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Toyota Highlander Hybrid



  • carz89carz89 Posts: 16
    I noticed in Toyota's e-brochure that the multi-information screen that displays the Hybrid Synergy Drive in action is only available with the DVD navigation system in the Limited model, and then as a $2000 option.

    I would really like this screen (ok - I admit I'm a techie), but I could do without all the other luxurious extras that come with the Limited, especially for the extra $5000.

    Is there a technical reason that the screen is only available in the Limited?

    Does anyone know if an after-market equivalent information screen can or will be made available? Would an after-market screen have to be mounted elsewhere, or will the area that the screen occupies be completely vacant in the base model?
  • fmvafmva Posts: 5
    The hybrid also has a multi-information display in front of the steering wheel. If you see the article at the link below, it appears that you only need the screen if you want a picture version of the information as all of the information from the multi-information screen is provided on the multi-information display. So if you don't want the touch screen DVD, you may not need the limited version.

    "Toyota has added an information display within the speedometer, so that the driver can monitor the energy flow among the engine and front and rear motors even when the main information screen is used for the navigation system."
    see link title
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    My local Toyota dealership called me today and asked that I come in to specify color and options. He input the information into some Toyota web-based ordering system. My wife and I specified a silver with ash interior Limited with 4-wheel drive and Navigation. Total price is $41,290. Not cheap for sure, but not crazy expensive. No great expectation regarding gas mileage. My guess is that combined real mileage will be around 25 mpg at best. The main reason for purchasing a HH is just the fact that it is a Hybrid and I am willing to pay a premiun just to drive one. The dealer is expecting a demo within the next few weeks. The first customer ordered cars will begin arriving in June. I have been on the waiting list for 18 months. :)
  • rmanchirmanchi Posts: 13
    When do you people think a 2006 Highlander will hit the dealerships? Do you think there is gonna be one (with all the hybrid hue and cry?). If so, what are the expected changes, does anyone know?
  • zoomer1zoomer1 Posts: 42
    My dealer just called me and told me the following:

    First deliveries are only FWD Hybrids (June-August).
    AWD Hybrids will follow in late summer to early fall.

    I am interested in finding out if this is region dependent. My dealer is in the Midwest. Where is your dealer located NSXWES?

    Did they give a solid delivery date?

  • I'd love to be able to order one.

    In my area, dealers aren't accepting orders:

    Lawrence Toyota - "We already have 20 deposits and we've stopped taking them. We think that will cover most of our allotment for the year."

    Team Toyota - "We're putting together a list and we'll call you when we're ready to accept orders. We expect to get a lot of these as we've sold lots of Prius's." (Looks like my best bet.)

    Liberty Toyota - "When they come in, we'll sell to the highest bidder - above MSRP."

    Anybody in the Trenton, NJ area heard anything different?
  • fizbanfizban Posts: 42
    I've got mine on order.
    The Lexus version is supposed to roll out sometime in the next week (4/10). Add 90 days to that to come pretty close to the Highlander version.
    It's interesting that the Lexus version is offering an entertainment package (DVD player). I don't see that offered on the Highlander.
    I also heard "no dealer add-ons". Toyota doesn't want anyone tapping into the wrong power lines. Can't say as I blame them.
    Too, I guess this thread title should be changed to the "2006 Hybrid Toyota Highlander", since that'll be their designation.
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    Zoomer, the dealer says that he cannot provide any solid delivery date. Although I believe that as the time gets closer, the HH will be able to be tracked through the production cycle. The only information that he received from Toyota was regarding the demo unit that they will be getting in the next few weeks and that customer deliveries for pre-specified HH's will begin in June. Although I am #1 on the dealer list and the first one to specify my HH at that dealership, he said it doesn't necessarily mean that my particular specified HH will be the first to arrive. I am assuming that it will arrive sometime between June and September, which is just fine. Our 2000 Yukon 4X4 has been trouble-free for 80K miles and has many more to go. Unfortunately the resale value is quite low since the new ones are very highly discounted. I paid $500 over invoice in early 2000 and I believe that I can purchase a "like" 2005 model for less money.

    I forgot to mention that I have ordered the HH with 4WD. I am located in Northern California. My dealer says that he expects to get 16 units. All were spoken for many months.
  • zoomer1zoomer1 Posts: 42
    Thanks! My dealer would not order any 4x4...interesting. I will be number 1 when any 4x4 shows up. I tried to order a fully loaded limited 4x4 but was told to wait until late summer or early fall. I can have a FWD in June if I want but am not interested in that. The midwest area my dealer is in is getting a total of 45+ units...3 states I think.
  • rmanchirmanchi Posts: 13
    A 2005 or 2006 Non-Hybrid Limited V6 with 4WD/Third Row/Leather/6 CD changer and all the other Jazz will cost me $31,500 (out of the door). On the other hand, I need to spend $39,290 (or more) for a Hybrid. That's a premium of around $8,000.
    At 15,000 miles per year and $2.50 for a gallon of gas and a difference of 8 miles per gallon between hybrid and non-hybid, I would still need 16 years to break even, from the gas perspective.
    I know some people have rightly pointed out its not all about the gas economy on this hybrid? If its about the upgraded power to 270HP....tell me really for a SUV that is clearly marked for sub-urban and city you really need that 40 extra horses? If its about driving a hybrid vehicle, do you think its a good idea to wait and watch if they have any recalls during the first year or hear owners grumbling about any hidden costs of ownership? Is there really a tax break on hybrid vehicles for year 2006?
    I believe the existing highlander is decent enough and the other thought i had earlier is that i am gonna buy one of these highlanders and go on an earth saving mission but the reality is that there appear to be many people out there with deep pockets willing to pay a premium on this vehicle.
    Fact of the matter is if Toyota makes 20,000 of these...they will all be bought and the earth will still be saved as much as it can be ... :) guess my next vehicle will have to be a 2009 Sienna Hybrid V8 or something after this Highlander.
    Some of the other cribs i have about the Hybrid is that they announced only 5 colors as opposed to 8 and even the higher end models do not have an LCD monitor showing the Hybrid engine diagnostics (Except if you get the Nav package). All I am saying is I would like to have one, but probably it is not for everyone at this point so people need to weigh in the options before runniing to the dealership and trying to book one (I know what you are thinking....."Sour Grapes".....right?? maybe...)
    Enough said, looks like the right one for me is a 2005 or 2006 Limited V6 Non-Hybrid 4WD. Does anyone know if 2006 is changing in any manner (interiors/standard features)??

    Thank you.
  • fizbanfizban Posts: 42
    Yep, recouping your money on these hybrids is probably a long stretch. I'm doing it purely for the satisfaction of NOT donating as much money at the gas factory. Other things like ride, safety, and personal preference (from ownership experience) has lead me to the Highlander.
  • My problem is that I need to replace my 97 Jeep Grand Cherokee soon. I've got 90K miles on it, and it's starting to have expensive problems.

    I have a choice - buy a non-hybrid that will meet my mission requirements (basically, a mid-size SUV with at least a little off-road capability) or buy the Highlander Hybrid. I've test-driven the Ford Escape Hybrid - it's too small and underpowered for me (even though my uncle, cousin and cousin's wife ACTUALLY build them in KC).

    If I were looking at only non-hybrids, I'm not sure that the Highlander would be at the top of my list. I'd probably be looking at the Jeep GC, Nissan Pathfinder or something similar. The "utility" side of the Highlander isn't very strong.

    On the other hand, if I can't buy the HH right now (due to availability), I have to choose between keeping the Jeep going a little longer or buying something non-hybrid that I'll keep for 7-10 years (that's how long cars/trucks last with me).

    It's a tough decision. If gas hits $3.00 or $3.50 this summer, I might even ditch the SUV completely and look at the Escape Hybrid again or even the Prius.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Re Prius--I ditched our Grand Caravan last spring for a Prius-sized 5-door (actually ordered a Prius, but that is an off-topic story). I figured for the few times each year I really need more than a 5-door hatchback I could use my 2 compact cars or rent a van. So a question to ask yourself is, how much do you really need the capabilities of an SUV, and if it's a few times a year, could you rent/borrow one? You could buy many rentals for the $10k more that a HH would cost you vs. a Prius--plus there's the gas savings to consider.

    OTOH, if you routinely go offroad and need a 6-7 passenger vehicle, a 7-passenger SUV like the Highlander is a great way to go.
  • tomslycktomslyck Posts: 70
    Maybe someone should change the title of this message board to "2006" Hybrid Toyota Highlander since that's what Toyota's calling the first bunch that come out in June.
  • tomslycktomslyck Posts: 70
    I couldn't get my wife to go along with the Prius. She's more into style than substance. But she got the car she wants so now it's my long as it doesn't look too geeky. Oh yeah, the $2.64/gallon that she now spends on gas helped change her mind.
  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    I'm on my local dealer's list to buy a HH. The dealer called me and asked me to come in and fill out an order sheet. I knew going in this that I would be paying MSRP. But here's the twist. The sales man I bought my other 2 cars from and the one who originally put my name on the waitning list is now gone. So now I've got through random luck of the draw another salesman. (nothing has changed regarding my status on the waiting list). I liked my previous salesguy and I'm sure this guy is fine. But I was thinking that these "pre-orders" are money in the bag for these sales men. You know you have a customer with a firm commitment to buy, the customer is going to pay MSRP, so BIG commision check- so basically like shooting fish in a barrel. If my old salesman was around, I would gladly give him the commision because he's helped me out a lot.

    Here's what I'm wondering... I figure every salesman there would want to take my order for the reasons I've stated above. Can I go to each sales men and say something along the lines of "how much of your commision are you willing to give up to take my order?" ;) Is there some kind of "code" among salesmen that would prevent them from doing this? just wondering....
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Can you imagine what would happen in a dealership if the sales manager allowed his/her reps to routinely compete with each other for each customer's business? Say a rep works to agree to a deal with you. Goes over the car with you, goes for a test drive, agrees on price, woks on financing,etc. Then when he goes away for a minute, another rep comes over and says, "Hey, buddy, whatever deal Joe gave you--I'll take $100 off it if you give me the deal!"
  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    I see what you're saying, but my situation is slightly different. The salesguy who I originally worked with is gone. It would be one thing if he was still there and did all the work and didn't get the commision. but he's gone and CAN"T get the commision. So this is equivalent to me stepping into a dealer and saying "who wants to sell me a car?" I've seen the way certain salesguys will try to hover around the door to get that potential customer. maybe one guy gets it because he can "walk faster" than the next guy. what I'm wondering is if seeing who will cut me the best deal can be a different criteria to selecting a sales man compared to who's got the fastest legs.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    There is a big difference. Selecting the sales rep who has the "fastest legs" is one thing. If you want to work with the rep who gets to you first, shows the most initiative etc., that's great. But then you'll be working with that rep on the deal. Period. (If there's a problem, you can ask the sales manager for another rep.)

    Seeing who will cut you the best deal is an entirely different thing. That means you need to approach multiple reps in the same dealership and work with all of them, in effect getting a "bid" from each rep and then selecting whomever gives you the lowest price. If you don't see how that would make a real mess out of the business relationships within the dealership, then I can't help you. Just think about this: if you were in sales, is that the kind of working environment you'd like to be in every day? Where any rep from your same company, your same office, can undercut your relationship with a customer just by offering a lower price?

    If you want to play the "lowest price" game, try it with multiple dealerships--not with the reps in the same dealership.
  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    "If you want to work with the rep who gets to you first, shows the most initiative etc., that's great."

    What better way to show the most initiative by offering the best deal?

    "If you want to play the "lowest price" game, try it with multiple dealerships--not with the reps in the same dealership."

    The priniciple is the same-- is it "meaner" because I'm "screwing over" a person rather than a "greedy nasty company?" And let me clarify that I don't feel I'm being mean or screwing anyone over by price shopping.

    "if you were in sales, is that the kind of working environment you'd like to be in every day?"

    I'm not in sales, but if I were (and were good at it), I'd want to be in an enviroment that would benefit me. If I had creative ways of bringing in more customers and making more sales, I would use it. This brings me back to my FIRST question, is there a code or unwritten rule among salesmen that prevents this?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    No. There are WRITTEN rules that prevent it. A sales manager would never allow this kind of behavior--reps bringing in multiple offers for the same customer.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    This conversation about salespeople, negotiation and pricing belongs on the Smart Shopper board. Please focus exclusively on the hybrid Highlander in this topic.


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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    Some of you might be interested in editor Karl Brauer's opinion of the hybrid Highlander after his test drive:
    editor_karl, "Karl's Daily Log Book" #126, 6 Apr 2005 7:12 pm


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  • gparkergparker Posts: 4
    I ordered several weeks ago the HH, with everything but NAV. Stopped at the Dealership today, and simply passing on the info that the owner told me. He attended yesterday, April 6, a regional Toyota meeting regarding the HH orders.
    He informed me that HH production of the Limited was to be 70% with NAV, and 30% without. So, for those wanting to order, your odds are much better to order one with NAV. Next, limited to 5 colors. Next, FWD and AWD were not one before the other, they would be simultaneous. Next, allow 35 to 50 days "on the water" from Japan. The dealers at this meeting were also instructed to PLACE their existing orders TODAY, April 7, in the Toyota computer system. This dealer had held orders, not placed them, until today. Fortunately I was their, and moved from number 2 to #1 on their list. Also, the soon to arrive "demos" might be based on what was ordered today. No intention for a demo at this comes in, it is sold! Also, allotments were not only based on Prius sales. They would be alloted by thier previous volume of Highlander sales. Hope this info helps some of you.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Dear Arand,
    In case you have not found additional information. I did a lot of research and contacted Toyota directly and got a cryptic one-line almost useless response. The following is what I found badgering local dealers. I was focusing on the explicit statement in TOYOTA specification that says the 2WD and 4WDi "...are not designed for off-road" which is contrary to the regular Highlander specification.

    4WDi is part time only, not full time. It comes on only when the VDIM system decides there is a need or when the drive system needs more power. This is different than normal 4WD which is either full time or selectable/lockable (on-demand 4WD).

    So Highlander is really a 2-WD car that changes to 4WD on its own when it needs to ensure safety and provides power. This is why Toyota explicitly says to not use it for off-road driving.

    Off road, full time 4WD provides torque and traction allowing better control of vehicle. With 4WDi, there is no full time 4WD, no constant 4WD torque and no constant traction so it is best to not use the hybrid for off road. The dealer and a reviewer say flat dirt track and snowy roads are fine but do not attempt steep gravely tracks.

    We still will get this car because we need to replace an aging van and we want a hybrid with gas prices hitting $2.85 in CA. We will then wait for a hybrid 4Runner.

    Hope this helps.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Has anyone looked into electromagnetic field strength in hybrid vehicles? There have been 2 well known (confirmed?) studies about brain cell damage when exposed to high EMF.

    It will be sad to reduce emission, reduce dependence on gas but expose one to harmful effects of EMF especially those of us who will drive our young children in these hybrids.

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    This would be a good conversation for our Advanced Course in Hybrid Engineering topic. That's a good place to find members who have interest and expertise in this area.

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  • I contacted most of the Florida central and southern area dealership Internet Depts regarding buying a Hybrid Highlander (HH). I am now on a Wait List, with $500 deposit, for a Hybrid Highlander.
    I found a great range in costs:
    Fees called "dealer prep, dealer administration, dealer docs" ranged from $399 to $699.50.
    Premiums over MSRP ranged from none to $5,000. Most of the premiums were in the 0 to $1,500 range..
    In the SE District of Toyota, the majority of these cars come with ToyoGuard, a $699 cost and something I hope to avoid.
    Deposits which are refundable ranged from $500 to $1,000 with maybe one higher than that but I already deleted that contact..
    Some dealers would not take a Wait List deposit... one said it would be "first come, first served". One said he already had a two year Wait List and would not take any more deposits.
    Almost all the others took a Wait List reservation with a refundable deposit.
    I chose a dealership with a higher dealer prep fee because it had a short WaitList.
    The fee was $659 with no premium. My deposit was $500 refundable.
    I also choked on the high prices but after I went through the list of included/standard features in the base model and the Limited Edition, the price differential from a non-hybrid Highlander did not seem too high to consider. Someone who drives a lot in the city might not be paying too high a surcharge for the hybrid version (as compared to the non-hybrid).
    The big cost problem for buyers, apparently, is that they are forced to buy many features they don't want in an already specified base model or a 'loaded" Limited Edition model.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    HH = PriuSUV ? - snip - When Toyota put the Prius hybrid on sale in August 2000, the
    big question wasn't would it work, but rather, would people buy it.
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the body style of the 2006 versus the 2007 Highlander Hybrid. We all know now that the 2006 HH will look essentially the same as the existing Highlanders. It is reasonable to speculate that the body style will change for the following model year. I have read some accounts that it will be made larger to accomodate a bit more room for the third row seat - perhaps similar in size to the Honda Pilot. Others have suggested a tilt toward the look of the Lexus RX (not too much of a tilt I hope). Of course all of this is arm chair speculation, but it is also a reasonable speculation. This brings me to a question. Is it reasonable to spend $40K+ for a 2006 HH and then in 12 months have a brand new body style?
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