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Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

  #1  
Old 02-27-2007, 07:18 AM
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Default Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

I am really miffed. We finally got some snow in MN. This weekend I found out that my wife's $36,000 2007 Highlander Hybrid Limited is 100% absolutely useless in powder snow. This thing will leave you stranded!!!! Do not buy one of these if you will ever need to drive in snow!!! I knew from reading the owner's manual that the Highlander Hybrid is not to be considered an off-road vehicle. And I used to be OK with that, that's why I have a Chevy Silverado 4WD and it's awesome in deep snow. But this weekend I pulled that Highlander Hybrid into a parking lot that had about 8" of medium-weight snow (not fluffy, but not slushy either, good snowball making snow). And the vehicle instantly came to a complete stop!! Stepping on the gas pedal had NO EFFECT. The engine will not rev up, no power is applied to the wheels, and it just sits there like a freaking boat anchor!! What a horrible piece of crap!! This vehicle will leave you stranded if you ever try to drive in anything that will cause wheel slippage such as medium depth snow, loose sand, gravel, etc. In such a situation small 2WD drive cars would be able to keep going and you will be left stranded in your nearly $40,000 piece of Toyota crap!! I just called the service manager at the Toyota dealer and complained and she said "But it's unusual to drive one of these in 8" of snow". DUH!! Our cul-de-sac often has that much snow in the event of one of our increasingly rare MN snowfalls. These things need to have a mode where you can shut off the Traction Control system, even if that puts you only into front-wheel-drive-only mode. Unfortunately that mode is missing. Possibly the only way to make this thing go through snow is to have a lot of momentum and never ever slow down. It is very misleading to call this thing a "4WD" of any kind. Tonight I will try this experiment again with the wife driving the Highlander and me driving a real 4WD (Chevy Silverado) so I can yank that sorry piece of junk out of the snow. So far I'm not even getting a callback from the sales person at the Toyota dealer so I can chew her out for selling us this incapable vehicle.
 
  #2  
Old 02-27-2007, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

Thanks for posting this. I was about to purchase one of these. I live in Colo and this has been the norm for my diveway - street this year. I am now having second thoughts. I need a good snow car and this may not be it. Also my street and drive way are unpaved and get muddy at times.

What to do ?
 
  #3  
Old 02-27-2007, 09:30 AM
SPL
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

still_steamn — Have you tried using a very gentle foot on the accelerator under these conditions? I have done so in my Camry Hybrid, and it does work okay in the snow, even on inclines! You have an extra rear motor, so your Highlander Hybrid ought to be even better.

Stan
 
  #4  
Old 02-27-2007, 11:45 PM
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

I live south of the river in MN, and I like most minnesotans was waiting very patiently for that snow to come last saturday. I left work that night at 10pm, and with the snow readily accumulating, started the car, began brushing the snow off, and then spent the next 25 minutes pushing my co-worker's cars out. As the last car left the parking lot, they all waited to see what i would do. And then i slowly began creeping out. With very little problem using my "$36,000 peace o' crap". This evening as I left a friend's apartment, I decided to play for a while as you know...they do such a GREAT job plowing apartment parking lots. Though I could not measure it, the depth of snow was enough for my 50 lb siberian husky to be swimming. My awd with traction control slowly made it through. I had to back up and rock it once, but we plowed through. To further test this theory Steamn, come look at my tracks going through the field at northview elementary in eagan. Don't give up on your vehicle quite yet.
 
  #5  
Old 02-28-2007, 03:51 AM
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

I have to totally disagree on this one. Let me clarify, with the stock Michelin Energy tires you will get stuck easily, they are a hard compound for better mileage with no cross sipes for traction in snow. After my first winter with them I knew I needed snow tires so I ordered a set from Tirerack www.tirerack.com (4-Michlein Ice) and I can go anywhere. As you know upstate NY got lots of snow this year and I have not had one bit of trouble.

Stock tires are NOT made for everything you'll encounter, especially snow and ice conditions and M&S/All Season tires are not much better in those conditions.

If you live in an area that has these conditions, you need snow tires period. I don't like buying another set of tires anymore then anyone eles does, but a set of good snow tires is cheaper then getting in an accident or stuck.
 

Last edited by Bob259; 02-28-2007 at 03:56 AM.
  #6  
Old 02-28-2007, 05:06 AM
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

Although I have not driven through 8" of snow, my vehicle handled 5"-6" without a problem. I even took an unplowed road through the woods just to enjoy the view and the HiHy did OK IMO.

I have to agree with Bob259. My previous vehicle was a VW Touareg V8. The vehicle sucked in snow until I replaced the stock "all-season" (translation - "does nothing very well") tires with some new rubber. It was like night and day, the vehicle was almost unstoppable. I would have to believe that someone in MN, CO, etc. should definately consider a second set of shoes for winter time!
 
  #7  
Old 02-28-2007, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

My HiHy doesn't come stock w/ Michelin Energy tires, but goodyear integrity tires. Just out of curiosity, is this the case with others as well?
 
  #8  
Old 02-28-2007, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

Originally Posted by collegejester View Post
My HiHy doesn't come stock w/ Michelin Energy tires, but goodyear integrity tires. Just out of curiosity, is this the case with others as well?

It just depends on the day you vehicle was built, they seem to use both equally.
 
  #9  
Old 02-28-2007, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

Prius people have reported the same problem (which is no surprise since it's essentially the same drive system). The answer, at least in my case, is decent snow tires. The system will only shut down completely if it has absolutely no traction to work with. If the tires can't bite (which they can't since they aren't designed for it) you get virtually no power. My Blizzaks have kept me mobile despite my poorly-plowed apartment and work parking lots and living at the top of a huge hill. You will be able to stop in the snow, too, which is a nice touch.
 
  #10  
Old 02-28-2007, 11:48 AM
The Grey Fox
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Default Re: Highlander Hybrid a boat anchor in the snow!!

still_steamn,
Was the snow deep enough that you were "high centered"? If the snow was deep enough that snow built up under the center of the vehicle to the point that the tires were essentually off the ground, any 4WD vehicle will get stuck. The wheels may turn, but they get stuck just the same. I have seen this with jeeps and other off road 4WD vechilces before.

We have had a great deal of snow this year in Colorado, including snows of well over 8" - in fact it's snowing again today. And my Lexus RX400h has done very well. In fact I went through a couple of areas where some other SUV's were stuck.

I am not trying to temper you anger - I'd be mad too - I'm just giving the others another point of view.
 

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