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August 18, 2004

Our Next Vehicle: Hybrid Toyota Highlander

I'd been contemplating an entry about our next car for awhile. Seeing social tonic's entry about transportation and reading greencarcongress prompted me to take action.

There's a lot of bad things said about SUVs, and for some time I've agreed with most of it. The problem . . . we bought a Jeep Cherokee in 1996 when we lived in Idaho because our Subaru was having to make regular trips to the mechanic after weekend excursions into the wild of northern Idaho. The Subaru wasn't built for the wear and tear, so we bought a Jeep.

When we moved to Boston we debated about getting rid of the Jeep, but in the end couldn't let go because we loved the car and loved having it paid off. In addition, we use the T for work commute, leaving the Jeep in the driveway most of the week. However, as time wears on, better options become available, gas prices rise, the Jeep has gotten worn out etc. We've started to feel pretty good about getting a new car.

The next problem though is we need space for 5-6 people, at least 2 of those in carseats (which consume more space than a person), and cargo room for family camping/road trips. For a year or so we've been looking at hybrids but somehow knew that a small Civic or Prius would not meet our needs.

A few months ago I stumbled into the Toyota Highlander Hybrid site, after a little reading we got pretty excited about it being our next car. Not only does it get 600 miles on a tank of gas, the Highlander seats 7 people. Being able to seat 7 means we don't have to go to a mini-van or a larger class of SUV.

Talking with one of the local Toyota dealers reveals that the vehicles probably won't be out until sometime in summer 2005, and that Toyota hasn't provided any information to the dealerships other than what's on the web site. No choice but to be patient.

I've bought a new car before, but never one that would be pre-ordered. Not much of an early-adopter, hopefully won't get burned.

Posted by mike at August 18, 2004 5:46 AM