I waited with great anticipation the release of the hybrid Highlander. My family could really use a vehicle with a third row of seating since the birth of my second daughter just over two years ago. The obstacle preventing us from getting an SUV or wagon in all that time has been gas consumption. In the light of recent increases in gas prices, that obstacle has gotten even higher. Based on the mileage performance of the Prius compared to conventional cars in its class, I expected that I'd be able to get a vehicle with more room and still get better mileage than with my current small sedan when the Highlander Hybrid came out. I was exceptionally disappointed when initial reports from the real world indicated that the actual gas consumption when driven by real people on real streets was on a par with other vehicles in the same class as the Highlander. The reports of the Highlander's excellent performance didn't do much for me. Not wanting to give up, I talked with a sales representative at a local dealership, and I asked him if there was an option to turn down the performance in exchange for better fuel economy. With the high degree of computer control in the vehicle, this seemed like a natural and relatively inexpensive feature to include. He told me that there was no such option. I'm writing you to ask whether such an option is actually available that maybe the sales rep didn't know about. I'd also like to request that an option such as this be made available. If it were possible to degrade the 0-60 time by 50% in exchange for 30% better gas mileage, I'd buy one in a heartbeat. I'd even pay extra for that feature. Thanks for your time.I'll let y'all know what they say, if they say anything.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
So, I sent in this question to the folks at Toyota regarding my disappointment with the Highlander Hybrid's fuel economy figures: