The current-generation Toyota Highlander is generally considered to be one of the best three-row SUVs around. With ample space, an affordable base price, and great fuel economy, the Highlander is a no brainer. However, a new trademark suggests the established SUV may get a major upgrade. According to Car and Driver, Toyota may be planning a larger Grand Highlander for the near future.
What is a Toyota Grand Highlander?
As you’d expect, there is very little we know of the Toyota Grand Highlander. According to Car and Driver, what little we know comes from a recent trademark filed on December 28th, 2020. The trademark suggests that this new Highlander variant will be larger, likely to add more space in the third row of seats. This is because Car and Driver report that the current model offers less third-row space than some competitors.
As a result, Car and Driver report that this new Toyota Highlander could have a longer wheelbase. The result here is that the overall interior space would increase significantly. While there are no specifics, Car and Driver believe it will sit somewhere between the current-gen model and the larger Sequoia. This would be a major benefit for the Japanese carmaker since the Sequoia is a much larger and older model. As a result, the Grand variant may become a large, efficient, and tech-filled SUV.
In terms of price, expect the added size of this new variant to increase the base price. For context, the base Highlander currently starts at $34,810. However, don’t expect it to get close to the Sequoia’s $50,100 base price.
When will this new SUV arrive?
The current-generation Toyota Highlander underwent a massive overhaul for the 2020 model year. As a result, Car and Driver report that you should not expect to see the larger variant for quite some time. Additionally, Toyota has yet to confirm the existence of this new SUV officially. As a result, we will likely have to wait until a mid-cycle refresh for its introduction. Car and Driver report that this could happen sometime for the 2023 or 2024 model year.
It is worth noting that a few key changes may happen before this new Toyota Highlander arrives. Motor1 reported early in 2020 that a brand-new Sequoia might arrive for the 2022 model year. As a result, the Japanese carmaker may be focusing on that release before the Grand Highlander’s arrival. However, the plan to create a new SUV hardly surprises given how popular the three-row SUV segment is.
What will power this new SUV?
Given the similarities with the current-gen Toyota Highlanders, Car and Driver took an educated guess at what may power the new larger variant. The current-gen Highlander has just two available engine options. The first is a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 developing 295 hp. The second is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine equipped with two electric motors to deliver 243 hp.
Additionally, Car and Driver report that a Grand Highlander Prime could be a possibility given how successful the plug-in hybrid powertrain is in the RAV4. Additionally, it remains to be seen whether Toyota will bump up these power figures to cope with the larger size and subsequent weight. For now, all we have to go off of is a trademark.