After 10 years of driving a Honda minivan, I finally pulled the trigger on the '11 Highlander Hybrid last Tuesday. I had strongly considered one 5 years ago when I bought my last van, but the lack of a split folding rear seat made it a lot less practical for our 3 kids. Since the announcement of the 2011 model with a split 3rd row seat and increased fuel economy, I had been watching supplies in the area since late last fall. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything but white and silver in the Chicago area when I was finally ready to buy in March. I'm not real fond of the new front end appearance of the 2011 HiHy, and I think it looks a lot worse in lighter colors. Shoreline Blue was basically impossible to find anywhere in the midwest region. Black could be found in Limited trim, but I only saw one in base trim and it dissapeared a few weeks ago. Red and Gray were not to be found in any trim in the Chicago area, but I did find some not too far away in Wisconsin and Indiana. Unfortunately, some local dealers started cranking up prices a couple weeks ago, presumably in response to rising gas prices and supply concerns from the Japan disasters. In fact, the Carmax new Toyota dealership where my wife bought her Prius raised their "no-haggle" advertised price by $3000 on their two HiHys that had been sitting on the lot for a couple months. Prior to the increase, those two were selling for hundreds under invoice price. I did find a few local dealers offering white or silver between invoice and $500 above invoice, but nothing to be found in any other color. A few local dealers raised their prices from near invoice to MSRP just over a week ago, also. I had pretty much resigned myself to waiting another year until the supply panic was over, as there only seemed to be about 20 HiHys in the area in recent months and the number had started to drop (less than 10 remain as I type, based on buyatoyota.com inventory listing). I decided to make one last effort by emailing some dealers within a few hundred miles I found by Googling the VIN numbers that turned up on the buyatoyota.com inventory search (you have to click the "calculate montly payment" option to see the VIN for a moment, stop your browser then copy it). Anyway, I found a few in gray and red, but none in black or blue, my favorite colors. I didn't care for the red, so I contacted one dealer about their Predawn Grey model. In a day of swapping emails with the internet sales department, we had reached an agreement that came out to about $300 over invoice, after I got them to throw in the mudguards (they apparently didn't have the paint protection film in stock to also include in the deal). He also gave me a reasonable quote on my trade-in, which was the key to the deal. It was a 3.5 hour drive to get there with a lot of unknown about the trade-in, but I decided it was worth a road trip for the day. It was certainly better than my nearest Toyota dealer, who had the worst deal. They wanted sticker price and estimated 13-14k for the trade-in on a silver model they had in stock. I'm sure they will sell it on such a deal, but not from me. Fortunately, it all turned out fine once I got to central Wisconsin! The gray was darker than I thought, so it looked even better than the photos and video I've seen online. The dealer honored their price quote. $300 over invoice wasn't a great deal just a few weeks ago, but probably a very good deal at the time I bought it, especially for one in a dark color. More importantly, they also honored their estimate on the trade-in after the appraisal. I had pretty much decided to walk if there was any change, as I was already above the deal I thought I could get before the supply concerns. Other than some time waiting for a previous customer to be done with the finance manager, all went very smoothly and quickly. I now have a 2011 Predawn Gray HiHy in the garage, probably one of very few in the greater Chicago area and maybe just one of a literal handful of base models that aren't white or silver. Given the $670 price increase this week and the supplies that have dwindled to almost nothing in the last week, this may be the first vehicle I've purchased that ever appreciated in value! The best part? According to the computer, I got 29 mpg on the 200+ mile trip back from the dealer and it has risen to above 30mpg on the current tank since driving around town for a hundred miles. That's only a few mpg better than my Honda Odyssey on the highway, but over 50% better around town. The Odyssey fuel economy was quite impressive for that size vehicle, as it is clearly roomier and more flexible than the HiHy, especially in the third row. While the 28/28 mpg estimates are nothing compared to the 50mpg overall we get in our Prius, there isn't a single AWD vehicle with 3 rows of seating that comes close to the HiHy. Still, I do need a bumper sticker that reads, "My other car is a Prius"! Finally, thanks to Kolosso Toyota for honoring the fair price they quoted me by email, considering the 3.5 hour distance. Aside from the Prius they were delivering at the same time, I'm not sure they had any others.