Judging by the teaser and the name, we’re expecting the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander to be basically a stretched version of the regular Highlander we know, well, not like it, but that’s acceptable. But Toyota did a lot more than the bare minimum, giving the Grand Highlander unique styling and a new Hybrid Max powertrain as an option. You may remember powertrains from Toyota products like the Toyota Crown and Lexus RX. Of course, it’s bigger than a regular SUV.

The standard Highlander is organic and curved, while the Grand Highlander has flatter and creased sides. The nose sits higher, with a sharp leading edge. The grille design is more closely associated with the 4Runner than it is with Toyota’s other SUVs. There is also more cladding on the outside. The chunky rear pillars do a good job of hiding the SUV’s extra 6.5 inches of overall length. It’s also about 2 inches taller and wider than the regular Highlander.

The Grand Highlander’s interior features a newly designed dashboard. It bears some resemblance to the regular model, but differs in its screen placement and a second layer on top, with the screen separate rather than more integrated. But the space is where things really change. With all seats open, the Grand Highlander can carry 20.6 cubic feet of stuff, 4.6 cubic feet more than the regular Highlander. With all seats down, the Grand Highlander’s cargo capacity expands to 97.5 cubic feet, 13.2 cubic feet more than the Highlander. Toyota didn’t give figures for head and legroom per row, but with the extra height and length, we’re sure those will improve across the board as well. Buyers can also opt for a second-row bench seat or captain’s chairs.

The Grand Highlander’s most powerful powertrain is the Hybrid Max, which helps further differentiate it from stock powertrains. It combines a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, a pair of electric motors and a six-speed automatic transmission. In this application, it makes 362 horsepower, nearly as much as the version found in the Lexus RX 500h. Toyota didn’t disclose torque or fuel economy figures, but this powertrain will allow the Grand Highlander to tow a 5,000-pound trailer.

But more Grand Highlanders will likely get carryover engines from the regular Highlander: a base turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder and an optional naturally aspirated 2.5-liter hybrid four-cylinder. Again, Toyota didn’t give any specs other than to say they’ll both be available with either front- or all-wheel drive, and that the hybrid is expected to get an impressive 34 mpg. Odds are, power and torque will remain the same, with the turbo offering 265 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque and the hybrid offering a combined 243 horsepower. When we talk about the specs of the short SUV, the turbo engine is rated to tow 5,000 pounds, while the hybrid is limited to 3,500 pounds.

2024 Toyota Highlander2024 Toyota Highlander

The Grand Highlander will be offered in three trims: XLE, Limited and Platinum. Standard equipment on all models includes alloy wheels, heated mirrors, a 12.3-inch infotainment screen running Toyota’s latest system, wireless phone charging, seven USB-C ports, 13 cup holders, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive Cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and automatic high beams. Notable features on higher trims include larger wheels, LED lighting, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated and ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, and stop-and-go functionality with adaptive cruise control.

The Grand Highlander will go on sale sometime this year. Availability and pricing will be announced this summer.

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