CNHI News Service

Features

December 6, 2012

CARS: Highlander Hybrid has a lot to offer

Like many drivers, you probably want to be environmentally conscious, conserve on fuel and be as green as possible while meeting the transportation needs of a growing family with friends.

If your passenger list is near seven, and you are aghast at the prospect of owning a minivan, look no further. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is just the ticket. Well, maybe, if you can get past the sticker shock.

The up-sized Highlander is a mid-sized crossover SUV with three rows of seats, a roomy cabin offering entertainment for the kids, a comfortable ride in front rows and the highest fuel economy on the road at 28 miles per gallon.

While the competition does not come close in fuel savings, the hybrid costs around $7,500 more than a conventional Highlander. Still, the hybrid is a towering SUV with amenities galore. You could easily spend more for a Lexus or Mercedes without the hybrid technology.

Powering the Highlander is a V6 engine and a trio of electric motors that work seamlessly together with little awareness of which mode is in use. In fact, the only time the hybrid technology is heard is when you stomp on the gas pedal. Doing so will take you and your 4,762- pound SUV from zero to 60 miles per hour in a quick 7.5 seconds.

A third motor sends extra power to the rear wheels under acceleration while the remaining two regenerate and send power (torque) to a continuously variable transmission. A dash mounted EV mode allows the SUV to purr along slowly on full electric power, albeit for a short time.

The Highlander hybrid will also tow up to a 3,500-pound payload.

Interstate travel is effortless for the Highlander. It cruises along quietly and has the acceleration to pass when needed. Electric steering provides a lighter feel when compared with standard hydraulic systems but the mpg trade-off seems worthwhile. Likewise, regenerative brakes feel softer in the pedal but function well, and add to the electric experience.

Text Only
Features
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25 hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    Yankovic's 14th album was released this week, and it warms my heart containers that he's kept up his geeky brand of humor for so long. While he has written so many incredible songs, none have spoken to my love of proper grammar.
    Until "Word Crimes."

    July 16, 2014

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 4.21.43 PM.png A messaging app that doesn't use words at all

    About 10,000 people have signed up for usernames for a chat app that isn't even out yet: Emoj.li. It's an instant messenger app that uses no words at all — not even "Yo" or "Hodor!" Instead, it employs only emoji icons.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • lawgrad.jpg Things looking up for law school grads

    This might sound weird, but here goes: Now might be a pretty good time to think about law school. For the sixth year running, the employment rate fell, as schools produced a record number of graduates for an industry without the room for them. There was, however, a nugget of good news buried in the data.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

News
Sports

Opinion