The mid-size SUV segment has become one of the most competitive in the entire automotive industry.
Both quality and quantity have come to define this family-friendly subset of sport utilities, with more than a dozen entries on the mainstream market alone. Based on that crowded field, the most excellent of the bunch must truly stand tall in order to be recognized as the best. And the all-new Toyota Grand Highlander has done exactly that, earning the title as the Best Mid-Size SUV in the 2024 AutoTrader Awards.
Leaning on the storied name of its longstanding sibling, the Grand Highlander adds what’s sorely lacking there: space. More than simply making the existing model bigger, Toyota built an entirely new SUV filled with thoughtful features that helped set it apart from its peers.
The trio of available powertrains impressed our panel of more than 20 automotive experts, with the range-topping turbocharged hybrid helping this Toyota stand out. While the conventional hybrid offers superior efficiency, the one at the top of the lineup adds electric components to a 2.4L turbo four-cylinder to offer premium-like power that suits the Grand Highlander’s proportions to perfection.
Elsewhere, reasonably roomy third-row seating and standard all-wheel drive across the lineup give this SUV a one-two punch of essentials that put it in the conversation as one of the best like it. It’s up against some stiff competition, too, including the Kia Telluride that managed to take home top honours three consecutive years.
Perhaps the most compelling part of this Toyota’s win is the way it all comes together. Sure, it’s got class-competitive space inside; and the so-called Hybrid Max powertrain gives the top trim a serious edge over the competition. But the Grand Highlander is so impressive precisely because it remains focused on the stuff an SUV like it should.
“Don’t expect much as far as character or charm,” I wrote when I drove the Grand Highlander for the first time, “this is a family hauler that’s focused on its job of moving the most people (and stuff) possible.”
Fellow AutoTrader Expert Jeff Wilson put it another way, describing the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander as “a pragmatic choice with a wonderfully user-friendly cabin, comfortable ride, and good equipment levels for the price.”
Either way, this SUV sets a new standard for the growing number of mid-size entries out there. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Toyota chose to simply refine and repackage it. There’s no better proof of that approach paying off than outshining a segment of impressive entries to take home the honour as the best of the bunch.