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Toyota Hybrid SUV
- Toyota Highlander

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Orion VII

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Toyota Hybrid SUV

A Toyota Hybrid SUV that is currently being manufactured and sold is the Highlander. Of course, since Toyota owns Lexus, you can call the Lexus RX400h a Toyota Hybrid SUV as well. Both the Toyota Highlander and the Lexus RX400h share the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system featuring a 3.3-liter DOHC 24-valve VVT-i V6 gasoline engine combined with a high-torque electric motor.

Lexus RX400h Hybrid SUV


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Both Toyota Hybrid SUV's feature a regenerative braking system. A regenerative braking system means that when putting your foot upon the brakes, the electric motors turn into electric generators and recharge the battery pack.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV

It is a common misconception that the batteries need charging in the hybrid vehicles, as they do in all electric vehicles. With a regenerative braking system, the vehicles automatically recharges itself. The battery pack is also under warranty for 8-years or 100,000 miles. Right now a new battery pack will cost approximately $4,000 to replace. Toyota is assuring everyone that by the time the warrantee will expire the cost will come down into the $1000 region.

Both Toyota Hybrid SUV's share other features as well such as the Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT), the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) that manages the power flow between the generator, battery and motor and a Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system (VDIM), which monitors vehicle and road conditions to help drivers avoid accident and improves smoothness of handling.

The cost difference between the two is approximately $10,000 as the Lexus RX400h Hybrid has additional style features such as a DVD entertainment center and DVD navigation system, noise reduction, rear view camera and 18-inch wheels that the Highlander does not have. If you don't mind paying for style, then the Lexus may be a good choice, otherwise the Highlander is just about the same vehicle without the bells and whistles. But, take heart in that there is currently a several month long waiting list for both models, which is a great sign that hybrids will be popular for many years to come and over time, the environment will be getting cleaner and cleaner.