The Toyota Grand Highlander expands its lineup of hybrid crossovers

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander


CHICAGO— Toyota engine expands its segment-leading three-row crossover lineup with the new 2024 Grand Highlander, including two gasoline hybrid offerings.

On Wednesday night, the automaker revealed that the vehicle is a big brother to the Toyota Highlander midsize SUV/crossover. It’s longer and wider than the Highlander and offers 13.2 cubic feet of extra cargo volume, according to Toyota.

The vehicle is the latest example of automakers trying to get bigger and test their pricing power as consumers spend record amounts on new vehicles. The average price paid for a new vehicle to start this year was nearly $50,000 as automakers prioritize premium models over entry-level models amid supply chain issues ongoing, but improving.

Toyota hasn’t announced pricing for the Grand Highlander, but analysts expect it to be higher than comparable regular models that start between $36,000 and $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 for the hybrid — during the fourth quarter of last year, according to Edmunds.

The Grand Highlander joins the growing three-row midsize crossover segment in the United States, which has grown from 12 nameplates in 2018 to 16 vehicles for 2023, including the Grand Highlander, Edmunds reports. Other recent additions include the Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Hyundai Palisade, and Kia Telluride.

The Grand Highlander will compete with these vehicles as well as the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse and other more popular midsize SUVs/crossovers. These vehicles have become increasingly popular – with sales up 4% from 2018 to 2022 – as Americans have moved away from large sedans and other vehicles.

Edmunds chief knowledge officer Ivan Drury said consumers increasingly see three-row crossovers as alternatives to minivans, which are ergonomic but have been stigmatized as uncool.

“Everybody wants a van but nobody wants to admit it,” he said. “People want third rows even if they don’t use it.”

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander


The Grand Highlander was unveiled as part of this week’s Chicago Auto Show. Several auto brands such as Jeep and Volkswagen are expected to unveil specialty models that will likely drive up prices.

The Grand Highlander, while larger than the standard Highlander, will be smaller than Toyota’s Sequoia SUV, which is produced by a truck-based, or “body-on-frame” process. This assembly provides greater utility but less comfort on the road than a “unibody” process used for cars and crossovers like Highlander models.

“The current Highlander is a bit smaller than the Palisade or Traverse,” said Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at S&P Global Mobility. “You’ve got room for that. It’s also not quite as ‘truckery’ as the Sequoia.”

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

Edmunds reports that the Highlander was the best-selling three-row midsize crossover/SUV in the United States last year, beating out the Ford Explorer, Grand Cherokee L and Toyota 4Runner. It is also one of the most purchased vehicles by consumers in the segment, according to Edmunds.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander


Toyota says the Grand Highlander will offer a suite of active safety and convenience features along with 13 cupholders and seven USB-C charging ports across all three rows of the vehicle.

The SUV will be offered with three different engines, including two hybrids, which sets it apart from many of its main competitors. The entry-level four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine and hybrid V6 are currently available on the Highlander. The top-of-the-line MAX hybrid V6 will produce 362 horsepower and 400 pounds of torque, Toyota said.

The Grand Highlanders Hybrid follows Toyota’s overall strategy of offering a combination of traditional gasoline engines, hybrid vehicles and all-electric vehicles as it moves towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

“This three-row model takes the Highlander heritage into an entirely new space while delivering on our promise to deliver on our electrification promise,” Lisa Materazzo, Toyota’s group vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

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

The Japanese automaker has come under fire from some investors and environmental groups for not moving to all-electric vehicles sooner. The company has argued 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 an all-electric vehicle.

Toyota plans to invest about $70 billion in electrified vehicles, including $35 billion in all-electric battery technologies, over nine years. It plans to offer around 70 electrified models worldwide by 2025.

Toyota – the world’s largest automaker – plans to sell around 3.5 million all-electric vehicles a year by 2030, which would be just a third of its current annual sales.

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