Speculation

Goodbye Land Cruiser, hello Grand Highlander? Toyota's trademark filing hints at new model

The Toyota Highlander is currently the only three-row SUV that Toyota sells.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

On December 28, 2020, Toyota Motor Corporation filed a trademark request for the words "Grand Highlander" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Does this mean that a larger Highlander is on the way? A more elegant one? Here's what we know.

The trademark of "Grand Highlander" was applied for under the "Automobiles and structural parts thereof" section of the application for a word mark as a standard character mark. This is identical to how the RAV4 Prime application was filed in November 2019.

It is different than other automaker trademark requests. For example, Ford Motor Company applied for the "Bronco Sport" work mark with a much broader specified area of commitment for the words:

"Land motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles; land motor vehicle parts for passenger automobiles, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles, namely, shock absorbers, shock absorbing springs, vehicle anti-roll bars, braces for suspension struts, exterior metal decorative and protective trim, exterior plastic extruded decorative and protective trim, differentials, gear shifts, hoods, fascia, steering wheels, seat trim, parking brakes, wheels, brake discs, brake calipers, brake pads, engines, engine or motor mufflers, exhaust pipes, exhaust headers, air intakes, oil fill caps, coolant fill caps, engine valve covers, ignition coil covers, radiators, and exterior insignia badges"

The "Grand Highlander" mark is currently in the 1B stage of the trademark process.Following the initial filing the USPTO reviews the application. From there, it is decided whether or not the application will be approved. Upon approval, the mark is published for opposition reaction. If it passes without opposition, a Notice of Allowance is issued. From there, a statement of use needs to be filed, then reviewed before the trademark is officially filed.

If the mark is not initially approved, there is a rebuttal process and subsequent amendments to the initial filing are allowed. After that process is complete, the Notice of Allowance can be issued, or the trademark request can be rejected outright.

For the "RAV4 Prime" mark, the entire process took about a year with the mark published for opposition in February 2020 and the registration was completed in December 2020. The "Bronco Sport" mark was published for opposition in April 2020 and has yet to reach the final approval stage.

That's a lot to say, that the Grand Highlander mark may mean that something is in the pipeline, or it may not. We know for sure that the Land Cruiser is leaving the U.S. lineup soon. Toyota doesn't use the "Grand" name in any of its North American vehicles. But, it also doesn't mean that it won't.

But, what about a concept car? Toyota has been using alphanumeric names for their concept vehicles lately. The Lexus LF-1 Limitless, Lexus LF-30 Electrified, and the Toyota FT-4X Concept debuted a few years ago.

Could the filing allude to a new, super fancy Highlander? Maybe? It's hard to see how a super fancy Highlander would work to improve the differentiation between the Lexus and Toyota brands though. That's a line that the recent Venza arrival made even blurrier.

Will the Grand Highlander replace the Land Cruiser? Theoretically, a big three-row version of the Highlander that rides on the Tundra platform could be something Americans would buy. Is it something that Toyota would produce? They really do love to have a vehicle for every segment.

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Family-friendly three-row SUVs

Three of our favorite three-row SUVs for 2022

The Grand Cherokee L is available with two different powertrain choices.

Jeep

There are more three-row SUVs on sale than ever before, so it can be tough to make a choice between them. You need to balance space, performance, safety, and tech to make your decision, and doing your homework is important. To help you get started down the right path, we've selected three of our favorite three-row family haulers. These are SUVs that bring the latest features and excellent design features to help keep you and your family rolling. Let's get started.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe Sequoia is all-new for the 2023 model year, and finally stands on level ground with its rivals.Toyota

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota gave the Sequoia a much-needed overhaul for the 2023 model year that brought it up to speed with its competitors. The thirsty V8 and outdated styling are gone, and in their place, Toyota installed a twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive are available.

The Sequoia’s update brought a new infotainment system with a much more intuitive, fluid interface. It runs on a standard 8-inch or an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Toyota’s new software offers voice controls, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

Inside, the Sequioa’s interior feels much more upscale and modern than before, and there’s plenty of room for the entire family and all their gear across its three spacious rows. Starting with the Limited trim, Toyota gives luxurious standard features, including heated and ventilated front seats, a larger touchscreen, a hands-free liftgate, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Kia TellurideKia updated the ultra-popular Telluride for 2023 with refreshed styling and features.Kia

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is easily one of the best family vehicles from the last ten years, and it offers great value on top of its functional characteristics. Kia updated the SUV for 2022 with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and a highway driving assistance system.

The Telluride comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The SUV’s engine may not be the most powerful or thrilling, but it gets the job done and offers refined, smooth operation.

Kia equips the base Telluride with seating for eight, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Interior fit and finish, materials, and styling are all far more upscale than the Telluride’s price tag would suggest, making the SUV an excellent family companion for longer road trips.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee LThe Grand Cherokee got a third row for the first time with the new L.Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep completely overhauled the Grand Cherokee for 2021 and added a new three-row “L” model shortly after. The new Grand Cherokee L features boxy, muscular styling that works with its stretched profile. Even with a new shape, the SUV is immediately recognizable as a Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers two engines in the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. The base mill is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the V8 comes standard with four-wheel drive.

The L is more premium inside than most likely expect from a Jeep, but at the top end of the model line it’s deep into luxury territory, both on price and design. The Jeep is just shy of its competitors on interior space, but there’s still plenty of room for up to seven people. Top trims get luxury finishes like leather and woodgrain, and available tech like a rear-seat entertainment system helps keep everyone happy for the long haul.

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Subcompact SUV

Honda details all-new 2023 HR-V

The Honda HR-V is all-new for 2023.

Honda

The HR-V is Honda's smallest and most affordable SUV, slotting into the automaker's catalog beneath the long-running CR-V. The entry-level HR-V got a complete overhaul for 2023 that brought a new powertrain, updated technology, and refined styling that aligns closely with the new Civic Sedan.

2023 Honda HR-VThe new SUV features more refined, upscale styling, better tech, and new safety features.Honda

Honda offers the HR-V in three trims: LX, Sport, and EX-L. While the 2022 HR-V got a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the 2023 model gets a larger 2.0-liter engine that produces 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a continuously variable transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The new SUV comes with hill descent control for the first time in a Honda, and three drive modes are included.

Inside, a 7-inch touchscreen comes standard that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger 9-inch screen comes in the top EX-L trim that adds wireless smartphone connectivity. The EX-L trims also gets wireless charging and navigation. Both touchscreens come with a physical volume knob for easier interactions with the system. All models are wider and longer than before, which improves interior passenger and cargo space.

All 2023 HR-Vs come with Honda Sensing safety equipment. The package has been updated for 2023 with a traffic jam assist feature and traffic sign recognition. Honda offers blind spot monitoring for the first time in an HR-V, and a driver attention monitoring system comes standard.

2023 Honda HR-VThe HR-V picked up sleek styling for the new model year with hints of Honda Civic sprinkled in.Honda

The new HR-V starts at $24,895, including a $1,245 destination charge. The range-topping EX-L all-wheel drive model starts at $30,195. Honda says the new SUV will go on sale soon.

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