As we enter the waning days of summer, Toyota is keen to corner the market on SUV news. The Grand Highlander debuted earlier this year, but production is finally underway at the automaker’s sprawling manufacturing plant in southern Indiana. Barring any hiccups, the new three-row people mover will land at dealerships in a matter of weeks.
The timing for this announcement is certainly interesting, given the highly anticipated debut of the new Toyota Land Cruiser that took place less than 24 hours ago as of this August 2 post. There is some symmetry in the news, however, as these SUVs share a Toyota badge but represent two very different interpretations of the segment. The Grand Highlander’s mission is to carry up to eight friends and family members in comfort while maintaining some measure of off-road capability. The new Land Cruiser looks quite comfy for five on the inside, but it’s clearly designed for the roads less traveled.
As a refresher, Grand Highlander buyers have three engine options to choose from, two of which are hybrids. The non-electrified choice is a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder making 265 horsepower, available in XLE, Limited, or Platinum trim. Hybrid versions get a non-turbo 2.5-liter four-pot making 245 hp, save for the range-topping Hybrid Max. That uses the 2.4-liter turbo with electrification, and output jumps accordingly to 362 hp.
In 2021, Toyota announced a whopping $803 million investment into its Indiana plant to build the Grand Highlander. Its upscale Lexus TX counterpart will also be assembled at this location, though Grand Highlander is first out of the gate. Part of this investment also includes support for Indiana schools through the Toyota USA Foundation, which is offering grants of up to $11.1 million. The money will go towards STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) studies and careers.
“Toyota is always looking to the future, by introducing new products like the Grand Highlander, and innovative community initiatives like Driving Possibilities,” said Toyota Indiana President Leah Curry. “Driving Possibilities sets the foundation for powerful learning experiences to prepare area students for future STEM careers.”
While the 2023 Toyota Grand Highlander will soon reach dealerships, the Lexus TX is slated to arrive in the fall.