100 Hot Cars

Just Car Blog

Maserati Confirms It Will Create Hybrid Models By 2020 27
Jan
Posted by Brad Anderson in hybrid, Hybrids, Maserati, Maserati Ghibli, Maserati GranCabrio, Maserati GranTurismo, Maserati Levante, Maserati Quattroporte, Reports on 01 27th, 2016


Maserati has confirmed that it will offer all of its future models with hybrid powertrains, except the Alfieri sports car.
Read more »



There’s Plenty Of Volvo Magic To Extend To The 2017 S90 12
Jan
Posted by Zac Estrada in Detroit-Auto-Show, hybrid, new cars, VOLVO, Volvo S90 on 01 12th, 2016


Who would've thought even last year Volvo would come out ahead with the 2017 S90 in a luxury battle at the Detroit Auto Show?
 
Read more »



Hyundai Drops New IONIQ Teasers, Already Taking Orders 5
Jan
Posted by Cristian Gnaticov in Electric Vehicles, Geneva Motor Show, hybrid, Hyundai, Korea, new cars, PHEV on 01 5th, 2016


Hyundai's answer to the Toyota Prius will be launched on its local market later this month.
Read more »



Hyundai Releases New Teasers Of IONIQ Sedan, Confirms Hybrid, PHEV & EV Versions 16
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in Electric Vehicles, hybrid, Hyundai, Hyundai Scoops, PHEV on 12 16th, 2015


Two new teasers of the Hyundai's IONIQ dedicated hybrid have just been released by the marque, providing us with a clearer view of both the exterior and interior designs.
Read more »



Cadillac Initially Focusing On Plug-In Hybrids Before EVs 1
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in Cadillac, Cadillac CT6, Electric Vehicles, hybrid, Hybrids, Reports on 12 1st, 2015


Cadillac has confirmed that before making its foray into all-electric vehicle technology, it will outfit most of its models with plug-in hybrid powertrains, says Auto News.
Read more »



BMW Deciding On Potential New ‘i5’ Plug-In Hybrid 1
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in BMW, BMW i5, hybrid, new cars, Reports on 12 1st, 2015


BMW has announced that it is in the final stages of deciding on its third model in the "i" range, widely tipped to be dubbed the i5.
Read more »



2013 Toyota Avalon Limited Hybrid Review & Test Drive 18
Oct
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, hybrid, Test Drives, TOYOTA, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Avalon Hybrid on 10 18th, 2013
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid

The all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon parts ways from its monotonous appeal once thought as being reserved for the older-aged. With a new design for 2013, the Toyota Avalon puts on a new enthusiastic exterior look with an inspiring and spacious interior. Additionally, the new Avalon puts its best efficiency efforts forward in a new Hybrid variation that I had the pleasure of driving for a week.

My initial expectations of the new 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid were freshly based off the heals of the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Prius Hybrid, and rightfully so as those vehicles have forged the hybrid segment for many years.  With Toyota being the pioneers of main-stream hybrid vehicles in America, the new Avalon should be nothing short of spectacular in the realm of being a dedicated transportation appliance that happens to proudly wear its efficiency (hybrid) badges. No big surprises here, the 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited Hybrid proved to be just that.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-side

Not to place the 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid high on a pedestal, it can’t be helped to mention how the new Toyota Camry Hybrid and Lexus ES300h are close relatives that share just about every drivetrain trait only to subtly hide it under completely different sheet metal and interior lacings. Sharing the drivetrain underpinnings is not a bad thing, considering how well the new ES300h is perceived in the entry-luxury segment and even for those well adapted to living in the lap of luxury.

The new 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 156 horsepower and 156 ft-lbs. of torque in conjunction with an electric motor. The 141 horsepower electric motor aids in efforts to prove a good deal of instant torque and a supercharged-like thrust of power at midrange when ‘assisting’ the gas engine. Working is sync, the two units together offer up 200 horsepower and a limited benefit of instant torque from the electric motor during initial acceleration.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-3

The engine and electric motor work in a smooth transition to direct power through a CVT transmission to the front wheels. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) unit is well adapted to a series of intricate mechanisms aided by several processing units to keep all of the commotion behind the scenes. The Hybrid synergy drive for the new Avalon Hybrid works virtually seamless. Though, you can still decipher when the engine kicks on from a solo burst of electric motor power, the transition hardly ever upsets expected power delivery. Even still, the system quickly reacts to your infinite gas and brake pedal placements enacting situations where the engine and electric motor are needed to propel the Avalon Hybrid to 60 mph from a dead stop in about 8 seconds. That 0-60 mph figure is far off from the V6 Avalon, about 2 second, just as you would think when you consider the V6 trim has an additional 68 horsepower to play with. This is not to say the new Avalon Hybrid is slow, it still proves to be capable of sprinting around town giving you enough confidence to jump out into traffic and overtake vehicles on the highway with ease. The Avalon Hybrid mainly suffers from its extra bit of weight to carry around due to the battery, in addition to it being slightly down on power when pitted against the 3.5-liter V6 in the gas-powered Avalon getting 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

I found that during my drive in the new Avalon Hybrid, efficiency takes a front seat in all drive mode settings. Just like many Toyota and Lexus offerings, a select drive mode (Eco mode, Normal mode and Sport mode) adapt the vehicle to your driving style. In normal and eco modes the steering wheel effort is light while in sport mode it firms it up just a tad, or just enough to notice. Sport mode also advances the throttle position for a livelier feel through low to mid-range gas pedal modulation. A virtual shift pattern is adopted when you put the gear selector in the sport-manual mode, while an analog rpm gauge is displayed in the center LCD cluster information display. Working with the CVT the manual shift mode simulates shift points throughout the rpm band. It is quite the novelty item for enthusiasts but may prove to give everyday commuters the most excitement they would get out of the Avalon Hybrid, aside from scoring astounding 40-plus mpg figures.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-badge

Speaking of fuel economy, my new Avalon Hybrid returned excellent fuel economy throughout my drive in mixed interstate traffic and downtown exploring. I saw an average of 39.1 mpg on the highway and an amazing 44 mpg in the city. The Avalon Hybrid’s battery charges up quickly when steadily cruising near or at highway speeds. Around downtown streets the battery quickly drained as it switched over to full EV mode with my soft acceleration, but yielded mpg figures as high as 51 mpg on a full downtown 20-minute excursion. Simply put, the Avalon Hybrid does what it is supposed to and the EPA estimates, 40 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, are easily attainable, if not bettered by conscience ‘hybrid’ driving. After 275 miles of driving, the 17 gallon gas tank was still well-over half way full.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-dashboard

The new Avalon Hybrid rides great with the right amount of suspension damping and balance of firmness while obeying all speed limit laws. Of course the civility of the Avalon Hybrid remains well intact until you start to push near its limits. After nearly breaching limits of the efficient 17-inch tires’ quiet treads with a slight howl, things tend to get a bit dicey as the Avalon Hybrid’s weight starts to really show its face. Of course the Avalon Hybrid is not a performance vehicle by any means and it is not shy about remind you of this in an affirming manor with tire screeching and upsetting body roll. Nonetheless, the new Avalon Hybrid’s firmer suspension proves to be the compliant trait to make it a bit more lively and adept on those back curvy roads.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-front-seats

The all-new 2013 Avalon Hybrid touts ample interior room in the front and back seating areas. Legroom in the rear, over 39 inches, nearly rivals long-wheelbase luxury sedans, and the plush leather interior of the Avalon Hybrid Limited trim beckons to question why you would pony up any more cash for a luxury-branded vehicle in the same class. Fit and finish to the eye is superb but to the touch some of the finished plastic dashboard pieces diminish your initial perception. Nevertheless, the dashboard is pieced together with long-lasting quality in mind. The new control layout for the 2013 Avalon Hybrid Limited trim feature touch-capacitive buttons for most of the infotainment, ac/heater and vehicle setting controls. The touch-buttons are not overly sensitive but you may mistakenly press a button at times when making adjustments to the analog dials on the dashboard. Overall, the button placements and easy of usability is spot-on.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-rear-seats

One of the more interesting aspects of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid’s usable space is the trunk, which also houses the hybrid battery. Surprisingly, even with the hybrid battery placed just at the rear of the rear seatbacks, you have enough space, 14-cubic feet, for several bags. Other features placing the Avalon on the same pedestal as some luxury brands are the heated and ventilated front bucket seats, heated rear-outward seats, optional technology package including radar cruise control w/ pre-collision system and automatic high-beam headlights. The other notable option equipped on my Avalon Hybrid Limited test vehicle is an eBin wireless charging storage tray for wirelessly charging mobile phones with compatible eBin wireless charging capabilities. Don’t expect to get use out of this with your new iPhone, unless you foot the bill for a compatible wireless-charging case. Still, you will be able to pair your smartphone via Bluetooth and stream your music wirelessly.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-trunk

As a full-sized sedan with an efficiency edge, the new 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid has the proven EPA fuel consumption numbers as to not deviate from its hybrid badges and over-all purpose. The choice of a new Avalon Hybrid over a Camry Hybrid, or any other eco-minded full-sized vehicle, comes down to usable interior space, which the Avalon takes to a new dimension – literally. The use of the same Camry hybrid drivetrain in the new Avalon Hybrid, also found in the Lexus ES300h, is a major emphasis on Toyota’s proven hybrid system, which they are not afraid to utilize in several vehicles. As an added value factor, the Avalon Hybrid starts at just $36,365 for the XLE Premium trim, which is just over $3,000 less than the platform-sharing Lexus ES300h hybrid. My Avalon Hybrid Limited test vehicle loaded up with the Tech package comes to an as-tested price of $44,485 including a $760 delivery, processing and handling fee. In retrospect, the new Toyota Avalon Hybrid is one offering that cannot be matched in terms of its large size and exceptional fuel economy for such a starting price.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-2
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-side
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-3
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-front
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-rear
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-wheel-tire
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-dashboard
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-gauge-cluster
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-front-seats
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-rear-seats
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-door-trim
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-heat-vent-seats-drive-control
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-trunk
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-badge

Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Avalon Hybrid XLE $36,365 / As-Tested Avalon Hybrid Limited $44,485
  • Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder (156 horsepower) with two hybrid electric motors for total output of 200 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm / 199 lb.ft. of torque
  • Wheelbase: 111 in.
  • Overall length: 195.3 in.
  • Overall width: 72.2 in.
  • Overall height: 57.5 in.
  • Track: f/r-62.6/62.2 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.6/37.9 in. with glass sunroof
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/39.2 in.
  • EPA cargo volume: 14.0 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,638 lbs.
  • Fuel tank: 17.0 gallons
  • Turning radius: 40.0 ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.1 seconds
  • EPA fuel economy: 40 mpg/city 39 mpg/highway
  • Range: 680 miles city / 663 miles highway


2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Driving Impressions 10
Oct
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, hybrid, Hyundai, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Test Drives on 10 10th, 2013
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-1

2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-1

The new 2013 Hyundai Sonata has pierced into its segment as a respectable sedan that offers the same variations that its direct competition has touted for many years. Now with the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, adding to the base 4-cylinder and turbo offerings, attempts to offer consumers that alternative to saving a bit more fuel much like the hybrids we have grown to admire from Japanese manufacturers.

The new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid attempts to build on its proven chassis but takes many of its traits and adds uniqueness to the design that signifies the Hybrid variant from the rest of the line. Powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 159 horsepower and 154 ft-lbs. of torque combined with a 47 horsepower and 151 ft-lbs. of torque electric motor, the Sonata Hybrid’s total 199 horsepower output has enough oomph to make its mid-sized sedan duties with some substance. The powertrain, as intricate as it is, is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. In the scope of mainstream hybrid sedans, the Sonata is one of the rare offerings to direct power through a transmission with gears instead of a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) unit. Of course being an enthusiast, this is one of the few appreciated aspects of the new Sonata Hybrid considering how CVTs sap the fun out of just about any vehicle where the driver has a slight desire to push it near its limits.

2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-10

Power comes on smooth when the engine and electric motor or working in sync. You can expect 0-60 mph times to come in around 8.5 seconds. Although the Sonata Hybrid constantly adapts to your driving style, it suffers from a few hiccups within the hybrid drive system. Many times the transition between the electric motor to the gas engine, although smooth, is rather indecisive. The Sonata Hybrid is so indecisive in its electric motor-to-engine transitions that you lose the confidence of jumping into traffic or taking any remotely daring merges onto highway roads from exit ramps. Possibly, the hiccups can be resolved with reprogramming. Nevertheless, the new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has this shortcoming looming over its over-all driving experience but still manages to muster out a respectable fuel consumption figure.

2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-2

Other aspects of the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s performance prove to keep the driver out of the decision making of how the power and efficiency is managed. Basically, there is no sport mode or eco mode, which in some cases it would make a considerable difference in how energy is managed. However, you do have an eco-mode for the ac/heater system and the blue drive dashboard indication that absolutely does nothing from my observation. To the benefit of Hyundai’s hybrid system, it does have long instances of switching over to electric power near highway speeds. At times running around 55 mph to 65 mph the system indicates full electric power if you are not accelerating. Of course sustaining that speed on an even surface would immediately prompt a switch-over to gas engine power, but the system slips in times where the electric motor runs solo to maintain such a speed when costing down a hill or detecting a progressive decline of speed.

2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-3

My week with the new Sonata Hybrid never yielded its true mpg EPA estimate of 40 mpg highway. Though, I was able to match the EPA estimated 36 mpg city figure getting about 35.8 to 36.2 mpg around town. On the highway I saw the best figure of about 37.4 mpg, well shy of that 40 mpg figure. Regenerative braking works with a seamless nature to charge the new next-generation lithium polymer battery in conjunction with the engine at computer-initiated times. The new battery comes with a lifetime battery warranty – more than likely a major deciding factor for the longevity of such a vehicle and proven durability.

2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-4

Ride quality and its handling are on par for what you would expect from a mid-sized sedan. The dampers are well-tuned to smooth-out the fuss of uneven road surfaces and adapt well to lateral motions. The Sonata Hybrid proves to be a bit sportier in its handling than other comparable Hybrids and even many regular gas-powered sedans in the same class.

The interior of the new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid takes a page directly from the book of the rest of the Sonata line. The new Sonata Hybrid combines all of the optional features found on other trim levels as standard equipment, part of the attractive value of this vehicle. Many of the plastics surrounding the new Sonata Hybrid’s interior are soft-touch and all come together well. Don’t expect much to jump out as being elaborate inside of the new Sonata Hybrid. Many of the materials, mostly consisting of plastic, have a surprising good fit and finish but not too far on the luxury side of things.

2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-6

The leather seats in my 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid proved to be somewhat supportive and comfortable on long trips. There is a slight amount of bolstering on the front seats, just the right amount expected from a mid-sized sedan. Instrumentation is brightly lit and easy to read. The infotainment system of the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid mimics much of the Hyundai line of vehicles fed through a 7-inch LCD touch-screen. The GPS navigation system is straight forward as well as the vehicle settings accessed through the instrument cluster center color LCD screen.

Exterior styling, taking a slight departure from normal Sonata trim levels, goes in a different direction for the Hybrid model. The front fascia is reworked with the only similarity being the over-all headlight shape and hood. The rear also has traits that signify the Sonata Hybrid and capped off with highlighted-blue Hyundai emblems up front and in back. The coupe-like sloping roofline demonstrates the Hyundai Sonata’s aerodynamics, which aid to keep wind noise down at highway speeds and an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.25. The new Sonta Hybrid basically slips through the wind like freshly sharpened knife does through hot butter.

2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-8

The new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited, including most Sonata options as standard features, attempts to place its pricing in a competitive position. Pricing for the new Sonata Hybrid starts at just $30,550 and topped out with my test vehicle at just $32,460 including a $795 fright and handling charge, $1,100 panoramic sunroof w/ power sunshade, iPod cable and floor mats. A comparable Toyota Camry Hybrid will start things off around $26,140 but can quickly climb up to the Sonata Hybrid’s price point and beyond it once several comparable options are added on.

The new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has certainly claimed its position as a choice among main-stream hybrid sedans on the market. It is well deserved of a look from those in the market for an affordable midsized hybrid sedan with a long list of standard features and a rock-solid warranty on the vehicle and new hybrid battery.

2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-1
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-2
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-3
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-4
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-6
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-5
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-8
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-7
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-9
2013-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-10

Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Sonata Hybrid $25,650 / As-Tested Sonata Hybrid Limited $31,550
  • Engine: 2.4 liter Theta II 4-cylinder Atkinson Cycle Combined 199 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm / 151-154 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Wheelbase: 110 inches
  • Total length: 189.8 inches
  • Total width: 72.2 inches
  • Total height: 57.7 inches
  • Tread: f/r-62.6/62/6 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-40/37.8 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-45.5/34.6 inches
  • Turning circle: 35.8 ft.
  • EPA passenger volume: 103.8 cu.ft.
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 36 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 17.2 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,578 pounds


2013 Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid Review & Driving Impressions 7
Aug
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, hybrid, LEXUS, Lexus LS600h, Test Drives on 08 7th, 2013
2013-lexus-ls600hl

2013-lexus-ls600hl

What if there was a way to reverse the effects of aging and we all naturally became better, more intelligent and refined year after year? Basically, the dream of getting better with age much like a fine wine seldom happens unless we are talking about a vehicle like the all-new Lexus LS.

The all-new 2013 Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid, the pinnacle of Japanese luxury, is a masterful feat that I was able to experience on a pleasurable drive from Jacksonville to Miami, Florida.

In 1989 the Lexus LS set its sights on redefining the automotive luxury segment in America by competing with the big dogs from Germany. With year-after-year runs of successful pursuits of perfection, Lexus now considers its perfection an ongoing expectation in the brand and the newest LS is evident of that as it plays alongside of its German competitors with a slightly different approach.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-side

The new Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid is the top-level trim for the LS, which is only available in a long-wheelbase variation. The new 2013 Lexus LS 600h L builds upon the LS460’s long wheelbase trim level including many standard features and the most powerful drivetrain for the large luxury sedan. The LS 600h L is powered by an exclusive 5.0-liter DOHC V8 engine (only available on the LS 600h L) and pair of electric motors all mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission. The mesh of its powertrain comes together to produce a total output of 438 horsepower and 385 ft-lbs of torque for all 4 wheels. The advanced all-wheel-drive system is a seamless wonder as is the hybrid powertrain deliverers what seems to be near V12 oomph with the smoothness of a baby’s bottom.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-engine

Toyota’s synergy drive hybrid systems remain to be among the best in the business with the latest iterations of the powertrains operating no different than any well-balanced and vibration-free gasoline engine. After-all, Toyota introduce America to the hybrid world, and continues to pioneer the segment. For the new Lexus LS 600h L the performance output from its hybrid setup is surprisingly transparent to the driver. With the expectations of a CVT transmission to traditionally sap the grunt out of most vehicles, it shockingly works well in the LS 600h L. There is hardly any time that the transmission gives away those expected negative connotations and traits of what us enthusiasts have experienced with most CVTs. With the Lexus LS 600h L being one of the most powerful vehicles equipped with a CVT transmission, the transition of the pulleys never really become a nuisance. In other words, the robust amount of power available across the full RPM band in conjunction with the electric motor’s instant torque gives off the impression of a normal transmission with actual gears instead of a steadily adjusting pulley landing the rpms in a comatose state while you wait for acceleration to take place.

Even though the LS 600h L is without doubt a hybrid, it still uses copious amounts of premium fuel when the 400-plus ponies are put down to the pavement on long hauls. Though, during my 300-mile highway drive I saw a steady 25.4 mpg average figure surpassing the EPA estimated 23 mpg highway figure. Around the city in the LS 600h L the EPA estimates 19 mpg, which I was able to best with 21 mpg and an astonishing 27 mpg in heavy traffic. Though, I will admit to having an aggressive mental conception on how to keep the vehicle in EV mode for as long as I could. Basically, I was hypermilling a total of about 14 miles out of 20 total miles to get that figure. The powertrain, much like other Toyota and Lexus hybrid systems, will find times where it utilizes electric power exclusively all the way up to 45 mph. Most times this is accomplished on a level strip of road or a slightly downhill grade considering the weight of the LS hybrid.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-drive-1

The electric motors, aside from aiding in propulsion, act as the engine starter and an active generator to recoup energy with regenerative braking. The pair of electric motors are quite robust as they are responsible for making up the gap of the V8 engine’s 383 horsepower to reach a total of 438 horsepower.

The power surges on strong in the LS 600h L making a dash to 60mph in just 5.5 seconds. The Lexus-trait Drive Select Mode switch gives you the option of selecting a Sport mode, Comfort mode, Eco mode and Normal mode. Each of the settings change a set of perimeters of the vehicle, such as the throttle sensitivity, damper stiffness, steering effort and hybrid drivetrain mapping. You can expect Comfort mode to be a mix of economy and a soft setting for the suspension dampers. Sport mode adds an aggressive deceleration mapping for when you let off of the throttle through the regenerative braking while steering wheel effort increases and throttle response is advanced. A Sport+ mode puts the dampers into an aggressive setting but still proves to emanate a rather smooth ride with a bit less body roll.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-drive-2

Of course with the LS 600h L tipping the scale at a hefty 5,159 pounds, things tend to get a bit dicey with the body motion in any Drive Select Mode. The LS 600h L isn’t overly sloppy handling the robust power in a straight line; however, it does tend to wallow around like a whale at the slightest turn of the steering wheel when you power out of the hole. The adaptive air suspension system does its best to keep the massive amount of weight at bay but somewhat falters under extreme stress of lateral g-forces. What the suspension does do good in, and I mean really good, is provide all of its 4 passengers with a supple ride accompanied by active dampening that basically reads the road to limit unnecessary bounce or rebounds on just about any paved surface all the way up to trip-digit speeds. It is like you are riding on air, which in a way you are… literally.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-dashboard

The suppleness of the Lexus LS 600h L doesn’t stop with its adaptive air suspension system, it is clearly emitted throughout its plush cabin. Inside of the new Lexus LS 600h L is an estate setup cabin with room for only 4 passengers. Although it may seem like a waste of space, the 4-passenger setup is ideal for a worthy owner to get ushered around in style. The rear passenger side seating laces the occupant in a serenity and his/her’s own controls for ac/heat, ventilated/heated seating, radio controls, and full seat controls featuring reclining, power ottoman and a seat massager to rival expensive shiatsu setups at your local furniture store. To add insult to injury for those who have never experienced pure luxury on four wheels, bamboo trim throughout the cabin set the soft tranquil mood. Lexus didn’t hold back with the bamboo trim either, you will find it throughout the dashboard, door trim, center and rear console and even inset in the rear swivel and stow-way tray table. To put the icing on the decadent cake, my LS 600h L test vehicle was equipped with a Blue ray/DVD player and roof-mounted high-resolution screen. The system has the option to feed sound to a set of wireless headsets or the 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound stereo system. Toting around a couple of friends in the back who were watching the movie Casino Royal when the Aston Martin DBS meets its demise, played havoc on my abilities to focus on the road but at the same time captivated their audible senses to the point of utter astonishment.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-seat-ottoman

To put things in context, the LS 600h L isn’t exactly a vehicle for those looking to get anything near Prius fuel consumption numbers. Nevertheless, the all-new 2013 Lexus LS 600h L is a luxury-appointed land yacht to get you where you need to go with discreet style on the outside yet allows you to sink into the lap of luxury on the inside. It just so happens that the LS 600h L is a hybrid by design but that is just the bonus aspect of such a vehicle, as buyers won’t be merely seeking fuel savings per se. They will, however, seek the serene isolation from the road and outside world in one of the quietest cabins on the automotive market today in a vehicle that uses gasoline and enough high-tech eco-friendly gadgetry to remain in good standing with your environmentally engaged friends.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-center-console

My 2013 Lexus LS 600h L hybrid was loaded up with the Executive package but still had room for the optional pre-collision system and heads-up display. The 2013 Lexus LS 600h L starts at a base price of $119,910. My tester checked out at $128,610 including an $895 destination charge. The price tag is a hard pill to swallow for some venturing into Lexus’ best luxury foot forward. If the BMW 7 series Active Hybrid, Porsche Panamera Hybrid or Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid is on your list for potential ownership, then the Lexus LS 600h L should get a last-minute write-in before making any hasty decisions.

2013-lexus-ls600hl
2013-lexus-ls600hl-drive-1
2013-lexus-ls600hl-side
2013-lexus-ls600hl-drive-2
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-angle
2013-lexus-ls600hl-front
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear
2013-lexus-ls600hl-wheel-tire
2013-lexus-ls600hl-badge
2013-lexus-ls600hl-hybrid-badge
2013-lexus-ls600hl-dashboard
2013-lexus-ls600hl-guage-cluster
2013-lexus-ls600hl-front-seats
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-seats
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-seat-ottoman
2013-lexus-ls600hl-door-trim
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-entertainment-screen
2013-lexus-ls600hl-shifter-drive-select-center
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-center-console
2013-lexus-ls600hl-trunk
2013-lexus-ls600hl-engine

Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: MSRP LS 600h L $119,910 / As-Tested $128,610
  • Engine: 5.0 liter DOHC, all-aluminum V8 with Dual VVT / Electric – 2-Motor Voltage-650-DC – Nominal Voltage-288-volts- 221 horsepower – Total output = 438 horsepower
  • Wheelbase: 121.7 inches
  • Overall length: 205 inches
  • Overall height: 58.3 inches
  • Overall width: 73.8 inches
  • Track: f/r-63.6/63.4 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.1 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38/38 inches
  • Cargo volume: 13 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 5,159 lbs.
  • Fuel tank: 22.2 gallons
  • Turing circle: 38.8 ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds


2013 Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid Review & Driving Impressions 7
Aug
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, hybrid, LEXUS, Lexus LS600h, Test Drives on 08 7th, 2013
2013-lexus-ls600hl

2013-lexus-ls600hl

What if there was a way to reverse the effects of aging and we all naturally became better, more intelligent and refined year after year? Basically, the dream of getting better with age much like a fine wine seldom happens unless we are talking about a vehicle like the all-new Lexus LS.

The all-new 2013 Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid, the pinnacle of Japanese luxury, is a masterful feat that I was able to experience on a pleasurable drive from Jacksonville to Miami, Florida.

In 1989 the Lexus LS set its sights on redefining the automotive luxury segment in America by competing with the big dogs from Germany. With year-after-year runs of successful pursuits of perfection, Lexus now considers its perfection an ongoing expectation in the brand and the newest LS is evident of that as it plays alongside of its German competitors with a slightly different approach.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-side

The new Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid is the top-level trim for the LS, which is only available in a long-wheelbase variation. The new 2013 Lexus LS 600h L builds upon the LS460’s long wheelbase trim level including many standard features and the most powerful drivetrain for the large luxury sedan. The LS 600h L is powered by an exclusive 5.0-liter DOHC V8 engine (only available on the LS 600h L) and pair of electric motors all mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission. The mesh of its powertrain comes together to produce a total output of 438 horsepower and 385 ft-lbs of torque for all 4 wheels. The advanced all-wheel-drive system is a seamless wonder as is the hybrid powertrain deliverers what seems to be near V12 oomph with the smoothness of a baby’s bottom.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-engine

Toyota’s synergy drive hybrid systems remain to be among the best in the business with the latest iterations of the powertrains operating no different than any well-balanced and vibration-free gasoline engine. After-all, Toyota introduce America to the hybrid world, and continues to pioneer the segment. For the new Lexus LS 600h L the performance output from its hybrid setup is surprisingly transparent to the driver. With the expectations of a CVT transmission to traditionally sap the grunt out of most vehicles, it shockingly works well in the LS 600h L. There is hardly any time that the transmission gives away those expected negative connotations and traits of what us enthusiasts have experienced with most CVTs. With the Lexus LS 600h L being one of the most powerful vehicles equipped with a CVT transmission, the transition of the pulleys never really become a nuisance. In other words, the robust amount of power available across the full RPM band in conjunction with the electric motor’s instant torque gives off the impression of a normal transmission with actual gears instead of a steadily adjusting pulley landing the rpms in a comatose state while you wait for acceleration to take place.

Even though the LS 600h L is without doubt a hybrid, it still uses copious amounts of premium fuel when the 400-plus ponies are put down to the pavement on long hauls. Though, during my 300-mile highway drive I saw a steady 25.4 mpg average figure surpassing the EPA estimated 23 mpg highway figure. Around the city in the LS 600h L the EPA estimates 19 mpg, which I was able to best with 21 mpg and an astonishing 27 mpg in heavy traffic. Though, I will admit to having an aggressive mental conception on how to keep the vehicle in EV mode for as long as I could. Basically, I was hypermilling a total of about 14 miles out of 20 total miles to get that figure. The powertrain, much like other Toyota and Lexus hybrid systems, will find times where it utilizes electric power exclusively all the way up to 45 mph. Most times this is accomplished on a level strip of road or a slightly downhill grade considering the weight of the LS hybrid.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-drive-1

The electric motors, aside from aiding in propulsion, act as the engine starter and an active generator to recoup energy with regenerative braking. The pair of electric motors are quite robust as they are responsible for making up the gap of the V8 engine’s 383 horsepower to reach a total of 438 horsepower.

The power surges on strong in the LS 600h L making a dash to 60mph in just 5.5 seconds. The Lexus-trait Drive Select Mode switch gives you the option of selecting a Sport mode, Comfort mode, Eco mode and Normal mode. Each of the settings change a set of perimeters of the vehicle, such as the throttle sensitivity, damper stiffness, steering effort and hybrid drivetrain mapping. You can expect Comfort mode to be a mix of economy and a soft setting for the suspension dampers. Sport mode adds an aggressive deceleration mapping for when you let off of the throttle through the regenerative braking while steering wheel effort increases and throttle response is advanced. A Sport+ mode puts the dampers into an aggressive setting but still proves to emanate a rather smooth ride with a bit less body roll.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-drive-2

Of course with the LS 600h L tipping the scale at a hefty 5,159 pounds, things tend to get a bit dicey with the body motion in any Drive Select Mode. The LS 600h L isn’t overly sloppy handling the robust power in a straight line; however, it does tend to wallow around like a whale at the slightest turn of the steering wheel when you power out of the hole. The adaptive air suspension system does its best to keep the massive amount of weight at bay but somewhat falters under extreme stress of lateral g-forces. What the suspension does do good in, and I mean really good, is provide all of its 4 passengers with a supple ride accompanied by active dampening that basically reads the road to limit unnecessary bounce or rebounds on just about any paved surface all the way up to trip-digit speeds. It is like you are riding on air, which in a way you are… literally.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-dashboard

The suppleness of the Lexus LS 600h L doesn’t stop with its adaptive air suspension system, it is clearly emitted throughout its plush cabin. Inside of the new Lexus LS 600h L is an estate setup cabin with room for only 4 passengers. Although it may seem like a waste of space, the 4-passenger setup is ideal for a worthy owner to get ushered around in style. The rear passenger side seating laces the occupant in a serenity and his/her’s own controls for ac/heat, ventilated/heated seating, radio controls, and full seat controls featuring reclining, power ottoman and a seat massager to rival expensive shiatsu setups at your local furniture store. To add insult to injury for those who have never experienced pure luxury on four wheels, bamboo trim throughout the cabin set the soft tranquil mood. Lexus didn’t hold back with the bamboo trim either, you will find it throughout the dashboard, door trim, center and rear console and even inset in the rear swivel and stow-way tray table. To put the icing on the decadent cake, my LS 600h L test vehicle was equipped with a Blue ray/DVD player and roof-mounted high-resolution screen. The system has the option to feed sound to a set of wireless headsets or the 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound stereo system. Toting around a couple of friends in the back who were watching the movie Casino Royal when the Aston Martin DBS meets its demise, played havoc on my abilities to focus on the road but at the same time captivated their audible senses to the point of utter astonishment.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-seat-ottoman

To put things in context, the LS 600h L isn’t exactly a vehicle for those looking to get anything near Prius fuel consumption numbers. Nevertheless, the all-new 2013 Lexus LS 600h L is a luxury-appointed land yacht to get you where you need to go with discreet style on the outside yet allows you to sink into the lap of luxury on the inside. It just so happens that the LS 600h L is a hybrid by design but that is just the bonus aspect of such a vehicle, as buyers won’t be merely seeking fuel savings per se. They will, however, seek the serene isolation from the road and outside world in one of the quietest cabins on the automotive market today in a vehicle that uses gasoline and enough high-tech eco-friendly gadgetry to remain in good standing with your environmentally engaged friends.

2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-center-console

My 2013 Lexus LS 600h L hybrid was loaded up with the Executive package but still had room for the optional pre-collision system and heads-up display. The 2013 Lexus LS 600h L starts at a base price of $119,910. My tester checked out at $128,610 including an $895 destination charge. The price tag is a hard pill to swallow for some venturing into Lexus’ best luxury foot forward. If the BMW 7 series Active Hybrid, Porsche Panamera Hybrid or Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid is on your list for potential ownership, then the Lexus LS 600h L should get a last-minute write-in before making any hasty decisions.

2013-lexus-ls600hl
2013-lexus-ls600hl-drive-1
2013-lexus-ls600hl-side
2013-lexus-ls600hl-drive-2
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-angle
2013-lexus-ls600hl-front
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear
2013-lexus-ls600hl-wheel-tire
2013-lexus-ls600hl-badge
2013-lexus-ls600hl-hybrid-badge
2013-lexus-ls600hl-dashboard
2013-lexus-ls600hl-guage-cluster
2013-lexus-ls600hl-front-seats
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-seats
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-seat-ottoman
2013-lexus-ls600hl-door-trim
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-entertainment-screen
2013-lexus-ls600hl-shifter-drive-select-center
2013-lexus-ls600hl-rear-center-console
2013-lexus-ls600hl-trunk
2013-lexus-ls600hl-engine

Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: MSRP LS 600h L $119,910 / As-Tested $128,610
  • Engine: 5.0 liter DOHC, all-aluminum V8 with Dual VVT / Electric – 2-Motor Voltage-650-DC – Nominal Voltage-288-volts- 221 horsepower – Total output = 438 horsepower
  • Wheelbase: 121.7 inches
  • Overall length: 205 inches
  • Overall height: 58.3 inches
  • Overall width: 73.8 inches
  • Track: f/r-63.6/63.4 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.1 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38/38 inches
  • Cargo volume: 13 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 5,159 lbs.
  • Fuel tank: 22.2 gallons
  • Turing circle: 38.8 ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds


2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Second Look 31
Jul
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, hybrid, LEXUS, Test Drives on 07 31st, 2013
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Right Done Small

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Right Done Small

The all-new 2013 Lexus ES350 is the six-generation of Lexus’ most popular luxury sedan and the new ES 300h with Lexus Hybrid Drive marks the first time the popular model benefits from the hybrid system.  It features the signature Lexus spindle grille, a progressive new design and enhanced handling.  It is sure to impress new and loyal Lexus ES consumers.

The ES 300h features a 2.5 liter, DOHC, all aluminum, in-line four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with variable valve timing on the intake (VVT-i).  This new, low friction engine utilizes a sophisticated power management system and high compression ratio (12.5:1) to increase its overall efficiency.  It is equipped with an electric water pump, electric rack & pinion power steering system and an integrated Lexus Hybrid Drive System comprising an electric motor/generator.  As a result the engine does not require any accessory belts thus helping to improve fuel economy and overall reliability.   The gasoline engine generates 156hp at 5,700rpm with 156lb.ft. of torque at 4,500rpm.  Combined with the Lexus Hybrid Drive total horsepower is bumped up to a total of 200hp.   With this gasoline/hybrid engine EPA mileage ratings are 40mpg/city and 39mpg/highway.  After more than 425 miles of city and highway driving, I received, according to the trip computer, 38.8 combined mpg.  That’s good news for a mid-size luxury sedan.

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Engine Done Small

This high-tech gasoline/hybrid engine is mated to a six-speed sequential-shift automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), turning the front wheels that provides enhanced driving performance, which I wasn’t expecting, including very smooth, imperceptible shifts.

Further enhancing the fun-to-drive experience is the Drive Mode Selector dial located on the left side of the center console.  Three modes are available-Normal mode provides a blend of performance and efficiency that is best for everyday driving, Eco mode favors fuel economy, and Sport mode increase powertrain and steering responsiveness.  When in the Eco or Normal mode the left gauge features a hybrid power monitor and when you change to Sport mode, you’ll see a full tachometer.  It is a perfect way to see how well you are saving fuel in Eco or Normal mode, and the available and current RPMs in Sport mode.  There is also an EV button that allows short distance driving in all-electric drive from the hybrid battery pack.  The other button is to turn the traction control/vehicle stability control off/on.

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Side Done Small

I enjoyed the ride in any of the modes thanks to the fully independent suspension system.  Up front is a MacPherson strut setup, gas-charged shocks, an anti-roll bar and opposite-wound coil springs that help with straight-line stability at high speeds.  The revised rear suspension features dual-link MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar to keep body lean to a minimum.  The new rear suspension geometry and improved shock absorber damping characteristics further enhance ride comfort when traveling over poorly paved road surfaces.  Increasing my confidence when attacking curving roads in the Sport mode is the 13.8:1 steering gear ratio that give a more responsive and direct steering feel with a great on-center touch.   Giving back more fun-to-drive excitement is the increased body rigidity that is achieved through the use of more lightweight, high-tensile strength steel, added bracing and more spot welds.  Airflow around and underneath the new ES 300h are underbody panels, a front spoiler, deep side extensions, a rear spoiler and rear diffuser.  It also helps improving stability at high speeds, increases fuel economy and reduces drag.  The co-efficient of drag is just 0.27.  The new ‘L’ design motif of the 300h is reflected in the LED daytime running lamps and combination rear LED lamps.  Foglamps are integrated into the sculpted lower front bumper fascia.  The ES 300h also feature an exclusive rear design with hidden exhaust pipe for a clean look.  Other details specific to the hybrid include blue badging and exclusive 17X7 aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with Bridgestone 215/55R17 inch Turanza low-rolling resistance all-season tires.

Slowing the all-new ES300h down from speed are large four-wheel disc brakes that are regenerative making electric power that is transferred back into the battery pack.  Up front are 11.6 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers while in the rear are 11 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers.  Keeping control of the car during severe braking situations, like when driving on wet or slick pavement are standard ABS, EBD and BA.  Standard Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control systems work with the braking systems to ensure the car stops quickly and straight.

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Rear Done Small

The interior cabin of the all-new ES 300h is pure Lexus luxury, comfort, connectivity and safety.  It features enhanced sightlines and visibility, logically placed controls, and new cabin materials that express a high level of craftsmanship.  I really appreciated the new stitched leather dashboard and door trim plus the luxurious dark bamboo wood trim.  The modern interior has been designed to give the consumer a sense of openness and security for up to five passengers.  Great rear seat legroom and knee room are the hallmark of the redesigned, more spacious passenger cabin.  Rear headroom is increased by 0.8 inches, knee room is increased by 2.8 inches and legroom is lengthened by 4.1 inches.  Additional foot room below the front seats further enhances rear passenger comfort.  The newly sculpted 10-way power adjustable driver/front passenger seat is so comfortable and very supportive.  The sporty, tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great in your hands and has a new angle reduced from 24-degrees to 22-degrees for a more natural control position.  The wheel has redundant buttons for the audio system, trip computer and cruise control.  The cockpit features a separate electroluminescent instrument cluster and separate operation zones to help keep your eyes on the road.  The instrument panel with its long, layered look, places the optional 8-inch VGA navigation screen into a separate, centered backed in space to keep the sun’s glare to a minimum.  Below the center display is a self-illuminating LED analog clock.  All of the dials, buttons and switches are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving.

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Dashboard Done Small

The second-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) allows you to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, optional navigation system and more.  The screen menus are selected with a controller (like a computer mouse) located on the center console.  RTI also reduces eye and hand movement, helping to decrease effort and distraction.  It takes a little to get used to but it is really neat and intuitive.  Lexus Enform provides seamless connectivity with Bing search, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora, Yelp and Facebook Places through compatible smart phones.  The standard Lexus Premium Sound system features eight-speakers with automatic sound leveler, in-dash CD player, USB/iPod connectivity, and an integrated SiriusXM satellite radio receiver.

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Front Seats Done Small

Other standard features inside includes NuLuxe seating and piano black trimmed interior, electrochromic auto-dimming rearview mirror, electrochromic heated outside mirrors, one-touch open/close sunroof, automatic dual-zone climate control system Bluetooth technology, USB audio plug, power windows all express up/down, power door locks, Lexus Personalization settings, carpeted floor mats, four-grab handles, dual map lamps, push button start/stop, intermittent windshield  wipers/washers, dual lighted vanity mirrors, dual cupholders on the center console with a padded armrest and deep storage box, rear pull-down armrest with dual cupholders, remote trunk release and remote fuel filler door.  My test ES 300h came with the optional HID headlights, heated front seats, Hard Disk Drive Navigation system with backup camera, voice command.  The Premium Package aboard included Lexus Memory system for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors, and the power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry with entry linked memory, leather trimmed shift knob and wood/leather steering wheel, cargo net and trunk mat.  I think that’s enough to keep any luxury sedan consumer pleased.

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Back Seats Done Small

Standard safety systems include five-three-point safety belts with front/rear outboard seat pretensioners/load limiters, 10-airbags including dual front airbags, dual front knee airbags, front/rear seated-mounted side impact airbags, side curtain airbags front/rear, Smart Stop Technology, front/rear crumple zones, side door beams, theft-deterrent system, Safety Connect, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency SOS button, auto on/off headlamps, daytime running lamps, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Driving the all-new 2013 Lexus ES 300h was fun and sometimes exciting when in the Sport mode.  It gave me a smooth, quiet ride, plenty of comfort, luxury and connectivity with way too high mpg compared to regular gasoline mid-size luxury sport sedans.  It is another Lexus winner!

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Right Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Left Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Side Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Rear Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Dashboard Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid RPM Cluster Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Eco Cluster Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Front Seats Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Back Seats Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Door Trim Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Drive Mode Selector Dial Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Badge Done Small
2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Engine Done Small

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base ES300h $38,850.00 / As-Tested $44,524.00
  • Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder (156 horsepower) with two hybrid electric motors for total output of 200 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm / 199 lb.ft. of torque
  • Wheelbase: 111 in.
  • Overall length: 192.7 in.
  • Overall width: 71.7 in.
  • Overall height: 57.1 in.
  • Track: f/r-62.6/62 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.7/37.5 in. with glass sunroof
  • Legroom: f/r-41.9/40 in.
  • EPA cargo volume: 12.1 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,660 lbs.
  • Fuel tank: 17.2 gallons
  • Turning radius: 18.7 ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.1 seconds
  • EPA fuel economy: 40 mpg/city 39 mpg/highway
  • Range: 688 miles city / 670.8 miles highway


2013 Chevrolet Volt Quick Driving Impressions 18
Jul
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, hybrid, Test Drives, Volt on 07 18th, 2013
2013-chevrolet-volt

2013-chevrolet-volt

The new 2013 Chevrolet Volt carries on its efficient duties with the addition of a few new features that add to its versatile and innovative electrified platform. The new 2013 Volt also continues its substantial compliance on the road much like any other midsized or compact sedan virtually streamlining its electric powertrain and gasoline engine generator.

The public has learned much about the Chevy Volt recently where its image is getting more polished each year with slight improvements. The saying goes that it can only get better and Chevrolet has done just that, made the Volt even better even when pitted against its mainstream competition.

2013-chevrolet-volt-motor-engine

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt receives a new Hold feature adding to the Sport, Normal and Mountain drive modes. The new Hold feature basically holds the battery charge and only utilizes power generated from the 1.4-liter gasoline engine stored in a temporary battery buffer. Essentially, using the Hold feature will allow you to retain all of the wall-charged energy in the new 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Previous year Volts included just a 16.0 kWh battery. The new slightly higher capacity boosts the range to an average of 38 total miles solely on a full electric charge. Adding to the total range is the Volt’s ability to utilize the batteries hi-tech-controlled buffer where power is generated from its gasoline engine fed by a 9.3 gallon gas tank.

2013-chevrolet-volt-side

My drive in the new 2013 Chevrolet Volt consisted of a nice mix of highway and densely populated city driving with relatively light traffic. I was able to muster out a total of 43 miles from a fully-charged battery. In all 43 miles I used the air-conditioner and lights as my drive approached sunset. The normal drive mode was used about half of my drive while the other half sport drive mode appeased me most. I took special note to the sport mode advancing the throttle position for a bit more response, something enthusiasts would take pleasure in. The over-night charge (est. 10.5 hours) before my drive used the one of the new selectable charge modes in the faster 12 amps mode vs. the reduced 8 amps mode.  Of course using the updated 120-volt wall-charger I noticed a much cooler plug when compared to my review of the 2012 and 2011 model-year Volts.

2013-chevrolet-volt-rear-2

Some have demonstrated more than 50 miles on a single full charge in the new Volt exclusively using the battery charge capacity. General Motors claims users will see on average of 38 miles on a full charge. As you can imagine, that figure can sway greatly dependent on driving conditions and usage of power accessories such as the climate control. After depleting the battery charge, or using the hold feature exclusively, you will expect to get an average of 37 mpg. I saw just that during my drive with my best figure being 45 mpg and worst coming in at 32 mpg. The 32 mpg figure was due to driving up a few tall bridges and driving ‘slightly above’ posted interstate speed limits. Amazingly, there is a exponential diminishing return when you start to approach 80 mph and eventually topping out at the Volt’s 101 mph electronically controlled top speed. Of course, I found its top speed while on a closed course I was able to use for half an hour. What an experience having this extended range electric vehicle out on a closed course.

2013-chevrolet-volt-lcd-guage

The ride quality of the new 2013 Chevy Volt seemed to be a bit more compliant than previous years. I attempted to find additional information on any spring rate or damper changes but could not confirm any definitive data. With that said, the 2013 Chevy Volt rides great for its weight and feels well-balanced. Though, the ultra-efficient low-rolling-resistant tires are prone to screeching at any moderate to hard turn-in exhibiting an abundance of understeer at the mercy of stability control working overtime.

2013-chevrolet-volt-dashboard

The instant torque from the electric motor, a full 273 ft-lbs. available from a start, really makes the Volt come to life especially in the mix of heavy traffic and highway cruising. Over-all power produced from the electric motor is only 149 horsepower but really rests on its torque figure to get things in motion. You may not win many drag races but you sure can get a jump off of the line and out of the hole with ease having an all-electric platform to propel the vehicle.

Concluding the new features added for the 2013 Volt is a new lane-departure and forward collision warning system. Of course potential California Volt owners can now rejoice due to the Volt receiving a low-emissions package so they may legally travel in the carpool lanes no matter how many occupants are in the vehicle.

2013-chevrolet-volt-front-seats

The new 2013 Chevrolet Volt is a factual marvel no matter how you want to slice its innovative drivetrain, complex vehicle management programming all combined to make it a seamless driving experience. The lofty initial pricetag starting at $39,149 before the $7,500 tax credit is probably one of the unattractive aspects of the Volt. Though, adding in the tax credit makes all of the difference in the world for the true economical-minded. With that in mind, the Volt, for some, could very well be a good value and foundational emergence into the future of what is to come from extended –range electric and alternative power vehicles. The as-tested price of my loaded test vehicle came in at $45,540 including a $850 destination charge. Still, a definite a winner in my book… after the tax credit.

2013-chevrolet-volt
2013-chevrolet-volt-side
2013-chevrolet-volt-rear-2
2013-chevrolet-volt-front
2013-chevrolet-volt-rear-1
2013-chevrolet-volt-wheel-tire
2013-chevrolet-volt-dashboard
2013-chevrolet-volt-lcd-guage
2013-chevrolet-volt-center-dash
2013-chevrolet-volt-front-seats
2013-chevrolet-volt-rear-seats
2013-chevrolet-volt-cargo
2013-chevrolet-volt-badge
2013-chevrolet-volt-motor-engine

Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Volt $39,145 As-Tested $45,540 *without $7,500 federal tax credit
  • Engine/Motor: 1.4-liter 4-cylinder (acting generator) & 2-motor electric – 149 horsepower 273 pounds-feet torque (instantaneous)
  • Drive: FWD (Front-Wheel-Drive)
  • Wheelbase: 105.7in.
  • Total length: 177.1in.
  • Total width: 70.4in.
  • Total height: 56.6in.
  • Track: f/r-61.2/62.1in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.8/36.0in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/34.1in.
  • MPG est.: 95 mpg city/93 mpg highway – *all contingent on a charged battery – AutomotiveAddicts.com fully-depleted battery estimates: 41 mpg city/37 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 9.3 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 8.9 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.6 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 3,781


2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Review & Test Drive 24
May
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, hybrid, Hyundai, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Test Drives on 05 24th, 2013
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Right Done Small

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Right Done Small

Instead of refining the already classic sexy styling and the comfortable and contemporary interior of the new Sonata Hybrid, Hyundai Motor America chose to tweak the excellent hybrid system further increasing fuel efficiency and for the car to operate in all-electric mode more often  and for longer periods of time.  They engineered an advanced version of the brand’s Blue Drive architecture.  The improved architecture optimizes electric-only driving with a higher output 35 kW electric motor, a more powerful 47 kW Lithium Polymer batter pack and an optimized hybrid operating strategy.  These upgrade are paired with a 2.4 liter Theta II four-cylinder engine that now runs on a more efficient Atkinson cycle and an enhanced six-speed automatic to generate 199 combined net horsepower.  The new Sonata Hybrid Blue Drive system offers greater fuel efficiencies by increasing the overall amount of available electrical drive power, allowing you to go further between fill-ups.  As in previous Sonata Hybrids, the new 2013 model features a clutch to decouple the gasoline engine from the drivetrain.  When in pure electric drive, the Sonata Hybrid can drive electrically up to 75 mph.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Engine Done Small

Maximizing electric-only driving results in high fuel efficiency, which is the leading factor consumers look for in a hybrid vehicle.  Hyundai engineers aimed to increase the overall amount of available electric drive power and improve the efficiency of the Hybrid Blue Drive operating system in the new model.

Using a higher output 35 kW electric motor and the more powerful 47 kW Lithium Polymer battery pack, the Hybrid Blue Drive powertrain maximizes electric-only driving.  The improved operating system takes advantage of newly developed driving pattern detection and engine on/off optimization logic.  The availability of more battery energy allows for greater flexibility in running the gasoline engine at optimum efficiency, which saves fuel.  Better kinetic energy recovery and increased charging efficiency powers the new model in all-electric mode more often and for longer periods of time, increasing fuel economy.  The car utilizes the all-electric mode at optimal moments such as highway driving, and then saves the gasoline engine start-up for roads that require a heavier dose of power at launch.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Side Done Small

The remarkable achievement with the new Sonata Hybrid’s 47 kW lithium polymer batter pack is that not only is it more powerful and more energy dense, it also weighs less and takes up less volume in the trunk.  It has gone from 96 pounds to 91 pounds, while trunk volume expands from 10.7 to 12.1 cu.ft.  Once again the improved efficiency of the battery pack is key to recovering more kinetic energy from braking and charging from the engine, when needed, to help propel the car.  The newly optimized system allows the battery to store more usable energy, allowing more all-electric driving, cutting both fuel consumption and emissions.  As the upgraded batter stores more energy, engineers also increased the output on the electric traction motor from 30 kW to 35 kW.  The increase energy pulled into the system is used for higher torque output in electric driving mode before the system has to start the internal combustion engine.  The new Sonata Hybrid can now sustain all-electric mode longer than before.  The higher output electric motor is also essential to improving energy capture during regenerative braking.

The HSG (Hybrid Starter Generator) is primarily used to improve clutch engagement when synchronizing engine to transmission speed.  The primary traction state of charge is low and the car is stopped, the HSG will automatically restart the engine, which then charges the Lithium Polymer battery pack.  When you release the brake and press on the throttle, the Sonata Hybrid will pull away smoothly in electric drive mode with the clutch still engaged.  In this mode, the Sonata will briefly behave like a series hybrid.  Once the car is in motion and torque demand increases, the clutch will engage and send engine tractive effort through the transmission again.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Rear Done Small

The body of the new Sonata Hybrid remains unchanged and cuts through the air with an incredible 0.24 co-efficient of drag made possible by the re-sharped front and rear fascias with a deeper air dam, extended rocker panels and lower drag wheels that allow air to flow around the body with less resistance.  All of these hybrid and body improvements allow the new Sonata Hybrid Limited that I tested to reach an EPA mileage spec of 36mpg/city and 40mpg/highway.

I checked this out and found it is true only when you get the car up to that speed using the gasoline/hybrid electric system.  When I took my foot off the throttle it did go into EV mode but then lost speed as I progressed.  When I gave it very light throttle to regain speed it did stay in EV mode until it slowed down again since the light throttle wasn’t enough to keep the speed up from 65-75mph.  It behaved the same at any speed below under very light throttle at the optimum speed but did drop off and I had to give it throttle again.  It does stretch the miles out using the same light throttle and coasting until you have to regain speed.  It doesn’t work on an incline or hill but does on the way down.  The EV only mode does work at launch until you reach 20mph then it reverts back to hybrid.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Cluster Done Small

The Hyundai Lifetime Hybrid Battery Warranty ensures that if the Sonata Lithium-Polymer battery ever needs replacement, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling cost for the old battery pack for free to the original owner.

Even though the Sonata Limited is a hybrid vehicle it is still fun and easy to drive with the latest in contemporary mechanical and interior features to make the ride even more enjoyable.

The Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine is all-aluminum with DOHC and Dual Continuously Valve Timing.  The six-speed automatic features Hyundai’s Sportronic sequential shifting for a more sporty drive.  The unique suspension is fully independent and features MacPherson struts up front with a 24mm stabilizer bar and SACHs Amplitude Selective Damping gas-charged shocks.  The rear independent suspension is a multi-link setup with coil springs, a 15mm stabilizer bar and SACHs Amplitude Selective Damping gas-charged shocks for an excellent ride over poorly paved roads and superb handling capabilities at speed.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Dashboard Done Small

Steering is provided by a Motor-Driven power steering column mounted rack & pinion power assisted system with engine rpm sensing for a lighter feel at slow speeds and a heavier feel at highway speeds with excellent on-center feel.  Slowing the new Sonata Hybrid Limited down from speed are large, regenerative steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.8 inch vented discs with large single-piston calipers and 11.2 vented discs utilizing large single-piston calipers in the rear.  Standard ABS and EBD help with your control when braking on slick or wet pavement.  The Limited 2013 Sonata Hybrid rides on 17X6.5 inch light alloy wheels wrapped with 215/55R17 inch low-rolling resistance tires.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Front Seats Done Small

Standard equipment in my Limited Sonata Hybrid includes projector beam headlights with LED accents, LED taillights, front foglamps, power remote sideview mirrors with turn signal indicators, unique, tinted chrome front grille, bodyside molding tinted chrome inserts, chrome exterior door handles, proximity entry with push-button start/stop, remote keyless entry, alarm and immobilizer, active front head restraints, 5-3-point seatbelts with front pretensioners/load limiters, electric stability control with traction control, front, front seat side and curtain airbags, electroluminescent instrument cluster, 4.2 inch color TFT multi-function trip computer with hybrid technology display, dual automatic temperature control, front console mounted rear air-vents, heated front seats, chrome interior door handles, leatherette interior door panel inserts, leather trimmed front bucket seats with driver’s-side 8-way power adjustments, tilt-telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise and phone controls, metal-grain interior accents, 499-watt AM-FM-Sirius XM/CD/MP3 with iPod/USB/auxiliary jack Infinity Premium audio system, power windows with driver’s-side express up/down, automatic door locks, integrated Bluetooth with phonebook transfer, Hyundai Blue Link Telematics system, auto light control, Virtual Engine Sound System, solar control glass, leather shift knob, navigation system with high-resolution touch screen display, rear backup camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror/homelink/compass, premium door sill plates, panoramic sunroof with power sunshade.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Back Seats Done Small

The price for this advanced and loaded mid-size hybrid sedan is $31,550.00.  It is definitely worth the money as I received a combined 37.3 mpg on average traveling on city and highway for more than 450 miles.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Right Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Left Up Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Headon Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Side Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Beauty Rear Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Dashboard Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Cluster Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Front Seats Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Back Seats Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Door Trim Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Panoramic Sunroof Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Badge Done Small
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Engine Done Small

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Sonata Hybrid $25,650 / As-Tested Sonata Hybrid Limited $31,550
  • Engine: 2.4 liter Theta II 4-cylinder Atkinson Cycle Combined 199 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm / 151-154 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Wheelbase: 110 inches
  • Total length: 189.8 inches
  • Total width: 72.2 inches
  • Total height: 57.7 inches
  • Tread: f/r-62.6/62/6 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-40/37.8 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-45.5/34.6 inches
  • Turning circle: 35.8 ft.
  • EPA passenger volume: 103.8 cu.ft.
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 36 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 17.2 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,578 pounds


2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Review & Test Drive 6
May
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, GS450h, hybrid, LEXUS, Lexus GS, Lexus GS450h, Test Drives on 05 6th, 2013
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Right Wide Done Small

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Right Wide Done Small

The all-new 2013 Lexus GS450h hybrid luxury sport sedan is refined and improved in every way.  It now combines new bold and aggressive styling, a total system horsepower rating of 338, a wider track and redesigned suspension for better, more precise handling plus a spacious interior with the latest in comfort, luxury, convenience, infotainment, connectivity and safety systems.  In its mid-size segment, there is nothing else like it.  After my seven-day test drive this GS450h is one of the few vehicles that I wish I didn’t have to give up.

The Lexus Hybrid Drive system features an ultra-smooth running, next generation D-45 direct and port fuel injection system with an Atkinson cycle 3.5 liter V6 engine mated to a compact, high-output, water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor powered by a high-performance nickel-metal hydride battery pack.  The two powerplants drive the rear wheels both independently and in tandem, as needed.  Fuel consumption is improved by more than 25% versus the previous generation with EPA estimated 29mpg/city, 34mpg/highway.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Engine Done Small

Besides high fuel mileage indicated, the new GS450h is so much fun to drive with five driving modes, including SNOW mode, through the high-tech CVT transmission, including paddle shifters on the steering wheel for even more spirited driving times.

Each mode can be operated by toggling the new Lexus Drive Mode Selector dial located on the center console.  The ECO mode revises throttle mapping, seat heating and climate control systems for better fuel economy.  In ECO mode the instrument cluster lighting changes to blue.  In EV mode you can drive short distances using only the electric motors.  In SPORT S mode it revises throttle mapping and transmission shifting priorities to fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain.  In Sport S mode instrument cluster lighting changes to red.  In SPORT S+ mode the handling is enhanced via a sport setting of the adaptive variable suspension, steering system and Vehicle Dynamic Integration Management (VDIM) together with the powertrain enhancements of SPORT S mode.  In SPORT+ mode, the all-new GS450h can accelerate to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.6sec.  That is truly amazing for a vehicle weighing 4,190 pounds.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Side Done Small

This high-tech powertrain is certified as a Super-Ultra Low Emission Vehicle which has lower emissions than clean diesel engines.   It also features a lightweight timing chain to eradicate engine noise, vibration and friction; a new system regenerating braking operating range that has been expanded to help further improvements in fuel efficiency; a new stacked battery configuration that maximizes luggage space allowing for more cargo room than last year’s model; improved fuel consumption through a high-compression ratio of 13:1, a new mid-port intake tumble generator and the adoption of a Lexus four-stroke, direct injection technology-D-45- with one injector installed in the combustion chamber and a second mounted in the intake port, D-45 combines the strengths of both direct and port injection, realizing optimum engine efficiency throughout the power band and improving torque across the rev range, while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions; the D-45 system features a new split-type injector nozzles with a modified port shape, a higher fuel pressure for more efficient combustion, and idle port injection for improved NVH; the cooling performance of the hybrid system’s Power Control Unit (PCU) helps reduce fuel consumption and has been improved through the adoption of dual cooling paths and a single-piece, integrated DC/DC converter.  Finally the PCU boosts motor drive voltage to a maximum 650V in Sport mode and limits it to a maximum of 500V in Eco mode under normal driving conditions where maximum output is not required.  The motor is driven at lower voltage to provide a more environmentally advanced driving performance to further help enhance mpg.  This system including the electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission with Intelligence makes the total powertrain system one of the world’s most advanced for luxury sedans.  The evidence is plain as I received 31.8mpg while driving on slow city streets and keeping up with fast traveling highway traffic during my seven day test drive.  That number is amazing considering that the GS450h is a true midsize luxury sport sedan.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Rear Done Small

Engineers created a more rigid new platform by increasing the amount of high-tensile strength steel and increasing the number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific location.  The track, wider by almost two inches, works in combination with a revised fully independent suspension design to help ensure a more solid stance and superior cornering performance as well as a smooth ride over poorly paved surfaces.  Up front is a double-wishbone setup with coil springs, adaptive variable gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar.  The rear is multi-link with coil springs, adaptive variable gas-charged shocks, and a stabilizer bar.  Front and rear aluminum control arms also help in reducing unsprung weight resulting in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision.  This new GS450h goes where I point it to go with ease.  I had no problem attaching cloverleaf highway entrances at speeds over 50mph with no oversteer or understeer.  The electric vehicle speed sensing rack & pinion system with electric power assist is right on with quick response to my inputs and great feel for the road plus terrific on-center feel and rock solid stability when cruising at fast highway speeds.

The new GS450h’s electronically controlled braking system’s characteristics have been modified to provide great responsiveness when you first touch the pedal.  It is very linear when pressing hard or softly coming to a stop.  Up front are 13.1 inch vented rotors and 12.2 inch vented rotors in the rear.   Each rotor is clamped with four-piston calipers for true sports car stopping power.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Headon Done Small

The standard Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) anticipates loss of vehicle control and governs all of the vehicle’s dynamic handling systems-the ABS, BA, EBD, Vehicle Stability Control, and Traction Control with the electronic throttle control system.  VDIM employs these systems collectively and seamlessly to help make corrections while allowing higher dynamic capability.  The system also provides a limited slip differential effect to get all of the power and torque to the pavement.

My fully loaded all-new GS450h sedan rode on optional 18X8 inch lightweight aluminum wheels wrapped with 235/45R18 inch Dunlop SP Sport high- performance tires for excellent grip and a smooth, quiet ride.

Looks that thrill is the motto of the all-new 2013 GS450h seen from any angle.  The signature spindle grille with its trapezoidal contours fully integrates into the aggressive front bumper and lower spoiler to enhance efficient airflow.  Deep set high-tech adaptive HID headlamps with projector beam design and L-shaped LED running lamps further express the car’s dynamic character.  Exclusive to the hybrid is an optional three-lamp design that combines high and low beam LED lamps and turn signals in a single horizontal row.  The lower bumper houses another wide-mouth air-intake,  and at the sides are air intakes to cool the front brake rotors and projector-beam foglamps.  From the side you see steeply raked windshield A-pillars, flared fenders, a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, body-color pull-out door handles, aero-styled remote, heated, self-dimming sideview mirrors, uniquely sculpted lower side extensions with a Hybrid graphic, and a tapered roof that quickly runs down to the short rear trunk lid.  The rearview shows large, wraparound LED lamp clusters with a tasteful chrome strip that connects each side together, a lip spoiler at the end of the trunk lid, a bold bumper with a black contrasted lower bumper with stabilizing fins and concealed dual exhaust tips for a clean hybrid look.  The Lexus signature blue hybrid badge gives the rear a unique, sporty and luxury look.  This all-new GS450h cuts through the air with an incredible low 0.26 co-efficient of drag.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Dashboard Done Small

Only a few midsize luxury sport sedans come close to the new interior of the GS450h.  It has it all to keep any sport luxury consumer happy with an eye for saving money at the gas pump and helping the environment.  Each door opens wide to reveal a spacious, comfortable, luxurious, convenient and safe cabin.  The leather-trimmed front bucket seats are incredible with optional 18-way power adjustments for you and your front passenger.  They have been improved for the driver’s position for increased comfort, better forward visibility and overall command of the road by redesigning the seat frame and changing the power-tilt-telescopic steering column angle from 23 to 21-degrees.  Besides being surrounded by stitched leather on the dash top, and aluminum trim pieces, new bamboo wood trim is seen on the leather-wrapped/heated steering wheel, dashboard, center console and door trim.  Also new this year is a new energy-saving auto climate control system, called S-Flow, it uses the occupant-detection system to focus airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seating-a first-in-class technology.  Furthermore, the front seats are heated and ventilated and the rear seating is heated with a fold-down center console/dual-cupholder/armrest that contains the controls for the rear climate system.  You and your and your front passenger will enjoy the clean appearance of the new, high-resolution split-screen central control display with the optional navigation system.  A new analog clock with LED indicators, carved from a single ingot of aluminum gives a smooth, consistent look, adding a unique touch, at once both modern and traditional.  Also coming standard in the GS450h is water-repellent front door glass and high capacity heater, Smart Access Keyless Entry, push button start/stop, power tilt/slide one-touch moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, smog sensor/air filter, white LED ambient lighting, rear power sunshade with manual side window sunshades, power windows with all express up/down and power door locks, Lexus personalization settings, Lexus Homelink universal transceiver, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door, remote trunk/fuel door releases, rain-sensing wipers, backup monitor, radar controlled cruise-control, cargo light and carpeted floor mats.  Options included in my loaded GS450h test model included the Luxury Package with its incredible Night Vision System, three-zone automatic climate control, Lexus Memory System for three drivers, the awesome Mark Levinson premium Surround Sound system with 17-speakers, 835-watts with 7.1 channel architecture digital amplifier and GreenEdge Speaker technology with Bluetooth, USB audio plug, MP3 files, CDs HDD Navigation with a 12.3 inch high-resolution split screen multimedia display & Lexus Enform with Destination & eDestination, App Suite, Sirius Satellite Radio, NavWeather/NavTraffic/Sports/Stocks, Intuitive Parking Assist, Pre-Collision System, trunk mat, cargo net, and a First Aid kit.  I really enjoyed the optional ‘head’s-up’ display that shows your speed, tachometer, radio station and volume so you never have to take your eyes off the road.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Rear Seats Done Small

What more can Lexus add to make this all-new Lexus GS450hp one of the most complete luxury interiors?  I’m out of words.

The safety systems to protect you and passengers in the event of an impact are truly world-class.  These include the Night Vision System that appears on the center split screen in black & white, front/rear parking sensors, Blind Spot Metering with Cross Traffic Alert, dual front airbags, front/rear side impact airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags, driver/front passenger knee airbags, 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, whiplash injury lessening front seats, LED daytime running lamps, Lexus Enform with SafetyConnect automatic collision notification, LATCH system for child seats, tire pressuring monitoring system, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

Lexus has done it again with the all-new 2013 GS450h luxury hybrid sport sedan.  This loaded version that I tested gave me all of the performance, comfort, luxury, infotainment, and safety that I could ever want in a midsize luxury sport sedan.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Right Wide Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Headon Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Side Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Rear Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Dashboard Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Cluster Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Front Seats Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Rear Seats Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Drive Mode Buttons Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Door Trim Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Badge Done Small
2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Engine Done Small

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: $58,950.00/$73,539.00 as tested
  • Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
  • Total length: 190.7 inches
  • Total width: 72.4 inches
  • Total height: 57.3 inches
  • Track: f/r-62/62.6 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.5 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38/37.8 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-42.3/36.3 inches
  • EPA cargo volume: 13.2 cu.ft.
  • Fuel tank: 17.4 gallons
  • EPA fuel economy: 20/34/31-city/highway/combined


2013 Toyota Prius V Hybrid Review & Test Drive 23
Apr
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, hybrid, Test Drives, TOYOTA, Toyota Prius, Toyota Prius Hybrid, Toyota Prius V on 04 23rd, 2013
2013 Toyota Prius V Beauty Right Done Small

2013 Toyota Prius V Beauty Right Done Small

‘GIVING MORE VERSATILITY TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS

Fourteen years ago Toyota introduced the original Prius hybrid, the industry’s first hybrid technology-driven four-door sedan.  After more than 2-million units sold around the world, the 2012 model year saw the splitting by Toyota of the Prius into four distinct new models.  The original Prius gets update front and rear fascias, the latest in infotainment technologies and more ‘man-made’ materials.  New models included a regular size Prius but with  ‘plug-in’ hybrid technology with the ability to operate solely on electric power and the first to come with lithium-Ion batteries.  This new Prius has the ability to travel up to 11 miles on battery power alone at up to 62 mph.  It will then revert back to hybrid power once the batteries are depleted.  This Prius also received a new front fascia and new taillights and has a mpg rating in electric power of 95/90-city/highway, and 51/48-city/highway in hybrid mode.  The new Toyota Prius C is smaller and has a higher mpg rating of 53/46-city/highway.  It is more affordable with a starting price of just $20,000.00.  Despite its smaller size it can still hold up to five passengers.  The real big news was the Prius V.  Last year I only tested the new Prius C and now I am testing the Prius V which stands for versatility with more cargo space than 80% of small SUVs.

2013 Toyota Prius V Beauty Side Done Small

This new Prius V is geared to growing families with active lifestyles who need more room and cargo space while giving it the same attributes traditionally found in the previous Prius-Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system producing 66% fewer smog-forming emissions while giving the consumer EPA fuel economy rating of 44mpg/city, 40mpg/highway, and using many man made materials that can be recycled.

The Prius V emphasizes overall proportions with spaciousness and flexibility for active families with a comfortable interior space and good visibility that is assisted by a high seating position, substantial head room, and an impressive 38 inch couple distance providing generous rear legroom.  A low, wide-opening rear hatch reveals 34.3 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the rear seats, making it the most spacious dedicated hybrid on the market.  Comfortable seating for five is specifically designed for young families.  Sliding second row seats allow for easy entry and rear storage flexibility, with a 40-degree recline for greater comfort.  The 60/40 split folding rear bench seat presents four different seat arrangements that offers excellent usability for passengers and luggage, while a fold-down front-passenger seat allows for extra-long cargo.

2013 Toyota Prius V Front Seats Done Small

Up front you are kept informed via a center-mounted instrument cluster with a hood to keep any glare from the sun out.  It is a visually succinct space efficient design that is also exceptionally use-friendly with trip and fuel consumption readouts from buttons on the tilt/telescopic steering wheel.  Below and to the left is your driving controls-push button start/stop, parking switch, drive-by-wire shift toggle.  On the left of the center console are three driving mode buttons-B- for full electric drive, Eco-for normal driving and Power-to change the ECU mapping for quicker acceleration.  Below on the center stack are controls for the automatic climate control that is easy to use.  The center console features dual cupholders, and is accessible for you, your front passenger and rear seat passengers.  The console is big enough to hold 23 CD cases, yet low enough so that lines of sight and conversation between everyone can be relaxed and natural.

2013 Toyota Prius V Dashboard Done Small

A wide array of engineered storage spaces is located throughout the cabin.  These include dual glove boxes, a center console utility tray and five cupholders in large and medium sizes. Bottle holders are built into the front and rear door pockets.  Addition to the large main cargo hold, there are storage units built into the sides and under the cargo floor for storing equipment such as car wash items or gloves.  Even a special space for umbrellas is located under the second row seats.  Rear seats fold, slide and recline to configure for any mix of passengers and cargo, and operation switches are located conveniently next to the seats.  New for Toyota is an optional seat material call SofTex that is designed for easy cleaning; resisting spills and wear in a family vehicle that could see heavy use on a daily basis.  Soft to the touch, SofTex’s attributes as compared to leather and other traditional leatherette-type materials include a weight reduction of 50%, a manufacturing process with approximately 99% few volatile organic compounds than conventional synthetic leather, and it’s water and stain resistant.  It also does not include any animal-based material.

2013 Toyota Prius V Rear Seats Done Small

Seamlessly integrated into the Prius V are state-of-the-art electronics and enhanced connectivity features.  A Bluetooth wireless connection for compatible hands-free phone calls is standard, now improved by an automatic phone book transfer function.  Also standard is a USB port that allows playing of music and video from portable audio devices, using the vehicle’s sound system and indash display screen, including full iPod integration.  The standard audio system has a 6.1 inch screen and six speakers.  The screen also displays the energy monitor and fuel consumption data, and functions as the monitor for the integrated back-up camera and the Display Audio System.  The screen also offers a new value-driven navigation system and serves as a portal for Entune.  An optional HD radio system enables CD sound quality from digital FM broadcasts, and has features that maximize analog and AM broadcast sound quality.  The system includes HD radio and iTunes tagging for future purchase and Sirius satellite radio.

The new Prius V will be one of the first Toyota’s to offer the Entune multimedia system.  This innovative system leverages the mobile smartphone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with full integrated access to navigation, entertainment and information services.  The Toyota Entune debuts the first-ever support for engaging mobile apps, such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com along with accessing useful travel-related services such as live weather, traffic, fuel information, stocks and sports.  Toyota Entune brings the largest selection of music options available to a vehicle including iheartradio’s 750+ stations and Pandora’s personalized music service.  The audio systems combined with Entune feature a best-in-class, advanced conversational voice recognition system that helps you stay focused on the road by eliminating the need to memorize thousands of voice commands.

2013 Toyota Prius V Beauty Rear Done Small

The new Prius V is a perfect balance of spaciousness, new more refined styling and smooth aerodynamics with a 0.29 coefficient of drag.  The Prius V was designed from the ground up, with a shape that has evolved from Prius rather than just an elongated version.  Keeping air resistance low is the signature triangle Prius silhouette, adapted to a larger length.  A flush surface from the front of the car through the front pillar works with side ‘aerocorners’ for excellent clean airflow.  The smooth front sheetmetal blends into a carefully designed roof and greenhouse, leading to an optional cabin-end shape that acts to converge side and roof airflow.  Wheels and wheel caps are designed with aerodynamic effects in mind.  Enhancing the clean, low wind-resistance design are materials that keep the Prius V relatively light and easy to move.  The door panels are foam-injected with polypropylene and the deck board with light-weight urethane to produce a weight savings of 20%.  Significant weight reduction is also achieved through the use of high-tensile grades of steel throughout the body along with aluminum in key body panels and systems.  Also, high-strength steel sheets and bars are used throughout the body to ensure a light, yet highly rigid platform structure.

Optional and a Toyota first, is a resin Panoramic View Moonroof with power retractable sun shades that give the interior an open feel with 40% reduction in weight as compared to conventional glass roofs of the same size and excellent heat insulation performance.  The improved thermal resistance means the engine needs to run less to preserve comfortable ambient temperatures, which in turn enhances fuel efficiency.  The moonroof has an electrically operated shade system with a jam protection function.  Also optional is LED headlamps that work to improve visibility while reducing current draw.  They use projector lenses to offer long-range visibility and are designed to be virtually maintenance free for the expected life of the car.  Prius V also features a climate control system with enhanced cooling capability to cope with a larger cabin.  The system uses an electric compressor so the A/C can run without depending on the engine, and improved component design for better maximum-demand cooling performance.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive system is essentially the same as the current third-generation Prius.  The system uses two high-output motors, one 60kw (80hp) unit that mainly works to power the compact lightweight transaxle and another smaller motor that mainly works as the electric power source.  Maximum motor-drive voltage is 650 volts DC.  The proven and practical nickel-metal hydride battery pack is the same as on the other Prius models.  As with the current generation Prius cars, Hybrid Synergy Drive is a series-parallel hybrid system that provides power either from the engine along, or the motor alone, or any mix of both.  A hybrid control computer manages the system so that optimum power is delivered according to your demand.  It uses a start/stop system and regenerative braking to conserve fuel and recharge the battery upon deceleration.  The Hybrid Synergy Drive is built around a specially adapted, efficient 98 hp 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine that runs on the Atkinson cycle and contributes to a total system horsepower of 134.

The transmission is a smooth and quiet electric CVT (continuously variable transmission) with four drive modes.  Standard driving mode, Eco mode prioritizes fuel economy, EV for electric only driving up to one mile, and Power mode that is great when entering fast moving highway traffic, and driving up slopes and mountainous terrain.

2013 Toyota Prius V Cargo Hold Done Small

The longer wheelbase gives the new Prius V a smooth ride and the new Pitch and Bounce Control works with the suspension enhancements to improve ride comfort and control.  As a result of its larger size it is capable of carrying more   cargo loads.  As a result the front and rear suspension components have been redesigned to improve handling and ride quality.  Front coil-over springs and damper capacities have been significantly increased and a new upper support has been designed.  The steering gear in the electric power steering system now is attached to the front suspension member, and the stabilizer bar is repositioned for more responsive steering feel and enhanced ride comfort.  In the rear a torsion-beam suspension design has been fitted with appropriately tuned springs and dampers.  The new rear suspension system is designed to help ensure stability and ride comfort, and it has a lower mounting point to improve luggage space.  Furthermore, Pitch and Bounce Control uses the torque of the hybrid motor to enhance ride comfort and control.  The system, working with wheel-speed sensors and in tune with the suspension, helps suppress bounce and toss motions to improve comfort for passengers and because it helps control the balance and posture of the vehicle as a whole, it also functions to improve handling response.

The Prius V stop quickly and always in control thanks to powerful regenerative steel disc brakes with ABS, VSC, Traction Control, EBD, BA and Smart Stop Technology.  Up front are 10.8 inch vented discs and in the rear 11.5 inch solid discs.  Each disc is clamped with large single-piston calipers.

The Prius V rides on 16X6.5 inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with load rolling resistance 205/60R16in. all-season, radial tires with 17X7 inch wheels and 215/50R17 inch low rolling resistance tires optional, for a smooth and quiet ride.

2013 Toyota Prius V Engine Done Small

Standard features not mentioned above includes AM-FM-CD with MP3/WMA, 6-speakers, Sirius satellite radio, HD radio/Bluetooth, USB connectivity, all express power windows/door locks, dual map lights, center console with dual cupholders/storage bin/padded armrest, cruise-control, grab handles above each door, dual vanity mirrors, variable intermittent wipers/washers/rear wiper/washer, remote power side mirrors, 2-12-volt power plugs, thick cut-pile carpeting and front/rear floor mats.

Standard safety features include front/side impact airbags, front/rear side-curtain airbags, three point safety belts for all five seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, engine immobilizer, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

After my seven-day test drive around the city and on the highway I got 44.9mpg on the trip computer.  This new Prius V is the best station wagon styled hybrid with enough room for the whole family including plenty of room for cargo for long vacation trips with excellent fuel economy, a smooth and controlled ride that has no piers for the starting price of just $27,165.00.

2013 Toyota Prius V Beauty Right Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Beauty Left Wide Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Beauty Side Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Beauty Rear Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Dashboard Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Cluster Close Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Front Seats Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Rear Seats Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Door Trim Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Drive Mode Buttons Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Cargo Hold Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Badge Done Small
2013 Toyota Prius V Engine Done Small

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Prius V $26,650
  • Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive – 1.8-liter inline-4 cylinder  – Combined power: 134 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm / 105 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,000 rpm
  • Overall length: 181.7 inches
  • Overall width: 69.9 inches
  • Overall height: 62 inches
  • Wheelbase: 109.4 inches
  • Track: f/r-60.6/60.8 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.7 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-39.6/38.6 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-41.3/35.9 inches
  • EPA passenger volume: 97.2 cu.ft.
  • EPA cargo room: 34.3-rear seat up/40.2-rear seat forward/67.3 cu.ft. with rear seat folded
  • Curb weight: 3,274 pounds
  • EPA fuel economy: 44 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 11.9 gallons






 Category



 Blogroll