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Highlander 3rd Generation (2014-2019) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 3rd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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post #1 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Need Help Deciding

Hello, I'm new here but not new to the Toyota brand. Currently as my daily driver I have a 2014 Mercedes ML350 4matic with about 85,000 miles on it. I'm trying to decide whether or not to dump it or keep it as it just went out of CPO. Car has been pretty trouble free since I've owned it 2+ years. No air suspension and naturally aspirated v6 engine (no turbo or diesel) so not alot of things to wrong hopefully. Car feels solid and built like a tank. Wife mainly drives it with the kids but it has recently become a family vehicle.

I walked into a Toyota dealer to test drive the 19 Highlander Hybrid and I was pretty impressed with the power and definitely could use the captains chairs and third row (2 small kids). Right now, the ML is averaging about 18mpg combined city and highway. The Highlander Hybrid AWD looks to average about 28mpg. Dealer could work close to offering 20k for my ML if I trade it in. Would it make sense to get out of the Benz now before it hits 100k miles (value tanks and i've heard horror stories of German cars falling apart right after 100k) and pay 45k-50k for a new Highlander Hybrid Limited for the gas savings and reliability peace of mind? Or even 36k-40k for a gas Highlander? What are the pros and cons of both vehicles? Trying to see what would be the best financial decision for 5 years and hopefully 200,000 miles +.

Thanks for any input
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post #2 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 08:50 AM
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For a family with small children HiHy Limited is excellent choice. It is very family oriented. Very.

Yo will have pretty good AWD and lots of storage areas. I had 2012 one, I used it as a truck for 6 mths. Literally. Had 12 ft boards inside once.

If you have "nice foot" you should easily hover around 30mpg single driver. Accordingly, more weight, less mpg. But still, it will outperform any non hybrid version.
They are VERY reliable. Make sure you get one Made in Japan.
also, look at trade ins or 2018 models. Not much difference, price though is much lighter.

MB is, as of lately, known money pit. I get it, you got Wednesday one, but they tend to start expensively breaking as soon as out of warranty.



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post #3 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 09:16 AM
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Remember why you bought the ML350 in the first place... was it because you wanted a Benz, because your wife wanted a Benz, because you wanted a luxury car, because the ML350 is one of the safest cars you can buy, because you got a really good deal on it, or some other reason?

If you bought the ML350 because you like German cars and you were willing to pay the premium of owning one at the time of purchase, I would keep it. You're right - naturally aspirated engine removes the possibility of turbo failure and MB can't design a reliable air suspension if the survival of the company depended on it. You still have the 7 speed transmission, and various electrical issues that can go wrong though. Do all the necessary maintenance (and even the seemingly unnecessary stuff - is the 7 speed auto sealed? Even if it is, change out the transmission fluid) and keep the ML350 to 150K miles.

I (personally) am not a huge fan of Hybrid vehicles because you will need a battery replacement in ~10-15 years and ~150K-200K miles. As I own my cars for much longer than that, it essentially guarantees that I will need to shell out $2-3K at some point to replace the battery. However, it may be worth it for you depending on what percentage of your driving is city driving. If you're driving 200K miles in 5 years, or 40K a year, I'm assuming you drive mostly highway and you may or may not recuperate the Hybrid premium. You'll have to run the numbers on Highlander vs Highlander Hybrid. I'd say there's a good chance you may not need to change the Hybrid battery if you sell the car in 5 years and 200K miles.

The most economical thing to do would be to trade in the ML350 and buy a used gas Highlander and drive it until it dies. I would say the cost of ownership of a new Highlander Limited and keeping your ML350, should be comparable when factoring in depreciation and maintenance. But, the new Highlander Limited will be in the shop less often and be less of an inconvenience. All depends how much Benz ownership is worth to you.

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post #4 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ukrkoz View Post
For a family with small children HiHy Limited is excellent choice. It is very family oriented. Very.

Yo will have pretty good AWD and lots of storage areas. I had 2012 one, I used it as a truck for 6 mths. Literally. Had 12 ft boards inside once.

If you have "nice foot" you should easily hover around 30mpg single driver. Accordingly, more weight, less mpg. But still, it will outperform any non hybrid version.
They are VERY reliable. Make sure you get one Made in Japan.
also, look at trade ins or 2018 models. Not much difference, price though is much lighter.

MB is, as of lately, known money pit. I get it, you got Wednesday one, but they tend to start expensively breaking as soon as out of warranty.

How do you find a made in Japan 17-19 Highlander? I thought all were made in the US?
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post #5 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jiantao View Post
Remember why you bought the ML350 in the first place... was it because you wanted a Benz, because your wife wanted a Benz, because you wanted a luxury car, because the ML350 is one of the safest cars you can buy, because you got a really good deal on it, or some other reason?

If you bought the ML350 because you like German cars and you were willing to pay the premium of owning one at the time of purchase, I would keep it. You're right - naturally aspirated engine removes the possibility of turbo failure and MB can't design a reliable air suspension if the survival of the company depended on it. You still have the 7 speed transmission, and various electrical issues that can go wrong though. Do all the necessary maintenance (and even the seemingly unnecessary stuff - is the 7 speed auto sealed? Even if it is, change out the transmission fluid) and keep the ML350 to 150K miles.

I (personally) am not a huge fan of Hybrid vehicles because you will need a battery replacement in ~10-15 years and ~150K-200K miles. As I own my cars for much longer than that, it essentially guarantees that I will need to shell out $2-3K at some point to replace the battery. However, it may be worth it for you depending on what percentage of your driving is city driving. If you're driving 200K miles in 5 years, or 40K a year, I'm assuming you drive mostly highway and you may or may not recuperate the Hybrid premium. You'll have to run the numbers on Highlander vs Highlander Hybrid. I'd say there's a good chance you may not need to change the Hybrid battery if you sell the car in 5 years and 200K miles.

The most economical thing to do would be to trade in the ML350 and buy a used gas Highlander and drive it until it dies. I would say the cost of ownership of a new Highlander Limited and keeping your ML350, should be comparable when factoring in depreciation and maintenance. But, the new Highlander Limited will be in the shop less often and be less of an inconvenience. All depends how much Benz ownership is worth to you.
Thanks jintao. I am used to German vehicles (owned audi a8 for 8 years and BMW 550 for a year which was a money pit). I got the Benz because from what I've read, it is one of the more reliable German brands. I wouldn't go back to Audi or BMW. The ML350 was also the perfect size (not too big or to small) and drove better than the 2015 Lexus RX350 I tested and the infotainment was easier to operate than the mouse thing on the Lexus. Safety was also a big factor and the Benz looked to be the safest.

We drive probably 15,000 - 20,000 miles per year. If I trade in the Benz, the difference is about 16k to get the Highlander gas version and 25k for the Hybrid. Not sure if I will come out ahead in 5 years with gas savings and maintenance to the tune of 16k than if I just keep the Benz.
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post #6 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by williemack View Post
How do you find a made in Japan 17-19 Highlander? I thought all were made in the US?
Both US and JP versions will be fine.

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post #7 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jiantao View Post
Remember why you bought the ML350 in the first place... was it because you wanted a Benz, because your wife wanted a Benz, because you wanted a luxury car, because the ML350 is one of the safest cars you can buy, because you got a really good deal on it, or some other reason?

If you bought the ML350 because you like German cars and you were willing to pay the premium of owning one at the time of purchase, I would keep it. You're right - naturally aspirated engine removes the possibility of turbo failure and MB can't design a reliable air suspension if the survival of the company depended on it. You still have the 7 speed transmission, and various electrical issues that can go wrong though. Do all the necessary maintenance (and even the seemingly unnecessary stuff - is the 7 speed auto sealed? Even if it is, change out the transmission fluid) and keep the ML350 to 150K miles.

I (personally) am not a huge fan of Hybrid vehicles because you will need a battery replacement in ~10-15 years and ~150K-200K miles. As I own my cars for much longer than that, it essentially guarantees that I will need to shell out $2-3K at some point to replace the battery. However, it may be worth it for you depending on what percentage of your driving is city driving. If you're driving 200K miles in 5 years, or 40K a year, I'm assuming you drive mostly highway and you may or may not recuperate the Hybrid premium. You'll have to run the numbers on Highlander vs Highlander Hybrid. I'd say there's a good chance you may not need to change the Hybrid battery if you sell the car in 5 years and 200K miles.

The most economical thing to do would be to trade in the ML350 and buy a used gas Highlander and drive it until it dies. I would say the cost of ownership of a new Highlander Limited and keeping your ML350, should be comparable when factoring in depreciation and maintenance. But, the new Highlander Limited will be in the shop less often and be less of an inconvenience. All depends how much Benz ownership is worth to you.
Where do you get your info on the need to replace the battery at some point in time?
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post #8 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 10:40 AM
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Not saying that you will certainly need to replace the battery, but the statistics are out there. Many people don't. There was a test done of a 2001 Prius's battery a few years ago with 200K miles on it, and it was found that it was close to new condition.

It's hard to predict battery failure. If it failed at 30K miles, I would be surprised. If it failed at 120K, I wouldn't. There are many people who have needed a replacement at that point.

Similar to radiators - there are people who have 350K+ on their original radiator. That is not the norm - many seem to need replacement around 150K. For me, my radiator cracked at 88K, and I can't say I was too surprised about it.

YMMV.

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post #9 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jiantao View Post
Not saying that you will certainly need to replace the battery, but the statistics are out there. Many people don't. There was a test done of a 2001 Prius's battery a few years ago with 200K miles on it, and it was found that it was close to new condition.

It's hard to predict battery failure. If it failed at 30K miles, I would be surprised. If it failed at 120K, I wouldn't. There are many people who have needed a replacement at that point.

Similar to radiators - there are people who have 350K+ on their original radiator. That is not the norm - many seem to need replacement around 150K. For me, my radiator cracked at 88K, and I can't say I was too surprised about it.

YMMV.
I've heard from my classmates when I was still in school for Toyota T-Ten that it seems that the first generation Prius batteries "run-forever" whiles the later generations don't.

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post #10 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 11:42 AM
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If you're to the point that you've already walked into a dealership, taken a test drive, and talked numbers, then you've already decided to dump your old ride (nobody does that for fun). If this is the case, the a HL is a great choice, know matter which trim you chose.

Obviously, if the Benz is paid for and meets your needs, sticking with it is the more pocket friendly option. I have a friend that only buys Mercedes Benz vehicles, he'll only buy them used (usually high mileage), and has been know to get 300K+ out them before he sells them, and their usually still in great shape when he sells. Sure, he spends some money on repairs from time to time (and he likes tinkering with them), but it's a fraction of the cost of driving a newer vehicle. Of course his passion for the brand dates back decades and he has a bias towards them, but he swears by their build quality and reliability. That said, he usually buys their large sedans (I'm not familiar with the models), so I'm not sure if that reputation carries over to the SUV's.
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post #11 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 12:23 PM
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For greater peace of mind, I would suggest going with the Highlander - any model - and yes, trading in your Benz while it’s below 100k, so you get max value for it.

A Toyota Certified used, low-mileage ‘18 or ‘19 HL would be my choice, so you’re not paying for initial depreciation.


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post #12 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by williemack View Post
How do you find a made in Japan 17-19 Highlander? I thought all were made in the US?
I don't think you do find a new one made in Japan. The gas engine version has been made in Indiana for years. The hybrid was still made in Japan for a while, but I'm pretty sure that moved to Indiana as well when the 3rd generation started in 2014.

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post #13 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 01:30 PM
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Where do you get your info on the need to replace the battery at some point in time?
Because nothing lasts forever. Toyota warranty covers them for 8 years or 100,000 miles. If you won't keep the car that long, then you obviously don't care. But if the car stays on the road a lot longer than that, then eventually someone will need to change the batteries.

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post #14 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 01:40 PM
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Why not wait a little bit more to test the 2020 HL Hybrid which claims to go up to 34 mpg?

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post #15 of 35 Old 06-24-2019, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by williemack View Post
How do you find a made in Japan 17-19 Highlander? I thought all were made in the US?
It will be stated on the window sticker where the final assembly point was. And I think there’s one different letter in the VIN.

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