2021 HONDA ACCORD HYBRID TEST DRIVE 

Honda’s refresh of the Accord has it looking better than ever at a very affordable price point. Hybrid makes for a very accommodating family car. The hybrid system itself is excellent though providing more pure EV driving, even at speed, than expected with nearly seamless transitions between EV, Hybrid and Engine drive. In Sport, it’s also a fun car to drive. That prowess is best on display in Sport mode which heightens the hybrid’s performance characteristics and imbues this car with sports sedan attitude. So for those who want an added dose of sportiness and a little bling to go with their Hybrid, it’s worth a test drive.

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2021 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid TEST DRIVE

Toyota considers this XSE Hybrid the RAV4’s flagship model. It features a sport-tuned suspension, racier styling and a standard 2-tone paint scheme. So if you’re shopping for a small SUV that delivers fun and frugality, put the XSE Hybrid on your short list. The RAV4’s redesign has been a runaway success for Toyota, partially because they’ve done such a good job at offering it in multiple flavors. From a very capable TRD Off-Road model to plug-in hybrids and everything in between, there’s likely a RAV4 that’ll specifically fit your small SUV needs. And this one here is the sportiest one you can buy without a plug; the XSE Hybrid.

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2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e TEST DRIVE

2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. New for the 2020 model year is a 7” touchscreen on specific trims such as this higher end XLE model, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration on all grades as well as putting the Toyota Safety Sense P system in all cars.  The all-wheel drive option comes in 2 trims: LE and like here XLE.  Pricing starts at around $28,000 while this one with the Advanced Technology Package including a heads-up display and swiveling headlamps, checks in at $31,429. So in 2020 is the Prius still relevant?

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2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe First Look

Jeep continues to expand the Wrangler’s portfolio by adding a plug-in hybrid for the 2021 model year.  The 4-door Wrangler 4xe adds yet another powertrain choice to the various gas and diesel offerings. 

And this one is a torque monster – something off-roaders crave – producing 470 pound-feet from its electrified powertrain.  Recharge the 400-volt battery pack situated below the rear seats and the 4Xe provides up to 25 miles of pure electric driving.  Want to preserve that quiet, zero-emission propulsion for the trail?  Select the E-Save drive mode and bottle it up for later use.  Otherwise, once all of the juice has been squeezed, the 4xe runs as a typical gas-electric hybrid, leaning on its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo to produce a combined 375 horsepower working through an 8-speed auto with an integrated electric motor.  Jeep estimates that the 4xe’s gas mileage will be the same as that of a Toyota Prius.  The full-time 4-wheel drive transfer case provides all of the options you want; including 2WD and automatic 4-wheel drive settings to compliment the usual 4H and 4L modes.  And if you think this is a fragile Jeep you can’t take deep into enemy territory, think again.  All high-voltage bits are sealed and waterproof so it can ford the same 30” of water and underneath you’ll see the same Dana 44 axles and skid plates while the Rubicon has an electronic sway-bar disconnect and nearly 11” of ground clearance.  Base 4xe and Sahara models are also offered and we’ll know more about pricing as the 4xe’s December on-sale date grows closer.   

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2020 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER QUICK TAKES

2020 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER QUICK TAKES.
The fourth-generation Toyota Highlander brings a new level of bold, distinctive design to a foundation built on safety, comfort, quality, durability and reliability. The Highlander gas model and the Highlander hybrid are available at dealerships now!

Just as the first RAV4 launched the compact crossover SUV segment 22 years ago, the original Highlander redefined the midsize family SUV when it arrived in 2001. At a time when most midsize SUVs were truck-based, the Highlander’s unibody structure with four-wheel independent suspension quickly became the template for a new segment of more comfortable and family-friendly SUVs. After adding a third row, the Highlander not only grew in size, but is also now the best-selling retail model in the segment since 2016.

Now, the 2020 Highlander amplifies all qualities while taking on a dramatic new design direction that combines a powerful SUV presence with sophisticated detailing.

The new sophisticated SUV sits on a new vehicle platform called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K). This robust new foundation, shared with other Toyota models, enables even greater capability, comfort and safety than before.

The fourth-generation Highlander offers the choice between a powerful V6 or new-generation hybrid powertrain, with the gas version offering up to a manufacturer-estimated 24 MPG combined fuel economy and the Hybrid offering up to a manufacturer-estimated 36 combined MPG.

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