By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

Want your ride super-sized? Or in this case, your Toyota Highlander. Then go for the 2024 Grand Highlander. It is longer by 6.5 inches, taller by 2, wider by 2.3, and up by 4 in wheelbase; cabin-wise, legroom increases by 5.5 inches, headroom by 1 and shoulder space by 2. This all-new Toyota Hybrid Max model is truly a blockbuster SUV not just in name but also in looks, performance, comfort and technology.

Our all-wheel-drive test drive was equipped with a 2.4-liter inline-4 cylinder turbocharged engine putting out 362 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 400 pounds-feet of torque @ 3000 rpm. A front and rear electric motor assist with saving fuel. The Grand Highlander hybrid is mated to an easy-to-engage 6-speed auto gearbox with paddle shifters in the top-level Platinum trim. A sport-tuned suspension handled via an independent MacPherson strut front and multilink rear soaks up road bumps with ease. The electric power steering is razor sharp with a firm on-center feel. If venturing off-road, the multi-terrain select control offers mud/sand or rock/dirt/snow modes.

Unlike the regular Highlander, this new vehicle is quite boxy and upright with LED headlights and eyebrow-like daytime running lamps that flank the upper grille with a centered Toyota emblem. But it is the large lower grille, reminiscent of recent Lexus models, that stands tall. The Grand Highlander offers cavernous cargo and passenger capacity, allowing for 20.6 cubic feet of space behind the 60/40 third row, 57.9 cubic feet behind the second-row Captain’s chairs and 97.5 cubes with both seats folded. The dual 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen display and digital gauge cluster are a standout in the spacious 149-cubic-foot passenger capacity cabin. An overhead sunglass holder and digital rearview mirror add to the list. Other niceties include a tri-zone auto a/c, 10-way driver and eight-way power heated/cooled front-passenger seats, heated second-row Captain’s chairs, fold-flat third-row seat, 7-inch head-up display, dual cupholders in third row, and power lift gate and panoramic moon roof.

Dual front airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction controls, panoramic view monitor, blind spot and rear-cross traffic alerts, smart-stop technology, front/rear parking assists, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system come at no cost. The standard Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 includes a pre-collision system to detect pedestrians, lane trace alert with steer assist and dynamic cruise control. Traffic Jam Assist, a subscription service, activates steering, gas and brake pedals under 25 mph.

With a good balance of comfort and performance, the Grand Highlander is exceptionally practical, powerful, spacious, stylish and a delight to drive. If in the market for a family-hauler that can seat up to seven, we highly endorse this bigger Toyota hybrid for a test drive. Or opt for the non-hybrid version. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.


Tires: P255/55R20

Wheelbase: 116.1 inches

Length: 201.4 inches

Width: 78.3 inches

Height: 70.1 inches

Tow capacity: 5,000 pounds

Fuel capacity: 17.1 gallons

City: 26 mpg

Highway: 27 mpg

Weight: 4,920 pounds

Base price: $58,125

Price as tested: $59,878

Web site: www.toyotausa.com

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