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New Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owners - Give Us Your Report

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,085
edited October 2014 in Toyota
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  • sithechsithech Posts: 1
    It's in the driveway. Haven't had a huge amount of time to absorb all the experience or the massive manuals, but it seems to really live up to the reviews. According to the dealer, this is the first California retail delivery made.

    Toyota apparently allocated based on the number of Highlanders sold during the previous year. I put my order in last July.

    BTW, all the Highlanders on ebay are "expected to arrive on..." and have hefty premiums on the reserve - on the order of $4k for a 2wd limited. Purchase price on my limited 4wd with nav system was $41,300.
  • Just picked up my limited. It was almost what I ordered 3 weeks ago. It had an additional "extra mile option package E" for $1366. According to the dealer, the distributor is trying to match vehicles as close as possible to orders and forward them accordingly. Mine has NO navigation system which I didn't order anyway. Total price 40399. Handled great on ride home and no excessive noise that people had reported. Came with all options that I wanted and everything in the correct colors.
  • tomslycktomslyck Posts: 70
    We picked it up this afternoon. Lmited w/nav, 2wd. It's everything it's supposed to be. In my community of stop signs every block, the ICE barely turns on at all. Wow! Very cool!
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    Our dealer called yesterday and our new Highlander Hybrid will be ready for us to pick up this morning. It is Limited, 4WDi with Navigation, Bluestone Metallic with Ash Leather interior. The price is $42,480 which includes $625 for the running boards which were installed at the port. I took a quick peek at it early this morning and it looks great. I like the changes made in the grill and the chrome piece on the back hatch. My wife and I had originally not wanted the Navigation system until we experienced one of the new DVD based navigation systems in a friends new Acura TL. Superior to the CD based navigation system that is in my 2001 BMW M3. Although $2,000 is a lot to pay, we decided to bite the bullet and go for it. We will be driving it this afternoon and we hope to be impressed :)
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    DVD based navigation systems in a friends new Acura TL

    I would be curious as to which NAV you liked the best. From what I have read the Honda/Acura is the best NAV on the market. You can give us your opinion on which is the easiest to use.
  • nimhrodnimhrod Posts: 49
    Running boards! Any chance you can post a picture? I've not seen a highlander with running boards yet. My 4Runner has them and they look great. Some times add-ons can look "added on" What do you think so far?

  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    The running boards are factory Toyota running boards that are color matched and installed at the port. They are $625 and are included in the sticker on the window when they are pre-ordered and installed at the port of entry. They are not "added-on" running boards like you would expect from any aftermarket supplier. I can easily shoot a photo, but I am not sure how to post it. Any help?

    We have put about 50 miles on it and so far it is great. We have a 2000 Yukon that we have been driving for the past 5 years. Compared to the Yukon is is quite a bit smaller but much more refined and much quieter inside. It soaks up the bumps in the roads and almost zero wind noise. The start-up the the gas motor is almost imperceptible and driving around town mostly with the electric motor only is pretty cool. The power delivery is what is most remarkable. Does it feel like a V8? Even better. The power is instantaneous because of the electric motor in combination with the 3.3L gas motor. The seats are very comfortable and the amount of space for the rear passengers is excellent. Needless to say that the third row seat is very tight. Overall it is a significant improvement over a standard gas motor. should be since in real terms the price is significantly higher. At least for day one, no complaints, just smiles. :) ">
  • dunebuggydunebuggy Posts: 4
    Just took delivery yesterday and the HH is all that. My wife and three kids went for a long drive
    through the countryside over the hills and flats of Missouri and it drove like a dream! I used the
    engine brake on the downhill side to slow my decent and talk about a quiet ride through our neighborhood Wow! When the gas engine shuts off and the electric motor kicks in, its like your
    driving a golf cart. I traded in a 97 Land Cruiser and there is know comparison. Hope the HH lasts as long as my cruiser did! :shades:
  • iowaiowa Posts: 1
    Picked up my Limited today, fully loaded. This is our second hybrid, the other being a Civic. Initial impressions are that this is an amazing vehicle. Hauls on the freeway, yet I'm easily getting 30+ in town (plus, it's kind of fun to see how high you can get your in-town mileage). So, thus far, thumbs up. (plus, the insurance and registration, etc. are all MUCH cheaper than my Acura MDX, which now belongs to the local Toyota dealer!)
  • cate27cate27 Posts: 1
    We just got our Highlander Hybrid on Sunday and I couldn't be happier. The car is fully loaded, which I wanted - all of the dealers in our area seem to have only Limited models, which seems a bit unfair to those wanting a more basic vehicle. I've been waiting over a year for my car. I was on an informal waitlist through a family friend, but lost my place when he accepted a promotion at another dealership. Needless to say I was terribly upset, but the manager of his new dealership took pity on me and sold us his test model. I had wanted the Bluestone Metallic, but ended up with the Sonora Gold. Actually it is very classy looking, especially with the chrome trim. Someone commented on the faux wood trim and brushed metal - personally I think the brushed metal is chicer looking than the faux wood, which always looks terribly tacky to me, even in my husband's BMW. But the total look of the interior and exterior is a soothing monochromatic, which I like.

    The car drives quite differently from a regular Highlander - it has amazing torque - passing slowpokes never felt so good! The turning radius is also fantastic. The silence at low speeds and when stationary took some getting used to - I kept thinking I had stalled, but now I really enjoy those totally quiet moments.

    Before I chose the Highlander I test drove the Lexus RX, which I really wanted to like. The car was great except that I found the visibility to be horrible. No wonder they put a camera on the back - you can't see otherwise. What I love about the Highlander is that I have a total sense of where the limits of the car are around me - I can even see the hood, which is something I haven't been able to do in my car in years. My daughter I and I are only 5'2" and the Highlander doesn't feel to big for us - nor does it feel too small for my 6'1" husband.

    I have no illusions that we will save money owning this car - we paid full sticker price (but no extra markup) when I'm sure one could bargain nicely for a regular Highlander. But this car is so cool I have absolutely no regrets - we did spring for the extended warrenty, however, as a precaution against future expensive repairs. Nobody at our dealership mentioned "Toyotaguard" so I don't think we got that. I would have refused. The warrently covers roadside service. By the way, I called a few dealers and some don't have waitiing lists - they just sell first come first serve. I think if someone really wanted this car and called around regularly you could get one. Can't wait for my vanity plates - NV MYMPG.
  • bouvsrusbouvsrus Posts: 13
    From the guy who got lucky, stopped at dealerships on our way out to Eastern Shore, Maryland for vacation and found HH ....initial impressions of our new ride.

    Limited, 4WD, NAV

    First, we are thrilled. My wife's car, replaced a 1997 Expedition that peaked at 10 mpg. Everything is relative but for us, anything approaching the promised mpg is just fine. Also, my wife really wanted a hybrid so premium price for hybrid seen as worth it to us.

    MPG - - a bit disappointing but still too early to tell. We have driven about 600 miles since we purchased 2 weeks ago. Avg. about 25 mpg, all city/suburb driving. Its been warm and we run the AC a lot so I suspect that hasn't helped. I'll wait until after over 1000 given comments on this board that mpg improves.

    Great drive. The dash gauges show you when you are running on gas and/or electric and it makes you aware of driving habits (plus fun to watch gauges). Great/amazing acceleration and responsiveness (from this board I gather that is due to the two electric motors, front and back). You give up nothing on performance when you want it (merging onto highway) which is comforting.

    If you haven't driven hybrid before (we had not) starting the car is an experience. Dead silence. If you like to rev your engine at stop lights you don't want this car. Initial acceleration from a stopped position is smooth, predictable and similar to non-hybrids we've owned.

    The cargo room is ample (I wouldn't want to ask anyone to use the 3rd seat but we don't plan on having to use it - - its very small). The good news, for us, is that the room it takes to add 3rd row means ample room when you fold down seat. My wife likes better than Expedition because she can reach everything in the back with ease. I wish the back window would open separately but its more an inconvenience as we can still haul pretty good with the HH, just need to tie things down between the hardware store and home.

    The NAV system is good (and would probably be better if I took the time to read the instructions). Reasonably intuitive in terms of finding things. Like the NAV system in my Acura TL, great at finding addresses, etc. but sometimes imprecise when searching out "points of interest." The touch screen is very "responsive"/easy. Bluetooth and interactive audio would have been great but I wouldn't have wanted to pay any more for this car than we did so not a big sacrifice.

    Handles very nicely. However, comments that its on a Camry chasis doesn't mean it handles like a sedan. It handles very nicely but still more like an SUV than a sports car - - which is fine.

    The biggest surprise is leg room. Two teenagers in second seat love the ample leg room, tilt back seats and roominess. Caution: the driver seat doesn't go back as far as I would like. At 6'1" not that tall but would be much more comfortable if the seat went back another inch or two. Trade-offs - - kids no longer fight about who has to sit behind Dad because he has the seat all the way back.

    Hope some find the information useful. Glad to answer any questions. Overall, this car lives up to our expectations and is the perfect car for a mom-about-town who wanted some of the creature comforts of a nice car (NAV, sunroof, soundsystem, leather interior), the height and utility of an SUV, and the mileage that means she will be able to abandon her $52-fill-ups every 5-7 days!

    Happy new owners. Look forward to others keeping us all informed on gas mileage over time.

    Oh, one tip: If you drive on highway you may have played around with gas peddle to try and find the optimum spot where you are using electric. I found if you use cruise control the car finds that optimal spot for you far more often/consistently than I could figure out/manage on my own.
  • After waiting 6 months on the list and ending up #1 because the two ahead of us dropped out, we finally picked up our HHL in Victoria this past Monday. Apparently we are the first on Vancouver Island to be driving the HH. I am ecstatic with this vehicle. First, I'd have to say that I'm amazed at the number of people who see the premium on the hybrid technology as a deterrent. Granted I am a Canadian purchaser but here is the math: The difference between the gas and hybrid version is about $6 to $7k Cdn. There are some fine incentives up here and Government and Industry are finally helping out. The Provincial Government gives a $2k rebate right off the bat. The Federal Government has eliminated the Luxury tax of $1.6k for this vehicle. Van City Credit Union offers loans at prime rate for hybrids. Over 5 years with nothing down, that's about $4.4k savings in interest. We drive alot and my math tells me I'll save about $0.7k per year in gas. We intend to keep this vehicle for at least 7 years; we figure our total savings will be about $13k.

    This is undoubtedly the quietest, most comfortable car we have owned. The dash display is bright and attractive, the controls are intuitive and there are lots of thoughtful little features. It's almost hypnotic watching the LED interplay between gas and electric as you drive. When running on electric only or when braking, there's a vague, almost airplane-like whine....very high-tech sounding. And when you turn the ignition key it takes a lot of getting used to the fact that nothing happens. The gas engine always turns off when you stop. It's strange waiting at a red light now. All you hear are the sounds of other cars and you suddenly realize how odd and blissfully quiet our cities would be if all the other cars did the same thing.

    You can milk the miles out of this vehicle if you're not in a rush. Don't get me wrong, the power and pickup were important selling features but now I like to make a game out of how far I can go on electric only. It doesn't take long to figure out the point on the accelerator where the gas kicks in. To keep it in electric only, you can't start as quickly as the pack at a red light but will easily catch up to the average speed. You also can't go up hills in electric only. But you can go blocks and blocks like a stealth vehicle on side streets and the only problem is the pedestrians who nearly step into your path before they realize a car is coming. I suppose eventually the traction battery would become depleted enough that the gas will kick in at some critical point to charge it, but I haven't got there yet. So far I've driven 170 miles on about a quarter tank. Can't wipe the smile off my face. The Toyota dealer in Victoria was a straight shooter. Got the vehicle exactly as ordered, exactly when they said, at MSRP.

    Looking forward to seeing more of you on the road.

  • echoechoechoecho Posts: 1
    My wife got her Hybrid Highlander on Thursday - base model, not limited - and I've barely seen her since. She's thrilled with it. I've had my Prius since 2/04 so now we're a 2 Toyota Hybrid family. The Highlander (why not just say Hylander for short) has amazing acceleration- as others have said - and just drives beautifully.
    Since we've not driven a great deal I can't say much about mileage - except that its a lot better than the 98 Windstar she had before. We got the base because she didn't want the leather seats, and really doesn't like the NAV system - which I love in the Prius. I use the Bluetooth regularly in the Prius but she doesn't, and she was quite pleased with the basic features (including the JBL sound and the moon roof) and didn't need the other bells and whistles. We put the deposit on the Hylander down when we bought the Prius - so we had a very long wait - but she wasn't too particular about colors -ours is silver. She wouldn't have taken white or black. But we were concerned when the first allotments were very light on 4wdi basic models. Now that we have it, we're pleased.
  • Didn't expect to be able to land a HH this soon, but like sbgirl, found an outlying dealer (Fairfield CA) who was willing to deal with in-stock. Local San Jose dealers were trying to get a minimum of $5,000 over MSRP, so our $900 over seemed reasonable at the time (not any more, given other posts). Our accountant verified the $2000. tax deduction good only till January, so we'll live with that. We felt the savings at the pump immediately - we've gone through one tank of gas, with 27.9 mpg (2wd Limited); current tank looks a little better, perhaps 28.3 or so.

    Amazing acceleration, tight steering with perfect handling and manueverability, quiet ride, great parking capability, and more make it my favorite vehicle ever. The creature features galore are just what I wanted, and worth the extra markup for me (dealer had installed backup sensors and DVD - both wanted items for us). We have a luxury vehicle without luxury tax or 'show-off factor'. Being SUV green is very rewarding, especially after a Navigator and Sequoia.

    A downside is the leg space in back row, as many others have noted, is not for full size adults or kids. My teens are fine only in the mid row seats, but my preteen can get her friends happily sequestered in the back row.

    Re: climbing a hill on electric; had to do this last weekend, pulling away from a curb on an uphill start - HH was perfect, with it's characteristic excellent acceleration.

    My only complaints are: non-auto locking doors, no bluetooth or hookups for ipod, and no voice commands. Otherwise, we're getting close to perfection with this vehicle. :shades:
  • tomslycktomslyck Posts: 70
    May I ask what the dealer charged for the backup sensors?
  • skip1skip1 Posts: 16
    So far with about a 100 miles on it I have been getting 31.8 mpg, most of the miles have been my wifes. We have had a prius for 4.5 years now and she manages to get between 49 to 54 mpg per tank, So we now have 2 hybrids. Alot of it depends on you easing up on the gas to kick the electric motors in more often. So far we love it.
    We had been on the waiting list since Oct.and managed to get bumped up, since 2 people were on vacation when they made the call for the car, and we are glad they were.
  • I took my HH on vacation last week in Maine and think I may have been the first HH up Cadillac mountain. At 1,532 feet, Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. I reset my mileage computer on top and coasted down with a 99.9 mpg after 8 miles. After 100 miles I was still "averaging" over 45 mpg. It was obviously not a fair test but was fun none the less. Below is a link to a sunset shot on June 21.
  • chgohhltdchgohhltd Posts: 8
    We had just picked up our Hybrid earlier in the day. It was such a nice night that we decided to go out for a ride (love the wind through the moon roof).

    As we were coming back toward our house, we stopped at a light. A guy and his girlfriend were standing on the sidewalk next to the car. The gas engine had turned off as usual.

    The guy did kind of a double-take and asked, "What's wrong? Did you run out of gas?"

    I replied, "No, it's a hybrid!" And we drove away with big smiles on our faces! :)
  • fizbanfizban Posts: 42
    Over the past week we put on our first 1000 miles on our FWD Limited HH. There was about 13hrs of 70 mph interstate travel (w/cruise-control and A/C on) and the rest was short trips. Our computed average was right at 26 mpg. I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised at that.

    I dropped it off at my dealer's today to get my hitch installed. The loaner they gave me is nearly identical to mine, but not a hybrid. What a great way to compare between the two. The HH's acceleration really rocks and of course is so incredibly quiet. The transition to/from the ICE is amazing.

    I didn't know if I'd like the nav unit but have fallen in love with it. There's a bit of a learing curve, but it becomes more and more intuitive as one uses it more. I didn't realize that all of the other auxiliar controls were also routed through the touch screen as well. What a nice way to set up the sound system, memorize and monitor your radio stations, schedule your maintenance, etc

    So far, we couldn't be happier..
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84

    I agree with 100% regarding your comments on the Navigation system. I not only love it, I now wouldn't purchase an automobile without one if available. I have used maps to find my way around for a long time and they do get me to where I am going - but, in my opinion, the Nav system (especially if you are in unfamiliar territory without a human navigator) provides for a more safe, secure and relaxing trip to your destination.
  • Wahoo...just got my HH friday...was deep down on the list but dealer gave me one of his first five cares (not sure how that worked out...guessing that being persistent paid off)... Anyway driven it over 500 miles and first filled up (after 366 mi) was 27 mpg (trip computer said avg~25.2)... now the computer says 27.2 mpg and i am hoping its more like 29 mpg... I love this car. If you are on the wait list stck it out as it is totally worth it... almost went out and bought something else as I thought it was gonna be another 12 months but definately glad I didn't make that mistake... Its well worth the wait...
  • May be there needs to be an owner's forum so owners can share info. Or posters can identify if they are owners so readers can decide how to weigh a poster's information.

    While everyone here tries to voice meaningful views, only owners have in depth usage experience with the car. 1 news article, good or bad, about the car written by a reporter is somewhat meaningless. A bunch of information from a host of owners provide a better picture of what is good and bad about the car.

    And yes, we got our for $1000 below MSRP with no add-on's.

    We just completed a 1550-mile trip in our new HH Ltd 4WDi into OR from San Jose, CA. Here is a list of good and bad quirks we found:

    For new owners:
    1. The Integrity tires are not very good for rocky dirt tracks. We lost a tire to sidewall rupture most likely by sharp rocks. Consider using Wrangler SilentArmor if you plan to take this car down rocky dirt tracks.

    2. With careful driving, the car easily takes on flat or steep dirt tracks and trails with aplomb. Ruts, holes, wet spots posed no challenge.

    3. Lacking a low-gear ratio, we will not take it on REAL off-road trips or into sand because that is clearly beyond the capability of this car. But the instant torque at low speed acted as a kind of low gear ratio to help get the car moving up steep dirt road/tracks at slow speed and in and out of holes without shooting out of control. It is very very impressive for a car that Toyota clearly states is "not" meant for off-road use. Please do not try this unless you have done it before in a 4x4.

    4. Tire changing had a few surprises. First, we found a cargo cover that comes with the car in the tools compartment under the trunk carpet area, a pleasant surprise. It must be removed to access the tools. The tools are nicely organized and laid out in a flat tray making the tire changing process a snap. We changed the cut tire in 15 minutes.

    5. The full size spare is not just a lower grade full size tire mounted onto a non-descript spare wheel. The spare is also a Goodyear Integrity and the wheel is a MATCHING wheel that matches the other wheels. A nice touch.

    6. Roof rack weight specification is 165 lbs maximum total. We could not find this in the manual and got it off Yakima's spec. Be sure to move front rack crossbar all the way forward to support your cargo box. At HWY speed, the Yakima flexes enough to tap the moonroof on occassions until we moved the front crossmember all the way forward to solve this problem.

    7. Moonroof switch has a strange "close" position where if we hold the button in "close" too long, it changes to "lift" to lift open the back edge of the moonroof. So we had to learn when the moonroof is properly closed and when it is actually in the "open" position. If you hear road noise coming in t hrough the moonroof, then it is not closed correctly. The moonroof is silent when closed properly.

    8. The "B" (Engine Brake) is not very effective beyond 65-MPH. At 65-MPH, it easily holds or slow the car depending on grade. On many 6% grade, it works beautifully allowing us to drive the car through curves at HWY speed or slower without brakes. At speed over 65-MPH, it does not do much to slow the car.

    9. Be careful when the car is on "Cruise Control" traveling uphill. Even on steep grade, it will take off when drive system senses it needs more power to maintain speed on the climb. This can be fun but it can also be dangerous because you can plow into a slowing V8 Chevy in a blink. We are used to our V8 ICE car slowing on climbs so to feel this car literally "sink" us into the seat back and "takes off" (like a jet) uphill is actually a bit scary. So for now, we no longer keep it in cruise control when going uphill in traffic.

    For general readers:
    1. Car fit and finish is top notch. We found nothing loose, bad or anything that is subpar. The 1 news article about Toyota Highlander Hybrid quality is just "sensational" news garbage. Are *all* HH like that? or is it 1 bad apple in a tub of 3000+? Readers need to put on "critical thinking" cap when reading any news articel anyway.

    2. Our trip took us through mountain passes ranging from 1500-ft to 3000+ ft at HWY speed. No sweat.

    3. Our mileage, with normal safe driving techniques averaged 25.6 MPG mixed at end of trip. I would say we logged about 80% flat and mountainous HWY miles (65-80MPH), 15% flat and hilly country roads (45-55MPH), 5% flat and steep mixed dirt tracks (5-20MPH).

    4. Steering is not sports car precise but responsive and tight. It goes where you point it so it is very maneuvarable for a SUV. Car is absolutely stable and solid on curves and turns with proper driving caution of course.

    5. For comparison, we easily matched a (not 2006) Mercedes ML 350 SUV in the mountains turn for turn and climb for climb. We trailed it just to keep up with traffic, no hanky panky stupid driving stuff. We passed countless V8 Chevy's, Ford's, Tundra's, Nissan's new truck on mountain roads not just because of power but also because of suprior handling. These trucks may have the power but sloppy handling makes them drift all over a lane going through curves in the moutains while the HH makes a precise track.

    6. Instant torque means accelerating to pass is almost instantaneous and sports car like. On 2 occassions, we had to quickly get away from smaller cars racing each other and doing stupid weave-and-pass maneuvers. In both cases, if we had slowed down, the foolish drivers would surely have squeezed between us and a truck in front while they chased each other. So we quickly passed the trucks and found an empty stretch to slow down and let those fools pass us cleanly. It is nice to be able to put some safe distance between us and them in a blink of an eye. None of our previous cars including a late 70's turbo-charged Mustang could have moved so fast.

    Forget about all the debates about saving gas and so on. If you really want to save gas above all else, buy a Prius or some Honda Hybrids. If you need a larger people mover SUV with better than V8 performance, top notch handling for SUV's, top quality fit and finish, that is cheaper than Mercedes yet more reliable (according to CU), and in the process, you want it to get decent mileage, consider the HH.
  • To make sure there is no confusion:

    When I said the car takes off on a climb when in "Cruise Control", the car is NOT accelerating beyond set speed. It simply boosts power to maintain the set speed. But unlike ICE cars, the boost is instant with absolutely no lag. So if there is a car in front that is slowing even just slightly because of a steep climb, we will very quickly run right up to it.

    With this car, it is best to observe the 3-second rule and be careful how hard you tap the accelerator.
  • On this trip, our car was loaded with close to 896-lbs. of items. 126 lbs in the Yakima, 520 lbs 4 people (I am a stocky 6 footer), the rest is luggage stuffed into the trunk.

    Temperature during the trip averaged 102-F and we had A/C set on auto inside all the time.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 573
    RE: #7 Moonroof. Your moonroof needs to be normalized. This has been an
    ongoing concern for over two years on the Highlander forum. Dealers--for some reason never seem to do this correctly before turning the vehicle over to the customer.

    This procedure should be in your manual. The instructions are not too clear, but stay with it and you find the moonroof will work the way it was designed to after the normalization process.
  • mmreidmmreid Posts: 88
    Hi. I bought a HH Limited 2 Wheel Drive in June. I was out of town, visiting family, went to Toyota dealership to buy a Prius (our local dealer had incredibly long waiting lists) and discovered I didn't fit behind the wheel (I'm very short). Then discovered the Highlander on the Lot and drove it home to the Florida Panhandle! I had no intention of buying an SUV but I wanted the hybrid technology. I didn't want 4 wheel drive as I would never go off-road, snow and ice are not a consideration (I live in Florida after all) and I was told it didn't get as good mileage.

    So I've had the car since June 20th and I can only say that l love it. I traded in a 2001 Acura CL and I was afraid I'd lose some of the spunk and handling of my Acura but I am very pleased with the HH. I also confess that, being so short, I like sitting up higher in the SUV. My visibility in the Acura was a real problem, mostly because everyone else around me was driving pick-ups, vans and SUVs. Often pulling out of parking spaces was a visual nightmare - literally backing out blind.

    Other than the 500 mile trip home right after I bought the car it's been pretty much in-town driving. We averaged about 26 to 27 mpg on that first tank of gas. The car salesman told us not to use cruise control and to vary the speed a lot on the maiden vogage, so to speak, as we were breaking in the car. The mileage at first did not do that
    good around town here and I discovered a reference here to "pulse and glide" and I Googled that and came up with very specific instructions on how to drive that way.
    My mileage increased immediately. I am still getting the hang of it and you can't always use it (especially if there are cars behind you - it will probably make them nuts if you vary your speed).

    I paid full MSRP for the car which was fully loaded with everything but they also gave me the same trade-in on the Acura as the local Acura dealer had offered me. And here's my question: my Acura ran on the most expensive gas - high performance engine and all that - but the Toyota people told me that I could run on regular. Is that what other hybrid owners are using? We also have a '93 Toyota pick-up truck as a third vehicle and it knocks and pings on regular and we have to use the middle gas, unfortunately.

    I've been enjoying reading the discussions here. I sort of bought the car first and researched it later - kind of a dumb and expensive thing to do but I am just crazy about it. I find that when people find out it's a hybrid (I wish it screamed it in big letters across the back instead of that tiny tag) I get a lot of questions. The average person is pretty clueless as to how they work and some even think you have to plug it in at night. . .

  • jdkahlerjdkahler Posts: 50
    Have a 2WD HH base with about 700 miles (26 mpg first tank, 25 second in mixed driving in hot Philly area with too many 5 minute commutes due to the heat), have driven in mixed area including some hilly parts since we bought the vehicle. The manual says something about using premium to enhance performance but regular is fine. Forget the enhanced performance part and go with the regular. The vehicle has run just fine on it, never evidenced any problems that premium in other vehicles designed for regular might solve (knocks, pings, hesitation), especially since the electric motor kicks in if you hard accelerate - the performance is everything the salesman gushed about (he drives a Prius) but not why we bought the vehicle.

    Aside on the fit and finish article from Detroit - I just had to look real close to see what it was talking about and see nothing but first class fit. The vehicle is amazingly quiet, as tight as the Corolla we traded in and much much quieter than either Ford van I drove previously, and on roads around here - which includes cobblestone city streets - quieter and smoother than a colleague's Acura SUV. I was out on roads that were under construction and also we drive on a farm once a week and it's absolutely solid. If the comments in the article were truly from a Toyota employee they need some reorientation from Toyota.

    Yeah, it's expensive but even that's a relative thing. When you compare similarly equipped Highlanders or other makes - add in safety features that to me are priceless and not always available plus some of the other items you may or may not want on any package vehicle - the differential lessens. Toyota is also taking a significant gamble in investing in R&D on something that might or might not give them a return, and since we believe that we need to be developing vehicles that consider better mileage and safety features than comparables on the market, our purchase encourages that development. Like any investment, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. In this case we're really enjoying the ride! - John
  • Thanks Bdyment! Just now tried it and it worked. I should have read the manual at first sign of trouble.
  • Here are my impressions after only 100 miles (essentially 6 drives of about 20 miles each).

    1. The mileage is crawling up from 18MPG on the first few miles to 22MPG now. We're still within break-in, so I don't expect much yet. The gas gauge shows less than 1/4 tank gone.

    2. Where did they get the database for the Nav system? My street (which has existed for 10 years) is missing.

    3. I seem to be getting a slight surge when the ICE shuts off. It does produce slight acceleration, and the battery to front wheels arrow flash on and off on the diagram on the Nav. This is usually during coasting or braking so it's not likely to cause an accident, but it seems like a software bug.

    4. I'm getting some non-linear power production when driving at a constant speed over a fairly level surface. It's probably break-in of the transmission.

    5. The seats are harder than I remember from my American cars, but no less comfortable. Interesting.

    6. VERY easy to drive. It has all of the power of my Jeep, with 2/3 to 1/2 of the fuel consumption. Aside from the "put all of the controls on a stick on the steering column" confusion, it was easy to figure out where the controls are.

    So far, I'm happy.
  • Hi All,

    I've had my HH Ltd. a little over 2 weeks and with 500 miles on the odometer, I averaged 26.6 MPG on the first tank full. This is in mixed city/highway driving.
    Unlike some HH owners here, I'm "braking in" the engine slowly...varying my speed between 55-65 MPH on the highway until I reach 1500 miles. Always done this, always will, despite what I've been told or have read. Personally, I can't see driving a new car off the lot and accelerating to 85 MPH. It just doesn't feel right.
    BTW...LOVE this vehicle !!!
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