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Another thought

It seems to me that the cost differential between the Hybrid and straight gas powered engine is pretty high. You can buy a lot of gasoline for that much money. Also, if your motivation for buying a hybrid is to be green and save the earth, forget it. The environmental cost of extracting lithium and other rare earths far exceeds the cost of burning some more gas. And, we haven't even talked about recycling/disposal at the end of the battery's life.
I bought a new '17 gas Highlander Limited (not Platinum) for about $38,000. $52,000 for a HH Limited seems excessive. My thought is that you should be able to get one for about $44,000. Do your homework and know what you are willing to pay before you negotiate. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Thanks for all of the quick responses they really do give me a lot to think about. This seems like a helpful group here, another factor in my decision.
 

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If someone is into buying premium German cars they will never be satisfied with a toyota, maybe a landcruiser if they alter their mindset a bit, but a highlander is quite a basic vehicle, not a lot of difference between an LE and a limited for the price, if one wants premium Toyota ,go Lexus or landcruiser. Highlander is a premium every man vehicle, but not a premium vehicle, go in with that expectation and it won't disappoint .
 

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If someone is into buying premium German cars they will never be satisfied with a toyota, maybe a landcruiser if they alter their mindset a bit, but a highlander is quite a basic vehicle, not a lot of difference between an LE and a limited for the price, if one wants premium Toyota ,go Lexus or landcruiser. Highlander is a premium every man vehicle, but not a premium vehicle, go in with that expectation and it won't disappoint .
I'm not so sure about that. My wife and I have owned "luxury" vehicles in the past (Volvo XC90, BMW X5), but have since decided it's an irresponsible use of our finances (we're not rich). We've found that we are quite content with more practical brands (Honda, Toyota), and that we don't miss driving "luxury" vehicles at all. In fact we now even shy away for the premium trim levels of the mainstream brands. Sure, there's a couple of convenience features that we miss, but overall we're very satisfied with the ride quality, driving experience, reliability, and most of all total cost of ownership of our "every man" vehicles.

Obviously if your moving from a performance vehicle like an Audi RS7 or BMW M5, then there will be a big difference in the driving experience, but if you're buying cars like that, things like "cost of ownership" probably isn't a concern for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thank you very much for all of the replies. I am actually thinking of just keeping the ML and looking for a 2013-2015 LX570 as a second vehicle to fill my need for a third row. I figure that can be my no worries reliable Japanese vehicle. There is a noticeable gap in build quality with my ML and the Highlander in even the smallest areas of just the interior thickness of the panels etc. And the Benz drives more solid and powerful. I owe 22k on the ML. For me to jump into an 18-19 Highlander Limited Platinum I’m spending 35k at least. Hybrid add 5k. There’s at least a 13-18k price gap than if I just keep the ML. That covers a lot of gas and maintenance/issues just to break even. Even if I average 2k a year on the ML it still would take a while to break even. Mercedes engine and trans are solid. It’s the little stuff that will get you. But I know how to find discounted OEM parts online and have a trusted independent German mechanic. However after reading some posts it doesn't seem as if the Highlanders new transmission is bulletproof and Toyota is not the same of old. I might as well keep the safer and more fun to drive Mercedes ML.
 

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Mercedes cars are much the same as Waterford Crystal, very pretty but easily broken and expensive to replace. They aren't referred to as glass cars for nothing.
 

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Thank you very much for all of the replies. I am actually thinking of just keeping the ML and looking for a 2013-2015 LX570 as a second vehicle to fill my need for a third row. I figure that can be my no worries reliable Japanese vehicle. There is a noticeable gap in build quality with my ML and the Highlander in even the smallest areas of just the interior thickness of the panels etc. And the Benz drives more solid and powerful. I owe 22k on the ML. For me to jump into an 18-19 Highlander Limited Platinum I’m spending 35k at least. Hybrid add 5k. There’s at least a 13-18k price gap than if I just keep the ML. That covers a lot of gas and maintenance/issues just to break even. Even if I average 2k a year on the ML it still would take a while to break even. Mercedes engine and trans are solid. It’s the little stuff that will get you. But I know how to find discounted OEM parts online and have a trusted independent German mechanic. However after reading some posts it doesn't seem as if the Highlanders new transmission is bulletproof and Toyota is not the same of old. I might as well keep the safer and more fun to drive Mercedes ML.


I don’t think it’s a bad decision to keep the ML, but there is another way to look at it from a cost prospective.

Because you owe 22k and it’s worth about 20k (based on trade offered), then you have -2k of equity in the vehicle.
If you trade-in and get out the door at 35k (assuming you finance 100%), you still have about -2k equity in your new Highlander. So you’re really no worse off than before, and it’s 5 years newer (6 if you wait for 2020). Plus you’re covered under warranty for 3yrs/30k and 2 yrs free maintenance.

As far as the transmission is concerned, my understanding is that Toyota had an issue with a limited number of 2017 models, which was identified, diagnosed, and fixed; and is no longer a concern.



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Discussion Starter #30
I don’t think it’s a bad decision to keep the ML, but there is another way to look at it from a cost prospective.

Because you owe 22k and it’s worth about 20k (based on trade offered), then you have -2k of equity in the vehicle.
If you trade-in and get out the door at 35k (assuming you finance 100%), you still have about -2k equity in your new Highlander. So you’re really no worse off than before, and it’s 5 years newer (6 if you wait for 2020). Plus you’re covered under warranty for 3yrs/30k and 2 yrs free maintenance.

As far as the transmission is concerned, my understanding is that Toyota had an issue with a limited number of 2017 models, which was identified, diagnosed, and fixed; and is no longer a concern.



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Good point. However today i test drove a 19 Highlander gas version and I was thoroughly disappointed! The JBL system was less than mediocre. It had little get up and go and sluggish off the line. Most likely due to the Eco mode that was displaying but then I read this mode is default and has to be turned off every time you start the vehicle? No go! The Hybrid would be the only way I would go but I don't think getting out of a vehicle I only owe 22k on to get into a vehicle that would be 45k+ just to save some gas, maintenance costs and peace of mind is best financially.
 

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Good point. However today i test drove a 19 Highlander gas version and I was thoroughly disappointed! The JBL system was less than mediocre. It had little get up and go and sluggish off the line. Most likely due to the Eco mode that was displaying but then I read this mode is default and has to be turned off every time you start the vehicle? No go! The Hybrid would be the only way I would go but I don't think getting out of a vehicle I only owe 22k on to get into a vehicle that would be 45k+ just to save some gas, maintenance costs and peace of mind is best financially.


Ya, Toyota tends to be conservative with their vehicles. A perfect example is the new Supra, it has the exact same engine as the BMW Z4 (literally the exact engine), yet the Supra only produces 335HP while the Z4 produces 382HP. I think they do it to protect their reputation for reliability, which takes priority over performance.

Also, you mentioned your need for a 3rd row was a factor driving you towards the HL....
If a 3rd row is what you’re looking for the HL is probably not the best choice, as the 3rd row is pretty much unusable for anyone over about 4ft tall.



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Discounts of up to five k are available on Highlanders. The only true test of trade value is price the HL outright, real out the door value without tax, and then talk trade. A near 100k mile Benz isn't going to be the best seller on the lot. Granted dealerships have to make a profit which amounts to depreciation for the owner. Offer your vehicle for sale on a car site to get a real buyer reaction. A low option SUV can be purchased for high 20s new with warranty. Not everyone is thrilled with forty options that end up in the non working column. Good luck what ever road you travel.
 

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The 2020 Highlander Hybrid uses a 2.5-liter inline-4 which reduce combined HP from the current 306 to 240. You lose about 1mpg for optional AWD (due to weight) and 1mpg for the larger wheels of the Limited/Platinum. It should have a lower price, especially, if you go for the new FWD configuration. We'll have to wait for some reviews to see what the power feels like. There will be a sport mode which should make a difference unless you have to turn on every time.
 

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Disagree about the third row. If you're using it frequently, then I could see it being a problem, as it's not particularly comfortable, but it's a perfectly usable third row. That being said, I'm 5'2" so pretty much if there's a seat and a seat belt, I can fit. It's just a matter of being comfortable.
 

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Okay... “unusable” may be an exaggeration, but my 12yr old hates to sit in the third row. It’s pretty much a last resort option, for short trips only.
That said, we have the 2nd row bench, not sure if if the 3rd row is a better experience for those with the 2nd row captains chairs. Maybe a bit easier in/out, and/or able to stretch your legs a little between the captains chairs?


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