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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just returned from a 1200-mile trip picking up a member of the family from college for the summer. Here are my impressions regarding the HL (Limited):

Good:
1. Overall, the experience was very nice. The car was largely quiet (absolutely no rattles - for now), but there were (are) some issues (see below).
2. I particularly enjoyed the Entune system. It worked very well. It was very intuitive and the learning curve was not that steep (this is not my primary car). I really liked the voice-guided navigation. The signal was much more accurate than the one on my three-year old Garmin GPS. In town, it worked flawlessly. The timely traffic congestion warnings tied to HD radio are very useful and rather accurate. The voice was pleasant, helpful, and always timely. I also learned the hard way that you cannot set up a new phone while driving.
3. Doing 80-85 MPH, the car was very stable and confident on the road.
4. Passing was done effortlessly.
5. The seats were very comfortable, despite sitting on them for about 9 hours almost non-stop, each way (a couple of breaks for gas and coffee).
6. Visibility from the driver's seat was excellent.
7. The average MPG for the highway portion of the trip was about 22.3 (the high speed did not help).

Bad:
1. The GPS failed to pick up the shortest route for the major part of the trip. All options that it provided were at least one hour longer than what the Garmin provided. I hope that there is some kind of a solution to this.
2. At high speeds, I noticed the hood sheet metal vibrating from the wind. I never noticed that before on my other car on the same route.
3. The wind noise, which I mentioned in previous posts, is still puzzling. This is not normal wind noise that you get with most other cars at high speeds. There is a "faint" rushing/gushing crosswind-like noise coming from the passenger side of the car. Of course, road noise varied by road surface, but it was quite acceptable.
4. We had a heavier load on the way back and the tire pressure warning came on at the beginning of the return trip. Eventually, it went off on its own(?).
 

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You might have gotten better mileage if the tires were properly inflated. They have to be pretty low to set off the warning. I would think that it had to affect handling, too.
 

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Regarding the vibrating hood I've also noticed that the door metal vibrates when you shut the door. Must have skimped on the thickness?
The hood on my 13 HL dosn't vibrate but the door metal sure does when you shut the door. Never had a vehicle do this except this HL.
 

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2014 Highlander LE
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I guess when I at some point swap out the less than stellar speakers I can Dynamat the doors. I actually didn't notice the hood vibrate, or the doors, but will pay attention.

The tire sensor might have gone off from the 9hours of the tires heating and then the sensor adjusting to the change and weight?(maybe?). Or just a fluke.

In any car I have been in: Including some amazing cars.... I haven't enjoyed using Navigation. Google and Garmin will do circles around most car Nav systems. I think Microsoft in some makes maybe better. Tesla has a internet connection with a 17" laptop screen going vertical...Either way, I have usually connected my cell and used Google.


Glad you got the Voice Assist to work, I have yet to get her to do anything. She is useless. I should read more on it, but some systems, like the new Mitsu I'm just renting to drive, didn't miss a step, and I never used it before. While I agree the rest of the Entune is easy to navigate with a logical layout and pretty much no learning curve. Nice feedback!
 

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i have noticed the sheetmetal on the doors on our 2011 is extraordinarily thin.

the entire door skin 'bounces' a little when you close it.

But do you also mean that the hood actually vibrates at highway speeds?! THat can't be normal.....that is really really weird.

I have never experienced that in any car.
 

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Is it really that difficult to figure out that thinner sheet metal equals better MPG? Can't have it all.
Of course its pretty easy to figure out.

What isn't easier to figure out is why the hood is so thin that it vibrates at highway speeds, whereas other comparable vehicles don't have such thin sheet metal.

The fuel economy ratings for the Highlander are good, but definitely not out of this world so its not like you can say Toyota uses such thin cheap sheet metal to obtain amazing fuel economy.
 

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Of course its pretty easy to figure out.

What isn't easier to figure out is why the hood is so thin that it vibrates at highway speeds, whereas other comparable vehicles don't have such thin sheet metal.

The fuel economy ratings for the Highlander are good, but definitely not out of this world so its not like you can say Toyota uses such thin cheap sheet metal to obtain amazing fuel economy.
Yeah better MPG is a terrible argument. The MDX gets 21/28 and the metal doesn't vibrate.
 

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The MDX also has the VCM engine technology, while the Highlander is using much older "standard" tech...

Clint
Granted, BUT Toyota had a decision to make that probably came down to dollars:

1) Do I spend the $$$ on VCM technology or similar to increase my MPG?
2) Do I shrink the size of the metal to fractionally increase MPG?
3) Do I lead this segment and develop my own technology to increase MPG?

Well, #2 won out. And THATS what is disappointing. We're talking about the biggest car company in the world with the most resources that made a decision to half-bake things instead of being a class leader.
 

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This isn't news, Toyota almost always lags the competition in engine and transmission technology.

The 2gr-fe is nothing new, almost identical from the outgoing model. And by the way, Toyota has had problems with that engine (rubber oil cooler line, VVTi rattle etc) which surprises me given how long they've used that motor

It should be perfectly reliable by now, that is supposed to be Toyota's big advantage by using tried and proven tech

Honda is similar by using super refined 4 cylinder engines...like the CRV only has one engine option but it is uber reliable


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