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Toyota Highlander Hybrid

ssachnoffssachnoff Member Posts: 33
This week (12/8/03) Toyota announced it would debut it's 2005 hybrid Highlander at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January.

What else has anyone learned about this vehicle besides what's available in the news release on Toyota's website:

http://www.toyota.com/about/news/product/2003/12/09-1-Hybrid-High- lander.html
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    I'll be really excited about a hybrid Crossover, as there will finally be a family car out there that isn't too expensive for many families (RX400H) or too small for growing families (Prius) or isn't always delayed. (Escape Hybrid)
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    vetpathologistvetpathologist Member Posts: 30
    Would the price of RX400H be comparable to the 330 or will it be significantly higher? Any ideas on the exact release date?
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    I estimate it will start $2,000 over the regular RX330, as the Civic Hybrid costs $2,000 more than the Civic EX. Which would bring the starting price from $36,000 to $38,000. Hardly affordable for many families.
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    dgraysondgrayson Member Posts: 27
    I, for one, and excited about the upcoming Hybrid HL. I am looking forward to seeing it announced at the Detroit Auto Show and the viewing myself in Feb. at the Chicago Auto Show.

    I think the Hybrid HL will put Hybrids on the map for good. Right now the are still kinda "techie" in that the Prius is "teched out" especially in its look. As long as the look remains similar, this should be a hot seller (particularly if the upgraded price is reasonable).

    As for price... I am hoping that Toyota will continue to partially subsidize the price in order to increase popularity of the HSD systems.
    Lexus is lexus... the Lexus 400H is of course going to be costly as the current 330RX is because it is a luzury model. The HL should be much more affordable to the masses (before adding on all the little extras).

    As for availability... I hope to drive one of the lot as soon as they become available. I am pretty sure there is going to be a waiting list for this car also (like the Prius)... so order yours plenty in advance!

    The HSD system will be perfect for this car. Increasing the power and fuel mileage significantly. Will the new HL Horsepower be 400 similar to the Lexus 400H???

    Hope to hear alot more excitement on this board after the role out at the Auto Shows!!!
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    coolguyky7coolguyky7 Member Posts: 932
    I have a feeling the HL's hybrid system will be tuned for maximized mileage and not performance. Not to say that the car will be slow or not perform as well as the regular model, but I bet Toyota could sell many more units of the hybrid if it gets better mileage. The RX330 should be the one to get the predominant power boost.
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    would promote high MPG, not performance. Performance is for it's cousin- the RX400H.
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    john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    > I am hoping that Toyota will continue to partially
    > subsidize the price in order to increase popularity
    > of the HSD systems.

    TOYOTA MADE A PROFIT WITH PRIUS.

    Your information is grossly outdated. At one time, Prius was subsidized. But that is now ancient history. The classic Prius earned money halfway through it's life here, it didn't cause a loss. And since HSD is a propulsion system, not a specific model. The new version of Prius should be in the "profit zone" shortly, not really that much different from other new vehicles.

    Look at it this way... Toyota will be building 300,000 systems per year starting in 2006 (according to their original plan before they realized the 2004 Prius would be so popular). Do you really think they would want to subsidize that many?

    JOHN
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    Toyota is making a huge profit on every Prius sold. How they're doing it I don't know, but they're making money, and now we can have our cake (Environmentally Friendly) and Toyota can eat it (Higher Profits)
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    john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    The profit equation isn't magical. Here's food for thought...

    People are under the assumption that the CVT is more complicated than an automatic transmission. (That's because it is so different.) In reality, it is actually quite a bit more simple. That simplicity costs less.

    The engine itself is smaller than usual. That results in a lower cost too.

    The front-end of the car is shorter than usual too. That's an obvious rather large savings.

    The speedometer likely represents a savings as well, believe it of not. No self-contained high-precision moving parts required like in a traditional design. It's just a dumb LED (that looks really impressive via optical tricks).

    The dashboard is an obvious cost reduction. Eliminating all the mechanical parts and using just by-wire interfaces instead is cheaper. (You can thank the computer & music industries for that!)

    I wonder what else Toyota did. Hmm? They allowed their engineers to build components from scratch, sparing no expense during the research phase. That's rarely an option with normal new vehicle design. Automakers like to reuse parts. But with HSD intended to replace the current infrastructure, this was a special case. Creating entirely new parts for reuse later is viewed upon as a way to save money in the long run too.

    Needless to say. Toyota had lots of opportunities to help them achieve a profit with Prius (and HSD).

    JOHN
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    dgraysondgrayson Member Posts: 27
    Well... glad to hear they are making a profit! That just ensures that they will put more HSD models into production.

    Any thoughts on the design of the 2005 Hybrid HL. Do you think it will look like the standard HL or they going to do all the futuristic "tricks" that they did with the Prius?
    If not, will the cost be significantly more?
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    coolguyky7coolguyky7 Member Posts: 932
    I think you can look at the RX 400H to see the variation in the normal vs. hybrid model. You can tell the 400H is based on the RX 330, but it has some additional styling characteristics, surely to differentiate it.
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    evanburenevanburen Member Posts: 1
    This 2005 HL is exactly what I've been waiting for. I wonder how early Toyota will begin accepting orders for them?
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    a few months before official launch for current Prius owners to "buy up" into the next Hybrid line. I'm predicting a late summer introduction in 2004.
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    coolguyky7coolguyky7 Member Posts: 932
    Go to http://www.wieck.com

    Click on "Public"

    Type in "Highlander" for the search and you should get a good collection of photographs.

    Here's information that Toyota has provided on the new model.

    http://www.toyota.com/about/news/product/2004/01/04-3-hibridhighl- - ander.html

    Looks like in "early 2005" the hybrid version will go on sale with about 270 hp and "significantly better" mileage than a compact sedan.
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    callmedrfillcallmedrfill Member Posts: 729
    It seems that a 19 gallon tank getting 600+ miles (I used 625), yields HWY (I'm sure what they mean by 600+ miles) of almost 33 MPG.

      Too get 2 MPG over 27.6 combined, the City MPG MUST BE at least 26MPG!

      26/33 MPG
      270 HP
      0-60 in less than 7 seconds?

      DrFill
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    dgraysondgrayson Member Posts: 27
    Seeing what I am sseing from the Detroit Auto show, it looks like this is the SUV for me...

    Let me know if anyone has heard anything about pricing and when available to order.

    WOW... V6 engine... 270 hp... room for 8... and approx. 30 mpg in mixed driving... WOW!!!!
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    rcaselrcasel Member Posts: 8
    At the press conference, the Toyota spokesman said the Highlander Hybrid is due to arrive "around this time next year", i.e. January 2005.

    I was relieved to see very little exterior/interior/options change from the '04 - which I just bought! Although I'm very interested in owning a hybrid vehicle, I'll wait until Toyota does a refresh - maybe '07 or '08?
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    chazzcagechazzcage Member Posts: 3
    I would expect a fully loaded Highlander to be about $2000 higher than a non-hybrid which would put the cost at about $37,000. And do not expect any discounts during the first 12-16 months. Do all concur? Starting to get out of my price range and will probably stick with my Honda minivan fully loaded for about $30,000.
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    dgraysondgrayson Member Posts: 27
    Sounds like the late 70's & early 80's all over again. American car makers saying that no one wants a small fuel-efficient car (remember when they lost tons of market share & never have truly caught up).

    By the time Toyota has marked the hell out of these and brought the cost down to a minimum, GM and others will have lost a ton of market share and have to spend a fortune to catch up. Sell American car stocks now with attitudes like these:

    http://money.cnn.com/2004/01/06/pf/autos/detroit_gm_hybrids/index- .htm
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    is ignoring the growing demands. Toyota argues that it's making $$$ on every Prius it sells, and there are long lines and the Prius is selling at MSRP. How can GM's beancounters (who gave us junk interiors to boost profits) resist hybrids, with long lines of people waiting, and with Toyota making money, how can GM ignore this?
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    dgraysondgrayson Member Posts: 27
    THEY ARE STUPID!!!!!

    Again... remember the 70's and 80's...

    recently.. remember the comeback of Chrysler then the selling of it to Mercedes.. and what happened?.. down the tank

    The folks in Detroit don't get it!!!
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    bmccuebmccue Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know if the Highlander Hybrid 4x4 could tow a camper like the "old fashioned" gas model?
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    dgraysondgrayson Member Posts: 27
    Why wouldn't it. The only limitation in traditional towing is the hp and keeping the engine cool enough. It wouldn't take anymore than the current upgrade to a larger radiator. In fact, towing would be better with increased hp.
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    increased Torque.
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    spookoman301spookoman301 Member Posts: 8
    I believe that the hybrid hl is gonna be great but the only thing im om worried about is that its already 4 years old and that it may get a redesign in the next 2 to 3 years. Also does anybody know if the sienna will be available with the hsd?
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    ssachnoffssachnoff Member Posts: 33
    Other posters on other boards say that Toyota sells a hsd Sienna in Japan.
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    ssachnoffssachnoff Member Posts: 33
    I just spoke to the owner of a Chicago suburban Toyota dealer and it seemed that he knew less about the Hybrid HL than I did (and my info is from this board and Toyota's own website and press releases.) He said I was the first person to call about getting on any list to buy the vehicle and that he didn't think he would have any materials or info on the vehicle for another 6 months.
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    ssachnoffssachnoff Member Posts: 33
    chazzcage, at the web teleconference last Sunday, the honcho at Toyota said the hybrid HL would be available in both the regular and expensive "Limited" versions. I hope this means that there will be a cheaper option than $30K. Plus, at that price range, they're getting close to competing with the same market for the Lexus SUV hybrid which makes no marketing sense.
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    john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    > they're getting close to competing with the same market
    > for the Lexus SUV hybrid which makes no marketing sense

    ...until you compare it with the marketing success of Ford & Mercury. The same situation existed with those two product lines from the same company.

    Remember, LEXUS and TOYOTA dealers & service are entirely different entities serving different consumer markets.

    JOHN
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    is called the Estima in Japan. More of a Previa that lost the egg shape. Pretty nice looking. If you go to Toyota of Australia's website, they'll have something like the Previa or tha Toyota Tarago, which is similar to the Estima only minus the hybrid.
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    wco81wco81 Member Posts: 592
    Lutz basically thinks only fringe environmentalists are interested in this.

    Unfortunately, only environmentalists and technophiles may even be aware of hybrids.

    All we can hope is that as more and more hybrid models get out there, they gain mindshare and greater consciousness.

    Increasing gas prices will help the cause, not that any of us necessarily want to see that. But it might not be the worst thing for the environment, even if it hurts the wallet.
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    would help. Not that I want high priced gasoline, but that would be the only way it would get the Excursion driver in the other lane to think twice before leasing another one.
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    scwt47scwt47 Member Posts: 13
    Interior changes:
    rcasel (#18) is relieved that little is changed in the interior on the HL Hybrid. The report is that the tachometer will be gone. Presumably there will be a Hybrid Synergy Drive display not unlike the one in the Prius where the tach used to live. Has to go somewhere....the Nav. system display is the other place to put it, but if the Nav. system is an option package then the tach has to go.

    Design basics:
    Here is an Edmunds/NY Times press piece on the approach Toyota is taking:
    http://autoshow.edmunds.nytimes.com/news/autoshow/articles/100916- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - /page063.html

    So how do they do it without "adjusting" the vehicle very much?

    Being a Camry with a tall body the engine is a little low, relatively speaking. So they can stack up the Synergy Drive gear in there without having to move any sheet metal. As for the hybrid batteries, well let's just say we should not expect a 3rd seat version of the HL Hybrid. The spare tire got bottom-mounted in 2004 so the 3rd seat could be squeezed (and I do mean squeezed) in. What a nice rectangular place for a battery pack instead.

    Look at this slideshow from the same source. Engine bay is now full, no sign of a third seat, but the HL Hybrid looks just like a HL. Only the rear badging and what looks like a new slot along the upper front bumper will distinquish it from its non-hybrid siblings.
    http://autoshow.edmunds.nytimes.com/news/autoshow/articles/100916- /page021.html?tid=nytimes.e.autoshow..leftnav.22.*

    One can expect the pricing premium to be significant unless they really gear up the output. After all, if you could get this version for just $1000 over the non-Hybrid V6, who would want the other one? Look for $3000 premium, and they will probably option it up, too. Both this and the RX400H (Lexus RX Hybrid) are aimed not at the Prius end of the market, these are aimed at the FX45 end. Power, power, power. Only with politically correct fuel economy, too.

    Why did they not do a Hybrid number on the 4 cylinder HL? That could probably deliver almost 200HP and the mileage would be about 40City/38Hwy. We like our power and I think Toyota read the market just right by doing the V6 Hybrid.

    For those who think a $3K Hybrid price premium is a bad thing? Imagine what our old HL will be worth if Toyota prices the HL Hybrid about the same as the regular V6? Imagine our HL V6's being seen as gas guzzlers someday. I guess the HL 4-cyl owners already think that. So how much gas do we have to save to overcome the price premium?

    The key is the volume Toyota sets up for. Go over to the Prius "Prices Paid and Buying Exper." board at Edmunds. It is not pretty in Praying-for-My-Prius-to-Arrive Land. Toyota would love to build them faster but either the factory or the suppliers have them stuck at the current build-rate and it is too slow.

    So put your money down now and prepare to bend over in a year. And like it. Prius owners do grin a lot.
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    I'm not a Prius owner, and I'm grinning every time I see a Prius! (and every time I hit 27 MPG in my Odyssey, or break my old MPG record in my Civic) Plus, I don't like wasting gasoline.
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    john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    > The report is that the tachometer will be gone.

    A tachometer is completely useless in a HSD system, since there is nothing you can do with the data it would provide. It would only serve to entertain, no practical purpose. Since there aren't any gears and electric motors are at peak power no matter what the RPM... You get the idea. The gauge on the Consumption screen is far more informative in a full hybrid.

    While driving along, you'll see the RPM change all by itself without effecting speed. That's good. The system is taking advantage of efficiency opportunities. Counteracting what you see happening would be counterproductive.

     
    > well let's just say we should not expect a 3rd seat version
    > of the HL Hybrid

    It has already been stated that there will be seating for 7.

     
    > Why did they not do a Hybrid number on the 4 cylinder HL?

    Patience, grasshopper. The more powerful one is being released first. The other will follow. In our power-obsessed market, that is unquestionably the better approach for proving the HSD design is capable of many power/efficiency configurations.

    JOHN
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    the four cylinder will be out in a few years. and three rows of seats is certainly a plus.
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    dgraysondgrayson Member Posts: 27
    scwt47-

    Dude- you need to check some facts and read other posts on this board.

    Check out the basics:
    http://www.toyota.com/about/news/product/2004/01/04-3-hibridhighl- ander.html

    and read #18 and go to that site and look at the pics... 3rd row seat.
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    note a third row seat arrangement. (seats 7!!)
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    markrogomarkrogo Member Posts: 50
    I was all set to get the RX 400. Even for the outrageous price I expected to pay.

    Now I'm thinking, "Hmmm.... With most of the same options, a fully-decked out Highlander would be, wht $5K less? $8K less?.... And doesn't the cargo area of the HL hold much more stuff anyway.... Then there is the much cheaper service at Toyota dealers vs. Lexus dealers...."

    What do you all think?

    And how can I get a pre-order in super early? My Infiniti lease ends in January....
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    wco81wco81 Member Posts: 592
    Is it really only $5-8k?
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    2003tls2003tls Member Posts: 100
    The current price difference between the gas powered Highlander Limited and RX330 is about $5K so I would expect the Hybrid versions to maintain the same spread.
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    wco81wco81 Member Posts: 592
    Is it just a fancy options package, like Nav systems, fancy stereos and interior decorations and the like?
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    anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    From Bob Lutz: "Hybrids are an interesting curiosity and we will do some," he said. "But do they make sense at $1.50 a gallon?"

    Uh, bob? Knock,Knock... Who cares if gasoline is 50 cents a gallon, it's a diminishing resource. Some people believe in "every little bit counts", and for Toyota, it's only the beginning. I'm not a environmentalist freak, but I do care about preserving our resources and not relying on foriegn sources. Here we have Hybrid technology at around $20,000 available for the masses. "Masses" Bob, people not able or willing to fork over 50 grand on a dog turd like an Escalade or a Suburban.

    "For Toyota, it was a huge, huge, immeasurably valuable PR coup," said Lutz. GM's decision not to pursue a hybrid car "was a mistake from one aspect, and that's public relations and catering to the environmental movement."

    PR coup?!?!? once again, GM got caught with their pants to the floor, Toyota is going to gain even more market share, and in five years your going to realize there's more to it than PR. moron.
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    2003tls2003tls Member Posts: 100
    The Highlander Limited is the top of the line version of the Highlander. Most of the optional stuff is standard, plus they throw in a power passenger seat, 17" wheels, etc. A fully loaded Highlander Limited has a MSRP of over $35,000, so it definitely gets close to the base Lexus RX330's sticker price.
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    wco81wco81 Member Posts: 592
    Hmm, so you have to get a Limited to get power seats or is it only the passenger seat that are in the Limited?

    The standard wheels are 16"? Isn't that small for an SUV? RX has option for 18" wheels.

    Wonder if they'll put 16" wheels on the hybrid. Some complaints on the Prius board about the size of the Prius wheels/tires.
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    brightnessbrightness Member Posts: 40
    The fact it is $1.50 speaks volumes about whether it is truely a "diminishing resource." If oil is really running out in the next thirty years (as environmentalists predicted since 1890's, yes over a century ago and every time it was thirty more years to go), wouldn't it make more sense for the environmentalists band together and buy up the entire oil futures market? Wall Street self-interest alone would have engineered a cornering-the-market attempt if it were truely running out soon.

    That being said, Bob might be missing the performance attraction of hybrid technology; that, and the possiblity of a dollar collapse making oil more expensive (along with gold, steel, etc.).
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    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    will get up to $3.49 a gallon someday. Then, we'll see who has the last laugh. GM, with its clunky SUVs, or the Japanese automakers (Nissan, Honda and Toyota) with hybrids that get 57 MPG.
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    2003tls2003tls Member Posts: 100
    Some clarifications:

    Powerseat: You can get a power driver seat (not passenger seat) on the base Highlander. You get both a power driver and passenger seat on the Limited.

    Wheels: HL has 16" wheels on the base, 17" on the Limited. RX has 17" on base, 18" optional. Prius owners complaining about the size of the wheel? Small wheels w/ narrow tires = higher fuel economy. You can't have everything. My guess is that they will stick with the 16" on the Hybrid.
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    priscprisc Member Posts: 16
    "My guess is that they will stick with the 16" on the Hybrid."

    Toyota already announce the HL hybrid will have 17" alloy wheels.
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    rcaselrcasel Member Posts: 8
    Just curious what the left gauge is for (100-200)? (Obviously, not rpm's!)

    http://pressroom.toyota.com/photo_library/display_photo.html?recn- um=005566
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