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There is no one MSRP. It's actually a range that can vary a lot. The ad above says $35,845 but that's for a particular combination of options. The 2007 Highlander Hybrid MSRP ranges from $32,490 to $38,010. That's a difference of $5,520 from the base model to fully loaded. So, if you see a car site or ad with just one MSRP, remember it's for a single configuration in a range that can vary.

What you really should look for is something called invoice, the price dealers pay for a vehicle. Unfortunately, the invoice price isn't totally trustworthy either because cars can be bought lower than invoice price, but invoice is always lower than MSRP. Of course, like MSRP, invoice prices have ranges because of vehicle options, so websites with invoice prices that inclue options, like Autobytel, are a good place to start. There are MANY, MANY, MANY other websites you can use as well.

Recently, I wrote about the Hummer using a 2007 MPG rating for 2007 cars. A lot of comments thought I was being unfair and they were right. Your mileage will vary and the number on the sticker actually has a range; +- 3 MPG for city and +-4 MPG for highway. The point I am making is don't trust a thing in car ads; not price, not MPG, not a thing! You should always do research before you buy a car.

[Source: Automotive.com]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      There IS one thing you can absolutely trust the EPA mileage rating--old or new--to do, and do very well:

      To tell you whether Car A is more fuel efficient than Car B.

      That's what it's intended to do, and all it was originally intended to do.

      The standards to which cars are tested may not accurately reflect American driving habits. But since it's the *same*standard*for*each*car*, you get a pretty accurate comparison.

      The problem is that nobody in the EPA has pointed this out, and in the absence of an explanation people take the mileage ratings literally. It's a case of a government success which the government explains so poorly that everyone thinks it's a failure.

      Which is actually the same thing as a failure, really.
      john34howard
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thanks for the information. I think this is really going to be really helpful when I start looking for a new car. I'll have to let my wife know about it too. http://www.transmissionsolympia.com/common-transmission-problems-5-signs-solutions/
      • 7 Years Ago
      As far as I'm concerned, the MSRP doesn't even exist.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A lot of post for a very little point that I think 104% of the readers of this blog would already agree with. Howerver, as the lawyers will tell you, this ad has the correct MSPR. The MSPR for the model specified in the fine print is indeed $35845. As the lawyers will also tell you, they are required to do that. (We've got to protect the public!)

      You did "miss" a few thing though..

      I wonder why they only showed the higher of the two fuel consumption values? I think that was brought up in the Hummer issue too? I think it was comment #4. Can't recall the poster... Something along the lines of being misleading to not show the lower number too and just pick the one you want when you know with won't actually get that mileage? (BTW, that is the old EPA number...)

      To make it easier for you this time, the FTC's consumer protection phone number is 1-877-FTC-HELP
      • 7 Years Ago
      Steven, You are right about that mistake. Someone call the FTC :D The commercial is for three cars and I think they switch between city and highway too. You are right. I should have mentioned more about that.

      I mentioned the lack of two ratings in the last post. I really don't know when they started doing that. Anyway, it's allowed. I checked the law. This article is a follow up for the comments that asked would you do the same for a Prius?
      • 7 Years Ago
      "This article is a follow up for the comments that asked would you do the same for a Prius?"

      Knowing that car dealers often have their own ad agencies do regional or local ads in addition to the national ads, I can understand how certain "things" might "slip" through ("But your honor, the paper printed the version before our corrections".)

      When you have time, saunter on over to toyota.com and check out the EPA combined mileage number for the 2007 Prius. Then check the EPA page. Even Toyota does what the law allows them to do.

      BTW, not that it makes me better than anyone, but of the 9 cars I've owned (2 along with my wife)since 1986, only 1 has gotten worse HWY mileage that the EPA sticker. Some by as much as +5 MPG. (And they all said "Well, la-tee-da for you!" like that cantankerous old guy on the NFL Network High-Def commercials).

      (If this still seems too much like the EPA fuel CONSUMPTION rant, (let's not call it fuel "economy" cause it is not), I apologize. I was distraught after Michael went off on his own rant about my spelling error and could not type for days.)
      • 7 Years Ago
      You absolutely should rely on all information in advertisements. And you should also send me 5 dollars in the mail. HAGD
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh... forgot to add that the fine print said EPA HWY mileage, but the big print says CITY.

      In the end, I DO AGREE with your post that we should never rely fully on the content of an automobile advertisement. Please keep in mind that the goal should be not to try to add "car blog" to that list.