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Toyota Highlander Hybrid



  • deserthhdeserthh Posts: 11
    My '93 ES300 is the first vehicle I owned with plastic headlight covers. These covers have become so hazy, due to road debris that even with new halogen capsules; the light output remains noticeably dim. I purchased and applied precut 3M plastic headlight covers to my HH (got these from Auto Sport, $47 for a set). I hope that these will take the brunt of the road debris and prevent any hazing.
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Posts: 109
    I talked to my tint guy about this when I got mine. He said the current material is more resistant to haze than that of the past. There is also a technique using a heat gun to restore the lustre on abraded material.
  • 2006rsx2006rsx Posts: 32
    Those headlight lenses can be buffed out. Or do it yourself. Remove the lights first. Then start with 600 grit wet/dry paper and work your way up to 1200, and finally 1500 grit. Then polish/wax. They won't exactly look "new" but you can easily make a huge improvement with the investment of a few hours and about $5 in supplies.
  • newski3newski3 Posts: 42
    Yesterday (7/21/06) I attended a "New Toyota Car Buyer's Q&A" session at the dealer where I bought my HH. There were about 10 new owner's (I think I was the only HH owner) in the session. Anyway, I asked about the HH's computer learning mode and could he reset it back to factory default. To my surprise, the "Manager of Service" said that actually ALL new Toyotas, not just the Hybrids, have a learning mode, and yes, he could reset it. But he further said that it is always learning and that it takes 6 cycles (I believe he meant 6 times for the ignition switch to be turned on and off) to complete a relearn cycle. So, my guess is that the suggestion to start the car, let it warm up, then drive a short distance trying to stay in electric mode as long as possible, then stopping the car and shutting off the engine --- repeating a total of six times, will "reprogram" the learning mode. But to think about it, it will "relearn" again when you start to drive your "normal" way, so what's the use??
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    He more likely said 6 "SECONDS".

    Driver related, driving style/type, "learned" memories are erased each time you turn off the ignition. Once you start the vehicle in motion within a very short period the computer has "binned" your driving style in one of four "rough" categories. Shortly thereafter it will farther refine your driving style into one of sixteen categories.

    After that it will keep ~3 minutes of running memory and will revise your categorization if the need arises.

    Until designers find a way to figure "who" is currently driving the vehicle is will always be so.
  • Where did you hear Ford abandoned their hybrid effort? What about the Excape and the Mariner?
  • dnich35dnich35 Posts: 2
    Are there any options available via the computer system related to the seatbelt sensor's warning alarm? I would like to keep the warning light, but turn off the beeping. Thanks.
  • groovologygroovology Posts: 24
    There is absolutely no way Toyota would offer or authorize something like this, because in the event of an accident, they would be liable for the modification to the safety system.

    I am shocked by the fact that a good third of the manual is now about safety systems, warnings, disclaimers, and other legal verbage that is designed only to deflect possible litigation as a result of an accident or incompetence on the part of the driver.

    Most Toyotas even have "black boxes" that are admissable as evidence in event that they are taken to court... the black box saves the state of the engine management and telemetry sensors (RPM, speed, brake status, safety systems (airbags, stability controls) steering wheel angle, etc.) prior to impact. This allows Toyota to defend themselves if you were driving too fast, if you didn't have control of the vehicle, or of any of the safety systems had been comprimised at the time of the impact!

    Sadly, in this litigious society, companies are obsessed with CYA, and as long as customer continue to blame the companies for their irresponsibility, this kind of thing will get even more pronounced. Certainly some companies do create products that are defective or seriously flawed as a result of bad design and they need to be held accountable, but some of the cases are quite ridiculous, like suing ski gear manufacturers because you are injured when you ski into a tree.

    I personally think it is a bit sad that anyone would ever drive a vehicle without their seatbelts, and I have also been annoyed by putting my laptop or a bag of groceries and having the passenger seatbelt warning beeper and light pester me ad infinatum. However, if it saves even one life, it is probably worth it.

    Bottom line: leave the safety systems in your Highlander alone.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    There is absolutely no way Toyota would offer or authorize something like this, because in the event of an accident, they would be liable for the modification to the safety system.

    Hmmm...In the owners manual for my brand new 07 Camry Hybrid, it speaks about being able to do what I believe is just what the poster asked for ....disabling the warning reminder chimes/buzzer for the seat belts.

    dnich35 ...I don't know if this option is available on your HH, but you could try
  • deserthhdeserthh Posts: 11
    Yes, I always wear my seatbelt except during the following occasions (when the vehicle is ON):
    pulling-out my wallet (typically thru drive-ins)
    the drive between where I pick-up my mail and home
    backing-up my boat

    While the chime is active for under a couple of minutes, it is more that I will put up with.

    from the factory service manual:

    Steps (you must be sitting in the corresponding seat)

    1 Turn the ignition switch to the ON position.
    2 Press the ODO/TRIP switch until the odometer displays "ODO".
    3 Turn the ignition switch off. Turn the ignition switch off.
    4 Turn the ignition switch to the ON position. Turn the ignition switch to the ON position.
    5 Press the ODO/TRIP switch immedeately (within 6 seconds) and hold it down for 10 seconds or more.
    6 Continue holding down the ODO/TRIP switch and fasten the driver side seat belt.
    7 Check that the odometer displays either "SEAT BELT BUZZER ON" or "SEAT BELT BUZZER OFF"
    8 Press the ODO/TRIP switch to change the display to "SEAT BELT BUZZER OFF".
    9 Turn the ignition switch off.
    10 Turn the ignition switch to the ON position.
    11 Check that no buzzer sounds.

    Pulling battery power will reset to factory default. The seatbelt warning lamp is not affected.
  • dnich35dnich35 Posts: 2
    It worked like a charm! Thanks for taking the time to provide the information.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485

    Ford is not stopping production of the Escape and Mariner. Ford is just changing its strategy by switching to Ethanol, the easiest way to earn EPA rating without really cutting gas usage or emission.

    The following are two links where I saw the news: - - html

    GM's Wagoner recently talked about how hybrid is really "difficult" but is politically correct. He whines and remains skeptical that hybrid is viable.

    Have you seen the later HUMMER commercial? They are now marketing it as a red-meat eating "manly-man" car. Gas is >$3 a gallon and all is as before. I would take a "racer-boy" HH over a "manly-man" HUMMER any day.

    As I drive our HH everyday, enjoying its capabilities and practicality, I keep asking why we cannot build a car like this. We used to be the innovator, the cutting-edge leaders, making the rest of the world chase after us. Now we are the whiners and whine about how hard this is and that is and how we just cannot build a "better" gas-efficient lower-emission car.

    Toyota on the other hand is charging ahead with hybrids. They are behaving like "us" by taking the lead and making it happen. Toyota has announced work on plug-in and biodiesel. I am waiting for their 2-mode gas-electric hybrid truck.

    GM is really going to hurt when Toyota comes out with a real 4x4 V8 that tows 6500-lb but gets 25-MPG real-life. I will jump at a chance to buy this truck for our work. I will love to hear what Wagoner will say then about the GM trucks?
  • doug28doug28 Posts: 30
    Now that was useful. Any more insight that might be helpful???

  • groovologygroovology Posts: 24
    Okay, so maybe I'm a bit cynical thinking that no modifications of the safety systems are allowed for legal reasons. I'm actually very surprised you can turn this off!!!

    I stand corrected, apologize for the tone of my last posting, and I'm pleased to see Toyota letting us have more control over our world, and letting us take responsibility for our actions!

  • melskimelski Posts: 3
    I am trading in my Toyota 4Runner for the HH. I want to know all the real pros and cons of this car. Is there enough space for people and cargo? How well do it really run? Does it make noises? I want any and all imput on everything even down to the cup holders. I would love to hear from as many owners as possible. Do you love it or hate it and why. I will be transporting a preschooler and all that involves. Thank you so muck in advance for all the help and advice.
  • kullenbergkullenberg Posts: 283
    I traded an 04 4Runner, Sport, V8, 4wd for an HH, Ltd, 4wd, and have never looked back. The only thing I changed was the tires; I put on a set of Nokian WR's, which are an all season tire that is winter rated. I used to get 12-18 mpg with the 4Runner, am getting a steady 25 mpg with the HH, in the mtns of western NC. I just came back from a trip to CA, and got as high as 30 MPG (admitidly in a a long down hill leg). I loved the 4Runner, but like the HH much better. The seats are more comfortable, without that "sitting on the floor" feeling the 4Runner had. Noise? there is none. It's vastly smoother than anything I've owned (2Audi's, MB's, assorted Hondas) The CVT transmission is a big factor in this. Power - awesome!! Lots more than the 4Runner. I now have 7500 mi on it. BTW, I switched to Mobil One synthetic oil at 5000 mi, and I keep the tires at 36 psi, both of which help gas mileage a little. :)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    First and foremost...If you have reason, or have had reason, to rely on the 4runner AWD system, or most especially the 4runner's 4WD system, you will be deeply disappointed in the HH.

    If you have ever used snowchains on the 4runner be aware that the HH cannot be fitted with rear snowchains and snowchains only on the front as recommended can be very hazardous.

    Lastly, the HH is derived from a FWD based vehicle and as such will be front torque biased even with the AWD model.

    Bottom line is that you will be moving from a rear torque biased vehicle to one with radically difference driving dynamics.

    So be carefull.
  • This is probably an impossible question to answer. I'm planning on buying an HH before October, when the federal tax break is reduced. The problem is that I don't know whether I should look for one now or wait a little while longer. It doesn't seem like there are many purchasing incentives for HH's except for financing breaks, so I don't see any reason to wait for that. Does anyone know if they've stopped producing the 2006 models in preparation for the 2007/2008 ones? I don't want to wait too long and not get the model/features that I want. Does anyone have any information about production changes or incentive changes that might be coming in the near future? Any advice would be appreciated.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    You can use 4 chains on all 4 tires. Front tires take chains that cover the entire tire. Rear tires require chains that fit the outer half of the tires or outer 2/3. We use Spikes Spider in the rear for our HH. Try their link...

    HH is not a true 4x4. It will negotiate dirt road, muddy road and most non-asphalt surfaces that are identifiable as roads. It cannot handle boulders or the RUbicon or a drive up the desert pavement into Johnson's canyon in Death Valley.

    If you install good tires (not the stock Goodyear Integrity), the HH is smooth and silent on pavement. Handling is very impressive. We have driven it around many curvy mountain roads, it handles solidly around curves with no sensation of the car leaning at all. This quality continues to please and amaze us each time we drive it up these roads.

    Steering is responsive, neither twitchy nor numb, just right for an SUV. Check out this video of the HH doing its thing...

    Cargo room behind 3rd bench is tolerable, not great. We can fit 4 large geared-up backpacks (for 10-day back country outing) and one large cooler but that is it. You should go to a dealer, load it up with things you normally carry to see if it suits your needs.

    What we lost in cargo room, we gain in maneuverability. It can turn and move through tight spaces easily. Still, 10 more inches of cargo would have been really nice.

    View through the rear window (rear mirror) is surprisingly good even when piled full of cargo. We were surprised by how much we can pile on and still have a solid rear view on the road. This comment does not apply when you are backing up in a parking lot.

    Seat comfort is for either 4 adults or 5 children (2nd and 3rd rows). Adults will find it difficult to get in and sit in the 3rd row.

    A 6+ ft adult will need to adjust the driver seat a bit to get in smoothly. This is my regular gripe. I must have the seat adjusted just so to ease entry and egress. One inch off here and there, my left knee hits the steering wheel getting in.

    6-fter can easily sit in all the other seats. We have comfortably fit 2 6-fter in the 2nd bench with a child in the middle. Everyone was comfortable for the 4 hour ride from SF to Redding in CA.

    3-rd row has no curtain airbag so putting children and people back there is risky. I find this lapse in feature rather foolish.

    It has no tire pressure monitor and yet the VDIM system will not work if the tire pressures are off. This is really dumb. So get a good tire gauge and check the pressure every week.

    The FWD version will save you gas. The AWD version rockets you along if you ever need the power.

    Break-in can take forever (5000-10000 miles) so you have to set your MPG sight accordingly. I never believed in the new car "break-in" period until this car.

    Driving it normally will yield MPG number better than most other comparable SUV in the same class but it will not get you Prius-like MPG. Driving it carefully will yield very good MPG, significantly better than other comparable SUV but still cannot compare against a Prius.

    Good luck!
  • melskimelski Posts: 3
    THANK YOU for all your wonderful information.
  • pdx35pdx35 Posts: 3
    How heavy is your boat? Other than the headlight problem, how is the towing experience?

  • gazguzlergazguzler Posts: 137
    Great stuff!

    Can you help me get rid of the open door buzzer that puts my nerves on edge?
  • groovologygroovology Posts: 24
    This is a really great question. I've heard rumours that the new Highlander is slated for a late calendar year 2006 release as a 2007 model, but I can't find any info to support or deny that. I find it really hard to tell, as Toyota is really pushing the new redesigned Tundra, with lots of press about it, and it isn't being released until this Fall... seems strange they'd pre-release press about a truck but not about the Highlander, unless of course they had a plethora of Highlanders sitting on dealer's lots and didn't want to give people any incentive to wait for the 2007 model.

    Traditionally, the end of a model year (September give or take a month) is what I've heard is the best time to buy a car. However, I think you can get a good deal anytime of the year if you are a savvy shopper. We bought our HH over Memorial Day weekend, getting it at $4000 off of sticker price, which based on what I can determine is very close to invoice... something unheard of with hybrids even six months prior. My advice is to talk diretly to the fleet or internet sales manager and avoid the lot salespeople whose primary incentive is to sell a car at as high a price as possible.

    The fact we got such a big discount suggests to me that they are really trying to move them, however, if they have cut down production in anticipation of the new model, then prices aren't necessarily going to get any better as the supply dwindles... after all, the dealer is in business to sell cars as expensively as possible, and if there is little supply and good demand, he doesn't need to cut his prices. I guess it all depends on how anxious you are to get a car, if you can wait, you can time the market a bit better than if you are forced into an immediate buying decision.

    When I asked the dealer specifically about whether or not there were big changes coming for 2007, I was told that "Toyota keeps this information very close to their chest so as not to hurt demand". I think he was probably telling the truth, but that being said, the Highlander body is getting fairly long in the tooth, so a major redesign for 2007 would seem to be due if not overdue.

    We're really pleased with our purchase, between the discount and the tax credit, we got a really great vehicle at a really decent price. Without a doubt, a new model will never be as heavily discounted as an older one, so I guess it is a tradeoff between saving some money or having the latest / greatest.

    Hope this helps!
  • gazguzlergazguzler Posts: 137
    I went to a mechanic inquiring if there was a way to stop the chime and he said only with the scanner and he can't do that in Canada (where we are right now). He said maybe they can in the US. I asked what else I should get changed and he said get "autosafety off." When he went for training they took this feature off and he claims that 0-100km (60mph) is aroung 5 seconds with this because it dedicates electric power to acceleration.

    He said it with such awe that I tend to believe him.

    Anyone else heard of or done this?
  • landdriverlanddriver Posts: 607
    General consensus on the non-hybrid Highlander boards is the HL will be redesigned in the 2008 model year (a salesman thinks it may possibly come out early, in mid 2007). This is backed up by ("2008 Toyota Highlander: Redesigned on the Avalon platform, growing larger in size to make room for the RAV4") and the fact recently revised their prediction that it would be redesigned in 2007, be it being redesigned in 2008.
  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    I just read on one forum (im trying to find it) that some toyota manuals actually have instructions on turning off the chime for seatbelts. If memory serves me it was in the 2007 camry forum. It was a series of ignition on and of turns coupled with the odomoter button but it had to be done in an exact sequence.
  • groovologygroovology Posts: 24
    Your post jogged my memory: I saw some info saying the new Highlander would have a completely new body design based on the FT-SX concept car. Edmunds has some info here:

    Very interesting details you provide, it would make sense that they'd increase the size of the Highlander since the RAV4 is getting much larger... I've mistaken the new Rav 4 for a Highlander on more than one occasion.

    Personally, I don't know if I would purchase a Highlander again if it got even bigger. Its already plenty big (and heavy) for me, especially if the new version sacrificed anything in the way of gas mileage.

    Its interesting that they are waiting for 2008, I think they will have trouble selling the existing Highlander for another year in its non-hybrid form since there is so much competition in the mid-size SUV realm (Nissan's Murano, Acura MDX are both much newer body styles) and apparently there is a mild hybrid Saturn coming out the end of this year... not that that would be competition for the HH.

    So, just for grins, how many forum readers think the FT0-SX concept is attractive, and how many would trade their existing HHs in for the newer body design, or wait for the new one before purchasing?
  • The discussion group in that link has some comments that are interesting to me. They suggest that Toyota has already stopped shipping new '06 HH's. That seems a little early to me if they're releasing the '08 redesign in early 2007. I haven't been able to find any official confirmation one way or the other. I'm concerned that if they've stopped shipping new ones, the longer I wait, the harder it will be to find the model I want.
  • groovologygroovology Posts: 24
    Good point... and for sure, the new models won't be discounted as heavily as a closeout model. Having said that, my wife doesn't like the look of the HH (or any Highlander) and thinks the Murano is really sexy, so if it looked more like that she'd probably like the vehicle a whole lot more.

    As for me, I can't look at the car when I'm driving it, so as long as the interior is pleasant (and it is) and it drives nicely (which it does) and it gets good gas mileage (averaged 27MPG with the AC going full blast pretty much all the time during the recent CA heatwave) then I'm a happy camper.

    It will be really intersting to see if Toytota can make the 07 Highlander bigger AND improve the gas mileage... and there is reason to believe that they can do it. For example, the MPG per gross vehicle weight ratio in the Prius is 0.0192. You find this by taking the GVW of 2890 lbs and dividing by the average MPG of 55.5. For the Highlander, it is a fairly disappointing 0.0077 (found by dividing 4070 lbs by 31.5 MPG... and its even worse on the 4WD version).

    The new Camry, what we would assume is the newest and latest incarnation of synergy drive is a ratio of 0.0106, (3680 lbs divided by 39MPG average). Much closer in its efficiency to the Prius in terms of overall efficiency per pound of vehicle, with the big difference being that the Camry performs much more like a normal vehicle in terms of acelleration compared with the Prius, which is quite pokey.

    This would suggest to me that Toyota is improving the possible MPG per pound of vehicle while maintining reasonable acelleration and performance... perhaps the next gen HH will be far superior to teh current? As an owner, I hope not, but it would seem plausible...

    Should be interesting...
  • landdriverlanddriver Posts: 607
    "They suggest that Toyota has already stopped shipping new '06 HH's. That seems a little early to me if they're releasing the '08 redesign in early 2007."

    Post you read wasn't worded clearly on this -- meant to convey there will be an '07 HL that will be based on the current design; the new design will be released as an '08 model, possibly early, in mid 2007.

    "So, just for grins, how many forum readers think the FT0-SX concept is attractive, and how many would trade their existing HHs in for the newer body design, or wait for the new one before purchasing?"

    I personally don't care for the new "wide grin" FT-SX Murano-style grille design showing up in some new vehicles; my preference is for the existing HL design.
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