The Toyota Highlander is one of the most famous names among three-row SUVs. It has been available since 2001 and has been carrying families across countries ever since. For 2024, Toyota decided to expand the Highlander line-up by adding the Grand Highlander. As the name suggests, this is a larger version of the beloved SUV. However, it is by no means just a stretched variant. There are plenty of differences when it comes to the chassis but also the body of the vehicle.
In this article, we are going over those changes by providing you with information regarding cargo space, passenger space, exterior dimensions, and engines available. This will help you make the correct decision when choosing between the two available Highlander models.
Differences In Onboard Technology
The Highlander is already well-equipped and very comfortable. However, the Grand Highlander steps it up a notch. The smaller vehicle comes standard with an 8.0-inch infotainment screen and a seven-inch digital gauge cluster. A 12.3-inch gauge cluster and infotainment system are only available on more expensive trim levels. On the Grand Highlander, the larger 12.3 infotainment screen comes as standard regardless of the trim level you choose with only the larger gauge cluster offered as an optional extra. Also, the Grand Highlander comes as standard with wireless charging while the smaller Highlander doesn’t. The regular Highlander has five USB ports, but the Grand Highlander has seven. USB ports can even be found in the third-row seats in which this vehicle excels.
When it comes to safety, the Grand Highlander has the upper hand as it implements TSS 3.0. The normal Highlander only features the older TSS 2.5+. This means that the newer and larger car has improved safety features and comes as standard with additions like blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Furthermore, the Grand Highlander gets Toyota’s new proactive driving assist which provides automated speed control based on traffic and weather conditions.
Passenger Space Is Drastically Improved In The Grand Highlander
Both the Highlander and Grand Highlander can be configured as three-row SUVs with second-row captain’s chairs available. The difference between them is mostly seen in passenger space – especially in the third row. The Highlander offers 36.1 inches of headroom and 28 inches of legroom in the third row. The Grand Highlander, on the other hand, offers 37.2 inches of headroom and 33.5 inches of legroom.
Cargo space is also drastically improved in the Grand Highlander model in which you will be getting 26.6 cubic feet with the third row up or 97.5 with the third and second rows folded. Compare these numbers to the respective figures of 16 and 84.3 cubic feet for the normal Highlander and it is obvious that the larger variant is the one to get if you value cargo space.
The Grand Highlander Is Both Larger And More Premium On The Outside
As you would expect, more interior space also means a larger vehicle on the outside. So, how much bigger is the Grand Highlander? Well, size measurements come in at 201.4 inches in length, 78.3 in width, and 70.1 in height while the smaller normal Highlander has a length of 194.9 inches and a width and high of 76 and 68.1 inches respectively.
Aside from the size, the two vehicles also share different designs. At a first glance, this might not be obvious, but the Grand Highlander certainly looks more modern and premium than the normal version. The front end features more modern and aggressive headlights paired with a large grille that is more fitting to Toyota’s current design language. The rear is much of the same story as the Grand Highlander makes the normal Highlander look a bit dated.
Engines Availability For Both Vehicles
The Highlander and Grand Highlander offer similar specs in the engine department. The standard engine available for both is a 265-horsepower 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder. Fuel mileage for this unit in the normal Highlander is 21-22 mpg in the city and 28-29 on the highway. We don’t have any official fuel consumption numbers for the Grand Highlander yet, but we expect slightly lower numbers due to the vehicle’s larger size.
Now, when it comes to the Hybrid options, we have a difference between the drivetrains available for these two cars. Both will get a 2.5 liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder paired to an electric motor for a combined output of 243 horsepower. However, the Grand Highlander also receives the Hybrid-Max powertrain which is paired with the 2.4-liter turbo engine for a total output of 362 horsepower. So, it is safe to say that this won’t be a slow SUV.
Should You Upgrade To A Grand Highlander?
Between the two, which one should you get? Or, if you already own a Highlander, should you upgrade to the new Grand Highlander? Well, it depends. Obviously, there are benefits associated with going with the newer and larger vehicle but also some drawbacks. The most significant benefit is third-row space.
The normal Highlander offers a third row, but it is a bit cramped back there. It is mostly designed for kids or adults only over shorter distances. On the other hand, the Grand Highlander offers a much more impressive third row which can accommodate adults easily both in terms of space and features like USB ports. Also, let’s not forget the added cargo space.Aside from more space, you will also receive a much more up-to-date design that in our opinion looks better than that of the normal Highlander.
Furthermore, you will be getting additional interior technology and better engineering as this is a newer vehicle. Finally, the Grand Highlander will offer the option of the 2.4-liter turbo engine paired to a hybrid system which is by far the most powerful engine ever fitted in a Highlander model. Therefore, if power is a high priority, the Grand Highlander is the car to get.
The larger variant comes with the penalties of being harder to park and generally larger around the city. Also, it will be more expensive (no official pricing yet) and slightly less fuel efficient. The choice between the two is on you. If you value interior space, more powerful engines, and a more modern design then the Grand Highlander is the car to get. If you want to save some cash and don’t mind the normal Highlander features, then the cheaper option is the one to go for.