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Toyota Highlander Real World MPG



  • Not much of a refresh for 2012 to my eyes. Still the same dull dated dash... no 6 speed trans for the V6; no improvement in MPG at least for gas engine. Pricing will likely be more firm. With the new RAV4 coming next year I may wait.
  • Info is up on Toyota's site now. IMO, the changes to the hybrid are very nice, except that they uglified the front end a bit.
  • berriberri Posts: 10,059
    I generally like Toyota, but the new conventional engined Highlander is a disappointment. Only change to mediocre interior appears to be a split, but still minimally usable, 3rd row seat (now mandatory in all models). Fuel economy only meets Honda Pilot and is behind Chevy Traverse, Ford Edge and probably new upcoming Ford Explorer. Same stupid odd sized 19" Toyo tires. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because the updated RAV4 still has the side hinged rear tailgate that most people don't like and that is [non-permissible content removed] backwards for American roads. I think Toyota hasn't cured its GM -itis yet. Arrogant thinking that just because of their name people will buy whatever they offer. I imagine it won't take long for the 2011 Highlander to have the same big discounts and promo's as the previous model. Give this one 6 months and you should save a lot of money.
  • ushy66ushy66 Posts: 366
    edited September 2010
    Just compared 2010/2011 HL LTD's. I like most of the mild cosmetic changes made to the interior and exterior of the 2011 HL, but can someone please explain the rationale behind the design change that resulted in the funky blister/bubble-like headlights on the new HL? I just don't understand it, AND it looks really ugly! And since increasing MPG is suppose to be one of the carmaker's goals, why didn't they use a 6 speed AT in the new 6-cyl HL like they did in the Avalon and some of their other 6 cyl models in the last 1-2 yrs?

    Thanks, Jake
  • johnd15johnd15 Posts: 41
    Made a comment earlier on "refresh". Now can pass on more as I test drove a 2011 SE. Impressed by comfort, handling, acceleration. SE model is pretty loaded. The keyless ignition and auto unlock is only Limited model feature I'd like. Have to say, at least for black on black color scheme, interior seemed very nice. It's the beige that I dislike. The new "face" gives the Highlander a little more "attitude" than the old. MPG (17/23) not a selling point to me; maybe vs Pilot. But look what Honda has now on new Odyssey, another 4000 lb + vehicle: 19 city, 28 hwy! Also drove a Touring Pilot. Felt slower, more trucklike. Personally, don't care for looks. Dash & interior not as nice looking as HL to my eyes. EPA - disappointing. Sorry Honda - from a guy with a Odyssey & Fit in my driveway. If my wife/kids have their way, a new Highlander may be coming our way.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Any idea when the 2.7L 4 cylinder will be upgraded, improved FE/HP/torque, to/with DFI...??

    When will, if ever, will the HL get the new Sienna's new, more functional, F/awd system..?

    And what are the chances of getting both in the same HL..??
  • You mean to say Toyota did NOT change the AWD, its the same traction control/three open differentials/one wheel drive/brake modulation/back off the throttle type of AWD?

    That's too bad, I like the split third and blue color.

    It appears In Chicagoland area if you want Highlander Hybrid you have to take Limited, woof, $40K+. That's alot of money sitting in the parking lot as fellow employees open their car doors into it.

    I can get a Subaru Outback with 4 cyl CVT for a lot less, and back seat can fit three in a pinch, so no need for third row.

    And now all kids meet Illinois state rules of 8+ years and 50+ lbs for no car seat. Yes!

    Still don't like that Pilot; lots of kids on our block, afraid of hitting them, and to get camera have to get leather.
  • While I'm not a big fan of Toyota's implementation of AWD in current Highlanders it's proven to be more then adequate in everyday city/suburbia driving. I've been through 3 Ohio winters with it, and drove through number of major snow storms. I can't say a single bad word about it. It does what it is supposed to do, and not too bad on fuel comparing to other "better" 4WD implementations.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    For the hybrid, I believe there is no center differential. My understanding is that a separate electric motor drives the rear axle independently. It is quite possible that power transfer from one wheel to the other on each axle is done by brake and throttle modulation, though. Does anyone have technical details of the 4WD-i system in the hybrid? Toyota's site is dumbed down and the link to more information on the system goes to a page about the enviroment:-(

    Dealer inventory always tends to the high end models, but I've found that Toyota dealers are willing to order base models equipped any way that Toyota allows for your region. There's also Carmax in Kenosha that has a new Toyota dealership where we got our Prius at a much lower fixed price than the Chicago dealers wouldn't match. We also got our Outback there back when they had a Subaru new dealership. If only Subaru offered a hybrid or even gave lip service to fuel economy, we might have another one. Instead they re-classified the Outback as a light truck to get around the CAFE standards for passenger cars. Really, unless you are close to the lake like NW Indiana, AWD is pretty unnecessary in most of the Chicago area. I wish Toyota offered the Highlander Hybrid in front wheel drive like the do on the Lexus hybrid SUV.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited October 2010
    Toyota cannot easily disclose the details, "theory of operation" of the HighLander and RX hybrid F/awd system without making obvious the shortcomings, poor wintertime safety factor, of their non-hybrid F/awd systems.

    With the hybrid system if the lateral, stearing, g-forces are substantial enough the front "drive" can be made negligible with the rear wheel providing the major drive force.

    An IDEAL F/awd system would have the ability for the engine's ENTIRE drive force to be allocated to the rear with SEVERE lateral forces in play. On an icy, slippery surface it would be desireable to have NO engine drive torque, leasing or lagging, on the front wheels should the stability control system indicate an understearing/plowing condition.
  • 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 !!!!
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