I owned a Prius for 6 months before I purchased a Highlander Hybrid (I still also own the Prius). They are two very different cars. Driven very, very carefully, the Highlander Hybrid will get 30 MPG, whereas the Prius, driven the same, will get 60 MPG. Driven normally, the Highlander gets 24 MPG and the Prius gets 45 MPG. The Highlander Hybrid is a LOT more fun than the Prius. If you floor it on dry pavement it will do 60 MPH in 6 seconds -- amazing for a car this size, and the exact opposite of what you'd expect from a Hybrid. It actually feels a lot like a supercharged V6. The Higlander Hybrid also handles and drives very much like a normal SUV. You can just get in and drive it like a normal car without realizing it's a Hybrid (except that it doesn't make any of the normal "starting" noise when you turn the key, and is practically dead silent at stoplights). Seems like Toyota's goal on the Highlander Hybrid was to achieve *extra* performance without sacrificing economy, whereas on the Prius, their goal was clearly just the best economy possible in a reasonably practical car. The 3rd row seat is suitable only for children (or maybe small adults, for a very short trip). The rest of the 2006 Highlander is very comfortable and practical. If you're looking for fantastic mileage, get a Prius. If you're looking for the most eco-friendly, fuel-efficient way to carry 7 people or extra cargo, plus some very serious engine power, get a Highlander Hybrid. Hope this helps.
No buyer's remorse on this purchase. I have been very impressed with the vehicle since I purchased. It has a very quite engine and plenty of power. Very nice looking vehicle from my perspective and was exactly what I was looking for since my last vehicle was a 4-Runner. Even though gas prices are dropping I have been really impressed with the gas mileage for a vehicle of this size. I am averaging about 25 MPG to this point with pretty even mix of highway and non-highway.
I'm disappointed in its low gas mileage. It logged in about 23 miles per gallon on the average. I thought it would be more than that; I'm not sure the new 2010 model would fare better...