Last post on Nov 13, 2011 at 11:20 AM
You are in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
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Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Hybrid Cars, SUV
#4000 of 4026 Highlander Hybrid Features I Would Like To See.
Jan 04, 2007 (2:02 pm)
Having driven my 2006 HH standard edition for over a year now I have thought of several features or modifications that would be nice to have in the HH, and some characteristics that are there that I would prefer weren't. There are also many things about the car that I love, not the least of which it is simply fun to drive, but that is not the idea of this discussion. I would like to invite anyone with ideas as to what their "ideal" hybrid to share your ideas. Who knows, maybe Toyota is listening... In the meantime here are a few of mine:
1) I would like to see an "efficiency button". This would be a momentary contact button most likely on the steering wheel, that when pressed would activate an "efficiency mode" of operation. What this would do would be to sacrifice acceleration for maximum driving efficiency. In E.M. when you press the pedal down it will attempt to keep running on the battery unless you either a)press the pedal hard (more than usual for acceleration) or b) take you finger of the button. The idea of this is to make it easier for drivers to drive with maximum efficiency rather than riding that gas lightly to avoid the I.C.E. from activating.
2) Removable third seat: OK let's face it - unless you are a small kid the third seat is not very comfortable. Not just because it's cramped (for even 2 people) but the air circulation there isn't so great either and there's no window you can open. While it is nice to have if you have extra kids to drive somewhere or for an extra seat in a pinch, I would prefer to have it like an extra hidden trunk space, or to be able to open it somehow, so I can use it for storage.
3) Ability to shut of driving lights. Sometimes I feel I just don't need them during the day and would like to be able to shut them off to save energy.
4) Computer Message Suppression: OK - I understand a super critical message forcing the display like "your oil pressure is critically low" or "You must service the battery now", but even a message like "windshield washer fluid low" dominates the display until you fill the reservoir. Personally I am much more interested in knowing if the gas motor is running than whether my washer fluid is full. I think maybe this is a Japanese cultural thing - that they expect you will immediately fill the reservoir, or repair whatever instantly - but I would prefer in all cases to have a choice as to whether the display is dominated with an error message.
5) Some vehicles have this little square adapter coming out below the rear bumper that allows for easy towing or attachment of a bicycle rack etc. Actually I haven't checked whether I can get that for the HH yet, but I would like it for a bike rack better than hoisting the bikes onto the roof.
6) A CD player that can play MP3 files and WMA files so I can have a CD with a zillion of my favorite songs - also would like to be able to easily plug in my MP3 player (I know they have this in the Camry)
7) I really like the compass in the mirror thing - but my HH standard doesn't come with it. I believe the wiring isn't there to power it but I sure would like to have it.
8) The ability to run only on battery until the power runs out and then to recharge it by plugging it into an outlet at my house. (I realize this is a b-i-g issue but it sure would be nice...)
Those are my ideas for now.. What do ya think?
#4001 of 4026 Re: Highlander Hybrid Features I Would Like To See. [sjbob]
by PFFlyer@Edmunds HOST
Jan 04, 2007 (4:56 pm)
I like the list! Especially the one about "setting priorities" on the computer messages. While thre are moments when washer fluid can be ALMOST as important as gas (remembering being stuck behind a semi on a slushy road as the fluid ran out) it would be nice if the display was smart enough to stress the critical stuff and just give reminders on the less important items
#4002 of 4026 Toyota lost my business today
Jan 10, 2007 (6:17 pm)
My wife and I generally keep a vehicle 5-6 years. We have grown accustomed to the usefulness of an SUV but would like better fuel mileage. Time to let the Jeep Liberty Ltd. go. We finally decided upon the Highlander Hybrid Limited with 3rd row seating and navigation. Once we finally got past the $42K sticker shock, we felt that this would be a car worth having for years to come.
Upon further investigation before departing with the $$, I find that this expensive vehicle and techno advanced vehicle was still in the dark ages. Blue Tooth technology is not available in the 2007 Highlander. However, it is offered in many of Toyota's lesser vehicles. What in the world are they thinking????? If you visit Toyota's website, they offer an extensive education on their navigation system as found in the Prius but only offer a piece of junk nav system in the Highlander as a $2,000 option. HELLO
I am still in shock and awe. I voiced my thoughts with the dealer, put my checkbook back in my pocket and left. Sorry Toyota but you lost my business.
#4003 of 4026 frustration with check engine warning light
Jan 19, 2007 (8:04 am)
I am an owner of a new 2007 Highlander Limited Hybrid, otherwise a technological wonder. I had a frustrating experience with the check engine yellow warning light that appeared on my dash. The owners' manual only said to take it to a dealer. A snow storm intervened, so it took two days to get to the dealer. They had to connect the engine to the diagnostic computer to interpret the error code. I decided to wait to see what the problem was, so after over an hour, a young woman announced that my car was ready. "What was wrong?", I said. She does not know and says I will have to talk to the service manager. So what was the big problem that gave me so much grief for two days? The gas cap was not tightened! (In Oregon we are not allowed to pump our own gas, so a gas station attendant left the gas cap loose!) The service manager explained to me that this was a federal government requirement to prevent gasoline vapors escaping into the air, adding to air pollution. He further explained that it takes the engine 12 to 14 hours to sense that the problem is corrected and to reset the warning light!
My feature that I would like to see: Have the engine's computer interpret these engine error codes and write a human understandable interpretation on one of the two displays of the Highlander. It does this for other simple problems. Why not the engine errors? And make the reset time faster.
#4004 of 4026 Re: frustration with check engine warning light [nturrill]
Jan 19, 2007 (11:28 am)
I wish I'd had that on my Mercedes ML when it happened to me. Dealer told me the same thing. So it goes...
#4005 of 4026 Re: Highlander Hybrid Features I Would Like To See. [sjbob]
Feb 04, 2007 (12:32 pm)
I'd like to make two of the suggestions a reality. Has anyone wired a switch into their car for control over the daytime running lights? I'd love to kill those sometimes.
Has anyone hooked up a trailer hitch? Any suggestion on best price? (I want mine for a bike rack as well, therefore the cheaper/lighter the better)
#4006 of 4026 Re: frustration with check engine warning light [nturrill]
Feb 04, 2007 (2:07 pm)
You can buy an OBD II Code reader for $149 on-line. This OBD II reader can be connected to all newer cars (post 1996??) to read the error code.
Our SIenna had a check-engine light ON a while back too and error code matched that of gas cap problem. So I bought a $15 gas cap to replace the old gas cap and reset the light. The light never came on again. That saved us a day at the dealership and a minimum charge of $85.
#4007 of 4026 Re: Changes I'd Like To See in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid [discussion1]
Feb 13, 2007 (12:51 am)
#3 is an easy DIY.
Just add a pre-processor to the front wheels' ABS sensors so that they appear to slip each time an incremental downward movement is made on the gas pedal. The hybrid system will react to the "slippage" by instantly making the rear motor the primary motive force.
#4008 of 4026 Re: Changes I'd Like To See in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid [stevedebi]
Feb 13, 2007 (12:55 am)
The HH does not use the Atkinson cycle. My guess is that with 30% better FE, more energy extracted before the exhaust, it would not allow enough heat to reach the catalyst.
The Prius ACTUAL compression ratio is ~13:1, the EFFECTIVE ratio is only 10:1. This is done by leaving the intake valve open for a fixed period of the compression stroke, allowing a portion of the A/F mixture to be forced back into the intake manifold.
The positive effect of this is to have, effectively, a longer power stroke than the compression stroke, converting a higher percentage of the fuel "burn" into usefull motive force. On the negative side a 2.0L engine now produces only the power of a 1.4L.
Mazda made up for the difference by going one step beyond the Atkinson Cycle, to the Miller Cycle engine. Added an SC to BOOST the inlet charge and make up for that 30% power loss and still attain that ~30 improvement in FE.
#4009 of 4026 Re: Changes I'd Like To See in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid [wwest]
Feb 13, 2007 (1:16 pm)
"Mazda made up for the difference by going one step beyond the Atkinson Cycle, to the Miller Cycle engine. Added an SC to BOOST the inlet charge and make up for that 30% power loss and still attain that ~30 improvement in FE."
To which Mazda model are you referring?