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Toyota Highlander Hybrid



  • boylan13boylan13 Posts: 13
    Hey, folks,

    We've got a 2006 Highlander Hybrid Limited with about 1700 miles on it. Overall, we're very happy with it. MPG may not be quite as high as I'd hoped, but I'm a bit of a leadfoot and I really like the power. My only real complaint is the throbbing high decibel noise that happens when you open just the rear windows at highway speeds, but I understand this is a problem for all the Highlanders.

    Anyway... my wife was driving this weekend, parked for a while in the city and when she tried to drive home, the steering was really rough and the P/S (power steering) light was lit. From driving it, it seems like the power steering is totally disabled -- the wheel is very hard to turn. I had the 1000-mile service last weekend and they checked all the fluid levels, so I thought perhaps they left the P/S fluid cap off. But the service manager told me it must be an electronic problem, not fluid level and suggested we bring it into the dealer ASAP.

    I'm a little bummed to have such a serious problem on a month-old car. Has anyone else had this experience on the HH or the regular Highlander?


  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    The Escape Hybrid 2 and 4WD have nice numbers-maybe about what a 4 cyl HH would have done.I think a 4 cyl HH wouldn't have gotten quite these numbers since it would have been~400 lbs lighter,but Toyota usually builds "better" ICE motor than Ford,so maybe not.31 and 29 mpg 2 and 4wd are very decent-about 4 up on the HH.The HH numbers- 2 and 4 wd -will eventually "look" like the Escape numbers with the FWD have a 1-2 mpg advantage.
    The Honda Accord Hybrid -29.5 mpg -isn't bad either-if you were looking for a mid sized car you could do a lot worse-I wish it was a station wagon..Charlie
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    The throbbing noise is not unique to the Highlander. Many cars today exhibit that trait. I had a 96 Audi A4 that did the same thing. Another car I had also did that. Just open another window a crack to equalize the pressure.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,456
    i guess the real point is, there is no 4cyl HH, and there is a HFE, and it gets the numbers.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 549
    Discussion1 Did you get your moonroof to close properly as per my posting #1281?
  • Bdyment,
    Did not see that post until your reminder post here, thanks, just did it and it works now. Touch of button and it does its thing nicely.
    THanks for the help.
  • boylan/Chris,
    Can you please let us know how your dealer resolved the steering problem?
    We now have 2200 miles on ours and so far so good, knock on wood....
  • tomzpritomzpri Posts: 33
    Didn't the Edmunds HH test vehicle have this same problem with the power steering failing? Or was it a different magazine review of the HH I'm thinking of?

    Any results from the dealer on your steering failure?
  • mmreidmmreid Posts: 88
    I saw a post about a thousand mile check-up and I'm confused because both the dealership in Nashville (where I bought the car) and the one here at home in Florida told me to not come back until I had either driven 5,000 miles or 6 months. I tend to put very few miles on a vehicle as I work at home (my commute is 12 feet to my studio) and that was part of the reason I was attracted to the hybrid technology - I do a lot of around town errand driving in a fairly small city. My HH now has just under 1600 miles and I wonder should I have taken it for a check-up? I brought it in to local dealership shortly after bringing it home from Nasvhille to get the cargo net installed (I really like them - had one in my prior vehicle and it keeps groceries etc. from scattering all over the place) and they said come back at 5,000 miles.

    Second question: has anyone figured out the tax credit thing? The reason I'm asking is my husband is a bona fide tax attorney (second law degree in taxation on top of regular law degree) and he is quite willing to throw in his two cents as to what he thinks is going to be the tax credit. From the very little I've researched (and this was not the motive for buying the vehicle) we think it is $2,000 off of the tax you actually owe Uncle Sam and depending on your tax bracket, it shelters "x" amount of income - more than the credit itself. I saw a series of old posts about the tax credit but I can't tell if anybody has actually figured this one out. Once we do (you apparently need a special tax form for your 2005 taxes) I'm definitely willing to throw in his very educated opinion about what one can and cannot do . . .and share it with everyone here. Unless someone already knows for sure. I saw some references in old posts about needing a lawyer - well, I've got a very, very good one.

    So as we approach tax time we are quite willing to share anything he finds out about the whole tax thing. I'm learning a lot from all of you and I'd like to say thank you by sharing what we find out as well.

  • sunbyrnesunbyrne Posts: 210
    For 2005, it's simply a $2000 deduction (not a credit). If you already bought the HH, that's what you'll get to claim.

    If you buy one in 2006, you'll get a credit, but nobody seems to know exactly how much that will be--put your husband on to figuring that one out!
  • My base model is due in Sept. I have test driven a limited (a little too rich for my budget) and wonder if the base model will have the screen display as well? Also, does the base model generally come with keyless entry and a security system?
  • mmreidmmreid Posts: 88
    There was an AP article in our Saturday paper about the plug-in technololgy folks in California are using to dramatically increase the mileage in their Prius cars. Anyone else see it and/or know anything about it? Right before I bought my HH my ex-husband, of all people, was telling me a lot of stuff was happening in California with increasing the mileage of hybrids by using this technology but that if you installed it, he said Toyota voided your warranty. It seems to be based on the idea that most people don't drive that far on a daily basis and this technology gives you the first 20 miles running a 50/50 mix of batteries and engine and this switches over to classic hybrid mode. The guy featured in the article was getting 80 mpg in his Prius and it said mileage of up to 250 mpg had been achieved! These cars do have to be plugged in overnight and the cost of adding the 18 brick sized batteries was $3,000.00 which included the guy doing the work himself to convert the Prius (something I definitely could not do myself and would have no clue as to who could even do that). No mention was made of any other kind of hybrid except the Prious being converted this way.

    Has this been discussed before? I'm intrigued because I fit the profile of someone who puts very little mileage on a car - daily as well as annually. The only change in buying the HH is we will probably take it for road trips (instead of husband's car) as it's so comfortable and has the GPS system and heated seats for winter travel.

    Tax benefits of buying a hybrid: I will ask husband to research the whole tax thing for hybrids next year and share it with this Forum. Right now he's intrigued with the tax benefits next year of buying energy efficient appliances and asked me to wait to replace aging dishwasher until January. He says it is the same as buying the Hybrid - you take the actual amount off of your taxes due.

    Here is the link to the plug-in article:

  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    mmreid,the problem we have figuring the tax credit is that someone-probably the EPA-has to give us some sort of average mpg for the midsized SUV's that the HH is "replacing".We also need an average for the HH.Why don't you have your husband use 20 mpg and 29 mpg and see what sort of numbers he gets?
    There might be something I'm missing here,but I think that is currently what is holding us up.Thanks.Charlie
  • mmreidmmreid Posts: 88
    So far husband sent me this information for buying a hybrid in 2005:

    On June 27, 2005, the IRS certified the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid as a clean burning vehicle, which entitles the original purchaser of one (assuming a 2005 purchase), to a deduction (not a tax credit) of $2,000. The deduction reduces taxable income and a taxpayer does not have to itemize deductions to claim the deduction.

    I just sent him Charlie's request to research about buying next year.

  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    mmreid, you may want to direct your husband to the "tax credits / incentives for hybrids" forum. There was some discussion there and I even included my attempt to calculate the HH 2006 tax credit ( otis1, "Tax credits / incentives for hybrids?" #74, 3 Aug 2005 11:13 pm )

    The biggest problem I had was the definition of "inertia weight class" since this is what the current EPA city MPG rating is compared to (at least I think it is). you can see my feeble attempt to figure it out (post 74 if the link above doesn't work). also starting on post #59, there's a link to the bill (law?) with the pertinent section starting somewhere around p 1400. so far one other group has stated the 2006 tax credit for the HH is $2600.
  • sbgirlsbgirl Posts: 22
    I have a base model with the option package and it doesn't have the large screen display. There is a smaller b/w display below the speedometer. There are multiple modes: outside temperature display, current mpg display, pictorial display of the engine, battery and a wheel with arrows depicting the flow of energy and odometer reading. It does come with keyless entry and if you mean security system where there needs to be a chip with the key in order to start the vehicle, yes there is.
  • Upstateny5

    I believe the base models do not have the screen even as an option. I had a long chat with our dealer when researching this car. At first, I did not want the Ltd model either, it is expensive, I thought lowly of the NAV, figured I had no use for the fancy energy flow display and thought the moonroof useless. Unfortunately, I lost my debate against my lovely wife :).

    The NAV came in handy a few times on our long trips when we were in a strange city and had no local maps. It even picked up all but 1 country lanes we drove on. The energy display turned out useful because I would asking same questions others are asking about when does charging occurs and so on. With the display, we can see when the car is doing what. As for the moonroof, it is great at venting hot inside air even in hot desert heat.

    I am not saying the Ltd is better, just that things I pegged as useless expensive bells and whistles at first have shown themselves to have real practical uses, it is a nice surprise.
  • Thank you - I thought that I had previously read that it didn't have the center display - in some respects it sounds like it might be a little less distracting to read the display on the speedometer area.
  • mmreid: I am glad to find out that your hubby thought that it will be a tax saving of $2000. However, the issue is a big confusion because I have read an article on the web, via www.edmunds I think, which seems to suggest that it is only $2000 income deduction (so a tax saving of about $600 in the 30% tax bracket). I am waiting for clarifications from you or anyone who care to comment.
  • Thank you also - my car is coming with the first option package so I will be getting the moon roof and had not thought about using it for venting the interior hot air.
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