The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid ticks all the boxes


The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid SUV is one of the hottest new three-row SUVs in the U.S. market today. Billed “the ultimate road-trip vehicle,” the high-riding people mover comes with adult-sized third-row seats and two hybrid powertrain options. Recently, I checked out the quality, space, comfort and features of a Storm Cloud unit of the hybrid SUV in the range-topping ‘Platinum’ grade. Here are my first impressions:

Design

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, a work of Calty Design Studios here in America, is an extension and an evolution of the Highlander. While its origins are evident, seeing it in person, I could tell that it has ample differentiation that will help attract its own buyers.

My favorite angle of the 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid is the front, which looks very different from its smaller sibling. I like the straight and narrow headlamps, which give it an assertive and purposeful look right at first glance. An angular compact grille neatly slots between the headlamps, building up the vehicle’s aggressive character. The trapezoidal, hammerhead grille gives the SUV a dominating look, while the slanted C-shape and the honeycomb grille on the outer ends of the bumper lend it a touch of sportiness.

On the sides, the 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid doesn’t feature the S-shaped character line, which I think gives its door panels and shoulder area a simpler design. I like its relatively old-school greenhouse, which is bigger due to squarish rear windows and quarter glasses that are taller at the back. I think the straighter belt line and the flatter roofline are key to its boxier shape.

At the rear, I can see that the 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid isn’t as forward-leaning as the Highlander, which I think could be for increased cargo space and enhanced rear visibility. I believe the larger glass was part of the final design for better exterior visibility. The third brake light integrated into its spoiler is significantly wider for enhanced safety.

The cutouts and recessed area for the license plate on the 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid are more subdued. C-shaped, angular tail lamps, a unique bumper, a chunkier skid plate, and an available dual exhaust system with exposed circular outlets further differentiate the larger SUV at the back. The panel gaps and alignment on the hybrid SUV felt consistent, and the model particularly looked dashing in this Storm Cloud shade.

Interior

Inside, I liked the wide, horizontal plane and reductive design of the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid’s dashboard. The sleek design contributes to the overall sense of spaciousness. Strangely enough, I found it more appealing than that of the 2024 Lexus TX Hybrid, its luxury cousin. The fancy texture on the dashboard and door cards, the bronze-colored accents air vents, steering wheel, and center console, and the soft padding on the dashboard and the central armrest elevated the premium feel.

I noted that Toyota hasn’t skimped on buttons and essential physical controls, ensuring the 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, the 12.3-inch instrument cluster, the three-zone automatic climate control system, the 10-inch color head-up display, and other features of the 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid are easy to use and cause minimum distraction. The quality of the buttons, switches, and knobs was better than any Toyota that I’ve been in.

I think the graphics of the instrument cluster aren’t sophisticated, but they are easy to read. The user interface of the infotainment system, has fewer bezels compared to that of the Highlander. This system features OTA update capability, dual-Bluetooth connectivity, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and Connected Service Drive Connect, including a voice assistant that responds to prompts starting with “Hey Toyota.” Available subscriptions include Wi-Fi hotspot running on AT&T’s 4G network, Apple Music and Amazon Music streaming, and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid has plenty of storage and convenience features in the cabin. There are 13 cup holders and seven USB-C charging ports across all three rows. Two of the cup holders are in the center console. Speaking of the center console, it houses the engine start-stop button conveniently right ahead of the gearshift lever. When I opened the storage area under the central armrest, I saw that there was enough space to keep a handbag.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid driver's seat live image
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid includes Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0) as standard.

Toyota offers the 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid in 7- and 8-seat versions. The former has captain’s chairs with heating, ventilation, and reclining functions in the second row, while the latter settles for 60/40 split bench seats with only a reclining function. Both versions have 60/40 split third-row seats, which, too, are reclinable. In the front, there’s a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with heating, ventilation, and memory functions and an 8-way passenger seat with heating and ventilation functions.

I’m six feet tall, and entering the first row, I felt that ingress and egress were a breeze. I sat on the driver’s seat and felt that the all-around visibility was great, thanks to the large glass surfaces. The heated steering wheel with a manually adjustable tilt and telescopic column could’ve offered better grip and a chunkier surface. I had enough headroom, while the under-thigh support was just adequate. As for lumbar support, I’d say it was good.

Entry and exit in the second row was a breeze. This particular sample was the seven-seat version. I had good legroom and a comfortable knee room. I felt that the under-thigh support was better than the front seat. To enter or exit the third row, I had to use the latch on the seat shoulder, and it was easy to slide the captain chair forward to make space access the third row. Though the Grand Highlander has a large passenger volume and a flat roofline, getting in and out of the third row required a little crouching and wiggling.

I’ve got to say that the Grand Highlander is one of the most spacious SUVs I have experienced, particularly in the third row. I sat in one of the outboard positions to get the maximum comfort possible. With the captain seat ahead set to my position, my knees were just clear of the seat backs. That said, since the floor is raised, the knee position wasn’t the most comfortable. The armrest also has attached cup holders, and resting my hands wasn’t as comfortable as the seats ahead.

My head was well clear of the headliner, which isn’t usually the case in three-row vehicles. I noted that the recline function offered plenty of adjustment range. Despite the space and recline, I think three adults would be a squeeze during long journeys in the last row.

The 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid has a height-adjustable, foot-activated power liftgate with jam protection. It offers 20.6 cu. ft. of cargo space, expandable to 57.9 cu. ft. by folding the third-row seats and further to 97.5 cu. ft. by folding even the second-row seats. Toyota does equip the hybrid SUV with a spare tire.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid cargo area live image

Driving impressions

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid is available in 245 hp and 362 hp variants. Those who have tested the SUV would also tell you that the base variant doesn’t feel very powerful, but it’s not sluggish either, and it impresses on fuel economy, which I think is its core purpose. It manages to accelerate to highway speeds and climb up mountainous roads decently, but it tends to get noisy.

The 326 hp variant is notably more energetic and feels quick for such a mammoth of a vehicle. Gearshifts, just like in the base variant, are smooth. Body roll, on the other hand, is significantly lower. The 2024 Grand Highlander offers a smooth ride and feels refined, but its steering needs some improvement, as it doesn’t feel very firm or offer enough feedback.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid side profile live image
It appears to me that Toyota is unlikely to offer the Grand Highlander with a plug-in hybrid or pure-electric powertrain anytime soon.

In addition to more power and torque, the 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid Max packs more off-road capability, thanks to Multi-Terrain Select. Overall, the 2024 Grand Highlander Hybrid is a spacious and very comfy people mover with enough punch, or plenty if opting for the Hybrid Max configuration.

Price

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid’s prices range from USD 45,020 to USD 58,475, excluding a USD 1,395 DPH fee.

TopElectricSUV says

The Toyota Grand Highlander has plenty of space for adults in the third row, overcoming the biggest limitation of the current model. In addition, it offers more cargo volume than the donor model. Plus, the new looks and more modern features, including the new hybrid systems, make the Grand Highlander more premium and appealing than the Highlander. Finally, an attractive pricing seals the deal.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander FAQs

What is the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander release date?

The 2024 Grand Highlander is now available at U.S. dealers.

What is the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander price?

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid begins at USD 45,020 (excl. USD 1,395 DPH fee).

Which SUVs are Toyota Grand Highlander rivals?

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