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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 6:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
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 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.

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