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Toyota Highlander Real World MPG



  • I have now over 700 miles on the clock, and filled the tank 3 times. Unbelievably, the average mileage is still 13mpg. So, I took it to Toyota Service to check it out. They spend the whole day on it and found.... nothing. Everything normal. They dismissed me with a "come back if it's still the same after a 5000 mile break-in period". Excuse me?
    I can't tell you how disappointed I am. I love the car and the ride, but the gas mileage is worse than my previous 2003 Explorer with the 4.6L V8 engine. That made over 14 mpg and I traded it in for something supposedly more fuel efficient!!!!!!!!!!

    Anyone got an idea what to look for next?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    My minivan got 17, 19, 15, 11 and 11 over the first 5 tanks the first 1,000 miles. It finally settled in at 21 overall (19ish town, 24ish highway) but it took over 10,000 miles to really hit its stride. I would give it a little while longer.

    Meanwhile, maybe this article will give you some ideas to try:

    What Really Saves Gas? And How Much?
  • Have been here a few years and people on these boards for the V6 in city and mixed have been getting 15 to 19 mpg -- many of these owners have the older 3.0L V6, so the current 3.3L V6 will get slightly lower, but I agree 13 mpg for mixed city and highway driving does sound too low for a HL and I'd be quite upset too (I wasn't even thrilled with 19 mpg, but it is an SUV). I do recall though that on my first couple of tanks my mileage was 2 to 3 mpg lower than what it settled upon subsequently. After a few fillups, unless if you're driving in the mountains or something, ideal thing would be to rent a HL and see if it gets the same mileage or not.
  • Thanks for pointing out the article. Very interesting read...

    Your past experience gives me some hope that it'll eventually get better.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I don't know what part of the country you are in, but about the time you get to 3,000 miles and are ready to see that 13mph bump up, the cold weather will set in - reformulated "winter" gas is already being sold in many places and that often dings the mpg. :sick:

    What's odd is we get plenty of reports around the various discussions where people get good mpg from the first tank. Go figure.

    We'll keep our fingers crossed for your next report!
  • gasman1gasman1 Posts: 321
    25.5MPG highway, 19.2MPG city
  • Does any body have an AVERAGE MPG on Speedometer multi-information display on Highlander Hybrid 2WD? My new Highlander Hybrid does not have AVERAGE MPG.

    Please let me know so I can go back to the dealer to have them fix it.


  • Also try posting your question in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid: MPG-Real World Numbers discussion.

    I don't have the hybrid but some posters in the hybrid discussion have been complaining about the lack of an avg mpg readout, though I can't remember which specific models this was in reference to. My only guess is this is because perhaps the readout would waver too much as the ICE kicks in and out.
  • how loaded was your HL ( people, stuff in the trunk), and what average speed you drove esp. on h-ways?
    Looking to buy a 2004 used 2WD , not sure if 4 cyl can carry too much in the detriment of gas mileage...
  • ibceaibcea Posts: 2
    I am getting as low as 15 in town with occasional highway driving. Average for typical suburban driving with hills is around 16 or 17 mpg. This is disappointing but does not seem to out of line with some of the numbers reported here. It seems toyota rating of 18 in town is not very realistic. We have 2006 4wd with 11k on the odometer...
  • I have a 2005 Highlander V6 AWD with 22,563 miles on it and have tracked my gas mileage since the vehicle was new.

    Typically I get between 22-23 mpg during normal summer driving on the stock Toyo tires. During winter I get aroung 19 mpg using Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires.

    When towing a loaded dual axle car trailer weighing 3300 lbs. I get between 18-19 mpg (using the Toyo tires).

  • I have a 2007 4Cyl, 4x4, and the sticker says 20MPG-city, 25MPG-highway....i drive about 50 miles to work round trip, 80% highway, and I'm only getting about 16 miles per gallon. When I get to about 300 miles, it's almost time to fill up again. I'm definitly not happy! On the highway, go about 65-70 miles per hour, but coming home there's too much traffic to even think about going above 60. I have 2000 miles on the car..had I known it was going to be this bad, I would have either gotten the FJ Cruiser, or the Mazda CX7 which uses premium fuel.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    Ihave a 2004 4 cyl 4x2 Highlander rated at 22/27 and I have never gotten below 18-19 mpg even with all city driving during the winter in Boston area. Highway will easily match rating at 65-70 mph. I do however, try to coast as much as possible in city traffic, not easy to do with the annoying drag in 3rd gear that doesn't release till about 20 mph.
  • I do 95% in town driving and average 15 mpg. Very disappointing. I got better gas mileage in my 2000 Grand Caravan. That being said, I truly love this vehicle so I won't complain too much!
  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    It has been my experience over the years that vehicles never get their advertised "mpg". But I understand that the Government is cracking down on those claims now. With the mileage claims not being based upon normal driving conditions in the past.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,786

    The advertised mileage for a 3.3l Auto AWD Kluger (Highlander)here in Australia is 12.3 l/100km equivalent to 19.1 mpg (US)

    My own expereicned suggests this is about right, Australian standards being pretty tightly controlled and subject to governemenet control. My own experience is generally a bit better, the current tank full running at 10.5 l/100km equivalent to 22.4 mpg (US) in mixed city and high speed country driving, much of it into a savage head wind.

    In lighter conditions and if driven very carefully, you can achieve down to about 9.5 l/100km (24.8 mpg (US)) but this is more likely over gentle freeway driving under light traffic conditions.

    Stop start city traffic shows about 13.5l /100km

    However, if the vehicle is driven hard with harsh acceleration and braking, economy can slip out surprisingly quickly. To look at this try monitoring the instant fuel consumption usage on the dashboard display.


  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    Thanks for your down under advice on mileage, Graham.

    However, over here we have to keep moving to keep from getting hit from the rear. Which of course effect gasoline mileage...........(smile)
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,786

    Traffic conditions in Melbourne are pretty much the same as most major US cities although not as bad as New York or London (all of which I have driven in). Sydney conditions are worse.


  • Hi everyone,

    My 2002 Highlander is a 4 Cyl, front wheel drive with automatic transmission. Has about 35,000 miles now. This vehicle was rated as 27/22 when I purchased it.

    I have always gotten 22-23 mpg no matter whether I drive in town or on the highway, running the AC or not. Interstate here in Nebraska is basically flat and speed limit is 75mph. On state highways where speed limit is 65 mph I still get 22-23 mpg.

    This is the first vehicle I have ever owned that didn't do 'better' than what it was rated at. Also the first that didn't have improved mpg on the highway.

    I'm very disappointed in the mpg. During it's bumper to bumper warranty I raised the issue with the dealer and was told that 'gas isn't what it used to be'. Funny comment since the 10 year old car I was replacing had never experienced an mpg drop off. Another explanation the dealer had was that 'they come up with those mpg estimates in really flat places'. Ha! Doesn't get much flatter than Nebraska.

  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    That sounds highly ususual, getting the same mileage in town or on the highway. I have never heard of or seen a vehicle that did that.

    Also I have yet to see a vehicle get the mileage the manufacturers claim. However, I do understand that the government is tightening up on those posted mileage claims. And I do expect to see those mileage claims dropping as they get closer to the real world.
  • rpell46rpell46 Posts: 15
    My 2003 HL 4cyl. 4x4 has 37,000 miles. City driving,(and I mean NYC stop signs every other block + traffic lights at every main intersection), yields a consistant 16 mpg.
    My highway driving is mostly upstate NY, Rtes. 87 & 17 (mountainous), gives me 24 mpg. My best recorded mileage was 26. The sticker said 17/24, so it's not that far off. Of course tire condition and driving habits affect mpg's dramatically. LOVE MY HL.......
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    Believe you're mistaken about sticker rating. V6 awd has 18/24 rating and 4 cyl awd has 20/25 rating.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    My 2004 4 cyl fwd at 65 gets at least the 27 rating. Heavy stop and go traffic is 18-19 mpg with 30 mph max.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Edmunds says the 2003 Toyota Highlander 4 cylinder AWD is rated at 19 mpg / 24 mpg. (2WD 4 cylinder gets 22/27 and the 2WD 6 gets 19/23; 4WD 6 gets 18/22).

  • rpell46rpell46 Posts: 15
    Thank you for the correction....except that now I don't feel as good anymore..

    Kidding aside, NYC "city" driving is horrendous when compared with the "city" driving of any NON-major city.
    All trips are "short-hops" with constant stop signs and traffic lights....not to mention the "snails and drivers who have no clue where they are going".

    So, even with a 19/25 rating, my 16/24 average is acceptable in my situation.
  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    16/24 is excellent in those driving conditions.
  • Glad to hear that some are achieving the 27mpg. Do you still have original tires? I'm wondering if a different kind of tire might help.
  • I hope this forum is a proper place for this message, just a random report after 138,000 miles.

    I bought a 2001 V6 AWD LTD with leather, heated seats, JBL, moonroof, tow pkg and more.

    We've loved in since before day 1. Mileage is a problem. Not the MPG's. I just can't stop driving it. Real world New England, mix of hi-way (no towing, just the package), city, suburban has constantly shown 18.9 on the car's message board, matched by tank-by-tank mileage checks. First 30,000 was 19.4 on Bridgestone OEMs, but after switching to Michelin Cross Terrains, 18.9 has been the norm (premium every time, though).
    Sadly, despite the 18.9, I can't seem to get over 23 on the hi-way (72 on cruise most times). The '01 had a 4 speed and newer 5 speeds should be better.

    Reliability has been, as expected, bullet-proof. The car was purchased on 3/31/01, 6 weeks after the New England debut. Battled quite a bit to get a remarkable discount (end of quarter?). Brakes replaced front (rotors too) and rear at 70,000. Fresh natural oil every 3k, rotate 8k.
    Between traction control, vehicle skid control, AWD and ABS, I have never been able to skid or spin a tire on this vehicle (and believe, as a Massachusetts driver, there are more than many opportunities to try both often!

    One disappointment is the interior color choices. Perhaps marketing it as 'an SUV your wife will let you buy (or will buy herself), two pastels seem proper to Toyota, but I hope that new Tundra has graphite or darker inside or they blew it big-time in the USA.

    Hope these experiences help someone. They helped me. We just added a 07 RAV4 LTD for my wife. Expecting more of the same.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    Yes, still have the original Toyo Transpath A11 tires. The tires are not very good in anything more than light snow.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Drove 205 miles yesterday, about 80% freeway at 72-74 mph, the rest around town. It was single digit (F) temps most of the day. Averaged 18.1 mpg. Same trip in the summer would yield around 21 mpg.
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