Do I really have an AWD Highlander? - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums

Highlander Hybrid The first hybrid SUV from Toyota, the Highlander Hybrid!

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post #1 of 14 Old 06-07-2017, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Do I really have an AWD Highlander?

Okay.. this sounds like a really stupid question, but here's my situation. A few weeks ago, I was a day away from writing a check to CarMax.com for a 2014 Highlander Limited Platinum AWD. I was scheduled to go in and had all my paperwork ready. The night before, I check on Craigslist and find almost the same identical car with the same mileage and same features, same price, BUT Hybrid AND from a Toyota dealer. I really wasn't looking for a hybrid, but thought the Craigslist deal would be better for the long-run so I canceled my CarMax order and went with the Hybrid.

So here's what I noticed the other day. Nowhere on the car says "AWD." Not even the sales sticker on the car had "AWD" on it. The only place that I noticed "AWD" was on the Craigslist ad, and the CarFax report.

I notice online on the non-hybrid Limited AWD, there's the words "Limited AWD" on the bottom right of the rear hatch. But I don't have that. Also I don't seem to have the "DAC" and "Snow" buttons that the non-hybrids have.

How can I tell that I really have an AWD Highlander?
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-07-2017, 03:34 PM
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PM me your VIN and I'll tell you exactly...

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-07-2017, 04:06 PM
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Look under the vehicle inside and behind the rear wheels there should be a CV shaft going from the center rear to each of the rear wheels... If not and it only has the 2 up front then it's a 2WD.

This is a CV Axle... It's about 3.5-4 feet long and about 1" thick at the shaft.


Installed it will look something like this...



Sometimes when a vehicle has been repainted due to cosmetic or crash damage not all of the badges get put back on as they should. Check the rear of the vehicle real close for signs of body work (off color paint, overspary, sanding marks, orange peel, or tape lines).

'13 Corolla S Premium Complete Black
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-07-2017, 06:08 PM
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If it is a 2014 hybrid, then the rear tires are driven by the electric motors. So it is an AWD, but some people think it doesn't count as a real AWD because the electric power might not always be there. It has great torque, but I've read where people have needed AWD going up mountains in snow for extended periods and didn't get the power they needed. I've been told the batteries can be drained enough that it's not constant power to the rear tires. But I don't really know if that is true, as I've only heard stores and I rarely need my Highlanders AWD function for extended periods. I do know it can rip a big boat out of the water on a steep slick ramp. And it can get through soft sand that would stop most fwd cars

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post #5 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 08:47 AM
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It's AWD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The ONCE-LER
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 10:36 AM
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Recent purchase of a 2017 Highlander Hyrbid XLE - my vehicle has two badges, one on each side just above the rocker panel labeled AWD-i.

Also, I don't think the Hybid was ever available as FWD only.

You should be able to just look at the Energy Monitor animated graphic on the main display and see that it shows an electric motor connected to the rear wheels.


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Last edited by lloyd123; 06-08-2017 at 10:43 AM.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd123 View Post
Also, I don't think the Hybid was ever available as FWD only.

.

Not that it really matters to this discussion, but my 2006 Highlander Hybrid was only 2wd. There were no rear electric motors. However, there was a 4wd version that had a third electric motor for the rear wheels.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd123 View Post

Also, I don't think the Hybid was ever available as FWD only.
Yes the Hi-Hy was available as only a FWD in 2014

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"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HATEnFATE View Post
Yes the Hi-Hy was available as only a FWD in 2014
I tried to find a any reference to a 2014 fwd-only hybrid. But I only ran across articles that said something similar to this one from cnet. "So while every Highlander Hybrid features all-wheel drive (AWD-i in Toyota-speak), there is no need for a heavy drive shaft running along the spine of the vehicle -- the batteries and electric motors add enough weight as is."

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post #10 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachguysc View Post
I tried to find a any reference to a 2014 fwd-only hybrid. But I only ran across articles that said something similar to this one from cnet. "So while every Highlander Hybrid features all-wheel drive (AWD-i in Toyota-speak), there is no need for a heavy drive shaft running along the spine of the vehicle -- the batteries and electric motors add enough weight as is."
I'm gonna be honest here, i just asked one of our long time new-car salesman and he told me "yes, they were available as FWD.", but we all know how that works out sometimes.

I did however run the VIN and confirm it's AWD...

Quote:
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"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."

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post #11 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HATEnFATE View Post
I'm gonna be honest here, i just asked one of our long time new-car salesman and he told me "yes, they were available as FWD.", but we all know how that works out sometimes.
...
Ha. I had to educate the salesmen I dealt with while looking for my 2017. They were throwing out all sorts of false info.
And I just watched the 1st episode of 'Ballers' last night on HBO. One of the Dudes was getting a job as a car salesman and the training manager said...if you don't know the answer, just lie.. but do it with confidence.

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post #12 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HATEnFATE View Post
Yes the Hi-Hy was available as only a FWD in 2014
I have to defer to your better knowledge of the vehicle - I'm new to the game.

BUT

Up until this model year - 2017 - the Hybrid was only available in Limited/Platinum trim. My guess - and only a guess - would be that it would only have come fully loaded and include AWD-i but, as many can attest to on the previous forum I used to frequent - subaruoutback.org - a lot of my theories end up being BS.

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Last edited by lloyd123; 06-08-2017 at 07:06 PM.
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 06:33 PM
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I found this 2014 eBrochure for the Highlander and while all trim levels of the non-hybrid seem to be available as FWD only it only lists the Hybrid as standard "Electronic On-Demand AWD system with intelligence (AWD-i)" Page 5
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post #14 of 14 Old 06-08-2017, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachguysc View Post
Not that it really matters to this discussion, but my 2006 Highlander Hybrid was only 2wd. There were no rear electric motors. However, there was a 4wd version that had a third electric motor for the rear wheels.
2006 eBrochure confirms your post.
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