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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: 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.


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