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Toyota Highlander Real World MPG



  • rpell46rpell46 Posts: 15
    My 2003 HL 4cyl. 4x4 has 37,000 miles. City driving,(and I mean NYC stop signs every other block + traffic lights at every main intersection), yields a consistant 16 mpg.
    My highway driving is mostly upstate NY, Rtes. 87 & 17 (mountainous), gives me 24 mpg. My best recorded mileage was 26. The sticker said 17/24, so it's not that far off. Of course tire condition and driving habits affect mpg's dramatically. LOVE MY HL.......
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    Believe you're mistaken about sticker rating. V6 awd has 18/24 rating and 4 cyl awd has 20/25 rating.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    My 2004 4 cyl fwd at 65 gets at least the 27 rating. Heavy stop and go traffic is 18-19 mpg with 30 mph max.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Edmunds says the 2003 Toyota Highlander 4 cylinder AWD is rated at 19 mpg / 24 mpg. (2WD 4 cylinder gets 22/27 and the 2WD 6 gets 19/23; 4WD 6 gets 18/22).

  • rpell46rpell46 Posts: 15
    Thank you for the correction....except that now I don't feel as good anymore..

    Kidding aside, NYC "city" driving is horrendous when compared with the "city" driving of any NON-major city.
    All trips are "short-hops" with constant stop signs and traffic lights....not to mention the "snails and drivers who have no clue where they are going".

    So, even with a 19/25 rating, my 16/24 average is acceptable in my situation.
  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    16/24 is excellent in those driving conditions.
  • Glad to hear that some are achieving the 27mpg. Do you still have original tires? I'm wondering if a different kind of tire might help.
  • I hope this forum is a proper place for this message, just a random report after 138,000 miles.

    I bought a 2001 V6 AWD LTD with leather, heated seats, JBL, moonroof, tow pkg and more.

    We've loved in since before day 1. Mileage is a problem. Not the MPG's. I just can't stop driving it. Real world New England, mix of hi-way (no towing, just the package), city, suburban has constantly shown 18.9 on the car's message board, matched by tank-by-tank mileage checks. First 30,000 was 19.4 on Bridgestone OEMs, but after switching to Michelin Cross Terrains, 18.9 has been the norm (premium every time, though).
    Sadly, despite the 18.9, I can't seem to get over 23 on the hi-way (72 on cruise most times). The '01 had a 4 speed and newer 5 speeds should be better.

    Reliability has been, as expected, bullet-proof. The car was purchased on 3/31/01, 6 weeks after the New England debut. Battled quite a bit to get a remarkable discount (end of quarter?). Brakes replaced front (rotors too) and rear at 70,000. Fresh natural oil every 3k, rotate 8k.
    Between traction control, vehicle skid control, AWD and ABS, I have never been able to skid or spin a tire on this vehicle (and believe, as a Massachusetts driver, there are more than many opportunities to try both often!

    One disappointment is the interior color choices. Perhaps marketing it as 'an SUV your wife will let you buy (or will buy herself), two pastels seem proper to Toyota, but I hope that new Tundra has graphite or darker inside or they blew it big-time in the USA.

    Hope these experiences help someone. They helped me. We just added a 07 RAV4 LTD for my wife. Expecting more of the same.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    Yes, still have the original Toyo Transpath A11 tires. The tires are not very good in anything more than light snow.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Drove 205 miles yesterday, about 80% freeway at 72-74 mph, the rest around town. It was single digit (F) temps most of the day. Averaged 18.1 mpg. Same trip in the summer would yield around 21 mpg.
  • Bought in March 2004 -- Several long trips, in-town driving usually 5 to 8 miles, not much true city driving but it has been in Boston and Manhattan several times each:

    38,962.8 miles driven ÷ 1,547.6 gallons = 25.2 mpg.

    Lowest tanks have been 22 to 23 mpg. in town in cold weather. Best have been just over 28 mpg. driving 55-60 on 2-lane highways. Driving 70-75 seems to consistently knock a good 2 mpg off the best figure.
  • how loaded was your HL in this driving conditions?
    In my case- Loaded with wife+ 1 kiddo + STUFF, and driving 75-80 mph( which is the norm on Mi interstates), I believe it would be more then 2 gallons knock off from the average 25.2mpg you get.
    In this case I am getting even with a V-6 Sienna...
    I am wondering if there's any gas savings by purchasing a much less powerfull 4 cyl HL.
    Thanks for any input,
  • You're getting 25+ with a V6 Sienna?

    In the 4-cyl. Highlander I've gone from Massachusetts to the Midwest and back a couple of times with either two teenagers in tow or the two kids and my wife. Also all of us on a number of shorter trips to New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Ontario, etc. When we do family stuff around town, we're all in the car for shorter drives. But I drive about 50 miles per week (3 round trips) by myself during the school year.
  • mehrmmehrm Posts: 1
    I just purchased my Highlander this past November. Granted, I am driving it locally in VERY COLD Chicago streets with potholes galore, but my local mileage is only 12-13 mpg in town. Highway has been 24 with car nearly empty, 20 with it loaded (took two long road trips and put 3500 miles on it already). I've also found that the car seems to swerve a bit left and right on the highway. Thought the alignment was off but my dealer said it was normal and just due to highway conditions. I love the car but am very disappointed in the local mileage, seems way below what it should be.
  • joconnorjoconnor Posts: 26
    2006 AWD V6
    on 93 octane gas 12mpg
    on 89 octane gas 15mpg
  • mtairyordgemtairyordge Posts: 144
    This is the 3rd HL I have owned (2001, 2003 and 2004) The 01 was under powered and until the bigger engine came out I was only able to nurse 23/24 on highway. I make several trips a year to Myrtle Beach from Western Maryland. HL is full loaded with wife and 2 kids and STUFF.
    What I do is with a full tank o gas get on the highway and slowly accelerate to 65 remaining constant till milage gets to 26MPG (about 50 miles). Then gradually increase speed to 75 and MPG remain in 26 range.
    The best I ever got was 29 averaging 65 MPH. Cold weather milage is not as good I think mainly due Ethanol. Octane boost helps with that.
  • With Gas prices going up all the time I have been running a little experiment for the last couple months. My Highlander performs great on any of the available octanes (it is the V6), but it does seem to get an average of 2 more miles per gallon on the highest octane. If I do the calculations though (for instance getting 20 average mpg (city/highway) on regular at 3.00 a gallon vs 22 mpg with premium at 3.30 a gallon, they both come out to 15 cents a mile. The same seems to hold true with mostly highway driving with 26 mpg vs 24. There is the slight advantage of filling up less often though. I was wondering if anyone else has thought this out and come to a conclusion.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Check the What about fuel types & gas mileage? discussion while waiting for responses in here.
  • adam123adam123 Posts: 1
    I went to Wal-Mart and bought Octane boost for $2.00 a bottle. I had 3 mph higher all around. If you do the math it works out well---Better than using the Premium price-wise. It really does work provided the bottle prices don't jump.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    If you do the math it works out well ...

    Please report back to us after you've given it some time!


    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • lucy10lucy10 Posts: 7
    We are researching our decision to purchase a highlander vs. the hybrid. Can you tell me the true actual mileage advantage with the hybrid and your satisfaction. Consumer reports are saying the average is 22 mpg, not a huge difference from gas highlander. We are also debating between waiting for the 2008.
  • neconomouneconomou Posts: 1
    I just purchased a 2007 Toyo Highlander V-6 and am upset over my in-town MPG. I love the auto but 14.7 when driven gently (w/A/C on) makes no sense to me. I have 90 miles on the car. Is there a break-in period or do I have a problem. Thanks much. n.economou
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    See if you can wait till fall 2008 for CRV diesel or 2009 for Pilot diesel.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 573
    With our 2004 V6 we averaged 14 to 15 in heavy city traffic. Your mpg sounds about right. You are driving a two ton+ vehicle and stop and go driving has a great effect on mileage.
  • I test drove a HL today and impressed by it. I would like to hear from 08 HL owners about MPG they are getting. Please include the details about the vehicle (4x2, 4x4), driving style, city/highway mix or anything else you think may be helpful. Thanks!
  • We purchased a '08 HL 10/31 and have been very pleased. It is a 4x4 limited, v6, with new purchased studless snow tires on it. Mixed city/hwy mpg we are averaging 19/20. We took a longer trip and averaged 23 mpg. For a car this size we feel this was good. The difference in the HHL for mileage vs. cost savings was not worth the price difference for us.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    We will be heading south in 10 days and by the time we return, should have racked up about 2500 miles. I am going to use premium because my last trip using premium (although only 767 miles) yielded the best mileage I have ever gotten, 23.95. (This an AWD 2004 Limited with 3.3 liter engine). I expect the improved mileage will just about offset the extra cost. If I see greater than 1.2 mpg improvement, I will be pennies ahead ;)

    Look for a full report at the end of the month.
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    I have a 2005 FWD V6 (3.3L), with 40K I found that using 93 Oct non-reformulated gas helps a lot. I guess the computer senses more BTUs and adjusts the valve timing, spark timing, fuel injection, and shift points. I also notice 27MPG Hwy vs. 24MPG Hwy with the 10% Ethanol.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Indiana to Florida, 1133 miles, 22.92 mpg. For the 3 tanks that were all highway, averaging 70-71 mph, 23.66 mpg. Last tank thru southern Georgia & Florida (i.e., very flat) 25.5 mpg. Trip computer ranged from 1 to 1.8 mpg higher than actual. I used premium.

    On the 25.5 mpg tank (300+ miles), the trip computer said 26.5 and for the first 100 miles on that tank when I only averaged about 65 mph due to construction, it was over 27 mpg. Vehicle is an AWD Limited model. Tires set at 33 psi.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    From South Bend, Indiana to Venice, Florida then back via St Augustine and Savannah. Ten fillups totaling 127 gallons for an overall mileage of 22.96. I used premium for the first 7 tanks and regular for the last 3. To my surprise, the mileage was essentially the same which does not jive with my previous experience in which I have had better mileage with premium.

    Best 1 tank mileage was 25.5 (using premium) in flat Florida. Worst was 21.2 on the first tank burned mostly in single digit temperatures. Best mileage on regular was 24.5. There's a definite improvement at 65 mph vs 70. Most of the premium tanks were run at an average speed of 70-71. The 3 regular tanks average closer to 65-66 so that probably accounted for some of the better mileage than I had previously seen with regular.

    One final note, the average trip odometer error was 1.56 mpg high. Range was 1.11 high to 1.94 high.
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    Look up high speed driving in the owner's manual; you can run 35 Psi in the tires. Take it easy getting up to 65mph(use cruse control to get you up to speed once set), try not to go over 2,500 rpm getting up to speed, and keep it at the speed limit ~65 mph if you can. That's how I get my 27mpg Hwy, 23mpg mixed, and 19 to 20mpg city... Speeds over 55 mph start to take off on fuel consumption due to wind resistance, and more so for our beloved Highlanders vs. a low profile crampy car that is.... :)

    Check out:

    Also, you will find that Hybrid vehicles only do better in city and lower speed mixed driving. The old gas engine is better at highway speeds, and most Hybrids tend to run about 85%+ on the gas engine at speeds over 50 mph...
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    When you have to go 600 miles in a day, keeping the speed down makes for a very long day. I was willing to sacrifice a little mileage for time. I did have 33 psi at 40 deg so they probably were 35 psi in Florida.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    I have had my Highlander Limited 08 for 3 weeks. I will be taking a trip in February and want to check the mileage for the first time on the road. Can anyone give advice as to using regular or premium for a 7 hr trip?
    I have noticed on this forum, that some are using premium as it is suppose to do better than regular? I did not know that, and have only been using regular for my 2 fill ups since I purchased. Any suggestions would be great ! I am anxous to see what I can get.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    My 3.3 liter engine was tuned for premium and the manual says regular can be used with reduced performance. My data from shorter trips indicated premium gave better mileage but from my post above you can see that a just completed 2900 mile trip showed no difference in mileage between premium and regular. I think you'll see more improvement by keeping the speed reasonable than by using premium.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    I am interested in knowing what others are getting with their mpg. After a little over a month of ownership, I am getting an average of 20mpg for mostly city driving. I have had a few short trips now & then, but I am pleased to get this!
  • lucy10lucy10 Posts: 7
    We have owned our 08 Highland since Oct. We average 19-21 with distant trips up to 22-23. That is with studless snow tires for winter driving. We have been pleased with this mileage for this size of car compared to other available SUV's. We originally considered the Hybrid, but opted on the gas version due to the price difference and calculated that one would have to drive over 300,00 miles to break even with the costs. Going green would be the only consideration to justify the difference for us.
  • areiarei Posts: 1
    I just bought the HL Sport AWD 2008 three months ago.
    My lowest MPG was just under 11 miles with mostly city driving.
    My highest is 18 miles in freeway driving and after the car had a fuel injector replaced :sick:
    I am a conservative driver and very disappointed of the misleading 17/22 MPG posted.
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    Give it time... You will start to see improvements after 7,000 miles. Also wait till we get 70 degree days, that is the best condition for better MPG.. Even my little AWD Subaru gets 12 MPG in the WI winter and short trips under 5 miles.
  • I bought an 04 Highlander Limited 2wd V6 on Feb 09 2008, and it's a great car so far! I got a great deal, partly because it had a lot of highway miles on it (101,020 miles), and the timing belt has not been changed yet. No problem on the timing belt, a bought a belt for $30 and I can put it in myself. The carfax reported 2 previous owners, no wrecks, and no issues. The car is very neat and clean, it has new tires, mag wheels, loaded, and everything works. There were a few minor scratches on the bumper covers that I touched up with some touch up paint, looks great now. I negotiated a great deal, only $11,367.92 plus $732.08 tax plus $200.00 tag and transfer fee, for a total of only $12,300.00 out the door!
    My gas milage seems to run about 18-19 around town.
    The five speed automatic transmission shifts perfectly all the time. I had been concerned about that because there were messeges in the past where owners stated that there were some problems or issues with the shifting, but mine seems to have "learned" perfectly well how and when to shift.
    I am supposing that when I change the timing belt, I should also change the water pump. The Dealer wants $130.52 for a new water pump, and Discount Auto Parts wants $66.00 for a new water pump. I am wondering if is ok to buy the cheaper water pump or do I need to buy the Dealer water pump? Has anyone here had any experience on this issue?
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Steve... I don't know how your mpg could be that low? You might need to have your Highlander checked out. If you look at other post including mine, in city I am getting at least 17mpg and with combined short trips, I get up to 20mpg.

    I also drive conservative with alot of stop and go and short distance. I work only 3 minutes from home. I have been so pleased with the mpg that I am getting for these short distances. I haven't taken a long trip yet, but look forward to that this summer.
    Best of luck...hang in there.
  • mtairyordgemtairyordge Posts: 144
    Try changing the fluids. I have a 2004 AWD w/68K and I changed flids and got a 2mpg bump.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Was the 18mpg highway the tank average on a tank that included some city driving? Unless you've run 2 or 3 consecutive tanks of 100% highway driving, I submit that you don't really know what your highway mileage is. The chance for error on a single tank is pretty great.
  • On my 2008 Sport 4x2 HL with 1900 miles I've been getting an average of 18 MPG. That's mostly city driving with one, maybe two, HWY trips of only 60 miles each. One week I made about three or four 60 mile HWY trips and my MPG got precariously close to 20.4 MPG!! :surprise: I'm pretty sure on a long HWY trip I could easily get 22 MPG.

    Previously I had an Infiniti G35 and my gas mileage on it was NEVER as good as I've been getting on the HL. :P
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    I have a Highlander 08 Limited AWD, and since January when I purchased it, I'm continuing to see improvement. In the city which I drive less than 2 miles to work, with short stop and go most of the time, I get between 17 -18 mpg. This does include some across town driving, but mostly short trips during the week. This is driving very sensibly - slow acceleration and non quick stops. It was around 15 - 16 when I first bought it.
    I will be traveling in July, and I will again post the highway mpg.
    I find the Highlander to be very gas efficient considering weight, & size. I find it somewhat disturbing that many are posting on the reviews that mpg needs to improve. For an SUV, this is very good IMO. My Avalon didn't get any better than the Highlander. I do think how you drive plays a big part in getting the great mpg.
  • thardgravethardgrave Posts: 57
    I now have over 6,000 miles on my 08 2wd Highlander, and my overall mpg since new is right about 19.0......which includes a good mix of city driving mixed with some freeway driving. I do drive pretty conservatively, and do not jump on the gas unless I need to. A recent 650 mile round trip including going over a 4,000 mountain pass twice resulted in an average of about 24 mpg.....freeway driving at mostly 75 mph, without a/c on, and pretty steady cruising...with one leg at almost 26 mpg....probably a slight tail wind. At these speeds the car was very quiet, super stable, and very comfortable....minimal buffeting from any wind or trucks. As much as I like this car for its nimble in city driving, it is also a very good long distance cruiser...and comfortable also. I have both nav and Bluetooth phone, so those were also very useful on a trip.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Hey Thardgrave,

    Hope you are doing well. I enjoy your post.... I have a question for you

    How often do you change the oil? My Highlander has 1800 miles, they say 3000 on the sticker in the corner. Should I have it changed before I go on a trip in July? ( I will not have 3000 on it) It will have over 3000 when I get back.

    You are doing great with your mpg. I can't wait to get mine on the highway!

    Have a great day,
  • Considering 08 AWD Highlander against Acura MDX and am concerned about mileage on both. Can someone give me latest stats on their Highlander MPG?
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Why would you be worried about the mpg on the 08 Highlander? If you look at other post, you will see that many are getting between 17-18 in city, and as much as 27 on the highway. This is excellent for the size and weight of this SUV. There are very few SUV forums that I have looked at that have better mpg then the Highlander. There are a few, but not many for it's size.
    I have been very pleased with my mpg, and it gets better all the time. Of course, alot of it depends on how well you drive. My latest is 17 -18 for city with alot of stop and go. I live close to work, so it is short trips with weekend driving being more.
    The Acura ride is not as nice...I tried it out.

    Good luck with your decision.
  • lucy10lucy10 Posts: 7
    We are getting 17-19 around town. We most recently drove from Portland, OR to Bend, over the mountains and hills. With being careful to keep the speed steady at 65 and not doing rapid accelerations, our MPG was 25. We were very pleased with this size of car. We decided that the difference in the Hybrid, other than for environmental reasons, was not that much of a difference in gas mileage alone. It would take over 300,000 miles to make up the difference in costs. We did own a Subaru Outback before this and our mileage was 20 city, and 25-27. It was a smaller car.
  • Reason I asked is because I have been on 2 business trips and rented a base model AWD highlander and drove them 90% highway and both of them got 20 MPG highway best case @ 70 MPH with 10K miles on them. Can't say what around town was. Ride was excellent for sure. Just thought it would do a little better.
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