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Toyota Highlander Hybrid MPG-Real World Numbers

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,966
edited February 2017 in Toyota
With the price of gas being what it is, your real world mileage is becoming more important than the estimates on the sticker. This is the place to talk about your real world on the road results!

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  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    We have only put 100 miles on the Highlander Hybrid so far, but we have averaged 27.9 mpg since we left the dealership. This is about 70% around town. That is much better than I really anticipated, particularly with an unbroken-in motor. I have no doubt that low 30 mpg will be easily achievable around town.
  • kemmekemme Posts: 4
    I understand that the EPA mileage rating for the Toyota Highlander is M.P.G. 31 city 27 highway. My wife has a Toyota Prius. We found the the EPA rating to greatly exaggerated on the Prius. What have purchasers of the Highlander been experiencing in actual MPG?

  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    After a bit over 600 miles we have averaged 27.2 mpg. In the city we are getting an average of 27.9 mpg (I have seen at high as 29.5 mpg) and on the freeway it varies between about 25 mpg and 28 mpg depending upon the speed we are traveling and which direction the wind is blowing. It's about what I expected. This is compared to the GMC Yukon that we have that averages about 12 mpg.

  • kemmekemme Posts: 4

    Thanks for the reply. After 600 miles in my Ford Escape SUV Hybrid I have averaged 34 mpg both cith and freeway. This is double the 17mpg I averaged on my 2002 Jeep Cherokee.

  • darmockdarmock Posts: 9
    The HH is doing great. Averaging 30.5 MPG and is just a pleasure to drive. My daily commute is about 9 miles each way, mostly city. I reluctantly post that according to the consumption monitors, I got 37 mpg today, round trip. Today I was driving carefully, and trying to watch the gauges. The trip in to work in largly downhill. I got 43 MPG inbound by coasting when i could and trying not to have anyone ride my bumber (if they did i would ice to increase spped). There is a "cut off" line between 30 and 40 mph where the ICE will kick in. I am trying to figure out what the optimum strategy is (long acceleration/long coast) or shorter bursts of acceleration and then coast.
    The trip home is largely uphill. There was more traffic and it was about 5 minutes longer than the trip in. The MPG was about 32.

    Clearly, one can directly effect, and significantly, the mpg reported by the on board gauges, through driving habits. I have been driving for 35 years and never a speeding ticket. I am generally careful anyway. That said, the realization of the potential economy is very, very impressive.
  • upstateny5upstateny5 Posts: 62
    "Clearly, one can directly effect, and significantly, the mpg reported by the on board gauges, through driving habits. I have been driving for 35 years and never a speeding ticket. I am generally careful anyway. That said, the realization of the potential economy is very, very impressive."

    Thanks for posting your experiences - I really thought that by modifying driving habits, where possible, that one could get above the posted mpg estimates. You have shown that it is possible.
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    Does anyone have any calculated mpg to report.I have seen some results-25 mpg and 30.5 mpg,but I'm unsure if these were true calculated-distance traveled/gallons used-or,if they were the figures you get from your digital readout.My experience-(well,some is mine,some are my buddies_ on these vehicles-Sequoia-F-250 Diesel,Titan etc is that the Digital readout is always wrong,and always higher-about 10% or more-than the actual calculated mpg.I have no idea why the digital readouts are sooo wrong.Someone-with a Prius-can have readouts that never dropped below 45mpg,but he will get an actual mpg of 42mpg.
    So how about some numbers?Let us know if they are calculated or Digital.The type of driving you do would be nice to know also. Mentioning if it is 2 or 4 wheel drive would also be nice.
    Oh,I'm very interested in the HH.I currently have a Pilot,Titan,Prizm.2 motorcycles.The Pilot gets 12-14.5 mpg in true-heavy-city driving(EPA is 17-22)(worse in summer,of course-New Orleans is hot).On the bright side,the Pilot gets 22.4 mpg at 73 mph with the AC blasting and about 1000 lbs of payload- 2 adults,2 greyhounds,kitten,MTB bike etc)(recent trip to Flagstaff,AZ-3100 miles)
    I would love to have something comparable to it that got an honest 22 mpg city,and 27+ at 73 mph on the hy.Thanks.Charlie ps phoebe -isis the greyhounds,not me. PPS-Give me numbers-please!!
  • bmorebmore Posts: 3
    My calculated mileage for the first tank of gas was 26.4. I have a 4WD. That driving mostly highway miles with AC on over half the time. Hopefully that is helpful.
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    bmore thanks. 26.4 is very good.It will be interesting to see what they do in mainly city driving.I'm guessing about the 25-28 with AC having about 2 mpg influence.We can compare summer and winter cycles.Thanks.Charlie
  • nimhrodnimhrod Posts: 49
    Being run by electricity, I wouldn't think running the a/c affects mileage at all since there's none of the usual drag on the engine that's assocaited with a fan belt run compressor.
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    There isn't any drag on the engine as the A/C is run entirely by electric. However, running the A/C does use the electric, so drains the NIMH batteries, and therefore need to get recharged from the ICE more frequently, and therefore, reducing overall fuel efficiency.

    Hope this explains.

  • jayt1jayt1 Posts: 1
    I hope the Digital read out on my HH is correct because it's only reading 24.6 for equal time between Hwy and City. My 1st fill up will be in a few more days. I will admit I did punch the gas a few times but only a few times just to know what my HH can and can't do. Regardless, my numbers do not seem as good as others. But I still love this car.

    On a separate issue, SUN ROOF. I get a loud noise like having a window open slightly. Also, it made the music sound very muffled. Is this the way it's suppose to be? I hope mine is a defect.
  • sbgirlsbgirl Posts: 22
    I just picked up my base 2WD HH from Cerritos, CA yesterday morning. The salesman filled up the tank and I drove it home to Sacramento, CA about 450 miles. I had a quarter tank left and filled it up with 11.5 gallons by that time I had gone 320 miles. This was basically all freeway miles and also include going over the steep grapevine on I-5. I averaged between 70 - 90 mph all the way home. I've been very impressed and I'm having fun showing it off and of course spouting off those numbers.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    sbgirl, how much did you pay for the 2WD HH, if I might ask? Most people are saying those are hard to find, but you found one....Thanks, and congrats on the new Hybrid - you are going to LOVE it I'm sure....... :D
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    For gas milage, it does take some time to "re-teach" yourself for maximum fuel efficiency, but also as it breaks in, I'm sure it will be better. Regardless, almost 25mpg mixed city and highway is still amazing compared to anything else in this category.

    As for the sunroof issue, it's the same thing that all modern cars have with the aerodynamics. Try cracking open one of the rear windows and It should go away. There are lots of posts on almost every board for almost every manufacturer asking about this issue, and it's just a matter of a sealed box having inequal pressures and trying to equalize.

    Hope this helps.

  • sbgirlsbgirl Posts: 22
    I paid $35,365 it includes the AF option package. They wanted to try to slip in a $3000 then a $1000 premium after they had sent me an email stating that they would sell it for MSRP, but they backed down pretty quickly on that. I live in Northern California and I tried 35 dealerships in my area with no definite timeframe. Somebody on this board had mentioned finding a base 2WD at Cerritos, so I gave them a call. According to them, if you buy it off the lot, there will be a $3000 premium. If you pre-order it, then it'll be MSRP. They stated it would take 5 to 8 weeks once they placed the order with a refundable $500 deposit. Luckily, with the end of the month here, they decided to drop the premium for their internet customers for the weekend.

    I've been waiting and saving for at least a year for it so I'm just amazed how quickly and easily it fell into my lap since I was only on the lists since last week.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    That's a great price sbgirl. Great work, and congrats on not getting SMOKED by the dealers, which is what usually happens with these "Hot Hot Hybrids." !!! :D
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    JAYT1,the 25 mpg you are getting is literally 10 mpg better than the average midsized SUV.(the readout is probably dead on,they have gotten better about that)In a city-hy mix my Pilot will get 15 mpg.It is fairly typical.Same story for a V-6 Highlander.These numbers come from CR-not from the EPA.CR shows most minivans as getting 13-14 mpg city(Odyssey and Sienna included).It shows the Pilot at about 13 city,the V-6 Highlander about the same.The Chevy Trail is a mpg or so down.The Durango claims to be "Big' now-good thing,it is a miserable gas guzzler.The 4 cyl Highlander-which CR doesn't have any figures on-is probably the best mid SUV mpg wise-excluding the HH of course(according to buddies who have them).The Ford Escape Hybrid is rated almost exactly like the HH 33-28 or some such.Apparently it is very slow and noisy.It does deliver the MPG-almost exactly like the numbers you folks report.It has a lot less interior room then the HH.On Ebay they seem to either never reach reserve,or sell for maybe~$30000 in full 4X4 Trim.I think you could buy a stripped version for ~$25000-.$10,000-$12000 less than a Highlander-about what you would expect-Ford vs Toyota.Thanks.Charlie
  • ulevulev Posts: 57
    As it regards the AC and the ICE...

    I stopped by my dealer to check out my new HH 4wdi.
    As we were sitting in the vehicle in 95+ degree weather, the sales person showed me how to 'start' the car. It was somewhat strange to note that no ICE started when the key went 'all the way.' However, just as we were about to depart, the ICE kicked seems due to the AC having a heavier load due to the hi temp, the battery needed a 'boost.'

    Has anyone out there gotten mileage for a HH FULL TANK of fuel ??? :confuse:

    Reading some of these posts my Tundra X-tra cab gets a most respectable 16.8 mpg...consistently. I have gotten to 380 miles at the fuel light, so I presume that my Tundra would go 400 miles on a tank. My hope is that I can get at least 600 miles on the HH tank..a 50% increase. Would make the 'pain' of aquisition much easier to take... :blush:
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    I best guess is that 550 miles is about the limit of what you can expect from a full tank of gas. I suppose that 600 might be possible, but that mean emptying the tank and 33.9 mpg average. Quite a feat, but theoretically possible I suppose.

  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    I have seen an actual 27.9 mpg for a full tank of gas. A combination of city and highway with a lot of AC.

  • sky_kingsky_king Posts: 8

    Why would you drive a new vehicle so fast prior to it's break-in ??
    I was always taught that for the first 1000 miles or so vary the speed between 55-65.
    High speed "break ins" can't be healthy for your car.
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    skyking"out of the blue of the western sky.." when I read sbgirl's posting,the same thing crossed my mind.But,now break-in is very unimportant(relative to 30 years ago).sbgirl certainly was varying the rpms-maybe the most critical element of break in.Most folks would blanch at the speed-90mph.It might take close to 120hp to get to 90mph with the HH.If it isn't governed,it could probably hit 130mph.The V-6 really isn't being stressed a lot at 90 mph since the electric motor is doing a fair amount of the work.Heck,even if the V-6 was producing all the 120 horses,it still wouldn't be really,really stressed.
    Now,you will never find an auto company that would endorse 90mph break in,but I wouldn't lose any sleep over a brief trip to 90mph(120 hp) in a 260+ hp vehicle.I'm not from the "run it like you are renting it" school of break in,but it isn't too important anymore.Might be more important to get the 1st oil change done early to remove leftovers from manu and that 90 mph run(of course,that is what an oil filter is for,but oil is cheap,metal expensive).Charlie
  • sbgirlsbgirl Posts: 22
    I used to work in the Customer Care department at a Toyota dealership for several years so I'm familiar with the "break-in period". I was always asked by customers if this was a steadfast rule. I could never say no as, definitely expected, the dealership or the manufacturer would never endorse going over the speed limit.

    I talked to many service managers and mechanics there and they basically said the same thing that phoebeisis said. As long as you vary your speed, do not push it to the high end of engine's capabilities, and follow your maintenance schedule, there will be no negative impact to the engine.
  • sky_kingsky_king Posts: 8

    To each his/her own I guess.
    I think I'll keep my new Highlander Hybrid (that I'll pick up in 3 weeks), within the 55-65mph range for the first 1000.
    Can't wait to get it !!!
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "AYT1,the 25 mpg you are getting is literally 10 mpg better than the average midsized SUV."

    Well, it's only a couple higher than my 2003 CR-V, which is of similar class. ICE only, of course. On the highway I get about 26-27.

    Won't mention the cost differential... oops, I just did, OK. About 15K for the base model, 13K for the premium CR-V. That is a fair amount of gas to break even at only 2-5 MPG better for the hybrid.
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    Your 2003 CR-V is of a similar class in that an Echo is a similar class to the Avalon. Or more to your comparison, the Civic to the RL Acura. Two totally different category vehicles altogether. Compact 4cyl suv, Mid-sized, V6 7pass suv.

    apples and oranges.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I beg to differ, the CR-V is a mid-size. I suggest you do some comparisons before posting such nonsense. The Highlander exterior is three inches longer and the same width. If you move the CR-V rear seats forward (to lower the stock 39" legroom to the same rear legroom as the highlander @ 36 inches), you will have almost the same cargo capacity in the two vehicles.

    Many people get confused by the exterior sizes; the Highlander looks bigger, but the CR-V has a simply amazing use of the interior space. The Highlander is larger, but not as much as it appears on the outside. I should also point out that the Highlander ICE is also available with an I4 as the base engine. They weigh almost the exact same, and the I4 engines have almost identical power and torque. However, with the CR-V, you can get all of the top-of-the line add-ons with an I4; I believe that Toyota only offers the high end items with the V6.

    I cross shopped the Highlander in 2003, and choose the CR-V. I preferred the Honda due to the driving characteristics and general interior layout. I especially like the CR-V turning radius of 33.8 feet, as opposed to the Highlander at 37.4. The vehicle is nimble.

    The only thing correct about your comparison is the 3rd seat. You didn't mention the towing capacities, where the Toyota has the advantage, but then the Honda wasn't really meant for towing.

    Toyota tunes their suspension for ride, while Honda tunes for performance. It is a matter of preference. The ride is the main reason I went with the CR-V.

    To get back on topic, the problem with any SUV hybrid is the weight and large frontal area. It is going to drag down the MPG every time. The fact that Toyota didn't mate the hybrid with the I4 is a serious detriment to MPG. The resulting hybrid is disappointing, when you consider that an ICE only vehicle in the same vehicle class can come close to the same mileage.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    While I own two Highlanders, I agree with you that the CR-V is close in size to the Highlander. And you are right on with the comment on the differences in suspension attitudes between Honda and Toyota. I shopped the CR-V many times, wanting to save some money over the Highlander, but just couldn't get over the noisier interior, and...well....I bought Highlanders. The CR-V is a very nice vehicle and am sure cross shopped by many with the Highlander. The Pilot is just TOO big for my tastes.

    To stay on topic, in my humble opinion, (and others as well) it would take way too many years to save enough fuel to make economic sense of the current Hybrid costs. I suspect that most purchasers are buying for the technology, and cross shopping more expensive SUVs than CR-Vs or gas highlanders...I am fascinated/enamored with the technology myself, and if I could justify 40K for a vehicle, I might have considered it....I just can't justify it....Remember, the Hybrid highlander also has significant gains in performance.

    just my 2 cents
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "To stay on topic, I also agree that it would take way too many years to save enough fuel to make economic sense of the current Hybrid costs. I suspect that most purchasers are buying for the technology, and cross shopping more expensive SUVs than CR-Vs or gas highlanders...I am fascinated/enamored with the technology myself, and if I could justify 40K for a vehicle, I might have considered it....I just can't justify it....Remember, the Hybrid highlander also has significant gains in performance."

    I was impressed by the Highlander, and it did ride very smoothly. But I found the Honda I4 peppier (I think they have a newer I4 now than in 2003). I wouldn't want anyone thinking that I was anti-Highlander. It is a matter of preference.

    Like you, I cannot find myself justifying 36-40K for a vehicle just to get the technology.

    But Toyota could have built for better MPG, by using the I4 instead of the V6 for the HH.
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