Hybrid Nation

2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD-I

Sep 29, 2006
Outside Magazine
2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD-I

2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD-I    Photo: +ISM

Alt Fuel: Electricity

Optimists Say: Electric-only cars powered by emissions-free lithium-ion batteries can travel at up to 80 mph for about 200 miles. They're quiet, they're smooth, and you'll never have to change your oil again. Major manufacturers, including Subaru and DaimlerChrysler, plan to introduce practical electric cars to the U.S. market in the next few years. Pessimists Say: Unless you have a spare $108,000 to buy the Tango T600, the electric speedster George Clooney drives, plug-in engines are better left on the links. If the whole country went electric, we'd need more sustainable sources of power to provide the juice. Learn More: www.pluginamerica.com
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2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD-I

The Highlander Hybrid is the priciest SUV we tested, and the Limited model comes loaded with luxury features like leather-trim seats and a JBL stereo. Though the Highlander employs a setup similar to the Camry, it has more juice: The gas engine is an authoritative V6, which, combined with the electric motor, propels the SUV from a dead stop to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds (quicker than a V8-powered BMW X5). I tested the four-wheel-drive model, which uses an additional electric motor to drive the rear wheels. It isn't up to serious off-roading, but the extra motor adds traction in slippery conditions. Like its gas-only counterpart, the Highlander excels in roominess and cargo capacity, but a third row of seats, de rigueur among SUVs in its class, is largely theoretical for adults with knees.

MSRP: $39,290 (LTD) As tested: $42,054 Hybrid premium: $2,900 MPG: EPA, 31 city/27 highway; our average, 25 Decrease in annual greenhouse-gas emissions from comparable gas-only model: 21.9 percent Pros: Lots of power, luxury features, space Cons: Unspectacular fuel economy, pricey

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