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Toyota Highlander Hybrid



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It begins to look as if I was wrong, TOTALLY wrong.

    Apparently I gave the Toyota engineers who designed these systems too much credit.

    I'm pretty sure the first instance of a form of VSC was on a european marque, MB or BMW, and those systems, ABS/TC/"VSC", were totally integrated from the get go.

    If I am reading the information in that last link correctly then Toyota has only recently realized that absent integration, FULL integration, these systems could/might interfer with each other in a negative way.

    I don't now know if this is still of importance but in my '01 AWD RX300 if I floor the accelerate while trying to make a really tight accelerating turn the engine goes "flat" and will not recover until I release and then reapply the accelerator a bit more slowly or lightly.

    And yes, these sensors can be used to detect an "out-of-whack" driving condition substantially sooner than the best and more experienced driver might using our "seat-of-the-pants" sensing capability.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Rather than turn off any functionality of VDIM I wonder if it might not be a better solution for the VDIM to have a "sub-mode" wherein the automatic intervention is delayed like Porsche does with PSM. On the track at Daytona a few years ago I left mine on but insofar as I could tell I was always quick enough with my own corrective response that it never activated.

    So, if a driver feels like "pushing the envelope" a bit go to the sub-mode, otherwise....
  • Good morning. I'm just wondering if anyone has read anything about the proposed changes to the 2009 model year Hybrid Highlander and could list them up?

    Thanks in advance....
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Who came out first with something similar to VDIM probably is unimportant. I will bet the Europeans are likely the first ones to do it. I know Porchse, BMW and Mercedes have had something similar for performance since mid-80's through early 90's. Toyota first offered VDIM in the Lexus line geared for performance as well. VDIM first appeared in the Toyota line via the '06 HH and Toyota's VDIM is for safety, not for performance.

    People research the '08 HH because it is a hybrid SUV with the potential to get excellent MPG ( better than my '06 HH ) so if someone wants to know what they are getting for $50K, it is fair to remind them of the VDIM in addition to the HSD. So in addition to saving gas, they are getting a new Toyota safety system previously only available in Lexus. Then it is up to that person to decide whether VDIM is worth the extras.

    For people researching VDIM ( as I once did ), and for new owners of HH, it is much more important to know what it is in practice, what can one expect driving with it, why is it different from Toyota VSC, what benefits does it offer, what problems does it have, how does it impact our driving experience either negatively or positively. Such info help people make intelligent decision.

    I have enjoyed learning from your posts so this is not to claim "Toyota is best". I am only loyal to a good product that meets my needs regardless of brand :). If GM comes out with something that best the HH tomorrow, it will have my undivided attention. I am also an engineer who works in mission critical systems so getting things right, whether we like them or not, is in my "genes", so to speak. Thus my interest in making sure the differences between Toyota VSC and Toyota VDIM are clearly stated. The rest is up to the readers.

  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Not sure if I made a mistake but a post disappeared probably because I provided links to a competing forum.

    For those researching VDIM and want to read other people's impression, please use the search-string "VDIM vs VSC" in Google. Look for Lexus club and AutoByTel test discussions.

    Canadian Driver also ran a test in 2006 using the '06 HH. They also provided their view of the VDIM. Popular Mechanics also did a test and provided a video clip of a '06 HH doing a slalom.

    The Canadian report reads "toyota highlander" but it is the Highlander hybrid because of the telltale air intake slot in the front bumper and the wheel design.

    Popular Mechanic's video clip ( the HH they used looked to have the squishy Integrity tires ):

    Hope that helps.
  • Regarding others' correct observations simply turned the steering hard . . . and pressed on the gas pedal . . . something one thousands of times in all other cars, the VDIM stopped me . . .car would not accelerate, the steering became heavy and the turn wouldn't happen . . . 0%-risk of roll-over but the VDIM resisted the turn . . . .

    perhaps Toyota dealers could inform their customers of the above, at least after the sale was made. The dealers could show Toyota Highlander customers the features of this Hybrid, for example how to drive for improved gas mileage in a hybrid, emergency handling procedures or how the VDIM works . . . features that differ from other vehicles.

    instead my dealer spent time trying to sell me an extended warranty (no, I found a lower price on at another Toyota dealer's web site), and additional rusting proofing (again, no) and other features I did not want - time spent to try to get additional $$ from me, but no time spent on how VDIM works. :( I figured out myself.

    I like the VDIM feature, too.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..the turn wouldn't happen...."

    What if there had been a "sudden" obstruction, deer/ELK, or even worse an oncoming car had veered into your lane...??

    No rollover but....SMACK...!!

    I have eyesight, the car doesn't, so it should FOLLOW MY instructions, ALWAYS.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    I totally totally and completely agree with you about Toyota's failure to teach or inform new owners. Not even some sort of driving club or on-line FAQ to help us out :(.

    They also did not bother telling us to use snow tires as it has been reported that climbing up icy slope can risk power shut-off. A poster here had to reverse up a slope to prevent VDIM from interfering because it shuts down all 4 wheels when all 4 spin on ice.

    I also was really displeased with the cheap, useless Goodyear Integrity tires. It was squishy, gave the car a top heavy wobbly feel. No fancy safety system can compensate for lousy tires. We had to take posters' advice and change tires.

    We also learned about the VDIM through our own experience.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Yes! I have often wonder about this myself.

    VDIM will not intrude so obviously if we turn at either reasonable constant speed or to slow down or with only moderate acceleration. VDIM gets nasty when we turn hard and accelerate hard or if the speed is way too high.

    My wife and I have to learn by trial and error how much to turn and accelerate without incurring the "wrath" of VDIM. We did this in order to avoid the "SMACK" situation. Toyota really should do a much better job of informing and teaching owners.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    If you check the math, you will see that the tenths of a mile on distance do not make any significant change in the answer.
  • With just the traction control part, the TC light would blink. I tested this, too, on going up icy driveways a few times and at stop signs/stop lights with ice. This was driving straight from a complete stop. I could hear one front tire spin, then shift to the other, and back on an ice covered driveway.

    I could only get the beep-beep-beep going when attempting to make donuts (spin around and around) or getting the yaw sensor "activated" .

    My HH is only front wheel drive. I could not get the rear end to break or get this car to spin. My speeds were 20 to 30 MPH. I have done this easily in other cars (1965 Comet, rear wheel drive) or just rear wheel drive pickup trucks. Maybe if I had some power to the rear wheels ? ? ?

    After the St. Paul winter carnival, in which they plow a lake for automobile ice races, I might try this again on the ice track . . .
  • jldavisjldavis Posts: 8
    Hi there - I just had my first oil change, and the EZ Lube could not figure out how to get the alert to go away. We tried the maintenance screen (putting in miles/dates), and I also found something in the manual that said if you pressed the trip odomoter button for awhile it would clear the alert, but no luck.

    I noticed that your posting said you were shown how to do it, and would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know.

  • newski3newski3 Posts: 42
    Here's how to reset it on my 2006 HH Limited:
    1. Turn your ignition key to the first position (aux?)
    2. Push the odometer select button until the Total Odometer mileage is showing (not A nor B but Total) and then release the button
    3. Turn the key back to the Off position
    4. Push and hold in the odometer button and then turn the key back to the aux position. After a few seconds, it will tell you that the oil change warning has been reset.
    (Note: I haven't done this for a couple of months so I'm going on memory as to the words, but the actions are correct. Also, the owner's manual tells how to reset it.)
    Good luck
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    cdtrap is correct in his explanation because he specifically noted the inclusion of the EPS into the VDIM.

    VDIM is not a 'predictor' in that it cannot 'see into the future' ....except that.....once an out-of-control situation is detected as cdtrap noted then the VDIM can calculate various risks in the x, y, z planes then it can react to minimze the risks of getting further out of control.

    The difference between the Star Safety System and VDIM is the complete integration of the EPS into the ABS-controlled functions ( ABS, BA, EBD, VSC, Trac, yaw sensors ).
  • zendtzendt Posts: 1
    I find that when I'm driving my HH, with the windows down, I frequently hear a slight grinding noise. It is constant and does not vary with speed. When I take my foot off the accelerator, the noise stops. The dealer's service dept say they only hear standard "hybrid" sounds. Does this anyone have any experience with this?
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Our '06 HH has more of a higher pitch "whirling" sound, almost like a jet engine but very soft. This happens whenever the battery pack kicks in at any speed. We do not hear anything resembling "grinding".

    Can you ask the dealers to drive you around and point out what they meant by "standard hybrid" sound?
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    "What if there had been a "sudden" obstruction, deer/ELK, or even worse an oncoming car had veered into your lane...?? "

    The safest course is to not swerve for an animal in the road, just take the hit. If you avoid the animal, you may go off the road, hit a tree, wall, guard rail, hit an oncoming car, bicycle, etc. Safety experts have looked at this problem (deer, moose, etc. collisions) and determined that the best thing is just hit the brakes (if you can).
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Adding to your good point...

    Swerve-and-accelerate seems like a counter-intuitive behavior when reacting to roadway obstacles. It seems 99% of the time, our natural response to avoiding an obstacle is to slow and swerve or swerve and slow. VDIM will work fine for these 99% events.

    Swerving and accelerating simultaneously definitely increases the risk of roll-over for a tall vehicle like the HH, so VDIM has its emphasis in the right place. I would rather take on a deer or a steer or a car than risk a roll-over when all the defensive designs (bags, beams, crumple zones, etc) become useless.

    We have encountered our share of road hazards from stubborn bulls (big nasty horns) to nasty pot holes and swerving at constant speed or swerving with foot on brakes work smoothly and securely in the HH. The VDIM-enhanced handling characteristics made it safe and easy.

    On the very rare occasion when we have to swerve and accelerate to pass, we have learned to swerve first and then press down on the gas smoothly and the VDIM does not intrude. This is a much safer practice anyway.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    When something dashes out in front of you, or suddenly starts coming your way, REACTION time is of the utmost importance, rather than first taking the time to analyze the situation.

    DON'T FREEZE, do something, ANYTHING.

    Then take the time to decide, realize, "that" was a rabbit, not a small child.

    And remember, keep in mind, that with ABS we now have the ability to brake SEVERELY and stear, maintain directional control.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    A reporter would like to talk to consumers who are in the market for a hybrid SUV but are having trouble finding one. Please respond to with your daytime contact information along with the vehicle you are shopping for no later than Friday, June 20th.

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  • hlanderhlander Posts: 31
    dear lizcnyc,

    If you want to read the distance (in decimal), you can use the trip odometer A or B. Just press the bottom to change to trip A or B then press and hold for few second to reset.

    I hope that will help you.
  • bean88bean88 Posts: 14
    I have an 06 HH and I had this problem occurred after I passed the 5k service reminder and the service light stayed on. It took me at least 15 minutes to fill the tank because of it. I immediately took it in for service and told the dealer about it...they couldn't find a problem but the problem disappeared after my service light was reset. I have a sneaky feeling that Toyota has programmed the valve (you know...the one that closes automatically in the event of a rollover) inside the tank to close once the service light goes on to entice people to get their vehicle serviced. That's my theory but I haven't tested it again by exceeding the 5K service since.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    The 2009 Highlander ICE model is getting an I4 2.7L base engine. Has anyone heard rumors that they will offer this on the hybrid?

    I personally own an FEH, but I've always thought that it would be much better to put an I4 in the HH.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It would be nice but I think that the new Venza will get a hybrid 4c before the heavier Highlander does. I believe that with the size and weight of the new model that only the 2.7L would have enough power. Thus far I haven't seen anything that indicates that the 2.7L ( 1AR ) will be linked to the current or NextGen HSD.

    Supposition only ... the new 2.5L ( 2AR ) engine will debut next month in the RAV, then migrate to the Camry early in 2009. This will eventually replace the current 2.4L 2AZ across the entire lineup. It's this 2.5L that I think will be linked to the NextGen HSD in the Camry and Venza hybrids when they are actually introduced.
  • I have two questions. I have a 2008 HiHy Limited (LOVE it). It averages 22mpg, but was as high as about 31 for a couple of weeks there. I recently went to get gas, had the tank open, and then realized I was on the wrong side (brain freeze). I did not put the cap back on - I just moved to another pump and gassed up. My mpg plummete down to about 14 mpg. It's now up again around 17-19 or so. But what gives. I take it I blew it by leaving the gas tank open for that tiny little drive to the other pump?

    Also, when should you use Econ mode vs. EV mode?

  • I use Econ all the time (except 4WD -- re which I have to say I am very pleased. On some rough roads it has done very well -- just about as well as my old Ford Explorer with its low range).

    As for EV: I get the sense it is for parking ramps and places where one wants to avoid exhaust and/or noise. It is not clear that EV mode is the most efficient, though it certainly seems like it at the time. But EV never lasts very long: a couple of 100 yards only in that once one passes 20 mph it quits.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,716
    be sure to stop into the new Your Hybrid Vehicle Awards discussion to talk about why you think the Highlander hybrid is among the best of the year!

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  • hlanderhlander Posts: 31
    I think it is the way computer calculates mpg. When you fill up the thank, set the multi-information display to show "Average fuel consumption after refueling". It will go down to single digit then after you drive for couple of miles, it will come back above 20mpg. Sometime, when you ideal your car for period of time when you park, that average fuel consumption will fall off. When you go up the hill it will go down to 13 ~ 16 mpg then when you hill down, it will go up again. It calculate up and down all the time. You should see "Average fuel consumption after refueling history", it will show you last five time average consumption.

    I do not think that cause by leaving cap open and drive a few blocks. Just my 2 cents.
  • zebart72zebart72 Posts: 1
    I am considering a new vehicle. I like the 2009 HIghlander features, but the fuel efficiency isn't that impressive (at least for me).

    I have been trying to find information on the upcoming 2010 Highlander hybrid. One blog claimed that it would have the 4-cylinder engine, but other blogs were saying the V6 would stay.

    Does anyone have links to recent 2010 spec information and an expected release date?

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