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Old 03-08-2007, 03:22 PM   #1
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Toyota Highlander Hybrid and 16' Bambi

Whether you've been amused or horrified by my descriptions of towing with my HiHy your opportunities for emulation are swiftly drawing to a close. I took my HiHy in for its service this week and learned about the new 2008 HiHys coming in late summer.

Same engine, 500lbs heavier, 3" longer, 3" wider, still Camry/Avalon based unibody chassis. I assume that the quick and nimble feeling of the 2006s will be a thing of the past. They did up the towing capacity from 3500lbs to 5000lbs but no news yet on how the 1430lb payload will be affected.

enjoy,
leo
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:56 AM   #2
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I'm also curious to know about the new highlander... gas prices are going up again and although I love my truck, I do feel a bit guilty about how much it consumes.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:30 AM   #3
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As an automotive technician and mechanic ,Ive got some good experience with
the hybrid vehicals .A customer I have bought 2 highlanders ,1 was a 3.3 gas
only and the other a hybrid 3.3 .The gas only got far better mileage than the
hybrid .How is that possible ? well with the hybrid you have the same drivetrain
3.3v6 engine ,and all the electric motors cvt trans and the battery pack also
so ALOT more weight you are carrying around all the time .The gas engine is
an intregal part of the system ,you are NOT on electrical power most of the time ,gas and motor ,gas and motor continuousely .You have only about
3 to 4 miles YES ,3 to 4 miles on battery only ,then thats it your dead on
the road (this scenario if you run the hybrid out of gas and try to continue
on your way)never run a hybrid out of gasoline. NO one should ever feel
guilty of not driving a hybrid ,it takes gasoline to drive it just like every other vehical on the road that uses gasoline .And in most cases they do not do
that great .The geo metro 3 cylinder does 45 to 50 mpg gasoline engine only
car ,beats the hybrids ,they are not getting the mileage the manafactures have claimed.

Scott
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:55 AM   #4
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We have a 2007 Camary Hybrid we bought in June 06. The second one the dealer got. The 2007 Camary is a big car. We average 38 mpg. This car is really fast. The cvt is so smooth it will get you in trouble if you don't watch your speed closely.
I'll stick with the Duramax for towing.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:19 AM   #5
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Scott, I fully agree. Vehicles can be built small, light and crush resistant -- and that's where your efficiencies can be found. Truck manufacturers have agreed to lower their front bumpers within a couple years so that impact is kinder to small vehicles.

It still takes the same amount of energy to bring a vehicle of XXXX pounds up to XX mph. Real world experience has shown that many compact gas powered cars can do nearly as well without the price premium -- and cars like the Golf TDI can do much better. ... seems green to me.

Another thing about hybrids is that the fabled "engine turns off when not needed" does not happen if you have either the heat or A/C turned on.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:39 AM   #6
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In the case of the Honda Civic hybrid, they really do get 50 mpg in the city, and highway too... at 52 mph. As your speed increases, the mileage drops as the small gas engine has to work really hard at road speed. At 70mph, freeway speed in Iowa, the Civic hybrid is reported to get just a little more than 30 mpg. We ended up with the new '06 gas Civic for my wife's commute; she gets an honest 40 mpg highway commuting 40 miles each way daily.

Small engines work hard under load regardless of whether they're working full-time or mounted in some hybrid arrangement. The real savings for small engines comes in daily driving in traffic. If you tow regularly, then a larger tow vehicle makes sense. If you only tow occasionally, and use your tow vehicle as your daily driver, then it really doesn't matter how poor your towing gas mileage is as you only have it for a very small percentage of your annual driving mileage. As long as it's competent to tow your trailer, your real savings is in your daily commute mileage.

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Old 03-12-2007, 08:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljmiii
Whether you've been amused or horrified by my descriptions of towing with my HiHy....
enjoy,
leo
Actually many of us have been quite impressed with your combination.

Consumer Reports shows your vehicle can tow 3,500lbs (it's tow rating) and can reach 0-60MPH in 15.8 sec.
By comparision...
A Toyota FJ Cruiser can tow 5,000lbs (it's tow rating) and can reach 0-60 in 19.2 sec.
A V8 Chevrotet Tahoe LT can tow 6,500lbs (it's tow rating) and can reach 0-60MPH in 23.3 sec.

Braking, handling, mileage, and stopping tests have shown similar positive results.

My hat comes off to you and your well thought out combination.
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:37 AM   #8
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Better mileage was never the goal for Toyota's Highlander Hybrid (and Lexus RX400h). Toyota felt they needed to offer V8 power and used a V6-based Hybrid system to deliver it in a fuel efficient fashion. Power was increased from 215HP to 268HP but more importantly the electric motors add 343 ftlbs of torque at 0 RPM to the V6s 222 ftlbs at 3600RPM.

In normal driving the HiHy felt much quicker than the Highlander on city streets and entrance ramps. I can't directly compare towing experiences since I never tried the plain Highlander, but the HiHy feels very smooth when towing and compared favorably to the Jeep Commander (4.7L V8 - 6500lbs tow cap).
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:46 AM   #9
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IMHO..................

Hybrids are highly over-rated and especially over-hyped! I think that a superior technology ALREADY EXISTS to get superior mileage without emitting major pollution; DIESEL!!

My Sprinter gets 22 mpg in a variety of driving (and I drive it HARD) weighing close to 8000lbs loaded. While towing my 19CCD this past Summer, 14-17mpg from FL to OR thru the mountains of NM and CO.

My wife drives a TDI VW Beetle and gets 45-48 on a regular basis! That car is neither slow, smelly or noisy. In fact, you can hardly hear the engine running! The biggest feature about diesels is that they can easily run on BIO-FUELS that require NO OIL!!!!! Talk about sustainability!!!

If the major manufacturers decided to embrace bio-fuels and continued to refine the existing CDI diesel technology, it would be a win-win situation that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil (on ALL oil for that matter), lower the pollution index AND help our farmers by creating a huge market for fuel-producing crops, ending farm subsidies in the process.

Have I missed anything? I'll get off the soap box now!
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
It still takes the same amount of energy to bring a vehicle of XXXX pounds up to XX mph. Real world experience has shown that many compact gas powered cars can do nearly as well without the price premium -- and cars like the Golf TDI can do much better. ... seems green to me.
The Golf TDI is indeed a great car. As you and scottanlilly point out, there seems to be this belief that 'Hybrid' means 'fuel efficient'. But Hybrid-izing a car is just a tool - good for the things it is designed for and not so good for others.

My mother-in-law consistantly gets 60+ MPG with her Prius. But she is in the 'sweet spot' - her daily commute is about 15 miles mostly on a surface street 'expressway' in the 40-50 MPH range and she lives in the SF bay area so she seldom uses heat or AC.

Almost all my driving is on toll roads ('freeways' to the rest of the country) at around 72MPH and we get our fair share of heat and cold. So I get on average 25MPG - which is a bit lower than the 'real world' HiHy average of 27.5.

But the HiHy forums were initially lit up with tales of woe from people in Texas and the Southwest who bought early HiHys in the summer of 05.
Drive 85MPH with the AC on and your mileage will dip into the high teens - not bad for a SUV with a 'V8' but horrible compared to the 30 MPG they were expecting.

enjoy,
leo
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:58 AM   #11
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It is interesting to note that there are some vehicles similar to the Highlander that perform well with a regular gas engine. The Consumers report article shows the Infinity FX35 (3.5 V6) that has a tow rating of 3,500lbs. It runs the 0 to 60MPH in a blistering 14.9 seconds with 3,500lbs in tow. Fuel mileage however would be less than what the Hibrid Highlander would get.

There is a new Jetta TDi and small Airstream currently being tested. Some of the stats recorded so far are....

Jetta:- Turbo diesel that produces 100HP and 177ft-lbs TQ at 1,600 RPM's

- Jetta gets 27-32 MPG towing an Airstream and 50+ solo

-7,000 towing KLM's have been logged towing

-Towing stability...."very stable and precise".
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Ruler
There is a new Jetta TDi and small Airstream currently being tested. Some of the stats recorded so far are....

Jetta:- Turbo diesel that produces 100HP and 177ft-lbs TQ at 1,600 RPM's

- Jetta gets 27-32 MPG towing an Airstream and 50+ solo
Wow! What MPH is it being tested at?
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:12 PM   #13
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Wow! What Airstream is that?
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Old 03-13-2007, 07:42 AM   #14
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Re Jetta TDi towing ... Noted limited info from the local RV show last month.

The TDi site forum has some info on towing with their diesels. http://www.tdiclub.com/

It is interesting that some TDi owners ( VW forum ) have reported that 250ft/lbs of torque can be obtained from an aftermarket chip install. One guy was planning a few mods, chip, and larger intercooler that was supposed to net 300ft/lbs of twist.
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