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

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post #1 of 408 Old 02-26-2007, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

Sorry to repeat this message from another thread, but I think it's important for folks to know. Buyer beware!!

Oh my gawd! We finally got some snow in MN. I just found out that my wife's $36,000 2006 Highlander Hybrid is 100% absolutely useless in powder snow. This thing will leave you stranded!!!! Do not buy one of these if you will ever need to drive off the pavement!!! I knew from reading the owner's manual that the Highlander Hybrid is not to be considered an off-road vehicle. And I used to be OK with that, that's why I have a Chevy Silverado 4WD and it's awesome in deep snow. But this weekend I pulled that Highlander Hybrid into a parking lot that had about 8" of medium-weight snow (not fluffy, but not slushy either, good snowball making snow). And the vehicle instantly came to a complete stop!! Stepping on the gas pedal had NO EFFECT. The engine will not rev up, no power is applied to the wheels, and it just sits there like a freaking boat anchor!! What a horrible piece of crap!! This vehicle will leave you stranded if you ever try to drive in anything that will cause wheel slippage such as medium depth snow, loose sand, gravel, etc. In such a situation small 2WD drive cars would be able to keep going and you will be left stranded in your nearly $40,000 piece of Toyota crap!! I just called the service manager at the Toyota dealer and complained and she said "But it's unusual to drive one of these in 8" of snow". Bull crap! Our cul-de-sac often has that much snow in the event of one of our increasingly rare MN snowfalls. These things need to have a mode where you can shut off the Traction Control system, even if that puts you only into front-wheel-drive-only mode.
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post #2 of 408 Old 02-26-2007, 03:54 PM
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Tires seem to make a huge diference on these vehicles. I trashed the OEM tires before delivery and had a set of Nokian WR's installed. They are an M/S, all season tire, that is winter rated - has a snowflake. I live in the mountains of western NC, and on occasion, we get a fair amount of snow. I have a steep gravel driveway, and so far, I've had no problem. Evidently, the secret is don't start the tires spinning, and keep momentum up. I must admit, I haven't tried it in 8" of snow; I think 5 or 6 has been max, and so far so good. BTW, mine is an 06 Hybrid, Ltd, 4wd, with 19k miles. My only complaint has been the Nav. system - it's a laugh. The $700 Garmin Street Pilot I had in the 4Runner was vastly better.
Cheers, Pat

Last edited by kullenberg; 02-26-2007 at 04:31 PM.
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post #3 of 408 Old 02-26-2007, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Tires really cannot solve the problem I experienced. This was a level, paved parking lot with 8" of semi-wet snow on it. As soon as I entered that 8" of snow I came to a stop. I think the traction control system actually takes away whatever momentum you have because if any wheelspin is sensed it applies braking to prevent further wheelspin. Theoretically I might have been able to keep moving if I had a lot of momentum upon entering the snow. But you can't always have momentum going for you. Eventually you need to turn, slow down, or stop for some reason. My experience felt like running out of gas, the vehicle just slowed itself down and stopped, totally ignoring any driver input from the gas pedal. Very disappointing. I think the non-hybrid Highlanders have a button to turn of the Traction Control, but I fear that mode is missing from the Hybrid.
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post #4 of 408 Old 02-28-2007, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by still_steamn
Tires really cannot solve the problem I experienced. This was a level, paved parking lot with 8" of semi-wet snow on it. As soon as I entered that 8" of snow I came to a stop. I think the traction control system actually takes away whatever momentum you have because if any wheelspin is sensed it applies braking to prevent further wheelspin. Theoretically I might have been able to keep moving if I had a lot of momentum upon entering the snow. But you can't always have momentum going for you. Eventually you need to turn, slow down, or stop for some reason. My experience felt like running out of gas, the vehicle just slowed itself down and stopped, totally ignoring any driver input from the gas pedal. Very disappointing. I think the non-hybrid Highlanders have a button to turn of the Traction Control, but I fear that mode is missing from the Hybrid.

Actually my 02 ltd does not have a button to turn off the trac. I also have to agree with you that Highlanders are totally crap in deep snow( in slow speed)........due to its over-working traction control system, even with my winter tires dont seem to help in deep deep snow. Like what you said, it just cuts the power out and it will stop. Just to compare, I took my 94 4cyl Previa 4wd (no trac control) and went through the same road with no issues at all. Sure it spun here and there but it pushes through the snow.

Lesson here is " Dont buy any Toyotas with Traction control system" Their VSC or new VDIM is great but their TRAC really sux.
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post #5 of 408 Old 02-28-2007, 12:03 PM
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If I remember right, my 2004 owner's manual states that only the FWD Highlanders have a traction control disable button.
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post #6 of 408 Old 03-02-2007, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Not quite so bad

We got another 11" of snow yesterday, even deeper in places where it blew, and much deeper at the entrances to some of the unplowed parking lots due to a snow plow drift. Last night I did some more testing, purposely trying to get the HiHy stuck. Bottom line is if you can keep the thing moving you will be alright. Keep momentum going. If for some reason you get stopped in deep snow, the thing will not let you scratch your way out due to the hyperactive traction control system; in such a case it acts like it's dead. The HiHy has tons of horsepower, but it will not allow you to apply it in a low-traction situation. I still wish it had a switch to turn off the traction control. This morning the snow was even deeper and just for comparison I went into some bad places with my Chevy Silverado 4x4. The difference is dramatic. For real 4-wheeling there are lots of times you need horsepower and wheel spin to get through, especially when you must navigate a corner or around an obstacle in deep snow. A real 4x4 will let you build engine rpms and with wheel spin throw snow (or mud) like crazy. The HiHy will have none of that. So its 4-wheeling capability I give a grade of C compared to a 4x4 SUV on which you can turn off traction control. For all other purposes as an SUV with 7-passenger capability and pretty good gas mileage I give the HiHY an A. If I lived in CO and wanted an SUV that is capable of getting to the ski areas, 90% of the time you will be OK. I would buy a set of tire cables that you can put on if the conditions get really bad, and then I think you would be OK for 95% of situations.
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post #7 of 408 Old 03-02-2007, 12:02 PM
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It also has a ton of torque from the electric motor which doesn't help the situation. If the HiHy had less torque, you might be able to handle it (or TRAC might be able to better handle it).

What tyres is it running on?
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post #8 of 408 Old 04-06-2007, 09:05 PM
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Not that bad...

I too had concerns about the capabilities of the 4wd HiHy but was relieved during a couple of trips to Snow Shoe WV and other ski resorts over the winter. It actually did OK. Not great but acceptable. Granted, it's not going to plow through a foot of snow but from a dusting to 4 or 5 inches it worked as expected for me.
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post #9 of 408 Old 04-07-2007, 03:47 PM
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I too was almost stuck in mud about 1" deep last week. I was on a dirt road that became covered with mud due to spring thaw and the Highlander hybrid just slowed to a crawl. Nothing the driver can do but steer. Pressing the accelerator will not increase engine speed one bit. After 5 minutes of idling along, (about 50 yards) the road became more solid and I was moving again after that. I can't find any way to turn off the traction control. Maybe if I pulled that fuse?
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post #10 of 408 Old 04-08-2007, 01:06 AM
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My highlander v6 2wd was packed with 7 people and some baggage. We went off roading in this muddy area for the heck of it.

Well i should have known it was a bad idea before going into it but once it was in i was just crapping myself...

anyways i turned off trac control and behold the godly wheelspin...
we were kind of stuck. Then i decided to turn trac back on.

Amazingly with it on, i simply floored it and the computer did the rest. We barely got out.

The hihy may eventually incorperate some sort of mode selector where you can choose gas only. the 4wd HL doesnt have the capability to disable trac control, but even in slick conditions it will attempt to move, unlike the hihy that just sits there...
Its a waiting game to see what toyota wants to do with this camry on stilts.

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post #11 of 408 Old 05-18-2007, 11:05 AM
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What? No tire pressure monitor on the hybrids?

Am I reading this right? The Toyota web site shows no tire pressure monitor on the hybrids, but they have it on the non-hybrid versions. What's with that? Am I mis-reading the specs or is there some reason they don't have tpm on hybrids?

MSK
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post #12 of 408 Old 07-14-2007, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remydog
Am I reading this right? The Toyota web site shows no tire pressure monitor on the hybrids, but they have it on the non-hybrid versions. What's with that? Am I mis-reading the specs or is there some reason they don't have tpm on hybrids?

MSK
Your better off. Our 07 Camry has been in the shop several times trying to get the light out to no avail. Its still on months later and tire pressure is normal.
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post #13 of 408 Old 07-26-2007, 09:37 PM
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Tyre pressure monitoring

had my new Highlander Hybrid for a week now. (Previously a 1998 RAV4). Man I'm pumped. It's a nice ride.

My Highlander came with little wotsits (yea, I'm technical) on the tire inflators. They show green when the tires are at the right pressure and shift through yellow to red when the pressure drops. They simply screw on to the existing stem (I know there is a word for that, but I just can't remember it tonight).

Anyone know what they are called and where to get them? I'd like some for my other car too.

If it will help I can post a picture of what I'm talking about.

Cheers.
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post #14 of 408 Old 07-27-2007, 01:20 AM
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Is your "other" car equipped for tire pressure monitoring systems? If not, you can't just put the sensors in your rims and assume that they will work.

Moved to correct forum....



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post #15 of 408 Old 07-27-2007, 07:37 AM
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tirecheck

I'm going to guess you're looking for valve stem caps with a pressure indicator built in?

The brand I've seen is tirecheck. You can probably get them at most auto parts stores, you can find them easily on the internet.

For what it's worth, you shouldn't need them on an 04+ highlander, as they have a tire pressure monitoring system built into the vsc/abs computer on the vehicle.
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