NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – In the end, I was won over by the plain, simple and ardent Toyota Highlander hybrid, alike if it didn’t assume like my type, at first.
The Highlander, alike the approved non-hybrid kind, has aloof one above shortcoming: It’s boring. On a all-around calibration of excitement, the Toyota Highlander ranks up there with a nice bottle of room-temperature tap water.
If you appetite to apperceive what it’s like to drive a Highlander, anticipate of Velveeta, the candy cheese artefact from Kraft. Soft, b and a little gooey, it’s neither absorbing nor objectionable.
Alike so, the Highlander is actual popular. Few SUVs are easier to lose in a parking lot. And it has some simple, applied allowances that accomplish it accessible to accept why that’s so.
The accession of gas-electric amalgam technology to the Highlander absolutely spices things up a little. Besides the arduous change of it, the Highlander Amalgam has the aforementioned 3.3-liter V6 agent as the higher-end non-hybrid versions. So the two electric motors — or one electric motor in front-wheel drive versions — accord the amalgam an added accession of ability in accession to extenuative gas.
Beneath adamantine acceleration, both the electric and gasoline powerplants bounce to activity and advance hard. Total application achievement comes to 268 in either two- or four-wheel drive versions. That’s 38 added than you get in the approved gasoline-only Highlander. Also, the electric motors aftermath their abounding allocation of torque appropriate from the start. That agency a hardly gutsier take-off.
Not that the approved Highlander is underpowered. It’s not fast, but it’s absolutely quick enough. You can absorb afterwards fear. But the hybrid’s added accession is apparent and nice to have.
It does appear at the bulk of some abandoned agent noise, though. The hybrid’s continuously capricious transmission, which accouterment accessory ratios continuously rather than dispatch up gear-to-gear, keeps the gasoline agent in its hardest alive — and loudest — ability ambit abounding time until you let up on the gas. It’s alive those pistons adamantine and it sounds like it.
The hybrid’s administration additionally acquainted a little bigger to me than the approved Highlander. Now, that could accept been aloof because, afterwards a few days, I was accepting acclimated to the way it felt. The Highlander does accept “car-like” handling, but it’s not like a actual acceptable car.
Or it could accept been the added 350 pounds of the amalgam system’s motors and array packs. The added weight is beneath the Highlander’s body, beneath the vehicle’s centermost of gravity. That would add some added compactness and stability, which would be aloof what the Highlander needs.
There is a additional to that boring, boxlike shape, by the way. The Highlander makes able use of its space, alms as abundant allowance central as acutely beyond vehicles.
It’s accessible to backpack and unpack, accessible to esplanade and action in traffic, and it offers a adequate bulk of amplitude for bristles passengers. For all of those boring, applied reasons, the agent concluded up growing on me afterwards a few days.
On a 225 mile annular cruise from New York Burghal to Hyde Park, New York — home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Culinary Institute of America and, conceivably added importantly, the EveReady Diner — we got about 28 afar per gallon. That’s outstanding for a ample V6 SUV.
According to government estimates, a four-wheel-drive Highlander Amalgam should get about 31 afar per gallon in burghal active and 24 on the highway. (No, those numbers aren’t backwards.) That compares to 18 and 24 afar per gallon for a four-wheel-drive non-hybrid adaptation with the aforementioned engine. Real-world active usually yields lower breadth than EPA estimates, so my aftereffect was surprising.
The avenue we took was adequately ogously disconnected amid abiding artery canoeing and slower stretches through baby boondocks arcade districts. There were additionally added than a few pedal-to-the-metal starts as we pulled off the artery and aback on afresh to go aback and attending at article we’d missed.
On the self-righteousness front, the Highlander Amalgam accustomed us to edge through National Esplanade acreage afterwards absolution any finch-gagging chapped matter. OK, it was the Vanderbilt Estate. Not absolutely the Grand Tetons, but you get the idea.
With a starting amount of about $33,600, the Highlander Amalgam costs about $6,000 added than a ogously able approved Highlander. (Comparably equipped, in this case, includes around abortive third-row seats. You can’t get the Amalgam afterwards them. Their sole amount is as a calmly folding way to abuse baby children.)
That aerial amount cogwheel is a absolute abashment and alone some of that is due to the amalgam arrangement itself. The blow is from account that accept no affiliation to the system. Unfortunately, it may accumulate a lot of bodies from experiencing the allowances of this technology.
If they’re activity to allegation that affectionate of cash, they should put the chat “hybrid” about on the alfresco in belletrist college than a division of an inch.
If I’m advantageous that abundant to advice save the world, I appetite everybody to apperceive it.
Toyota Highlander Amalgam details, appearance and prices
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