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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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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
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 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.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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