Daily Driver: 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Max

June 11, 2024
2 mins read

I recently test drove the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, which is an elongated version of the Toyota Highlander SUV. It has a 116.1-inch wheelbase, making it 3.9 inches longer than the standard Highlander. The Grand Highlander is also 4.0 inches longer overall than the longest Highlander, 2.3 inches wider, and 2.0 inches taller. Despite its larger size, it’s still easier to park and garage than the much larger Toyota Sequoia.

The extra interior space in the Grand Highlander is well-utilized, with a spacious and easily accessible third row. However, I did find that the overall floor height was a bit high, making it difficult for older family members and shorter individuals to get in and out. Despite this, the Grand Highlander can comfortably accommodate tall individuals in every row, which is surprising compared to most third rows that are hardly large enough for average middle schoolers. Even with the third row in use, there’s still 21 cubic feet of luggage space, eliminating the need for a roof box for family road trips. Folding down all the seats provides 98 cubic feet of hauling space, more then enough for your average suburbanite.

The Grand Highlander features a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Platinum trim also includes a head-up display. The cabin is equipped with tech features, including seven USB-C ports for charging phones. Toyota also offers Remote Connect, which allows you to use your phone as a key, although it requires a subscription plan.

Under the hood, the Grand Highlander comes with a standard turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Additionally, there is a Hybrid variant with two distinct powertrains, including the 362-hp Hybrid Max, which I had the opportunity to drive. The Hybrid Max uses a six-speed automatic transmission and all-time all-wheel drive, and we averaged around 26 MPG fuel economy, which is pretty good for a vehicle of this size.

The Grand Highlander’s steering and suspension are focused on comfort and control rather than a dynamic driving experience. It offers a smooth and quiet ride, similar to a luxury SUV. This is likely due to the fact that the Grand Highlander shares similarities with the Lexus TX. Overall, the driving experience feels like a Lexus, but at a more affordable price and the ability to fly under the radar, thanks to the Grand Highlander’s wallflower styling.

The Grand Highlander meets the expectations of a Toyota vehicle, offering comfort, solid build quality, decent fuel economy, and a somewhat unexciting driving experience. In the competitive SUV market, it does everything well but lacks a distinctive personality. In contrast, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L and the Mazda CX-90 offer a third row and more personality and style. Comparing the Grand Highlander to one of its more radical siblings, like the Sequoia TRD Pro highlights its relatively unremarkable nature. While it may lack a distinctive personality in the competitive SUV market, it excels in providing practicality and functionality for families. It’s a solid choice for those looking for a reliable and spacious SUV without the need for any excitement in their commute.

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