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New Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owners - Give Us Your Report



  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Has anyone ran their tank "dry" or at least significantly past the "E" light? This past week I only took 14.7 to fill up after the light came on. In the Camry Hybrid I know there was consistantly 3 gallons left in the tank after the light comes on. That's pretty nice to know since I hate stopping to fill up. If I know I have another 50+ miles when the light comes on then I won't be worried about filling up at the 1/4 mark.

    My 4Runner seems to be accurately measuring an empty tank, but apparently the Hybrids have a bigger safety factor built in. I was just wondering if this is everyones experience with the HH or if I might see something different next time.
  • cat46cat46 Posts: 4
    I had a highlander even before the commercials were out for it (Jan.01) and loved it til the day it was replaced by an 08 hybrid limitedin Oct. I live in the Pocono region of Pa. How silly of me to assume that the hybrid would be just as good, if not better, at winter driving than the original model. First I find out that it is almost impossible to get winter tires for this vehicle.Second, I find out that the car drives mainly in front wheel mode and is not all time all wheel drive like my other highlander. I love the HH and the ride, but am terrified of driving it in the snow. I had to turn around and take out my husbands Infiti M35x,which by the way, has a snow feature and drove like a tank. Had I been aware of the fact that this is a vehicle for Florida, I would have kept my original until they made a hybrid that can be driven in all climates. I am so disappointed with Toyota in this area. Guess I'll have to sit out the next snow storm. Anybody out there know of a snow tire that will fit my HH? 245/55R19..Please help. The manual suggests chains for the front tires only. That's a red flag.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    "Anybody out there know of a snow tire that will fit my HH? 245/55R19.."

    Yes, Bridgestone makes Blizzak tires in this size. So far that is the only ones I have found.

    I live in NE North Dakota and we have had a very snowy fall, and had lots of snow last winter (I bought my 2008 HH in Nov. 2007). It does great in the snow. I haven't been able to get it stuck even when trying to test to limits. The stock tires, after 7000 miles, do not have great grip on ice. But they are more than adequate. Just slow down.

    The VDIM does a great job of keeping you in control, but it does have limits. If you try to make a turn on ice too fast, it will prevent you from spinning out of control, but you may not be able to make the turn you intended.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    ". . . took 14.7 to fill up after the light came on."

    My experience is that mine will take 14.2 (thus leaving 3) just a few miles after the low gas light comes on.
  • cat46cat46 Posts: 4
    I won't be able to get the Blizzaks until the summer accoding to the dealers in my area. Apparently all the snow tires were shipped to Canada since they passed a law requiring all 4 tires have snows on them. You would think Toyota would give buyers a "winter package" option such as a snow traction button or something similar. Or better yet, put a common wheel size on. I would much rather the ability to drive in the snow over heated seats and mirrors anyday. Any other tire available that someone might know about that is available in N.E.P.A.?
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    "I won't be able to get the Blizzaks until the summer . . ."

    You can order them from, they are $232 each.

    I agree that Toyota has done its customers a disservice by selling the HH with only the 19" wheels. The 17" standard tires would have been better, Toyota does not actually ship any HH's with those tires.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    with the choice of large wheels and tires on the HH. It has to hurt FE and should be considered a sport option, not a combo on a vehicle people purchase for the FE. Toyota marketing messed up on this.

    As for snow, I researched this a lot before buying. Yes, the HH has a unique set up with the motor driving the rear wheels but for other than really deep snow and with proper tires this should be more than adequate.

    Also, It might be cheaper in the long run to pick up a set of Hylander 17" wheels to put "cheaper" and smaller snow tires on if you plan to keep the vehicle long term.
  • Don't know if your 08 is different than the 07. My 07 HH has an advertised 17 gal tank. The light routinely comes on with 2.8 gals. left in the tank. One time I consumed 16.2 gals. on a tank, the needle was below the E line by at least a needle width.

    After 84,000 miles, I am fairly comfortable driving another 50 miles after the light comes on.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    I have an 09 but was curious about the tank. In my Camry Hybrid I never took more than 15 gallons to fill and when it said "E" it had 2.5+ gallons left. That was good for an easy 75 miles, which one time I drove it well past E. Several of the more fanatic TCH'ers drove theirs toempty just to prove the point. I couldn't find on this board where anyone had done that for the HH. I'm guessing it's Toyota's design to do it that way but I would prefer a gage that accurately told me when I was empty. Mentally I can't bring myself to consistantly drive it to "E" before I fill. In the TCH I could always drive 550+ miles on a tank and I really miss that. The HH does well but the range is not any more than most SUV's. 4 more gallons would probably only added 50 pounds, counting the gas and extra tank materials. That would have been nice.

    It's been in the 20's here a lot and I'm getting around 23 so I see no reason I shouldn't average 25 when it warms up. I am finding that the computer is almost 2mpg over reading the FE. I don't see why that is so hard of thing to get right

    Overall I am real happy with the HH. I am considering the 2010 Prius to share duty with the HH, or perhaps the new TCH when it gets the Gen3 hybrid system.
  • I love everything about this vehicle (2008 model) except the wood grain trim. I wish there was some way I can change it to be solid black. I am averaging about 32MPG. Mostly city driving. I got every extra other than NAV and DVD screen system (i dont have many back seat passengers, my main reason for SUV is my big dog and when I move every 4 years i can take more stuff with me). I do plan to do an aftermarket NAV, because I heard toyotas isnt that great.

    I am paying alot more than Im used to, but Ive never had the feeling of every time i sit in my car, I absolutely love it. Totally worth every red cent.
  • This is a 2007 model, Limited with all the electronic junk. Car failed to start three time in last 7 months. For some reason, the car does not start. You are stranded with no other recourse but to call a towing service. God forbids that you don't have your whole family in the car in the middle of nowhere. Dealers are not sharing anything about this problem other than give curdory explanations like: maybe the battery was a little bit low, maybe one of the interior lights were left ON, maybe you opened a door other than the driver's door first, etc. In my opinion this is a problem waiting to happen. I am disssappointed by Toyota.
  • I share your pain. I also have a 2007 Highlander Hybrid and it has failed to start three times now in the last 7 months. The dealers keep saying that the battery was a little low. I don't trust this car anymore. I have never had a car this new that just plain will not start and there is nothing you can do except have it towed to the dealer. I think Toyota is sweeping this problem under the rug.
  • llbonnerllbonner Posts: 3
    Do you have one of the DVD players? Is it an after-market one (either that Toyota put in or one that someone like Best Buy put in?) b/c if so, it could be the DVD player. I had an after-market DVD player (installed by Toyota at the time of sale so it came with it but it wasn't installed in the factory in Japan) and couldn't leave the care for more than 2 days without the 12V battery dying. I was told I had left the lights on (I hadn't), left the door open (I didn't), etc. I finally searched the net and discovered that for people with after-market DVD's (and you might not even know you have one, depending on your Toyota salesperson) this happens with the hybrid. I got the dealer to replace my 12V battery and install a kill switch for the DVD player and problem solved. A few months later my DVD model was recalled b/c it was draining the battery power for regular (non-hybrid) cars. So if you have a DVD player see if you can find out if it's after market and if it is, try to get the kill switch installed. Good luck!!!
  • All the equipment is standard Toyota and came with the car. They just told me again today that all they did was to recharge the battery and now the car starts again. For how long?
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Well, your battery is almost 3 years old. You may need a new one.
  • @ cat46

    "I find out that the car drives mainly in front wheel mode and is not all time all wheel drive like my other highlander. I ... am terrified of driving it in the snow....Had I been aware of the fact that this is a vehicle for Florida, I would have kept my original until they made a hybrid that can be driven in all climates"

    According to the reviews at Edmunds, the first-gen Highlander Hybrid AWD wasn't true AWD, but rather included a third electric motor, on the "AWD" model, that kicked in on the rear wheels when additional traction was needed. The gas engine, according to those reviews, never distributed power to the rear wheels. Still, I've seen drivers from high-altitutude, heavy-snow areas say the HH "AWD" performed great for them in snow. Your fears may be unfounded: I'm guessing maybe a salesperson or literature just made you aware for the first time of how the HH "AWD" works, and you didn't realize that's how it worked in the previous gen HH, too.
  • I do not like the following things about it:

    1. Brake slippage or gap at low speeds to a stop. I am sure that some of you know what I am talking about.(The braking we are told that we have to get used to by most dealers).
    2. FE Highway city ratings are actually reversed for me. Worse in the city than highway. I bought this car mostly for city driving. I live in a slightly hilly area, Essex county, Northern NJ so we are not talking mountains and am lucky to get about 18-20 MPG with city only driving. Worse in winter with running the heat and engine taking longer to warm up. Highway best was 28MPG but usually around 25.
    3. Hasn't happened for me yet but a friend and others have reported that the stock tires go bad quickly. At 15K my friends tires were almost bald. In fact their HiHy slid down a hill unoccupied, while it was parked one icy day. Lucky that it didn't hit anything. Keep an eye on those tires.
    4. Rear visibility was decreased in the 2009 Ltd.

    That's about it, but the brake thing bothers me the most right now. I am wondering what is the difference with this problem and the Prius braking problem.

    Other wise it is the best car I have ever owned. Smooth ride, fast, good pick up, comfortable, pretty good on gas mileage but not as good as the rating suggests. Definitely not enough to recoup the extra dollars spent on a Hybrid as far as I can see.
  • When the heavy snow high altitude drivers said, "Great," did they also mean the MPGs they got or just driving performance?
  • 89fj6289fj62 Posts: 20
    I purchased my new 09 Hybrid last July in the cash for clunkers deal.I love the way ift rides on the highway. Driving like an old man I manage to get 26 mpg in town driving. and 26 mpg in highway driving. I bought this vehicle to replace my Land Cruiser. I plan to use my HH to tow a small tent trailer. I like that I can fit in this vehicle and that is the main reason that I bought it. As I don't trust the HH with summer tires in high snow I have it garaged for the duration of winter. I now have 3,200 miles on my HH.
  • synch22synch22 Posts: 16
    edited April 2010
    We have had our new limited for the past week now and are so far pleased with everything. Averaging 25.5 mpg right now with city and highway driving with some hills here in driving although it seems you make up for hills on the other end (downhill coast). I would like to try and increase the mpg but we will see. I have not once noticed any kind of braking issue that was mentioned but have kept my eye out for it. The car is pricey but i think the premium paid so far is worth it in our eyes, not expecting the payback in savings but rather enjoy the technology of the ride with slightly better mpg.
    One other thing is the Nav is not my favorite so far, we have not had GPS in any car up until now so maybe it will be handy when needed. I do like the other features the screen provides (consumption #1, radio touch screen etc.)
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