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Toyota Highlander Real World MPG



  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    ecotrklvr, help me understand your math / logic better. Using your assumptions, you invest an extra $10K into a car instead of savings. After 5 years you sell it and get $5K of the $10K back in extra resale value. Now, based on your assumptions, you would have made back the other $5K in fuel savings after 6 years to get you to break-even on your extra up-front $10K investment. But since you sold after 5 years, you didn’t quite make it to break-even, let alone get ahead on your fuel charges versus the up-front investment. So how does that translate to a 13-14% rate of return on your $10K investment? Using your figures, it seems like you spent $10K and got back $5K + $4.1K in fuel savings to equal $9.1K. Hardly a 13-14% rate of return. For your logic to work you need to demonstrate a sweet spot between the time of resale and the time owned to assure you more than make up the initial investment and your current example doesn’t seem to do this.

    Also, the math is currently around $13K in extra up-front investment and the years to recover on 15K/miles-a-year at current fuel rates is closer to 20 years…
  • See link title. Price difference isn't anything like $13k. This link shows $6700 upfront, of which you'll get back a chunk (say 50%) at trade. You'll get between 3-5 mpg better, which is easily 4% (highway) and 50% (city) better than Standard. 2009 will have an even better upgrade in mileage.

    So your math shows $4100 saved in 5 years. If you only spend half of $6700, or $3350, and get back $4100, that's $750 on a $3350 investment. That's over 20% return. That's four times the best CD rates I see out there.

    Not sure where your $13k upfront differential comes from. You comparing Base vs Hybrid Limited? Is that all they have on lots?

    This technology really ends up being great for the high-mileage driver in stop and go traffic. Think taxicab. I agree that the usual folks who drive a lot, drive a lot on the freeway, where this investment makes no sense. That's why I bought my 2007 Highlander with a four-cylinder. Then, it had the same freeway mileage as the Hybrid, and a smaller difference in city mileage as now, and a much higher price spread. Can't wait to see what the 2009 Hybrid ratings will be, and what price they ask for the new 2.5L Dual VVT-i vs. the 3.3L in the Hybrid. Heck, the 2.7L Base model may be they way to go (again).
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    You need to read the thread more carefully (or other sources like the Wall Street Journal) as the real-world price delta has been widely detailed. Quoting the Toyota site isn't that constructive since that is playing into their widely-reported deception. The real-world price difference right now is about $13K. That has grown from what was always at least $11K. The short reason why is as follows (do a search if you want more details):

    1. Toyota intentionally obscured the price difference by converting essential features to extra-cost options in the Hybrids. For example, comparing the Limited to the Hybrid Limited, auto air is standard in the Limited but all that is standard in the Limited Hybrid is manual air in the front row only (serious, we’re talking no AC at all standard in the back two rows of the Hybrid Limited, not base). Now Toyota knows no one is going to accept no AC in the rear and makes it a standard factory installed option in virtually all the Hybrids they ship. But by the time you get done adding the rear AC, climate control for the front and auto-AC upgrade for the rear to get to comparable for the non-Hybrid Limited, you’ve added several $K just to get apples-to-apples.

    2. The other major delta is Hybrids sell near-to or at full MSRP and have no incentive program). The non-hybrids are typically selling below dealer invoice after you factor in the current Toyota incentive program. This gap has only grown bigger over time which is why the average delta has grown from $11K to $13K.

    You still didn’t answer the questions about how you came you your positive return based on the assumptions in your original email. The $4,100 was based on your math, not mine. In your reply you mixed-and-matched, taking the savings rate based on one set of assumptions and applying the to your hypothetical reduced delta cost between the up-front purchases based on a different set of assumptions. That doesn’t make any sense. I would really like you to explan the logic, per my previous questions, based on the asusmptions you laid out in your first email.

    Doing any assumptions based on a $6.7K is useless because you can’t get a comparably –equipped Hybrid anywhere near that. You don’t have to believe me. Believe the WSJ or USA Today or Edmunds or whatever credible third party source you want.
  • You clearly have done more research into the actual price spread than I have. I can attest to Toyota's practice of showing models' prices and availability, but not really making them available - even non-hybrids. So I am corrected. The supply and demand is what sets prices anyway, and manufacturers and distributors of hybrids will not discount them at all, and probably demand extra profit on top of it.

    There are three elements to the hybrid economic viability, really. Initial cost, resale recaptured, and fuel saved. The first is controlled my the supply chain, the second by the marketplace, and the third by the technology. At this stage of the product lifecycle, the initial cost is higher than it will become, Time will tell about he resale value as well. The technology of recapturing braking energy and expending for acceleration is now well proven. The economic viability is the question.

    My point is that in judging this viability, don't forget about two key elements: the initial cost is offset by the higher trade-in (or resale value); and the payback period, whatever it is, must compared to the alternatives for investment.

    If I could find a 5-year CD that paid 10% for $11-13k initial investment, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Tens of thousands people would. Heck, a 6% CD would be a winner. The extra 4% may be judged as a cover for the non-FDIC aspect.

    Over a million people have already bought hybrids. Many of them (and I know several) have done it, in large measure, just to be green. Making economic sense has to be part of this for me. Right now, it's not bad, and getting better all the time.

    More and more capital is being invested to bring the cost of it down. While this is going on, no one is asking you to buy one. But every incremental one that is sold is helping to lower the cost for me any everyone (and possibly you as well). Please don't discourage them by implying that a multi-year payback is a bad thing. It simply isn't. At a time when other historically good investments offer such low yields, such as US T-bills, (see link title), investment will and should move to alternatives.
  • If you were referring to my post earlier.. about returns... It was specifically targeted at those who 'pay extra to be green'. Hybrids are not so green if you look at all the extra energy used to create the components (for example, creating the nickel in the batteries is a massive energy hog). Many 'scientists' have calculated an average of 100k miles of "gas savings" are required - over non hybrids - to break even environmentally.

    So, they cost a lot more and are not exactly "Green". Gotta love marketing spin.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Gotta love marketing spin.

    Is it spin if that is what the customers want? :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Yup.. if it makes them believe that is what they want. :lemon:
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I don't think the car companies are driving that "desire." It's the politicians but then that's a topic for another Forum. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • I think that the $4/gallon gas might be part of that desire as well. In the Gulf States, it's over $5 - at least temporarily. The point is that gas prices have gone up, and without that incentive, hybrids would be largely irrelevant.

    Sure, there's a few people that seem bent on burning as much gas as they can in their lifetime, because the planet isn't gong to explode in their lifetime. They neglect the fact that wars are fought for oil and resources. And that their tax dollars and fellow countrymen and women are spent in the process.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    Don't get me wrong -- from a marketing perspective selling hybrids is brilliant. I am completely agreeing that many people are buying to be "green." I just don't think many of them looked into the facts very well. I know at least a eight people personally who own Highlander Hybirds. Most say they did it to be green and know it was not cost effective, but at the same time to the last man they quote a much smaller delta price than is actual. i think most people who get the Hybrid don't seriously research the cost delta personally so they believe they are paying a smaller premium. I started in the demo -- I went specifically to shop for the HH, was told by the dealer it was about a $4-7K delta, then did the research and found out it was much higher. I think some people skip that step. I also did the research on how I was helping the environement if I bought it. It worked out to saving 50 gallons of fuel a year. I figured out that if I asked my gardener to skip mowing twice a season I did more good, since lawn mores our 40x worse for the environment gallon for gallon as modern cars. Similarly, if I set the winter thermostat temperature just one degree lower I also do more good than I would have with the Highlander Hybrid. Now I suppose I could be doing all these things, but I bet most people aren't.

    I agree the Hybrids will do better on resale, which is only useful if you are buying versus leasing because ironically Toyota gives you little residual value benefit when computing leases right now. And interesting the residual benefit has been pretty modest until this year when the gas prices surged and everyone wanted a hybrid and there was a shortage. It will be interesting to see if that sustains itself.
  • I agree. If you don't drive a lot of city miles a year, Hybrids are just not worth much extra. Most people can talk themselves into anything they really want ot buy - logic be damned. Logic is used to justify their emotionally-tinged decisions. It is fairly damning of Toyota to not offer an increased residual on a lease. It will be interesting how this may change in the future.

    Me - not sure what to do. I just checked the weight of the current V-6 Highlander - 4,000 lbs. in Sport and Limited trim. Even the addition of the 2.7L option will not make it an economical drive around town. I hope the Venza is 600-800 lbs lighter. Just turned 22k on my 2007 4-cyl Highlander. Running just fine, too. Not exciting, but fine.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    Do you require the third row and capacity of the Highlander? If fuel efficiency is driving your decision and you don't need that thirs row, get the Ford Edge Hybrid. You have to get over it being a Ford and looking like a classic SUV, but it gets 30/34 MPG, even in real world conditions. I absolutely required the third row (which is another reason I didn't go with the Highlander which hs a really small third row that can't be used on long trips since you can't split it to use and still pack stuff), otherwise I would have very seriously considered the Ford Hybird. It actually uses the exact same Hybrid Engine as the Toyota becaue Ford licensed it from Toyota but gets the added MPG benefit because it is lighter.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 573
    I think you mean the Ford Escape Hybrid not the Edge.
  • He's probably just giddy that he got a hybrid of some type and can be "cool" now, not realizing that it IS a Ford and that it makes no financial sense whatsoever.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    It actually uses the exact same Hybrid Engine as the Toyota becaue Ford licensed it from Toyota but gets the added MPG benefit because it is lighter.

    Actually it uses the Toyota setup from the Camry (4cy engine). I thought the HH uses a V6 Hybrid combo and that's the reason the Escape out performs (on FE) the HH. Weight would not make up the 5 to 7 mpg difference.
  • 2007 FWD 4 cyl with a remote starter!
    Odometer = 12,400
    Long term mpg average = 18.88
    High MPG = 27.93
    Low MPG = 11.93 - result of 20 F below temps, lots of idling and heavy use of the remote starter

    Most driving is in-town with the summer average at 19-21 mpg and winter average at 14-17 mpg. Highway mpg is 23 to 28 depending on the wind direction, wind speed and road speed (local highways 65 to 70, the interstate is 75).

    We used some E10 (89) gas early on with the Highlander. The E10 is generally about 10 cents less per gallon, however, our experience is that the mpg drop with E10 makes regular plain gasoline a better deal.

    For comparison here is our previous 03 Sienna with the 3.0L V6 (FWD)
    Odometer = 26,000
    Long term mpg average = 16.47
    High MPG = 26.23 (vacation to Jellystone, used a lot of 85 octane fuel) Generally the highway mpg was 22-24 mpg.
    Low MPG = 9.03
  • I have a 2005 Highlander with 6 cyl engine. 15,000 annually. 55% town and local. Fast driver, generally. 17 local, 22-24 highway.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    1248 mile trip, 880 miles pure highway, the rest mixed city/suburban/highway. Overall 22.3 mpg. The two all highway tanks were 23.4 and 23.6, average speed about 69 mph. The trip computer on the 23.4 highway tank read 25.0, more optimistic than usual.
  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    I also have a 2005 Highlander V-6, FWD, with 55,000 Miles. Last weekend my wife went to her class reunion in Upland IN, a 592 mile round trip that took her from WI, through Chicago, down through IN and back. 20% stop and go due to construction and detours in Chicago and Gary IN. only used 22.5 Gallons of 87 Octane. That is 26.3 MPG, and she used the air the whole way...

    Tires: O.E. Brigstone Dueler set at 35 Psi
    Oil: Mobil 1 5W-30 SUV
  • I have a 2007 Highlander Hybrid AWD with 35,000 miles. It gets 26 mpg, and that's averaged over winters and summers, highway and city, good days and bad ones. And having driven cars for 45 years, I know that in the real world that I'm describing, the non-hybrid just doesn't come close. Plus the hybrid blows the doors off a standard Highlander, and all SUVs except the hemis. Yes, there is a price differential, but the MPG makes up part of it, probably most of it, possibly all of it depending on gas prices. But the important part is even if it isn't 100% cost justified, it's a vital step in the transition to all electric cars.
  • lucky_777lucky_777 Posts: 205
    I get around 22MPG combined on 08 AWD gas only model and I drive more in city then on hwy. I didn't see a Hybrid HL on the road that blown away doors away from mine, I guess I need to watch out better. I didn't believe it was worth the money to buy a HL hybrid when gas was at $4 a gallon. With gas prices floating around $2.50 already in Ohio, hybrid HL doesn't make any financial sense to me. If you live in city with heavy traffic then buying a hybrid might offer some advantages but still will take many years to recover your "investment" in hybrid technology. Hybrids doesn't offer substantial savings if you compare same model gas to hybrid versions. Even Prius is not going to save you a lot of money if you compare it with a Civic or Corolla. With gas prices plummeting hybrid resale value will soon go to the same place where it was year or two ago. Once plug-in technology matures I'll it might be worthwhile. For now I don't see any good alternative to gas.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Motor Trend did an analysis of hybrids a year or two ago. As I recall, they breakeven point was about 100,000 miles which is 6+ years for most people. Of course, gas was likely closer to $3 than $4 so the results might have been different if the analysis was done last summer. At this time, you buy a hybrid for the good of the planet, not because it saves you money.

    Btw, I'm impressed with your overall mileage given that the 08 is much larger than my 04. We never break 20 mpg in the city and 23-24 is the best we can do on the highway at 70 mph or less.
  • lucky_777lucky_777 Posts: 205
    08 employs newer technologies that make it a little better on gas then older generation. Not all people like these improvements such as drive by wire or electric steering assist but I'm fine with it. I don't see how you can do good for the planet by buying HL or any other SUV hybrid. On top of that you always need to take in account battery manufacturing process. Earth doesn't gain anything from hybrids. They as bad as any other gasoline engine cars. Customers might feel better but real winners here only car manufacturers. If you really want to make a difference then here is a best kept secret - drive a subcompact car with a stick shift you get almost same MPG as a hybrid of same size. Better yet drive less.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Indiana to Florida and back. 2922 miles, about 2400 pure freeway mostly around 70-73 mph. The remainder was mixed city/suburban/non-freeway highway driving.

    Overall average 21.95 which was 1 mpg less than the same trip last year. Not sure if this was due to slightly higher speeds or new tires (Bridgestone Alenza replaced the OEM Michelins) or a little of both. Best tank 23.6, worst tank 20.4. Trip computer was always 1-2 mpg higher than actual.

    Anecdotal evidence indicates support for data I have seen that says there's about a 2.5 mpg increase for each 5 mph speed decrease. I was going to try that theory on the way home but had to give it up to get home by the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. ;)

    At least the gas was over $1/gal less than last year.
  • john278john278 Posts: 2
    I drive a 2008 Highlander LTD w/awd. After the first 5000 miles I am getting 22.3 miles per gallon in mixed driving as per the computer.
  • I studied these real world gas mileage forums before settling on the Highlander which seemed to get better real world mpg than other equivalent SUVs.
    We bought a new 2009 2WD V6 Sport Model a week ago. We drove from Sacramento CA to Fort Bragg CA 180 miles one way. First 60 miles are freeway at 70mph, then 90 miles of two lane highway through mild cures and hills at max 55mph and frequent small towns with slower speed limits of 35-45 mph. The final 30 miles are frequent tight turns lots of up and down hills average speed 30 mph due to curves. We averaged 24 mpg going and 26 mpg returning the same route (based on computer reading). We had 2 people in the car plus 200-300 lbs of cargo. Only 500 miles on the car at the end of the trip. So far pretty happy with the results! :shades:
  • nsteffensnsteffens Posts: 2
    Ok, how are you doing this? I just bought the same car as yours (2009 Highlander v6 sport model. Thus far my computer says I am getting 16.3 mpg, which does not make me happy. I am not an aggressive driver, so what is going on??!!
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    Any number of about 1000 things could be going on, but my guess is that you're not fully broken in yet. If you "just" purchased the car, give it about 3 months and/or about 1500 mileage in my 08 HL LTD 4WD improved significantly after the first few tankfuls.
  • Where are you driving?
    We now have 3200miles on the Highlander. Driving where there are lots of stop lights around town or short trips to and from nearby stores we get around 17mpg. If I can cruise down a boulevard without getting too many stops I get 19mpg. Continuous highway driving with minimal stops and a heavy load we are getting 24-26mpg. Average around town plus extended highway driving combined is about 20mpg.

    Technique: I try to anticipate stops and take my foot of the gas early and take advantage of the glide then I don't have to brake as hard with I get to the stop. The Highlander keeps going pretty well. If I loose momentum too early I just barely put my foot on the gas. When I'm going down hill I take my foot of the gas and glide trying to minimize my breaking to take maximum advantage of the glide.
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