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Toyota Highlander Real World MPG



  • 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: 8,846
    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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