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2024 Toyota Grand Highlander

Simply put, the Grand Highlander takes everything we love about family haulers from Toyota and makes it .. well .. grand. More space, more power, more luxury, this is the vehicle that any Toyota family needs to consider upgrading to if they want something "more" but aren't quite ready to move into a fully luxury-focused vehicle.

toyota grand highlander cockpit

Toyota Grand Highlander or Lexus TX - Which Is Right For You?

That description may be a bit unfair, but the way Toyota and Lexus have positioned the Grand Highlander is strange compared to the Lexus TX that we reviewed previously. While I think there's a space for the TX, and certainly the Lexus brand does bring with it a different experience from the atmosphere at your local dealership, it also offers some advanced tech options that sadly aren't available on its otherwise twin.

Powertrain

Most notably, while the Toyota Grand Highlander offers a 362-hp Hybrid MAX powertrain that doesn't require premium fuel, the TX gets 366-hp but requires premium fuel in its hybrid trim. Additionally, for those folks like myself who want a plug-in hybrid for their next vehicle, this is currently not an option for the Grand Highlander.

toyota grand highlander cargo third row

Vibe

Despite being very similar vehicles, the two brothers give off a very different vibe. While the TX gives off an old, more sophisticated, and aspirational vibe - the Grand Highlander is solidly a family car for upwardly mobile younger families who need features commonly found in luxury cars such as the 12.3" Multimedia Display, digital key, and the full suite of safety features that make the car as safe as possible to drive ... even when distracted by kids fighting in the back.

Additionally, while it is a personal preference, I personally found the seats in the Grand Highlander MUCH more comfortable and the slightly more open design made the cabin feel more spacious and comfortable. This back and forth optimization is clear here as well - for example, while the TX has 97 cu-ft of cargo space, the Grand Highlander has 98.

That's just one metric, but there are probably a dozen similar optimizations throughout the interior of these two vehicles that cumulatively make it an easy choice to buy the one that is right for your lifestyle.

Price

When considering price, I think it is important to consider a third vehicle as well. Anyone considering the Grand Highlander should also consider test-driving the Highlander.

year and the features included.

VehicleStarting Price (Approx.)
Toyota Highlander $39,270
Toyota Grand Highlander $45,00 (as tested $60,000)
Lexus TX $55,000 (as tested previously $70,000)

This chart provides a basic comparison of starting prices, reflecting each model's different market positions and feature sets. The Toyota Highlander is generally the most affordable, followed by the slightly larger and more feature-rich Toyota Grand Highlander. The Lexus TX, being a luxury model, starts at a higher price point and offers premium features and finishes.

toyota grand highlander at park

Overall Feel For A Summer Road Trip

Of the three vehicles—we tested the Highlander last year—the Grand Highlander would be my choice for a long road trip. 

While the other two are great options for different experiences around town, I found the extra space in the Grand Highlander, more comfortable seats, and upgraded infotainment screen to be much-appreciated enhancements upfront.

When it comes to packing up the family, though, a bunch of other tweaks between the Highlander and Grand Highlander begin to come into play.

For instance, the Grand Highlander offers third-row USB ports and includes a wireless charging pad as standard, while it is an option on the Highlander. 

Additionally, while both "Highlanders" offer a fabulous suite of safety features, the highlander offers TSS 2.5+ while it's Grand brother has the newest version, TSS 3.0. This includes the latest version of Proactive Driving Assist - taking dynamic cruise control to the next level by offering better speed control based on traffic and road conditions. 

Obviously the Grand Highlander is bigger - and so if you have a smaller family and taking less stuff, the Highlander is probably just fine. However, I found it interesting that the third row of the Grand Highlander is nearly the same size as its bigger brother, the Sequoia which has a much more "truck like" feel and can be a bit awkward for some people to get in and out of.

toyota grand highlande park

Grand Highlander Is A Fabulous Addition To Toyota's Lineup

I have to admit - when I heard about the Grand Highlander last year I rolled my eyes thinking that it was just adding a few extra inches to the existing Highlander. However, what they have done instead is carved out a very nice niche in their lineup that sits solidly between the tried and true family hauler and the full-sized big brother, Toyota Sequoia. While stats are sometimes deceptive, what is remarkable about comparing The Grand Highlander to Sequoia is that for folks who need a more compact "city-friendly" vehicle or simply prefer a cross-over driving style, this is a great option to consider. Plus, quite frankly, the Sequoia is a far more expensive vehicle, and even with the Hybrid MAX powertrain, the gas mileage (21/22 vs 26/27) isn't amazing for a long road trip.

So, if you are looking for a great family car around town but need something that will also take the whole crew on a long road trip to explore America this summer, make sure to check out the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander!