Long-Term Intro: 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Max

2024 toyota grand highlander hybrid max limited
Long-Term Intro: Toyota Grand Highlander HybridMichael Simari - Car and Driver

As with McDonald's Super Size or 7-Eleven's Double Gulp, the new Toyota Grand Highlander is grander in that most American way: It's significantly bigger than the smaller three-row Highlander. A lot of the Grandness lands in the 26 percent more voluminous third row, which is now acceptable for adults. There's also 31 percent more cargo space behind that third row, making it spacious enough for five carry-on-sized suitcases. This elevates the GH to the larger end of the ranks of three-row mid-size SUVs, while the junior Highlander is on the smaller end of the class. At $44,465, the least expensive Grand costs $3800 more than an entry Highlander because the Grand's trim levels don't dip as low, but on comparable trim levels, the up-charge is as little as $550.

The Grand Highlander forms the basis for the Lexus TX and also introduces a new Hybrid Max powertrain. The Max combines the base 265-hp turbo four with a motor between the engine and six-speed transmission, plus another motor at the rear axle that provides all-wheel drive. The powertrain totals 362 horsepower, and the GH's combination of swiftness (60 mph in 5.7 seconds) and fuel economy (27 mpg combined) is unmatched in the segment. This setup also eliminates the droning CVT effect from Toyota's traditional hybrid approach, which lives on in the mid-grade GH hybrid.

2024 toyota grand highlander hybrid max limited
Michael Simari - Car and Driver

Hybrid Max was a key contributor to our naming the refined, quiet, and spacious GH to our most recent 10Best Trucks and SUVs list, so naturally, we opted for it in our long-term test car. It's available only in the top two trims—ours is the more modest $55,435 Limited, which is a $4580 upcharge over a base Limited, and $2980 more than the lesser hybrid; there's also the top $59,520 Platinum. Unlike many of our long-termers, this one wasn't built to order, so we won't be able to take advantage of our GH's 5000-pound towing capability until we get a hitch installed, which we plan to do posthaste. Our Coastal Cream off-white example has just two options: the large sunroof ($1350) and a 360-degree camera system ($600). It also features a few accessory knick-knacks—door protectors, wheel locks, all-weather floor mats, and logo puddle lamps—that brought the total to $58,178.


As with most hybrids, the fuel economy we're getting at real-world highway speeds is below window-sticker value (we logged 24 mpg on a swift run to Chicago and back, for example), but we've notched as high as 29 mpg on a more city-intensive tank.

2024 toyota grand highlander hybrid max limited
Michael Simari - Car and Driver

So far, everyone on staff loves the effortless and responsive thrust of the Max powertrain—its rolling-start and passing times comfortably beat all comers in our most recent comparison test—while the GH's braking and cornering figures aren't nearly as impressive. Another regular accolade is its quietness at highway speeds, which tied the Kia Telluride—another regular favorite of ours—for tops in that same comparison test.

Making plans for the all-American summer road trip has the Grand Highlander's sign-out line growing. This one is going to get to 40,000 miles quickly.

Months in Fleet: 3 months Current Mileage: 6928 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 24 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 17.2 gal Observed Fuel Range: 410 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $0

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