The fourth-generation Kluger already comes with seven seats, but what if its third-row passengers had more space to play with? Well, Toyota will reportedly soon offer a longer version of the new large SUV to make this a reality.
According to Automotive News, the Japanese brand will release a such a model, dubbed Grand Highlander, in the US in 2023. Of course, the Kluger is known as the Highlander stateside, so the possibility of a related Grand Kluger is high.
Grand Highlander rumblings began last December, when Toyota filed a US trademark application for the nameplate, which suggested an even more accommodating version of the Highlander was on the way, with an extended rear overhang expected.
Read more about the Toyota Kluger
Fast forward to the present time and Automotive News claims to not only know when the Grand Highlander will go into production at the Japanese brand’s Indiana plant, but also that it will be available with “a hybrid powertrain” and a petrol engine.
The hybrid powertrain is question is likely to be the Highlander/Kluger’s 184kW ‘self-charging’ petrol-electric system, which pairs a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol with three electric motors for all-wheel drive (AWD).
Meanwhile, the aforementioned petrol engine should be the Highlander/Kluger’s 218kW/350Nm 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6, which is mated to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic with front-wheel drive or AWD.
Of course, time will tell if the Grand Highlander leads to a sub-LandCruiser Grand Kluger for Australia. For what it’s worth, Toyota is yet to file a local trademark application for the nameplate.
Of note, a Grand Kluger would likely solve the Kluger’s third-row airbag compromise by extending the curtain airbags to protect third-row occupants.
A Grand Kluger would also be a natural rival for the Hyundai Palisade, which incidentally also offers proper third-row curtain airbag coverage, unlike the smaller Santa Fe on which it is related.