Execs: Extraordinarily environment friendly hybrid mannequin; quiet and cozy cabin
Cons: Cramped third row; smaller-than-average cargo capability; unrefined base engine; irksome tech
Three-row midsize SUVs are a terrific decide for rising households and the category is chock filled with worthy decisions. Standing out from this aggressive crowd isn’t any small feat, however the 2024 Toyota Highlander manages to do exactly that with its extremely environment friendly hybrid mannequin. It is estimated to return as a lot as 36 mpg in mixed metropolis and freeway driving, handily beating conventionally powered rivals which can be solely rated between 20 and 25 mpg.
The Highlander Hybrid additionally defies typical pricing by solely costing $1,600 greater than the four-cylinder non-hybrid mannequin that’s estimated at 25 mpg. The hybrid gas financial savings are substantial sufficient to interrupt even with the added up-front value inside a 12 months and a half. In case your precedence is attaining the best gas effectivity, that is your greatest guess.
It is extra possible that your SUV wants transcend simply gas financial savings, and though the Highlander is a usually competent entry, it in the end is much less aggressive total. Measurement can be a significant motive. Regardless of the same price ticket to its rivals, adults and teenagers will discover the third row tighter and fewer comfy than these of rivals. There’s much less cargo area behind that third row as nicely. The brand new, bigger Toyota Grand Highlander solves these points and because it too gives an ultra-efficient hybrid, we now suggest it as a best choice within the section as an alternative of this common Highlander. The others can be the unassailable Kia Telluride, the associated Hyundai Palisade, and the well-rounded Honda Pilot.
What’s new for 2024?
Final 12 months’s base L trim has been discontinued and the Bronze version look packages have been changed by the darker Nightshades. An influence liftgate now comes customary on the XLE trim and better.
Admittedly, the image above is indicative of the upper XLE, Restricted and Platinum trims – the decrease LE is a quite dour and monochromatic affair. But, even these have above-average inside high quality, and for the reason that dear trims are typically standard, it is price extolling their virtues a bit. The earthy two-tone shade schemes are distinctive, heat and usually inviting. The silver trim that wraps across the management binnacle like a fork is textured to make it look richer and extra like precise steel. The wooden trim on the sprint and heart console, be it actual or not, is delicate and tasteful. The padded SofTex vinyl that covers a lot of the sprint, doorways and heart console is nice to the touch, whereas the actual leather-based on the seats is buttery gentle. All of the switchgear is nice to the touch and function.
Normal on most trim ranges is an 8-inch touchscreen interface, which is mounted excessive inside simple attain and sight. The out there 12.3-inch unit is essentially comparable when it comes to its primary operation, however good points performance by adopting a widescreen orientation. The working system is the latest that Toyota has to supply, that includes shiny, minimalist graphics and pure speech recognition. It is responsive and runs rapidly. The shortcut icons on the aspect closest to the motive force are simple to achieve, however they sadly disappear whenever you use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which means it’s a must to click-click-click to flee the Apple/Android interfaces quite than utilizing a easy Dwelling button like Toyota used to characteristic. There are different annoyances we found, significantly with the radio operation and navigation system, which make this method much less interesting than these of rivals.
The Highlander is smaller than most of its rivals on the skin, which makes it barely extra manageable to maneuver and park. We’re solely speaking a number of inches, although, because the Highlander continues to be an awfully large automobile.
Not surprisingly, although, it additionally has one of many section’s smallest interiors. There’s only a bit much less headroom all over the place, however it’s the third row that is noticeably a lot smaller than these of most rivals that may match average-sized adults in its third row. Even when youngsters are those who often use third-row seats, they are going to be much less comfy within the Highlander’s.
Cargo area is available in at 16 cubic ft behind the third row of seats, 48.4 cubic ft behind the second row, and 84.3 with all of the rear seats folded. These figures are all small for the section. In our baggage check of the Highlander, it was capable of maintain much less stuff than its rivals can.
There’s a answer within the type of the brand new 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, although. Because the title suggests, it is a bigger model that has been prolonged 6.5 inches nose-to-tail. That permits for extra inside area, with the third row capable of extra comfortably accommodate adults. Cargo capability additionally will increase to twenty.6 cu-ft behind the third row, and in its baggage check, it proved to be the brand new best-in-segment alternative.
Here is the place the Highlander is a giant winner, at the very least regarding the hybrid. The electrified Highlander makes use of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with electrical motors that produce a internet output of 243 horsepower. That is not a lot for the section, however then no giant three-row crossover comes near its gas financial system. EPA estimates weren’t out there for 2024 on the time of this writing, however we anticipate them to be the identical as these of 2023: 36 mpg mixed with front-wheel drive or 35 mpg with non-obligatory all-wheel drive (it makes use of a second electrical motor to energy the rear axle and due to this fact present all-wheel-drive).
The turbocharged four-cylinder, however, ought to be skipped. Not like the silky clean V6 it changed, the turbo engine is loud, clattery and has much less horsepower than most rivals. It does characteristic far more torque than most at 310 pound-feet, however the rough-sounding engine makes it sound prefer it’s laboring tougher. And whereas Toyota claims lowered emissions, the proprietor would not reap a lot of an effectivity profit from the turbo engine. The 2023 mannequin was estimated to return 25 mpg for the front-wheel-drive model and 24 mpg if you happen to go for all-wheel-drive.
The excellent news is that the turbo engine retains the graceful and pretty responsive eight-speed computerized. Entrance-wheel drive is customary, and two all-wheel-drive programs can be found: a primary one which sends energy to the rear wheels when further traction is required, and a extra superior system for the XSE, Restricted and Platinum that may additionally differ the quantity of energy between the left and proper rear wheels to additional improve traction (AKA torque vectoring).
That is by far the perfect Highlander to drive but, and can be one of the crucial composed automobiles within the section. It would not really feel that large behind the wheel, and the chassis and steering work properly in live performance with one another to create a driving expertise that feels constant no matter whether or not you are driving the children to high school, on a protracted freeway journey or end up on a winding mountain highway. It isn’t an athlete like a Mazda CX-90, and we doubt the Highlander XSE will flip up the dial that a lot both, however compared to different household haulers, the Highlander properly balances journey consolation and reassuring dealing with. There is a Sport mode you possibly can choose, however the adjustments to the steering, throttle and transmission are troublesome to detect.
The bottom turbo four-cylinder is loud, gruff and sounds strained when pushed. Acceleration is definitely ample, simply delivered with quite a lot of grievance. Thankfully, the transmission is clean, and not one of the different Highlander positives such because the journey, dealing with and agency brakes are compromised by the meh engine. It ought to come as no shock that we just like the Highlander Hybrid higher. It feels pleasantly fast off the road round city, and in sure circumstances, will simply hum alongside on electrical energy solely. You additionally get the identical above-average journey and dealing with because the turbo Highlander and, after all, unbeatable gas financial system for a modest worth premium that might rapidly be paid off in gasoline financial savings. Now, we’ll say that if you happen to spend quite a lot of time on the freeway and tend to do quite a lot of passing whereas there, the Hybrid might be not your best option for you. You positively discover its meager horsepower for a automobile its dimension, and Toyota’s hybrid system unappealingly drones when beneath a heavy foot. We might recommend the Grand Highlander’s Hybrid Max powertrain providing as an alternative, because it gives burly energy and respectable gas financial system, albeit at an elevated worth.
What different Toyota Highlander opinions can I learn?
The Highlander gained extra space behind its third row for the most recent technology, however stays one of many smallest within the section. We put that area to the check. Word that this was one of many earlier baggage checks we have performed with a lot of the remainder of the section examined thereafter. You will discover all Baggage Checks right here.
On this evaluate and video, we focus on intimately the Highlander’s enticing and well-made inside. The infotainment tech has modified since then however the whole lot else nonetheless applies.
Our first driving impressions of each the V6 Highlander and the Highlander Hybrid, together with extra details about what’s new, its engineering and design.
Pricing begins at $40,515 for the bottom turbo-powered Highlander LE, together with the $1,395 vacation spot cost. Pricing for the Highlander Hybrid pricing begins at $42,115 for a similar LE trim. All-wheel drive is a $1,600 to $1,950 possibility relying on the trim stage.
Even the bottom Highlander LE comes customary with a full complement of security tech (see Security part), adaptive cruise management, LED headlights with computerized excessive beams, proximity entry and push-button begin, an influence liftgate, three-zone local weather management, an eight-way energy driver seat, material upholstery, 5 USB ports (three entrance, two center, all Sort-C besides one Sort-A on the entrance), wi-fi Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 8-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system.
In addition to slathering on further gear, there are some key variations to concentrate on regarding the higher trim ranges. The XSE pictured beneath is just out there with the turbo engine, has sportier suspension and steering tuning, plus completely different styling and inside shade choices. It additionally gives the extra superior torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system, which can be non-obligatory on the Restricted and Platinum. Lastly, the $1,000 Nightshade look package deal provides quite a lot of dark-colored accents to what’s in any other case a Highlander Hybrid LE or XLE.
You will discover a full breakdown of options, specs and native pricing for the 2024 Toyota Highlander right here and for the 2024 Highlander Hybrid right here. All costs beneath embrace the $1,395 vacation spot cost and are for front-wheel-drive fashions. All-wheel drive is a $1,600 to $1,950 possibility primarily based on trim.
Hybrid LE: $42,115
Hybrid XLE: $45,265
Hybrid Restricted: $49,370
Hybrid Platinum: $52,570
Each 2024 Toyota Highlander contains customary ahead collision warning with pedestrian and bike owner detection, computerized emergency braking, lane-keeping help, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, computerized excessive beams and adaptive cruise management with steering help. The Restricted and Platinum get reverse computerized emergency braking. We respect that every one these programs are customary and that they’ll preserve you protected, however they’ll definitely annoy. The lane-keeping help system is overly intrusive and the adaptive cruise management system is just a little lackadaisical in getting again on the gasoline when site visitors forward clears. Its lane-centering steering help additionally leaves one thing to be desired.
The Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security named the 2023 Highlander a High Security Choose+ for its best-possible scores in all pertinent crash safety and crash prevention checks. Its headlight scores diverse relying on trim stage, and its LATCH anchors acquired a ranking of “Good” for ease of use. The Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration gave the 2024 Highlander 5 out of 5 stars for total crash safety, together with a four-star frontal and rollover ranking and five-star aspect safety ranking.