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Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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  • Well, I took the plunge and got one of the new Highlander Hybrid Limited's last night. So far, everything's living up to expectations and I'm very impressed with the vehicle. It will take some time to get used to its way of "thinking," but I'm really looking forward to that.

    I do have one minor question, though. I searched in the Owner's Manual but couldn't find an explanation for the Tire Pressure Monitoring System display layout. It shows a single column of tire pressures, but which reading is which tire or wheel location?

    Here's to many miles and fewer gallons! ;)
  • I too just picked up my HH Limited last weekend. Also very pleased so far. Regarding tire pressures, according to the IGuide (www.toyotaiguide.com), there is no way to know which tire is giving a particular pressure reading. They go on to say one must check each tire if one of the pressure readings is low in order to determine the problem tire. Seems odd, since an idiot light would provide about the same functionality.

    Here's a question I had. I've transferred my bluetooth enabled phone contact list into the cars phone book. However, the car's phone book doesn't seem to be able to dial numbers that contain pauses, such as is used for accessing voice mail. Does anyone know how to handle this?
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    To both of you guys.
    Did you pay at, above or below MSRP.
    I find Carmax is giving about $1500
    off MSRP. Fitzmall is just $500 off.

    Trying to find out if there is any
    possibility of a Limited with Navi
    for around 40K. Might have go for
    a non-hybrid otherwise.
  • I paid full MSRP, but that was the result of my ordering it early and having the dealer agree I would get one of the first ones, since my lease had expired on my prior car. My total was ~$44K, with Navi, sunroof and a few other smaller options. Expensive, but so far I'm satisfied.
  • Mine was $300.00 below MSRP due to Costco's Auto Program. Other than that, it's MSRP all the way everywhere that I've visited.

    I'm really quite surprised that Carmax or Fitzmall is giving anything off at all. Are you sure they're talking about the Highlander Hybrid? Even if the markdowns are accurate, they're unlikely to have any to actually sell like that for quite some time, so it may be a moot issue.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    I just purchased a 2008 HH basic. I was able to negotiate about $500 off the sticker price. This is in the wilds of North Dakota. The dealer last year got quite a few Prius and at least a couple of HH's that they had to send to other dealerships. I believe this gave them some incentive to try to sell locally.
  • drl,

    I think that the iGuide (thanks for the link, BTW) is referring to pre-2008 Highlanders as they have just a dash indicator light from what I recall.

    On ours, if we had to, we could simply remove one wheel at a time to determine which row on the tire pressure list belonged to which wheel location. I can't believe that they didn't physically arrange the pressure readings on the screen to correspond with the wheel locations on the vehicle. At the very least, they could've added an 'LF' (Left Front), 'RR' (Right Rear), etc., label to each of them. Wanna bet that it'll change in a future software update??

    I'm new to the in-car Bluetooth phone system and find it quite interesting to use. The call quality is really good, but with a vehicle this quiet, I guess that should be expected. At any rate, is it stripping out or ignoring the pause characters (usually a ','-comma) from your numbers? If so, I'm not sure what you can do about that.

    Otherwise, have you tried entering the commas when speaking the numbers? Such as, "five, five, five, one, two, comma, comma, three, four..."? That, or maybe the actual word, 'pause'. Let us know how it goes. Also, does Toyota have a 1-800 number for Customer Assistance? That might be the fastest way to get an answer.

    I have to run by my dealership tonight and they have a Bluetooth expert--Isaac--there. I'll see if he has any answers.

    I'm still loving the vehicle, but of the sections that I've read in the Owner's Manual, I'm quite disappointed. And, yes, I usually read the manual cover-to-cover. It's not particularly well written and has very little detail. It took me forever to figure out how to reprogram the door lock operations when shifting into and out of Park. The manual really only gives you a hint of what to do and seems to be missing some required steps. Perhaps the documentation department didn't get all of the latest code updates from the software design/development group. I ended up just trying various combinations of things until I decoded what actually worked. However, that's a very minor annoyance and I think that I'll survive it somehow!
  • jkjjkj Posts: 4
    I recently ordered an 08 Highlander Hybrid from the Carmax store in Laurel MD. They expect it to be here toward the end of December. Of note, they shared with me an invoice for a comparably equipped car (only difference is color). A couple of things to note:

    The Edmunds invoice is $510 less than the invoice price provided by Carmax. The difference is due to a $500 item labeled as "TDA" (anyone know what that is?) and a $10 charge for gasoline. So, when you are negotiating up from invoice, you need to know the actual dealer's invoice. Carmax is "no haggle", but for other dealers I'm not sure how much one can negotiate the TDA. So, even when they sell the car to you at their "invoice" they are making $1708 minus whatever it costs them to prep the car and get it ready for sell.

    The invoice also separately lists "Dealer Holdback" of $799 and "Wholesale Financial Reserve of $399 (anyone know what that is?), but these two charges are already included in the base vehicle invoice price listed on Edmunds.

    Carmax now has at least on Hybrid on the lot and read to sell (I drove it last Saturday) and they are offering about a $1500 discount off the MSRP that is close to $38,000.
  • TDA is the Toyota Dealer Advertising Fee. Toyota usually doesn't budge on this but I find it obnoxious.
    Holdback is profit to the dealer from Toyota. The dealer pays this to the factory when they get the car and gets it back when they sell it.
    Wholesale financial reserve is basically the interest the dealer paid to finance their purchase of the car to sell. As with TDA, you're paying their expenses.
    It's quite a racket and that's why the car sales business is so profitable. Not for the people who work at the dealerships but for the people who own them and for the car companies themselves. Except for GM, of course ;)
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Every business has these same expenses. They just don't break them out separately.
    Furniture stores
    Clothing stores
    steel wholesalers
    Auto parts stores
    etc, etc.

    There is no difference. All the vehicle makers have the same expenses.
  • Okay, for those of you that are interested, here's the scoop on the Tire Pressure Monitoring System on the Highlander.

    There is only one receiver on the vehicle that picks up the pressure readings from the sensors in each tire. Thus, the vehicle has no idea which location the signal is coming from.

    Even if the sensors in the tires were individually serialized and their locations entered into the computer, as soon as you rotated the tires, all positions would then be incorrect. You could possibly have the techs rescan and re-enter the information into the vehicle's computer after a rotation, but if you didn't go to a Toyota shop for the work, again, the system would be out of whack.

    I think that they should still have had a unique identifier built into the sensor that could be displayed on the Tire Pressure Monitoring screen. Then they could mount a corresponding identifier (a sticker or a stamping) somewhere toward the insde of the wheel, where it would still be visible from the outside if you knew where to look for it. That way you wouldn't have to check all of the tires to find the low one. You'd just have to look for the right sticker.

    So close, and yet so far! :mad:

    Also, I tried to find out more about the Bluetooth phone system and adding pauses to a dialing sequence, but Isaac the expert had already gone home for the day when I got to the dealership last night.

    I did, however, think about it a bit and here's what I came up with. Even if you could add the pauses so that you could get into your voicemail, for example, how would you 'press 9 to delete the message' after listening to it in order to go on to the next one? Will the system still respond to voice commands while you're on a call? I kind of doubt it, but will give it a try when I get a chance.

    Happy hybriding! ;)
  • I had my HiHy deliverd from a dealer 200 mile saway last night. I have only driven it to work this morning so I haven't had time to fully check it out. Love it already! :)
  • Let me explain it to you another way, spyder. If one were to purchase a 2008 Highlander Hybrid Limited with options SR, QR, EJ, QC, PN, FE for its msrp of $43,495 the profit on that sale will be ~ $6,682. That is a healthy profit margin of ~ 18%. This is before selling you dealer add ons, an extended warranty, and financing. Do you think maybe they could get by without making you pay their advertising fee? I fully realize the demand for this vehicle drives the price as that's what the market will bear, but I still think the TDA, for example, is overkill. Just one guy's opinion.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    " think that they should still have had a unique identifier built into the sensor that could be displayed on the Tire Pressure Monitoring screen. "

    I think it would be more efficient to use a very low wattage transmitter for each tire, and locate a receiver in or near each wheel well. That way the closest receiver would record the nearest tire, and the display would tell the owner which tire was low.
  • p38light, congrats. Please share your "price paid and buying experience" details if you haven't already. Thanks.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I am aware of the pricing structures. I also know that 18% is not unusual in a lot of businesses. I sold steel to wholesalers at a 2% margin and to end users at a 25% margin with invoice values ranging from $100,000 to $2,000,000.

    All I am saying is that these costs you noted are normal expenses that every business encounters. I had them in the steel business, same exact costs the magnitude was just different.
  • Got my HH back yesterday, it does appear they disconnected the battery as some of the computer settings were off, but the running boards are on with no problem.
  • I know the '08s are just now hitting the showroom and the dealers are basically not discounting the price, but for anyone out there, what have you been getting for gas mileage both highway and city in the new design? The sticker says it's rated at 27 city and 25 hwy. Has anyone been close to this rating? I will be doing mostly highway driving and am trying to validate whether a hybrid would be worthwhile since the regular gas model is rated at 23 on the hwy. My guess one would be do better with the Hybrid with combined city/hwy driving.

    Any feedback is appreciated! Thanks.
  • We have put about 500 miles on our HH so far. According to the on-board computer, the average mileage is about 24.5 mpg. The last tank is at 25.8 mpg, mostly city driving. We have it on "Econ" most of the time and use the EV mode wherever possible. The freeway mileage seems to be between 24-25 mpg when driving between 70-75 mph.
  • Thanks jan123....I'm seriously consider getting rid of my '08 Acadia since although it's a nice vehicle and I almost have 2K miles on it, I can't seem to do better that 16-17 with mostly HIGHWAY driving averaging 60-70 MPH. I've spent $400 in gas since 10/23 alone and I'm pace to spend $500-$550 per month to gas this thing (unfortunately I drive 35 each way to work). Even if I do 7 mpg better based on your gas mileage experience, I'm sure the savings will add up rather quickly, even though, if I'm not mistaken, the HH has to take premium gas.
  • HH takes regular gas.
  • I have kept the ECON mode on and on my second tank and mixed driving I am close to 25 mpg. The computer says over 25.
  • hotch41, have you considered getting a small commuter car, and saving your Acadia for times when you need the extra room?
  • chadxchadx Posts: 153
    "hotch41, have you considered getting a small commuter car, and saving your Acadia for times when you need the extra room? "

    That probably isn't a cost effective solution. First, you have to pay insurance on two rather than one vehicle. That alone would offset the improved mileage for most people. But if you happen to pay really cheap insurance, you still have to add in the cost of the second vehicle. Even if you only spent $5,000, that is a lot of gallons of gas. Buy anything cheaper and be faced with repair costs. Plus, you are not driving the vehicle you want. You are settling. And you now have two vehicles to try and fit in your garage (or have one sitting out on the street in the weather, etc.) Now your very nice primary car sits and depreciates without you even getting to enjoy it because you are commuting in some beat up little commuter car.

    As nice as it sounds, in my opinion, buying a 'commuter vehicle' just doesn't make sense for most people, finacially or otherwise. I looked into doing this a few years ago and it would have cost me extra money per month. Your situation may vary.
  • I've now had my HH for just over a week, and am still going on the first tank of gas. So far, my average is almost 27 MPG combined city and highway. I too use the Econ mode almost exclusively.
  • "That probably isn't a cost effective solution. First, you have to pay insurance on two rather than one vehicle. That alone would offset the improved mileage for most people. But if you happen to pay really cheap insurance, you still have to add in the cost of the second vehicle. Even if you only spent $5,000, that is a lot of gallons of gas. Buy anything cheaper and be faced with repair costs. Plus, you are not driving the vehicle you want. You are settling. And you now have two vehicles to try and fit in your garage (or have one sitting out on the street in the weather, etc.) Now your very nice primary car sits and depreciates without you even getting to enjoy it because you are commuting in some beat up little commuter car.

    As nice as it sounds, in my opinion, buying a 'commuter vehicle' just doesn't make sense for most people, finacially or otherwise. I looked into doing this a few years ago and it would have cost me extra money per month. Your situation may vary."

    I agree that it's probably not cost effective, but it's also an expensive proposition depreciation-wise to trade in a vehicle that's nearly brand new, just to save some gas. My reply was based on hotch41's desire to spend less on gasoline, and if that's his main objective he could buy a (used) small economy car for his 70+ mile round trip commute and come out way ahead in terms of his weekly gas bill.
  • jmpage2jmpage2 Posts: 262
    Thanks jan123....I'm seriously consider getting rid of my '08 Acadia since although it's a nice vehicle and I almost have 2K miles on it, I can't seem to do better that 16-17 with mostly HIGHWAY driving averaging 60-70 MPH. I've spent $400 in gas since 10/23 alone and I'm pace to spend $500-$550 per month to gas this thing (unfortunately I drive 35 each way to work). Even if I do 7 mpg better based on your gas mileage experience, I'm sure the savings will add up rather quickly, even though, if I'm not mistaken, the HH has to take premium gas.

    I'm still amazed that people would think it's a good proposition to dump a brand new vehicle and take a huge trade in hit, just to save a few bucks on gasoline.

    Didn't you budget for gas costs when you bought the large Acadia?

    Lets say that you trade in the Acadia and take a $3000 hit on it for getting rid of it so quickly (in all likelihood it has already depreciated MORE than $3,000).

    That would be 1,000 gallons of gasoline at current prices.

    1,000 gallons of gasoline in your Acadia would let you drive it for between 15,000-17,000 or more miles which is over a year's fuel for the average consumer.

    The smarter move for you is to be more prudent with your trip planning, doing things such as combining all of your errands into a single trip, which can often be done mid-commute. Is your Acadia Flex Fuel capable? That could also save a little bit of pain at the pump.

    At the end of the say I'm still amazed people buy $35,000 gas guzzling trucks and then have a shock that it costs $300 a month to fill them up.
  • My husband and I have been doing research this past year and have finally decided on the 2008 Highlander Hybrid. What I'm running into is 4 different dealers saying "these vehicles only come with 1 of 2 packages, the PO (Popular Package) or PP (Popular Package Plus)" which adds an extra $2000-$3000+ depending on which dealer you talk to. My husband and I only want a standard without packages or options as we are satisfied with what comes standard and don't need/want all the extra fancy stuff. The dealers' reason is: "the vehicles we get depend on the region and in the Gulf States region, this is how they come". Another problem I'm running into is these dealers are telling me "what Toyota says is standard, may not be standard, depending on the region". This all sounds fishy to me and is frustrating. Anybody have a similar experience? I'm also looking out of state for comparison (we currently live in Central TX). :confuse:
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    These are new vehicles,out only for a couple of weeks. Whenever there is a new launch of any new vehicle they normally come loaded up. What they are telling you is correct in nearly every part of the country. The new HH all have at least one package or another. This will be true for at least the initial period. How long this initial period lasts depends on how the market receives the vehicles. If they're being snapped up faster than they hit the ground then that means that most of the buying public wants one or more packages.

    At some point demand will slow down, in the case of the Prius it was 3+ years after initial launch. At that time when demand slows you'll likely be able to buy off the lot or at least order one without a package.

    One other limiting factor all the dealers face is that all of these are being made in Japan until the new plant in Tupelo is completed. So whatever comes across on the next boat is what the dealers have to take....and the buyers too. This goes back to the demand question. If most buyers are asking for more rather than less then that's what the plants will build and ship.
  • >>>The new HH all have at least one package or another.

    I ordered one in August (Denver dealer), I really didn't want the third seat or any other package, and I wanted a certain color. My dealer tells me that the one I want is indeed coming in in a week or so...
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