Toyota was one of the first entrants into commercial production of hybrid models, and their Hybrid Synergy Drive is still the industry standard for improving fuel economy and performance in a hybrid car. They’re aiming to stay on top of the heap /and/ expand into other classes with their Highlander model of Hybrid, but do they succeed?
Toyota wisely chose to keep the engine light, pairing their hybrid drive with a 3.3L V6. The result is a car that is a fully functional family-sized SUV, with much better gas mileage than almost any competitor in its class. It feels noticeably larger than the old model, with both storage and seating space improved, but driver reviews and road-tests have consistently reported capable handling and a soft and easy ride that is slightly better than average for this size of SUV. The engine puts out a combined 270hp, which is far from sporty for the size of the car, but gives it an acceleration that is barely below similar sized non hybrid models.
Most impressively though, is the performance and savings in miles per gallon. At 27 city miles per gallon and 25 highway miles to the gallon, it sits comfortably on the higher portions of the curve for SUV fuel economy. The increased city miles over highway is not unusual in this class of hybrid car. The engine takes more advantage of the hybrid drive at lower speeds, and has more power from recovering the energy of frequent breaking.
For the family that wants to be environmentally responsible, but still be able to pack everyone and everything they need into a roomy SUV, the Toyota Highlander is a hard choice to beat.
You can find out more information about Hybrid Cars at www.prohybrid.com along with video news, reviews, and tools such as price quotes and an automotive loan calculator.