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Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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  • HHVA,

    I dreamed up the 650 VOLT last June, but eventually settled on CHARGED. The 650 VOLT does not leave any doubt as to whether it's a hybrid, though. I spoke with a Toyota exec a few months ago and he too agreed that more could have been done to "announce" the hybrid versions. ie special colors unique to hybrid, better badging, etc.

    Enjoy!
  • hhvahhva Posts: 37
    I think I read somewhere the Escape Hybrid has a 330 volt max output. Wonder what the max voltage for other hybrids is? Are we already in a voltage race? I'm pleased Lexus plans to offer a luxo hybrid sedan that runs like a V 8 and gets gas mileage like a Corolla. I wonder how similair that hybrid system is to th Hh?
    A Prisus owner in Roanoke, VA has '52 MPG' for a vanity plate. I first saw the '650 VOLT' in this forum and reserved it with VA DMV after I checked availabilty.
  • According to Toyota's specs on the HH, the battery is 288 volts DC and the motors operate on AC, up to a maximum of 650 volts.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,798
    "Has anyone experimented with a kill switch for the ICE on the HH? My HH seems to be able to power itself solely on the battery more than it does."

    The computer controls the system so that the battery doesn't become too depleted; such a deep discharge cycle would probably cause premature battery failure. Of course, you would be messing up the emissions system as well. And how would you determine when you put the "kill" switch back on? Do you really want to be maniuplating a switch if you needed emergency ICE power?
  • That safety concern is what I see as the primary downside to a kill switch, as well. I wonder, then, if the software could be adjusted--not by owners but by Toyota. Any ideas, anyone?
  • I know it's the last thing we're thinking about at this time of year, but does anyone know how the heater works on the HH? Is the heater electric, like the AC? I wouldn't want to freeze while I'm buzzing around on the electric motors in a snowstorm.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    The engine creates the heat. Just like in the Prius.
  • I know from turning off the engine on the 4R that heaters cool off quick. As the AC is electric maybe winter mpgs will be worse than summer in the HH?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    I would think that the engine would run more when it is real cold outside, to keep that Catalytic convertor at the optimum temperature. Do they have a circulating heater that is plugged in at night to keep the engine warm?
  • Well, after having more than a dozen HH in Laurel, MD they now have none. And the other stores are taking advantage of the current gas frenzy by halving their previous $2,000 off MSRP.

    Of course, business is all about the profit motive, so who can blame them. But...
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,798
    "I know from turning off the engine on the 4R that heaters cool off quick. As the AC is electric maybe winter mpgs will be worse than summer in the HH?"

    The Prius gets worse MPG in the winter, I don't see whay the HH would be different.
  • There is a service bulliten about failing batteries at the Lexus dealers. Aside from the fact that some faulty 12v batteries were shipped, Lexus dealers are told to reset the cars computer after a battery failure. Failure to do so can result in poor mpg, and other engine symptoms. I imagine it is the same for the HH. Jackson, check with your dealer and make sure they took care of this issue.
  • nimhrod,no surprise there.I always said that the HH was going to end up reaching breakeven -relative to any other midsized comparably SUV's-in a reasonable number of miles.Looks like early buyers are not looking so bad paying MSRP and a little more.The bad publicity from NYT and west coast papers is long forgotten,but $3.50/gal is fresh in everyones minds.
    The HH is about 4- mpg better than the average midsized on the hy(about 28 mpg pure hy)-vs 21-26 mpg from the best-Honda,Toyota High) -,and about 8 mpg better city(say 19-23 mpg in heavy city-VS 12-15).The breakeven is under 100,000 miles now at $3.50/gal.
    My Pilot gave 24.1 mpg-best ever-over 965 miles from DFW-Flagstaff AZ.The HH would have beaten it by at least 4 mpg,and it will beat it here in Flagstaff by 8 mpg.We started from just outside-3 miles west near airport-New Orleans-Sunday.I missed the mpg on 1st 500 miles,but in that stop and go the HH would have shined-
    Maybe Toyota will be able to ramp up production of the HH-Gas prices will be high all winter-heating oil demand-and proiduction oif gasoline,diesel,natural gas will be waaay down in the Gulf for a while.Once the Camry Hybrid,Nissans midsized car etc- come out,the demand for other hybrids-Prius-might decrease a bit.Well,we will see.Thanks.Charlie
  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    I don't think carmax ever changed their tune- the kenosha store always had $1000 off. it was the laurel store that was discounting $2000. I also don't think anyone who paid msrp got a bad deal. unless you live near MD, what are you going to do? buy a plane ticket, gas, food, hotel, and take 2 days out of your life to save $2k?

    Dealers who have HH and other hybrids should take this window of opportunity and try and unload their inventory. gas prices are already easing back and I suspect within a month gas will go down to "pre-katrina" levels. the media will move onto somehting else and all the "pain at the pump" will be a distant memory as people start looking into buying the next generation tahoes and escalades.

    also, i've been following a few HH auctions on ebay. one just went this weekend for $1500 off msrp. there have been a few other no reserve auctions where the starting bid was $2k off where there were NO bids. ebay isn't the pulse of hybid sales, but I think its an indicator. i think we're seeing a temporary spike in hybrid interest, but as gas prices come down, so will the interest.
  • I highly doubt that the price of gas will ever return to the same level as they were pre-Katrina, and almost certainly not within the next month.

    First, the oil companies know that all they have to do is come "close enough" to get off the news, and there's no way they'd forego the extra profit of charging just a bit more.

    Second, and somewhat less cynically, there has been real damage to our total refining capacity as well as offshore crude production and it will take time to make that up, either via repair of damaged facilities or construction of new ones. Neither of those will happen in the next month and possibly much longer. Katrina has created some real long-term issues.

    So while it's probably the case that current prices will go down sometime not too far down the road, I think expecting them to go down to pre-Katrina levels is highly unlikely for the foreseeable future.
  • aec1aec1 Posts: 21
    I am on the fence between a Pilot and the HH. The HH does not have everything I want in it for 40k. But, I spoke to a salesman at Carmax in Laurel last week. I told him I was looking for a Super White in 4WD w/navi and that I did not see any on his website. He said I will not see a lot of inventory on high demand vehicles; e.g. HH or Avalon Ltd. They are asking for a $500 deposit toward the vehicle of the customer's choice (color/options). They then get it from the arriving shipment from the port before distribution and when it arrives, the person drives and has the option to walk away (w/deposit) or buy. But they are the only dealer I have seen that is giving anything off of MSRP.
  • aec1,the Pilot is very,very good.It was a great evacuation vehicle-holds lots of stuff and gave very good hy mpg-24.1 over 965 miles with the ac blasting.This was pure hy driving,but 365 of the miles weren't interstate,they were TX panhandle miles on HY287-a city every 25 or so miles.
    The only real downside is the 12-15 mpg in heavy summer city driving.We live in the New Orleans metro area,so our city driving is heavy city-probably 10 stops per mile(I have counted).
    The 2006 Pilot has side side curtain airbags now,so safety wise the HH has no advantage.The 2003-2005 had only side airbags.
    The HH should beat the Pilot by 2-6 mpg hy-it has less frontal area.,and the cvt type trans might give it an efficiency advantage.The weights are about the same-4400 lbs.The 2006 also is available as FWD(18-24),before they were all AWD-17-22 MPG.
    If you need the extra room,and the city mpg penalty isn't too big a drawback,it is a very good vehicle.Charlie
  • aec1,the Pilot does have significantly more room behind the 2nd row.This extra room(roughly 45" front to back vs 39"front to back and about 7-8" more width) was the reason we got the chose the Pilot over the regular Highlander in 2003.We have 2 greyhounds and they travel with us behind the 2 nd row.They were really cramped in the Highlander,but fit just fine in the Pilot.This reason evaporated in 2004 since our 19 yo son no longer would travel with us-the 2nd row was his and his cousin of a buddy that would travel with him.Now the mutts have everything behind the 1st row,so the Highlander-in any iteration-would be fine.
    You give up a good 7 mpg city with the Pilot-maybe 3-4 hy vs the HH.You do get a fair amount more interior room.Luck.Charlie
  • hhvahhva Posts: 37
    The latest Consumer Reports has an article about the EPA mpg ratings on new cars. It validated what us folks who regularly calculate our mpg already know; the city estimates are generally way off. The CBS Early Show did a segment and showed how CR gets its more realistic estimates. The segment featured a guy with a Honda Element who was consistently getting 14 mpg in city driving. He was not happy because the EPA city was 21. I think this is the reason we will be seeing many more hybrids. This afternoon on NPR, it was reported that GM was looking to use hybrid technology they are developing to get some of their SUVs up to 20 mpg.
  • Does anyone have any data or advice regarding the use of synthetic oils in the HH? A friend told me today to start using mobil 1 after the break in and it would provide better gas mileage. Everything I have read regarding syn vs conv says that as long as I change the oil per manufacturer, I shouldn't need syn until many miles have been put on the vehicle.
  • I would also like to know if Mobil1 is right for the HH. I've used it in my conventional cars for years. I went to Mobil's websight and tried to see what they recommend, but they said they have a "gap in their data" and don't recommend anything. I would have thought they would be ready when the HH hit the street in June?
  • One thing I wished they did was instead of just noting the mileage differences specifying the difference in percentage so that the comparisons would be more meaningful.

    Hong.
  • aec1-the Pilot is always dinged because of road-tire noise.Honda apologists will say it is because the engine is so quiet and the wind noise is so low.I don't know,but it doesn't seem that way(maybe road-tire noise is more annoying than motor noise despite being low decible wise).The Pilot-our 2003-does give significant road noise on some surfaces-like concrete interstates-at 60-70+ mph the noise is kinda annoying.Now,it isn't terrible,like say our 2001 Prizm(corolla rebadged),but my Titan(the cheapest trim level 2wd KC XE) is a lot quieter than the Pilot despite being a $6000 cheaper full sized pickup.
    Make sure you take it on an interstate and see if the noise annoys you.It really isn't bad-you can talk and listen to the radio just fine-but it is there.It does sorta drop away on long trips-you just don't notice it anymore.I have seen claims that the road noise is-will be corrected on the 2005-2006.I would bet dollars to donuts that the HH has very low levels of road tire noise.Consumer Reports always mentions the road noise on all the Honda's-Odyssey,Pilot-and usually compliments Toyota-Camry-Sienna on lower levels of perceived levels of road noise.
    Make sure you check this on the test drive.I don't know why Honda has this minor imperfection(relative to Toyota..
    If you don't need the room-pay the extra ~$5000 and go HH.A crude guess is 18 vs 24 mpg-so you will save ~333 gallons and $1000($3/gal) every 24,000 miles-Breakeven($3/gal) will be 120,000 miles before tax break etc.With the tax credit more like 70,000 miles.
    You actually have an "easy" choice.The cost of owning will be all but identical at $3/gal $5000 initial price difference.Buy the one that is best for your purposes.
    PS Never put stuff in a roof basket if you are a mpg nut.Our roofbasket-Yakima Loadwarrier-filled to a 18" height-cost 6 mpg hy-16 vs 22.4 mpg.The drag of the "stuff" must have been greater than 1(The Pilot probably has a .34 drag coe.).
    I have run on.They are both very,very good.Check that noise on the 2006.Luck.Charlie
  • hhvahhva Posts: 37
    I hope the EPA revises their formula soon. They've been using the same, woefully inaccurate method for decades. CR found that a Durango got only 8 mpg in the city cycle. My '04 Tundra 4wd never got 18 mpg highway, no matter how slow and careful I drove. Car & Driver, in their 400 mile tests, generally shows higher mpg than CR but lower than the EPA. My money is on CR. Our last tank in the Hh averaged over 26 mpg (mostly highway) on the computer and in a manual calculation.
  • aec1aec1 Posts: 21
    I really appreciate the posts here in helping me weigh the HH and Pilot. I will test drive both as soon as I have an opportunity to do so. Gas prices have made it so that the HH are very rare on dealers' lots. While Carmax was (and presumably still is) willing to drop 2k off of MSRP, they have no inventory on the web. I will have to call to see if they have anything to drive. I heard a radio spot yesterday in which the announcer stated that if you want a HH, you have to order it. Coleman Toyota had one in inventory and their internet price was $1,000 over MSRP. I don't care how bad I might like it, I will not pay over MSRP. I am a capitalist and think everyone should turn a profit. However, I follow the general rule, "don't be a pig". So we will see if I can find one to test drive and if I am to get anything off of MSRP, it will have to be at Carmax (apparently).
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Your position is indisputable. If you decide to take the HH, there is no point paying MSRP or over MSRP when Carmax is willing to take $2K off.

    Carson Toyota in southern CA also offers the same at $2K off and they seem to have landed a large selection. They may be willing to ship one off the lot to your location for a fee.

    We are finally getting 27.98 and 28.1 mpg the last 2 tanks after 3000 miles. Gas was $3.19/gal in our area and we saved about $12 per tank when compared against our relatively thirsty '99 Sienna.

    Good "hunting".
  • My Basic Model HH arrived 9/1/05 presumably at a port of entry in NJ and there is no indication when it will be loaded for transport. My dealer said they have 21 cars waiting for delivery and since I live in a rural area cars for different dealers are transported together.
  • I also refuse to pay over MSRP. A couple of dealers in the North NJ area are selling the limited 2k over MSRP nowdays. I might have to go for the Pilot myself...
  • hhvahhva Posts: 37
    According to CR, the Front WD Honda Odyssey averaged a dismal 12 mpg on their city cycle. I can't see an AWD Pilot beating that. And while Honda's ESC is ok, it can't touch the VDIM found only on some Lexus models and the Highlander Hybrid. Our last tankful was 27.1 on Hh computer and 26.4 manual calculation @ fillup.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I am quite impressed with the mileage you folks are getting. If I had a need for an SUV, this vehicle would be on the top of my list. Toyota really is amazing with this technology. I used to have a 1990 Integra that got 30mpg (I thought that was good). The car probably weighed 2600 or 2700 pounds. Now we have a HH that weighs at least 1300 pounds more, tons more room, tons more sophistication and safety features and gets close to 30mpg!! Now THAT is amazing. Good luck with your cars!! I can't wait to get mine.
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