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Toyota Highlander Real World MPG



  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    Shortcomings are relative. No system using traction control and throttle modulation will ever approach what you get with three indvidual multi plate clutches that can transfer much more power to any single wheel and do it quicker and at higher speeds.

    My question would be if there are shortcomings compared to a front wheel drive vehicle or the most basic AWD vehicles with three open differentials that also use traction control to transfer power to wheels with traction from the front axle to the rear. At least the Highlander Hybrid has a separate motor in back that appears to be an advantage, even if it uses traction control and to ship power side to side. Without those details, it seems hard to assess this for certain.
  • johnd15johnd15 Posts: 41
    I'm in the market for a 2011. There are 2 new colors - Sizzling crimson & nautical blue. Toyota brochures can be misleading... the sizzling crimson, which I saw in person today, was more like the color of dried blood and very dark than the more medium burgundy shade in the brochure. Not attractive at all to me. Has any one seen the nautical blue? This would be my first choice if it is a darker shade.

    The 2011 drives very nice & quiet, good acceleration. The Limited's push button start is kinda cool too. Also like the darker wood color (interior trim on console, door handles) as opposed to the lighter shade on 2010.
  • My husband and I are looking at buying a highlander and can't decide between the regular highlander or the hybrid version.Does anyone have any thoughts???He thinks the hybrid is not worth the difference in cost.I like the savings in gas and also think the hybrid drives smoother and is much more quiet.Any advice would be much appreciated!thanks!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The HL & RX hybrid designs are more about outstanding 0-60 times vs FE.

    Also, the Toyota HSD system does not do well for FE unless the majority of the time is city stop and go traffic.

    Personally I'm looking forward to the 2012 Ford Escape hybrid.

    If you live in the snow zone a base FWD vehicle, the HL, is a fairly unsafe choice.
  • On the post in regards to the hybrid vs gas V6, the hybrid premium price makes it difficult to justify to me. The $4000 - $6000 difference would pay for years of fill ups. There is also the environmental consideration of all the added electrical components used + the eventual longevity/disposal issue with the battery itself. If you live in a northern climate and take shorter drives, expect relatively poor performance on gas mileage. The battery system is much less efficient in cold climates. Lastly, the extra weight of the hybrid model will necessitate costly 19" tire replacement much sooner than with the gas model.
  • wgraferwgrafer Posts: 592
    I see the 2.7 4 Cylinder gas mileage for 2011 is EPA rated at 20/25 avg.22, while the 2010 is rated at 20/27 avg.22. Both have 6-speed auto. Did something change or were the 2010 numbers just too optimistic ??
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I suspect that since so many owners were complaining about the "dithering", shiftiness (unwillingness to settle down into one gear ratio), of the new 6(9) speed transaxle the shift pattern firmware was changed to prevent the 2010's "shiftiness".

    That change would mostly or only be reflected in lower hwy FE which we see is the result.
  • I'm hearing about a new battery and better mileage in the 2011. Bought a 2009 hybrid limited with 8000 May and thru the summer was getting around 26 mpg. The temperature for the past month has been in the 30's and I've had a drastic reduction in city mileage to about 17 mpg. I've heard that happens when it gets cold, but I'm shocked and wonder if there's a system problem. jack
  • qkwqkw Posts: 1
    Does anyone know the reasonable price of Base Highlander V6 FWD in RTP area in NC? Which dealer will be the good one to buy?

  • Just purchased a 2011 4WD Limited gas V6 & have burned through 2 tanks of gas. 1st tank - 21 MPG; 2nd tank 19 mpg. Calculated myself - not by the vehicle. Driving probably 60% highway around 70 - 75 mph. Winter here in N MI, 30s; first tank (21 mpg) was a bit warmer temp wise - 40s. Hoping for better most of the year come spring.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    Well, the EPA estimate is 17/22.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    If it's still new, you're still breaking it in. Also, your mileage will get a bit better once everyone isn't selling winter-blend gasoline any more (about March.) But, as typesix said, the EPA estimate is 17/22, so you're pretty close now.
  • tex63tex63 Posts: 1
    I realize this post was from a year ago but I just started looking through forums to see what other victims were out there with 2010 Highlanders getting horrible milage. I think we're stuck with our 2010 gas guzzler just the way it is. My wife only drives 10 to 15 per day in town. She started with only 11 or 12 mpg then it got better to around 14, 15. Now its back to 11.9 consistantly for the last several fill ups. I know its short distance and winter fuel yatta yatta but this completely sucks. We drive it like the gas petal is a baby's head but it just doesn't matter. This gas pig hates to be driven short distance. Now gas is going up and up to who knows... $40K could have been spent much more wisely. If you are looking to buy a Toyota Highlander and you don't have money falling out of your pockets every week for fuel, keep looking. (The Bridgestone tires that cause pulling left and right depending on how you rotate them aren't too much fun either) Thanks Toyota, you got us good. Bad milage, bad tires, and lo tech nav and stereo compared to everything else out there. You made us feel like losers for buying this one.
  • Wife just bought one. I tried to get her to try Mazda Cx9 but she didn't like the body style. The HL is too soft of a ride and it's very noisy. I like quiet cabins. The wind noise is pretty bad and I can hear other cars on the road and it's quite annoying. Even with the music on you can hear the ambience noise outside. I do like the power lift gate on the back with auto close (we got the SE). The backup camera on that tiny screen is pathetic. I do like the amount of room in the second row. The kids can't really kick the front seats when in their car seats. Toyota needs to step up. The Koreans will catch up soon with Huyndai and Kia producing some nice looking cars. I have to say, my Kia Sorento SX outperforms my wife's highlander SE in almost every aspect. Those who are more open minded will likely to find better value out there. I was disappointed in the HL SE. This is coming from a guy who traded an older Escalade for a Kia. Take it for what it's worth, drive HL on freeway first before you buy. Just giving my 2 cents.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    Is it a 4 cyl or V6?
  • rma581rma581 Posts: 4
    So far I have AVG 25mpg 60% City / 40% hy. I'm not sure why the EPA lowered the Highway millage on the 2011 Highlander form 27 to 25mpg. I did a 80%hy/20% city 200mile run at 70mph & calculated 28mpg.
  • rma581rma581 Posts: 4
    I'm getting 26mpg avg on our new 2011 4cyl Highlander. ( I usally drive 60% hy rest city. Thats 2mpg more avg that our 2007 Rav4 AWD 4cyl. My best Highway millage I got on the '07 Rav4 was 26mpg, however just after driving 200 miles (mostly highway) I got 28.5 mpg , Not bad since it still has under 1000 miles. Also having FWD helps get decient mileage, I didnt see the need to get a AWD Highlander since I already own a Rav4 AWD to take out if the roads arent plowed well.
  • anthony921anthony921 Posts: 40
    I picked up a Highlander Limited about a week ago. In my household there are two other HL's, an 01 and an 06.

    On the 11 I've noticed that the rear cargo cover doesn't retract where it connects to the rear seats. On the 06 HL when you disconnect the covers from the rear seats, they retract like a window shade. Are all 2011 HL's like this ?

    Overall I love the 2011 HL. The ride is very comfy and quiet. Fit and finish are great !!!
  • tdivertdiver MinnesotaPosts: 18
    On my 2010 Limited they do not retract. I wish they did. Cost cutting I suppose. For the most part I have enjoyed my Highlander too. I have about 6000 miles on mine so far and all is well.
  • anthony921anthony921 Posts: 40
    Thanks for the reply !!! OK, glad to know it's not just my cargo cover that doesn't retract. It does look rather silly without retracting.

    Good luck with your HL !!!!
  • toyota07toyota07 Posts: 12
    I've had my 2011 Highlander for over 3 months now and have averaged 27-29 mpg. I calculate the mileage myself and it's always close to the multi-info display. I drive about 30% city and 70% highway with moderate traffic. I am a gentle driver, no hard acceleration or abrupt stops. I opted for the 4 Cyl. because I have 70-mile daily commute. I drove a 2007 V6 Toyota Camry for 5 years and don't really miss the power of the V6. The car has been flawless since day one and hope to continue to be trouble free with no rattles/squeaks. I currently have a little over 4000 miles and have always used regular 87 octane gas.
    I am wondering what other 2011 owners are getting. Also, did you notice any improvement in gas mileage after the first 5000 miles?

  • tdivertdiver MinnesotaPosts: 18
  • rma581rma581 Posts: 4
    Ever since I drove my 2010 off the lot new I have been I'm get on a avg 28 Hy. 25mpg mixed 60% hy/40 city. I too decided to get a FWD since it had decent pwr & EPA ratings for a SUV with a 3rd row. Whats strange is that on the 2010 models the EPA lower its ratings from 27 to 25mph even thought they have the same tran / engine as the 2009 model yr. I avg 70 MPH hy & usually dont floor it driving in stop n go traffic. So far I have 4500 miles & I'm getting the same results on Gas Millage. Also to no rattles/squeaks & the Blue Tooth Audio Sync works flawless with my Droit HTC phone..
  • Last year after I put snow tires on my 05 Highlander Limited V6 (I live in Vermont) I noticed that my mileage had falling about 2 mpg. I have tracked my mileage since I bought this car so I was a little surprised at this but felt it was the snow tires. But come springtime, after I switched back to the regular tires nothing changed, still have the lower mpg. To make matters worse on extended road trips I would get anywhere from 23 - 25 mpg. Now I see 21 - 22 and sometimes less then 20 mpg.
    Took the car to the dealer and did not like the response. His first question was did you switch to using gas with ethanol? My response was huh??? I have been using gas with ethanol since I bought the car new. Since the check engine light was not on he said there is nothing he could do about this.
    So my question is what sort of things will cause the mpg to fall like it did.
    Tires have the factory recommend PSI. I have tried different brands of gas and all have the same results.
    Any suggestions as to what I need to do to correct this situation?

    [email protected]
  • Hi all, just wanted to add my two cents. Recently purchased a used 2009 Toyota Highlander w/ the 2.7L engine and FWD. Basic car, mileage was 26.6K. With about 70% HWY, driving non-aggressively, and tires inflated to 32 psi, I am averaging 28.5 through 3 tanks of gas. I'm happy with that number. Curious- does anyone know if its possible that driving faster on the highway like, 70 mph, might be more efficient than 60? Seems strange, but my second tank (where I averaged driving faster) was somewhat higher than my first tank.

  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    No, mpg will be worse at higher speed. More air drag to overcome and engine has to spin faster. Only way I see higher speed being better is perhaps on steep grade, the engine will have more power output and tranny may not downshift and raise rpms.
  • txag1995txag1995 Posts: 7
    edited November 2011
    We just purchased a 2012 Highlander w/ 4CYL engine and have about 2000 miles on it. My wife is consistently getting 25.5 mpg in suburban Texas driving. I get about 24 when I drive it. We have yet to take it on a road trip but short (20-30 miles) on the highway show us getting about 27 mpg at 70 mph.

    We are very pleased with this vehicle. It is quiet, comfortable, seats 7, and still gets 25 mpg in day to day driving. Power is fine. I have a Ford Expedition that feels about the same in the power to weight ratio. The only difference is that it gets about 16mpg day to day.

    Will update MPG after a road trip next month.
  • I have an opportunity to purchase a 2010 Highlander Limited 4x4; fully equiped with only 11K miles for just 30K (it is a lease repo, and has already been checked out to ensure it is sound). My only concern is that after reading through the forum, it sounds like people are getting crummy mileage with theirs. My driving will be approx 75/25 city/hwy. Should I pass on this? I was hoping to move into an SUV from my older Infinity.

    Thanks for your comments!
  • I now have driven over 9,000 miles on my 2010 FWD 4cyl Highlander. I'm still achieving a higher MPG than its EPA ratings (20city 25 highway)... on Avg 50/50% Hy/city driving I can achieve a avg of 24-25mpg & on a avg 80/20% Hy/city I can achive 27-28mpg.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Well, you missed the deadline for the news story by a few months, but I'm sure the other owners here would like to hear your secret.

    Do you keep an egg under the gas pedal?
  • txag1995txag1995 Posts: 7
    edited November 2011
    This past weekend we drove from Dallas to Houston (320 miles highway each way) and then drove around Houston about 250 miles which was a mix of hwy and city driving.

    Dallas To Houston (320 miles @ 65-80 mph) = 23.3 mpg
    In Houston (250 Miles @ 50/50 City Highway) = 24.1 mpg
    Houston to Dallas (320 miles @ 70-85 mph) = 21.9 mpg (strong head winds)

    If my wife drives she usually gets 2 mpg better than I do. We have 2000 miles on the HL now.

    *All representations of driving in excess of posted limits are purely fictional and for illustrative purposes only*
  • Not much has changed on our 2012 Highlander w/ 4CYL engine.

    My wife still averages about 25.3 in day to day suburban driving; including school drop offs and grocery runs.

    When I drive it the mpg still drops off by about 2mpg.

    We were considering a GMC Acadia type vehicle before but we are really glad to have the HL. I think we have saved about $250 in gas already over that type of vehicle in similar driving conditions based on what my BIL gets on his Acadia. Over the course of a year we will save almost $700 in gas! That might be chump change for some of you but I am glad to keep the $ in my pocket.
  • orangeman99orangeman99 Posts: 83
    I drive mostly in city (NYC-lots of traffic lights, so stop and go), and my gas mileage is about 12 mpg; about 50% less than listed/advertised/EPA mpg.

    On the highway, I get about 20.
  • just an update- with 36K miles on my 2009 HL 2.7L FWD base, I am averaging 28 mpg w/ as much hypermiling tricks that I can stand. I'm doing 75/25 HWY/CITY. Switched to Bridgestone Ecopia 422's which has helped w/ handling and NVH.
  • padypady Posts: 10
    edited May 2012
    Brand new car at 15 miles. First trip 180 miles later mostly freeway ( speed 60miles/hour ) some miles local driving, I got 27.7 mpg.
  • msmram1980msmram1980 Posts: 1
    edited September 2012
    Tank 1 - 360 miles; mostly highway with some grade; 23.8 mpg
    Tank 2 - 250 miles; mostly highway with some grade; 25.8 mpg
    Tank 3 - 300 miles; state roads with steep grades; avg 45 mph; 22.9 mpg
    Tank 4 - 240 miles; mostly highway with no grade; 26.7 mpg :D
    Tank 5 - 340 miles; even split between highway and suburbs; 25 mpg

    - Average speed was 60-70 mph unless indicated
    - Kept engine rpm mostly around 2000 with peak rpm during acceleration not exceeding 3000 rpm (didnt know I had so much self-control!!) :shades:
    - Weight in car around 500 pounds most of the time
    - Regular fuel filled at different stations in PA, VA & MD
    - Light AC almost all the time, windows always up

    Measurements were all manual; on-board computer number higher by almost 1.5 mpg.
  • Hi folks, just a quick PSA- there is tons of real world data on the website broken down by car manufacture, years, model and engine. My car is there- 2009 2.7L HL named, "Hugo". Really interesting and useful site. I cruise at 65 MPH according to the speedo and have Ecopia tires.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    When they do a test they don't do it where there is alot of idling of the engine at stop lights one after another. If your vehicle is sitting motionless 30% of the time due to traffic lights you are getting 0 MPG so it's not fair to state that it's less than advertised. You should have bought a Hybrid for that kind of driving. My Wife only drives 1.5 miles to work everyday and shops other times and is getting about 15 MPG city. When I drive in suburban areas I get about 17 and have been getting about 23.5 on the highway running 70 mph. We have a 2012 Limited AWD V6 with only 2100 miles on it. I expect the Highway to improve when it reaches at least 5000 miles.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • I live in Houston, Texas and I get 20 MPG in the city and 21.5 - 22 HWY with my 2012 V6 Highlander. Currently have 8000 miles in the odometer.
  • alenbalenb Posts: 1
    I just bough a 2009 Toyota Highlander and was excited about great mileage specs for this SUV.
    Come to realize average fuel economy was much lower that advertised. It's 50% highway driving and I only got average 13.88 MPG.
    Now I am looking into replacing air filter, spark plugs, checking fuel injectors, and hope this improves because I really like this vehicle.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,786

    The government specified Fuel Economy specifications in Australia tend to be pretty reliable. My 2004 Kluger is rated at 12.3l/100km. I have found that consistently over 195,000km that this is pretty accurate. Long steady highway trips see that drop to 10.5l/100km or less (I found that I was getting 8.8l/100km on a recent gentle trip).

    Conversely aggressive city driving can drive it up to 14.5l/100km, but that is rare.

    I tend to drive gently, but not slowly, reading the traffic ahead. I usually find that I end my 25km commute a car or two behind aggressive drivers (frequently ahead of them because of reading traffic conditions a long way ahead, even in stop-start traffic). This in a busy city which easily exceeds US traffic intensity.

    I have a roof rack with bars, tow bar and carry a fair bit of heavy safety gear, so would expect worse than average economy.

    Equally, I got 145,000km from the first set of brake pads, so there is more than one benefit.


  • Finally found the answer. Seems like this fall off started around the time that I reinstalled my regular all season tires. To make a very long story short it appears that one or more brakes were applied that caused my MPG to reduce about 2 -3 miles per gallon. Not noticeable when driving!!!! Finally returned to normal when I had all four brakes rebuilt at the same time after right front breaks really failed and inspection of the other three showed less then perfect performance. Noticed the change immediately after pick when driving.
    All well now back to my 19/20 MPG.
    Lesson learned for sure.
    Marty :)
  • brg88txbrg88tx Posts: 1
    edited February 2013
    I recently bought a preowned 2011 highlander 4 cylinder (24k miles) with tech package. through 2 tanks of gas i'm averaging about 26-27 mpg. that is amazing for a suv this size. Imo toyota is sandbagging on the official mpg figures so the sales of their base 4 cyl models do not start taking away sales of their most expensive hybrid model.
  • bedwards4bedwards4 Posts: 2

    I have a 2014 Toyota highlander AWD. I average 18.8 mpgs with mixed driving. Any suggestions to improve mpg?

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