Hot on the news that Toyota is discontinuing the Land Cruiser after the 2021 model year, the folks at GR86.org have uncovered a recent patent application from Toyota for the “Grand Highlander” name. Filed on December 24, 2020, the application lists use of the name for the United States and Canada.
So, what’s the takeaway from all of this? While the only thing for certain is that the Land Cruiser in its current form will not continue after the current model year, everything else is just speculation. If the “Grand” in “Grand Highlander” is any indication, the company could be planning on releasing an extended-wheelbase version of Toyota’s three-row Highlander SUV. The Toyota Highlander just received a modest update for the 2021 model year, but space behind the third row is still fairly limited. Extending the wheelbase could open up the vehicle to not only more storage space behind the third row, but also add more room for occupants in the third row.
How does this connect to Sequoia and Land Cruiser? Well, the rumor mill has also been churning regarding the future of the Sequoia nameplate. With a new Tundra on the way for 2022 (also a rumor) the Tundra-based Sequoia should also be due for a refresh. What we see happening, however, is Toyota developing a new full-size SUV for North America, building it at the same Indiana production facility that currently produces Sequoia, and reviving the Land Cruiser name for this new vehicle.
If this speculative shuffle were to happen, it would leave Toyota with a solid selection of three-row SUVs ranging from Highlander, to the extended Grand Highlander, and then the full-size all-new Land Cruiser.
While we’re still likely very wrong about this whole thing, this patent revelation sure connects all of the current rumor dots in a way that’s kind of difficult to ignore. We’re going to grab some popcorn and see how this all unravels over the next 18 months. You’re more than welcome to join us.
| 002 2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum Awd
Toyota filed a patent application on Christmas Eve for the use of the name “Grand Highlander” in the United States and Canada. This could be an indication that an extended-length Highlander is coming soon.
| 003 Toyota Grand Highlander Patent Application
| 004 2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum
| 005 2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum
| 006 2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum
For 2021 the Toyota Highlander received a major refresh inside and out. It’s entirely possible that an extended version of this vehicle has been in the works this whole time.
| 007 2020 Sequoia Trd Pro
With a new Tundra rumored for 2022, the fate of Toyota’s full-size Sequoia SUV hangs in the balance. Toyota could easily replace this large three-row SUV with the forthcoming Grand Highlander.
| 008 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser
Toyota has already announced that the Land Cruiser will be making its exit from the North American market after the 2021 model year. It could also be possible that what would have been the next-generation Sequoia will eventually wear the Land Cruiser nameplate, returning it once again.