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Pat,
patrickg said:
Ken, I was not intending to compare Honda to Toyota.
Just a note.
I brought Honda IMA system just because you wrote about regenerating on your previous post and regenerating is included in Honda's.
I did would like to say synergy is not regenerating.

Happy driving...
Ken
 

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Most recent woed...

A month or so back, my well-known "source" mentioned that:

- The Lexus SUV will be AWD: Synergy in front, electric-only in rear. This is the same way the rolling Ford Escaped and the Estima do AWD. I am not aware of any thoughts, let alone plans to offer a FWD only version.

- The V6 IS an Atkinson/Miller cycle engine; just like the Prius 4 except a V6 and is supposed to feature VERY low emissions.

- "Peak" performance is said to approach that of a V8 automatic SUV. Prius already is the "equal" of many V6 autos off the line and up hills so the Lexus performance advantage should be similar,

- At the time I last spoke to my sources, the thought was that the RX Hybrid package would be a "Premium Performance" option with an est. $5,000+ price tag. So - Take the cost of a high-end RX ("stripped" RX's simply don't get made) and add a non-negotiable $5k for the Hybrid option and another couple of grand to "grease" the dealer. Y$WV
I have absolutely NO information about the Highlander other than it and the RX share a common platform (with Camry) and that a hybrid Highlander is planned.

- Preliminary indications are that it should make 40 MPG EPA combined; that's the "target". What the on-the-road MPG turns out to be will be anyone's guess but you can be very sure that ALL of the things that can kill Prius MPG go double for an SUV sized hybrid. My guess that if driven at 55 MPH-ish, for +20 minute trips (highway commuting) and with "proper" tires (LRR - NOT "boggers" and properly inflated) it should see 35+ MPG in the summer.
Not happy with that? Consider the REAL MPG of a Ford SUV or <koff> the totally assenine Dodge Hemi super-polluter are LUCKY to see 12 MPG on the road in REAL driving. 35 MPG REAL is a freaking miracle!

Oh! I'm also told that it runs "real good".
bp
 

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William, Most excellent commentary! Reality vs. imaginary overinflated hyperbole. REAL mileage over the useful lifetme of a vehicle is usually a lot less than claims. I look forward to seing what hybrid SUV's do compard to the 8-14mpg a lot of real world results show for conventional units.

:D Pat :D
 

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Yeah, and the sad thing is that the recent Explorers get much worse mpg than my first-year '91 (basically the Ranger pickup with a large cabin). Steady 65 mph in cruise averages c. 23 mpg for me, and that's with 201K+ miles on the mill.

Of course, around town in the winter is a different story---more like 15-16 mpg.

Henry
 

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Henry said:
Yeah, and the sad thing is that the recent Explorers get much worse mpg than my first-year '91 Henry
Far be it from me to be an apologist for Ford but there may be extenuating circumstances... Ever tightening emissions standards. Of course there are fleet average mileage concerns as well but sometimes in the path of progress there have been a few examples where optimization was concentrated on meeting emissions rather than increasing mileage. I haven't got the entire chronology memorized for your vehicle, its ancestors, and successors but I suspect this optimization thing is in there.

An even sadder note is when OUR companies (U.S.A.) have to be forced by the will of the people (Federal law) to improve mileage, emissions, and safety instead of concentrating on where to add chrome to the car to make it next year's model or how to make the door closing sound "right" or any of the other important things Detroit has spent tremendous resources improving.

I really liked the BIG tail fins and 4000+ lbs of steel road comfortably and 100+ octane leaded gas wasn't all THAT harmful to the environment, especially if you could get up into the low 20's MPG while spewing NOX, CO and lead. My mom's '59 Buick had a CVT so it was advanced Detroit technology.

:D Pat :D
 

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Safety ratings? We don't need no stinkin' safety ratings! Especially when you have 3 or more buyers for ever car delivered.

Just read a Prius ad in the "National Geographic." It was braging about the great mileage and how it has great 0-60 acceleration, better than its competition. Then you read the fine print and it says with a PROTOTYPE car, a PROFESSIONAL driver etc. and don't try this yourself.

Pat :(
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Try taking a head on collision at 30 mph in a SUV vs a car and you'll understand safety ratings. For me it made a difference, I'm alive and my passengers walked away. The smaller Toyota Matrix, details available at the emergency room. Tragic but true, more expensive vehicles provide more protection in severe crashes. How much is your life worth?
 

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greenmachine said:
Try taking a head on collision at 30 mph in a SUV vs a car and you'll understand safety ratings. For me it made a difference, I'm alive and my passengers walked away. The smaller Toyota Matrix, details available at the emergency room. Tragic but true, more expensive vehicles provide more protection in severe crashes. How much is your life worth?
Of course you are right. So I should probably be driving a bigger SUV then you so that I will be safer! Next you will want a bigger SUV then mine so that you will be safer and I will have to get a bigger one then your's and on and on and on!
 

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Excellent reply, Jerry. Unfortunately, the way people understand safety ratings is often something like "if a train collides with a moped, then the train has much less damage than the moped". Of course it's true. But that's also particularly stupid and selfish.
 

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frenchie said:
Excellent reply, Jerry. Unfortunately, the way people understand safety ratings is often something like "if a train collides with a moped, then the train has much less damage than the moped". Of course it's true. But that's also particularly stupid and selfish.
frenchie said:
Excellent reply, Jerry. Unfortunately, the way people understand safety ratings is often something like "if a train collides with a moped, then the train has much less damage than the moped". Of course it's true. But that's also particularly stupid and selfish.
Thanks Frenchie! With that kind of thinking we will all end up driving something like this!
Wonder if I could convert one of these to Synergy drive?
 

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The folks driving the BelchFire 500 SUV/Abrahms tank do endanger the lives of folks in "responsible cars." With all the "bags" in a Prius you are not nearly as safe as a really heavy car with less safety equipment. The answer isn't an escolating arms race approach but perhaps mandated weight standards and penalties along the lines of fleet fuel mileage and emissions standards.

Non-linearly escolating annual weight fees would retard the thirst for battleships on wheels. The collected fees could be used to subsidize insurance benefits for autos with better safety features AND lighter weights, possibly tie the benefits to the cars ability to be infolved in an accident with reduced damage to the other car. Why just 5 star safety ratings for a crash test emphasizing damage to the tested car. A vehicle should be rewarded for reduced damage to the other guy as well! (Do unto others...)

:D Pat :D
 

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It's not just the other passenger vehicles, and you can't mandate stuff like this. There are people with legitimate reason for having SUVs, and even some of us who could certainly survive without ours, but want them anyway. I still have my Expedition...I don't want a bigass car just to be bigger than a car hitting me, I want it for space, for power going up the moutains on my ski trip, 4WD for snow traction. The fact that it's bigger and will protect my family better against other low speed vehicles is just a bonus.
--evan
 

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I understand that some people need big trucks and SUVs, and I even know a few people that take them off-road and use them for work. My biggest complaint is when their bumper is at my eye level. If the bumpers were at standard level on all vehicles, then all the crumple zones and protections would get used.

On the up side, it does look like the trend is for smaller sized vehicle. Vans have been getting "low liftover" tailgates, and the new Matix-type SUVs are almost station wagon sized. Even Hummer had to come out with the smaller H2.

Fredo
 

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Evan and Fredo, Thanks for your response to my "Devil's Advocate." I just got back last night from a few hundred mile trip in my custom Dodge/Cumins turbo diesel 1 ton with service body. I went to supper with relatives and friends, picked up a load of used pallets, and returned. There was no practical way to recycle those pallets there and they were going to be burned. I could use them at my house building site.

Other, much more economical, vehicles were available for the trip but either weren't good for 3 adults or wouldn't haul the wooden pallets.

I pay weight fees on the truck. I also make significant trips in it carrying the largest cab over camper Lance makes. Neither of these relate to a Prius type car. I, for one, do not wish to ban the SUV or other larger private vehicle but their owners should be paying the "ENTIRE COST" not just purchase price and gas. As Evan knows if he has spent much time around an ER, an SUV or my truck can do a lot of damaage to folks in a smaller lighter car even if it is equipped with oodles of air bags etc. It might be more fair and responsible if costs were apportioned more equitably based on the insurance companies statistics which show the increased damage potential wielded by Suburbans, Big SUV's, big pickups, etc.

I claim that if the costs were apportiioned more rationally, fairly, and equitably that there would be an evolutionary pressure to reduce size and weight. I would still have a 1 ton diesel pickup and Evan would still have his big powerful XXX but when we were out in our respective Prii we'd see a lot more cars our size.

:D Pat :D
 

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Of course, as Evan said, there are people with legitimate reasons for having SUVs or even trucks, and I don't criticize them. But to drive a very heavy vehicle for the only reason that it's heavy (and makes you feel more secure) without changing one's driving habits is stupid and criminal, because it means you don't care about other people's lives. Driving a heavy vehicle implies a different driving style; a bus driver would be considered as irresponsible by everyone if he was driving his bus like a midsize car. The fact that you need the same license for driving vehicles of very different weights is misleading a lot of people about their ability to drive safely the biggest ones.

Side quote : did you know that Maybach had to use light materials like aluminum on the superluxury Maybach 62, in order to avoid the driver to need a special (truck) driver's license (at least in Europe) ?
 

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Frenchie, Thoughtful as always. What scares me the most is women in big SUV's when they drive them like shopping carts or with too much aggression. I'm not fem bashing, just relating to experience and observation. God created woman and big powerful SUV's made them equal or more.

On the other hand a little ice or a sprinklle of rain on streets that haven't been washed down for a looooong time tends to make them fun to watch (from a safe distance) as they rediscover that the laws of Newtonian physics still apply to BIG CARS.

:D Pat :D
 

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Frenchie and Patrick, I agree completely and I also understand the benefits of an suv in snow and off road but, What really bugs me is when someone says I need my Navigator for shopping and hauling the kids around when we all know that a minivan would work much better and is much easier to enter and exit with kids and or packages.

I did read somewhere that most of the auto manufacturers had agreed to begin lowering suv profiles in a few years in order to make them safer for people in smaller cars. So far the only company not willing to comply is VW!
 

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My dad solved the kids and shopping problem with a '74 Plymouth Fury station wagon. It seated 9 people, and with the back 2 rows of seats folded down, you could lay a stack of plywood down flat and have the end supported by the tailgate. It was a large vehicle by any standard, but the bumper was even with everyone elses'. If I get hit from behind by some of the SUVs out now, I'm not sure if the first contact would be their bumper on my rear window, or their tires clinbing over my bumper. (I'm still driving a '93 Dodge Shadow sedan while waiting for my Prius.)

I don't want to abolish SUVs, but I think they're specialty vehicles that are best for certain situations. I think there are more appropriate vehicles for most drivers out there. I agree with Pat that if the insurance costs were apportioned partially based on the ability to do excessive damage, that large vehicles would be redesigned to do less damage to other vehicles, and people would choose vehicles that met their needs.

I also like Frenchie's idea about making drivers' license endorsements more granular. Most states require aditional license endorsement for motorcycles and commercial trucks. I was surprized a while back, when helping my parents move, that I was able to rent and drive a 24 foot truck cross country with only a regular drivers license. (Maybe I should shut up before 24' moving trucks become the new "hot" vehicle, and Cadilac makes one.) I think an SUV or pickup truck endorsement should be easier to get than a motorcyle or 24' truck, but I do think that at least some reading and probably additional training would be a good idea.

It is fun, though, to watch the FWD's trying to stop after the first snow. Sure, FWD helps get you started, bur all cars have 4 wheel brakes!

Fredo
 

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The common theme here still seems to be that larger SUVs are much safer, and cause excessive amounts of damage to other cars. Yes, large SUVs demolish other cars, but aren't necesarily that much safer for the driver of the SUV. They are over three times more likely to roll over (that being very serious since most don't have curtain airbags), and on top of that, many large vehicles are simply unsafe. Look at the 1996-2003 Ford F-150: best selling vehicle in America. Not to bash owners of those vehicles, but how does a Ford "engineer" sleep at night after building a vehicle that was the worst ever tested at the IIHS(Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), and then not do a damn thing about it for 7 years? If you haven't seen the crash results, it's alarming (http://www.iihs.org) Sure, the American "crash test" gave it the highest score possible, but might it be that the government is helping out the American car manufacturers for the economy's sake? Don't let the American governments fool you with their high safety ratings for large vehicles. Vehicle after vehicle that have received a great rating from the American government test just don't cut it in the more realistic IIHS test: Silverados, 1998-2001 Rams, 1997-2003 F-150's, Trailblazers, Envoys, Blazers, Bravadas, Rodeos, Grand Cherokees: the list is long. Odds are that you won't have a 100% frontal crash at 35 mph.
The NHTSA test is a frontal full-wrap collision at 35 mph, which isn't nearly as structually demanding as an offset at 40mph (which forces all of the kinetic energy through less than 50% of the vehicle's front structure.) Hopefully no one here bases their purchasing information on crash test results from the NHTSA. For example, they gave the Chevy Cavalier the same frontal safety rating as the 2003/2004 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The Chevy Cavalier received the lowest possible rating( poor) from the Insurance Institute for Highway safety, while the Mercedes E-Class received the highest rating of "good", and a presteigous 5-star safety rating from the European New Car assessment (http://www.euroncap.com) For someone who has seen a friend die in a Chevy Cavalier, it frustrates the hell out of me that average consumer is led to believe that a flimsy piece of American tin is just as safe as an ber-luxury German tank; this is far from the truth. Although the vehicles are in different classes, the "chance of injury" from the NHTSA is the same. Shame on the NHTSA for seriously misleading the American public.
In terms of the response to smaller cars with "oodles of airbags" not being nearly as safe, that's simply not true. Small cars are becoming much safer, and SUV engineers, like the ones at Volvo design their SUV, the XC-90, so that the cars it hits, aren't pulverized. Sure, if an F-250 broadsides a Cavalier at 45mph, the Cavalier driver will most likely die. They might not even be hurt however, if they are in a Saab, a Volvo, an Audi, or a Mercedes-Benz. Some auto companies do care about the safety of their passengers. Safe sedans exist, and and one of the main reasons is because they have "oodles of airbags". The IIHS recently released a report praising side curtain airbags citing " up to a 74% reduction in injury."
Don't simply absorb the idea that a big vehicle automatically means a safe vehicle. SUVs are far harder to engineer in terms of absorbing its own kinetic energy in a crash. The manufacturers will tell you how well they do in the American government test, but that doesn't tell the whole story. A Toyota Sienna has a 5 star rating from the American test for front passengers, and it has the highest score from the IIHS. However, the 1996-2003 F-150s had a 5 star rating like the Sienna, but was an abyssmal disaster in the offset. Ford fortunately fixed the the vehicle....7 years later.
I rant like a lunatic because I lost a friend because their family bought a car that the government said was quite safe, a Chevy Cavalier. I slso rant like a lunatic because my step-father survived a horrific accident without injury because he bought a safe car confirmed by 3 crash tests, a Saab 9-5.
Do your homework.
 
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