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Toyota Highlander Hybrid MPG-Real World Numbers



  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Our HH was not doing too great in MPG at first. Then suddenly, after the first oil change at 5000 miles, I remember the mileage shot up. I posted a question here to ask if anyone had similar experience.

    I think it went from barely making 24 (NAV screen read-out) while driving to easily reaching 26 or 27 (NAV screen read-out). From then on, average per tank began to get better and better.

    It is possible that at the time, the dealership might have just done the ISC Learning bit on our HH during the oil change without telling us. This is the same mechanic who told me that he does it for "loyal customers" as a courtesy :).
  • Thank you for advice! Will head over to tips and tricks and start reading. I also read your response about the ISC Learning Procedure. I think I'll make sure this is done to my 07 HiHybrid every time it's anywhere near the dealership.
  • we got our HH in Dec... it had 17K on it at the time so it was broken in... had no problems getting close to 10L/100 (about 28mpg) for first few fill-ups... even 9.8 througout on... seemed to be using mostly electric on start-ups... then we put on o ur snows and its been tough seeing 12 anymore especially with out sub zero (C) weather over the past few weeks... startups are always gas, and we are now hovering around mid to high 13L/100M... more like 20 MPG... quite a difference!!!! is anyone else experiencing this much change with a change of tires... they are Blizzaks!
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "we got our HH in Dec... it had 17K on it at the time so it was broken in... had no problems getting close to 10L/100 (about 28mpg) for first few fill-ups... even 9.8 througout on... "

    Are you perhaps in Canada? That would be Imperial gallons, not US, correct?
  • Been driving a 2006 HH for a year. "City" mpg stinks. Did not expect to get the advertised 31 mpg, but definitely expected to get better than 22 mpg. Dealer says vehicle is operating okay. Says I have to give the Hybrid time "to learn my driving habits". That's ridiculous - if it were true, I have a dumb vehicle because it hasn't learned a thing in 12 months.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Have you had a chance to browse the other forum titled "Highlander Hybrid Driving Tips and Tricks" ? It has a ton of good info on what many owners have tried and done. We talked about mistakes we made too ;).

    Also, if you have not heard of the Idle Speed Controller Reset issue, please read back 4 or 5 posts, you will see a Technical Service Bulletin post about this. It may or may not be the problem you are experiencing but worth reading.

    I have had to drive San Francisco and the East Bay hills lately, about once a week for the foreseeable future :(. If you have been here and know the area, it is hilly and practically no flat land. It also has a ton of lights and a ton of cars. Even with a lot of coasting and careful braking and gentle starting from stop, I get no better than 24-MPG (for duration of trip) every time I drive through that area. But, to put it in perspective, when I did the same in our Toyota Sienna V6 in the past, the mileage was 18-MPG at best. If I take my Chevy V8 workhorse truck, I think it may get no better than 10-MPG.

    I always look forward to getting home ASAP where there is plenty of flat valley floor and open land to drive :).
  • "we got our HH in Dec... it had 17K on it at the time so it was broken in... had no problems getting close to 10L/100 (about 28mpg) for first few fill-ups... even 9.8 througout on...
    Are you perhaps in Canada? That would be Imperial gallons, not US, correct?"

    yup... Canada... -17ºC this morning... and I do drive in a hilly area when I start up or return to work... only about 8 Kms total each way... much better mileage when I drive a distance... But i thought one of the ideas behind the hybrid was to improve city driving... not so, so far!
  • Is this something a vehicle owner can do... or does it require special devices/tools that only a dealer will have? If possible, could you post the rest of that TSB here? Or could you e-mail it to me? Thanks!
  • My HH is a great vehicle but has some major flaws. I currently have 11k miles I live in the chicago area and it has been very cold. As the temps dropped so did the gas mileage. I am very disappointed. I am now getting on the current tank getting 16.5 mpg. I am now driving with outside temps below zero, with the heat on the lowest setting to save fuel. I have called toyota twice on this issue have had the cart checked out at the dealer and have e gotten nothing but the age old line "we find nothing wrong with the operation of this vehicle. " I am at the point of exam examining resale value. I am not saving anything in fact this vehicle is costing me more than the one I traded in.
  • Ok... so I just slogged through the very interesting thread on HH driving tips... but couldn't really pull out anything specifically related to my loss of mpg... all it really did was get me to asking more questions... mostly about my driving habits I guess... have also read the Pulse and Glide posts with curiousity...


    1) should I letting my HH warm up on the cold days (below 0ºC)... whenever I pull out of the driveway now the unit is letting me know I am using anywhere from 60 - 90 L/100K and after every few seconds or so it gradually makes its way down to the teens then if I take my foot off the pedal down to single digits... I don't remember this happening when we got it in Dec when the temps were over 10ºC and I still had the regular tires on... the engine says Ready and the dealer said that was then I was all set to go... but it always says ready... should I be waiting for some magical moment before heading out each time... and if so what is the signal... he also told me his wife made it to work one day using almost no gas... I find this hard to believe considering what i am getting right now!

    2) even when the car is warmed up (ie driving after a few minutes) when I start up from an stop at an intersection it still starts in the 40 - 60 L/100k range no matter how gentle I am on the pedal...

    3) overall I'm still getting only 13.6+ L/100k which I guess is only 20.x mpg... not what I expected from a Hybrid!?!...

    I don't think I could drive any more careful than I am right now... I gave my little MX3 to my son so my roaring around days are over, and for the most part I don't drive like I used to... but this is ridiculous... I've tried both Premium and Regular gas but don't know if there was much difference... hard to tell due to our fluctuating weather we've had!

    any help would be appreciated
  • I saw this post thru a search, and it is something I've always wondered about. I've owned two Prius models and both started off with a lower gas mileage than what they ended up with, after at least 5,000 miles. It went up by about 8-10 mpg. I live in the midwest, and the mpg is always best in spring and fall and on fairly even terrain with not too much weight. The air conditioner being on adds the least mpg, then comes weight, then comes winter. My Prius will go from almost 50 mpg on its best days down to 42 mpg on its worst (actually, we had a really overweight family member with a horrible wind coming directly at us, and it got 38 mpg, and this was a one time happening.) You should have seen the poor little booger going up the Vail pass in Colorado with so much stuff in it that it was sinking, and temps that were making the little snowflake light go off. And yet, it still got over 42 mpg. Of course, a few people passed us by, since we were maxed out at 55 mph (this was the only time this happened, and I think if the little car could have cussed us out, it would have).
    Hope this helps. Also, any of you guys that hate that annoying back up beeping noise which serves no purpose to anyone outside and seems to only be for morons not knowing they are in reverse, google "annoying backup beeping noise toyota prius". This also can get rid of that seatbelt beeping noise. Sorry to put this on the Highlander post, but I didn't know if you had the same problem. - Brenda
  • Is this something a vehicle owner can do... or does it require special devices/tools that only a dealer will have? If possible, could you post the rest of that TSB here? Or could you e-mail it to me? Thanks!
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Hi 2006 rsx,

    I do not know if we can do it ourselves, it requires knowing the engine temperature and the coolant temperature. it also involves a rather dangerous step (see below). I will be happy to email the doc to you if you tell me how.

    I originally had copyright concern but more importantly, there is a dangerous step that requires putting the car in "D" (Drive), put one foot on the brake and the other foot revving the power up way high. If someone does this wrong and sends his or her HH through a fence or a garage door or goodness forbid, the HH hits a person, it is suddenly very serious business.

    Parking brake is not a trusted safety device during the above procedure because of this car's power and torque. Even with parking brake set, the car will move if you step on the power and put it in D.

    My personal preference and recommendation is to have a shop do this whole procedure because of the safety concern.

    The TSB also says that if the auxiliary battery charge is low (less than 7V?), the engine will run longer regardless of whether the ISC Learning is set. So that little 12V has a huge role to play in ISC Learning and engine burn rate. The bold-italics is not a "quote" but a paraphrase from the TSB.

    For those owners who do not believe the 06, 07 HH always runs its engine upon start-up, the TSB states this clearly when describing the process of checking whether the ISC Learning procedure has been completed. It says the following:

    4. Turn the key back to "READY ON"
    5. Wait for the engine to start and run through its initial startup cycle and shut off.

    If Toyota TSB says it, then this proves beyond any doubt that the '06, '07 version runs its gas engine upon start-up. It is not a bug or a fluke, it is a design decision.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    We are in northern California and coldest is a balmy mid 20's Fahrenheit or around -4 Celsius when compared to you. Last year, we noticed clearly that when temperature dropped below 55-F (12 C), the gas engine would run and run. Below 40F (4C), it seemed to run forever and our mileage was down to 22-MPG. This winter, something changed and we do not know what. We are able to run on full-electric even when temperature was down to 40-F. Even when it was down to 29F (-2C), I was able to more or less get 25-MPG per tank. When it warmed to 60's, mileage got up to 26-MPG.

    We still run the hot air when we must. We are having a dry winter and the tire pressure is set to 37-psi. Last year, I had it at 35-psi. These are not the stock tires, we changed them to tires that can handle psi up to 44. So 37 is safe.

    To share some experience with you by referring to your questions:

    (1) We never wait. If it says ready, I would get it rolling. For the first few seconds (10?), it will run on electric to get rolling and then the normal 30-sec engine burn comes on. For us, it is a downhill so the burn does not cost too much.

    (2) At an intersection, we just get going and not worry about gas or electric. We briskly get up to speed and then either CRUISE or we "feather" the gas pedal so the power meter hovers close to the zebra region. It depends on traffic and speed limit.

    (3) 20's is low but the cold may have something to do with it. I am speculating of course, no way to know for sure.

    Have you talked to the local mechanic about the ISC Learning procedure? It has to do with the 12V auxiliary battery. If it has been disconnected or it is at less than 7V, the gas engine computer will lose settings it uses to control hybrid battery charging cycle. This will end up running the gas engine more often and longer. Toyota issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) last year. It may be worth taking it to the shop and have them check to see if the ISC Learning is set to COMPLETE. The TSB is EG026-05 Revised February 27, 2006.

    The TSB also says that if the 12V is running low, all bets are off. The gas engine will run more often than it should even with the ISC set to COMPLETE. That little 12V is beginning to look "bigger" than its size.
  • I am the guy who had to pay $89.00 I allowed my battery to go dead (door ajar for several days over holidays) and started to get much worse mpg.

    I did not know about the 7 volt barrier. Are there ways to monitor the battery charge as it ages? Can we reset this ourselves?

    The part of learning that states "This procedure allows the I.C. (internal combustion) Engine to re–learn its optimal idle speed during the initial engine warm–up cycle". Based on the time of year (summer vs winter) could this be why a warm-up cycle may be significantly different for various owners?

    I have always sort of ran a battery till it would not work, but that $89.00 charge (in 2007) from Toyota on top of a new battery will have me rethink that.

    So far, the 1st tank is at about 21 mpg, but for over half of that tank, I was showing only about 16mpg, so it went up quite a bit on the last portion. I assume it is learning. And we have had record lows for over half those days.

    Also, as to worse winter mileage, that has been true in every car I have owned. Some due to warming up, running heaters and such, some due to the change to winter blend gas. It has always dropped 3-5 mpg. Just because I have a hybrid, I would not expect this to be much different.
  • from a poster on 1/23/07.

    "To our surprise, the IRS has recently disclosed in the last month that many HH purchasers will only see a fraction of their $2,600 credit (assuming you purchased before 10/1/06) due to the limitations imposed by the imposed by the alternative minimum tax.

    FYI - This was stated in the in the Tax law that provides the rebates, was widely written about, and even brought up at the dealership.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Thanks for the winter gas-blend reminder. In CA, we definitely run a different blend of gas in winter and that impacts the mileage of all cars, hybrid and gas-only. I had forgotten that.

    Some info to share:

    I did not know about the 7 volt barrier. Are there ways to monitor the battery charge as it ages? Can we reset this ourselves?
    I plan to use a simple voltmeter to check periodically. We also have a solar power trickle charger that we use once in a while. As for reseting, do you mean reseting the ISC Learning procedure? If so, please read my posts today regarding this. There is a step that is rather dangerous. I would rather pay the $89 for a shop to do it.

    The part of learning that states ... could this be why a warm-up cycle may be significantly different for various owners?
    You likely hit this right on the nail. From reading the TSB and technical document, each HH is able to learn its own optimal operating parameters by accounting for engine wear, load and other factors that are unique to each car and driver. So it is definitely possible that some HH will run differently than others if the differences are great enough. In our case, we have noticed that on a very cold morning, say about 35-F, the warm-up period could exceed 30 seconds. We have never timed it but it felt like may be 40 to 50 seconds. If it was 25-F, we have experienced it running for up to a couple of miles of driving. I remember this because I used to get all upset trying to figure out why it kept running and burning gas!

    On rare occasions, we have experienced the ICE suddenly running more often than usual. It happened in winter and summer. It would begin one morning upon the day's first start-up and last for half a day or more. We could not figure why the sudden change. The engine would run more often and significantly longer. Now I am wondering if we had left something ON overnight and ran the battery charge down to or just below 7V.

    I have better go find my volt meter :).......
  • I got the whole $1300 I was supposed to (tax rebate cut in 1/2 because I did not buy until December '06).
  • cdptrap, please send the info to:

    Thanks a lot!
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Just sent. Please please please be careful if you decide to do this yourself.
    Good luck!
  • I promise I won't sue you, or Edmunds, if I crash the HiHy! LOL...
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Sorry for sounding like a Mother hen! :)
    While still in HS, I rebuilt a Mustang in our garage and was showing off one night. I had it in reverse, foot on clutch, was revving the engine waiting for the garage door to finish rising. THen my left foot twitched, the beast jumped into gear and promptly wedged itself into a half-open garage door. Scrapped up the trunk and scratched up the rear glass. Garage door was a goner. It was winter in MI and my family was definitely not pleased. My friends got a good laugh.

    Sorry hosts, had to share that story :). Now back to HH MPG Real word numbers.....
  • Not that I totally believe this, but I read that there is no car powerful enough to overcome a good set of brakes. Even race cars. Yeah, you might get the drive tires to spin & smoke, but the brakes on the other axle, if locked-up, will stay locked-up, and that end of the car won't move. And I'm sure that in 99% of the production cars, even with AWD and all the fancy bells & whistles, if you nail the brakes and the gas at the same time the car will not move. Not even a little bit. ...But still, don't try this in a garage or anywhere near something you could run into!
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Actually, you are right in that the foot brakes can stop the car. There is no doubt of that. My concern was over what would happen if my foot were to accidentally twitch and release the brake pedal for a moment while I am gunning the engine in "D". The car will surge forward with only the parking brakes to check its movement. Unfortunately, my wife managed to drive our HH about 1/4 block once before realizing she did not release the parking brake. She noticed something was wrong when the car was a bit sluggish in its movement. Luckily, our shop checked everything and nothing was broken. So we now know the HH will move against the parking brakes when given sufficient power.

    So your advice of doing this somewhere wide open with nothing around is important.

    Have fun and please let us know how it works out!
  • If you have a radar detector, or anything I suppose like cell phones, and leave it in the cig. lighter (or the other 12v outlets in the HH) all the time, it will drain some of your battery. Usually not a problem, but with the 7 volt barrier, it could be.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    desertfox1...I believe that the cig lighter (and other 12v outlets in the HH) are only powered when the vehicle is "ON" or in "acc" position. Leaving a cell phone or radar dector pluged in while the car is OFF should not drain the battery at all
  • After reading the TSB, I have determined that without the Toyota diagnostic tool and Toyota-specific software, there is no way that the re-programming procedure can be carried out. So I won't be attempting it. But it is great to have the information to use as ammunition when the dealer tells me my HiHy is "just fine". I know it had a dead battery (2nd day I owned it) and according to the TSB, probably has lost its programming.
  • pnrjrpnrjr Posts: 2
    I just got an 07 HH. At first I drove it just like my old 04 Highlander. I was getting 19 mpg in the city. In the "Highlander Hybrid Driving Tips" forum there is an excellent post on the "Pulse, Feather, Glide" method to driving a hybrid. I have switched to this method this week and I am now getting consistently 32-34 mpg in the city. Note that this is in 70 degree weather with no AC on. The traffic is fairly light and the roads are fairly flat. I haven't tried this yet with the AC on but I'm sure that the mpg numbers will drop. I'm also depending on the cars digital readout.
  • Hi, I have a 2006 FWD HH Ltd (W/O NAV), which I purchased in March of 2006. The vehicle is great. It now has 19,500 miles of suburban and highway mile mix. It delivers the mileage and performance that Toyota promised. The average mileage from tank fill ups over this time is 26.1 mpg and 27.2 mpg from the digital readout.

    The best highway mileage has been 27.9 mpg actual and 29.0 mpg, digital readout, driving at 70/55 mph with AC in hills/mountains with a moderate tail wind. The worst highway mileage has been 21.4 mpg actual and 22.4 mpg, digital readout, while driving at 77 mph with AC in hills against a stiff wind.

    Best around town mileage has been 29.2 mpg actual and 30.7 mpg digital readout while driving in and around town with max of 55 mph speed and no AC.

    A driving experiment I have tried on a 55 mile isolated flat country road route on a calm day has yielded my best interval mileage of 36.6 mpg, digital readout. The technique involved starting with a full tank of gas and driving 55 mph on cruise control until the computer graphics icon showed the battery charged to midway of the plus sign. Then, coasting to 37 mph and setting the cruise control and running on the battery until the engine kicked on, kicking down the cruise control to 36 mph, running on battery until the engine kicked on, kicking down the speed to 35 mph and repeating running on battery. The runs were 3-5 miles at 55 mph charging the battery and 0.7 to 1.2 miles on the battery at 37-35mph. About 10 of these cycles were required to make the 55 miles. What was interesting was that the average mileage increased from 30 mpg to 36.6 mpg, digital readout, over the 55 miles and was still increasing when finished. The experiment showed me the mpg potential of the vehicle but, for safety reasons, I would not recommend driving this way in traffic. I can not wait for the PHEV version of the HH.
  • inndriverinndriver Posts: 7
    Hi folks:

    I bought a new 2007 HH Limited AWD without nav on March 30, 2007. I've driven it almost 2000 miles, filled up the tank (no top off) three times and average 30 MPG (miles driven/gallons used)in combination city-freeway driving. I follow the "pulse, feather, glide" technique mentioned in this and other forums. And, just as an experiment, I am limiting myself to 55 MPH on the freeway.

    I am always looking for ways to improve mileage. Any suggestions?

    Happy driving,

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