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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 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.


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