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If you prefer a comfortable ride

mykecusa, 05/30/2017
Limited Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
21 of 21 people found this review helpful

The Toyota Highlander expert reviews are spot on. The car is quiet and comfortable. However I am and old grandpa and drive like one my kids say ... slow, steady and easy going. I drive 65 mph on the freeways and the posted speed limits in town. I do not, 'Jack rabbit start' only to race to the next stop sign/red light to slam on my brakes. I get an typical 25 mpg per tank full of gasoline. I do regular servicing. The 2017 caught my attention with increased hosepower, better fuel economy and better safety features (I really like the 360 dregree camera view). UPDATE: 12/8/2017 I really like this SUV. It is a quiet and comfortable ride. Plenty of cargo space for my service dog with 2nd row seats up for up to 3 passengers, with the dog. I have been getting 22-24 mpg with the A/C, or heater on, and 25-27 with both off. This is roughly 50-50 city-highway. The electric motor truly takes a gentle foot to stay engaged, and really is quite limited in being engaged ... maybe a mile if lucky. Learning to use it does add to the fuel economy. The ECO function is suppose to improve fuel economy in town with start ups. I used it the first 2500 miles and did not use it the last 2500 miles. I notice no difference in fuel economy and it is essentially the same type of mileage. I notice a little more acceleration with the 2017 over the 2016, but it might be more to the slight noise increase I can hear. The hybrid is spunky on acceleration if you need it. For me, a disabled veteran, the biggest plus has been the sensors and safety features. There are 4 levels to the robotic car industry, where level 4 is fully computer managed automobile. The 2017 Highlander is level 2. It has lane monitoring and automatic correction. I have only used the auto correction feature a few times. It does take having lane lines on both sides, but it has worked for me. I'm not sure I'm ready to close my eye though. The sensor alert when I drift over a lane line is useful to me though. Since I am blind in my left eye, the safety sensors really help. I get alerts not only if autos are on my left side, but at intersections if people are in the cross walk. The alert also works for people walking behind, or on the side of my SUV. A nice safety feature in parking lots for sure. Everything has worked nicely and I have no complaints about the Toyota Highlander Hybrid at the time. Update 6/2018 I'm liking this SUV more and more all the time. It takes time to learn and develop the muscle responses to best use the hybrid system. I can now effectively use the ECO and EV systems to improve my gasoline mpg. I can pretty much count on 25 mpg all around combined average (24 in Winter with heat/air, 26 in Summer with no heat/air). The camera views are a blessing for close spaces and parking. I now have 9200 miles on the vehicle, and consider it the best drive I ever bought. Update: 12/2018 I still give this SUV an A+. I get great fuel economy for a 5,000 pound SUV. I count on averaging 25 mpg, getting as low as 22 mpg with A/C, or heater on and lots of stop and go traffic,or 30 mpg with steady highway driving. (note: I am a moderate driver, driving the posted speed limit and no quick starts and sudden stops ... easy does it) The ride remains smooth, quiet and easy. The camera views are still A+, as well as the Dynamic Cruise Control. Absolutely no regrets buying this Toyota Hybrid SUV. Current mileage is 13,000, and I just had the 18 month maintenance service. Everything A+. The dealer has been great with the service. I still give this SUV A+ rating. I only have 17,000 miles on it, and reviews say I can expect 300,000 if I maintain the vehicle. There have been zero problems and the 25,000 service plane provided has been easy to use. Nothing shows serious wear, and the ride remains smooth and quiet. Update 6/13/2020 With the pandemic I have put only 260 miles on this SUV in the last 4 months. Current mileage is 19,410. Being retired has its pluses and minuses. No regrets on buying this SUV, as it is quiet, comfortable ride that is very economical (minimum servicing, fuel efficient). From what I read about Toyota reliability, my kids might be able to pass this SUV on to their kids. Update: 12/17/2020 I have learned a negative about this hybrid. With the pandemic 90% of my driving is local city driving. Lots of drive a block, stop ... drive a block, stop type driving. Very little highway driving. The result has been very low fuel economy ... like 8, 9 mpg. I did do one 100 mile trip and return. Once again I got great mpg on it, like 28 mpg. However for basically city/local driving the SUV hybrid for a big SUV does not seem to me to be the ticket. Update: 6/20/2021 23,000 miles Still no regrets buying this SUV. I have had no problwms needing service. All my problems have been resolved by reading the service manuals. I have followed the manual reccomendations for servicing, borh time and component. This hybrid canget 300,000 miles if cared for.

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Great SUV, but hybrid may not be worth it

Michael, 01/03/2017
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
33 of 34 people found this review helpful

The Highlander Hybrid is comfortable and looks great inside and out. The "hybrid" part so far is a big disappointment in terms of performance and gas mileage. On long drives, we have simply decided to forego Eco Mode and avoid what feels like a battle between car and driver otherwise. Our gas mileage so far has been 25.5mpg at best and 19mpg at worst during a long trip between northern and southern California. Eco mode on the long trip only improved this by 2mpg. So, unless you need to cross the 6,000gvwr for business reasons, I don't see any advantage to the hybrid. UPDATE: After an ECU flash at the dealer, the hybrid part has been great. My best on a tank is just over 30mpg and I rarely get under 26mpg.

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Great Fuel Ecenomy

Limmw, 04/15/2017
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
24 of 25 people found this review helpful

We ordered a 2017 Highlander Hybrid XLE in November 2016 and received it in early December 2016. We immediately took off on a 1000 mi trip to Oregon. Overall we are very happy with the purchase. Dealership service was good, the SUV drives well and we got 26.5 MPG for the 2000 miles round trip through interstate 5 during winter blizzards going and coming back. Our previous SUV was an Acura MDX which on the same trip averaged only about 19 MPG so we are please with the gas mileage. Since then in overall Southern Cal driving in mixed city and freeway trips, we averaged over 30 MPG. During our trip through the California/Oregon mountains during winter blizzards we found out that the Safety Features stopped working when the sensors were covered by snows and mud. So at the time we needed them, they stopped working unless we cleaned the snows/mud off the sensors. Otherwise all the safety features worked as advertised. Only other problem is the Toyota lane assist worked but the design was stupid: It behaved like a "drunken sailer" bouncing from one side to the other if we did not correct the drifting off the center of the lane and relied on the lane assist. Overall we give it a 5 star SUV.

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Great MPG and Comfortable, but Overpriced

J. Buchman, 10/01/2017
Limited Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
16 of 17 people found this review helpful

Before purchasing my 2017 Highlander Hybrid Platinum, I owned the RAV4 Hybrid...so I am very familiar with Toyota's Hybrid SUVs. I moved up to the Highlander because I wanted/needed a larger vehicle to accommodate my family. In sum...while this is a very efficient and comfortable SUV, it falls short in some very important categories. First, the positives: Obviously, as you'd expect from a Toyota Hybrid, this SUV gets phenomenal gas mileage for a 5,000 pound automobile. If I drive slowly in "Eco" mode (Eco mode adjusts throttle mapping to give the driver more control over acceleration), I can achieve 34 mpg. If I drive "normally" (re: not slowly), I get around 31 mpg. Other positives: The seats, both front and rear, are very comfortable. Seat heaters and seat ventilation works well. The second row has heated captains chairs, separated by a cup holder. The climate control system works well, including the ability to adjust temperature in the rear of the vehicle. I was disappointed that the Highlander Hybrid does not come with LED headlights or fog lights, but nevertheless, the lights do a nice job of illuminating the road at night...and, having "auto-brights" is a nice feature (auto high beams will turn off automatically when it senses a car approaching in front of you). There is ample storage space in the rear of the vehicle (if you fold down the 3rd row). Cruise control works well...and the Nav system, while antiquated, is accurate and easy to use. Acceleration is pretty good for a hybrid, but, as is typical of all CVT transmissions, when you accelerate, the engine revs like it's about to explode. The AWD system (the rear wheels are driven by an independent electric motor that kicks in when the front wheels sense slippage) does a good job adding traction in light snow, but is not designed to handle off-road driving. OK, now the negatives: The car generally handles the road like it's sitting on bicycle wheels. There is noticeable roll when turning into corners, the electric steering has no feel for the road whatsoever, and the regenerative braking system is sloppy at higher speeds. To say this car is "not sporty" is an understatement. It is simply incapable of performing well if driven in any sort of spirited manner. The JBL sound system is astonishingly poor. After just a couple of months of owning the car, the subwoofer and one of the front tweeters blew out (and I do not push the volume when I listen to music). That's simply unacceptable for a car in this price range. Ultimately, I believe the Highlander's overall performance and refinement is simply below average for an SUV in its price range. In my opinion, there are other SUVs available, for the same price, which offer significantly better road performance, more sophisticated AWD systems, and higher quality/more modern interior design.

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Excellent family-hauler with a few flaws

AB, 12/19/2016
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
16 of 18 people found this review helpful

Lots going for the Highlander Hybrid: unmatched fuel economy (in class), AWD, comfortable interior, and great reliability. Ride is soft, smooth and quiet. Handling is numb; not for 'spirited' driving. Active Safety Sense features (standard) seem to work well and are non-obtrusive, though I haven't really experienced the pre-collision system. Toyota's Entune+Navigation system seems quite dated; wish they would just support Apple Carplay / Android Auto. (At least Bluetooth works well.) Also considered the Honda Pilot EX-L (AWD), but I got the Hybrid XLE for almost the same price, and have no regrets!

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