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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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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 on 2/7/2007 4:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking of GM, drooooooooool:

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.

By Brandon Hill 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.

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