Automotive

Are Hybrid toyota Cars worth the extra money to save money?

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  • Nov 8th, 2017 7:01 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 17, 2010
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Are Hybrid toyota Cars worth the extra money to save money?

So googling this i found plenty of articles about hybrids but they are a few years old and i assume hybrid technology is alot better today.

the 2017 toyota highlander i am looking at has the hybrid option, but for 5000 dollars more.

i understand hybrids only save you money for city driving, hence the stop and go but really do nothing for highway. which prob explains the 29 city figure on the hybrid vs the 22 city on the non hybrid and the same highway mpg.

the only thing i found with the hybrid is that for the AWD, the electric motors power the rear wheels vs. the engine on the normal model which apparently doesnt have as much "power" as the engine powering the wheels. may also explain why there is not "snow" mode on the hybrid model.

asside from these, are there any other potential pros or more importantly cons to buying a hybrid car? such as, "just another added toy to break down", or battery replacement costs down the road? etc.
22 replies
Deal Addict
Nov 8, 2005
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I think for the most part the savings are minimal of any. On top of that you have another system that needs to be maintained and potentially costly to repair.

I know I looked into the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid as a potential way to save money. The gas savings would have been higher vs. a hybrid like the highlander, but the added cost and the potential system failures, plus the fact that it was made by Chrysler were enough to scare me away.

If you're looking to save money, I don't think something like the highlander hybrid is going to do it for you. Maybe a prius might save you money after 10 years but you should actually run the math and see how long and how many kms until you start saving money.
Member
May 17, 2017
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Waterloo
This is only worth if it you drive a LOT of kilometers, and a lot of city kilometers. Makes sense for taxi drivers, couriers, or travelling salesmen, but otherwise, I wouldn't suggest it.
Deal Expert
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Apr 21, 2004
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Is your highway driving always smooth sailing?

The engine is more fuel efficient but weaker as it runs on the Atkinson cycle. I think the Highlander has an even higher CD than our smallish RAV4.

We have a RAV4 Hybrid and we are getting 6.67L /100 km (on ECO mode but it's powerful enough for our needs but I want to attenuate the a/c contribution to lower MPG) outside of winter and I will be improvising on the grill blocker for winter. My wife drives typically 85 highway/15 city (distance based).

Just found out the last row of the Highlander is not going to be comfortable for long drives but I guess an hour here and there is okay to bear. I might as well take two cars out when there are guests but of course some people like 7-seaters no matter what the last row is.

No starter so easier to start during winter, electric a/c and water pump (I think) so probably more reliable than mechanical systems. Gasoline engine is built for start and stop operations (shoot gasoline only when RPM is 1,000 and up as per RAV4World resident expert RDGrimes). Battery capacity used between 30-70% I believe and ours is only Ni-Mh so it will last for a long while.

AWD cannot be locked and it's crappier than the regular non-hybrid AWD but it's still going to be better than most FWD and RWD vehicles.
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Jan 27, 2004
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T.O. Lotto Captain
Savings seem minimal bc you have to realize them over the long term.
So if youre the type to buy a new vehicle every 5 years, it might not be the best. Value is better for people who keep their cars 7+ years.

But you feel better that youre helping the environment!

Also they have been out long enough that people can refurbish batteries.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
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alanbrenton wrote: Is your highway driving always smooth sailing?

The engine is more fuel efficient but weaker as it runs on the Atkinson cycle. I think the Highlander has an even higher CD than our smallish RAV4.

We have a RAV4 Hybrid and we are getting 6.67L /100 km (on ECO mode but it's powerful enough for our needs but I want to attenuate the a/c contribution to lower MPG) outside of winter and I will be improvising on the grill blocker for winter. My wife drives typically 85 highway/15 city (distance based).

Just found out the last row of the Highlander is not going to be comfortable for long drives but I guess an hour here and there is okay to bear. I might as well take two cars out when there are guests but of course some people like 7-seaters no matter what the last row is.

No starter so easier to start during winter, electric a/c and water pump (I think) so probably more reliable than mechanical systems. Gasoline engine is built for start and stop operations (shoot gasoline only when RPM is 1,000 and up as per RAV4World resident expert RDGrimes). Battery capacity used between 30-70% I believe and ours is only Ni-Mh so it will last for a long while.

AWD cannot be locked and it's crappier than the regular non-hybrid AWD but it's still going to be better than most FWD and RWD vehicles.
Double check but I do not believe the Highlander Hybrid uses an Atkinson cycle engine. I believe Toyota uses Atkinson cycle on the 4 cyl hybrids (Prius, Camry, Rav4) but the Highlander uses the same V6 that they have in a many of their vehicles in addition to the hybrid motor which makes it more powerful that the gas version. I suspect the maintenance / wear on the HiHy is basically the same the gas version - starter is likely different but I think the rest is the same. Long term reliability appears great and it looks like the Toyota batteries / hybrid systems will pretty much outlast any of their vehicles (they are used in taxis for 500k-1mil kms).

You are correct that the AWD system in HiHy does not perform as well as a true 4WD or AWD.

We used to have 2006 HiHy which is quite a bit smaller than the current Highlanders but in ours, the 3rd row is really only usable for children - teenagers would not have been very comfortable in ours. The 3rd row is a great convenience but at least in our model year, it does not compare to a minivan (we also have a Sienna)..

I do have to agree that if most of your driving is highway, you won't benefit from a hybrid car. They offer significantly better mileage (and quiet driving) in the city but there's not real benefit for highway.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
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The spreadsheet is a very good tool except that in cold weather, you'll lose a lot of the benefits of the hybrid system so it's not very accurate for a good part of the year.
Jr. Member
Jul 4, 2017
122 posts
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Don't be scared by the potential for things to go wrong. Hybrids have been around for 20 years now and have proven themselves to be very reliable on average.

Hybrids save the most fuel (and brake wear) in the city, but still provide some advantage on the highway. And almost everyone does at least some low speed, urban-style driving.
[OP]
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Oct 17, 2010
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tim-x wrote: I think for the most part the savings are minimal of any. On top of that you have another system that needs to be maintained and potentially costly to repair.

I know I looked into the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid as a potential way to save money. The gas savings would have been higher vs. a hybrid like the highlander, but the added cost and the potential system failures, plus the fact that it was made by Chrysler were enough to scare me away.

If you're looking to save money, I don't think something like the highlander hybrid is going to do it for you. Maybe a prius might save you money after 10 years but you should actually run the math and see how long and how many kms until you start saving money.
alanbrenton wrote: Is your highway driving always smooth sailing?

The engine is more fuel efficient but weaker as it runs on the Atkinson cycle. I think the Highlander has an even higher CD than our smallish RAV4.

We have a RAV4 Hybrid and we are getting 6.67L /100 km (on ECO mode but it's powerful enough for our needs but I want to attenuate the a/c contribution to lower MPG) outside of winter and I will be improvising on the grill blocker for winter. My wife drives typically 85 highway/15 city (distance based).

Just found out the last row of the Highlander is not going to be comfortable for long drives but I guess an hour here and there is okay to bear. I might as well take two cars out when there are guests but of course some people like 7-seaters no matter what the last row is.

No starter so easier to start during winter, electric a/c and water pump (I think) so probably more reliable than mechanical systems. Gasoline engine is built for start and stop operations (shoot gasoline only when RPM is 1,000 and up as per RAV4World resident expert RDGrimes). Battery capacity used between 30-70% I believe and ours is only Ni-Mh so it will last for a long while.

AWD cannot be locked and it's crappier than the regular non-hybrid AWD but it's still going to be better than most FWD and RWD vehicles.
UrbanPoet wrote: Savings seem minimal bc you have to realize them over the long term.
So if youre the type to buy a new vehicle every 5 years, it might not be the best. Value is better for people who keep their cars 7+ years.

But you feel better that youre helping the environment!

Also they have been out long enough that people can refurbish batteries.
Breezinga wrote: Don't be scared by the potential for things to go wrong. Hybrids have been around for 20 years now and have proven themselves to be very reliable on average.

Hybrids save the most fuel (and brake wear) in the city, but still provide some advantage on the highway. And almost everyone does at least some low speed, urban-style driving.
AstulzerRSX wrote: This is only worth if it you drive a LOT of kilometers, and a lot of city kilometers. Makes sense for taxi drivers, couriers, or travelling salesmen, but otherwise, I wouldn't suggest it.
i just found out the toyota highlander hybrid has a CVT transmission. are these transmissions that one should avoid? ive read mixed reviews on them in general across all . brands
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 17, 2010
1605 posts
238 upvotes
alanbrenton wrote: Is your highway driving always smooth sailing?

The engine is more fuel efficient but weaker as it runs on the Atkinson cycle. I think the Highlander has an even higher CD than our smallish RAV4.

We have a RAV4 Hybrid and we are getting 6.67L /100 km (on ECO mode but it's powerful enough for our needs but I want to attenuate the a/c contribution to lower MPG) outside of winter and I will be improvising on the grill blocker for winter. My wife drives typically 85 highway/15 city (distance based).

Just found out the last row of the Highlander is not going to be comfortable for long drives but I guess an hour here and there is okay to bear. I might as well take two cars out when there are guests but of course some people like 7-seaters no matter what the last row is.

No starter so easier to start during winter, electric a/c and water pump (I think) so probably more reliable than mechanical systems. Gasoline engine is built for start and stop operations (shoot gasoline only when RPM is 1,000 and up as per RAV4World resident expert RDGrimes). Battery capacity used between 30-70% I believe and ours is only Ni-Mh so it will last for a long while.

AWD cannot be locked and it's crappier than the regular non-hybrid AWD but it's still going to be better than most FWD and RWD vehicles.
I guess when the battery needs to be replaced, that would offset the fuel savings?
Deal Expert
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Apr 21, 2004
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thatsnazzyiphoneguy wrote: I guess when the battery needs to be replaced, that would offset the fuel savings?
I am surprise you are considering getting a hybrid when you think there is no real savings to be made and/or there is no advantage to the technology like slightly more oomph and fewer mechanical components to be replaced. Must be tough when in an analysis paralysis situation such as this. :)

At $1.25/L, I would gladly take my chances. That's what the eight year warranty is for on hybrid components. :)

By the time you take the plunge on any vehicle based on your posts on the auto forum, most of us here would probably be already driving a 500 mile BEV.

Slow and steady win the race...
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
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Ottawa
thatsnazzyiphoneguy wrote: I guess when the battery needs to be replaced, that would offset the fuel savings?
For practical purpose, the battery in Toyota Hybrids are not replaceable items and unless a failure, should not need to be replaced and will outlast the life of the car. You can make the same argument about the engine in a traditional car - they typically outlast the car but that doesn't mean that some don't fail prematurely ...
Member
May 17, 2017
294 posts
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Waterloo
thatsnazzyiphoneguy wrote: i just found out the toyota highlander hybrid has a CVT transmission. are these transmissions that one should avoid? ive read mixed reviews on them in general across all . brands
The Toyota Hybrid CVT is not really a CVT. It's really just there to vary that power split between the engine and electric motor.
The Toyota Hybrid Synergy system is dead reliable, and even batteries are getting cheap to replace.
It really comes down to cost and whether your driving habits mean the upgrade makes sense.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 17, 2010
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238 upvotes
AstulzerRSX wrote: The Toyota Hybrid CVT is not really a CVT. It's really just there to vary that power split between the engine and electric motor.
The Toyota Hybrid Synergy system is dead reliable, and even batteries are getting cheap to replace.
It really comes down to cost and whether your driving habits mean the upgrade makes sense.
I’ve read a hybrid like in the highlander is most cost effective for in town driving so I guess that may be worth while?

One thing I noticed on the hybrid model, is there is no snow mode on the hybrid version vs the gas versio. Any reason why?

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