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New Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owners - Give Us Your Report

PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
Congratulations on your new vehicle! Post your first impressions here!


Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles



  • sithechsithech Posts: 1
    It's in the driveway. Haven't had a huge amount of time to absorb all the experience or the massive manuals, but it seems to really live up to the reviews. According to the dealer, this is the first California retail delivery made.

    Toyota apparently allocated based on the number of Highlanders sold during the previous year. I put my order in last July.

    BTW, all the Highlanders on ebay are "expected to arrive on..." and have hefty premiums on the reserve - on the order of $4k for a 2wd limited. Purchase price on my limited 4wd with nav system was $41,300.
  • Just picked up my limited. It was almost what I ordered 3 weeks ago. It had an additional "extra mile option package E" for $1366. According to the dealer, the distributor is trying to match vehicles as close as possible to orders and forward them accordingly. Mine has NO navigation system which I didn't order anyway. Total price 40399. Handled great on ride home and no excessive noise that people had reported. Came with all options that I wanted and everything in the correct colors.
  • tomslycktomslyck Posts: 70
    We picked it up this afternoon. Lmited w/nav, 2wd. It's everything it's supposed to be. In my community of stop signs every block, the ICE barely turns on at all. Wow! Very cool!
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    Our dealer called yesterday and our new Highlander Hybrid will be ready for us to pick up this morning. It is Limited, 4WDi with Navigation, Bluestone Metallic with Ash Leather interior. The price is $42,480 which includes $625 for the running boards which were installed at the port. I took a quick peek at it early this morning and it looks great. I like the changes made in the grill and the chrome piece on the back hatch. My wife and I had originally not wanted the Navigation system until we experienced one of the new DVD based navigation systems in a friends new Acura TL. Superior to the CD based navigation system that is in my 2001 BMW M3. Although $2,000 is a lot to pay, we decided to bite the bullet and go for it. We will be driving it this afternoon and we hope to be impressed :)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,676
    DVD based navigation systems in a friends new Acura TL

    I would be curious as to which NAV you liked the best. From what I have read the Honda/Acura is the best NAV on the market. You can give us your opinion on which is the easiest to use.
  • nimhrodnimhrod Posts: 49
    Running boards! Any chance you can post a picture? I've not seen a highlander with running boards yet. My 4Runner has them and they look great. Some times add-ons can look "added on" What do you think so far?

  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    The running boards are factory Toyota running boards that are color matched and installed at the port. They are $625 and are included in the sticker on the window when they are pre-ordered and installed at the port of entry. They are not "added-on" running boards like you would expect from any aftermarket supplier. I can easily shoot a photo, but I am not sure how to post it. Any help?

    We have put about 50 miles on it and so far it is great. We have a 2000 Yukon that we have been driving for the past 5 years. Compared to the Yukon is is quite a bit smaller but much more refined and much quieter inside. It soaks up the bumps in the roads and almost zero wind noise. The start-up the the gas motor is almost imperceptible and driving around town mostly with the electric motor only is pretty cool. The power delivery is what is most remarkable. Does it feel like a V8? Even better. The power is instantaneous because of the electric motor in combination with the 3.3L gas motor. The seats are very comfortable and the amount of space for the rear passengers is excellent. Needless to say that the third row seat is very tight. Overall it is a significant improvement over a standard gas motor. should be since in real terms the price is significantly higher. At least for day one, no complaints, just smiles. :) ">
  • dunebuggydunebuggy Posts: 4
    Just took delivery yesterday and the HH is all that. My wife and three kids went for a long drive
    through the countryside over the hills and flats of Missouri and it drove like a dream! I used the
    engine brake on the downhill side to slow my decent and talk about a quiet ride through our neighborhood Wow! When the gas engine shuts off and the electric motor kicks in, its like your
    driving a golf cart. I traded in a 97 Land Cruiser and there is know comparison. Hope the HH lasts as long as my cruiser did! :shades:
  • iowaiowa Posts: 1
    Picked up my Limited today, fully loaded. This is our second hybrid, the other being a Civic. Initial impressions are that this is an amazing vehicle. Hauls on the freeway, yet I'm easily getting 30+ in town (plus, it's kind of fun to see how high you can get your in-town mileage). So, thus far, thumbs up. (plus, the insurance and registration, etc. are all MUCH cheaper than my Acura MDX, which now belongs to the local Toyota dealer!)
  • cate27cate27 Posts: 1
    We just got our Highlander Hybrid on Sunday and I couldn't be happier. The car is fully loaded, which I wanted - all of the dealers in our area seem to have only Limited models, which seems a bit unfair to those wanting a more basic vehicle. I've been waiting over a year for my car. I was on an informal waitlist through a family friend, but lost my place when he accepted a promotion at another dealership. Needless to say I was terribly upset, but the manager of his new dealership took pity on me and sold us his test model. I had wanted the Bluestone Metallic, but ended up with the Sonora Gold. Actually it is very classy looking, especially with the chrome trim. Someone commented on the faux wood trim and brushed metal - personally I think the brushed metal is chicer looking than the faux wood, which always looks terribly tacky to me, even in my husband's BMW. But the total look of the interior and exterior is a soothing monochromatic, which I like.

    The car drives quite differently from a regular Highlander - it has amazing torque - passing slowpokes never felt so good! The turning radius is also fantastic. The silence at low speeds and when stationary took some getting used to - I kept thinking I had stalled, but now I really enjoy those totally quiet moments.

    Before I chose the Highlander I test drove the Lexus RX, which I really wanted to like. The car was great except that I found the visibility to be horrible. No wonder they put a camera on the back - you can't see otherwise. What I love about the Highlander is that I have a total sense of where the limits of the car are around me - I can even see the hood, which is something I haven't been able to do in my car in years. My daughter I and I are only 5'2" and the Highlander doesn't feel to big for us - nor does it feel too small for my 6'1" husband.

    I have no illusions that we will save money owning this car - we paid full sticker price (but no extra markup) when I'm sure one could bargain nicely for a regular Highlander. But this car is so cool I have absolutely no regrets - we did spring for the extended warrenty, however, as a precaution against future expensive repairs. Nobody at our dealership mentioned "Toyotaguard" so I don't think we got that. I would have refused. The warrently covers roadside service. By the way, I called a few dealers and some don't have waitiing lists - they just sell first come first serve. I think if someone really wanted this car and called around regularly you could get one. Can't wait for my vanity plates - NV MYMPG.
  • bouvsrusbouvsrus Posts: 13
    From the guy who got lucky, stopped at dealerships on our way out to Eastern Shore, Maryland for vacation and found HH ....initial impressions of our new ride.

    Limited, 4WD, NAV

    First, we are thrilled. My wife's car, replaced a 1997 Expedition that peaked at 10 mpg. Everything is relative but for us, anything approaching the promised mpg is just fine. Also, my wife really wanted a hybrid so premium price for hybrid seen as worth it to us.

    MPG - - a bit disappointing but still too early to tell. We have driven about 600 miles since we purchased 2 weeks ago. Avg. about 25 mpg, all city/suburb driving. Its been warm and we run the AC a lot so I suspect that hasn't helped. I'll wait until after over 1000 given comments on this board that mpg improves.

    Great drive. The dash gauges show you when you are running on gas and/or electric and it makes you aware of driving habits (plus fun to watch gauges). Great/amazing acceleration and responsiveness (from this board I gather that is due to the two electric motors, front and back). You give up nothing on performance when you want it (merging onto highway) which is comforting.

    If you haven't driven hybrid before (we had not) starting the car is an experience. Dead silence. If you like to rev your engine at stop lights you don't want this car. Initial acceleration from a stopped position is smooth, predictable and similar to non-hybrids we've owned.

    The cargo room is ample (I wouldn't want to ask anyone to use the 3rd seat but we don't plan on having to use it - - its very small). The good news, for us, is that the room it takes to add 3rd row means ample room when you fold down seat. My wife likes better than Expedition because she can reach everything in the back with ease. I wish the back window would open separately but its more an inconvenience as we can still haul pretty good with the HH, just need to tie things down between the hardware store and home.

    The NAV system is good (and would probably be better if I took the time to read the instructions). Reasonably intuitive in terms of finding things. Like the NAV system in my Acura TL, great at finding addresses, etc. but sometimes imprecise when searching out "points of interest." The touch screen is very "responsive"/easy. Bluetooth and interactive audio would have been great but I wouldn't have wanted to pay any more for this car than we did so not a big sacrifice.

    Handles very nicely. However, comments that its on a Camry chasis doesn't mean it handles like a sedan. It handles very nicely but still more like an SUV than a sports car - - which is fine.

    The biggest surprise is leg room. Two teenagers in second seat love the ample leg room, tilt back seats and roominess. Caution: the driver seat doesn't go back as far as I would like. At 6'1" not that tall but would be much more comfortable if the seat went back another inch or two. Trade-offs - - kids no longer fight about who has to sit behind Dad because he has the seat all the way back.

    Hope some find the information useful. Glad to answer any questions. Overall, this car lives up to our expectations and is the perfect car for a mom-about-town who wanted some of the creature comforts of a nice car (NAV, sunroof, soundsystem, leather interior), the height and utility of an SUV, and the mileage that means she will be able to abandon her $52-fill-ups every 5-7 days!

    Happy new owners. Look forward to others keeping us all informed on gas mileage over time.

    Oh, one tip: If you drive on highway you may have played around with gas peddle to try and find the optimum spot where you are using electric. I found if you use cruise control the car finds that optimal spot for you far more often/consistently than I could figure out/manage on my own.
  • After waiting 6 months on the list and ending up #1 because the two ahead of us dropped out, we finally picked up our HHL in Victoria this past Monday. Apparently we are the first on Vancouver Island to be driving the HH. I am ecstatic with this vehicle. First, I'd have to say that I'm amazed at the number of people who see the premium on the hybrid technology as a deterrent. Granted I am a Canadian purchaser but here is the math: The difference between the gas and hybrid version is about $6 to $7k Cdn. There are some fine incentives up here and Government and Industry are finally helping out. The Provincial Government gives a $2k rebate right off the bat. The Federal Government has eliminated the Luxury tax of $1.6k for this vehicle. Van City Credit Union offers loans at prime rate for hybrids. Over 5 years with nothing down, that's about $4.4k savings in interest. We drive alot and my math tells me I'll save about $0.7k per year in gas. We intend to keep this vehicle for at least 7 years; we figure our total savings will be about $13k.

    This is undoubtedly the quietest, most comfortable car we have owned. The dash display is bright and attractive, the controls are intuitive and there are lots of thoughtful little features. It's almost hypnotic watching the LED interplay between gas and electric as you drive. When running on electric only or when braking, there's a vague, almost airplane-like whine....very high-tech sounding. And when you turn the ignition key it takes a lot of getting used to the fact that nothing happens. The gas engine always turns off when you stop. It's strange waiting at a red light now. All you hear are the sounds of other cars and you suddenly realize how odd and blissfully quiet our cities would be if all the other cars did the same thing.

    You can milk the miles out of this vehicle if you're not in a rush. Don't get me wrong, the power and pickup were important selling features but now I like to make a game out of how far I can go on electric only. It doesn't take long to figure out the point on the accelerator where the gas kicks in. To keep it in electric only, you can't start as quickly as the pack at a red light but will easily catch up to the average speed. You also can't go up hills in electric only. But you can go blocks and blocks like a stealth vehicle on side streets and the only problem is the pedestrians who nearly step into your path before they realize a car is coming. I suppose eventually the traction battery would become depleted enough that the gas will kick in at some critical point to charge it, but I haven't got there yet. So far I've driven 170 miles on about a quarter tank. Can't wipe the smile off my face. The Toyota dealer in Victoria was a straight shooter. Got the vehicle exactly as ordered, exactly when they said, at MSRP.

    Looking forward to seeing more of you on the road.

  • echoechoechoecho Posts: 1
    My wife got her Hybrid Highlander on Thursday - base model, not limited - and I've barely seen her since. She's thrilled with it. I've had my Prius since 2/04 so now we're a 2 Toyota Hybrid family. The Highlander (why not just say Hylander for short) has amazing acceleration- as others have said - and just drives beautifully.
    Since we've not driven a great deal I can't say much about mileage - except that its a lot better than the 98 Windstar she had before. We got the base because she didn't want the leather seats, and really doesn't like the NAV system - which I love in the Prius. I use the Bluetooth regularly in the Prius but she doesn't, and she was quite pleased with the basic features (including the JBL sound and the moon roof) and didn't need the other bells and whistles. We put the deposit on the Hylander down when we bought the Prius - so we had a very long wait - but she wasn't too particular about colors -ours is silver. She wouldn't have taken white or black. But we were concerned when the first allotments were very light on 4wdi basic models. Now that we have it, we're pleased.
  • Didn't expect to be able to land a HH this soon, but like sbgirl, found an outlying dealer (Fairfield CA) who was willing to deal with in-stock. Local San Jose dealers were trying to get a minimum of $5,000 over MSRP, so our $900 over seemed reasonable at the time (not any more, given other posts). Our accountant verified the $2000. tax deduction good only till January, so we'll live with that. We felt the savings at the pump immediately - we've gone through one tank of gas, with 27.9 mpg (2wd Limited); current tank looks a little better, perhaps 28.3 or so.

    Amazing acceleration, tight steering with perfect handling and manueverability, quiet ride, great parking capability, and more make it my favorite vehicle ever. The creature features galore are just what I wanted, and worth the extra markup for me (dealer had installed backup sensors and DVD - both wanted items for us). We have a luxury vehicle without luxury tax or 'show-off factor'. Being SUV green is very rewarding, especially after a Navigator and Sequoia.

    A downside is the leg space in back row, as many others have noted, is not for full size adults or kids. My teens are fine only in the mid row seats, but my preteen can get her friends happily sequestered in the back row.

    Re: climbing a hill on electric; had to do this last weekend, pulling away from a curb on an uphill start - HH was perfect, with it's characteristic excellent acceleration.

    My only complaints are: non-auto locking doors, no bluetooth or hookups for ipod, and no voice commands. Otherwise, we're getting close to perfection with this vehicle. :shades:
  • tomslycktomslyck Posts: 70
    May I ask what the dealer charged for the backup sensors?
  • skip1skip1 Posts: 16
    So far with about a 100 miles on it I have been getting 31.8 mpg, most of the miles have been my wifes. We have had a prius for 4.5 years now and she manages to get between 49 to 54 mpg per tank, So we now have 2 hybrids. Alot of it depends on you easing up on the gas to kick the electric motors in more often. So far we love it.
    We had been on the waiting list since Oct.and managed to get bumped up, since 2 people were on vacation when they made the call for the car, and we are glad they were.
  • I took my HH on vacation last week in Maine and think I may have been the first HH up Cadillac mountain. At 1,532 feet, Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. I reset my mileage computer on top and coasted down with a 99.9 mpg after 8 miles. After 100 miles I was still "averaging" over 45 mpg. It was obviously not a fair test but was fun none the less. Below is a link to a sunset shot on June 21.
  • chgohhltdchgohhltd Posts: 8
    We had just picked up our Hybrid earlier in the day. It was such a nice night that we decided to go out for a ride (love the wind through the moon roof).

    As we were coming back toward our house, we stopped at a light. A guy and his girlfriend were standing on the sidewalk next to the car. The gas engine had turned off as usual.

    The guy did kind of a double-take and asked, "What's wrong? Did you run out of gas?"

    I replied, "No, it's a hybrid!" And we drove away with big smiles on our faces! :)
  • fizbanfizban Posts: 42
    Over the past week we put on our first 1000 miles on our FWD Limited HH. There was about 13hrs of 70 mph interstate travel (w/cruise-control and A/C on) and the rest was short trips. Our computed average was right at 26 mpg. I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised at that.

    I dropped it off at my dealer's today to get my hitch installed. The loaner they gave me is nearly identical to mine, but not a hybrid. What a great way to compare between the two. The HH's acceleration really rocks and of course is so incredibly quiet. The transition to/from the ICE is amazing.

    I didn't know if I'd like the nav unit but have fallen in love with it. There's a bit of a learing curve, but it becomes more and more intuitive as one uses it more. I didn't realize that all of the other auxiliar controls were also routed through the touch screen as well. What a nice way to set up the sound system, memorize and monitor your radio stations, schedule your maintenance, etc

    So far, we couldn't be happier..
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84

    I agree with 100% regarding your comments on the Navigation system. I not only love it, I now wouldn't purchase an automobile without one if available. I have used maps to find my way around for a long time and they do get me to where I am going - but, in my opinion, the Nav system (especially if you are in unfamiliar territory without a human navigator) provides for a more safe, secure and relaxing trip to your destination.
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