2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid User Reviews
Base 4X4 shown
- $28,656 - $33,004
- No trim specified for this review
- Excellent Fuel Economy
- Ride is soft, handling mushy, steering imprecise
Purchased As New
First, the car can really deliver impressive fuel economy. I have averaged 31 MPG for several tanks. For a 6000 lb, 7 passenger SUV that can tow a 3500 pound trailer, it's really impressive. Overall its a good vehicle but with just a few simple tweaks it could have been so much better.
The level of luxury inside my Limited could be higher for $45,000. It's priced the same as the Lexus SUV but not nearly as nice. Outside, the styling is just a bit funky. I'm not crazy about it, but hey at least it's not the Pontiac Aztek!
The headlights are excellent. Fit and finish are excellent as well, The navigation system is overly complex and has some quirk where it won't tell you to "make a U-turn as soon as possible" if you are headed the wrong direction. I had one trip where the only way I figured out I really just needed to turn around, was to turn on the navigation on my Google Droid smart phone!
The most annoying thing is the really mushy and imprecise handling. The electric steering has zero road feel and it's too easy to find yourself drifting out of your lane because the steering has no road feel. My other cars include a BMW and Infinity M and have sporty rides by definition, but this thing is SCARY as it wallows around corners. My 2002 Chevy Trailblazer has a much more confidence inspiring cornering and I though IT was mushy until I drove the highlander. As a result of the excess body lean, the cornering speed you can maintain is much lower than it should be, you lose speed and this hurts fuel economy because then you have to accelerate more to get back up to speed. And as you watch the "Mr. Gadget" hybrid economy gauges, you quickly learn that acceleration is where you use-up the most fuel. I dream for a performance suspension option or even aftermarket heavy duty springs! The other annoyance is that when in economy mode it's really not fun to drive. Its too slow and too much pedal is required to get the thing to just keep up with traffic. Grandma's get up behind me in their Crown Victorias and honk!. However in normal mode, their is plenty of power available and it will move quickly, at the expense of fuel economy, of course.
Lastly, the hybrid only works when it's up to temperature.. Practically what this means is that when you first start up, after being parked a while, the EV mode is not available. That's annoying. It's MUCH worse on cold East Coast winter days.. Sometimes when it's really cold, the battery drive barely kicks in and fuel economy is noticeably decreased. The first time that happened I thought the system was malfunctioning.
Other things it needs is a plug-in option, a bigger battery, and solar panel on the roof to charge the battery while parked. Al these could help extend the EV mode.
It really does deliver on the fuel economy though!
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