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Hybrid Highlander Review


patt

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There was a Highlander review in my newspaper today. The reviewer had the car for a week. The review was generally positive. The only negative was that the third row seat is a squeeze. (Unlike the Rx400h, the Hybrid Highlander seats 7.) The following was particularly interesting:

Here's the scary part: The gas-electric Highlander is rated at 33 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway (when the gas engine does the hard work), but my combined average for the week came in at 34 mpg.

It's not in my nature to baby a test car, and maybe this preproduction model had some extra engineering. But a 34 mpg average in a midsize SUV is almost beyond belief.

Sacramento bee Highlander review

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It sounds like the THH has the same power train as the RX400h, and more functionality (able to carry 7 people, though at "a tight squeeze" according to the reviewer); at under $35,000, the THH is a bargain compared to the 400h (even with all the options I don't think the price would top $40k). Also, at 3800 lbs, the THH is lighter than the 400h, so it should be even quicker.

Bet ya some folks who couldn't get there hands on the 400h might just wait a little longer and stand in line for the THH.

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Well this debunks WWest's theory about the Toyota gas guzzler SUV hybrids!

As I recall, a tester in Hawaii averaged 34 MPG with the RX400h. We made a good decision - these hybrids will revolutionize the world!

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Maybe when he started the battery was FULL and at the end it was EMPTY.

He drove it for a week and the battery capacity is pretty small. It is unlikely that the battery charge level would make a difference given a signifcant distance logged. And 34 or even 30 is an awfully good number.

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It sounds like the THH has the same power train as the RX400h, and more functionality (able to carry 7 people, though at "a tight squeeze" according to the reviewer); at under $35,000, the THH is a bargain compared to the 400h (even with all the options I don't think the price would top $40k). Also, at 3800 lbs, the THH is lighter than the 400h, so it should be even quicker.

Actually, the price with all the options does top $40k. There are a lot more optional items than in the Rx including big ticket items like 4WD, leather, and Nav system. Fully equiped MSRP is $41290. At that price, it still lacks some of the features on the Rx400H. My husband said it is clear they are marketing to a different group from the Lexus when you see some of the features they call out as added by the limited: color keyed rear spoiler and urethane steering wheel and shifter with audio controls.

The power train specs in the brochures are identical and the zero to 60 time is a smidge faster. For those who don't want all the bells and whistles, it looks like a great choice. The price difference is about the same as the difference between a fully loaded non-Hybrid Highlander and an Rx330.

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Just give some thought to what the fuel economy might have been if T/L wasn't going after the boy-racer set.

Well Toyota has learned the hard way that even the non boy-racer set is NOT willing to sacrifice power for economy. Examples of lessons learned:

1. Toyota Echo with 5-speed manual trans gets 42 MPG but nobody hardly wants it because 0-60 is a leisurely 11 seconds.

2. Scion - mediocre sales so far despite 36 MPG because it's 0-60 of 10.5 seconds is too leisurely for anyone under 35 years old.

3. Toyota Tundra V8 gets 1-2 better MPG than the Nissan Titan V8, but is 1.5 seconds slower 0-60 so sales of the Tundra are sluggish.

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It sounds like the THH has the same power train as the RX400h, and more functionality (able to carry 7 people, though at "a tight squeeze" according to the reviewer); at under $35,000, the THH is a bargain compared to the 400h (even with all the options I don't think the price would top $40k). Also, at 3800 lbs, the THH is lighter than the 400h, so it should be even quicker.

Actually, the price with all the options does top $40k. There are a lot more optional items than in the Rx including big ticket items like 4WD, leather, and Nav system. Fully equiped MSRP is $41290. At that price, it still lacks some of the features on the Rx400H. My husband said it is clear they are marketing to a different group from the Lexus when you see some of the features they call out as added by the limited: color keyed rear spoiler and urethane steering wheel and shifter with audio controls.

The power train specs in the brochures are identical and the zero to 60 time is a smidge faster. For those who don't want all the bells and whistles, it looks like a great choice. The price difference is about the same as the difference between a fully loaded non-Hybrid Highlander and an Rx330.

The only other negative is that when you buy a $40,000 Highlander Hybrid, it looks like a $23,000 Highlander, whereas the least expensive RX is worth much more. It's kinda like comparing a Mustang Cobra to a Corvette. The Cobra may be close in acceleration ability, but it still looks like a $16,000 Mustang!

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But.

Just how many "boy-racers" will be interested in an SUV, a LUXURY SUV, even with V8 performance. And how many of those that are interested can afford the HL version, let alone the RX.

Pretty small demographics, methinks.

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But. Just how many "boy-racers" will be interested in an SUV, a LUXURY SUV, even with V8 performance. And how many of those that are interested can afford the HL version, let alone the RX. Pretty small demographics, methinks.

Well consider the popularity of the Infiniti FX SUV. I don't know about the Pacific Northwest, but the FX is definately popular in California.

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But.

Just how many "boy-racers" will be interested in an SUV, a LUXURY SUV, even with V8 performance. And how many of those that are interested can afford the HL version, let alone the RX.

"Boy-racer" is your description of who might want an Rx400H. It is fairly distant from the truth. I'm planning on buying one and I'm definately not a boy. I don't think I'm a racer either though I do like a car with snappy performance.

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The only other negative is that when you buy a $40,000 Highlander Hybrid, it looks like a $23,000 Highlander, whereas the least expensive RX is worth much more. It's kinda like comparing a Mustang Cobra to a Corvette. The Cobra may be close in acceleration ability, but it still looks like a $16,000 Mustang!

To some that might be a positive. I am enough of a reverse-snob to not want to flaunt my extravagance so a loaded Highlander has some appeal over an obviously $50,000 Rx400H. However, we like some of the features we would lose if we went to the Highlander and we have no need for the third seat.

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.... a loaded Highlander has some appeal over an obviously $50,000 Rx400H.

I haven't done much research on the RX400h, but I was under the impression that the 400h looks exactly like the RX330, which could be had for as low as around $35,000, I got mine (FWD, no NAV, no DVD, with premium plus pkg) for $35,700, a few hundred bucks below invoice.

Anyway, the point is, the 400h is not so "obvious" from afar. It blends in well with the hordes of the much cheaper RX330's out there. So patt you can drive it wihout worrying being thought a snob.

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I just read a review of the Highlander hybrid in Motor Trend. 0-60 came in 6.6 seconds. The Highlander is not as quiet or smooth-riding as the RX400h but dang, it is FAST!

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I got mine (FWD, no NAV, no DVD, with premium plus pkg) for $35,700, a few hundred bucks below invoice.

Scoobie, could you tell me what So. Cal dealer gave you that deal? Thanks

Longo Lexus in El Monte, the salesman's name (his business card says "marketing manager", but we found out that everyone who works there is called one sort of manager or another) is Tony Hseih.

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I just read a review of the Highlander hybrid in Motor Trend. 0-60 came in 6.6 seconds. The Highlander is not as quiet or smooth-riding as the RX400h but dang, it is FAST!

Is that review in print or online ? All the information I can find online says 7.3 sec, even from Motor trend's site.

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I was going to buy the RX400h but I think I am going to hold off and get the Toyoyal Highlander Hybrid instead and keep my $20,000 to spend on other things.  Sounds like a much better deal to me.

More like $8,000 to $15,000 . $17K if you are willing to get FWD instead of AWD and do the most feature stripped version of Highlander, but I expect that will be hard to find. The most similarly equipped versions are about $8 K different.

Your profile says you have an Rx330 now. You could have saved a similar amount of money by buying a Highlander instead of the Rx330. What pushed the decision over to the Rx330 then? The one difference I can see is for those that don't want the Nav and the AWD because Highlander lets them save money by getting the car configured that way. Rx400H is only AWD with Nav standard.

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But.

Just how many "boy-racers" will be interested in an SUV, a LUXURY SUV, even with V8 performance. And how many of those that are interested can afford the HL version, let alone the RX.

Pretty small demographics, methinks.

wwest- I think its time you gave this a rest. We're all well aware of your views on the RX400h, and its time you stop turning every RX400h thread a member posts into a "lets fight about the appeal of the RX and whether Lexus made a mistake". There were threads for that, and its been discussed.

I'm sure our members that have ordered/are ainxiously awaiting RX400h vehicles are growing tired of having to contend with your negativity every time they post a thread about the vehicle. I know I am.

So I'm going to ask you, as a forums manager, to no longer participate in the RX400h threads. You're still welcome to participate in all other site threads, but further postings of this nature in RX400h threads will be immediately deleted. Thanks for your cooperation in advance.

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I just read a review of the Highlander hybrid in Motor Trend. 0-60 came in 6.6 seconds. The Highlander is not as quiet or smooth-riding as the RX400h but dang, it is FAST!

Is that review in print or online ? All the information I can find online says 7.3 sec, even from Motor trend's site.

That was in print (latest Motor Trend at the library). The RX400h has been tested to 60 in 6.9 seconds by Car & Driver magazine. Road and Track achieved 7.3 seconds for the RX400h. Personally, I think Toyota should've continued to exclude the GPS from the Highlander so that it doesn't overlap RX400 sales. Still, the RX400h is quieter and smoother-riding and does have some nice touches like the rain-sensing wipers, blue-tooth cell phone, and pivoting headlights. These are all super-luxury items that add to the final cost.

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The one difference I can see is for those that don't want the Nav and the AWD because Highlander lets them save money by getting the car configured that way. Rx400H is only AWD with Nav standard.

That's a good point, the Highlander don't force buyers to get the AWD and NAV, two overpriced features that are seldom used or needed.

Getting AWD in an RX330 or RX400h is like installing spoilers on a skateboard, the Rx is not designed for (and therefore not capable of) off road travel, and I recall some Lexus ads specifically mentioned that (in fine print). And AWD won't prevent hydroplaning, so don't think you're safer in rain either, AWD is maybe useful when going up the mountain for skiing and you have snowtires on.

And NAV ? Come on, unless you operate a taxi service, how many times do you actually need it. I said NEED, not use, I'm sure people who have it use it alot, just to play with it, but probably would get lost without it.

Just my 2 cents.

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I thought that about the nav until I got a car with it. Now I'll never buy another one without it. Its SUCH a useful tool. Not so much around your own area (although I sell real estate and I'm the envy of my office because I can find properties so fast, and its useful for avoiding traffic jams) but when travelling. You'll never be lost or fumbling with paper directions or maps again, no more getting directions to friends houses or restaurants. Need gas? It will tell you where all the gas stations are in the brand you want, restaurant? Tell it what kind of food. Its an indispensible tool and I'm lost without it.

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