23 Highlander 2.4T

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We've been shopping recently for a new 3 row SUV. We were coming from a fun but chronically issue laden 2018 Audi Q5 and it was our baseline for a comfortable and somewhat fun to drive SUV. We are primarily a family of four (two teenage sons) however we have young adult son and a mother in law who resides with us and occasionally we take local trips as a family. It's much easier to take one car on these occasional outings.

We shopped the market sub $60k for a nice, comfortable and most importantly reliable vehicle to handle these duties with a planned long life of use (wife will be retiring early in about 6 years so it'll be long paid off). We really liked the interiors of the Palisade/Telluride twins but they felt very heavy and clumsy in typical city/parking lot driving. They felt great on the road but just did not "wow" my wife to make the switch. FWIW we've owned many Hyundai's over the years and loved them. The Pilot was okay, owned many Honda's over the years and it felt like an Odyssey and we're past the minivan stage of our lives. The Mazda CX-9 was a strong contender and has a fabulous drivetrain however rear row access (although not used much) was the only negative. Inventory of new ones in top trim were basically non existent in our area so we kept looking.

We drove a 22 Highlander and really liked the packaging and interior quality. We were not impressed with the 3.5 V6 lazy throttle response and the low tech Entune system (we road trip alot and like good quality tech).

We were fortunate enough to go back soon after when a new '23 had just landed with the new 2.4 turbo 4 and new media tech. We live close to 6000' elevation and turbo cars always seem to have an advantage for better engine response/power at higher elevations and we've always liked them. The Q5 was a blast to drive in the mountains and we never longed for more passing power.

The HL with the turbo was the ticket for us after our test drive. The throttle response is great, peak torque (310 lb/ft) at 1700 rpm makes for good off the line punch and easy acceleration on the highway. Some of the reviews we read were lamenting the loss of the V6, to us it made the difference to purchase vs buy something else. So far it feels like a great engine and it's very well matched to the smooth 8-speed auto.

We chose one on inbound allocation and chose the Limited trim for the torque vectoring AWD, dual 12.3" screens and mid row captains chairs. The vehicle came in early last week and we brought it home on Nov 9th with 8 miles on the odometer. Build date was October 7th. We purchased from a local dealer that is MSRP only with no adds or doc fees. The car was $51250 and we added the Toyota Platinum $0 warranty to 100k for $1600. The dealer was awesome and super easy to work with.

We looked at the Platinum trim and there was nothing in that package that we really needed/wanted and I prefer a regular sunroof over a panoramic one (we live in large hail country).

Early impressions now that it is home is that it is about as quiet as the Audi, with a comfortable suspension on the cratered roads around us and overall we are happy with our decision. With only about 180 miles on the odometer, time will tell. At this time, driving moderately in 30-40 degree temps, mixed city and highway driving the computer is stating 24.5 mpg. The build quality is very good overall- no cosmetic flaws have been seen so far.

I plan to do 5k interval oil changes on this guy and will utilize the Toyota care for the 10k and 20k changes as they come. Most likely an OEM filter and oil TBD. My first change will probably be this spring and we have a 5-6k mile road trip planned at the end of May.

The windows are getting tinted this weel and PPF installed on the front end. I'll ceramic coat it over the Thanksgiving holiday (I'm a former pro-detailer and do awesome applications).

I'll update this thread as the engine breaks in and I learn more about it. Snow is predicted later this week so we'll see how it (and the Bridgesstone Alenza sport AS tires) do.

We did look into this one as a hybrid. The waiting list is super long (deposits placed) for higher trims and our chances of obtaining one would be about a year out.

Overall it seems great and most importantly, my wife loves it!
 
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At this time, driving moderately in 30-40 degree temps, mixed city and highway driving the computer is stating 24.5 mpg.
That is very good. The 2GR would probably average 20 under those conditions.
 
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You can't go wrong with a Toyota even if you don't end up liking it or it becomes problematic in the long haul. (y)
They keep their value, are statistically reliable and easy to sell. The Highlander is an easy choice and maybe even a go-to choice for many.
You did your homework and testing/test driving so you apparently made the correct choice.

As-far-as the V6? I've not their(Toyota) biggest fan. Sure they're smoother/quieter, reliable and more luxury feeling but, they're thirsty. The Turbo 4 may not be any more fuel efficient in the HL's application however, it does produces its torque at a more advantageous RPM for such a hefty vehicle especially if you travel with passengers & luggage often as you mentioned.

Your purchase experience sounds very good and I do indeed hope the rest of your HL experience is the same, as in typical Toyota fashion with good customer service and reliability.

Best of luck, 👌
CB
 
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Thanks for your timely post, 5280.

As we don’t need three rides, I thought I’d sell the 2014 Altima and 2015 Santa Fe and combine the great gas mileage of the Altima with the utility of the SUV and buy a Highlander hybrid.

However, a deposit to join a one year waiting list has minimal appeal to me.

Good luck with your new ride.

And what PPF will you be using?
 
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Congrats on the highlander, personally would've gotten the hybrid if available since the mpg's are great, costs an extra 3k but it'll pay itself off. Change the oil frequently and i think the turbo will last well over 150k. Shame about that barely old but already sour and yellow 2018 Audi. Can't say I'm surprised though. I'm turbo paranoid but if Toyota took this long to go into turbos and 10 speed transmissions on their trucks it must be for a good reason.
 
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They element loss of V6 bcs. they don't know anything else. It was a mediocre engine by any parameter. It was not only a lazy response but super narrow peak torque line.
 
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Congrats on the highlander, personally would've gotten the hybrid if available since the mpg's are great, costs an extra 3k but it'll pay itself off. Change the oil frequently and i think the turbo will last well over 150k. Shame about that barely old but already sour and yellow 2018 Audi. Can't say I'm surprised though. I'm turbo paranoid but if Toyota took this long to go into turbos and 10 speed transmissions on their trucks it must be for a good reason.
At this altitude, that hybrid is super lazy. It is good as 2nd or 3rd vehicle (I actually ordered Sienna hybrid, but STRICTLY as a road trip vehicle). But as the primary vehicle, going after Audi? It would be like driving a tricycle.
 
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Congrats on the highlander, personally would've gotten the hybrid if available since the mpg's are great, costs an extra 3k but it'll pay itself off. Change the oil frequently and i think the turbo will last well over 150k. Shame about that barely old but already sour and yellow 2018 Audi. Can't say I'm surprised though. I'm turbo paranoid but if Toyota took this long to go into turbos and 10 speed transmissions on their trucks it must be for a good reason.
the wastegate on the 2.4L turbo is a conventional vacuum operated one, instead of the more problematic electronically controlled wastegate on the Tundra/Sequoia. There hasn't been too many issues with the 2.4L turbo yet on the NX, so that's some confidence inspiring.
 
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At this altitude, that hybrid is super lazy. It is good as 2nd or 3rd vehicle (I actually ordered Sienna hybrid, but STRICTLY as a road trip vehicle). But as the primary vehicle, going after Audi? It would be like driving a tricycle.
I get all that but as the gentleman I quoted he summarized it being a primary vehicle may not be the best option as it was the reason why he traded it in. It wasn't dependable enough to be a primary. He and anyone else could practically argue the Q5 should be a second or third vehicle. The primary hauler has more counting on it. That's why I stated op could chat with him and help reason a decision. Nothing against Audi or for Toyota as i own neither now but owned an Audi once that I still cherish but it's just a practical decision.
 
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5280, great post. I'm guessing it's the XLE trim. You may want to read some threads in the tire section about snow or all weather tires given your location. I think Costco has Bridgestone Blizzaks on sale right now. Congrats!
 
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the wastegate on the 2.4L turbo is a conventional vacuum operated one, instead of the more problematic electronically controlled wastegate on the Tundra/Sequoia. There hasn't been too many issues with the 2.4L turbo yet on the NX, so that's some confidence inspiring.
That I didn't know about. Thank you that's good to know.
 
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At this altitude, that hybrid is super lazy. It is good as 2nd or 3rd vehicle (I actually ordered Sienna hybrid, but STRICTLY as a road trip vehicle). But as the primary vehicle, going after Audi? It would be like driving a tricycle.
I have no issues driving a hybrid a higher elevations... in the land of 85 aki gas. the electric motors make up for the lack of grunt of atkinson cycle at higher elevations and lower rpms

Maybe for the turbo's sake, I would consider going with 87 aki nontheless, which means no Costco gas.
 
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I have no issues driving a hybrid a higher elevations... in the land of 85 aki gas. the electric motors make up for the lack of grunt of atkinson cycle at higher elevations and lower rpms

Maybe for the turbo's sake, I would consider going with 87 aki nontheless, which means no Costco gas.
Maybe you don't, but it is lazy. It is lazy in Sienna and Sienna is somehow 100lbs lighter than HL hybrid.
It does make up, but also we are talking 4cyl engine that is anyway low on power. At this altitude that engine is down some 20% on power.
 
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Thanks for your timely post, 5280.

As we don’t need three rides, I thought I’d sell the 2014 Altima and 2015 Santa Fe and combine the great gas mileage of the Altima with the utility of the SUV and buy a Highlander hybrid.

However, a deposit to join a one year waiting list has minimal appeal to me.

Good luck with your new ride.

And what PPF will you be using?
If you are not picky on color or exact options many times people with deposits flake out especially plebeian vehicles like Highlander’s. You can be on list to be called in far quicker time. Happened to friend with an EV order cancelled by original deposit. Also sis in law picked up Toyota RAV4 prime cancelled order a month after putting name into call list.

The cars people put deposit now are not exactly dream cars just transportation.
 
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the wastegate on the 2.4L turbo is a conventional vacuum operated one, instead of the more problematic electronically controlled wastegate on the Tundra/Sequoia. There hasn't been too many issues with the 2.4L turbo yet on the NX, so that's some confidence inspiring.

Interesting info……….thanks.
 
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If you are not picky on color or exact options many times people with deposits flake out especially plebeian vehicles like Highlander’s. You can be on list to be called in far quicker time. Happened to friend with an EV order cancelled by original deposit. Also sis in law picked up Toyota RAV4 prime cancelled order a month after putting name into call list.

The cars people put deposit now are not exactly dream cars just transportation.

Sounds like that might be a plan.
 
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