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2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum AWD

The past couple years have been exciting if you're a Toyota fan. A number of new vehicles have hit the Canadian market, including the Toyota Crown, the revival of the Toyota Venza, and recently this 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum AWD, a mid-size three row crossover positioned between the smaller Highlander, and larger truck-based full-size Sequoia SUV. Buyers who need a larger vehicle to family-hauling duties and don't want to break the bank of fuel spending will absolutely want to consider the Grand Highlander with the Hybrid MAX engine found on this Platinum trim.

My first impressions seeing the Grand Highlander in the parking lot was WOW! This vehicle is huge, but doesn't feel massive on the road. The exterior styling brings some of the sharp, masculine Lexus design elements we've come to love in a way that's uniquely Toyota. It's like a big RAV4, and that's not a bad thing. Full LED exterior lighting, the pronounced front hood lines, and large 20" alloy rims give the Grand Highlander a distinctive presence on the road. Other exterior features include 360º cameras, front and rear parking sensors, 5-door keyless entry, automatic power-folding mirrors, and a power lift gate with kick activation.

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander also comes with the latest iteration of Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. This includes the usual safety features we'd expect to find like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert, but it adds more into the mix for added safety. A new feature called Proactive Drive Assist brings a brake regen-like experience to the standard driving experience, whereby the vehicle can slow down automatically when approaching slower traffic, or when approaching a curve in the road ahead. I found the feature beneficial to maximize overall battery regeneration and limit some driving fatigue in slower, city driving.

The Hybrid MAX system is unique in the segment, using the same configuration found on the new Toyota Crown. The 2.4L 4 cylinder hybrid engine powers the front wheels, and an electric drive unit found in the rear powers the rear axle. Total system output is 362 horsepower, and 400 lb-ft of torque, along with a tow rating of 5,000 lbs, making this the most powerful mid-size Toyota SUV, along with a very capable one. We achieved 9.7L/100km on our 100km test loop.

The interior is where the Grand Highlander shines. With comfortable seating for 7 in this configuration, and ample interior space, this crossover is well suited for most things families can throw at it. 13 cup holders including many larger holders designed for big water bottles are found throughout the cabin, along with 7 USB-C charing ports. Third row passengers have cup holders and charging options, and I found getting in and out was simple for large people, although someone as big as myself wasn't able to fit fully. Toyota does market this vehicle as having an adult-friendly third row and we'd agree, average-sized adults shouldn't have trouble sitting in the third row even for extended periods of time.

As a family of 3 we don't have a need for that third row all the time, but even with the seats in the upright position Toyota says you can get 7 carry-on luggage bags in the trunk space. Putting the seats down increases the cargo capacity considerably. It's a versatile vehicle as we'd expect, but the ease-of-use for these functions was what makes Toyota stand out amongst the competition.

The second row captain's chairs are just as comfortable as the front seats, with heat and ventilation along with tri-zone automatic climate control. Side window sunshades are a segment-must, along with the easy-sliding seats. Up front we find a comfortable, spacious seating area for the front occupants. The same heat and ventilation are found on the front seats, with a heated steering wheel, and climate options located centrally with physical buttons. The centre console comes with three cup holders, drive mode selectors, and an easy-access camera button. We're thankful the use of piano black plastic is limited to the gear shifter surround, as the hardened material throughout the centre appears to be durable and scratch resistant.

A noticeable improvement over older Toyota models we've driven is the infotainment system. While it isn't perfect, it's much better than previous versions. The large display gives plenty of real estate for maps, camera functions, and vehicle settings. Apple CarPlay is wireless, with a phone charger that didn't overheat my iPhone 12 Pro, but wasn't recessed enough to prevent it from flying around the centre console even under gentle turning. The digital cluster, video rearview camera, and large head-up display are all well executed in this vehicle, and help to justify the price point for the Grand Highlander.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Platinum Hybrid MAX AWD

Base MSRP: $65,450.00 As Tested: $67,480.00

We definitely recommend this vehicle if you're in the market for a large, three-row crossover with excellent fuel efficiency and ample space for family duty. Check out our full tour and review on our YouTube Channel to find out more about the Grand Highlander.


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