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2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - images courtesy Toyota Motor Company
Toyota revamps its Highlander Hybrid, carries over the powertrain

Toyota continues its push for hybrid vehicles with the new 2008 Highlander Hybrid. The new Highlander Hybrid and is based on the new Toyota Camry/Avalon chassis and rides on a wheelbase that is 3" longer. The vehicle is also 3" wider and 4" longer than the previous Highlander Hybrid.

Sadly, the powertrain for the 2008 Highlander Hybrid is a carryover from the previous model. In this case, the old 3.3 liter V6 (which itself is an outgrowth of the even older 3.0 liter corporate V6) and continuously variable transmission (CVT) is still being used to carry the majority of the load on the vehicle. There was speculation that the new 3.5 liter V6 would also be paired with the Synergy hybrid system used on the 2008 Highlander hybrid, but keeping the price down on the model was probably the reasoning for the carryover.

That being said, the Highlander retains its EPA rating of 31MPG/27MPG city/highway despite picking up an additional 500 pounds of heft. The 2008 Highlander Hybrid also offers the option to shut off the gasoline engine completely and run solely on battery power according to AutoblogGreen. The only problem is that the Highlander Hybrid’s NiMH batteries mean that you’ll only be able to travel an astonishing one mile on battery power alone.

GM’s 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line promises to deliver as much as 10 miles of battery-only power thanks to its lithium-ion batteries.

Pricing has not yet been announced for the new 2008 Highlander Hybrid, but expect modest price increases over the 2007 model. The 2007 model retails between $32,490 for a FWD Highlander Hybrid Base to $36,550 for an AWD Highlander Hybrid Limited.



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ignorance
By TheWizardofOz on 2/7/2007 4:48:40 PM , Rating: 1
People have to start realizing that hybrid vehicles and economy/environmental vehicles are not the same...

There are "green" cars such as Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Prius, which are intended to achieve high mpg results, and they get yellow stickers to cruise in the carpool lane with only 1 person/car. These cars are intended to be efficient and low fuel consuming.

Hybrid technology also allows high performance oriented vehicles to be build with smaller engines. Instead of gas guzzling V8s, small sized V6 engines can be coupled with electric motors, to achieve the performance of a V8 car in that car's class. Toyota Highlander, Lexus GS450h, Lexus LS 600h and Lexus RX400h are such examples...

Now stop critisizing these cars' fuel consumptions because that is pure ignorance. Think, before you post. Compare those cars' fuel consumptions to their V8 counterparts and then see how good they really are.




RE: ignorance
By Groovester on 2/7/2007 5:49:50 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Now stop critisizing these cars' fuel consumptions because that is pure ignorance.


Why not compare any hybrid's fuel comsumption to a Hummvee? Or a Sherman tank?

With the advent of recent battery technology (using nanotube technology), the internal combustion engine is (or read "should") clearly going the way of the horse and buggy.

Please follow this hyperlink to find out why:
http://www.phoenixmotorcars.com/index.html

Yes, the price of these electric vehicles seem prohibitive, but the cost should come way down (these are essentially hand-assembled in Ontario, CA) if mass-produced.

If you can find an internal combustion engine propelled vehicle that can go more than a hundred miles using about $3 worth of energy, then I'll stop posting. Otherwise, consider how much a gallon of fuel will be when a couple billion more Chinese move up to the middle class and can afford a polluting, oil-fuelled car. I doubt whether you'll be nearly as concerned about any gas-guzzler's styling then.

Our ability to be more energy-independent, not to mention salutory air pollution and global warming effects, should outweigh any such nitpicking about supposed horsepower or MPG issues. Perhaps we do indeed need to "think before we post" but we also just need to think.


RE: ignorance
By TheWizardofOz on 2/7/2007 7:08:28 PM , Rating: 1
You did not read what I've written, and you've quoted my comment partially, which resulted as a misunderstanding of my point.

I said, there are hybrid engined cars, but not all are meant to be fuel efficient.

a Hybrid Lexus GS 450h consumes about 30-40 percent less than it's counterpart, the Lexus GS 430. Their PERFORMANCE is about the same. 450h uses a V6 and an electric engine, where 430 uses a V8.

My point is nowhere near what you've written. I never said they are good because their fuel consumption is acceptable. I said they consume considerably less than their counterparts, which are the V8s.

You can build a Hummer with a V6 and an electric engine that could get about 20mpg. With the SAME PERFORMANCE as the V8 . (which is actually 10mpg). Is this not good? If a person no matter why prefers to buy an Hummer, goes and gets the hybrid, he will go 10 more miles with the same amount of fuel, which is also a way to save fuel.

Besides everything, I also agree that US has to realize that fossil fuel is not going to last forever, and it's not causing global warming. in EU, 50% or more of the cars have diesel engines, and it's proven that modern diesels burn fuel just as clean as their gasoline counterparts, if not cleaner.

Now how many people in US would buy a diesel engined brand new car?


RE: ignorance
By jak3676 on 2/8/2007 1:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now how many people in US would buy a diesel engined brand new car?

Check out the VW Jetta TDI (diesel). I picked up a 2005.5 EPA MPG numbers don't do it justice. I believe its listed at around 35/40 City/HWY but if you have a long commute (where the engine actually has a chance to warm up) you can get well over 40/50+ MPG, I've even averaged over 60+ MPG when doing cross country drives. Yeah, 1 guys numbers don't mean anything, but check out TDIclub.com. You'll see we are all reporting similar numbers. Not only is the MPG great, but it's actually a great car.

Future diesel tech looks very promising. There's some Euro models out there getting 70+ MPG. Hopefully the "old diesel chatterbox" myth will die in the US soon and we can begin importing some of these things.

One of the best parts is the ease of using bio-diesel. Most bio-diesel production is more energy efficient than ethanol production. Generally bio-diesel helps reduce the only down side of diesel cars - the NOX production. Because EPA rules are similar for all cars, diesels in the US have to fall under regular unleaded rules. So even though we produce much less CO2 and some other byproducts, we still get classified as only a "low emission vehicle (LEV)". They are changing some rules for 2007, so we'll see what happens.

Don't get me wrong, it still has lots of room for improvment. Bio-diesel use is way too low. As soon as we can merge clean diesel production to a hybrid drive we'll get the best of both worlds.


RE: ignorance
By geeg on 2/7/07, Rating: 0
RE: ignorance
By timmiser on 2/8/2007 5:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
8V? Never heard of that. Does that mean it has 8 crankshafts and drivetrains to 8 different wheels? Interesting.


RE: ignorance
By miekedmr on 2/8/2007 2:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
No, no, I think he means 8 valves. A 4-cylinder with 2 valves per cylinder.
I agree though, in the age of direct injection, variable valve timing, etc, having an outdated 8-valve four cylinder in a car is criminal.


RE: ignorance
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 8:25:28 AM , Rating: 2
> "driving an 8V engined car is a crime in the first place..."

That's an interesting viewpoint. Care to explain how you reached it?


RE: ignorance
By Rugar on 2/8/2007 9:23:03 AM , Rating: 3
It's an interesting side effect of the internet that it makes your speech centers engage long before your logical reasoning does. :-P


RE: ignorance
By Kuroyama on 2/8/2007 5:50:16 PM , Rating: 2
His comment was obvious hyperbole. As in "it is criminal In any case, I think oral speech results in people speaking before thinking more often than does the internet; only on the internet people are less likely to keep their mouth shut when they want to say something. For instance, I think if Biden had been writing online then he would have chosen his words more carefully when making his now infamous remarks about Obama.


RE: ignorance
By Kuroyama on 2/8/2007 5:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, sentence got cut off there. Fill in your favorite "It's criminal to ...." phrase and you'll get my point.


RE: ignorance
By Grast on 2/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: ignorance
By miekedmr on 2/8/2007 3:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
Don't say "you liberals" ever again, please. All it does is make you look like an idiot.

I consider myself very liberal, but I don't think big engines are evil. In fact, a big vehicle carrying a big payload is generally more efficient than seperating the load into smaller vehicles or making multiple trips. When gas-guzzling trucks are used for their intended purpose, that's perfectly fine.
On the other hand, people that drive 6000lb SUVs all over the place by themselves get absolutely no respect from me.

Another example... Someone spends a silly amount of money on a sports car that doesn't do very good with gas mileage. If they keep it garaged 95% of the time when its not at a car show or a drag strip, that's fine by me. It may be a guilty pleasure, but at least they're being reasonable. If they drive it every day, with complete disregard for energy conservation, then they get no respect.

Everyone should at least be able to make some sacrifices where it suits them. Apathy from well-to-do people only because of the financial insignificance of their wastefullness is the problem.


RE: ignorance
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 4:33:33 PM , Rating: 1
> "Don't say "you liberals" ever again...people that drive 6000lb SUVs all over the place by themselves get absolutely no respect from me....if someone [drives their sports car every day] they get no respect...

I think you proved the original poster's point. You're condemning people based on their choice of vehicle and driving habits. That's the attitude he was speaking out against.

> "Everyone should at least be able to make sacrifices..."

Why?



RE: ignorance
By rsubasic on 2/8/2007 9:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
I quite enjoy my criminal status driving my gas guzzling BMW M5. Lots and lots of filthy, wasteful, neck-snapping, super-exciting power. Ahhhh...


RE: ignorance
By ElFenix on 2/7/2007 8:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
the layout of the engine has very little to do with fuel consumption. V8s don't necessarily guzzle gas, and V6s don't necessarily improve consumption. usually a V8 is tuned for more performance and in a heavier car than a V6. those factors are more important than the layout of the engine.


RE: ignorance
By DocDraken on 2/8/2007 10:54:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
the layout of the engine has very little to do with fuel consumption.


Actually the most important aspect of fuel consumption is internal friction in the engine. A V8 has more internal friction than a 4 cylinder.

So for example if you have a 300 HP 4 cylinder turbo engine and a 300 HP naturally aspirated V8, the V8 will have poorer total fuel mileage, even though it's got the same amount of power.

The car mentioned in the article above is rediculous, since you can get a turbocharged 4-cylinder stationcar that's pretty much just as fast and has similar space and just as low fuel consumption without having expensive and heavy batteries. Unfortunately people think they need a big V6 or V8 even though you can get the same power with a 4 cylinder and have better mileage too.


RE: ignorance
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 1:21:49 PM , Rating: 1
> "Actually the most important aspect of fuel consumption is internal friction in the engine..."

No, the most important factor by far is simple Carnot losses inherent in any heat engine. In second place is rolling resistance, including frictional losses from wheel to road, and those from air resistance.

Internal friction within the engine is quite low...which one can see from noticing that an engine at idle uses nearly no gasoline, yet is able to overcome that internal friction to keep moving.

> "The car mentioned in the article above is rediculous, since you can get a turbocharged 4-cylinder stationcar that's pretty much just as fast..."

You forgot a little thing called torque. A turbocharged 4-cylinder may have equal horsepower, but its still going to have far less torque.



RE: ignorance
By miekedmr on 2/8/2007 3:22:30 PM , Rating: 2
Not arguing really, I just want to clarify, because people don't seem to understand the relationship between horsepower and torque.

Horsepower = torque * RPM

A V8 would tend to have lots of torque at a low rpm, giving it a high PEAK torque rating relative to its PEAK horsepower. A turbo 4 cylinder that makes all its torque at a high rpm would have a high peak horsepower relative to its peak torque, because HP is a function of rpm too.

Here's the misconception: a turbo 4 cylinder might make the same 250ft-lb of peak torque at 6000rpm as a v8 at 3000rpm, but because of the peaky no-low-end torque curve, it gets labelled as having "no torque", when it really has plenty. It's just at a high rpm. Torque is not a measurement of output at low rpm...


RE: ignorance
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 4:02:31 PM , Rating: 1
> "a turbo 4 cylinder might make the same 250ft-lb of peak torque at 6000rpm as a v8 at 3000rpm..."

If that 4 cylinder had the same torque at 6000rpm as a V8 did at 3000rpm, it'd be outputting twice the horsepower though. That's pretty rare...and its not the situation we're discussing.

The OP mentioned a 4-cyl engine matching a V8 in peak power output, and then (incorrectly) assuming that the engines had equivalent performance. In this case, the smaller engine compensates for its lesser torque by a higher rpm peak on its peak power curve. So though the horsepower is equal, the torque is less. And-- most importantly for people who buy trucks and SUVs-- the low-end of the torque curve is far less. If that wasn't true, people would be towing powerboats and mobile homes with turbocharged Civics.

So while a turbocharged Four may be fine for drag-racing your Civic on a Saturday night, its not a good choice for a large SUV that has to haul heavy loads.



RE: ignorance
By DocDraken on 2/8/2007 6:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The OP mentioned a 4-cyl engine matching a V8 in peak power output, and then (incorrectly) assuming that the engines had equivalent performance. In this case, the smaller engine compensates for its lesser torque by a higher rpm peak on its peak power curve. So though the horsepower is equal, the torque is less.


LOL. No, I wasn't assuming anything. I'm talking about real engines that you can go out right now and buy in a car.

Does 260 HP and 258 ft.lbs. at 1900RPM and then a plateau all the way to 4500 RPM from a 2.3L turbo 4 mean anything to you? How about 340 HP and 376 ft.lbs. also from a 2.3L 4-cylinder turbo engine with a couple of bolt-on mods? Got anything clever to say now about the small engine having lesser torque? No, it's all about airmass.

Modern highly efficient engine design doesn't seem to be your thing. You sound more like a pushrod kind of guy.

As for what engines I'm talking about, well if you don't know them, try Google.


RE: ignorance
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 7:26:14 PM , Rating: 1
> "Modern highly efficient engine design doesn't seem to be your thing...."

Maybe not...but every automotive engineer in the world agrees with me. Which explains why you don't see any fullsize SUV or heavy trucks using your nifty idea of four-cylinder turbo gas engines.

> "Does 260 HP and 258 ft.lbs. at 1900RPM...from a 2.3L turbo 4 mean anything to you?

Saab 9-5 Turbo Sportwagon? You're right, I had to Google to find it. This is your example...a car that actually gets considerably less MPG than the Toyota Highlander, despite having a smaller, lighter platform. Guess that turbo-four idea wasn't such a good one after all.

I think its plain who doesn't understand engine design.. A small turbocharged gas engine is ideal for some applications. For pushing heavy loads, its a poor choice. Read up a bit on why...its really not that hard to understand.


RE: ignorance
By iNGEN on 2/8/2007 3:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You forgot a little thing called torque. A turbocharged 4-cylinder may have equal horsepower, but its still going to have far less torque.


Although your comment about thermal loss was spot on, the above comment about torque is factually inaccurate. For a given airmass the greatest torque produced from a traditional reciprocating engine is achieved with the greatest pressure. There are practical limitations that make my previous statement a generality, but within the manufacturing and operating constraints of normal production cars it remains true.


RE: ignorance
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 4:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
> "the above comment about torque is factually inaccurate. "

Err, no its not. A four-cylinder engine is going to produce considerably less maximum torque than horsepower. The larger the engine, the lower the peak in the power curve, and thus the more torque produced per horsepower.

Need some examples? Honda S2000 DOHC-VTEC 4-cylinder engine. 240hp...but only 153 ft-lbs torque. Compare that to GM's V8 LT-1 F-body engine. 285 peak hp..but 335 peak ft-lbs. Only 20% more horsepower...but over twice the torque. Look at an even larger diesel engine, where a 400 hp engine might have as much as 800 ft-lbs of torque.

This is a basic factor of engine design. If it produces the same power at a lower average rpm, it's going to have higher torque. It's just basic physics.


RE: ignorance
By DocDraken on 2/8/2007 6:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
What part of "turbocharged" don't you understand? Your example is a naturally aspirated engine that is infamous for being a gutless wonder that has to be revved like crazy to get any power. The complete opposite of a turbo engine.

Yes, you might ultimately get a bit more torque with more cubic inches, but HP is still what wins races, and were you to compare 2 cars with 300 HP and 280 ft.lbs. and 285 HP and 335 ft.lbs. the first would be faster all other things being equal.


RE: ignorance
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 7:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
> "Yes, you might ultimately get a bit more torque with more cubic inches, but HP is still what wins races"

You're still missing the point. People don't buy trucks and SUVs with V8 engines to "win races". They want hauling power, and a little extra acceleration off the line. By the time the average turbocharger has kicked in, they usually don't need the power any more.

Also, don't forget that turbocharging lowers the fuel efficiency of an engine and-- even excluding the additional complexity of the turbocharger itself-- results in higher running temperatures and thus more frequent maintenance.


RE: ignorance
By DocDraken on 2/8/2007 7:22:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They want hauling power, and a little extra acceleration off the line. By the time the average turbocharger has kicked in, they usually don't need the power any more.


LOL, so you're saying that people change gears before 1800 or 1900 RPM? And no, modern turbochargers don't have any lag to speak of unless we're talking huge aftermarket turbos. Spool up is pretty much immediate. Of course some models are exceptions. Notably the Subaru WRX has a bit of turbo lag.

quote:
Also, don't forget that turbocharging lowers the fuel efficiency of an engine


Say what? You get energy from exhaust gas that would otherwise be wasted, and you get V8 power with 4 cylinder mileage. Please explain how that is lowering the fuel efficiency.

quote:
even excluding the additional complexity of the turbocharger itself-- results in higher running temperatures and thus more frequent maintenance.


If it's properly built there is no difference in reliability between a turbocharged engine and naturally aspirated engine. It doesn't need more frequent maintenance either. The engines I've mentioned in this thread routinely go >300K miles on original internals and turbos. Oil changes don't have to be more frequent than 5000 to 15000 miles depending on use (of course, a good fully synth oil is required). As for higher running temperatures - well you have heard about using different size radiators and oil coolers for different engines, right? Water and oil temp is not higher than in any other engine.


RE: ignorance
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 7:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
> "Please explain how [turbochargers] lower the fuel efficiency...."

Sure. A gas engine is a heat engine, and is thus limited by the basic Carnot efficiency equation which is driven by the delta of input to exhaust temperature. A turbocharger increases waste heat, which lowers efficiency. That's a basic element of turbocharging-- you boost the power-to-weight ratio, but you lower efficiency somewhat as a result.

> "If it's properly built there is no difference in reliability between a turbocharged engine and naturally aspirated engine..."

Again, untrue. Even if the engine is built to withstand the higher temperatures and pressures, you have the simple fact that you have more parts to fail. A turbocharged engine is more complex, and thus has a lower reliability.

> "It doesn't need more frequent maintenance either..."

The automakers themselves disagree with you, as most recommond more frequent oil changes on turbocharged vehicles.


RE: ignorance
By DocDraken on 2/8/2007 6:35:30 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever you want to call it, the fact remains that a V8 with the same amount of power as a turbocharged 4-cylinder will use more fuel.

As for your misguided attempts at explaining torque, it's obvious you don't know a lot about turbocharged engines, as their typical characteristic is lots of torque low down. Your response reflects a common misconception.

There are several examples of turbo charged 4-cylinder engines dating back as far as the early nineties (225HP and 252 ft.lbs. already at 1800 RPM and plateau up to 4000 RPM.) Or how about 260 HP and 258 ft.-lbs. @ 1900-4500 RPM.

So your notions about "far less torque" from a turbocharged 4-cylinder is pretty dated.


RE: ignorance
By exdeath on 2/9/2007 12:09:39 PM , Rating: 2
Couple things I feel I should jump on here.

You can make any engine as powerful as you want. It doesn't matter how many cylinders. It all comes down to money. In the end, using the same leading edge materials, etc, a I4 is half of a V8 and will always be half as capable, a V twin will be half as capable as a I4, etc.

Case in point, look at the pro level nitro methane drag cars. Blown 8L V8 = 4000 HP. Blown 4L I4 = 2000 HP. Blown nitro methane v-twin drag bike = 1000 HP. Half the cylinders, half the power, half the size, etc. The limit is in the materials, and at this level of performance, you have the same materials in both engines allowing for the maximum power per cubic inch of air at the highest PSI possible.

The idea that a V8 has more friction is bogus. Its not like those added pistons are along for the free ride, they bring their own power with them to make up the difference. What you mean is that putting a V8 in a car that could get by with a turbo I4 is a waste of the V8's true potential over the I4 and simply lazy engineering. It's also marketing.

For people that don't think a I4 can make torque, look at this:

http://atsracing.net/spoolmaster2200.JPG

Thats 375 ft/lbs of torque at 3575 RPM from a 2.0L.

Torque is about airflow management throughout the RPM range. Maximizing air mass flow for peak horsepower will rob any engine of low end torque: Take a look at the high revving Ferrari V8s, lots of horsepower, and way less peak torque.

More displacement is always going make more power, just like more boost, more of anything that can flow more air. But there is also a limit to how large your cylinder bore can be before you lose precise control over ignition and flame front expansion, control that is critical to maximizing the power extracted from the mixture. It takes balancing of many many factors.

If you can turbo a I4 to run like a V8 with I4 mpgs, you can also turbo a V8 to run like a V16 with V8 mpgs. All that really matters is how much air you are pumping through the engine. When you reach the limits of boost, you can add more cylinders. When you reach the limits of how big your cylinders can be, you stuff more air into them with boost.

In the end its all the same goal: Burn as much air and fuel as you can without destroying the engine. With the best materials on Earth, you should realize that every engine configuration known to man would eventually lead you to reach a constant value. This value is a result of the maximum air/fuel density, maximum pressure, maximum heat, and ultimately a maximum power per cubic inch possible given the materials and the fuel used.

So once again, V8 = 2x I4, all else held equal. Of course you will see highly engineered I4s making the same or more power than under engineered V8s, most likely because someone got lazy or simply decided it was more cost effective to throw in a simpler V8 at half its potential to get the same power as a highly engineered I4.


As for reliability, that is also bogus. Forced induction does not increase the peak heat or cylinder pressure. What you get is a more constant plateau of pressure throughout the entire power stroke instead of a peak and a sharp drop off, but its still well under the peak. You get continued constant expansion throughout the entire power stroke instead of the top, particularly toward the bottom when the rod and crank are at 90 degrees and the work advantage is highest.

Yes this generates more heat, because you are getting more power. Basic physics, and this applies to any engine. IF you have a 2.0 I4 making the same power as a 4.0 V8, that I4 factory radiator isn't enough anymore, its going to need the same radiator capacity as that V8. Again, basic physics.

As for hybrids... the engine in a hybrid has nothing to do with the MPG. The car design itself is more to do with it. You can't stick a Prius engine in a Camry and get 60 mpg. The design of the car itself as a system has far more importance than the engine. The Camry would have to be shaped like a Prius, made out of plastic, carbon, and aluminum, and not have power this power that power everything robbing power from the engine via hydraulic pumps, etc.


RE: ignorance
By exdeath on 2/9/2007 12:16:51 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, that graph shows 375 ft/lbs at 3500 RPM.

Whats a LS1 put out, 300-400 ft/lbs at 4500 RPM?

This isn't a X engine is better than Y engine comparison, just a simple illustration. You could turbo the LS1 and build it with the same materials and make twice the power as the I4.

But the point is, they DONT. They use an engine with too much potential for their power goals without using that potential, and as a result, you pay the price associated with a bigger engine.

Its the same reason gas turbines are not used in cars. They are way more efficient than piston engines, but only at sustained power levels far more than what is needed for a car. To nerf it down for a car would get crappy mpg and all that draw backs of that type of engine with none of the advantages.


What is the point?
By eppenoire on 2/7/2007 3:35:10 PM , Rating: 2
Does Toyota get environmental bonus points every time they release a hybrid? This car doesn't get any better gas mileage than the non-hybrid, pollutes more than the non-hybrid and makes me more annoyed with the person who drives it than the non-hybrid. If California, where I live, is willing to give special little commuter lane passes to everyone who buys a hybrid, why don't they give out these same passes to people who drive old Honda Civics and any of the other econo boxes from the early eighties that got 40+ miles to the gallon?
What really annoys me about these Hybrid driving nuts, is that the stupid things create more non-degradable waste than a non-hybrid. You cannot get rid of these batteries, yes there are batteries on the market that are safer - but that is not what is going into these idiot mobiles. If auto manufacturers gave a rat's a** about the environment they would use a single stroke diesel generator to charge the batteries, which in turn would power the vehicle. Now that would be something that would be highly efficient and actually generates less pollution.




RE: What is the point?
By Anonymous Freak on 2/7/2007 3:55:58 PM , Rating: 5
Um... What?

The Highlander V6 Hybrid gets 32 MPG city (compared to the 4-cylinder model's 22, and the V6 non-hybrid's 19,) and 27 highway (compared to the 4-cylinder's 28 and the V6 non-hybrid's 25.) So it gets 1 MPG worse on the highway, but you get 270 hp compared to the 4-cylinder's 155 hp. And you get 10 MPG better in the city.

Compare the 4WD models, and the margin widens farther. The hybrid doesn't lose ANY highway mileage with 4WD, while the 4-cylinder drops to 25 MPG. (This is for the 2007 model, they don't have numbers up for the 2008 model yet. But it looks like the 4-cylinder will be going away, and the V6 non-hybrid will be getting a more powerful engine; so the numbers for the 2008 model will likely be even better.)

As for emissions, the hybrid is a SULEV, the non-hybrid isn't. (The hybrid might even qualify as PZEV, I'm not sure.)

Batteries? Recyclable. NiMH are 100% recyclable, and Toyota has committed to recycle every battery that comes back to them for free.

As for single-stroke diesel? WAY more polluting than even this. What WOULD be best is a four-stroke clean-burn diesel to charge the batteries. Single or two-stroke diesels are still very polluting. (Hell, a diesel turbine would be best, but I doubt anyone is going to want what is essentially a jet engine in their car.)

I do agree with the complaint about old Civics and Geos not getting to use the commuter lane alone, though. And not ALL hybrids get to use it. It's only for hybrids that get 45 MPG or more. That means only the Prius, Civic Hybrid, and Insight (the little 2-seater that gets 70 MPG.) ANY vehicle that gets 45 MPG should be able to use the carpool lane alone, or NO vehicle should get to use it alone.


RE: What is the point?
By Andrevas on 2/7/07, Rating: 0
RE: What is the point?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/7/2007 6:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, since the new Highlander Hybrid is a 2008 model, it uses the NEW revised EPA methods detailed here:

http://dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5327

So the results should be more accurate.


RE: What is the point?
By Shining Arcanine on 2/7/2007 6:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
I do not know about you, but I have a 1995 Toyota Avalon and my Avalon exceeds the EPA fuel economy numbers. Perhaps it is the way that you drive.


RE: What is the point?
By eppenoire on 2/7/2007 7:34:47 PM , Rating: 1
I would be happy to see the Toyota Highlander get 32MPG, however I have three neighbors on my street who have the 2006-7 model and none of them have gotten even close to that. Their vehicles all told them that they were getting around 30, however when I had them use their odometers and the fuel pump, they found they were getting around 21-22MPG. These should get better MPG than the 2006 variant because of the new EPA ratings, but I am not holding my breath. Obviously my sampling isn't statistically significant, however I skimmed a couple of forums and found numerous people and auto magazines noting the same thing.

It is impressive that the 4WD models don't lose any MPG, but very few buyers who get these things will ever need 4WD.

I am curious how the hybrid is classified as a SULEV, when the non-hybrid isn't. Is this due to the engine having a lower total torque load when moving the vehicle, thus reducing the engine's hydrocarbon output at the same speed? Unless I am missing something both vehicles are using the same engine.

I stand corrected on the batteries issue. I have never heard of NiMH batteries being 100% recyclable, but I am sure they are have made advances in recovering the electrolytes and processing the nickle.

I did post in haste. A single stroke would be a beast, however a 4 stroke generator would be a vast improvement on any petro hybrid... especially if we could get Euro Diesel.





RE: What is the point?
By Kuroyama on 2/7/2007 10:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
My Prius gets about 3 mpg less in real mileage than what the car claims. I am surprised the Highlander would overstate things to such a larger degree as you claim. Interesting anyways.


RE: What is the point?
By somerset on 2/8/2007 11:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
still, not much of an improvement


RE: What is the point?
By hubajube on 2/7/2007 3:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
They don't get bonus points but they don't have to worry about making their other cars super fuel efficient.


RE: What is the point?
By bobdelt on 2/7/2007 4:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
To get the freeway carpool sticker a hybrid needs to get at least a certain mpg - so not all hybrids qualify


RE: What is the point?
By MustaineC on 2/7/2007 7:10:46 PM , Rating: 3
I think you can get 1 mile out of any gasoline car with a good battery by cranking the starter motor alone. :)


RE: What is the point?
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 8:22:05 AM , Rating: 2
> "If California, where I live, is willing to give special little commuter lane passes to everyone who buys a hybrid, why don't they give out these same passes to people who drive old Honda Civics..."

An "old Civic", poorly tuned and maintained might easily get worse mileage than this SUV, especially if driven hard.

I've never understood why a person who uses a Civic to commute 50-100 miles to work each day thinks they're doing "more for the environment" than someone who drives a SUV one fifth the distance. Total mileage is a far more important factor in overall consumption than is the specific vehicle you drive.


RE: What is the point?
By Kuroyama on 2/8/2007 10:46:42 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe because most people chose where to live first, and only later choose their car or SUV. If we suppose this is the case then the person driving a Civic 50 miles each way is certainly doing a lot more for the environment than if they were to have purchased an SUV instead, but you are right that they should not lecture the rare SUV driver who hardly drives at all.

I also doubt the seemingly implicit suggestion that people who buy small cars tend to drive more because their guilt has somehow been assuaged. When I lived in Atlanta (actually Decatur) I saw a lot fewer people with SUVs than when I drove out to the suburbs (say Marietta). Likewise, when I lived in Cambridge (MA) there were Prius' all over the place, but when I moved out to the suburbs there was hardly a Prius in site, despite the fact that people with a long commute would save a lot more driving a Prius than would a person who only drives to the supermarket.


RE: What is the point?
By masher2 (blog) on 2/8/2007 1:10:05 PM , Rating: 2
> "I also doubt the seemingly implicit suggestion that people who buy small cars tend to drive more because their guilt has somehow been assuaged"

You have the cart before the horse. People don't usually choose a small car, then decide to drive more. They choose a small car because they drive so much.

> "Maybe because most people chose where to live first, and only later choose their car or SUV..."

That's just the point. A wise choice about where to live is a far more important decision than your choice of vehicle. Those people who choose to live 50+ miles from their workplace are the category you should focus on, not SUV owners.




RE: What is the point?
By Kuroyama on 2/8/2007 5:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
The proverbial "soccer mom" may fit your characterization of driving little in spite of having an SUV, but I suspect that other than that you are generally incorrect. Both my examples of Atlanta and Boston illustrate that I think suburban people who drive a lot are actually more likely to own a large vehicle than are city people who drive little. I am perhaps an exception as I live in the suburbs but am within walking distance of work, so my ownership of a Prius is as silly as a person in Cambridge having a Prius, as both of us drive our cars only to go shopping or on a long road trip.


Very Dissapointing Exterior
By boobot on 2/7/2007 3:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
As many car forums are saying this was a dismal launch of a long awaited change for the Highlander. Many expected a much more aggressive looking vehicle as did I. The interior and features are great but the exterior leaves much to be desired. It is basically a stretched RAV4. I will now have to wait and see what Honda does with the Pilot (hopefully similar to the MDX) and see if Nissan can come up with another hit from their Murano.




RE: Very Dissapointing Exterior
By Andrwken on 2/7/2007 4:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
There are not many Toyota Vehicles out there that I would call "aggressive looking". That's kind of the norm for Toyota. Good quality vehicles (at least until lately, lot of recalls of late) but not much to look at. GM's recent designs are much more appealing to my eye and the quality in the last few years is really on the mark. But, Toyota's bread and butter is based on quality and not how hard it is to find in a parking lot.


RE: Very Dissapointing Exterior
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/7/2007 4:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking of GM, drooooooooool:

http://www.seriouswheels.com/cars/top-2008-Pontiac...

RWD, 6.0 liter V8, 362HP, 6-speed stick, $27k :-)


RE: Very Dissapointing Exterior
By robertgu on 2/7/2007 5:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
Beautiful car! It looks like a more modern, sexier version of my '06 GTO.

But what happened to the engine? I have the 6.0 LS6 which gives 400hp and 400tq. How did this engine get neutered?


RE: Very Dissapointing Exterior
By Andrevas on 2/7/2007 5:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
you have a LS2 under your hood, buddy

LS6 = C5 Z06 engine


RE: Very Dissapointing Exterior
By robertgu on 2/8/2007 6:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks, I know. I realized it later after I typed it. I had brain-lapse.

I guess the reduction in overall power in this 6.0 engine might be due to the milder cams it might have in that engine for more "refined" driving compared to the LS2 which is made for sports cars.


RE: Very Dissapointing Exterior
By xsilver on 2/7/2007 7:03:45 PM , Rating: 2
hey thats not a show car?!
thats an australian commodore VE series which was released for sale a few months ago.
this show car just has a nosejob and nostrils.
the engine configurations available are also a lot better.
top spec model has 6.0 307kw and 550ft of torque which i'm assuming is the same engine as the corvette.

http://www.hsv.com.au/cars/eseries/brochure/eserie...


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/7/2007 7:06:21 PM , Rating: 2
This is the "show car" version of the new Pontiac G8 that we get here. The show car has 20" rims while we get 19", and the ride height is 0.5" higher on the production model.


RE: Very Dissapointing Exterior
By timmiser on 2/8/2007 5:12:21 AM , Rating: 1
Heck with that, if your going to have a RWD V8, bring me back the Trans Am.


Tired of the SUV hybrids
By lakingsgeek on 2/7/2007 5:08:27 PM , Rating: 2
Is it just me or are there way too many SUV hybrids being made and not enough smaller, cheaper hybrids. I would love a prius but it would be smarter for me to settle on a less expensive car. I would buy a honda insight if they 1)were still being made and 2) Weren't so damn ugly. Too bad Honda isn't going to redesign that one. I wish Toyota would come up with something similar with all the latest hybrid technology. Anyone know of anything like that planned for the near future?




RE: Tired of the SUV hybrids
By walk2k on 2/7/2007 6:29:23 PM , Rating: 2
The Civic Hybrid is one good option. It doesn't get quite as good mileage as the Insight, but it has 4 seats and look more like a "real" car.

Personally I'm glad more light trucks are getting hybrid drive, they are the ones that really need to get more fuel-efficient. You can already buy 30-35mpg economy sedans/hatchbacks, it's the 15mpg Yukon Expedition Explorer Canyonero's we need to get off the roads.


RE: Tired of the SUV hybrids
By iNGEN on 2/8/2007 3:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
The reason for this is twofold and simple.

1) There is a greater gain (expressed as percentage of consumption) in fuel economy for hybrids the heavier the vehicle. Hybrids just started in little economy cars, because the technology best appealed to that intended market.

2) Despite how sales swing for types of production cars, all of the auto companies forecast the largest amount of sales growth in SUVs over the next several years.


New vs. Old
By RogueSpear on 2/7/2007 3:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
This completely superficial, but I really prefer the look of my wife's 2007 Hylander Hybrid to this new 2008. I really don't get the redesigns of popular vehicles sometimes.




RE: New vs. Old
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/7/2007 3:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
The Highlander has been around since 2000 as a 2001 model. That's an ETERNITY in the car world. It was time for a new model.

That being said, my father owns a 2002 Highlander Limited V6 and the interior of this new one completely blows it away. Exterior wise, meh. A bit "bubbly" to me :-)


Highlander...
By Enoch2001 on 2/7/2007 3:36:25 PM , Rating: 3
"There can only be one"... Heheh..




good
By srp49ers on 2/7/2007 3:30:01 PM , Rating: 2
the interior looks good. keep the hybrids coming toyota, the more they make, the less of a price premium there will be over gas-only vehicles.




wow...
By Moishe on 2/7/2007 3:52:24 PM , Rating: 2
That thing is so stinkin expensive. I dunno how cars came to be priced over $30k for what appears to be a standard car.




no 3.5 liter v6
By ElFenix on 2/7/2007 8:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There was speculation that the new 3.5 liter V6 would also be paired with the Synergy hybrid system used on the 2008 Highlander hybrid, but keeping the price down on the model was probably the reasoning for the carryover.
i'm going with 'protecting the RX350' for $500, alex




This doesn't make sense
By timmiser on 2/8/2007 5:19:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The 2008 Highlander Hybrid also offers the option to shut off the gasoline engine completely and run solely on battery power according to AutoblogGreen. The only problem is that the Highlander Hybrid’s NiMH batteries mean that you’ll only be able to travel an astonishing one mile on battery power alone.


What's the point to this feature then?




Why the fuss about hybrids?
By exdeath on 2/8/2007 1:56:34 PM , Rating: 1
2003 Cobra w/ 700 HP 4.6 V8 gets 25 mpg
2006 Avalon w/ 280 HP 3.5 V6 non hybrid gets 32 mpg

and my next project car

1991 MR2 Turbo, goal 500 HP 2.0L I4 est 30+ mpg.

Hmm.... why hybrid again?




RE: Why the fuss about hybrids?
By iNGEN on 2/8/2007 4:00:04 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I'm right there with you exdeath.

My '98 200SX SE-R with an avernir DET has averaged 29MPG for three years now. Which means it gets over 30 on the highway. It's built with only factory Nissan parts (only aftermarket parts on the car are a Greddy E-Manage and a cotton gauze air filter). And it produces 284 HP out of 2.0L.


maybe a plugin tank
By lucyfek on 2/7/2007 6:56:34 PM , Rating: 1
anybody want one?




By piloteer on 2/8/2007 12:08:54 AM , Rating: 1
I believe specially in Large Hybrids like this- Toyota and others should use a Diesel engine- that would give better fuel mileage figures. New diesels are also less polluting!!




Microsoft should buy Toyota
By xuimod on 2/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: Microsoft should buy Toyota
By geeg on 2/7/07, Rating: 0
"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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