Are you looking for a spacious, reliable, and versatile three-row SUV that can handle long trips and large loads with ease and comfort? If so, you may want to consider the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, a new model that offers more space, comfort, and technology than the regular Highlander. The Grand Highlander is not just a stretched Toyota Highlander. It is a completely new vehicle that shares the same platform but has a different design, interior, and powertrain. We will compare the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander with some of its rivals in the segment, such as the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade, the Mazda CX-90, and the Subaru Ascent.
What Makes the Grand Highlander Different from the Highlander?
The Grand Highlander is 6.5 inches longer, 2.3 inches wider, and 2 inches taller than the regular Highlander, with a 4-inch longer wheelbase. This translates to more space for passengers and cargo, especially in the third row, which can comfortably accommodate three adults. The Grand Highlander also has a higher roofline and a more upright rear end, giving it a more spacious and boxy look.
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander also offers three different powertrains to suit different preferences and budgets. The base engine is a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 265 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. This engine delivers decent performance and fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive model and 23 mpg combined for the all-wheel-drive model.
The second option is a hybrid system that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors to generate a total of 243 horsepower. This system uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and comes standard with all-wheel drive. The hybrid system offers the best fuel efficiency of the three powertrains, with an EPA-estimated 34 mpg combined for the regular hybrid model and 36 mpg combined for the Hybrid Max model.
The Hybrid Max model is the third and most powerful option for the Grand Highlander. It uses the same 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the base model but adds an electric motor to boost the output to 362 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. This system also uses an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive but has a sportier tuning and a sport mode that enhances the throttle response and steering feel. The Hybrid Max model is surprisingly quick for a large SUV, with a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds. It also has a respectable fuel economy rating of 27 mpg combined.
The Grand Highlander is not only bigger and more powerful than the Highlander but also more luxurious and refined. The interior is well-appointed with high-quality materials, soft-touch surfaces, and ambient lighting. The dashboard features a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, wireless charging, and a digital key feature that allows drivers to unlock and start the vehicle using their smartphone. The Grand Highlander also offers several premium features as standard or optional equipment, such as heated and ventilated front- and second-row seats, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, a digital rearview mirror, a surround-view camera system, and a JBL sound system.
The Grand Highlander also comes with Toyota's Safety Sense 3.0 suite of driver-assistance technologies as standard on all models. This includes features such as forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, lane departure warning with steering assist and lane centering, road sign recognition, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and safe exit assist.
The Grand Highlander is available in three trim levels: XLE, Limited, and Platinum. The XLE starts at $44,405 and comes with features such as LED headlights and taillights, roof rails, power-adjustable heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and start a power liftgate, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Limited starts at $49,405 and adds features such as chrome exterior accents, LED fog lights, memory settings for the driver's seat and side mirrors, leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, woodgrain interior trim, navigation system, hands-free power liftgate, and 20-inch alloy wheels. The Platinum starts at $53,405 and tops off the range with features such as adaptive LED headlights with sequential turn signals, rain-sensing wipers, ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain's chairs, ultrasuede seat inserts, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, digital rearview mirror, surround-view camera system, JBL sound system, and 20-inch two-tone alloy wheels.
The hybrid models cost $1,400 more than their equivalent gas-only models, except for the Hybrid Max models, which cost $3,000 more than their equivalent gas-only models. The Hybrid Max models are only available in Limited or Platinum trims.
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander is expected to hit the dealerships in late 2023.
How Does the Grand Highlander Compare with Its Rivals?
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander faces tough competition from other three-row midsize SUVs in the market, such as the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade, the Mazda CX-90, and the Subaru Ascent. These models all have their own strengths and advantages, and the best choice depends on the preferences and needs of each buyer. Here are some key points to consider when comparing the Grand Highlander with its rivals:
- The Kia Telluride is one of the most popular and acclaimed three-row SUVs in the market. It has a stylish and rugged design, a spacious and luxurious interior, and a powerful 3.8-liter V6 engine that delivers 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. It also has an impressive list of standard and available features, such as an 8-inch or 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, leather seats, LED headlights and taillights, a Harman Kardon sound system, and a self-leveling rear suspension. The Telluride also comes with Kia Drive Wise, which includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, smart cruise control, and driver attention warning. The Kia Telluride starts at $33,415 and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive model and 21 mpg combined for the all-wheel-drive model.
- The Hyundai Palisade is another strong contender in the segment. It shares many components with the Telluride but has a different exterior and interior design. It has a sleek and elegant look, with a large cascading grille, slim LED headlights, and chrome accents. It also has a refined and comfortable cabin with quilted leather seats, wood trim, ambient lighting, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The Hyundai Palisade also offers a 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, as well as an 8-inch or 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a head-up display, a wireless charging pad, and a blind-view monitor that shows the rear view of the side mirrors on the instrument cluster when changing lanes. The Palisade also features Hyundai SmartSense, which includes forward collision avoidance assist, lane following assist, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, safe exit assist, smart cruise control with stop and go, driver attention warning, and high beam assist. The Palisade starts at $34,515 and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive model and 21 mpg combined for the all-wheel-drive model.
- The Mazda CX-90 is a new model that replaces the CX-9 as Mazda's flagship SUV. It has a stunning design that reflects Mazda's Kodo philosophy of creating cars that are alive with motion. It has a long hood, short overhangs, muscular fenders, and sleek LED headlights and taillights. It also has an upscale and minimalist interior that uses high-quality materials such as Nappa leather, real wood trim, aluminum accents, and Ultrasuede inserts. The Mazda CX-90 offers two powertrain options: a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque (on premium fuel) or a plug-in hybrid system that combines the same engine with an electric motor for a total output of 350 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque (on premium fuel). The CX-90 also features an 8-inch or 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (wireless on some trims), as well as Mazda Connect Services that allow drivers to remotely access various functions of the vehicle via their smartphone app or Amazon Alexa voice commands. The CX-90 also comes with i-Activsense safety technologies such as adaptive front lighting system (AFS), blind spot monitoring (BSM), rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA), lane departure warning system (LDWS), lane keep assist system (LKAS), driver attention alert (DAA), smart brake support (SBS), and Mazda radar cruise control (MRCC) with stop and go function. The CX-90 starts at $37,995 and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive model and 22 mpg combined for the all-wheel-drive model.
- The Subaru Ascent is the largest and most capable SUV from Subaru. It has a rugged and practical design, with a hexagonal grille, LED headlights, roof rails, and 18-inch or 20-inch alloy wheels. It also has a spacious and versatile interior, with seating for seven or eight passengers, up to 19 cupholders, and up to 86.5 cubic feet of cargo space. The Subaru Ascent is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque and comes with a standard symmetrical all-wheel drive system that provides excellent traction and stability on various road conditions. The Ascent also features an 8-inch or 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as Subaru Starlink Connected Services that offer various functions such as remote engine start, vehicle locator, stolen vehicle recovery, and emergency assistance. The Ascent also comes with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, lane keep assist, and advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering. The Ascent starts at $33,345 and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg combined for the base model and 22 mpg combined for the other models.
The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander is a promising new entry in the three-row midsize SUV segment that offers more space, comfort, and technology than the regular Highlander. However, it faces tough competition from other models, such as the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade, the Mazda CX-90, and the Subaru Ascent, which all have their own strengths and advantages. Ultimately, the best choice depends on the preferences and needs of each buyer.
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