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It looks like the Grand Highlander is getting closer to becoming a reality. This new prototype was spotted testing at Toyota’s Michigan Tech Center.
The Highlander is a 3-row crossover, but its third row is cramped with challenging ingress and egress. This new model will address those shortcomings with its generously upsized proportions. From a size perspective, it promises lots more passenger space, and room for a generous third row and more cargo capacity. The prototype definitely looks ready to take on the likes of the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, a revamped Honda Pilot and the Chevy Traverse
"Grand Highlander" Name A Possibility
This new crossover is expected to use a longer-wheelbase version of Toyota’s TNGA-K platform, and will be built alongside the current Highlander at its Princeton, Indiana plant. Reports surfaced in 2021 that Toyota had trademarked the name “Grand Highlander."
Lexus Version On The Way
This big crossover is also expected to spawn a Lexus variant, reportedly dubbed the TX. While it is possible that this prototype represents Lexus’ new crossover under all of that camo, we believe that the design details that can be discerned are more consistent with Toyota than with a Lexus model. The grille details that can be seen through the camouflage don’t show signs of Lexus’ spindle grille treatment. Instead, we see more traditional Toyota overtones, with hints of front bumper sculpting closer to the current Highlander. The wheel arches on this prototype are also reminiscent of the Highlander, suggesting unique styling that still maintains a familial look with its little brother.
New Exhaust Configuration, New Engine or Improved Packaging For Better Third Row?
Dual exhaust tips are found at the outer edges of the rear bumper. It’s a different configuration than what’s found on the current Highlander. Perhaps the Grand Highlander’s larger footprint will bring a more powerful engine option. However, it is possible that the wide-set exhaust setup on this prototype was designed to make more room for packaging the third-row seating, to make the most use of the new model’s larger rear cargo bay.