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Toyota Highlander Hybrid Driving Tips & Tricks



  • Just bought a H/H and am wondering, does the rear power help in the snow or is it just a FWD vehicle? I dont have a t/c button on mine. did I make a mistake?
  • bugrlbugrl Posts: 1
    I have been reading everyone's Posts regarding tire wear and driving in snow. I currently have a 2002 Highlander is it handles horribly in the snow. HORRIBLE! But I love the car otherwise.

    So now that I have to buy a new car by year end. Do a lot of canyon/hwy driving but i need my new car to handle better in the snow. Do any of you have any experience with 2011/2012 Highlander either AWD or 4-wheel drive? Which is better in the snow and which one gets better gas mileage?

    I can't warrant buying snow tires when I live at the beach. Does anybody have any suggestions because most of the forums are talking about snow tires. Also, what is with W&T on the tires? How expensive is a new set? I didn't have this problem.

    I am just really worried. I don't know if I should just bite the bullet and buy the Acura MDX which doesn't seem to have these problems. It about $15,000 more but I am wondering if the problems versus $$$$ will pan out since I owns my cars for 10 years!!!!

    Any suggestions? I am so confused and scared on what to do!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The HL and HH are primarily FWD, F/awd. Basically "APT-AWD", Automatic Part-Time All Wheel Drive. The driver has NO control over when and/or how the system goes into AWD mode, engages the rear drive capability.

    Due to the dangers of wheelspin/slip at the primary drive, driven wheels, once slippage is detected the system goes into temporary "limp home" mode, braking is used to abate wheelspin/slip along with INSTANTANEOUS engine dethrottling.

    Consider the 4runner or if in the MDX class the Porsche Cayenne V6 base.

    Both of those are untimately more safe RWD base vehicles.
  • The HyHy 2011 + have override button for TRAC and VSC which will enable one to rock / spin wheels if necessary. It will do fine in most inclement weather conditions but if you are driving to Yukon territory get a F250 or Chevy 2500 4x4 :)

    Also the tires are all season and kinda big (19") so there's potential traction issues with tires of this size / ratio in general on almost any vehicle; so with dedicated snow tires you will be able to get almost anywhere 'normal'.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, you can override Trac, and less importantly so, the VSC system, but you should remember that in doing so you convert the vehicle back into a simple....

    ONE Wheel Drive..!

    when you depress the gas pedal ALL of the engine torque might go to the wheel with the LEAST traction.

    A much better override would have been to allow the engine to produce a more moderate level of torque, not full dethrottling, for a few seconds along with braking to apportion that torque. Unless, of course, VSC detected yawing motion.
  • what about on a 2008?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The HL and the RX used the same F/awd system, three simple open differentials, and used Trac braking and simultaneous engine dethrottling to apportion torque beyond only wheel(s) with low or lost traction.

    In 2010 the RX was switched to the newer F/awd system initially used in the Ford Escape and first introduced in the Venza for Toyota. I haven't yet seen any notice that the HL followed suite.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    "what about on a 2008?"

    Can you deactivate the stability control? No. You just have to use good driving technique. :shades:
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...good driving technique..."

    You don't always know when there is black ice just around that curve.. or maybe a deer dashes out....
  • jgsuvjgsuv Posts: 4
    Very interested to hear how you got on. Did you go with the HH in the end? I have exactly the same concerns about performance in snow.

    I have read almost enough accounts of people getting stuck in snow or having traction control stop putting power to any wheels to stop me from buying the HH.

    But then I always wonder, 'what tyres were they on?' 'do they know how to drive on snow/ice?', 'would I have been using snow chains in those conditions anyway?'.

    Would love to hear anymore feedback from HH owners who have been out in both unplowed and plowed roads using good winter tyres like Blizzaks. I would use chains on the HH as well if needed. These look like an easy if a bit pricey option

    I currently run an AWD 2002 Honda CRV. I have never felt out of control in snow/ice. My snow driving in this vehicle has been on all season tyres, but I'll throw on chains if the snow looks more than a couple of inches. And when I come back to my car to find a foot of snow on top of it, I'll dig it out first, not expect to just drive straight out.

    Keen to get that HH fuel economy and reduced emissions, but not if it will get stuck in snow or be dangerous in anyway. Probably 2008 is the newest I can afford, so no turning of traction control for me. Not that turning it off sounds like a really great option to me anyway.

    Otherwise I need a 7 seat SUV with the best mileage possible and some AWD/4x4 ability. Gas Highlander, Kia Sorento, Honda Pilot all options, but would prefer low emissions.

    All feedback welcome, and details of what model/tyres/chains/conditions would be a bonus.

    Thanks All.
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