Toyota Highlander Real World MPG

steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
Please report on your gas mileage - include your odometer reading, driving style, city/highway mix or anything else you think may be helpful. Thanks!

Steve, Host


  • jbolltjbollt Member Posts: 736
    05 with 22,000 miles...conservative driver

    I'm getting 21-22 "in town" and 25-26 highway, per the computer readout...Calculated at the pump, it runs about .5mpg less, if i don't top off the tank...

    At a steady 75mph on level road with a/c on, and no head or tail winds...and only 2 people in car, the trip computer reads about 27-28...and as low as 24 ....varies as A/C cycles on and off...

    in town, if i do a lot of short trips, it drops to about 19.5...which is the absolute lowest i have seen yet for a full tank fillup

    03 with 32,000 gets about 20 in town, and 23 highway. The 3.3 L and 5 speed in the 2005 model makes a big difference.

    oh! and I use regular (87?) unleaded exclusively
  • gasman1gasman1 Member Posts: 321
    MPG has improved to 24.0 on highway (65 to 72 MPH). City is 18.0 to 19.5. Hilly terrain for both city and highway. Was getting 21, then 22, then 23 mpg on highway...

    I have two long trips scheduled this next month (700 miles and 1,600 miles). I may switch to Mobil 1 synthetic between the two trips to see if there's a difference. First trip will be to SW MO by myself. Second trip will be to NW SC with 4 adults. My comparison won't be on a level playing field, but I'll post the results.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Thanks for including the 2WD drivetrain info (you too Gasman). ;)

    Steve, Host
  • master1master1 Member Posts: 340
    V-6 2WD Highlander

    16 mpg city
    23 mpg highway
    21 mpg combined
  • grahampetersgrahampeters Member Posts: 1,786

    I am getting about 10.8 l/100km in mixed city and country driving using 98 Octane Premium Unleaded.


  • rantainrantain Member Posts: 2
    06 HL 2WD 4Cyl.

    I just bought it so it's under 5K miles. I get an average of 23 MPG with mixed city/freeway driving. While on the freeway I drive around 65-75 Mph.

    I'm a little dissapointed at the MPG that I'm getting but obviously I need to drive slower in the highway. I wanted an average of 25 MPG at least, oh well.
  • landdriverlanddriver Member Posts: 607
    ~19 mpg mixed city and highway, conservative driver, calculated based on gallons/odometer (computer reads 1 mpg higher).
  • webgoodwebgood Member Posts: 95
    '04 V6 4X4 13K mi. Just filled today, based on the trip odometer reading...17.1 MPG. All suburban, short (5 or less miles) cold-start trips at max. speed of 45, typical of 30-35 MPH, throttle "hammered" periodically, AC on all the time and 1 or 2 adult occupants.
  • chinaboychinaboy Member Posts: 3
    56K on 2001 AWD. Using Cruise Control & fully loaded, always
    get 19.9 MPG on Interstate.
  • brandonitbrandonit Member Posts: 2
    Our first interstate trip (~70 mph as we were still in the break-in period and fluctuating our speed) we got approximately 27.3 mpg

    Around town with a mix of highway/city, we got 23.7 on our first full week.

    That's 1-2 people using 87 octane.
  • pinkfloyd2000pinkfloyd2000 Member Posts: 3
    18 MPG city and 20 MPG Highway. Is that about right or I should be getting more?

  • landdriverlanddriver Member Posts: 607
    City sounds right on but I'd think you should be getting almost mid 20's on the highway.
  • lmacmillmacmil Member Posts: 1,758
    "City sounds right on but I'd think you should be getting almost mid 20's on the highway."

    Not in the 4x4. Best I've ever done with our 2004 is 23. Usually it's 21-22. Going to try premium on our next trip. Premium improved the highway mileage by 2 mpg on my 3.3 liter Camry. No savings but I felt better ;)
  • dlucas23dlucas23 Member Posts: 1
    Less than 1K, Conservative in town driver, highway speeds 75-80 mph.

    I'm getting between 21-22 mpg mixed driving. I thought I'd get better with the 4 cyl, but perhaps my driving is the root of the less than advertised mileage? Will mileage improve as the car gets "broke in"?
  • michaelp1michaelp1 Member Posts: 14
    Didn't necessarily want the 6 cyl, but wanted side curtain air bags and Toyota is stingy with regional options.

    Bought in January 2005, and during a trip that summer averegard 16.9 mpg - not happy. But this summer we went to Virginia (from NY) and enjoyed good highway traffic so went mostly without ac - and the mpg was almost 24! I knew there was a break in period, but it took a little longer than I thought. I haven't done city mpg in awhile (was too depressing last year) but I'll give it another shot.
  • typesixtypesix Member Posts: 321
    Your mileage sounds about right. If you drive 65-70 instead of 75-80, overall mileage will go up to 23-24 mpg.
  • gasman1gasman1 Member Posts: 321
    800 mile trip by myself - hills and traffic speeds at 70-75MPH - got 24mpg

    1,700 mile trip - 4 adults and packed heavy - mountains and 55 to 65 MPH traffic - got 21.3 mpg - last leg of trip was open highway 65-72 MPH and got 23.2 mpg
  • 1bythesea1bythesea Member Posts: 52
    1,300 mile trip some mountain mostly flat-average speed
    70-75 mph-air conditioner continually set at 74 degrees-back heavily loaded-3 adult passengers-using 87 octane-was getting 26.1 mpg
    Average mixed driving-21-22 mpg with one adult no load-87 octane. City as low as 16 mpg one adult no load-87 octane.
  • cortoncorton Member Posts: 53
    Just a quick comparison number for you regular Highlander owners. I have an 06 Highlander Hybrid 4WD-i (V6 + electric). Over my first 2300 miles (6 tanks) I'm averaging 29.6 mpg (calculated)in mixed city and highway driving (65% city, 35% highway).
  • lmacmillmacmil Member Posts: 1,758
    Just got back from a 768 mile trip using premium in my 4WD 3.3 liter V6 for the first time. About 400 miles was pure freeway and I set the cruise at 71 mpg (per my GPS, speedo said about 69.5) The other driving was mostly 2 lane country roads at 50-65 mpg in rolling terrain (northern Michigan).

    Overall average was 23.95 mpg which is the best I've ever done in this vehicle. I took an identical trip (except it was 850 miles) 2 years ago using only regular and averaged 20.95.

    I've had a similar experience with my 3.3 liter Camry (i.e., improved mileage with premium). No big savings ($7 on this trip) but the psychological benefit was worth far more. ;)
  • mtrialsmmtrialsm Member Posts: 159
    2005, 33k miles. 4x2. Last tank, 24.5 mpg, mixed driving.
    Last highway trip; right at 26 mpg.

    Why doesn't Toyota build a 4 cyl hybrid!!!!!!!
  • fsf0803fsf0803 Member Posts: 1
    Recently purchased an '03 Limited and noticed the 3.0L-V6 engine speed runs between 2800-3000 rpm at highway speed (65-70), with OD engaged. Knowing the AWD would have less economy than the 2WD version, we have intentionally kept the speed close to the posted limits. I wonder why this V6 runs at the higher rpm? :confuse:
    Our former Dodge van w/3.3L engine ran about 2500 rpm at the same speeds.

    Is there any legal way to change the final drive gearing to reduce the rpm for highway driving, without "adversely" affecting normal town driving, or engine monitoring computer controls? or drivetrain warranty? ;)
  • desertfox1desertfox1 Member Posts: 80
    17 gallons * 6 tanks * 29 mpg should be over 3,000 miles.
    May we assume you do not let tank go even close to empty?
  • typesixtypesix Member Posts: 321
    You need to have it checked out. Rpm should be closer to 2500 rpm. My 4 cyl Highlander runs at about 2500 rpm at those speeds.
  • rhs63rhs63 Member Posts: 5
    I just got a 2006 AWD V6 Highlander and was stunned when our first full tank just averaged 13 mpg!! The car has just 250 miles on the clock, so I'm hoping that the mileage will improve as the engine breaks in. Did others have a similiar experience?
  • shortonshorton Member Posts: 10
    I've never been happy with my 02's V6/AWD mileage, but it wasn't *that* bad. I just this second walked in teh door from going after my new 06. Had to drive 210 miles home, it took 9.6 gal's so not great, but not that bad.
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Member Posts: 109
    It could be that you didn't start off with a completely full tank. Dealers can fill the tank to the F but not to the first click.
    Since the car is new, break in is expected. Do the standard checks:
    1) Tire pressure
    2) Oil Level
    3) Obvious wheel alignment deviation
  • cortoncorton Member Posts: 53
    "17 gallons * 6 tanks * 29 mpg should be over 3,000 miles.
    May we assume you do not let tank go even close to empty?"

    I normally refill somewhere around the 1/4 mark or when I've traveled about 400 miles. It takes about 13 gallons to fill at that point.
  • mtrialsmmtrialsm Member Posts: 159
    Just got back from 2000 mile round trip to NY. MPG range from 26 to 28.5!!! Best yet! My HL has 35k miles and just did oil change. I use Mobil 1; 3w-30.
  • pixelmindpixelmind Member Posts: 5
    I have the same problem, averaged 13 MPG on my first FULL tank (one I filled myself). Haven't been able to verify again but roughly seem to be getting 16 MPG combined city highway since then. I have only 450 miles on it so far. Am very dissapointed and plan to take it back to have the dealer look at it once I can do one more verification of MPG.
  • rhs63rhs63 Member Posts: 5
    I have now over 700 miles on the clock, and filled the tank 3 times. Unbelievably, the average mileage is still 13mpg. So, I took it to Toyota Service to check it out. They spend the whole day on it and found.... nothing. Everything normal. They dismissed me with a "come back if it's still the same after a 5000 mile break-in period". Excuse me?
    I can't tell you how disappointed I am. I love the car and the ride, but the gas mileage is worse than my previous 2003 Explorer with the 4.6L V8 engine. That made over 14 mpg and I traded it in for something supposedly more fuel efficient!!!!!!!!!!

    Anyone got an idea what to look for next?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    My minivan got 17, 19, 15, 11 and 11 over the first 5 tanks the first 1,000 miles. It finally settled in at 21 overall (19ish town, 24ish highway) but it took over 10,000 miles to really hit its stride. I would give it a little while longer.

    Meanwhile, maybe this article will give you some ideas to try:

    What Really Saves Gas? And How Much?
  • landdriverlanddriver Member Posts: 607
    Have been here a few years and people on these boards for the V6 in city and mixed have been getting 15 to 19 mpg -- many of these owners have the older 3.0L V6, so the current 3.3L V6 will get slightly lower, but I agree 13 mpg for mixed city and highway driving does sound too low for a HL and I'd be quite upset too (I wasn't even thrilled with 19 mpg, but it is an SUV). I do recall though that on my first couple of tanks my mileage was 2 to 3 mpg lower than what it settled upon subsequently. After a few fillups, unless if you're driving in the mountains or something, ideal thing would be to rent a HL and see if it gets the same mileage or not.
  • rhs63rhs63 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for pointing out the article. Very interesting read...

    Your past experience gives me some hope that it'll eventually get better.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I don't know what part of the country you are in, but about the time you get to 3,000 miles and are ready to see that 13mph bump up, the cold weather will set in - reformulated "winter" gas is already being sold in many places and that often dings the mpg. :sick:

    What's odd is we get plenty of reports around the various discussions where people get good mpg from the first tank. Go figure.

    We'll keep our fingers crossed for your next report!
  • gasman1gasman1 Member Posts: 321
    25.5MPG highway, 19.2MPG city
  • johnlejohnle Member Posts: 3
    Does any body have an AVERAGE MPG on Speedometer multi-information display on Highlander Hybrid 2WD? My new Highlander Hybrid does not have AVERAGE MPG.

    Please let me know so I can go back to the dealer to have them fix it.


  • landdriverlanddriver Member Posts: 607
    Also try posting your question in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid: MPG-Real World Numbers discussion.

    I don't have the hybrid but some posters in the hybrid discussion have been complaining about the lack of an avg mpg readout, though I can't remember which specific models this was in reference to. My only guess is this is because perhaps the readout would waver too much as the ICE kicks in and out.
  • dan bitmandan bitman Member Posts: 158
    how loaded was your HL ( people, stuff in the trunk), and what average speed you drove esp. on h-ways?
    Looking to buy a 2004 used 2WD , not sure if 4 cyl can carry too much in the detriment of gas mileage...
  • ibceaibcea Member Posts: 2
    I am getting as low as 15 in town with occasional highway driving. Average for typical suburban driving with hills is around 16 or 17 mpg. This is disappointing but does not seem to out of line with some of the numbers reported here. It seems toyota rating of 18 in town is not very realistic. We have 2006 4wd with 11k on the odometer...
  • jlabriejlabrie Member Posts: 10
    I have a 2005 Highlander V6 AWD with 22,563 miles on it and have tracked my gas mileage since the vehicle was new.

    Typically I get between 22-23 mpg during normal summer driving on the stock Toyo tires. During winter I get aroung 19 mpg using Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires.

    When towing a loaded dual axle car trailer weighing 3300 lbs. I get between 18-19 mpg (using the Toyo tires).

  • 123tech123tech Member Posts: 10
    I have a 2007 4Cyl, 4x4, and the sticker says 20MPG-city, 25MPG-highway....i drive about 50 miles to work round trip, 80% highway, and I'm only getting about 16 miles per gallon. When I get to about 300 miles, it's almost time to fill up again. I'm definitly not happy! On the highway, go about 65-70 miles per hour, but coming home there's too much traffic to even think about going above 60. I have 2000 miles on the car..had I known it was going to be this bad, I would have either gotten the FJ Cruiser, or the Mazda CX7 which uses premium fuel.
  • typesixtypesix Member Posts: 321
    Ihave a 2004 4 cyl 4x2 Highlander rated at 22/27 and I have never gotten below 18-19 mpg even with all city driving during the winter in Boston area. Highway will easily match rating at 65-70 mph. I do however, try to coast as much as possible in city traffic, not easy to do with the annoying drag in 3rd gear that doesn't release till about 20 mph.
  • heidigreenlawheidigreenlaw Member Posts: 26
    I do 95% in town driving and average 15 mpg. Very disappointing. I got better gas mileage in my 2000 Grand Caravan. That being said, I truly love this vehicle so I won't complain too much!
  • toyotagaltoyotagal Member Posts: 215
    It has been my experience over the years that vehicles never get their advertised "mpg". But I understand that the Government is cracking down on those claims now. With the mileage claims not being based upon normal driving conditions in the past.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters Member Posts: 1,786

    The advertised mileage for a 3.3l Auto AWD Kluger (Highlander)here in Australia is 12.3 l/100km equivalent to 19.1 mpg (US)

    My own expereicned suggests this is about right, Australian standards being pretty tightly controlled and subject to governemenet control. My own experience is generally a bit better, the current tank full running at 10.5 l/100km equivalent to 22.4 mpg (US) in mixed city and high speed country driving, much of it into a savage head wind.

    In lighter conditions and if driven very carefully, you can achieve down to about 9.5 l/100km (24.8 mpg (US)) but this is more likely over gentle freeway driving under light traffic conditions.

    Stop start city traffic shows about 13.5l /100km

    However, if the vehicle is driven hard with harsh acceleration and braking, economy can slip out surprisingly quickly. To look at this try monitoring the instant fuel consumption usage on the dashboard display.


  • toyotagaltoyotagal Member Posts: 215
    Thanks for your down under advice on mileage, Graham.

    However, over here we have to keep moving to keep from getting hit from the rear. Which of course effect gasoline mileage...........(smile)
  • grahampetersgrahampeters Member Posts: 1,786

    Traffic conditions in Melbourne are pretty much the same as most major US cities although not as bad as New York or London (all of which I have driven in). Sydney conditions are worse.


  • fcblazefcblaze Member Posts: 2
    Hi everyone,

    My 2002 Highlander is a 4 Cyl, front wheel drive with automatic transmission. Has about 35,000 miles now. This vehicle was rated as 27/22 when I purchased it.

    I have always gotten 22-23 mpg no matter whether I drive in town or on the highway, running the AC or not. Interstate here in Nebraska is basically flat and speed limit is 75mph. On state highways where speed limit is 65 mph I still get 22-23 mpg.

    This is the first vehicle I have ever owned that didn't do 'better' than what it was rated at. Also the first that didn't have improved mpg on the highway.

    I'm very disappointed in the mpg. During it's bumper to bumper warranty I raised the issue with the dealer and was told that 'gas isn't what it used to be'. Funny comment since the 10 year old car I was replacing had never experienced an mpg drop off. Another explanation the dealer had was that 'they come up with those mpg estimates in really flat places'. Ha! Doesn't get much flatter than Nebraska.

  • toyotagaltoyotagal Member Posts: 215
    That sounds highly ususual, getting the same mileage in town or on the highway. I have never heard of or seen a vehicle that did that.

    Also I have yet to see a vehicle get the mileage the manufacturers claim. However, I do understand that the government is tightening up on those posted mileage claims. And I do expect to see those mileage claims dropping as they get closer to the real world.
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