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Friday, January 09, 2004



Nice words about the Highlander - my wife's looking forward to getting one too. Right now I drive an '04 Prius and love it. I don't THINK I'm a pretensious prick, tree-hugger or celebrity... I think they look cool, I get 42-50 mpg in the real world, emit VERY few pollutants and get a 2K tax deduction. Any more questions? Enjoy your new ride! -DD

talia blanchard

i enjoyed your highlander page - but i wonder if you can tell me - because no one else seems to be able to - is there a wait list for the hybrid highlander? do you have to "order" one specifically? i can't even get dealers to answer my e-mails.....talia

Steve Hoover

I agree that the Highlander will be the first hybrid vehicle available that should not have the 'mooncar' stigma that the Insight, the 1st Prius or to a lesser degree the present Prius.

But be careful about making comparisons without checking the facts. You said that you would cut your fuel costs in half going from your Camry to the hybrid Highlander. That is basen on the assumption that the gas tanks in each car are the same size. The present Highlander has a gas tank of 19.1 gallons. I am not sure what the size of the gas tank in your Camry is, but even if it is 19.1 gallons, that does not necessarily mean that the Hybrid Highlander will have a 19.1 gallon tank. They need to find space for the electric components, mainly the batteries. Since both the batteries and the gasoline tank represent energy storage, it would be logical to assume that Toyota chose a smaller tank.

It has been hard to find any specs on what the actual mileage would be on the Hybrid Highlander. If I had the size of the tank, I could divide it into the 600 cruising mile range and come up with a highway mpg. At 600 miles and 19.1 gallons 31 + mpg. Which is great, considering it should get better mileage in the city or in traffic, unlike a straight fossil car.

I am reading how some hybrid owners are 'disappointed' by the mileage they are getting. I suspect this is a combination of dealer hype and lazy consumers. But the bottom line is the technology is significantly better than what dominates the market today. ANd if these same owners checked what mileage they were getting on their other cars against what the mileage ratings were when they purchased it, it would probably be a similar comparison. Driving habits are the most controllable part of your car's efficiency.

Having said all that, it seems the Highlander is the best bet for your money vs. the Lexus or Ford. The Ford is an econo-SUV with only 155 hp, and the Lexus is virtually the same as the Highlander except in nicer trim. If your'e not outto impress your friends, buy the Highlander.

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September 2006

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  • Howard Zinn: A People's History of the United States

    Howard Zinn: A People's History of the United States
    Some might call it revisionist history, but I call it another important angle. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE should read this book. Howard Zinn provides a view of history taken from the notoriously neglected perspective of the people. (*****)

  • Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code

    Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code
    I think I enjoyed this a 'little' less than Angels & Demons, the canned and predictable nature of Dan Brown's novels are beginning to wear on me. Instead of taking the book in new directions as different "codes" are broken, the story doesn't seem to develop twists, or at least not interesting ones. Actually I found the progression more frustrating... In a BAD way. Dan Brown's books were fun but I don't think I'll be rushing to read any more. The Da Vinci Code was slightly less ridiculous, towards the end, than A&D, though more disappointing. (**)

  • Bill Maher: When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism

    Bill Maher: When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism
    A balls out collection of opinions regarding the nation and its citizenry. Bill Maher has never been known for understating anything, and the same holds true in this short, yet poignant book. Love him or hate him, something in this book will make you laugh, and something else will ring resoundingly if even painfully, true. (*****)


  • : Jet Li's Hero

    Jet Li's Hero
    Hero seems unrestrained directorially leading to many great and equally weak moments. Fans of the genre should enjoy this, but do not go in expecting Crouching Tiger. The plot is not very compelling and confusing at that. Fight choreography is decent in some scenes, while fairly canned and unimaginative in others. Worth seeing for fans of such films, but unsatisfying overall. (***)

  • : Meet the Fockers

    Meet the Fockers
    A perfectly acceptable follow up to Meet the Parents. Somehow I just can't dislike Dustin Hoffman. Ben Stiller on the other hand tests my patience. I'm only thankful that he has become so type-cast that his staying power will be limited. This film was a more lewd than the first, and there is no shortage of cheap cracks and ridiculous situations. I went in expecting very little, but I was satisfied to get a few laughs. Big fans of the first film will enjoy this, while others won't be missing anything groundbreaking. (***)

  • : Darkness

    This movie makes little sense, and what sense it DOES make leaves way too many WTF? moments. The scare tactics employed in this film are repetitive and unimaginative -- Ominous silhouettes and fluctuating power get old after awhile. The scariest moment in the film was also ruined by crappy special effects. Plot twists are also attempted, but fail because they're too predictable. If you HAVE to see this movie, wait to rent it. (**)


  • : ReplayTV RTV5508 80-Hour Digital Video Recorder

    ReplayTV RTV5508 80-Hour Digital Video Recorder
    Similar to TiVo in function, ReplayTV offers extended features, beyond the function of your standard DVR. Specifically, Replay’s networkability allows the sharing of media files (including movies) across ones home network. DVArchive allows Replay owners to download and save video from their Replay, a feature restricted by the proprietary encoding used by TiVo. This was the big x-mas gift of 2004, I think my family will be thanking me in 2005.

  • : The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy (Special Extended DVD Edition)

    The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy (Special Extended DVD Edition)
    I’ve been biding my time for 3 years, waiting for this box set to be released. Finally, the full extended editions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy are mine. This is an amazing epic trilogy brought to life, brilliantly by Peter Jackson. While I have yet to find the 18+ hours required to take in all content of the set, a preliminary sampling holds a great deal of promise. The packaging itself is wonderfully designed with textured tomes for each set of 4 DVDs constituting 1 of the 3 films. My sister purchased this set for me for xmas. I plan to enjoy it whole heartedly. (*****)

  • : Norton SystemWorks 2004 - AntiVirus, Utilities, Passwords, Cleansweep

    Norton SystemWorks 2004 - AntiVirus, Utilities, Passwords, Cleansweep
    Frankly, you can't argue much with FREE. So far so good, though it does slow down my startup time. Though I think maintaining a clean registry will have long term benefits. (**)


  • The Decemberists: Picaresque

    The Decemberists: Picaresque
    I downloaded this CD a few months back when I was on an Iron & Wine kick, and never took the time to listen. Some friends of mine recommended them recently, and boy am I pleased they did. Tracks from this album are now in frequent rotation among my 9,000. Thank you iTunes + iPod. Everyone should have a listen. I'll be interested to hear what you think. Although I have downloaded their entire catalog...I am left wanting more. (*****)

  • Tatu: 200 Km/H in the Wrong Lane

    Tatu: 200 Km/H in the Wrong Lane
    Shit! ... I Mean TOTAL shit... but fun shit. And NO of course I didn't pay for it. I may be an idiot but I sure as hell wouldn't pay for this shit. (*)

  • Snow Patrol: Final Straw

    Snow Patrol: Final Straw
    British Indie rockers... at times they have a sigur ros meets radiohead meets coldplay kind of thing going on...though it does get a little "poppy" at times. I enjoy most but not all of this album. Though the single "Run" appears to be growing in popularity among the mainstream... decent sounding track. (***)

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