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Is a larger Toyota Highlander happening? Maybe, judging by a new trademark application

The Highlander already boasts three rows of seats, so what could Toyota use the "Grand Highlander" name for?

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
What in the world could a Grand Highlander be?
Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Full disclosure: Trademark applications absolutely do not mean there's a an upcoming vehicle ready to wear a specific nameplate. We've seen it happen often, actually. But they can sometimes be the first clue if there actually is a new vehicle in the pipeline. So why the heck has Toyota filed a "Grand Highlander" trademark application?

The automaker filed the documents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 28 of last year, and it has me wondering what Toyota could use the name for. The Toyota Highlander is already a large SUV with three rows of seats, but the "Grand" prefix usually denotes something larger. Think something like the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.

It could be some sort of special variant of the Highlander or a new model altogether, though that seems unlikely. Toyota didn't immediately return a request for comment, but don't expect a forthcoming response regardless. Automakers don't often like to talk about future vehicles, if this will be a future vehicle at all.

We did learn Toyota plans to discontinue the legendary Land Cruiser in the US after this year, so perhaps this trademark filing has something to do with that. The automaker told Roadshow last month, "We remain committed to the large SUV segment and will continue to explore future products that celebrate the Land Cruiser's rich off-road history. We encourage loyal enthusiasts and intrepid adventurers to stay tuned for future developments."

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