The Japanese automaker seems to be preparing for a large 3-row SUV when it registered the trademark of Grand Highlander on December 28, 2020.
An application filed by Toyota with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in late 2020, sparking theories about a new model in the sport utility line.
The current generation of Toyota Highlander is still not “old”, when it is only launched in 2019. But the 7-seater SUV still does not seem to be enough to convince US customers when only 163,191 vehicles were sold in November, 2020, much less compared with 239,437 units of 2019.
One of the Highlander’s limitations is that the legroom of passengers is not as comfortable as competitors in the same segment. The third row is only 703 mm wide for legroom, while the second row has 1,066 mm.
Meanwhile, in the Honda Pilot, the legroom in the third row is 810 mm and the Nissan Pathfinder is 779 mm.
The above mentioned important feature of the Highlander may be the element that will be emphasized in the Grand Highlander. However, there is no confirmation about the new SUV model. The current Highlander has not had an upgraded version yet, so the future is still quite far away. In addition, copyright registration can only be a way for car manufacturers to protect the idea, it is not certain that it will become a real product.
If Toyota is really preparing for a real Grand Highlander, the new SUV will be the Highlander’s brother, with a more spacious third row and higher price tag.
Currently in the US market, the Highlander 2021 is priced at 34,900-47,000 USD, while the Land Cruiser is 85,500-87,800 USD, so there is still room for a product with the middle price.