In the world of automakers, second chances are rare, but that’s precisely what the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander feels like—an opportunity seized to make things even grander. The standard Toyota Highlander’s third row was previously considered more suitable for children than adults. Does the Grand Highlander address this issue? Absolutely. It offers increased spaciousness, a family-focused design, and a stronger presence in the traditional three-row SUV category.
The Toyota Grand Highlander offers three distinct engine options: a 2.4-liter turbo, a 2.5-liter hybrid, and the robust Hybrid Max. Our colleague Zach Gale has already provided an in-depth review of the Toyota Grand Highlander Turbo, covering its interior and new technology features. In this review, our focus is on the base hybrid powertrain and its performance.
Under the Hood:
The Grand Highlander Hybrid shares the same powertrain as the regular Highlander Hybrid: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors, delivering a combined output of 245 hp. Power is transmitted to all four wheels via a CVT transmission, resulting in a smooth and competent performance.
Toyota’s recent hybrid offerings have garnered praise, and the Grand Highlander is no exception. Despite its larger size, the 2.5-liter engine impressively propels it to highway speeds thanks to the instant torque from the electric motors. During our tests, it took a respectable 7.5 seconds to reach 60 mph, surpassing the 2020 non-Grand Highlander Hybrid’s 8.4 seconds.
Moreover, the hybrid powertrain delivers exceptional fuel efficiency for an SUV of this size, boasting 36/32/34 mpg in city/highway/combined driving. With its generous fuel tank capacity, the Grand Highlander Hybrid can cover 585 miles on a single tank, making it an excellent choice for long road trips.
On the road, the Grand Highlander Hybrid impresses with its quiet cabin. Toyota has incorporated acoustic glass and sound-deadening materials to minimize wind and tire noise, ensuring a serene driving experience.
While most Grand Highlander owners may not push their vehicles on canyon roads, it’s worth noting that this hybrid exhibits more body roll compared to the more powerful Hybrid Max. While this may not be a concern for typical owners, it’s a factor to consider if you frequently navigate winding roads.
Areas for Improvement in 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander:
One notable area of concern is the brakes. Toyota’s hybrid vehicles have received mixed feedback on their braking performance. While models like the Venza and Sienna have satisfactory stopping power, the Grand Highlander Hybrid’s brakes leave room for improvement. Braking requires a heavy foot, and on multiple occasions, the vehicle failed to stop as quickly as expected.
Another aspect in need of enhancement is the steering, which feels soft and lacks feedback. Many of our editors noted a vague sensation, whether in normal or any other driving mode.
The Winning Formula:
The regular Highlander lacked sufficient space, but the Grand Highlander now competes effectively in the three-row SUV segment. The third row is easily accessible and spacious, even for adults. The placement of USB ports in the second and third rows surpasses that of the regular Highlander and other SUVs in its class. Additionally, Toyota’s new infotainment system outshines those of popular rivals like the Honda Pilot and Subaru Ascent.
The Grand Highlander is available in three trims: XLE, Limited, and Platinum. Our test car, the Grand Highlander XLE AWD, came with a price tag of $49,015, offering excellent value for a three-row hybrid SUV with all-wheel drive. While the more powerful Hybrid Max can become costly, our XLE Hybrid was well-equipped for its price, featuring 18-inch wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, and Toyota’s comprehensive suite of safety features. The only optional addition was the panoramic roof, priced at $1,350.
In conclusion, the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid addresses key priorities for family-oriented buyers. While it may lack the power of the Hybrid Max variant, it compensates with impressive fuel efficiency and more practical cargo and passenger space. This means fewer pit stops on road trips and more quality time with your family.