Toyota’s highly popular Highlander Hybrid SUV is set to receive an update for the 2024 model year, scheduled to make its debut later this year. The incoming SUV is unlikely to deviate significantly from the car that’s currently at dealers. Here’s a sneak peek at what we expect from the 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. It’s important to mention that the information and pictures presented in this article pertain to the current model year, and we will add any forthcoming updates accordingly.
Unchanged Hybrid powertrain
The 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid should retains its impressive 243 hp powertrain. The standard setup will include a 2.5-liter gas engine producing 186 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque, in addition to two motors and an e-CVT positioned at the front.
An AWD drivetrain layout would be available optionally, with an additional electric motor to power the rear wheels. The rear electric motor would activate when the system senses the loss of traction on the front wheels to provide extra grip. Normal, Eco, Sport, and EV would be the driving modes.
Due to the smaller size of the battery pack powering the electric motors, it may not be possible for drivers to cover significant distances with the engine shut off. Regenerative braking would charge this battery pack. Additionally, Toyota’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) would analyze driving behavior and traffic conditions to optimize battery usage and charging. The 2024 Highlander Hybrid should deliver the same fuel economy as the previous model:
|Trim\Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined)||Toyota Highlander Hybrid FWD||Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD|
To maintain its appeal, the 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid would have to be available with a plethora of in-cabin technologies. Hands-free power liftgate, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with four layouts (Casual, Smart, Tough, and Sporty), wireless smartphone charging, 12-speaker, 1,200-watt JBL sound system, and Toyota Audio Multimedia system would be among the main features in this aspect.
The Toyota Audio Multimedia system is an infotainment system designed and engineered by Toyota’s Texas-based Connected Technologies team. It offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, over-the-air (OTA) updates, “Hey Toyota” voice commands, Cloud Navigation, and Google Points-Of-Interest, Wi-Fi hotspot, and more. It would be available with an 8-inch touchscreen in lower grades and a 12.3-inch touchscreen in higher grades. The top-end grades should feature acoustic glass on the front passenger windows to better insulate the vehicle from outside disturbances that filter into the cabin as well.
Hybrid Bronze Edition
The Bronze Edition, which we’re expecting will return in the 2024 model year update, would be a grade for style-focused customers who want their 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to stand out. It won’t be about a typical darkened exterior like the XSE grade.
The Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition will likely be available in Midnight Black Metallic, Cement, and Wind Chill Pearl colors, with a Graphite interior as standard. 18-inch bronze-finished wheels, illuminated bronze door sills, mid-century-inspired embossed fabric seat inserts, bronze-colored stitching, and exclusive floor and cargo mats embroidered with a special bronze logo would make the hybrid SUV extra-appealing.
Will the Bronze Edition be worth the premium?
The Bronze Edition trim would command a premium of around USD 2,500 over the XLE. The styling upgrades alone might not be worth the premium. However, the Bronze Edition trim will likely include more equipment, such as rain-sensing wipers, LED-strip DRLs, height-adjustable hands-free power tailgate, a 12.3-inch Toyota Audio Multimedia touchscreen infotainment system, and two 120V outlets (1500W shared). In our opinion, that’s a good deal if you’re into flashy styling.
Loaded with safety features
The Toyota Highlander is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awardee, the organization’s highest rating. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ (TSS 2.5+), which includes a raft of safety features, and that should remain unchanged with the 2024 model year update.
TSS 2.5+ packs Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection (PCS w/ PD), Full-speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA), Lane Trace Assist (LTA), Road Sign Assist (RSA) and Automatic High Beams (AHB).
Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert will likely be standard. Limited and Platinum trims may have front and rear parking assist with automatic braking. Bird’s Eye View with Perimeter Scan should also be available on the Limited trim and be standard on the Platinum trim.
A feature specific to the Hybrid variant of the Highlander is Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), which makes a host of safety functions work together seamlessly. VDIM makes the ABS, Brake Assist, Traction Control, VSC, hill assist, and the EPS work in conjunction, controlling the hybrid system output to keep the vehicle stable on low-grip surfaces. Expect it to be carried forward to the 2024 model year.
Price & Release Date
The 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid could be launched in Summer 2023, with prices starting at around USD 37,000. We’ll update this article when we receive further information.
Toyota sold 43,711 units of the Highlander Hybrid in the U.S. in 2022. Compared to 2021 (65,167 units), this marked a 32.9% decline in sales. The easing supply chain bottlenecks and the MY2023 update seem to have revived the popularity of the hybrid SUV. In Q1 2023, Toyota delivered 20,927 units of the Highlander Hybrid in the U.S., 26.5% more than in Q1 2022 (16,543 units).
Given that the Highlander is the top-selling mid-size SUV in the United States, Toyota is unlikely to tamper with the formula. Instead, it may make the SUV more appealing with mild upgrades for the 2024 model year. Additionally, American customers in need of a more spacious three-row SUV may want to consider the larger Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid, which is expected to arrive at dealerships around the same time as the 2024 Highlander Hybrid.
2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid FAQs
Which models will be the competitors of the 2024 Toyota Highlander?
What will be the 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid price?
The 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid should start at around USD 37,000.
What is the 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid release date?
The 2024 Toyota Highlander Hybrid could be launched in Summer 2023.
Featured Image Source: Toyota