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Discussion Starter #1
Have any other 2020 Highlander Hybrid (AWD) owners having issues with filling the fuel tank all the way or the DTE display showing much less than it should?

When I took delivery of my 2020 Highlander Hybrid last month I was concerned that the "Distance to Empty" display read only 420 miles. I asked the salesman if this was right and she confirmed that the fuel capacity of the vehicle was 17.1 gallons and the MPG is rated at 35 so the range should be about 600 miles. Then she said that it might take a while for the computer to reset and show the correct DTE.

I've only driven the vehicle 725 miles since I got it due to Covid-19 restrictions, and while it's averaging 35.6 miles per gallon (mostly ECO mode), the vehicle only shows about 420 miles DTE when refueled. This week I specifically waited for the low fuel light to go on and drove a few miles past just for good measure. I went to the gas station and only could pump 12 gallons before the pump shut off. I tried topping off the tank and eeked 12.5 gallons into the tank and showed DTE of 445 miles – far less than the 609 miles I expected.

I took the vehicle back to the dealership and explained the problem. They checked for error codes, software updates, recalls and TSBs and found nothing. They noted that that were no issues. I called Toyota corporate and was told the same thing - no issues reported.

I did some research (“Google”) and found that 2019/2020 RAV4 Hybrids with the same new “saddle” tank design are having the same problem I’m experiencing. Apparently, the new tank design is required to accommodate the hybrid drivetrain and won’t fill all the way. RAV4 owners can fill about 9 to 10 gallons of the 14.5 gallon tank – pretty consistent with what I’m getting with 12 gallons of the 17 gallon tank capacity.

I’m pretty sure there’s a design defect in the Highlander Hybrid fuel tank preventing the last five gallons of gas being pumped thus cheating me out of 180 miles of range.

While Toyota has acknowledged an issue with the RAV4 and are working on a fix, they haven’t acknowledged a problem with the Highlander yet. I guess I might have to join the RAV4 class action lawsuit in order to get satisfaction?

Toyota Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Faulty RAV4 Hybrid Fuel Tanks
Toyota offers interim fix for Rav4 Hybrid gas tank concerns

Thoughts?
 

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2019 Avalon Limited, Advanced Safety Package, BlackVue DR-750 Dash Cam, Ceramic Pro Coating, XPel
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Did you buy the vehicle because it can go 600 miles between fill ups, or were there other reasons? I know my bladder wouldn't last for even 400 miles without a stop, let alone 600 miles. 😀

In all honesty, what will it take for you to "get satisfaction"?

Just curious.
 

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Don't focus so much on DTE and the other MPG data on the dashboard, because you can't swear 100% that it's accurate even on a good day. The hybrid version is probably even more variable than the gas version, as a lot of the actual MPG and distance to empty is going to depend on how much you can travel on battery power vs. engine power, and I'm sure that will vary from driver to driver and situation to situation.

The key point here is that the gas gauge said you were nearly empty, and you only got 12+ gallons into what's supposed to be a 17 gallon tank. Granted, the gas gauge will have some wiggle room - there are probably about two gallons left when the gauge says empty. Still, the difference between 12 and 17 is bigger than that. A big question - did the gas gauge read "full" after that, or not? In other words, did the dash reflect that the tank was full, or was it agreeing with the ECO meter that you were several gallons short?

Checking for computer diagnostic codes and stuff like that probably wouldn't lead anywhere;maybe the dealer's people were also more concerned about the dash display than the simple question of how many gallons of gas were in the tank. What they should have done was check the accuracy of the fuel gauge and how much gas was really there.

I'll throw out there that the gas gauge on the gas version is way too optimistic. I have put 10 gallons of gas into mine when the gauge says it's about 2/3 full. Bear in mind that the gas version is supposed to be 17.9 gallons, so I really had less than 1/2 a tank according to the gas pump. What's interesting to note is that now that I have 1000 miles on the car, the distance to empty seems to be more accurate than the gas gauge. There must be some point where the gas gauge will drop rapidly from showing a reasonable amount of fuel remaining to almost empty.
 

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While Toyota has acknowledged an issue with the RAV4 and are working on a fix, they haven’t acknowledged a problem with the Highlander yet. I guess I might have to join the RAV4 class action lawsuit in order to get satisfaction?

Toyota Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Faulty RAV4 Hybrid Fuel Tanks
Toyota offers interim fix for Rav4 Hybrid gas tank concerns

Thoughts?
😄. Perhaps anyone who isn't satisfied with their mpg should join this lawsuit. I am pretty sure Toyota will enjoy this.

Toyota bought back my 2019 rav4 hybrid exactly for that issue. The tank didn't took entire 14.5 gallons, i was short by about 3 gallons and was getting under 300 miles on tank. I didn't join lawsuit to get satisfaction just submitted NCDS complaint back in January and recently got the check for it. So owned it free for a year basically.
 

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One aspect that is different from the RAV4 is - at least with my Highlander Hybrid - is that after a fill up the gas gauge reads full and stays there for at least 100 miles. RAV4 owners were complaining their gauge wouldn't read full. But I also get the reduced DTE after a fill up even after averaging over 40 mpg and not getting anywhere near a 600 mile estimate. I'm currently running the tank down until the low fuel light comes on to see how much fuel it will take on a fill up but suspect I'll get the same results as Jmotley.

EDIT - current tank is reading between 1/4/and 1/2. I've traveled 410 miles and DTE is listed at about 120 miles but has been going down slower that actual miles traveled as my tank average is at about 42.5 mpg for that 410 miles. Should get about 550 before fuel light come on (?)

EDIT 2 - OM says low fuel light comes on when 2.6 gallons are left
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Did you buy the vehicle because it can go 600 miles between fill ups, or were there other reasons? I know my bladder wouldn't last for even 400 miles without a stop, let alone 600 miles. 😀

In all honesty, what will it take for you to "get satisfaction"?

Just curious.
The only reason I paid a premium for an XLE Hybrid was for better gas mileage and longer range. I could have gotten a gas Limited for just a little more since they aren't dealing much on hybrids . . .
 

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same exact issue is happening with all the Rav4s with no fix currently working. many are getting their rav4's bought back. especially where there are lemon laws in place. no all states (or provinces in Canada) have sufficient lemon laws in place.
 

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The issue with Rav4 Hybrid is the fuel tank design which is different from gas version of rav4. The rumored issue at least that's what I was told by service is they used different plastic material that deforms overtime from heat and moves float out of place which results in in two separate issues underfilling where gauge not showing entirely full or having large gas reserve. If they did the same approach with Highlander hybrid and gas version tanks then it could potentially have similar issue.
 

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This week I specifically waited for the low fuel light to go on and drove a few miles past just for good measure. I went to the gas station and only could pump 12 gallons before the pump shut off. I tried topping off the tank and eeked 12.5 gallons into the tank and showed DTE of 445 miles – far less than the 609 miles I expected.
Low fuel light comes on with 2.6 gallons left in tank so if you got 12.5 gallons in you were 2 gallons short of being totally full. So 12.5 gallons at 36.5 mpg is 445 miles until the light comes on again so using that criteria it seems right. The question is why you couldn't get the last two gallons in. If you could that would give a range of 516 miles for the 14.5 gallons until the light comes on.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
😄. Perhaps anyone who isn't satisfied with their mpg should join this lawsuit. I am pretty sure Toyota will enjoy this.

Toyota bought back my 2019 rav4 hybrid exactly for that issue. The tank didn't took entire 14.5 gallons, i was short by about 3 gallons and was getting under 300 miles on tank. I didn't join lawsuit to get satisfaction just submitted NCDS complaint back in January and recently got the check for it. So owned it free for a year basically.
I think I'll file a complaint since neither the dealer nor Toyota corporate were very helpful or encouraging. I'm guessing this vehicle's only now showing up in the market that there's not much field experience yet . . .
One aspect that is different from the RAV4 is - at least with my Highlander Hybrid - is that after a fill up the gas gauge reads full and stays there for at least 100 miles. RAV4 owners were complaining their gauge wouldn't read full. But I also get the reduced DTE after a fill up even after averaging over 40 mpg and not getting anywhere near a 600 mile estimate. I'm currently running the tank down until the low fuel light comes on to see how much fuel it will take on a fill up but suspect I'll get the same results as Jmotley.

EDIT - current tank is reading between 1/4/and 1/2. I've traveled 410 miles and DTE is listed at about 120 miles but has been going down slower that actual miles traveled as my tank average is at about 42.5 mpg for that 410 miles. Should get about 550 before fuel light come on (?)
Yes, my tank reads full afterwards. DTE is 420 though. I did notice that the last 10o miles of DTE went down very slowly. I'll need to monitor this more closely.
Low fuel light comes on with 2.6 gallons left in tank so if you got 12.5 gallons in you were 2 gallons short of being totally full. So 12.5 gallons at 36.5 mpg is 445 miles until the light comes on again so using that criteria it seems right. The question is why you couldn't get the last two gallons in. If you could that would give a range of 516 miles for the 14.5 gallons until the light comes on.
Actually, the Highlander Hybrid is supposed to be 17.1 gallons capacity so I'm 4.6 gallons short or 168 miles short.
 

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I have a 2020 Hybrid LE AWD. I have also noticed this calculation to be off in mine. However, it doesn’t really matter to me because I don’t usually let my fuel run that low anyway. When I do I usually just wait for the light to go on.
I have done the math with distance driven between fueling and how much has been used and I am still getting 34-35 MPG so all is well on my end, not much of an issue.
 

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Actually, the Highlander Hybrid is supposed to be 17.1 gallons capacity so I'm 4.6 gallons short or 168 miles short.
Your original post stated:

This week I specifically waited for the low fuel light to go on and drove a few miles past just for good measure. I went to the gas station and only could pump 12 gallons before the pump shut off. I tried topping off the tank and eeked 12.5 gallons into the tank
.

If you could get 12.5 gallons in after the low fuel light came on you were only 2 gallons short of a full tank as the tank still had 2.6 gallons left in it. Your tank total total would have been 15.1 gallons.

Unless the "drove a few miles past just for good measure" means 90 miles.

low fuel.jpg
 

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It looks like someone (probably me, eventually) will have to drive the Hybrid around town until it runs out of gas, with some spare gas and EV mode to figure out what the actual capacity of the tank is.
 

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It looks like someone (probably me, eventually) will have to drive the Hybrid around town until it runs out of gas, with some spare gas and EV mode to figure out what the actual capacity of the tank is.
Not good for the fuel pump as it's in the tank and uses the gas for cooling/lubrication - could damage your pump if you run dry. Probably the reason the low fuel light comes on when 2.6 gallons are still in the tank - a good margin of safety.

EDIT - after viewing links I posted below a one time run dry probably wouldn't cause permanent damage but I wouldn't want to chance it.
 

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Interesting post and discussion. Can we get this moved to the gen 4 hybrid highlander forum? Similar discussion over there in fuel and range. Any moderator able to move it for us?


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For reference, here is the dash readout in my limited 2020 hybrid as of a few hrs ago.

Could the DTE be until the “E” light comes on? If that’s the case, it could be about right. 17.1 - 2.6 = 14.5 gal. 14.5 x 36 MPG = 522 miles.

See current readout and stats. It looks like DTE plus current trip is 493 miles. So close to the correct amount. But this assuming DTE is till light comes on.

I’ll keep going and find out.




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Well DTE could well mean Distance To E versus Distance To Empty. :D

Seriously, every vehicle I've owned that had some form of DTE display the calculations were always distance down to some point other than empty. Got to have that safety margin else everyone would be blaming the manufacturer for them running out of gas because they wanted to 'push the envelope'.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Crossposted from Highlander 4th Generation (2020+) forum

Have any other 2020 Highlander Hybrid (AWD) owners having issues with filling the fuel tank all the way or the DTE display showing much less than it should?

When I took delivery of my 2020 Highlander Hybrid last month I was concerned that the "Distance to Empty" display read only 420 miles. I asked the salesman if this was right and she confirmed that the fuel capacity of the vehicle was 17.1 gallons and the MPG is rated at 35 so the range should be about 600 miles. Then she said that it might take a while for the computer to reset and show the correct DTE.

I've only driven the vehicle 725 miles since I got it due to Covid-19 restrictions, and while it's averaging 35.6 miles per gallon (mostly ECO mode), the vehicle only shows about 420 miles DTE when refueled. This week I specifically waited for the low fuel light to go on and drove a few miles past just for good measure. I went to the gas station and only could pump 12 gallons before the pump shut off. I tried topping off the tank and eeked 12.5 gallons into the tank and showed DTE of 445 miles – far less than the 609 miles I expected.

I took the vehicle back to the dealership and explained the problem. They checked for error codes, software updates, recalls and TSBs and found nothing. They noted that that were no issues. I called Toyota corporate and was told the same thing - no issues reported.

I did some research (“Google”) and found that 2019/2020 RAV4 Hybrids with the same new “saddle” tank design are having the same problem I’m experiencing. Apparently, the new tank design is required to accommodate the hybrid drivetrain and won’t fill all the way. RAV4 owners can fill about 9 to 10 gallons of the 14.5 gallon tank – pretty consistent with what I’m getting with 12 gallons of the 17 gallon tank capacity.

I’m pretty sure there’s a design defect in the Highlander Hybrid fuel tank preventing the last five gallons of gas being pumped thus cheating me out of 180 miles of range.

While Toyota has acknowledged an issue with the RAV4 and are working on a fix, they haven’t acknowledged a problem with the Highlander yet. I guess I might have to join the RAV4 class action lawsuit in order to get satisfaction?

Toyota Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Faulty RAV4 Hybrid Fuel Tanks
Toyota offers interim fix for Rav4 Hybrid gas tank concerns

Thoughts?
 

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Hey folks, I had the “E” light come on today with 25 miles DTE. The fuel gage was just below the ~1/8 of a tank level.


I drove a few more miles just to get a better data set at fill up. At fill up, I was at 8 miles DTE with a trip of 501.4 miles. I’m an engineer and struggle with risk taking. Perhaps someone else could get to 0. :)



Now, to the actual fill up. I watched the tank fill as I pumped gas, I.e. ignition powered. The fuel pump stopped filling at 12.8 gallons. Looking inside the car, the gas gage was above the “F” line.

So, that disappointed me. And would indicate the tank might be small. Soooo...

I did what your not supposed to do and begin to fill the gas tank by “overfilling” after the pump clicked off. To my surprise, the tank took quite a bit more fuel.

The final fill up / pumped amount was 16.2 gals with fuel visible in the filler neck. I’m now wondering what the shape of the fuel tank is. Something has to be causing this behavior.



Then, when I got back in the car, I checked the new DTE calculated by the computer. It says 484 miles.

I’m not sure what to think of the MPG from this tank either. With the distance and gals pumped, it would say I was getting 31.3ish MPG. That doesn’t seem right but I know for sure that I didn’t stuff the last tank of fuel.

Therefore, I need to run this tank to the same level again and see how repeatable this data point is... and what my newly calculated MPG might be. I’ll report back in ~two weeks or so.


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