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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Engineers Work on Efficient Large Cars

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Engineers Work on Efficient Large Cars

By TOM KRISHER 04.16.07, 4:36 PM ET

Associated Press

Automotive engineers will be under great pressure in the near future to come up with ways to make large cars more fuel efficient for the North American market, according to a top Toyota official.

David Baxter, senior executive administrator at the Toyota (nyse: TM - news - people ) Technical Center in Ann Arbor, said Monday that North American consumers prefer larger vehicles, and it's up to engineers to figure out how to satisfy their wants with new technologies.

"Especially in North America, people like the size of their vehicles, and there's going to be a lot of pressure to maintain the size for safety and improve fuel economy," Baxter said in an interview at the Society of Automotive Engineers annual convention in downtown Detroit.

He predicted that consumers likely will switch buying habits in the next decade to vehicles that get better gas mileage and have more safety features.

"But that doesn't necessarily mean they're all going to be hybrids or all small cars, either," he said.

Toyota Motor Corp. has been experiencing double-digit monthly sales increases at a time when sales are flat or dropping for most U.S.-based automakers. The increases are due largely to its Corolla and Camry models, which are perceived by many as more fuel efficient than models made by the Detroit Three.

Baxter said the engineers attending the convention this week from car manufacturers and parts suppliers face a serious challenge to get more mileage with larger cars such as Toyota's Avalon, which was designed at Baxter's technical center in Michigan.

Toyota recently introduced a hybrid gasoline-electric powered mid-sized Camry that gets an estimated 40 miles per gallon in city driving, but Baxter would not say whether a hybrid Avalon is in the offing.

"It's likely there will be more hybrid vehicles or more hybrid powertrains available in our models in the future," he said.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Toyota division is in the process of expanding its presence in the Ann Arbor area. It already has a Technical center near the city and has begun building a $150 million second campus in nearby York Township.

Baxter said the company already employs about 780 people in the Ann Arbor area and is hiring another 400 engineers. The new center ultimately will focus on developing vehicles unique to North America, while existing operations will continue work on powertrains, parts and materials evaluation and other research, Baxter said.

The new facility will support Toyota's growth expected in North America over the next several years, he said.

At the engineers' convention, being hosted by Toyota, engineers will spend much of the week discussing fuel economy, automotive safety and other issues. About 35,000 people are attending the events, which Baxter said makes it the largest conference of its kind.

Baxter predicted that automakers, even those as large as Toyota and General Motors Corp. (nyse: GM - news - people ), will collaborate more on safety, fuel economy, emissions and other issues.

"You can't afford to do it independently or autonomously any more like maybe you could 20 or 30 years ago," he said. "There's too much technology out there not to benefit from what others have to offer."

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2.9 litre diesel

2.9 litre diesel

2.9 litre diesel

2.9 litre diesel

2.9 litre diesel

2.9 litre diesel

2.9 litre diesel

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I don't like diesels. They make a horrible noise at low speeds, the red-line is very low, they're really heavy, and they don't have the response of their gas counterparts.

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I don't like diesels. They make a horrible noise at low speeds, the red-line is very low, they're really heavy, and they don't have the response of their gas counterparts.

Why does one need a high redline when you have 395 ft/lb of torque at 2,000 rpm? Just askin...

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Why does one need a high redline when you have 395 ft/lb of torque at 2,000 rpm? Just askin...

The answer* to this question brought to you by Honda. Honda: When 7,000 RPM just isn't enough.

*The answer is not available at this time.

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Why does one need a high redline when you have 395 ft/lb of torque at 2,000 rpm? Just askin...

Cause that's boring. Diesels are for trucks, suv's, and boats.

Enter AP1 s2000 with 9,000 rpm rev limiter. :yes:

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Cause that's boring. Diesels are for trucks, suv's, and boats.

Enter AP1 s2000 with 9,000 rpm rev limiter. :yes:

it's a large family sedan.... who want's 9,000 rpm in an Accord?

Posted Image

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it's a large family sedan.... who want's 9,000 rpm in an Accord?

I do. That would make one hell of an Accord. A 3.0L V6 with 9,000rpm redline. That'd be good for 340hp or so. :thumbsup:

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Go ahead but a diesel in 'em if it gets past CAFE, then I will order a G8/Park Ave with the 3.6L HF V6 or the 6.0L L76 V8...

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I do. That would make one hell of an Accord. A 3.0L V6 with 9,000rpm redline. That'd be good for 340hp or so. :thumbsup:

And 110ft/lbs of torque @ 8,500 rpm or 115 ft/lbs with the optional Type-R sticker?

Even though I don't have any interest in the accord, I'm glad Honda *doesn't* do this. It would end up being another meaningless benchmark for which to judge the domestics by. "Well, this 340hp V8 Impala is great, but it only redlines at 6500 rpm.... and even though it gets the same MPG as the Accord, we like the Accord better with it's 9,000rpm redline...... never mind the fact that we need all 9,000 rpm to get out of 1st gear from a stop light."

No, I'd rather have a Zeta based Chinese Buick Park Ave with the 2.9 litre diesel, Buick's quiet tuning, and a high overdrive ratio to woosh me along at 80mph while the engine is turning 1,200 rpm getting 38mpg.

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my worst test drive ever was a Vibe GT with the buzzbomb toyota motor that you had to rev to 7k rpm to just get it going to speed.

i love rpms, but for everyday driving I prefer torque all through the rpm range.

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it's a large family sedan.... not a weed whacker/riced out Civic

Posted Image

fixed :P

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The Avalon is 268 hp, 3600 lb, 0.29 Cd, 22/31 mpg.

That's way better than any competitor.

Toyota's bland shapes delivers drag coefficients few other companies attempt to match. Every one else has to go styling for looks first, not function.

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The Avalon is 268 hp @ 6200 rpm, 248 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm, 0.29 Cd, 22/31 mpg.

That's way better than any competitor.

Toyota's bland shapes delivers drag coefficients few other companies attempt to match. Every one else has to go styling for looks first, not function.

Fixed. It's not that spectacular for the price... however a dinner and a movie might impress... but otherwise.... not...

Lucerne V8: 275 hp @ 6000 rpm, 295 lb.-ft. torque @ 4400 rpm

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my worst test drive ever was a Vibe GT with the buzzbomb toyota motor that you had to rev to 7k rpm to just get it going to speed.

i love rpms, but for everyday driving I prefer torque all through the rpm range.

Yor right, I don't like my teeth rattling everytime I drive my car. I don't want to rev the thing to the moon everytime I need some power out of it. Give me torque for passing and everyday driving, the engine is getting worked less that way.

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GM Holden chairman and managing director Denny Mooney has confirmed that a "two-mode" hybrid system is being engineered for the VE Commodore, much like the "two-mode" hybrid system that will emerge for the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon later this year.

Holden is also working on a VE Commodore diesel.

See:

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...showtopic=16766

Edited by douglask
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my worst test drive ever was a Vibe GT with the buzzbomb toyota motor that you had to rev to 7k rpm to just get it going to speed.

i love rpms, but for everyday driving I prefer torque all through the rpm range.

I read one review way back of the Vibe/Matrix where they said something along the lines of "The Vibe goes 0-60 in XX seconds. Grandpa can do that in his LeSabre and he's not even trying. There is a lot less noise for him though, this thing is loud"

edit: it must have been the Vibe... there's no way an auto rag would have praised a Buick while dissing a Toyota.

Edited by Oldsmoboi
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The Avalon is 268 hp, 3600 lb, 0.29 Cd, 22/31 mpg.

That's way better than any competitor.

Toyota's bland shapes delivers drag coefficients few other companies attempt to match. Every one else has to go styling for looks first, not function.

Buick, nearly 20 years earlier. The 1988 Regal.

Posted Image

.29 Cd, 19/29 mpg, 3200lbs, 170hp

sold a bit better too.

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I don't like diesels. They make a horrible noise at low speeds, the red-line is very low, they're really heavy, and they don't have the response of their gas counterparts.

That's what I thought until I drove a Duramax. The idea of a Duramax-quality diesel for cars sounds great to me!

Torque is all that matters.

No high-winding buzzmobiles please.

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Buick, nearly 20 years earlier. The 1988 Regal.

Posted Image

.29 Cd, 19/29 mpg, 3200lbs, 170hp

sold a bit better too.

My first car was an '88 Buick Regal coupe. If it weren't for the constant engine and transmission problems, it was a very comfortable car to drive.

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I agree with Olds, Diesels are better than the blow dryers who try to piss a lowly torque out at very high RPM.

Having higher torque at a lower RPM means less lead footedness and more ease.

Diesels are low RPM but not slow considering AUDI Lemans V10 Diesel gave a run for the money for the other gas siblings and also sat on the pole that should shut the detractors of diesels being slow.

I see a lot of Duramax Diesels, and have even heard owners of these wishing about having diesel engines in the Impalas and Malibus for better mileage and torque.

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my worst test drive ever was a Vibe GT with the buzzbomb toyota motor that you had to rev to 7k rpm to just get it going to speed.

i love rpms, but for everyday driving I prefer torque all through the rpm range.

thats what ya get when you let a bike manufacturer (and not even a good one at that) design your engine :thumbsdown:

that being said, put a turbo- GSXR-1000 engine in one of those new mini-cars and I could have some fun

Edited by Dragon
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GM Holden chairman and managing director Denny Mooney has confirmed that a "two-mode" hybrid system is being engineered for the VE Commodore, much like the "two-mode" hybrid system that will emerge for the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon later this year.

Holden is also working on a VE Commodore diesel.

See:

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...showtopic=16766

that is great news. IF gas prices continue to raise, creative solutions to the power quandry would allow us to have balanced RWD chassis's. Turbo 4's, powerful 4 cyl with DI and great gas efficiency wouldn't be at all far fetched in my mind. I think the Accord with the 4 cyl and a stick shift is a damn fun car, though it is very light obviously, and that is without engine wizardry like DI. Making a hybrid powertrain that costs the same as a 6 cyl base engine also makes a lot of sense. Those who want more power would opt for the 6; those who are truly concerned about the well-being of the enviro would opt for the hybrid. V8s could exist still, at a premium, and possibly with a GM imposed tax, to keep it even more exclusive and relegated to those who truly desire all out power. I don't know, but I won't give up my RWD because of a nonsensical mpg rule. Also, this puts the emphasis on lower weights, and even more emphasis on getting costs lower [i.e. cut the union, gov't imposed tax on imports] so that they can use lighter weight materials.
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Well, the engineers had better work fast, because the legislators are working faster. Ontario just banned incandescent bulbs (by 2012) today, citing the "oh Australia has already done it" excuse, so you just know that they will get around to V-8 engines and other "nasty" technology that the greenies don't approve of.

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Well, the engineers had better work fast, because the legislators are working faster. Ontario just banned incandescent bulbs (by 2012) today, citing the "oh Australia has already done it" excuse, so you just know that they will get around to V-8 engines and other "nasty" technology that the greenies don't approve of.

no they didn't...kinda.

Only the current inefficent style IC bulbs are banned from sale. If you stock up on them, you can use them as long as you want.

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