2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Review - SUV VEHICLE

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Review


With decent cabin space, abundant cargo, and enough new tech to keep the kids happy (and quiet), there’s a good reason families are flocking to three-row SUVs to hit the road for quick winter getaways. However, Toyota’s new Grand Highlander steps up with an adult-size third row that appeals to rear passengers and provides massive cargo space with those rear seats flat-folded down. 

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD rear shot with snowboards and mountains2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD rear shot with snowboards and mountains
2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD. Photo: Amee Reehal

The range-topping Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD steps it up further with things like heated seats, heated steering wheel, all-weather rear mats extend to the 3rd-row seat back, and a potent 362 horsepower hybrid powertrain with a quick-shifting 6-speed transmission. For our family of four heading the mountains for a quick snowboard getaway to The Rockies, the Grand Highlander proved to be up to the task.

Related – Price & Power: The 2024 Grand Highlander Won’t Break the Bank

Performance and Driving Impressions

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD driving on snowy road2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD driving on snowy road
Only the Platinum Hybrid MAX gets the 6-speed auto transmission and paddle shifters. Photo: Amee Reehal

Right out the gate, the Grand Highlander Platinum gains the 2.5L Hybrid MAX — this is Toyota’s most powerful mid-size SUV ever, and on the open road, this large hauler feels light on its feet. I drove the second-highest Limited in Kona, Hawaii, in May 2023, propelled by the same engine, but hitting wintery roads with a full house in stow allowed for a better analysis. 

Above all, the Platinum Hybrid MAX is all-wheel drive only — a non-negotiable for long trips on icy, snow-covered roads, keeping the large 20-inch alloys planted. 

En route to the mountains, I put this thing into Sport mode as soon as the highways opened up; the Grand Highlander isn’t a sporty machine, obviously, but with 400 lb-ft of torque and 363 horses, it’s surprisingly swift and handles really well. Only the Platinum Hybrid MAX gets the 6-speed auto transmission and paddle shifters.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD centre console top view2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD centre console top view
The Drive Modes for various drive conditions solidify this mid-size hauler as an ideal all-weather family SUV. Photo: Amee Reehal

The gas-powered models get a three-horsepower bump (if that matters to you) but nowhere near the amount of torque with the hybrids. Above all, the Platinum Hybrid MAX is all-wheel drive only — a non-negotiable for long trips on icy, snow-covered roads, keeping the large 20-inch alloys planted. 

Other Platinum-exclusive-worthy features I found helpful on the road included the head-up display and digital display rearview mirror. Other standards with Limited include the LED fog lamps and auto-tracking and power-folding side exterior memory mirrors.

Platinum Interior: Everything to Keep You Warm

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD interior front2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD interior front
A more premium touch inside the top-grade Platinum. Photo: Amee Reehal

This is where the range-topping Platinum excels for family road trips, particularly during the cold winter months. Platinum’s massive power tilt/slide panoramic sunroof lets the sun in, keeping the cabin toasty even when it’s freezing outside (optional with Limited in the US and standard in Canada).

2024-Toyota-Grand-Highlander-Platinum-AWD interior 2nd row and  panoramic sunroof above2024-Toyota-Grand-Highlander-Platinum-AWD interior 2nd row and  panoramic sunroof above
Massive panoramic sunroof comes standard. Photo: Amee Reehal

While all Grand Highlanders get heated front seats, only the Limited and Platinum bring the heat to the second row as well, and only Platinum offers ventilated front and second-row seats for the hot summer months. I used to feel heated steering wheels were kind of a gimmick until I realized they certainly weren’t (like when you forget your gloves), and every trim, including base XLE, includes them as standard. Nice. 

Fold-flat 3rd-row with all-weather flooring a game-changer

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD all weather matt in rear cargo area extended to back of last row2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD all weather matt in rear cargo area extended to back of last row
The thick all-weather flooring in the trunk extends to the back of the third row for added durability and utility. Photo: Amee Reehal

Our daily road trip family hauler is a Subaru Outback — technically, a mid-size SUV. It’s only two rows, and fitting four snowboards and gear in the back isn’t ideal, so we use a roof rack. And while the regular Toyota Highlander three-row offers ample space with the last row down, the longer wheelbase Grand Highlander allowed us to place the boards flat.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD 2nd row with controls2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD 2nd row with controls
2nd-row passengers get ample legroom and premium tech controls. Photo: Amee Reehal

Frankly, this was a major timesaver and super convenient, and the durable, all-weather flooring, which extends to the third-row seat backs, was a huge benefit. With all seats folded flat, the Grand Highlander provides an impressive 97.5 cu. ft. of space—that’s not typical for mid-size SUVs in the segment. 

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD rear cargo with snowboards2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD rear cargo with snowboards
Snowboards will sit flat, with the third row folded flat. Photo: Amee Reehal

Other winter-fighting, road trip-worthy cabin features include a rear window defogger and front window deicer (standard on all grades). The 13 cup holders and seven USB ports don’t hurt for families on the go, either.

Related – 2024 Grand Highlander Interior: Inside Toyota’s New 3-Row SUV

Styling: Sportier Upgrades for Platinum Grade

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD rear view parked on snowy road2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD rear view parked on snowy road
Sportier styling touches on the Platinum, including a dual exhaust and painted rear bumper. Photo: Amee Reehal

The Grand Highlander Platinum splits from the lineup with a sporty dual exhaust, a silver-painted rear lower bumper, and a silver-painted front lower bumper chin spoiler that looks sleek paired with the large front grill.

Limited and Platinum grades gain the bigger 20-inch wheels over the base XLE’s small set, but only Platinum steps it up to the two-tone multi-spoke silver and black aesthetic. Overall, Toyota’s new mid-size SUV takes on a larger look, and the flared fenders, and LED DRL headlights give it a bold persona. The Grand Highlander is a good-looking 3-row family hauler, and the Platinum’s sportier looks are in line with the 360-plus horsepower hybrid performance.

Related – Size Matters: Why the Grand Highlander’s Dimensions Set it Apart from the Competition

Takeaway

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD front grill view2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD front grill view
2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD. Photo: Amee Reehal

Sitting at the top of the Grand Highlander lineup, the Platinum emphasizes comfort and convenience, which makes it a better choice for families hitting the road often. That’s not to say the base XLE won’t cut it because, with its standard adult-size third-row, retractable window shades, seven USB ports, and durable SofTex-trimmed seats. But the Platinum grade adds many more features to the mix regarding cabin comfort. 

Add the Platinum’s exclusive 2.4L 4-cylinder turbo Hybrid MAX with 362 horsepower and standard all-wheel drive; this range-topper is an ideal all-weather road warrior for families willing to spend the extra money. Plus, this thing looks great, too, boasting sculpted shoulderlines, the bold grille, silver styling details, and 20-inch black wheels.



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