Safety ratings are important for all types of cars, especially the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick award. They’re probably most important, though, for people movers like minivans and three-row SUVs since they’re often carrying the whole family. So it’s unfortunate for Toyota that its new 2024 Grand Highlander has missed out on that key award, especially as it’s a very good SUV in all other respects.
This is a bit surprising for a couple of reasons. For one, the smaller regular Highlander does have the Top Safety Pick+ award. For another, the reason the Grand Highlander didn’t earn the award wasn’t for something like headlights, which has been a weak point for many vehicles. Instead, it fell short in its small overlap crash test results. The SUV was rated just “Acceptable,” when “Good” is required for the award. The organization’s description of the issue is below:
“In the driver-side small overlap test, the safety cage protecting the driver was somewhat compromised. In addition, the driver dummy’s head rolled off the left side of the front airbag toward the gap in coverage between it and the side curtain airbag during the crash.”
The Grand Highlander did score “Good” ratings in the other required crash tests, as well as getting top marks for its forward collision prevention tech in both day and night conditions. Headlights and child seat anchor access were “Acceptable.”
Besides the fact that these SUVs are typically family haulers, the other importance for getting the IIHS Top Safety Pick award is that much of the competition manages it. On top of the regular Highlander, the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee (including L), Kia Telluride, Mazda CX-9, Mazda CX-90, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent and Volkswagen Atlas all get at least the Top Safety Pick, with many of those getting the Pick+.