Bigger is not always better, but if you’ve found yourself outgrowing your Toyota Highlander, Toyota has a “grand” solution, this 2024 Grand Highlander.

Just back from a First Drive opportunity on the Big Island of Hawaii, the 7 or 8-passenger Grand Highlander sits 6.5-inches longer than its less grand originator, with the bulk of that added length benefitting 3rd row passengers.

And cargo hauling too, growing from 16 to 20.6 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row; 57.9 when they’re folded flat, which is an increase of 9½ cubic-ft., and finally max grows from 84.3 to 97.5 cubic-ft.

But don’t think of this as just a stretched Highlander, as it is a completely new vehicle with all new body work that favors the RAV4 more than the existing Highlander. Wheelbase is about 4-inches longer than the Highlander, too, so proportions still look right.

When it comes to the powertrain, nothing unknown, as all 3 choices come from the current Toyota line-up, the most notable of which is the Toyota Crown’s Hybrid Max powerplant, outputting 362-horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque. It comes with standard all-wheel-drive, which remains optional with the 245-horsepower 2.5-liter Hybrid and 265-horsepower 2.4-liter turbo-4, both from the Highlander.

Each engine comes with its own transmission; the Hybrid getting a CVT, the 2.4-turbo an 8-speed automatic, and the Hybrid MAX a 6-speed auto. Towing capacity is same as Highlander at 5,000-lbs.

All-wheel-drive systems are unique as well. Both hybrids power the rear wheels with electric motors only; the standard hybrid acts primarily in front-wheel-drive unless additional traction is needed, while the Hybrid Max operates in a more performance-oriented full-time fashion. The 2.4-liter turbo is the only one that sends mechanical power rearward through an actual drive shaft.

BRIAN ROBINSON: “The Hybrid Max engine has loads of torque for getting this Grand Highlander off the line; but, really the Grand Highlander is only, like, 100-lbs heavier than the regular Highlander, so all the engines are more than adequate for uh– getting you down the road.”

Toyota’s latest Audio Multimedia system gets a 12.3-inch touchscreen standard, as Grand Highlanders are only available in XLE, Limited, and Platinum trim.

Pricing starts around $43,000, with Grand Highlanders making their grand entrance this summer.

And we’ll have a complete Grand Highlander Road Test, and more Quick Spins, soon.