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I have 2008 Highlander and it is very good quality so I would definitely buy another but not 2020. I would buy 2018-2019 hybrid with low mileage. Then I would replace factory radio with one better than the factory with Android Auto and better speakers. There maybe 7 mpg difference but in real life it would be more like 4 mpg especially if you make short trips or live in hilly area.
 

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2020 Highlander Hybrid
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With gas prices tanking down to practically all-time lows the fuel cost savings of a hybrid isn't going to be a consideration, especially, if you drive only 6K per year. Here's what I like about the 4th gen Hybrid:
  • Price differential - The price premium for a hybrid has really come down from the thousands you used to pay.
  • Power - None of the reviews of the Hybrid cite lack of power as a significant issue. They at least call it adequate. You shouldn't think of it as a 4-cylinder because it's also got either two (FWD) or three electric motors (AWD) during acceleration. The Hybrid provides more torque from a stop. Keep in mind that the V6 delivers its 295 HP @ 6,600 rpm which is pretty much at redline - something the transmission doesn't allow unless you really floor it.
  • Powertrain technology - I'm interested in newer technology and as far as hybrids go, Toyota has the most experience in them. The way the ICE and electric motors interact is pretty interesting. Be sure to check out the interactive flash model on this thread: Toyota Hybrid System Reliability to see how it works without any gears engaging/disengaging. Regenerative braking is also pretty neat - now when I brake with my current V6 I'm thinking how much of a shame it is to be generating all that wasted heat.
  • Reliability - I believe the powertrain of the ICE will be at least as reliable as the V6 if not more reliable because of factors in the above linked thread. Add the decreased complexity of not having a starter, alternator, and some other systems I'm not well versed on. Toyota now warranties the motors for 8yr/100K miles and the battery for 10yr/150K transferrable.
  • Fuel economy - I'm not particularly green but I do like the idea of better gas mileage just in case prices go up again. If you think about it, fuel economy is a type of performance. Not as fun as speed and acceleration but just how often are you going to show off how your Highlander goes from 0-60 in 7.1 seconds? Perhaps I'm showing my age.
  • Range - A 17.1 gallon tank at 35mpg gets you almost 600 miles of range which is outstanding.
  • Backup electric power - The hybrid power outlet generates 120V 1500W (new for 4th gen) which is enough to keep your refrigerator and/or small appliances going during a prolonged blackout (2020 Highlander Hybrid as a 1500W generator) or just while camping, tailgating or for power tools at a site with no electricity. There's no reason why it can't be left on all day, if necessary, because the ICE will only start ever 30 minutes or so when the battery needs to be charged.
  • Climate control while parked - There is electric heating and cooling so the engine does not have to be on all the time to maintain climate control while parked. The ICE will come on intermittently to charge the battery. Those naps on road trips or overnights should be a lot easier without the need for prolonged idling or starting up the engine every 30 minutes to stay warm.
None of these are deal-breakers, of course. If you're willing to wait a while, there will be a sporty-looking Highlander XSE in the Fall and, perhaps next year, a Highlander Prime plug-in which, at 6K miles per year, may mean you can drive around in EV mode most of the time since they will probably be shooting for 30 mile EV range.
 

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Actually every magazine and even MotorTrend that reviewed 2020 Hybrid mentioned lack of power merging on to freeway.
 

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2020 Highlander Hybrid
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With "just" 243 combined-system horsepower on the new hybrid, it's down 63 hp from the 2019 model. But here's the thing about family-oriented three-row hybrid crossovers: Almost no one will care about that reduction in power.

Because on the road, the 2020 Highlander Hybrid feels responsive and plenty powerful, up to a point. Around town, the 2.5-liter I-4-based powertrain and its CVT are always there to provide the response you need, though it does feel like it runs out of juice toward the end of a highway onramp. Everywhere else, though, the Highlander gets the job done.
 

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  • Backup electric power - The hybrid power outlet generates 120V 1500W (new for 4th gen) which is enough to keep your refrigerator and/or small appliances going during a prolonged blackout (2020 Highlander Hybrid as a 1500W generator) or just while camping, tailgating or for power tools at a site with no electricity. There's no reason why it can't be left on all day, if necessary, because the ICE will only start ever 30 minutes or so when the battery needs to be charged
i cannot seem to find what trim hybrid offers this feature. Maybe the limited and higher? My xle does not have it.
so far as what to buy...if u r ok with other manufacturers quality and like how it drives then go for it. Especially if the 6cyc engine is sweet. Though note, if it drives u crazy seeing only 22mpg average in a suv then maybe u will prefer the hybrid, especially if most of your driving is in town. If u live in the mountains...hum then I don’t know. I cannot say how well the new hybrid does on up/down roads such as that.
I like my new moon blue, wish I had gotten a limited though. For the price they charge for It, those other two premium brand suv models are worth extra looks I would say.

and I agree with other persons post, c if u can find low mileage used 2018 or 2019 highlander hybrid. Else just the gas 2020 highlander model if u like it more then the other brands suv u r looking at. Toyota 6cyc is a nice, proven engine.
 

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2020 Highlander Hybrid
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Apologies, it looks like the 1500W outlet is in the Hybrid Limited and Platinum trims. As one of the other posters mentioned, though, it's fairly simple to hook up an inverter to the 12V battery of any vehicle. The reason why a hybrid is preferable, though, is that a gas engine vehicle would have to be continuously idling while the high-voltage battery of a hybrid continuously charges the 12V and the engine only come on intermittently to charge the high-voltage battery every 30 minutes or so.

Toyota DC-AC Inverters:

295977
 

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Yet another reason for me to be sad I got only the xle trim. Then again, Toyota is charging so much for these things stepping up to a limited trim would have been yet again X more money Above what I already paid. Thu cooled front seats would have been so sweet here in Florida.

though, a prior thread pointed out one would have to leave a window open to run a cord to the 1500 watt plug even if I had gotten a Limited trim.
 

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I was wavering back-and-forth between the hybrid vs. the V6. I also have a relatively short commute (about 7K a year), so the motivation to get the hybrid wasn’t financial.

Pro-hybrid considerations for me:
  • Driving range: 500-600 miles on a tank means fewer trips to the gas station.
  • Instant torque: whenever I’ve rented a hybrid (namely the Fusion Hybrid), I’ve enjoyed that instant kick from the electric motor.
  • Silence: Hitting the start button and silently pulling away amuses me every time.
  • Gamification: I enjoy trying to maximize the regenerative braking or trying to optimize my driving using the gauges and the efficiency displays
  • Reduced the “cost” of going hybrid: Under $2K from a price perspective and no compromise on things like the wheels or availability of trim levels
Negative considerations:
  • 4-cylinder pairing: realistically, I know it should be more than adequate to propel the Highlander. My concern was around the refinement — 4-cylinder engines can be loud and unrefined under throttle. There was a Car Confections (YouTube) video where they did a couple of hard (but not unreasonable) accelerations from a stop and it didn’t sound great.
  • FWD vs AWD: having all that wonderful electric motor torque going to the front wheels is a concern. AWD mitigates that, but it’s another $1-2K in addition to the hybrid premium.
I was planning on waiting for the hybrids to become available in my area so I could actually drive one, but I suspect the COVID-19 shutdown will push their arrival in Hawaii another couple months out. I’ve actually only seen a 2020 Highlander in person once, and that was on vacation in Vegas.
 

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Hawaii...hum small island...I have not a clue really. Though if it will be used just there seems the 2020 hybrid would be a good fit. I don’t have enough miles on it to say really though engine sound seems like I can live with it.
 

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2020 Highlander Limited, Moondust / Graphite, RAV4
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Just about to pull trigger, but wanted to check if anyone had any final thoughts about hybrid vs gas.

Was down to the Palisade or Highlander (gas/hybrid). Liked both. Found Palisade more comfortable, better seats, seats where can actually feel the heat...but it has shortcomings too and in the end I decided to focus on the Highlander. Mostly the hybrid. Won’t be towing much and really like the gas savings. But it is also my current 4 cyl vehicle and lack of power that moving me to another vehicle. Since I only drive avg of 6,000 miles a year, it will take me 6 years to recoup, but plan to keep vehicle for over 10 years at least.

Should ice be main focus? For those making same decisions recently, which direction did you head?
At 6 + years to recoup, for me I would (and did) go with the gas model. While I put on a LOT more miles per year (25 to 35,000 a year, I still like to feel of the power from the gas engine, but will say, if I could have a hybrid for one trip, that might change.
 

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If you drive such little, I would go with the ICE, as you’ll enjoy the driving experience for the little driving you do. V6 up from a 4 cylinder is a great experience.

highlander is a big vehicle and with that little power and torque....it’ll fee sluggish for joy riding....so unless you need the large vehicle, look at the upcoming Rav4 Prime....40Miles all electric range and 302HP.

When we replace our corolla we will look to add the Rav4 Prime Instead of hybrid as it has more power and can deliver
 

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The extended range is a huge plus for me. I liked that the hybrid fuel tank capacity is only marginally smaller than their gas equivalents.
 

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There is one more Pro for hybrid that everyone seems to forget...except my wife who has pointed it out to me several times.
- With hybrid, less guilty wasting gas in going up to buy her Starbucks (yep, we all have our priorities)
 

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I would prefer to see where 2021 models take us, but due to a settlement I have a specific time frame to purchase (starts 4/4 and for 3 months). Settlement (hyundai) gives my ~7k back for trade-in, so incentive to do so now when dealerships are willing to negotiate.
 

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The hybrid, I feel will be louder than the 6cyc. On a motortrend suv comparison of top models they were not impressed with the 2020 highlander gas only model transmission/engine pairing for shifting. I thought it was ok myself. Course the hybrid is cvt, which I find very good this gen so no issues on that front. Indeed, figure out your needs space wise then make a plan though drive the ‘HE double tooth picks’ out of the many different ones out there to see what you feel fits you best.
 

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If it takes you 6-7 years to recoup $1400, then you would be better off financially taking Uber everywhere. You use 52.2% more gas in the gas version and stop to fill up 52.2% more times. At $3 a gallon, it takes 31,300 miles to recoup $1400, and at that mileage, you're probably darn near due for a $400 brake job, something you won't see for well over 100,000 miles in the hybrid. Brake jobs pretty much cancel out the replacement cost of the battery. As far as the "danger of merging onto the highway," I just watched a "retro review" of the 1983 S-10 Blazer SUV. The base model came with 83 hp and the "performance" V6 got you 110 hp. I wonder if people lived in fear of highway driving back then? Did everyone buy a Corvette to quell their fear? And some people like to mention how the hybrid technology could fail, resulting in higher repair bills, yet a lot of you buy the gas Platinum, which is chock-full of gizmos that you don't find on the lower trims, and no one seems to be concerned about the birds-eye failing. Using that logic, all the gas buyers should be in the L model. I like hybrids. I have three of them. Won't get anything else, at least until I have experienced battery replacement, and then I might (but probably won't) change my tune. I like the low-speed torque, the lack of idling at a light, the lack of "auto start-stop," the fewer gas station stops, the lower cost to operate, the brakes lasting much longer, and the newer technology. I remember the 2008 gasoline crisis and $4.00 gas. Year-old used hybrid SUVs were selling for more than they did new. There was a four-month waiting list to get a Prius at MSRP, and then you had to choose three colors you would settle for. Even with $3.69 gas in 2013, it was like pulling teeth to get my ES 300h (7 months after it had been out) at $1k below sticker. My ES hybrid now has 116,000 completely trouble-free miles. I figure that I recouped the $2750 "hybrid premium" at 51,000 miles, not to mentioned many hours of filling up with gas. It has plenty of power (200 hp) and I have never even sniffed a first brake service or hint of needing a replacement battery, which would run $2249 installed. Now you can get a HiHy at more than $4k off sticker without negotiation. But we all are biased as to gas vs. hybrid and most of us can make valid arguments one way or the other and can't be persuaded. That's what makes life interesting.
 

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Did something major change in the 2020 vs our 2017? Our 2017 HiHy AWD Limited Platinum feels like a rocket when I floor it.
The 2020 model is a complete redesign. The 2020 hybrid pairs the electric motors to a 4-cylinder engine vs. the V6 pairing in your 2017.
 

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Did something major change in the 2020 vs our 2017? Our 2017 HiHy AWD Limited Platinum feels like a rocket when I floor it.
As mentioned above, the 4 cyl vs v6.

Toyota over they years has gotten the same comment/request over and over..."better mpg". In order to meet this, they had to make some changes. One being the switch from V6 to a 4-cyl with less HP. Yes, you don't have much towing, but all those who request better mpg were also ones who primarily put a bike rack onto back end, not a heavy trailer. Next, to get the higher mpg, they also had to conserve on weight and so they made the decision to remove ability to open back window without opening hatch. So definitely some disadvantages compared to prior years, but giving the jump in fuel economy, also a positive gain too.
 
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