Here’s What To Expect From The Rumored All-Electric Toyota Highlander - SUV VEHICLE

Here’s What To Expect From The Rumored All-Electric Toyota Highlander

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Summary

  • Toyota to debut subcompact bZ3X EV before the electric Highlander, aiming to rival Hyundai and Kia by 2026.
  • The electric Highlander could replace the regular model.
  • Rumored Highlander EV will be built at Toyota’s new Kentucky plant, likely sharing architecture with a potential Lexus TZ.



Although Toyota has been lagging behind in the electric vehicle (EV) race, it recently announced intentions to turn its ship around as early as the 2026 model year, with an aggressive plan to release a full lineup of competitive models, or so it says.

Now, a new report from our friends at Carbuzz.com gives us a bit more detail on Toyota’s EV plans. Apparently, it will soon transform its highly popular and lucrative Highlander midsize three-row SUV into a purely electric model. But when will this happen, and what should we expect from this product? Here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming Toyota Highlander EV.

Related
2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Is A Lot Cleverer Than I Expected

The Grand Highlander is much more than a Toyota Highlander that receives the Grand treatment. It’s also a highly efficient hybrid people hauler.

First A Subcompact Electric Toyota SUV, Then The Larger Highlander EV

2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Toyota


From what we understand, Toyota will begin broadening its EV lineup not with the larger Highlander, but rather with a smaller, subcompact model apparently called the bZ3X.

Presumably based on the bZ Compact SUV Concept, the bZ3X should allow Toyota to rival smaller and more affordable models like the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV. Our sources indicate that it would hit US and Canadian showrooms as early as 2026. It’s still unclear what kind of battery and electric motors it will hide underneath its subcompact body.

Toyota BZ3X EV Spy Shot
Brian Williams | TopSpeed

The electric Highlander could be the model that follows as an attempt from Toyota to drop its non-inspiring bZ nomenclature. A fully electric Highlander would resonate better with North-American consumers.


Remember, that nameplate alone accounts for close to 200,000 sales per year in the US and Canada. And I haven’t added the even more lucrative Grand Highlander to these statistics. Electrifying it would also allow Toyota to properly compete against the Kia EV9, currently the only electric three-row SUV sold by a mainstream brand.

The Toyota Highlander EV And The Lexus TZ

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid
Toyota

Nothing has yet been confirmed by Toyota, but it would make sense that the regular Highlander will soon be phased out and that the Grand Highlander becomes the sole three-row option from that nameplate. And in that respect, we can expect the EV version to offer similar dimensions and cargo space.


It’s already been confirmed that the Japanese giant is investing massively in a new Kentucky plant to build EVs. All sources point to the fact that it will be the home to this rumored Highlander EV. That SUV will undoubtedly ride on an all-new EV-dedicated architecture that should spawn sister models, such as the also rumored Lexus TZ. It would make sense that, since the Lexus TX is essentially a luxury version of the Grand Highlander, that the TZ be the Highlander EV’s equivalent.

2024 Lexus TX 500h FSPORT Premium driving down a road.
Lexus


Now, as to when Toyota’s electric SUV hits our market remains a mystery. It could decide to go all-out with an EV offensive and unveil it the same year the bZ3X goes on sale. After all, Toyota isn’t shy about announcing several new models during a single model year, as we’re discovering now with the new Land Cruiser, 4Runner, Camry and Crown Signia. We’ll keep following the development of the electric Toyota Highlander closely and will report as we know more.

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