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Toyota Highlander Real World MPG



  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Yeah, that mpg is really not good compared to most. Maybe the rental Highlander 08 has not been maintained as it should, and with different folks driving it, that could also make a difference in the mpg. In most post, everyone is getting around 25-27 on the highway, so I feel that particular Highlander is not the norm.
    Good luck with your decision. Hope you buy a Highlander. Let us all know!
  • tarugstarugs Posts: 16
    I have a 2008 2wd limited highlander, with the additional weight of the OEM chrome side steps and cross bars. A/C has always been on. Overall mpg for the total 6k mi it has (from 0 mi) as shown on the display is 19.4. I have driven it twice back and forth from Dallas to McAllen, TX (around 520 mi one way). Right now I am getting on average 16.7 mpg for the 7 mi (one way) city driving from work to home and vice versa. I try to get higher mpg by cruising whenever I see from a distance traffic light turn red, slow traffic ahead or if I am on a downhill. Also, I don't gun it during acceleration.

    The things I do not like about it is the wind noise I hear on the driver side window at around 40-50 mph. It sounds like wind coming in from window that is slightly open. I read in the toyota autonation forum from other folks having the same complaint that it is an A pillar noise. I also don't like the breaks, it breaks too strong even with little pressure and also you can feel sometimes the ABS engaging.

    Previous vehicles I have owned are 2004 Limited Honda CRV (traded), 2001 Nissan Xterra (traded), and 1993 camry (which I still have and in great condition for a 15-yr old car and getting 23 mpg).
  • Wound up going with Loaded Ford Edge. Was going to go with the higlander limited but for $40K they don't give you memory seats. Since we didn't need the 3'rd row Edge came in to play and won hands down in overall value + 0% financing for 48 months. Toyota dealer couldn't get close to the numbers. Granted not apples to apples trucks but didn't see the need to spend $5K more and not get memory seats in a $40K vehicle. I have no idea what Toyota was thinking with that move.
  • montalvomontalvo Posts: 52
    I'm about to buy a 2008 Highlander and much as I'd like to do my part to save the planet from certain annihilation, I just can't justify buying a hybrid version based on cost-savings. If I keep the hybrid seven years, average 24 MPG vs. 20 MPG, drive 15K miles/year and have a 6% cost of capital, the cost of gas has to AVERAGE over $8/gallon in order to re-coup the ~$6K initial cost hit. And while the hybrid may possibly have a higher re-sale value, it may also have substantially higher maintenance/repair costs.

    Has anyone been able to come up with a different answer on this?

  • texasestexases Posts: 8,996
    You're right with your calculations. Unlike the Prius and Camry hybrids, which make good economic sense, the Highlander hybrid is not a money-saver. Part of the reason is the exceptional fuel economy the 3.5 l standard engine gives. It's the best in the industry.
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Posts: 85
    Just wanted to pass this on recently on a 500 mile trip with 100 miles around town the rest hway at 65mph I averaged 25-26 mpg. My 03 has 98000 miles and just had all the belts replaced incl timing belt. Not bad for a 5 yr old ;)
  • mtairyordgemtairyordge Posts: 144
    I worked out the numbers and came up with a 6 to 7 year payback scenario. That's why I bought the gas version. I can't wait till the kids get through highschool (2014) so I can get back into a sedan/coupe and save more.

  • Let me get this straight - you chose a Ford Edge, known for terrible reliability, poor gas mileage and uncomfortable seats, because the options package included memory seats.........what were you thinking...........
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 573
    Where do get your info. from that says the Edge is unreliable? The Edge has had a good record to date.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    I would agree with bdyment........why let memory seats keep you from the Highlander! I wouldn't have a Ford if someone gave me one!!!!!!!!!
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 573
    Well, ronn you are not agreeing with me--I haven't seen anything really bad about the Edge.. I sure would take a Ford if they gave me one. I have owned good and bad Fords and good and bad Toyota and Honda products. Most vehicle producers manufacture a quality product these days, they can't afford not to.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Sorry about that.........thought you were sold on the Toyota over Ford. I guess you have a point about vechicle manufactures and quality, however I have had many Toyotas and only one American made car, and I find a big difference. The over-all quality IMO is still in the Toyotas, they are more reliable. I was always going to the dealership with the GM car. As far as Ford, I find the quality to be more cheap as far as materials and reliabilty. I have friends that own Fords, and they have not held up well, and they have had many more problems than I ever had with a Toyota.
    I do realize that no car is perfect, and any can have problems. IMO, I will keep driving Toyotas due to resale and quality and few problems.
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    '04 V6 AWD HL, loaded with 2 adults and about 250 lbs of stuff, towing a 1,600 lb pop-up camper, 313 miles round trip, mostly highway @ 57-59 MPH, otherwise about 20 miles of it cruising around/through small towns, A/C on nearly all the time. Used 15.07 gallons, read 20.86 MPG.
  • derekgaddyderekgaddy Posts: 32
    20.86 is very high. Don't trust the dreamometer !!
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    Actually not, derekg. On a previous trip I took with actually a bit more weight in the HL (about 60 lbs for another cooler full of food and ice), over 430 miles, again mostly highway and almost no town driving, I got just short of 20 MPG (19.6), but the highway roads were lots of hilly 2-lanes and small towns to slow for; this time it was almost all interstate. I fuel-up as I'm leaving home town, get the same brand and grade of gas (Shell mid-grade) if I have to while on the road, and refuel at the same home town station coming back. I use the trip odometer and pump readings, no in-car mileage computers.
    Regards, BGood
  • derekgaddyderekgaddy Posts: 32
    webgood: With all due respect something's not adding up here. You're towing a 1600lb trailer with 2 adults and 250lbs of gear in a AWD Toyota Highlander getting just shy of 21 MPG? If you weren't towing the trailer and didn't have all that gear would you be in the 24MPG range? I don't think so. I respect your answer but I don't agree with your math.
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    derekg, I'm not trying to snow anybody. Here's my facts: started out with a full tank and zero on the trip OD, 2 fill-ups 7.688 (on the trip) and 7.382 gallons (back in home town where it started) and 312.8 miles=20.75 MPG. Note: I ran 57-59 MPH on the highways, not 65/70 like so many do and could have done. Also, the trailer's a pop-up, not an oversized shoe-box profile which I'm sure WOULD really hammer MPG.
    I also pulled the original window sticker out of my maintanence file; it was rated (under the old DOE EPA rules) at 18 and 24. I regularly get 17 to 17.5 in town. So it's not so hard to believe, or actually do.
    Regards, BGood
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    I would like to know if anyone tried the Lucas Fuel Injector treatment and found their Highlander run smother and get better fuel economy like I did? I am not posting the economy benefit I saw until I try a few more tank fulls....
  • jilin74jilin74 Posts: 24
    Quite curious how some of you can get such great gas milage.

    My two weeks old 08 highlander (limited, awd) gets 14 - 17 on the local road ( I am in boston, so the traffic and many traffic lights are killing the mpg) and about 24.4 on the highway. I would say it is pretty close to what the window sticker says.

    I am driving pretty carefully now that I see the instantanous mpg reading. So try not to accelerate too fast and brake easily. Is there a best strategy to drive for a better mpg, for example, if I am going down hill, should I just take my foot off the gas and let it glide and sometimes slow down and step on the gas again once I reach the bottom or should I always give gas and keep at a constant speed.

    Also, I find that when the car is moving at 35 - 40 mph, it is pretty hard to brake (had the same thing with my old ford taurus). If you gently brake, the speed does not decrease that much. It is a little annoying during local driving.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    A lot of cars don't start seeing their best mileage until 5 or even 10,000 miles so hopefully it'll start gradually going up as you get some more miles on it.

    Check out these articles for gas saving tip while waiting for specific responses to your coasting questions in a Highlander:

    What Really Saves Gas? And How Much?

    We Test the Tips Part II
  • jilin74jilin74 Posts: 24
    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the great tips. I will update if the mpg improves.
  • jilin74jilin74 Posts: 24
    Now I am thinking about it, is there any theory why the mpg should iimprove after the car has been driven for a while?
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,996
    Just that all the parts that rub against each other (engine, axles,etc.) have more friction when new, and get bedded in over the first several thousand miles. The Pilot owners also seem to see an increase in mileage over the first 5k or so.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    And all that new tire thread wearing down to baldness helps too. j/k :shades:

    On my spreadsheet, my mpg has gone up a tiny amount continuously over the years and finally seems to have stalled out at 21.49 as I hit 105,000 miles. If you trust my numbers out to two decimal places. :)

    I haven't updated my spreadsheet for a few months, and had new plugs and wiring and other tune-up stuff done a few weeks back. All those new parts are probably hammering my mpg....
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    Okay this is the update on my 2005 HL with 3.3L FWD... over 6 tank fill ups I got 23.5MPG mixed driving and 27.4 Hwy... I take off as fast as a loaded dump truck, never getting the engine over 2,000 RPM and I never go over 65 MPH (Stay in the middle lane or right lane). I usually drive 5 over in rural areas, so I do 40 MPH in a 35MPH zone, and 50MPH in a 45MPH zone, etc...

    I find that I never wait at red lights, and only lose 5 min on my 110mile trips.

    The Lucas fuel treatment just gave me better throttle response, no more throttle lag at low speed driving.
  • hsvillagehsvillage Posts: 36
    Round trip- Hot Springs AR to Alexandria Va, 2420.3 miles ( about 250 miles city) used 87.92 gallons/ 86 octane = 27.528 mpg. 65-70 mph on Interstate, speed limit in city with A/C on constantly.
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    Way cool...........
  • gymnbatgymnbat Posts: 9
    Ok..I have used the onboard trip computer to measure my mileage and I have noticed it is very sensitive to acceleration. and hills. That said on my last trip I did see mileage as high as 28 miles per gallon for highway travel. I was being VERY careful and gentle and I did let the terrain (downhill) carry the car when ever I could. I had almost no off highway mileage and did hve a reading of 28 mpg on the screen.
  • gpoltgpolt Posts: 113
    Trip computers are inherrently incorrect and typically boost the mpg figures. The only accurate method is doing the math with paper and pencil.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    People around the various mpg discussions here have been reporting pretty close agreement between the trip computers and manually tracked mpg numbers. I'd be curious to hear if Highlander owners are finding a big discrepancy in their cross checking.

    Maybe some of y'all can keep score for a few tanks and report back?
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,786

    I track the fuel ecconomy religiously and find that the error is less than 1%. I have just done a 642km trip today, sitting on speed limits (100km and 110km) all the way and indicated fuel economy showed as exactly 10.0 l/100km. Fuel usage (filled at 5 C at six this morning and refueled at 6 C at ten this evening at some fuel pump) with similar cut out behaviour was 64.5 litres.Trip meter is also very accurate. I have checked against 100km measured distance several times and found error at less than 0.5%. Speedometer indication is also very close. Radar check stations on freeway today suggest indicated speed is 1km too high at 110km/h (Indicated 110 to actual 109)


  • On a recent trip from Orange County to Fresno, in Central Calif., I also carefully checked the actual versus the computer generated mileage, and was surprised to find it also very closely agreed. That was not the case with the Sequoia I had previously which was several mpg was optimistic. On that round trip to Fresno, almost all freeway driving, at 75-80 mph, with A/C on most of the time, and over the 4,000' Grapevine pass on I-5, I averaged just over 24 mpg for the round trip....that was with 2 people on board and minimal luggage. Total miles was about 530.
  • My Speedo is off by about 4 mph at 60 (speedo says 64, nuvi gps says 60).

    My MPG is consistently off by 1.5 MPG (computer says 22.5, pencil/paper says 21)

    I check MPG with pencil/paper for almost every fill-up, w/ over 10k miles driven now, of which about 3k were true highway trips. The rest were using the same driving habits (I am the sole driver) & mostly use the same gas station, although not the same pump. I fill at full speed until it clicks off, then fill again at full speed until it clicks off a 2nd time. Same way every time, no matter where I fill.

    Just changed oil with Mobil 1 (vs. toyota dealer OEM oil). Will be interesting to see if there is a MPG difference.

    The speedo should get better as the tires wear.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    My last 5 tanks (HL Ltd. AWD w/everything except rear DVD):

    Trip mileage first, pen and paper second:

    1) 18.4 / 18.1
    2) 22.1 / 22.0
    3) 21.4 / 21.1
    4) 24.1 / 23.7
    5) 21.3 / 20.9

    Trip #1 was exclusively non-highway, #2 and #4 were highway w/no A/C, and #3 and #5 were highway w/A/C. All highway trips were w/me (about 190 lbs) and about 200 pounds of cargo w/cruise @ 73 mph.

    3100 total miles on the vehicle. Love it!
  • So.. after doing some math, it would appear my speedo is throwing my computer gas mileage figures off. It just happens that my speedo is off by ~6.7% (dash vs. gps) - and my my fuel mileage is off ~7% (display vs. calculator) in the same direction! If the speedo was more accurate, then the fuel mileage display would be almost spot on (within 0.1 MPG).

    So am I also adding miles 6.6% too fast ? Is my 10,050 miles driven really 9,400 ? Is it worth having fixed ?
  • sepcosepco Posts: 4
    My Limited Hybrid is only getting 20.5 mpg in town. This is after 6,500 miles. I check the millage on every fill up by hand and have found the computer to be 1 to 1.5 miles off (higher). The A/C is always on. This is using California fuel.

    Any other Hybrid owners doing this bad?
  • I wouldn't normally post this but what the heck. I traveled from central Maryland to Woodward PA, about 45 miles east of State College (Penn St) after going back home we went to just south of Baltimore for a family get together.

    Ok total mileage was 422.5 and gallaons used was 16.7 equals 25.3 MPG. travel was mostly country side and mixed highway, never more than 75 mph. Highlander gauge reported 25.4mpg . IMHO difference is close enough for rounding error.

    I will be leavinfg this weekend traveling from Md to Orlando and North Myrtle Beach before returning. I will post information on mileage along the way.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Any other Hybrid owners doing this bad? "

    Check the forums, there is a separate MPG forum for the Hybrid Highlander. You will find tips and other owners there.

    BTW, that is pretty bad MPG! Either you need to adjust your driving style (and maybe tire inflation), or there is something wrong. Or you may just have the wrong driving trips for an HH, if you are driving short trips.

    HH MPG Forum
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    There are others with Hybrids reporting similar MPG's in the Hybrid forum. MPG's are all over the map with the HH's. The reality is a good chunk of their MPG benefit seems to be tied to re-training the driving habits of the users, who get used to obsessively watching the displays that show them how they are doing and how much energy they are using. If someone is a driver who tends to start and brake quickly, the reality is they will only ee about a 4 MPG advantage from the Hybrid and would have comparably been in the lower range of the non-hybrid real-world MPG range. Similarly, drivers who hyper-mile will get better MPG with either vehicle and still only end up with a 5-6 advantage over the non-hybrid.

    And do the math on the gas. Right now you can get a comparably equippped Highlander Limited AWD fully-loaded for $12-13K less than the Hybrid version, since the Hybrids are in short supply and the non-hybrids are collecting dust on the lots. People are paying near MSRP for one and dealer dead cost for the other.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    I thought I was the only one who didn't see the logic behind a Hybrid!

    You're right - the $12K - $13K price difference for let's say, a 9 MPG difference @ $4.00 per gallon with 15,000 miles per year (average) would take about 12 YEARS just to break even financially. (I used Toyota's data of 18 MPG City and 27 MPG City for the gas/hybrid models respectively.)

    I know that some do, but I don't hold onto a vehicle that long. If a Hybrid makes sense for some folks - fine; but I wish more people would wake up and stop giving into the hype.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    The Hybrid owners will tell you that they didn't do it "just for the gas price" benefit but to help the environment. I believe that is true to a point, though given the overall carbon footprint of that small MPG savings there are many other very simple ways they could have gotten the non-Hybrid Highlander and still ended up ahead, including literally mowing their lawn a couple time less a year (a mower gives off 40x the emissions of a modern car).

    That said, and I have has this debate on a few other Highlander Hybrid forums, the Hybrid owners also seem somewhat in denial about the price difference. Most insisted it wasn't even close to that much and insisted they would break-even in about 5 years (the highest I saw anyone quote was 7 years). Some of these people bought their hybrids before there was a run on them and before Toyota started taking losses on the non-hybrids so the delta was a little smaller. But I think a lot of them didn't do a detailed study of the real cost difference that has always existed between these vehicles.

    I started as a perfect example. I first test drove the Highlander because I was specifically looking at the Hybrid. The dealer told me the Hybrid cost "about $4K" more than the comparable non-Hybrid Highlander. And if you just look at the MSRP for the Limited HH versus the Limited H that appears true. But Toyota was completely slimy in dropping a bunch of standard equipment out of the HH Limited and making them expensive options. Some of the things they dropped would never be missing from any Limited class vehicle from any manufacture and Toyota dealers will tell you it is pretty much impossible to even order the car without them so it was a purely cynical move on Toyota's part and not good faith packaging. How many people would buy 3-row car with NO AC beyond the first row, let alone on a Limited? But you have to first upgrade to have AC at all in the rear, then upgrade to have auto control in the rear then upgrade to have auto climate control in the front to get to the non-HH standard package. The net result of all this options gamesmanship is another $3-4K in price delta on top of the MSRP difference before you even start negotiating.

    The bottom line is unless this is a fleet vehicle or the person is some kind of regional sales person, no one is seeing their up-front price delta in less than a decade. It would take me at least 15 years at $5 fuel.
  • (Slightly off topic, sorry)

    The other interesting point for those who buy Hybrids for their 'green' image. Most don't realize just how much green-house-gas was released into the atmosphere when manufacturing the batteries. I've seen reports of up to 100k miles at EPA estimates required to 'environmentally' break even with the all-petro version of the same car. Only then do you start 'saving the world'.

    Bottom line, we need a better (for the environment) mobile energy storage technology.
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    What about the impact on the environment when the batteries are no longer used... Led???

    It's as bad as the mercury issue with florescent lights....

    Another issue I have with Hybrids is the shock potential in a bad accident... Rescue people have to get special training, because you can get crispy instantly...
    If you don't believe me ask a fire fighter.....
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Virtually all of that lead would be recycled.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "What about the impact on the environment when the batteries are no longer used... Led??? "

    Hmmm, not sure how much lead is in a Nickel Metal Hydroxide (NiMh) battery, but probably not much.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    The planet isn't going to blow up while any of us are still here, so buy gas, rev it, and go !
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    I just thought it funny that no one questioned the safety impact of Hybrids on the occupants and those around them (ie first responders), but picked on the environmental issues...
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    The structural integrity of any vehicle is no different whether it is a gas or a hybrid version, at least not in any material way...perhaps some small differences, but nothing major.

    Hybrids are an environmental farse.
  • I agree with the earlier poster's calculations, but not the conclusion. If I had at least an extra $10,000 sitting in a savings account, I could leave it there, or use it upgrade my next vehicle to a Hybrid. Right now, I can get only 4 or 4.5 % CD's for 5 years. Not an historically high rate of return.

    If I put it into a Hybrid, I'm quite sure I can get half of that back when I sell or trade in, say, 5 years. So it really only ends up costing me $5,000 for the Hybrid upgrade. For which I get not a 12 year payback, but 6 year payback. And that translates to a 13-14% rate of return.

    I'm sure that my assumptions are arguable. But two things are often left out of the equation: the higher resale value of Hybrids; and the fact that even a 12 year payback is a lot better than money in the bank these days. At simple interest, that's 8.5%!

    Can anyone tell me where I can put my money and get 8.5%?

    I scoffed at a co-worker's similar conclusion when he decided not to add a grid-connected solar upgrade to his home last year, because it got him a (only) a 7 year payback. Non of his other investments are giving him anywhere close to that. That's about an 11% annual return he could have made!
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