoutrements, and ambient lighting can elevate the mood of your late-night drives. If you’re tired of the debates about who gets to sit up front, maybe it’s time to consider the Grand Highlander for your next vehicle, given its provision of enough space and creature comforts to the second and third rows, keeping even the pickiest of passengers satisfied.

Fun Tech & Interior Design

All three trim levels come with a 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen interface, granting the driver and co-pilot easy access to your vehicle’s drive data, your current media, and the functionality of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This cutting-edge tech supports dual Bluetooth phone connectivity, which means up to two phones can be connected to your infotainment interface at the same time! The speaker system is high quality even in the XLE Grade trim but can be upgraded to a premium audio system with 11 speakers by JBL, which comes standard on the Limited and Premium trims. This sound system can also use Clari-Fi technology by Harman to analyze lower-quality audio and improve the audio playback.

The Grand Highlander has more great features, including voice activation commands; you can now get quick assistance by using an easy phrase like “Hey Toyota,” followed by your question. This “Intelligent Assistant” can help you find what you are looking for in the blink of an eye, be that navigating you to a restaurant, adjusting your air conditioning, calling a friend, skipping a song, and so much more. The Assistant allows you to complete complex tasks without ever taking your eyes off the road.

Safety is always a priority for Toyota vehicles. The Grand Highlander has all the highest-level safety tech available in the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0) suite, which comes standard on all Grand Highlanders, providing a pre-collision system for both vehicles and pedestrians, lane departure alert with steering assist, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, roadside assist, automatic high beams, and proactive driving assist. While the baseline TSS 3.0 provides tons of safety protections, extra safety features are also available on the Limited and Platinum trims.

The many tech features of the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander are shown in its front row.

Customizable Powertrain

Toyota provides the Grand Highlander with three engine options to allow customers to customize their SUV to their needs. The three options are a 2.4L turbo gas engine, a 2.5L Hybrid, and a 362 hp Hybrid MAX engine. Each powertrain option comes with drive modes to provide the best efficiency for different situations: Sport, Eco, and Normal. The AWD and Hybrid MAX powertrains come with the Multi-Terrain Select, which allows AWD optimization for three modes: Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt, and Snow.

The power of the Hybrid MAX makes the Grand Highlander the most powerful midsize SUV ever manufactured by Toyota. The towing capacity is 5,000 lbs due to its high horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. All three of these powertrain options have available AWD, although the Hybrid MAX only comes with AWD, while the other two can be equipped with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The Future Looks Bright

As the first iteration of a new model, the Grand Highlander has done everything it needed to ensure it becomes a successful SUV. It borrows a lot from the original Highlander while providing several unique upgrades and features that make it distinct in its own right. More powerful engine options, a roomier interior, and increased cargo space make it a great option for someone who loves the original Highlander but is looking for a larger midsize SUV. The bold styling matches the bold lifestyle of Highlander owners, the interior is optimized for both comfort and technological proficiency, and the unique powertrain options provide several ways to tailor the vehicle to your specific needs.

While the Grand Highlander is the first of its kind, it is already making waves and looks to be the first in a soon-to-be-successful model line. It will be released in the Fall of 2023, and it promises to continue Toyota’s long tradition of a reliable, stylish, powerful, and safe vehicle. Whether you have a large family, a gang of friends, or a ton of stuff to haul around, the bountiful seating and large interior space will provide a comfortable ride for everyone. Keep a close eye on the Grand Highlander, as this is going to be one to watch.