Toyota Grand Highlander expands lineup of hybrid crossovers

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander


CHICAGO – Toyota Motor expands its segment-leading lineup of three-row crossovers with the new 2024 Grand Highlander, including two petrol-powered hybrid offerings.

On Wednesday night, the automaker unveiled the car as the larger brother of the Toyota Highlander midsize SUV/crossover. It’s longer and wider than the Highlander, Toyota says, and provides 13.2 cubic feet of extra cargo volume.

The car is the latest example of automakers trying to get bigger and test their pricing as consumers spend record amounts on new cars. The median price paid for a new car earlier this year was nearly $50,000 as automakers prioritize high-end models over entry-level models amid ongoing but improving supply chain problems.

Toyota hasn’t announced pricing for the Grand Highlander, but analysts expect prices to be higher than comparable regular models, which start at $36,000 to $51,000. It will be offered in three trim levels when it hits dealerships this summer.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander


The average price paid for the current Highlander was more than $46,600 — $48,801 per hybrid — in the fourth quarter of last year, Edmunds said.

Edmunds says the Grand Highlander complements the growing U.S. three-row midsize crossover segment, which has grown from 12 nameplates in 2018 to 16 vehicles in 2023, including the Grand Highlander. Other recent additions include the Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride.

The Grand Highlander will compete against these vehicles as well as the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse and other popular mid-size SUVs and crossovers. Such cars are becoming more popular – sales grew by 4% from 2018 to 2022 – as Americans move away from large sedans and other vehicles.

Ivan Drury, director of research at Edmunds, said consumers are increasingly looking to three-row crossovers as an alternative to minivans, which are ergonomic but have faced “not cool” stigma.

“Everyone wants a minivan, but no one wants to admit it,” he said. “People need third rows, even if they don’t use them.”

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander


The Grand Highlander was unveiled in conjunction with the Chicago Auto Show this week. Several car brands such as Jeep and Volkswagen are expected to introduce special models that will likely drive up prices.

The Grand Highlander, although larger than the standard Highlander, will be smaller than the Toyota Sequoia SUV, which is produced using a body-on-frame process. This assembly offers more utility but less on-road comfort than the “one-piece body” process used for cars and crossovers such as Highlander models.

“The current Highlander is a bit smaller than the Palisade or Traverse,” said Stephanie Brinley, chief automotive analyst at S&P Global Mobility. “You have a place for this. It’s also not a “truck” like the Sequoia.”

The Highlander was one of Toyota’s best-selling vehicles last year. sold nearly 223,000 vehicles. It was sold only by a small Toyota RAV4 crossover and a Camry sedan. Brinley doesn’t expect the Grand Highlander to become a mainstream product, but said it “complements” Toyota’s crossover lineup and gives buyers more options.

Edmunds reports that the Highlander was the best-selling three-row midsize crossover/SUV in the US last year, beating out the Ford Explorer, Grand Cherokee L and Toyota 4Runner. According to Edmunds, it is also one of the most popular vehicles among buyers in this segment.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander


Toyota says the Grand Highlander will offer a suite of active safety and convenience features, as well as 13 cup holders and seven USB-C charging ports across the vehicle’s three rows.

The SUV will be offered with three different engines, including two hybrids, setting it apart from many of its top competitors. An entry-level four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a V6 hybrid engine are currently available for the Highlander. The top-end V6 Hybrid MAX will produce 362 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, according to Toyota.

The hybrid Grand Highlanders follow Toyota’s overall strategy of offering a mix of conventional gas engines, hybrids and all-electric vehicles as the company aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.

“This three-row model takes the Highlander heritage into a whole new space while also fulfilling our promise to deliver electrification,” Lisa Materazzo, group vice president of marketing at Toyota, said in her release.

Toyota’s US vehicle lineup includes 10 hybrids, two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, as well as the all-electric bZ4X and fuel cell Mirai.

The Japanese automaker has come under fire from some investors and environmental groups for not moving faster to all-electric vehicles. The company claims that not all consumers will switch to electric vehicles at the same time and that it can produce dozens of hybrids with the same amount of carbon emissions as a single all-electric car.

Toyota plans to invest about $70 billion in electrified vehicles, including $35 billion in all-electric battery technology, over nine years. By 2025, the company plans to offer about 70 electrified models worldwide.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, aims to sell about 3.5 million all-electric vehicles annually by 2030, representing only a third of its current annual sales.

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