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Toyota Highlander Hybrid

This week (12/8/03) Toyota announced it would debut it's 2005 hybrid Highlander at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January.

What else has anyone learned about this vehicle besides what's available in the news release on Toyota's website: lander.html


  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I'll be really excited about a hybrid Crossover, as there will finally be a family car out there that isn't too expensive for many families (RX400H) or too small for growing families (Prius) or isn't always delayed. (Escape Hybrid)
  • Would the price of RX400H be comparable to the 330 or will it be significantly higher? Any ideas on the exact release date?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I estimate it will start $2,000 over the regular RX330, as the Civic Hybrid costs $2,000 more than the Civic EX. Which would bring the starting price from $36,000 to $38,000. Hardly affordable for many families.
  • I, for one, and excited about the upcoming Hybrid HL. I am looking forward to seeing it announced at the Detroit Auto Show and the viewing myself in Feb. at the Chicago Auto Show.

    I think the Hybrid HL will put Hybrids on the map for good. Right now the are still kinda "techie" in that the Prius is "teched out" especially in its look. As long as the look remains similar, this should be a hot seller (particularly if the upgraded price is reasonable).

    As for price... I am hoping that Toyota will continue to partially subsidize the price in order to increase popularity of the HSD systems.
    Lexus is lexus... the Lexus 400H is of course going to be costly as the current 330RX is because it is a luzury model. The HL should be much more affordable to the masses (before adding on all the little extras).

    As for availability... I hope to drive one of the lot as soon as they become available. I am pretty sure there is going to be a waiting list for this car also (like the Prius)... so order yours plenty in advance!

    The HSD system will be perfect for this car. Increasing the power and fuel mileage significantly. Will the new HL Horsepower be 400 similar to the Lexus 400H???

    Hope to hear alot more excitement on this board after the role out at the Auto Shows!!!
  • I have a feeling the HL's hybrid system will be tuned for maximized mileage and not performance. Not to say that the car will be slow or not perform as well as the regular model, but I bet Toyota could sell many more units of the hybrid if it gets better mileage. The RX330 should be the one to get the predominant power boost.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    would promote high MPG, not performance. Performance is for it's cousin- the RX400H.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I am hoping that Toyota will continue to partially
    > subsidize the price in order to increase popularity
    > of the HSD systems.


    Your information is grossly outdated. At one time, Prius was subsidized. But that is now ancient history. The classic Prius earned money halfway through it's life here, it didn't cause a loss. And since HSD is a propulsion system, not a specific model. The new version of Prius should be in the "profit zone" shortly, not really that much different from other new vehicles.

    Look at it this way... Toyota will be building 300,000 systems per year starting in 2006 (according to their original plan before they realized the 2004 Prius would be so popular). Do you really think they would want to subsidize that many?

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Toyota is making a huge profit on every Prius sold. How they're doing it I don't know, but they're making money, and now we can have our cake (Environmentally Friendly) and Toyota can eat it (Higher Profits)
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    The profit equation isn't magical. Here's food for thought...

    People are under the assumption that the CVT is more complicated than an automatic transmission. (That's because it is so different.) In reality, it is actually quite a bit more simple. That simplicity costs less.

    The engine itself is smaller than usual. That results in a lower cost too.

    The front-end of the car is shorter than usual too. That's an obvious rather large savings.

    The speedometer likely represents a savings as well, believe it of not. No self-contained high-precision moving parts required like in a traditional design. It's just a dumb LED (that looks really impressive via optical tricks).

    The dashboard is an obvious cost reduction. Eliminating all the mechanical parts and using just by-wire interfaces instead is cheaper. (You can thank the computer & music industries for that!)

    I wonder what else Toyota did. Hmm? They allowed their engineers to build components from scratch, sparing no expense during the research phase. That's rarely an option with normal new vehicle design. Automakers like to reuse parts. But with HSD intended to replace the current infrastructure, this was a special case. Creating entirely new parts for reuse later is viewed upon as a way to save money in the long run too.

    Needless to say. Toyota had lots of opportunities to help them achieve a profit with Prius (and HSD).

  • Well... glad to hear they are making a profit! That just ensures that they will put more HSD models into production.

    Any thoughts on the design of the 2005 Hybrid HL. Do you think it will look like the standard HL or they going to do all the futuristic "tricks" that they did with the Prius?
    If not, will the cost be significantly more?
  • I think you can look at the RX 400H to see the variation in the normal vs. hybrid model. You can tell the 400H is based on the RX 330, but it has some additional styling characteristics, surely to differentiate it.
  • This 2005 HL is exactly what I've been waiting for. I wonder how early Toyota will begin accepting orders for them?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    a few months before official launch for current Prius owners to "buy up" into the next Hybrid line. I'm predicting a late summer introduction in 2004.
  • Go to

    Click on "Public"

    Type in "Highlander" for the search and you should get a good collection of photographs.

    Here's information that Toyota has provided on the new model. - ander.html

    Looks like in "early 2005" the hybrid version will go on sale with about 270 hp and "significantly better" mileage than a compact sedan.
  • It seems that a 19 gallon tank getting 600+ miles (I used 625), yields HWY (I'm sure what they mean by 600+ miles) of almost 33 MPG.

      Too get 2 MPG over 27.6 combined, the City MPG MUST BE at least 26MPG!

      26/33 MPG
      270 HP
      0-60 in less than 7 seconds?

  • Seeing what I am sseing from the Detroit Auto show, it looks like this is the SUV for me...

    Let me know if anyone has heard anything about pricing and when available to order.

    WOW... V6 engine... 270 hp... room for 8... and approx. 30 mpg in mixed driving... WOW!!!!
  • rcaselrcasel Posts: 8
    At the press conference, the Toyota spokesman said the Highlander Hybrid is due to arrive "around this time next year", i.e. January 2005.

    I was relieved to see very little exterior/interior/options change from the '04 - which I just bought! Although I'm very interested in owning a hybrid vehicle, I'll wait until Toyota does a refresh - maybe '07 or '08?
  • I would expect a fully loaded Highlander to be about $2000 higher than a non-hybrid which would put the cost at about $37,000. And do not expect any discounts during the first 12-16 months. Do all concur? Starting to get out of my price range and will probably stick with my Honda minivan fully loaded for about $30,000.
  • Sounds like the late 70's & early 80's all over again. American car makers saying that no one wants a small fuel-efficient car (remember when they lost tons of market share & never have truly caught up).

    By the time Toyota has marked the hell out of these and brought the cost down to a minimum, GM and others will have lost a ton of market share and have to spend a fortune to catch up. Sell American car stocks now with attitudes like these: .htm
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    is ignoring the growing demands. Toyota argues that it's making $$$ on every Prius it sells, and there are long lines and the Prius is selling at MSRP. How can GM's beancounters (who gave us junk interiors to boost profits) resist hybrids, with long lines of people waiting, and with Toyota making money, how can GM ignore this?

    Again... remember the 70's and 80's...

    recently.. remember the comeback of Chrysler then the selling of it to Mercedes.. and what happened?.. down the tank

    The folks in Detroit don't get it!!!
  • bmccuebmccue Posts: 1
    Does anyone know if the Highlander Hybrid 4x4 could tow a camper like the "old fashioned" gas model?
  • Why wouldn't it. The only limitation in traditional towing is the hp and keeping the engine cool enough. It wouldn't take anymore than the current upgrade to a larger radiator. In fact, towing would be better with increased hp.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    increased Torque.
  • I believe that the hybrid hl is gonna be great but the only thing im om worried about is that its already 4 years old and that it may get a redesign in the next 2 to 3 years. Also does anybody know if the sienna will be available with the hsd?
  • Other posters on other boards say that Toyota sells a hsd Sienna in Japan.
  • I just spoke to the owner of a Chicago suburban Toyota dealer and it seemed that he knew less about the Hybrid HL than I did (and my info is from this board and Toyota's own website and press releases.) He said I was the first person to call about getting on any list to buy the vehicle and that he didn't think he would have any materials or info on the vehicle for another 6 months.
  • chazzcage, at the web teleconference last Sunday, the honcho at Toyota said the hybrid HL would be available in both the regular and expensive "Limited" versions. I hope this means that there will be a cheaper option than $30K. Plus, at that price range, they're getting close to competing with the same market for the Lexus SUV hybrid which makes no marketing sense.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > they're getting close to competing with the same market
    > for the Lexus SUV hybrid which makes no marketing sense

    ...until you compare it with the marketing success of Ford & Mercury. The same situation existed with those two product lines from the same company.

    Remember, LEXUS and TOYOTA dealers & service are entirely different entities serving different consumer markets.

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    is called the Estima in Japan. More of a Previa that lost the egg shape. Pretty nice looking. If you go to Toyota of Australia's website, they'll have something like the Previa or tha Toyota Tarago, which is similar to the Estima only minus the hybrid.
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