A hybrid version of the mid-size SUV is available, but we expect an upgrade. The company is working on a new version – the 2024 Toyota Highlander Prime. Like the RAV4 crossover, the Prime badge means the plug-in hybrid setup. The SUV was always ahead of time. Highlander was the only three-row model with a hybrid engine for some while. Then, the company made a statement by improving the gas mileage to 35 mpg. Now, the PHEV version is going to add another dimension to the lineup. Well, the Highlander Prime won’t be the first PHEV SUV, so Toyota engineers will have to come up with something unique and impressive.
Like always, Toyota is launching many changes and novelties across the lineup. But, the fact is – everything is moving to the zero-emission world. The 2024 Toyota Highlander Prime will be cleaner compared to any other previous edition. After a few years, the Highlander will become an EV, like many other Toyota vehicles. The bZ4X is already out as the first electric SUV. Now, we expect the Tacoma truck as well, and the Lexus UX300e to hit the US market.
2024 Toyota Highlander Prime Specs
Under the hood of the 2024 Toyota Highlander Prime will be a plug-in hybrid setup that combines a petrol unit and electric motors. Compared to the standard hybrid, batteries will provide extra support, meaning the SUV gets more power. Plus, there is an option to use only an electric power source for driving. The range will probably be between 20-25 miles.
Since the configuration is not confirmed yet, we can compare it to the Rav4 crossover. It uses a 2.5-liter engine both for hybrid and PHEV models. The other one is more potent, upgrading the power output by nearly 100 hp. It also keeps superb gas mileage with minor loses. Hybrid does 40 mpg, and the Rav4 Prime is at 38 mpg combined.
The Highlander Hybrid was criticized for its lack of power. Engineers sacrificed nearly 50 ponies to gain extra mileage. Now, the 2024 Toyota Highlander Prime is about to deliver more ponies and fix the issue. Exceptional fuel economy will still be the highlight. Nevertheless, precise numbers are unknown yet.
Let’s check what the standard Highlander offers and what the Prime version can enhance. Under the bonnet is a 2.5-liter engine and thanks to hybrid support, the system delivers 246 horsepower. This is not something that buyers of three-row SUVs want. A previous V6 model could do 295 hp. Anyway, the downpowering of the Highlander also means a better fuel economy. It is the most efficient SUV when it comes to the mileage with 35 mpg. No other vehicle of its size can return a similar result.
Having this in mind, from the 2024 Toyota Highlander Prime we expect at least 300 hp, and engineers might tune it up to 350 ponies. The mileage should stay above 30 mpg, which is still an impressive result for the three-row segment. Well, there are other options as well. A V6 could be there, but the focus is on the hybrid system. The I Force system that uses a six-cylinder mill can provide 389 hp. For now, only large SUVs and trucks are using this setup.
2024 Toyota Highlander Prime Release Date and Price
The SUV is still speculation for now. Until the company releases an official statement, we won’t know precisely what to expect. During this season the first preview should be announced. The price depends on power and size of the PHEV system. Anyway, the standard hybrid SUV costs $41,000. The plug-in setup will add at least $7,000 and the 2024 Toyota Highlander Prime could go over $50,000 in the base form.
There were no three-row SUVs with a hybrid unit. But, other carmakers started producing such systems, but Toyota stepped up with 35 mpg. Now, the plug-in hybrid is another upgrade. For now, you can find only luxury SUVs with PHEV systems. For example, Lincoln Aviator can produce nearly 500 hp. But, that is not something we expect from the 2024 Toyota Highlander Prime. Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot could be rivals in this class, while the Wrangler 4xe is an off-road SUV.