March 03, 2024
Wheels

Grand Highlander more than just a bigger version of the Highlander

Hybrid Platinum trim is epitome of elegance, efficiency

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid is much more than just a bigger Highlander.

The automotive landscape welcomes a new standard in luxury SUVs with the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum hybrid, the flagship model in Toyota’s lineup that seamlessly combines opulence, cutting-edge technology, and eco-friendly efficiency.

The new Grand Highlander Platinum hybrid is a study of elegance combined with contemporary style. The bold front fascia is adorned with a distinctive chrome grille, flanked by LED headlights that not only illuminate the road but contribute to the SUV’s upscale aesthetic.

Sleek lines and carefully sculpted contours not only enhance the vehicle’s aerodynamics but also add a touch of sophistication to its exterior. This is a three-row SUV that is big and not afraid to look bold. My tester was the Platinum hybrid, which featured unique design elements from hybrid badging to exclusive wheel options.

Cabin

Step inside the Grand Highlander Platinum hybrid and you’re greeted by an oasis of luxury. The cabin exudes refinement with its premium materials, solid craftsmanship, and attention to detail. The spacious three-row interior comfortably accommodates seven passengers with leather-trimmed seats featuring power adjustments, heated, and ventilated settings. Unique to just a few three-row SUVs, Grand Highlander offers an available eight-seat configuration.

The Platinum hybrid is equipped with an array of advanced features that cater to the modern driver’s needs. The focal point is a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, that seamlessly integrates navigation, entertainment, and connectivity. A JBL premium audio system is an audiophile’s dream as it envelops the cabin in high-fidelity sound, enhancing the overall passenger experience.

Advanced safety features are part of the Platinum package and there’s no shortage with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist making passengers safe and drivers aware of everything around them.

Performance/Efficiency

At the heart of my Grand Highlander tester was a sophisticated 362-horsepower hybrid powertrain that marries performance with fuel efficiency. The turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder powerplant, combines two electric motors with a 6-speed automatic transmission to deliver a robust and responsive driving experience.

I found the intelligent electronic continuously variable transmission (e-CVT) provided smooth transitions between power sources, providing a seamless and efficient ride. Drivers can seamlessly switch between driving modes, including an all-electric EV mode for short-distance, emissions-free travel. The big news is the EPA combined fuel economy of 27 mpg.

The Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid’s ride is both comfortable and composed, thanks to its adaptive suspension system. My tester handled every environment with confidence, offering stability and control. The four-wheel-drive system enhances traction, making the Platinum Hybrid well-suited for diverse driving scenarios, from city streets to off-road adventures.

The hybrid model’s regenerative braking system not only contributes to fuel efficiency but also provides a smooth and controlled deceleration for this very heavy SUV. I found the transition between regenerative and traditional braking to be imperceptible, contributing to a more enjoyable and responsive driving experience.

Safety

Toyota’s commitment to safety is evident in its comprehensive suite of advanced safety features. Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5+ includes pre-collision systems, pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control. These features work cohesively to enhance driver awareness and mitigate the risk of collisions.

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid 4WD sets a new benchmark for luxury SUVs. From its sophisticated exterior design to the opulent interior, advanced technology, and eco-friendly hybrid powertrain, every aspect of the Platinum Hybrid is meticulously crafted to provide a premium driving experience.

The base price for the standard Toyota Grand Highlander is $44,465 to $55,435. With an assortment of mudguards, door edge guards, a helpful dashcam, a tow package, and a $1,395 delivery cost, my tester landed at a final price of $61,705. This price is not outlandish for a three-row SUV featuring a svelte hybrid powerplant. If you’re looking in this segment, the new Grand Highlander has to be on your list.

John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing, and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations, and vehicles.