For several months we’ve been hearing about the upcoming long-wheelbase Toyota Grand Highlander, now it looks like some spy shots of the new SUV are starting to emerge. While the Highlander already seats eight, the new Grand Highlander is expected to have a longer wheelbase, which means more rear legroom and likely more cargo capacity. The new platform will also underpin the new Lexus TX. But what can we expect from the great new Highlander?
What is the Toyota Grand Highlander?
The 2023 Highlander has plenty of room, but with a little more room, it could definitely get bigger. It has three rows of seats, but the third row has just 28 inches of legroom, compared to a generous 42 inches in the front. That means the third row is for kids or riders only. It also has just 16 cubic feet of space behind the third row, which is enough for a backpack or three with the seat up. To get more room today, you have to jump into the $15,000 more expensive Sequoia SUV.
The Toyota Highlander has three rows
The new Grand Highlander, with a bit more length, should provide enough rear legroom for real adults to sit comfortably. It also means the Grand Highlander could have enough luggage space behind the third row for those seven or eight people. . According to GM Authoritythe new Grand Highlander concept has been on tour at Toyota’s offices in Michigan.
Today’s Highlander is also known as a dependable SUV. However, for 2023, the Highlander will have a more refined engine. Instead of the old 290-horsepower V6, the new four-cylinder has just 265 horsepower. But, it makes a bit more torque. All four make 309 pound-feet, which means that in real-world driving and the stoplight-to-stoplight racing we all do, it should keep up with the outgoing Highlander. More torque means more power as you step on the forward pedal. It also means the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
What will compete with the new Grand Highlander?
The 17-foot-long Chevy Traverse is a beast, but this three-row SUV will compete directly with the new Grand Highlander. It comes with a 310-horsepower V6 and plenty of features for the whole family. By comparison, it offers 23 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and also has 33.5 inches of rear legroom.
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L also brings the Grand Cherokee into the long class. The regular Grand Cherokee is a two-row, five-seat SUV, while the L adds a third row. It has 30 inches of rear legroom, but only 17.2 inches of rear legroom with the seat up. The Grand Highlander will also likely compete against the Honda Pilot, which is inches from the current Highlander in space.
Three-row SUVs are adding room in the rear
The new Grand Highlander follows the trend of other manufacturers adding extra length to an existing SUV to add space. For example, the last generation Lexus RX came in regular and L for “long” trims, which added a third row of seats. GM has also long made the Suburban, which is basically a Tahoe with a little more length. Additionally, Land Rover makes the new Defender 110, which is a three-row version of that SUV. Rover added 20 inches to the Land Rover 90 (get it?) to make that third row possible.
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