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Toyota Highlander Hybrid MPG-Real World Numbers



  • toyohh08toyohh08 Posts: 3
    We bought our iced amethyst HH08 limited AWD last November 2007. Our average mpg? 24-27 worst mpg was 22 :cry: and my best was 28mpg :) . Our current odometer reading is around 3700 plus miles :D . We lived in Bay Area...
  • muce1998muce1998 Posts: 2
    Following up on my previous post (346) - we're creeping out of winter now (hi's in the upper 40's) and the fuel economy is jumping back up - just got 27 mpg after a winter low of 22. I did some experimenting in the last couple months - heater use only accounted for a negligible increase in gas usage. The engine controller tries to keep the temp in the normal range, regardless of heater use or throttle demand. Next winter I'll experiment with using a cold front (block the grille) to see if I can keep the engine warmer... For now, looking forward to seeing how many 30+ tanks I can string together.

    stats: 07 HH AWD, 20k mi, 30mi commute (mostly hwy, lite traffic). best tank: 32, worst: 22
  • columgcolumg Posts: 1
    I live in MInnesota. Noted poor mileage performance of hybrid in cold weather. Does the same thing happen to non hybrids? Would I be better off to forego the hybrid for best environmental impact year around?
  • columg -

    dunno bout you, but all of my vehicles get worse mileage in the winter - I live in Iowa, so have much the same weather as you. My Tundra pickup goes from 17-18 mpg summer to 12-14 mpg in the winter. I'm driving an 06 Highlander Hybrid - well broken in with 55k miles, and while it gets as low as 22 mpg in the winter, now that winter has finally broken, I'm getting astounding mileage.

    I have been getting consistent 27-28 mpg tankfulls; but now that gas prices have become ridiculous, I have started driving slower on trips. That has paid a huge premium; just by slowing to 65 for my Interstate driving, I've noticed that the battery is operating a lot more; I'm also seeing concrete results at the pump - last fill got me 31 (!) mpg. Subsequent refill still came in at 28 - so probably a valid reading.

    Slow down a touch, and these hybrids are great - the electric motor just doesn't have enough power to deal with the wind resistance at high speeds, and consequently, mileage suffers.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    All cars suffer from this problem.

    I live in NE North Dakota. Much colder than Anchorage, AK (I lived there for 3.5 years), but warmer than Barrow, AK (3 years there).

    My prior car was a 1998 Ford Contour w/2.5L V6. My gas milage dropped about 35% in the coldest part of the winter with the Contour. I saw a similar drop with my '08 HH. Installing a block heater helps a lot. But when it drops to -32 F, it takes time for the engine to warm up to efficient operating temperatures. BTW, I do not let my car sit and run to warm up, except for extreme cold weather (fogged/iced windows are dangerous), so I do not waste gas that way.
  • t_mooneyt_mooney Posts: 5
    My 2007 gets about 25 mpg overall. The limiting factor is that I commute 5 miles each way to work everyday and mileage for the first 6-8 minutes is poor because it's warming up and the gas engine stays on. I did a "Sunday drive" of about 100 miles once, keeping not higher than 50 mph and really working at top mileage and got 32 mpg according to the computer, which usually is not optimistic by much. I would call that an upper limit and maybe a little unrealistic to expect under any real conditions. But when you're on 50-55 mph speed limit roads and you obey the limits and drive carefully, 27-28 seems repeatably doable.
    I can't stand to drive my non-hybrid anymore.
  • There are mileages numbers on a 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid front wheel drive, as measured by a Scangauge II , calibrated as best I can (enter in actual gas used during fillups).
    Almost constant driving one person and luggage, from Minneapolis, MN to Oshkosh, WI
    30 MPG Summer
    27.5 MPG Add a second person and more luggage
    Going speed limit on major roads

    Mixed driving (city/highway)
    23 to 25 MPG Driving in Minnesotan winters drops to, sometimes slightly higher
    25 to 30 MPG Driving in "warmer" months - (closer to 30 MPG if I can "drive for mileage)

    Driving habits:
    I monitor the air pressure in the tires; the Scangauge II is in gauge mode most of the time (watch engine RPMs, throttle position, engine load, and timing).
    Highest even seen - 32 MPG in mixed city/highway

    To get these numbers, I need to drive, watching ahead for stoplights, slowing down before. Unlike other cars, I gently "ride" the brake, which initially kicks in the re-generative braking. I tend to gradually accelerate, except for unusual traffic conditions. Kicking in the turbo mode of the HH dramatically reduces gas mileage, although useful when merging into heavy highway traffic.
  • rgauzennergauzenne Posts: 1
    I have had my 2008 highlander hybrid for almost 4 weeks now. (No Nav system or moon roof but has 3rd row seats) First week I got 27mpg city and 26mpg highwy. Next week I got 25/city and 23/highway. Now I am only getting 21-22mpg in the city with warm weather and slow accelerations. Anyone else knows what is going on here? The Toyota mechanic doesn't
  • tourguidetourguide Posts: 190
    Slow down a touch, and these hybrids are great - the electric motor just doesn't have enough power to deal with the wind resistance at high speeds,

    This would be incorrect. The hybrid system on the HH only operates at speeds up to about 40-45 mph. After that it is all ICE.

    The phenomenon you are describing here applies to ALL vehicles, we are just too impatient to actually GO SLOWER. EVERYONE would see a benefit from doing this.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    This would be incorrect. The hybrid system on the HH only operates at speeds up to about 40-45 mph. After that it is all ICE.

    The above statement is also incorrect ;) . The ICE can kick in at any time, from 0-mph to blast-off and the batteries can kick in at any time from 0-mph to blast-off.

    On flat ground, it is possible to go from 0 to 40 MPH on electric-only. If there is enough charge and the ground remains flat, I can maintain 40-MPH for a very long spell. A good stiff tail-wind helps.

    On downhill runs, the battery can go even further depending on desired speed. On steeper downgrade, even on freeways, the battery can provide all the power to maintain 65-MPH or 70-MPH (on really steep grade) while the ICE just idles. We see this all the time driving I-5 in Northern CA. The car is cruising downhill at 65-MPH and the ICE is madly charging the battery or the battery kicks in to give some power to maintain downhill speed. By the end of a run, the battery is all green (full 8 bars).

    On a climb, the ICE kicks in and the battery will also kick in to boost power. The battery provides instant torque in such cases and the car just rockets up a grade like it is a V8.

    The ICE and battery pack work together through all speed ranges. There is NO "cut off" where the ICE takes over completely without the battery pack. At least I have never seen it on our '06 HH.

    Just want to clarify.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "This would be incorrect. The hybrid system on the HH only operates at speeds up to about 40-45 mph. After that it is all ICE. "

    No, I'm afraid YOUR statement would be incorrect. I own the FEH, which is similar in drivetrain design to the HH. The electric motors can provide boost at all speeds; the only imitation is the state of charge in the battery.

    The design requires that the engine operate above 40 MPH, but this actually means only that the engine has to spin, not that it has to consume fuel. I think that on a downgrade with a full battery of vehicle will use the drag of spinning the ICE to bleed off excess electricity from the generator. At least, this is my understanding.
  • peraltaperalta Posts: 94
    Now 23k on the odo. 33 miles to work 95% highway.
    Average 28-30 mpg per tank.
    Some of my short local drives can be as high as 50 mpg.
    I tried many techniques. Cruise control at 57 mph gives good mpg but slow travel overall. Or I drive like a roller coaster, accelerate on the downhill and let it slow down on its own at the incline. I get the same mpg but the second technique is faster and more fun. Most of the time, I combine them, using cruise control on downhill once the speed is about 75 mph.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    "The hybrid system on the HH only operates at speeds up to about 40-45 mph. After that it is all ICE."

    Not true. If you watch the display, you will see the electric motors kick in for short periods at higher speeds. I have observed it doing this at up to 70 mph. I have noticed this if you go down a small hill, the ICE will shut down. At the bottom of the hill, the ICE starts up again. As you climb a gentle hill the traction motor(s) will assist the ICE.
  • tourguidetourguide Posts: 190
    Thanks to all who've replied to this and set the record straight. I stand corrected. I was under the impression it worked differently - thanks.
  • peraltaperalta Posts: 94
    I have done this many times on my 2006 HH since I drive on hilly terrain. When I am going downhill and set my cruise control, sometimes the synergy drive sorts out and decides to do it in all electric mode even at 75 mph.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I have done this many times on my 2006 HH since I drive on hilly terrain. When I am going downhill and set my cruise control, sometimes the synergy drive sorts out and decides to do it in all electric mode even at 75 mph."

    Is the ICE still spinning? (check the RPM gauge)
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    According to Toyota, the ICE comes on at and above 40-MPH so even if not in use, it will spin at idle. I believe Khdspyder confirmed this with Toyota last year.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    This past weekend I did a 180 mile round trip. Going out was east against strong (25-30 mph), direct head winds. I got about 24mpg. The return trip was with strong quartering tail winds (I was driving generally west, the winds were from the southeast). I got 33.6mpg. Overall, the round trip was 28 mpg. This is in a 2008 HH with only 2900 miles.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Does the '08 model have good acceleration? I don't mean "racing" speed but good acceleration to freeway speed?

    It looks like Toyota did listen to early adopters and really made the car efficient. I am envious of your 33+ MPG!
  • kyrptokyrpto Posts: 216
    The '08s are slower than my '06 Hh but they can get better mileage.
    Mine beat a Jeep 5.7 Hemi in an 1/8th of a mile stoplight launched street drag.
    The traction batteries have to be fully charged and the preferred technique is a firm steady press on the pedal. There is torque steer.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    "Does the '08 model have good acceleration?"

    I am happy with it. I believe that the LA Times review by Dan Neil reported 0-60 mph times of about 6.7 seconds.
  • mevander1mevander1 Posts: 43
    That concerns me re: people getting only 20 - 22mpg over the first 1000 miles. I have a 1998 BMW 740i. The city mileage is awful, 14MPG at best driving methods. The highways is a different story for I get 22-23 going 75mph (speed limit is 70). I would love to get a HH, however want the city to be at least 26 and highway about the same. I would drive 'normally . however not try and hypermile. I want to drive it like a car that is only a small improvement in the highway.
  • mevander1mevander1 Posts: 43
    Hotch41 shared "" Averaged just under 27 MPG on the first tank, with a roughly 50-50 combination of highway and city mileage. "" That is what I am looking for. re: mileage. My mix would be 30% city and 70% highway, I wonder what that combo gets. As shared I would drive 'normal' ie no jack rabbit starts, however I do want to drive it like a car and not hypermile.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    This post is not to give '08 driving experience although I will share some. This is to focus on your comment about not wanting to hypermile and wanting to drive "normally".

    We have the '06 and test drove an '08, the following is a combo of our '06 experience and impression of the '08. First off, hypermiling is fun and addictive but unnecessary in most cases unless you want spectacular MPG.

    If you are a mild driver, then how many people/things you carry, tire pressure, summer vs. winter gas, terrain, traffic patterns and even wind can impact MPG. The heavier the car, the lower the tire pressure, winter gas, challenging terrain, short light-to-light stop and go and stiff headwind can impact MPG from tank to tank. Deal with those factors, hypermiling becomes just a hobby.

    One thing about jack-rabbiting, the '08 HH is very smooth and quiet (more so than our '06) and can accelerate very quickly (ECON=OFF) without you knowing it. So relearning that characteristic is important. A gentle tap on a gas engine car may be considered "gentle" but the same tap on the HH may have it out-accelerating other cars and come up to speed in a blink. We have had to learn to really soften our tap in our '06, same is true for the '08.

    2008 has an EV switch and an "ECON" switch. These two addressed our biggest gripes on our '06 HH. We are really glad Toyota "listened".

    When batteries are charged up, EV mode allows one to drive 1 mile on electric only, no gas engine at all. On favorable terrain and a stiff tailwind, we rolled the '08 on electric-only for about 1.5 mile in our test drive. The sales guy was impressed and said he would do the same for the next couple test driving the car :).

    The ECON mode tempers the power curve so that instead of instant torque and get-up performance, it is much slower and gentler with acceleration. This is a fantastic mode to use on gentle rolling terrain on CRUISE. It can really save gas. If we buy the '08, I would have ECON on whenever I can CRUISE.

    The car cannot self-detect terrain nor your intention so we cannot just drive the '08 HH normally (even when gently) like a gas engine car and expect to get fabulous MPG. We will need to learn the characteristics of the car and its features (EV, ECON) to take full advantage of the available technologies. Our test-drive experience showed that with judicious use of EV and ECON modes, and by picking favorable terrain and traffic pattern, the '08 can get really decent MPG for a mid-size high-power SUV; better than our '06. Without EV and ECON, in challenging terrain, in frequent stop-and-go traffic, MPG will still be better than comparable gas-engine car but may not be as dramatic. It could be a difference of 20-MPG (other SUV) vs. 24-MPG for the '08 HH without any work but 20 vs 26+ if we learn to take advantage of the EV and ECON modes.

    Our '06 now gets 26-MPG on average on summer gas. If I choose the road carefully and drive 5-MPH lower than posted limit, I can get about 28-MPG. If I hypermile, our '06 eeks out 29+ MPG but our area and traffic pattern rarely allow this.

    Good luck with your '08 research!
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "That concerns me re: people getting only 20 - 22mpg over the first 1000 miles. I have a 1998 BMW 740i. The city mileage is awful, 14MPG at best driving methods. The highways is a different story for I get 22-23 going 75mph (speed limit is 70). I would love to get a HH, however want the city to be at least 26 and highway about the same. I would drive 'normally . however not try and hypermile. I want to drive it like a car that is only a small improvement in the highway. "

    If you can live with a smaller car, consider the Ford Escape Hybrid. The FWD is rated at 34 city / 31 highway (2009). They are hard to find, since Ford is only making 25K for 2009. The 2009 has a number of improvements over the 2008.

    However, it is a smaller vehicle and only seats 5.

    One other note. The HH rides soft, the FEH rides firm, more like a truck or SUV.
  • peraltaperalta Posts: 94

    I am happy to report that my average is more than 30 mpg. That is about 85 % highway. I thought that I had to sacrifice speed to get this kind of mileage but not anymore. By driving as if you are driving a bicycle, you get the most fuel economy. That is to say, accelerating when there is downhill and maximizing the use of momentum that is gained, avoid accelerating on uphill but apply the same power as if you are on level ground and let the speed fall as you go up (just like in a bicycle). Coast as much as you can to the next stop. Avoid rapid acceleration and deceleration.

    I had no problem going above traffic speed and still get more than 30 mpg.

    In the end, it is all about driving technique since I even get much better highway MPG on my wife's subaru outback (35 mpg).
  • msgolf41msgolf41 Posts: 9
    I have been reading various posts for a few months (prior to my HiHy purchase and after) with great interest in real-world mileage. I was very concerned about the reports for very low mileage on this and the RX400h, but decided on the HiHy for the extra room/seats as I was replacing a 'too-small' FX35.

    Now that I have had my Highlander for 2 months and 3000 miles, and have kept logs of fuel consumption, I think I can help contribute to the discussion. The first thing I noticed is that the cause of very low mileage results is most likely driving style. It would seem that many people believe the mere act of buying a hybrid assures them of optimal mileage, regardless of how they drive. Think of all the cars you see ahead of you accelerating with excess non-ignited fuel dripping (pouring) out of their exhaust. Floor the hybrid and the mileage will be poor - probably better than a non-hybrid, but not up to EPA numbers.

    I have found that my mileage exceeds the 27/25 EPA estimates, and I have also become acutely aware of my "gas pedal habits" because of two items in the hybrid - the multi-information screen showing the EV/ICE use, and the economy bars on the Kv Power Meter. If you keep the indicator within the economy bars you can typically beat the EPA numbers and still not seem like a "snail", though you will not experience any "G-Forces" on acceleration.

    Over the two months I have averaged just of 26mpg, with a low of 24 and a high of 29 for individual tanks. 90% of my driving is a variation on local, as I live in a semi-rural area that puts us on 45-50mph roads for 15 mile (one way) trips to the closest malls and major shopping areas. I say this because local travel to me is not a lot of stop and go (where hybrids supposedly excel) but rather more like highway, where they do not. My true highway mileage (70+mph interstate) experience has been where we have gotten the greatest mileage (27-29mpg).

    I calculate my mileage by only filling up each time, and by dividing the gallons into the actual miles since last fillup. I have been gaging this vs the multi-display indicator mileage estimates and find that the car is a bit optimistic by about 1mpg. My Infiniti was extremely accurate with its onboard computer estimates, so I was a bit spoiled.

    Miles Gal Mileage
    345 11.9 29
    364 14.5 25.1
    129 5.9 26.9
    321 12.3 26.1
    338 13.1 25.8
    261 9.3 28
    315 12.9 24.4 (lots of idling with heavy A/C use)
    323 12.8 25.2
    309 11.8 26.2

    I have noticed that my mileage has been down a bit lately and that has coincided with very hot conditions (near Philadelphia) this past couple of weeks.

    Overall very pleased with the choice as we needed more space and am really glad now that I did not go for the Lexus GX470 as I would be kicking myself at every fillup at $4/gal.
  • gtategtate Posts: 2
    We have 6k on our 08 and have averaged 23mpg. We have gotten better mileage on the highway than city. But city driving in San Antonio is like most cities. You have a combination of freeway and city streets. We keep it in econ. use the downshift brake to increase recharging, and no fast starts.
  • sepcosepco Posts: 4
    I have 7000 miles on my Hybrid and can only get 20 to 21 MPG. On a highway trip I did get 24 MPG. This is southern California driving with air on. The dealer says nothing wrong. I have tried to baby the acceleration with everyone else passing me and it doesn't help. Worst purchase I ever made.
  • peraltaperalta Posts: 94
    You should get an average of about 27 mpg. Here are what people are doing:

    1. Tire inflation to 36 - 38 on all 4.

    2. Slow and gradual push of the accelerator pedal, - plateau - , and then slow and gradual release. Repeat the process all over (pulse and glide or you can do pulse and feather). This is how you get >30 MPG in the city.

    3. Slow and gradual push of brake pedal for max regen. The regen portion of blended braking works best with gradual pedal motion.

    4. With cruise control "on", max MPG is at 47 MPH (35 MPG), it gets 28-30 MPG at 55-57MPH, Fuel consumption drops horribly above 57 mph.

    5. Without cruise control, drive as if you are riding a bicycle,,,, accelerating on the downhill to gather momentum for the next uphill or use it for maximum coasting distance. Apply constant (level speed) power even on uphill and allow your car to gradually slow down as you move up.

    6. Use of 0-20 toyota synthetic oil.

    7. On hilly places, park your car facing downhill. Start your car and immediately shift to neutral (engine will not start) and let it coast as far down as possible before you shift to drive.

    Good luck
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