2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in First Impressions Review

Friday September 23rd, 2011 at 11:99 PM
Posted by: AKramer

2012 Prius Plug-In

By Alexander Kramer

Despite being mercilessly picked on by car enthusiasts and members of the automotive press, the Toyota Prius has been an unqualified success. The best-selling Prius has become synonymous with hybrid cars and perhaps even Toyota itself.

Having been on the market for over 10 years now, Toyota has decided to double-down on this success by introducing a new family of Prius based cars, including the larger Prius V, the smaller Prius C, and a Plug-in version of the existing 3rd generation Prius. We were recently invited to drive these new models (except for the Prius C, which is still in concept form) at a Media Preview for the GreenDriveExpo, held in Richmond, CA.

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Alaska Road Trip With the Chevrolet Volt and Olympus E-P3 Camera

Monday July 11th, 2011 at 12:77 PM
Posted by: ponycargirl

Chevy Volt Olympus E-P3 Alaska Trip
By Megan Green

This past April, I was given the opportunity to go on a June road trip in a 2011 Chevy Volt and photograph it with the newly launched Olympus E-P3 camera.

When I told friends that I was going to Alaska to drive a Chevrolet Volt around, their first reactions were, “Ice Road Truckers!” Then came a barrage of questions; “Good luck with that, can you even drive that far in it? What’s the range, like 50 miles? How are you going to charge it in the middle of the wilderness? Are small towns even equipped to recharge electric vehicles? How long does it take to charge it?”

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Posted in Chevrolet, Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, hybrid |Tags:, , , , , || 4 Comments »


2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review – Who said hybrids have to look ugly?

Tuesday July 5th, 2011 at 8:77 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By Alex Kramer

Pros:

  • Seamless gas-electric hybrid system
  • Smooth shifting 6 speed automatic transmission
  • Eye-catching exterior design
  • Spacious interior with lots of features

Cons:

  • Less than sporty handling
  • Automatic transmission robs a few MPGs
  • Drab interior gray color

It seems like almost every major car company has at least one hybrid model on the road these days, and why not, with gas prices still clinging to almost $4 a gallon. Although a bit late to the party, Hyundai finally has its own hybrid sedan with the new Sonata Hybrid.

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid First Impressions Review

Thursday June 23rd, 2011 at 8:66 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
By Alex Kramer

Pros:

  • Eye-catching exterior design
  • Roomy, well-apportioned interior
  • Smooth, quiet hybrid drivetrain
  • Solid handling and ride quality

Cons:

  • A bit slow for a car with over 200 hp
  • Brake pedal feels squishy
  • Untested fuel efficiency

The folks at Kia Motors are very optimistic. Having launched seven brand new models in under 2 years and with record sales growth over the past year, Kia is transforming itself into a major player in the car market.

Part of this success is surely due to an emphasis on value, which has resonated with buyers in these tough economic times. At the same time, a shift away from forgettable econoboxes and towards quality design and engineering has made for an almost unbeatable combination of high quality at a low price.

To keep the momentum rolling, Kia is now offering a hybrid gas-electric vehicle in the form of its Optima mid-size sedan. With gas prices looking to stay close to $4 a gallon, this could be the perfect time to make a case for fuel efficient motoring and take a bite out of the growing hybrid sedan segment.

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2012 Toyota Prius v Wagon Review – Building upon the success of Toyota’s popular hybrid

Tuesday June 14th, 2011 at 7:66 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2012 Toyota Prius v
By contributing editor David Colman

PROS:

  • 58% more room
  • Double sunroof
  • Airy interior

CONS:

  • Reduced MPG
  • Awkward shape
  • Plethora of driving distractions

A couple of years ago, 3 of us set out on wine country safari in a second generation Prius 4-door. By the end of the day, the cabin of that car was beginning to feel very small. The trunk was loaded with cases of wine and the rear springs sagged accordingly. Our spirits flagged from sharing such close quarters. While the trip was a success, the Prius was judged to be undersized for the mission.

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Posted in Expert Reviews, hybrid, Toyota |Tags:, , , || 3 Comments »


2011 Honda CR-Z Review: A hybrid hot hatch? Not quite, but still a fun little car

Wednesday May 11th, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Honda CR-Z
By Alex Kramer

Pros:

  • Slick shifting 6-speed manual transmission
  • CRX-like handling
  • Decent fuel efficiency
  • Eye-catching exterior design

Cons:

  • Unimpressive acceleration
  • Fuel efficiency should be much better
  • Interior needs some work

Ever since Honda pulled the plug on the CRX 20 years ago, loyal fans have been waiting for the rebirth of this popular sporty compact hatchback. Having owned 2 CRXs myself, I have spent many an hour wondering why Honda abandoned such a perfect combination of smart styling, peppy performance, and impressive fuel efficiency.

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2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid First Impressions Review

Monday April 25th, 2011 at 3:44 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2011_Cayenne_S_Hybrid_1_med
By contributing editor David Colman

Hits:

  • Be the first on your block
  • Incredible torque
  • Lavish interior

Misses:

  • Some drivetrain tremors
  • Pricey

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2011 Chevrolet Volt Review – Our Weekend With Chevy's New EV/Hybrid and a Prius

Monday April 11th, 2011 at 3:44 PM
Posted by: the911guy

By Dan Tsuchiya

Positrons

  • Great Design and better looking than any Prius made to date
  • Electricity first; leading to 250-500 mpg if you have access an outlet
  • Feels safer and more substantial than it’s competitors
  • 0-60 acceleration faster than a Honda Civic

Electrons

  • Electric Vehicle (EV) range limited to 35 miles before gas motor has to recharge batteries
  • Interior has too many hard plastic surfaces
  • Soft-touch buttons are too sensitive
  • Navigation and radio are integrated such that you can’t have one on without the other

Living with the Chevrolet Volt is about making a green statement, but without the usual green sacrifices. It’s not a hybrid as defined by the Toyota and Honda camp, it’s an extended range electric vehicle (EV) that combines the gas saving benefits of pure electric cars with the range and convenience of conventional gas powered cars. While the Toyota and Honda camps utilize gas and electricity in parallel, the Volt takes a series approach, EV first then gas. The EV range fully charged is about 35 miles and once that power depletes, the Volt fires up its 1.4L engine to charge the batteries and provide juice to the electric motor, allowing for another 250-300 miles of driving under normal conditions.

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Posted in Chevrolet, Expert Reviews, hybrid |Tags:, , , , || 4 Comments »


Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid Plug-in, $845,000

Wednesday March 23rd, 2011 at 10:33 AM
Posted by: aquadog

Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid Plug-inThe Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid plug-in, the concept car which debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, is now available for order for $845,000.

The 918 Spyder will come equipped with a plug-in hybrid system that consists of a high-revving V8, 500-horsepower engine, combined with two electric motors for an additional 218-horsepower. The electric motors will provide about 16 miles of electric-only driving on a single charge and are powered by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that can be charged from any conventional power socket. The Porsche 918 Spyder also features a 7-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual clutch transmission, a 0-62 time of 3.2 seconds, and a top speed of 199 mph.

The 918 Spyder Hybrid plug-in is similar to the concept shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, but is now based on a carbon fiber reinforced plastic monocoque and will feature a manual roof system with removable panels that can be stowed away in the front luggage compartment.

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Toyota Prius Wagon to Hit U.S. in 2012

Monday March 14th, 2011 at 5:33 PM
Posted by: aquadog

Toyota Prius WagonToyota is expanding their Prius family with a new larger and heavier wagon-like Prius V — that’s the letter V for “versatility,” Toyota says, not the Roman numeral five.

The new Toyota Prius V, will go on sale in the United States in late summer or early fall. Toyota announced production has begun on the new gasoline-electric hybrid Prius wagon, that is set to hit Japan in April, followed by the U.S. and Europe. Although, those dates might slip as Japan begins clean up after its latest tsunami disaster.

Some major differences between the Prius hatchback and the new wagon-style Prius are improved visibility due to the driver being situated 1.2 inches higher, an extended rear cargo which will eliminate the hatchback’s split rear window, a 220 pound weight difference, and the option of a new polycarbonate panoramic moonroof that weighs 40 percent less than glass. The new Prius wagon is wider, taller and about five inches longer, and shares the same engine, platform, and hybrid drivetrain as the Prius hatchback, giving it approximately 42 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. New inside features include a computer mouse-inspired one-dial climate control button and a high-capacity lithium ion battery.

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Posted in hybrid, Press and News, Toyota |Tags:, , , || 1 Comment »


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