Last post on Jul 02, 2011 at 10:50 AM
You are in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Hybrid Cars, Car Buying, SUV
#122 of 165 Re: 12 volt Starter Battery issues [toyotax2]
Jun 10, 2008 (5:05 pm)
Agree with comments on dead battery and inability to start the Highlander Hybrid after minimal time periods of non-use.
I own a 2007 Highlander Hybrid and have now experienced a dead battery and inability to start the car 3 times now. Once after about 3 weeks of non-use and twice after approximately 11 days of non-use.
Took the car to the dealer who assured me that everything checked out just fine.
Would have lived with problem (although very inconvenient and potentially dangerous ie. if coming back to an airport after a trip) but was speaking to a group of individuals two of whom experienced the same problem with their Highlander Hybrids. Clearly this is not a random problem. One of the individuals was told by his dealer that battery is terribly undersized and should be replaced with a battery with greater capacity.
Called Toyota Central (1-800 331 4331 as recoomended in someone elses comments) and they were singularly unhelpful and uninterested. I pointed out that multiple people seem to be having this problem and was asked by them why I was not disconnecting my battry (WHY DON'T THEY PROVIDE A CUTOFF SWITCH ON THE DASHBOARD FOR THIS PURPOSE IF THIS IS NECESSARY?) Does anyone in America disconnect their battery for 2-3 weeks of non-use?
I insisted on speaking to a supervisor and was told by her that there is a warning on page 100 + something indicating that the Hybrid must be driven for 30 minutes every 2 weeks to guarantee starting. I pointed out that 2 people in my narrow circle of acquaitance seem to be having this problem and as a result this seems to be a larger problem and a Toyota not a customer problem, however, they simply didn't bite. If this is the appropriate working condition of the car I suggest they post a big red warning on the dashboard indicating that vehicle has to be used 30 min every two weeks or it won't start. I don't think this would be a major selling point if people actually knew or were aware of this inconvenience.
The Highlander Hybid is a hot product but Toyota still has a responsibility to provide a useful working product that operates according to the local norm. Every other car I know can last two weeks without having to drive it and still start. If this one can't they should fix it or post a more prominent warning.
If your experiencing this problem (and I can't believe that there aren't many since I know 2 personally) I would complain like crazy to Toyota, on line, and to the National Safety Council (as I believe this has a safety as well as inconvenince component).
In the mean time Toyota should be embarressed that those writing here about having this problem and myself and at least two other people locally are being ignored. I expected more Toyota when I bought their product.
Aug 11, 2008 (11:25 pm)
The Highlander is the first hybrid I've owned, and we love it. We have learned how to coast as often as possible, and we love the nav.
Yesterday the dealer who sold us the car, Middletown Toyota of Middletown Ct, snagged us as the 15000 mile service.
We brought our Highlander Hybrid in for an oil change. The service advisor showed us an official looking chart explaining many other services "needed" at 15000 miles, including a tune up and new PCV valve. They said it was because the car is a hybrid. The charge for the service was $250 rather than the $25 the oil change cost. We thought this was Toyota's recommendation, and since we had never owned a hybrid before, we believed the dealer. When we got the car back, we read the manufacturer's recommendation, that said we didn't need any of that extra service until 60000 miles. The dealer ripped us off for $225 in service we didn't need.
I post this since the only reason I fell for it was being a new hybrid owner, so if you don't want to be a rube like me, thoroughly know your service needs before you walk into the dealer service department.
Nov 20, 2008 (4:55 am)
My first observation is that the HH forum is not very active. I'm used to the Camry Hybrid forums that have daily activity. I guess I'll have to focus my time on more productive activities now.
It's good too to see that the HH people (Hybrid Haters) are no longer active. I've read through some of the early posts and it seemed like a lot of people here as well as the TCH forums went out of their way to bash hybrid technology. I guess after seeing $5 diesel fuel and even seeing their beloved GM apply hybrid technology in their "gotta have one" pickup trucks, they had to shut up.
I've never had to defend my purchases in the past and I've had many impractical vehicles, but many people do honestly and sincerely question the purchase of a hybrid.
After two and a half years driving a Camry Hybrid, I have a better idea as to what I can expect with the Highlander. Yes I do wish it had the 4cy hybrid setup, but this will have to do as it is what is available for now.
I didn't expect my HH to replace my Expedition, it replaces my car. Thus having the awd, large storage, easy access, comfortable room AND having better FE than most cars certainly makes this a painless decision. Also due to its practical use, it will replace the 14mpg Expedition on many nominal duties that the car couldn't handle previously.
I know my driving habits and see no reason why I can't match or exceed the EPA ratings. But even if I don't, 24 to 25 is pretty amazing for a vehicle like this.
Over the past years it has become obvious to me many people don't know how to calculate their FE in mpg's. They typically quote their car's abilities based on a recent road trip, seldom do they know their overall average. I've tracked FE on most of my cars for 20+ years and typically I average very close to the lower city number although the large percentage of my driving miles were interstate.
Even still many don't realize that going from a vehicle that gets 17 mpg to 25 mpg is almost a 50% gain in FE. I hear them say, well 25 mpg is not all that great. Hey, that can cut your gasoline bill in half! Anyway, I don't have to justify myself and educating people is not in my job description so ....
I don't have a lot of miles on the HH yet, just picked it up this week. Will take it on our first road trip this weekend and have a trip to NYC planned in early Dec. The main use of the HH will be for my wife to comfortably and safely commute to our son's house to babysit our granddaughter. My wife has a bum knee and the HH is a lot more comfortable and has easier entry / exit than the car. Getting into the rear with the power liftgate is going to be a real plus when carrying a baby carrier. We can actually use the liftgate for the other grandchild to stand under if the weather is bad while loading the baby.
The interior is heads and shoulders more handsome than the Camry and most cars that I have seen. Yes, I wish the Japanese would copy the Germans on interiors, but I'll take Japanese technology and electronics anyday over German Engineering.
The HH gives you all of the advantages of high seating / view, carry capacity, comfort and the room of an SUV without the guilt of knowing you're driving a gas hog just to drive the kids around. That did not use to bother me but more and more I find that wasting natural resources, especially when you fund terrorist activities by doing so just doesn't make sense.
I'm still waiting on the hybrid sports car. I'm ready for another sports car but am willing to wait until the technology gets applied across the car lines. I'd really like a Vette that gets 30 mpg (average, not just highway).
I do wish it was cheaper since that would make it available to many who really could benefit from the operational savings.
For now the HH just makes a lot of sense for me. It's a good fit with our lifestyle and needs.
#125 of 165 At 800 miles....
Nov 25, 2008 (4:06 am)
... I continue to be impressed with the quality of this vehicle as I become more familiar with it. The safety features are amazing. I'm having fun working on maximizing the FE.
#126 of 165 Re: New HH Owner [wvgasguy]
Dec 03, 2008 (9:26 pm)
Nice post. Our 2008 HH is now a little over 2 weeks old. We took it on a road trip this past weekend which was almost 600 miles round total. We averaged 26 to 27 mpg the whole trip.
I'm not sure what you mean about people not knowing how to calculate their FE: Don't you simply trip your odometer at every fill up and divide the total miles by number of gallons at a complete fill up? Maybe I'm one of those doing it wrong?
Anyhow, my calculation pretty much matches up with the number showing up on the onboard computing system. I was so curious if it was accurate that when I saw the system reporting 29 mpg only 90 miles after a fill up that I filled it up and sure enough, less than 3 gallons were needed!
So we are at about 800 miles now and getting about 26 to 27 mpg. I hope this continues.
#127 of 165 Re: New HH Owner [scippy]
Dec 04, 2008 (2:33 pm)
I'm not sure what you mean about people not knowing how to calculate their FE
True, it is simple, however my experience is most people only figure out their FE when they go on vacation or a trip or by using the computer reading on a trip.
You don't know how many times I bit my lip when friend were totally unimpressed that I averaged 37.5 mpg over 63,000 miles in a Camry Hybrid. I'd get comments like, my Lexus ES just showed 35 last weekend, or I get 33 all the time. One neighbor even claims her Escalade with the big engine gets 20+ MPG! I've seen the numbers and yes on a highway trip only perhaps. But just like in my Expedition, I can go along and be getting 17.5 on the interstate and when I get off an exit to eat and drive a mile or two, byt the time I get back on I'm back down to about 14.5. Big vehicles just can't get 20+ currently .
Anyway, most of them are not impressed that I'm getting about 25 while I'm breaking in my HH. I've given up on trying to educate them.
On another note, on my first trip I've noticed that (at least compared to mile markers) my HH is reading about 2% low on the odometer. That's a little better than the TCH which was about 3%. I didn't check this with a GPS but was surprised no one had checked this on the HH threads. When the TCH came out we were pretty fanatical about all that. In the TCH the speedometer was off fairly significantly, but that didn't affect the FE calculation.
Dec 04, 2008 (2:39 pm)
Has anyone ran their tank "dry" or at least significantly past the "E" light? This past week I only took 14.7 to fill up after the light came on. In the Camry Hybrid I know there was consistantly 3 gallons left in the tank after the light comes on. That's pretty nice to know since I hate stopping to fill up. If I know I have another 50+ miles when the light comes on then I won't be worried about filling up at the 1/4 mark.
My 4Runner seems to be accurately measuring an empty tank, but apparently the Hybrids have a bigger safety factor built in. I was just wondering if this is everyones experience with the HH or if I might see something different next time.
#129 of 165 Re: New Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owners - Give Us Your Report [pf_flyer]
Dec 20, 2008 (6:35 pm)
I had a highlander even before the commercials were out for it (Jan.01) and loved it til the day it was replaced by an 08 hybrid limitedin Oct. I live in the Pocono region of Pa. How silly of me to assume that the hybrid would be just as good, if not better, at winter driving than the original model. First I find out that it is almost impossible to get winter tires for this vehicle.Second, I find out that the car drives mainly in front wheel mode and is not all time all wheel drive like my other highlander. I love the HH and the ride, but am terrified of driving it in the snow. I had to turn around and take out my husbands Infiti M35x,which by the way, has a snow feature and drove like a tank. Had I been aware of the fact that this is a vehicle for Florida, I would have kept my original until they made a hybrid that can be driven in all climates. I am so disappointed with Toyota in this area. Guess I'll have to sit out the next snow storm. Anybody out there know of a snow tire that will fit my HH? 245/55R19..Please help. The manual suggests chains for the front tires only. That's a red flag.
#130 of 165 Re: New Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owners - Give Us Your Report [cat46]
Dec 20, 2008 (9:01 pm)
"Anybody out there know of a snow tire that will fit my HH? 245/55R19.."
Yes, Bridgestone makes Blizzak tires in this size. So far that is the only ones I have found.
I live in NE North Dakota and we have had a very snowy fall, and had lots of snow last winter (I bought my 2008 HH in Nov. 2007). It does great in the snow. I haven't been able to get it stuck even when trying to test to limits. The stock tires, after 7000 miles, do not have great grip on ice. But they are more than adequate. Just slow down.
The VDIM does a great job of keeping you in control, but it does have limits. If you try to make a turn on ice too fast, it will prevent you from spinning out of control, but you may not be able to make the turn you intended.
#131 of 165 Re: Tank size [wvgasguy]
Dec 20, 2008 (9:06 pm)
". . . took 14.7 to fill up after the light came on."
My experience is that mine will take 14.2 (thus leaving 3) just a few miles after the low gas light comes on.