Somebody in Toyota product planning came up with the grand idea of making a bigger version of their best-selling Highlander and call it the Grand Highlander.

Then, someone in MotorWeek personnel planning came up with the great idea of sending me to Hawaii to check it out. So, here we are and here it is, the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander.

Longer by 6.5-inches, the priorities were to deliver true space for adults in the 3rd row and provide more room behind it for cargo. But don’t think of it so much as a stretched Highlander, as it is a completely new vehicle, with most of its styling cues like the big “hammerhead” trapezoidal grille, actually much closer to the RAV4. Plus, new wheels designs up to 20-inches.

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There are 3 engines to choose from, and they each get their own transmission, starting with a 243-horsepower 2.5-liter Hybrid, working through a CVT.

It’s joined by a 265-horsepower 2.4-liter turbo I4 which has an 8-speed automatic.

Add a performance-minded hybrid setup to that 2.4-liter and you get a 362-horsepower Hybrid Max setup, mated to a 6-speed automatic. Hybrid Max versions get unique front and rear bumpers, along with a dual exhaust system, and standard all-wheel-drive, which is optional with the 2.4-liter turbo and the Hybrid.

“The Hybrid Max has plenty of torque for getting this Grand Highlander off the line, and delivers a very refined driving experience, but the Grand Highlander only weighs about 100-lbs. more, so the other engines hold their own as well.”

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Familiar unassuming quality-minded Toyota interior, with their latest multimedia system which gets a 12.3-inch touchscreen standard.

“So, I’m driving a bigger Highlander, but it doesn’t necessarily feel any bigger. It’s still easy to maneuver, with ride quality that’s quite plush, and noise levels that rival Lexus.”

Since this is the grandest of all Highlanders, no need for L or LE trims; the Grand Highlander is available in XLE, Limited, and Platinum grades only, starting with XLE at about $43,000.

We’ll have much more on the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander soon…right here on MotorWeek.