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Toyota Highlander Hybrid



  • discussion1discussion1 Posts: 103
    How many miles do you have on the HH?

    Check on the "ISC Learning" Bulletin, that may be the reason.

    19 mpg sounds too low to be reasonable if you are not heavy footed like me. If you are, 19 is possible but you have to be really really flooring it almost everywhere. If you do not drive that way, then best have the car checked by a dealership that is interested in listening to you. Don't go back to the one that ignored your concern.

    We got 22-24 right off the bat when we first got it new. That is before we know anything about all the hypermiling techniques. The worst Winter mileage we got was 24 with heat blasting and seat-heater pumping. So 19 is strangely low.
  • Thanks for the info. We actually live in Clear Lake. My husband works for Boeing on an ISS contract. We want to get rid of suburban for a HH. A couple of dealers here have said they won't drop below the MSRP, but 2 have said that would. Hopefully we can get a good deal. Thanks again!
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    In that twenty miles of "city driving" your brother does, how many stop signs and traffic lights does he transit?

    It's actually 22 miles, and he has 12-14 traffic lights/stops signs that he stops at during that commute. Highest speed reached during his commute is 40-45 mph. With that many stops, average of a little over 1.5 miles between stops. He continues to average over 33mpg. In fact, as of this evening, he is at 33.6mpg, and 250 miles on this tank. Quite impressive I must say. He has somewhere in the neighborhood of 11,000 miles on the vehicle. the desert southwest, so cold and snow are not an issue, (either is rain, this year!) but this is with "winter gas"
  • discussion1discussion1 Posts: 103
    HOOOOYAA YAAA!!! Your brother has the absolute best set-up for this car.
    1.5 mile between stops, 22 miles, speed limit of 40-45. No rain, no snow, may be a little wind but absolute ideal condition. I am so envious, I am salivating :).

    No wonder he is getting 33+ MPG! Holy Mackerel, he does not have to do much at all. If he were to hypermile it just a bit, I can see him geting 36 or a whopping 38??
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    This is the near perfect emulation of the EPA City test criteria.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Wow, absolutely ideal condition for this car. As khdspyder said, almost mirroring the EPA test condition. Your brother's car should be the "Control" for all other HH. I honestly wonder if there is a V6 or V8 in existence today, with similar weight and performance parameters, that can get 33 mpg in the same driving condition?

    This really goes to show how local condition can impact gas mileage. While all cars are sensitive to such factors, Toyota's current gen of gas-electric seems much more. For some owners, this is great for it yields hi-power performance and reasonable gas-sipping all in one. For other owners, it becomes a burden because of misinformation, misunderstanding and false expectations.

    Toyota needs to educate the public and especially prospective owners about the wide range of sensitivities. They are actually the strength of the HSD technology in the HH. Drive it one way, one trades gas consumption for oomph and zip. Drive it another way, one trades zip-zip for a competition between car and driver to see who can do better at increasing gas mileage. Drive it yet another way, one can balance zip with good gas mileage.

    I can attest to the third point. Counting total gain in elevation, our place has a gain of about 200 ft. For the past 9 months, we have been looking for the best way to drive up this grade without losing too much MPG. We went from losing 2.5-MPG each climb to 1-MPG to 0.5-mpg to about 0.2-MPG today just by modifying how we drive up the grade.

    I can begin to appreciate the term, "driver's car".
  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    seattle is also hilly and can you share your technique for the best mpg up the grade. i also agree toyota needs to do a better job in encouraging and demonstrating hybrid driving skills from the day of purchase. i think this is especially critical with the more mainstream camry hybrid rollout.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Thanks to a posting elsewhere this great article was discoverd from the last issue of C&D

    The influence of speed is dramatic as you can see.
  • jeff57jeff57 Posts: 1
    Why should the consumer who wants to make a smart ecological choice for a vehicle, have to baby the vehicle, like the suggestions I read for the Highlander Hybrid, to receive the gas mileage Toyota so widely promotes? I don't think Toyota gets it. They should have combined a 4 cylinder engine with an electric motor, as they are doing on the Camry for 2007, for the Highlander as well. The power would be plenty for most people, and the gas mileage would be fabulous. Combining a six cylinder with an electric motor so that you can have the punch of a V-8 is not what we need, especially with gas prices going up. Let's face it, we have been programmed to think $2.40 is a good deal on gas, so the auto companies should be required to make vehicles that give true good gas mileage, not those unrealistic EPA numbers. As you can see, I am frustrated with the whole mess, and I bet I am not the only one. Jeff
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Very valid point and I think sales attest to this sentiment. IMO though the HH was just a tagalong to the Rx400h which was the real vehilce being highlighted here. Lexus buyers are actually interested in V8 power and handling. They are getting a V8 SUV with FE values in the mid 20's. The HH was added along in order to increase volume and maybe to test the waters in the Toyota market.

    The Highlander is due for a revival this time next year and I wouldn't be surprised if the standard engine is the 3.5L 268 hp one in the RAV, camry, Avy, ES350, etc.

    But I also wouldnt be surprised if the base system is the 2.4L +HSD with ~190 HP and FE values in the mid 30's. The 4c Highlander is dead since the RAV 4c takes it's place, not to mention the V6 RAV which is a rocket.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Hi katzjamr,
    I am still experimenting to be sure it is not an anomaly. Give me a couple of days to confirm what I am seeing. I still cannot quite believe it is using up less than or equal to 0.1 MPG as I climb our hill. Just got home from an errand and left with the read-out at 25.8. It fluctuated as I drove around town and and came home with the read-out back at 25.8. Strange. It seems too good to be true although I am seeing it more often now over the past month.

    This happens for the temperature range of 55-65 (or higher), tire pressure is still 37-psi.

    The only change is timely acceleration to give the car sufficient momentum to charge up the hill but in a manner that does not eat up too much gas. This makes sense because it is just physics but I need to verify that it is really working so well for our HH.

    Once I can really confirm this, will post here with more usable details.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Are you hinting that the '07 HH will have 2 engine options, one is the 190-hp and the other remaining at 268-hp? Or do you think Toyota will mate a slightly detuned 3.5L V6 with the current HSD for more than 268-hp? 285-hp?
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    This came up many times since last August and I believe most of us here share your views but I must say that there is no magic bullet.

    The HH actually makes perfect ecological sense for those of us who need a real working car the size and power of the HH. It also is the first SULEV rated "working" car that is also a FULL HYBRID.

    When I need to tow ranch equipment or need to haul a heavy load, the car can meet most of my requirements so I do not need to use our Chevy V8 trucks. It can run on electric even when hauling a heavy load and the motors provide clean power when towing. When I have a light load and just driving around town, I can hypermile it and run on electric as much as possible to save gas.

    There is no truck or SUV out there today that supports such a wide range of performance needs. And each time I work around our ranch, I thank the HH for not stinking up the whole place with exhaust fumes like our Chevy's.

    I do not know what Toyota had in mind but from a user point of view, the HH is a very practical and ecological sensible real-world hard working car. I only wish that Toyota will create a 4x4 Tundra that uses the HSD.

    As for babying the car, I think it is not just for hybrids but for all cars. When I drive a stick, I still coast on NEUTRAL and shift earlier or at lower shift-point to save gas. When I drive our old power-tranny van, I still coast a lot on N too and try gentle acceleration. All for the sake of saving a few gallons of gas. Just cutting speed to 65 from 60 will help, cut to 55 and we will be saving millions of gallons a day.

    I just do not see how any technology can relieve us of individual contribution.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I think that rather than 3 now..
    2.4L ICE @154 hp
    3.3L ICE @215 hp
    3.3L HSD @268 hp

    There will be 2
    3.5L ICE @268 hp High performance
    2.4L HSD @190 hp High Economy
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    An Atkinson Cycle I4 of maybe 2 liters in the RX & HH but with a supercharger for the rare times when additional HP/torque is required.

    The SC would be driven by a 3 phase electric motor with its electric drive provided by a variable frequency solid state drive from the ~600 volts hybrid source. In most cases the SC would simply "lag" along only supplying atmospheric airflow levels, little or no power consumption.

    But get aggressive on the accelerator and the SC motor drive spins the SC up to a serious BOOST level within milliseconds.
  • mmreidmmreid Posts: 88
    My daughter and granddaughters are visiting (spring break) this week and we've been going around town in the HH. She mentioned to me that every single person she talked to who owns any kind of hybrid has said they loved their vehicle and would buy it again. I thought that interesting. . . :)

  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    My wife and I have a 4WDi Limited that we purchased in June. We live in Northern California near Sacramento. Without any special driving technique we now average an overall mpg of about 28. If we drive mostly in town it goes up to about 29 and if mostly freeway it drops to about 27. If I baby the throttle, I can increase the MPG by about 2. Returning the EPA gas mileage is not a problem if you are willing to work at it a bit but I find the extra 2 mpg not worth the effort.

    We could not be happier with this vehicle. I have said it before and I will say it again, the combination of performance, low emissions and gas mileage is astonishing. For me, this HH hit the bullseye. The HH replaced a 2000 GMC Yukon 4X4 with the 5.3L motor. The HH not only provides better performance, it delivers twice the MPG. If I had the choice between a 4-cyl ICE engine coupled with the electric motors versus a 6-cyl ICE engine coupled with the electric motors I would opt for the higher performing 6-cyl, because for me, the extra performance is important. Not because I "need" it, I just like it :)
  • newski3newski3 Posts: 42
    I am considering both the Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Escape Hybrid.

    Two Questions (both concerns the HH):

    1.) I have noticed several comments in the Escape Hybrid forum (at this and other sites) commenting about the electric motor(s) overheating. I don't recall any such comment in this HH forum. So, thought I'd ask the question: has anyone experience an electric motor overheating condition on the HH? If so, could you give some of the details, please.

    2.) I'm wondering if the Nav Sys option for the HH Ltd is worth the extra money. I suspect the answer is, it depends. But, for someone who once or twice a year goes on an out of town trip to an area he hasn't ever been to (which means the use of the Nav Sys would be put to good use) and someone who intends to drive for maximum "reasonable" FE, does the extra expense make sense for my needs?
    ***(Note: I currently possess a Lowrance i-Way 500C Gps system which is quite good for my needs, but it is portable and not permanently mounted. I find myself disconnecting it each time I leave the car for fear of giving a would-be thief a "reason" to break a window to gain access to my car. Not having to do this is of "some" value.)

    I know the "Pay Back" answer would be not to spend the $2000. But if economics were ones only concern, one wouldn't buy the Hybrid at all.

  • sheepdog1sheepdog1 Posts: 36
    Did you by any chance lease the HH from Carmax? They told me they wouldn't lease to out of state buyers. I live in Florida. I can get cheap flights to DC. Thanks.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    (1) Overheating.
    Check the NTSB site too to see if there are owner complaints on file. I would suggest search under both Prius and HH.

    (2) NAV.
    My wife wanted it, I did not but it is growing on me. Most useful when I am driving alone to a new destination. If I make a wrong turn, the NAV will auto-correct and auto-plot a new course to destination. It also serves as a back-up to my paper maps. If I did not have it, I won't miss it. Now that it is here, I do use it more and more.

    (3) NAV - Energy Flow Animation
    Without the NAV screen, you will not be able to see the energy flow diagram. Hard to explain on line, you can see it in a Prius or a HH at a dealership or go on-line to Toyota sites and see a demo. Some owners do not miss this but I am actually very happy we have it. It helps me visualize and adjust my driving habit.

    The "Pay Back" reference raised an alarm :). Please consider the following:

    1. I expect the HH to return EPA rated gas mileage.
    2. I have little time to learn, practice, apply and adapt hypermile techniques to my locale.
    3. I expect the HH to pay back purchase-premium through gas-savings.

    If the 3 statements above all ring TRUE, the HH may not be a good candidate. These 3 exepctations are set so high that the fall can get painful.

    It is much better to first look at size, room, safety, creature comfort, reliability and usefulness. If the HH meets all the needs in these areas, then consider whether the SULEV rating and the potential, not the guarantee, of achieving stellar class-leading FE are worth the money.

    An even better approach is compare the HH to a similarly priced Mercedes or BMW or Acura or Chevy or GM or Ford. Compare luxuries, engine and all other items that you care about. Then remind yourself that when buying these cars, it is MONEY SPENT, MONEY GONE. There is no "pay-back". If the HH's short list still attracts your attention after all that, then the HH will make a good candidate.

    You will be happier with the right expectation.

    Good luck!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    An even better approach is compare the HH to a similarly priced Mercedes or BMW or Acura or Chevy or GM or Ford. Compare luxuries, engine and all other items that you care about. Then remind yourself that when buying these cars, it is MONEY SPENT, MONEY GONE. There is no "pay-back". If the HH's short list still attracts your attention after all that, then the HH will make a good candidate.

    This is an excellent point often overlooked. This vehicle, and it's Lexus twin, was originally designed as a performance vehicle for an upscale buyer, primarily Lexus, who would like to drive a midsized 'V8' with excellent fuel economy. This is the expectation one should bring to acquiring either the 400h or the HH.
  • No, it was a purchase.
  • newski3newski3 Posts: 42
    Thanks to both cdtrap and kdhspyder. First, I just did a search on NTSB and got no hits on several attempted phrases. Guess overheating electric motors in hybrids haven't gotten to the SAFETY STATUS yet. As for why one should buy a HH, I agree with both of you. I guess I'm a strange creature in that my biggest annoyance is having to pull into the gas stations and spend $2.50 +/- for a gallon of gas. My problem is that I remember paying 5 cents for a candy bar, 15 cents for a child's admission to a movie, 5 cents for a bottle of Pepsi, and yes 20 cents for a gallon of gas. It bothers me less to pay upwards of $40K for a good, comfortable, well built and designed car (suv) than to pay $40 to fill up the tank. My wife claims I'm nuts. Guess I am, but that never stopped me before.
  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    This vehicle, and it's Lexus twin, was originally designed as a performance vehicle for an upscale buyer, primarily Lexus, who would like to drive a midsized 'V8' with excellent fuel economy.

    I find it kinda funny when I hear a car commercial or read a review for a durango or the new tahoe, they talk about "...and you can upgrade your engine to the more powerful hemi and it comes with cylinder deactivation so you can save gas too- it's like having your cake and eating it too- oooohhhh!!!" and talk like this makes these engines wildly popular. buy as soon as you mention the word "hybrid," which does essentially the same thing, people go running for the hills.

    I understand why the HH isn't selling great, but I figured the rx400 and the accord would fly off the lots.

    anyway, I'm sick of sitting on the sidelines. there's 2 hail damaged HH sitting on my dealers lots. I'm gonna see what kind of discounts are on these cars. I just hope a dinged up hood doesn't increase drag killing any FE gains ;)
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    If the hail damage works like the dimples in a golf ball you will have less wind resistance. ;)
  • Just to clarify, Travelers' discount applies to any hybrid driver as long as it's available in their state. For more info, go to I think what they meant was that hybrid drivers tend to fall into a preferred category anyway, which is why they're offering the discount across the board.
  • mmreidmmreid Posts: 88
    I agree with cdptrap about right expectations. For me, it wasn't just about the cost of the vehicle but the "green" factor as well.

    As for the NAV system, I do mostly local driving but I love that screen that shows how the engine and batteries etc. are working (it really helps you know what you are doing) and I like the touch screens for climate control and the audio system. Very cool and high tech.

    If cost is a factor, you can go get a Honda Civic or Toyota
    Corolla and get really good mileage and a much, much cheaper car. The HH isn't just about cost. I do love the fact that when I'm suddenly near a lunatic driver I can hit that pedal and get the heck out of Dodge and far away from crazy driver person and the vehicle is really responsive.

    Another thing we loved this past weekend was we finally got to use the third row seat - had 2 kids in the back and 5 adults and we spent over an hour in the car each way and all were comfy. If I hadn't had the HH we'd have taken two cars.

    One has to admit that cars are about more than transportation and the whole advertising thing for them is geared to selling us lifestyle and machismo and sex appeal and all that jazz. Even the Car Talk guys once said that people who drove Volvos were people who put crash helmets on their kids in the bathtub. . .The car you drive seems, in our culture, to make a statement about who you are. It may be wrong but that seems to be the dirty truth.

    In my case, I wanted a hybrid SUV that would let me see and not having near accidents because everyone else was driving an SUV or pick-up or min-van and it was getting harder and harder in my little Acura to see to make turns and back out of parking spaces etc. The minute I saw the HH I was a woman in love. . .I'm getting better fuel economy than in the Acura and on regular, not super premium (it runs great on regular 76 or BP - i don't buy off-brand gas)and I love how it handles. Was it expensive? Yes. It was the first time in my life I ever paid sticker price for a vehicle. But we also wrote a check for the car (minus trade-in) and for us, not a big deal. I also intend to keep it for a really long time unless something radical happens - like a car that gets 100 mpg or something like that. Or runs on radish juice. Whatever. Heck, I saw on the news last week that Brazil is running everything on biofuel. . .completely
    oil independent!

  • newski3newski3 Posts: 42
    Another purchasing question. I was out shaking the bushes today for the purchase of a new HH. The MSRP totaled $42,094. I was told that the Invoice Price was $38,419 which included a TDA (Toyota Dealer Association) advertisement assessment. This particular vehicle's TDA was $780. Question: Does this amount seem in line with those that you have seen AND should I consider this a reasonable cost to be added to my purchase price? If the answer is YES to both these questions, is it also reasonable to assume that I, the customer, should NOT be subjected to a Mark-up by the dealer on this line item?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It's a percentage of the invoice price. It's lower for the Corolla, more for a Camry, more again for an Avy and tops for a Land Cruiser ( $63000+ MSRP ). I believe it's about 2%.

    It's in the Dealer Invoice price for the specific vehicle you are looking at in your locality. It's normally separate on the websites because it varies from region to region and the websites are national.
  • newski3newski3 Posts: 42
    Thanks, I thought it was probably legit but it is quite a shock especially when it's that large ($780).
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