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Toyota Hybrid Minivans

Toyota hybrid minivans currently come in three varieties: Estima, Alphard and Sienna. The Estima Hybrid and Alphard Hybrid are currently in production and being offered only in Japan. The Sienna Hybrid is the only hybrid minivan that will be offered on U. S. soil and a roll out date has not been set yet.



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The Estima Hybrid Minivan is the world's first hybrid minivan and first mass-produced hybrid 4-wheel drive vehicle. The Estima Hybrid was the second hybrid rolled out by Toyota with the Prius being the first.

The Estima Hybrid is the smallest of Toyota's line of hybrid minivans but has a unique safety feature built into the hull. The Estima Hybrid uses a pedestrian-injury-lessening body designed to minimize pedestrian head and leg injury in the event of a collision. Wow, what a feeling!

Back to serious business and the Alphard Hybrid, which is a larger hybrid minivan only sold in Japan. The Alphard Hybrid was rolled out in 2003 in the Osaka region and sports a 2.4-litre gasoline engine, front and rear electric motors, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), high-output hybrid battery pack and an E-Four electric four-wheel drive system.

The Alphard Hybrid uses an E-Four electric 4WD system that provides better driving performance by using power from the rear-wheel drive motor to optimize electric power distribution to all four wheels. The Alphard Hybrid is classified as an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) and comes in at approximately 42 mpg.

The Sienna Hybrid will be the first hybrid-powered minivan to peel out in the U. S. marketplace. Rumor has it that the Sienna Hybrid may contain the same hybrid power-train system as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and if so, the Sienna Hybrid will sport a 3.3-liter DOHC 24-valve VVT-i V6 gasoline engine combined with a high-torque electric engine delivering upwards of 270 hp. Fuel economy also could reach the low 40-mpg range.

All three Toyota hybrid minivans use regenerative braking, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and offer 1,500 watts of auxiliary 100-volt power available via electrical sockets. This auxiliary power will be useful for appliances such as laptops or for emergency purposes.

With hybrid cars, trucks and SUV's currently rolling out in the U. S. marketplace, it seems that the time is ripe to roll out a hybrid minivan as well. If Toyota does success in rolling out the first hybrid minivan in the U. S. it will be but another first in a long line of firsts for Toyota in the hybrid arena.