Do I buy a gasoline or hybrid Highlander?

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2,288
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Cincinnati
Momma gave back the 2002 Saab 9-3 SE at lease end last month, so now she wants a vehicle that has second row seats that fold flat. Forget the Saab wagon and Volvo wagon, they don't fold flat. She drove a gasoline engined Toyota Highlander and really liked it. I drove the Acura MDX and loved it. Regular unleaded versus premium unleaded. Reality being what it is, we're getting HER car, so it's a Highlander (boring). I'm interested in the hybrid V6 AWD, in spite of the waiting list. Any constructive thoughts on getting a hybrid? It's got an eight year warranty on the "hybrid" parts. But that engine will probably be constantly starting and stopping, so what's the wear going to be on the engine? It supposedly has two water pumps, one electrically operated (surprise!) and one operated by the engine. I love the idea of 29 mpg in the city in an "SUV," but what's the maintenance going to be like on a hybrid? My other option may be to purchase a gasoline engined V6 Highlander and forget the AWD system. It's not like I need it for eight months of the year in Cincy weather, anyway. That should save on gas and maintenance, no?
 
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2,183
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Lexington, KY
Forget about the gas mileage and repair costs issues for a moment. It looks like Toyota hybrid vehicles will have high resale values for at least the short term future. If initial costs are not an issue get the hybrid AWD. It might even be faster than the V6 gas version. BTW, this section of the forum is about oil. It might be moved by a moderator. many of my posts have until I "learned".
 
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USA
Based on what limited UOA we have seen here on a Toyota Prius I would say very little. The wear metals looked to be preety close to any other engine from Toyota. Now we do not know how many times the vechile cycled in and out of the two different modes though! If you are not doing a lot of city comuteing with lots of stop lights etc... I doubt you would see any real difference with the hybrid. If she does mostly highway driveing your gas millage is usualy better with a regular gas only vechile. You also have a greater chance in an accident of toxic or castic chemicals,gas's etc........ You also have to look at cost and availability! Most hybrids are demanding a premium right now due to high fuel cost plus demand is greater then availability so their is some exclusiviety as well! Then their is the reliability factor. The more complicted a machine is the more that can go wrong! Now Toyota is about as good as it gets but even they make the occasional lemon. Their is so much more that could go wrong on a hybrid that if you did get a lemon you could be in for a heck of a ride!!
 
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7,256
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Take the price difference between a gasoline vs hybrid one. A hybrid will be full retail while a gasoline likely discounted from MSRP and divide the differential by the amount of years you own it. I have a feeling you'll never save money with the Hybrid. However resale for the moment will be excellent.
 
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723
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Lower Alabama
My biggest questions with the hybrids are: 1. How long do the batteries last before needing replacement? 2. How much do they cost? Question #2 is easy enough to answer, just call a dealer and ask. The technology is too new for us to know the answer to question #1.
 
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12,385
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Northern CA
quote:
Originally posted by HardbodyLoyalist: My biggest questions with the hybrids are: 1. How long do the batteries last before needing replacement? 2. How much do they cost? Question #2 is easy enough to answer, just call a dealer and ask. The technology is too new for us to know the answer to question #1.
Lacking better data, assume they will just last until the warranty on them expires.
 
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12,385
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Northern CA
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBrowning: Toyota warrantys all the Hybird parts includeing the batterys for 8 years.
I suspect they will be replacing more than a few batteries on warranty. If I'm correct, and hybrids get a reputation for less than infinite battery life, look for resale value of ones near the end of their warranty to drop.
 
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1,979
Location
Houston
quote:
Originally posted by XS650:
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBrowning: Toyota warrantys all the Hybird parts includeing the batterys for 8 years.
I suspect they will be replacing more than a few batteries on warranty.

why do you "suspect" this? have you seen the longterm reliabilty data from Toyota on this? Having done warranty calculations in years past, I can assure you "8 years" was arrived after quite a bit of real world testing. And unless someone really screws up the pretty simple math, all the costs of those warranty replacements are figured into the marketing price. ie, the customer pays for it. How long do they last? Let's put it this way; Toyota is willing to foot the bill for replacing them up to 8 years. After that, they aren't willing to foot the bill. and why on earth would anyone want a 4wd Highlander for a daily driver/grocery getter? Simplify, simplify. We have a Highlander (02 v6 gas) and it has plenty of power. But a rally car it ain't. I'm much more comfortable at speed in my camry. The highlander, like most SUVs, feels less stable in very highspeed turns compared to just about any lower CoG "car". but the wife loves it and that's all that matters. [ May 09, 2005, 08:55 PM: Message edited by: kenw ]
 
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12,385
Location
Northern CA
quote:
Originally posted by kenw:
quote:
Originally posted by XS650:
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBrowning: Toyota warrantys all the Hybird parts includeing the batterys for 8 years.
I suspect they will be replacing more than a few batteries on warranty.

why do you "suspect" this, John? have you seen the longterm reliabilty data from Toyota on this? Having done warranty calculations in years past, I can assure you "8 years" was arrived after quite a bit of real world testing. And unless someone really screws up the pretty simple math, all the costs of those warranty replacements are figured into the marketing price. ie, the customer pays for it.

That depends on whether the 8 year warranty was arrived at through normal reliability calculations or was chosen to instill buyer confidence. Warranty length often is based on other than pure reliability data. Manufacturers are sometimes also willing to take a loss on certain products if they think it will help them meet their overall goals.
 
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239
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California
Volvo seats don't fold flat? You need to tumble the bottom cushion forward first. And does she really need an SUV? Is she planning to go off road any time soon? I'm sorry but the logic behind and SUV purchase escapes me. There are plenty of AWD wagons on the marker that will get the same or better fuel economy than this hybrid SUV on real world driving with similar ammounts of interior space.
 
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1,979
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Houston
"That depends on whether the 8 year warranty was arrived at through normal reliability calculations or was chosen to instill buyer confidence." it was most certainly BASED on traditional reliability calculations, but you are correct as it may have been tweaked a bit up or down for marketing considerations. Used to do it all the time. But I'll bet the reliability guys gave them the starting point and it wasn't too far from 8 years.
 
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1,979
Location
Houston
quote:
Originally posted by jtantare: Volvo seats don't fold flat? You need to tumble the bottom cushion forward first. And does she really need an SUV? Is she planning to go off road any time soon? I'm sorry but the logic behind and SUV purchase escapes me. There are plenty of AWD wagons on the marker that will get the same or better fuel economy than this hybrid SUV on real world driving with similar ammounts of interior space.
going offroad is rarely a consideration for most SUV buyers. My wife wanted the Highlander because it offered a good view, similar to the minivans she previously drove. If practicality were the main reason for buying ANY vehicle, we would all be driving 2w/fwd minivans. they're more "practical" than ANY SUV and certainly moreso than a 4wd miniwagon.
 
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188
Location
so cal
Forget about hybrids a diesel is the way to go. No battery pack at all, a much smaller purchase premium and it will hold it's resale value. You will start actually saving money much sooner than a hybrid and it will get fuel mileage much closer to what the EPA says it gets. Check out the new Jeep liberty diesel. I looked at hybrid's too and when the salesman would not tell me how much a battery pack would cost I bought my Jetta TDI 45 MPG average. More diesels are coming right around the corner. Dan
 

dkryan

Thread starter
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2,288
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Cincinnati
jtantare: Yeah, I could "tumble 'em" first, but the downside is the front seats are limited to how far back they travel with the back seat bottoms "tumbled forward." That was the problem with the Saab 9-3 hatchback. Life was tough at 6'3" trying to clutch and shift with the driver's seat sitting under the front dashboard! As much as I read Car & Driver and Autoweek, I'm at a loss to come up with several wagons that meet or exceed the Highlander for room with the second row flat. Name 'em, while leaving out the Saab and the Volvo, and I'll check 'em out. Offroading? I'd have gotten a 4 Runner.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,146
Location
New Jersey
quote:
Originally posted by XS650:
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBrowning: Toyota warrantys all the Hybird parts includeing the batterys for 8 years.
I suspect they will be replacing more than a few batteries on warranty. If I'm correct, and hybrids get a reputation for less than infinite battery life, look for resale value of ones near the end of their warranty to drop.

Doubt it. Engineers know what they're doing, and they design the the batteries to typically run at a state of charge where the chemistry is well-behaved and optimal. This allows a significant number more cycles than typical batteries when they are fully cycled. I have heard that 300k+ cycles is doable when keeping the charge in the typical desgned-to state of charge. JMH
 
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562
Location
Austin, TX
The Highlander has cool technology (but looks frumpy IMHO) and the low running costs will make it easy to live with. I would work the lease deal first. The residual will give you an idea of what *Toyota* really thinks they'll be worth after 3-5 years. Diesel probably makes more financial sense, but these hybrids will be around for a while.
 
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239
Location
California
dkryan I have to agree most new station wagons are disappointingly small compared to old school American wagons RWD Volvos. My old RWD Volvo has 75 cubic feet of space with the seats down. Ford Freestyle has more cargo volume than the Highlander (84 vs 81 cubic feet) and it still manages to be a low center of gravity car. Unfortunately you have to trade city fuel economy. But I think the Highlander just like all other hybrids up to this point will have much lower real world fuel economy than advertised. And the lower purchase price will more than outweigh the higher fuel costs. Another nice choice is the Passat TDI wagon. Even better fuel economy (27/38) with ok cargo room (54 cubic feet). Diesels routinely outperform EPA numbers where hybrids routinely under perform. Good luck in your purchase.
 
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394
Location
Greenville, SC
quote:
Originally posted by dkryan: ... I drove the Acura MDX and loved it. .....
What about the Honda Pilot? Much easier on the pocketbook and it does seem to have the substanace of the MDX if not the glitter. Good luck, Jack PS: The Reds new a battery operated reliever? No?
 
Messages
507
Location
Tennessee
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBrowning: You also have a greater chance in an accident of toxic or castic chemicals,gas's etc........
We have 2 Prius' at work. The battery packs are NiCad batteries, not lead-acid. Shouldn't be a concern in an accident. We have had the Prius' for about 3 years now. No problems so far. City mileage is highly dependant on how far you drive each trip. Quite a bit of gas is used in warming up everything. Probably takes about 10 miles or so. If we are running around a lot during the day, we can easily beat the EPA estimate. Short trips between cool down kill the mileage. The EPA estimate for these older Prius' is 52 mpg city. We have recorded over 60 mpg several times. But the city mileage is usually mid to high 40's.
 
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