Sometimes bigger is better and that’s the thought behind the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander. Stretched and given a modern style inside and out, Toyota has taken their popular three-row crossover SUV and made it roomier inside and ultimately more competitive.

Looking a lot like a scaled up Toyota RAV4, it’s definitely more handsome we think than the current Highlander model. It has the more contemporary angular crisp style in lieu of the rounded bubbly proportions.

Most of the space gained by the stretch in wheelbase and length goes to the interior, particularly its second and third rows. Cargo space is expanded as well.

In the cabin we founded the expected level of comfort and design as well as versatility that Toyota is known for. There are the new expected digital screens ahead of the driver and at the center stack and a decent quality of switchgear.

Leather seats are comfortable and feature content is mostly impressive for its as tested price of $53,248.
There were a few things missing though at this price such as a sunroof or panoramic glass skylight. A 360 degree monitor was also absent here, most of its competitors offering that up in this price scale.

The largest disappointment of the interior was the difficult to use second and third-row seats. Sliding, moving, and tumbling the second row captains chairs was a labor intensive procedure. The third row seats were also quite difficult to operate. Most competitors have a one button or lever action, here you are throwing your weight and extending yourself to get it done. Mom won’t like it.

The Grand Highlander Limited we tested came with the base Hybrid powertrain comprised of the venerable 2.5-liter engine and proven Hybrid Synergy Drive setup with AWD provided by a rear axle electric motor. All-in that gives us 245 horsepower which is the least powerful option in the new family hauler.

You can get more with the 2.4-liter turbo or the HybridMAX top-end option which combines that turbo with electric motors. In our case however we found power more than adequate for one passenger and its 4710 pound curb weight. We wonder though what the experience might be like with a full family and their gear on board. The other consideration is that this model has a 3,500 pound tow rating where the more powerful options have a 5,000 pound capability.

Fuel economy is the payoff for the lesser metrics of performance and capability though as the EPA rates this model at 36 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 34 mpg combined. We got a little less in out week with it but that is expected given the vehicle was nearly new off the lot and still in its break-in period.

Handling was mostly a solid experience as the TNGA architecture upon which the Grand Highlander is built has a good quality to it when it comes to feel, road holding and manners. The one thing that surprised us and really got our attention most of the week was the flimsy hood which was always flittering and jittering visually over bumps on the daily. Cheap. Annoying.

Key Specifications

As Tested Price: $53,248

Engine: 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle inline 4 cylinder, port and direct fuel-injection
Transmission: Two-motor Hybrid ECVT
Drive Type: Hybrid AWD w/ rear electric motor unit
Hybrid Battery: Nickel-metal hydride

System Horsepower: 245
EPA Fuel Economy: 36 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, 34 mpg combined
Observed Fuel Economy: 30

Length: 201.4”
Width: 78.3”
Height: 70.1”
Wheelbase: 116.1”
Ground Clearance: 8.0”
Curb Weight: 4710 lbs
Towing Capacity: 3500 pounds