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Found 234 results

  1. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 6, 2012 Much like the competition, Kia offers a variety of powertrains in their midsize sedan competitor, the Optima, to meet the demands of consumers. There’s a base four-cylinder model, a turbocharged-four taking the place of a V6, and hybrid model. I’ve reviewed the base four-cylinder Optima back in July, and found it to be one of best midsize sedans on sale. Now it’s time to see where the Optima Hybrid can match the high bar set by the regular Optima or not. The differences between a normal Optima and an Optima Hybrid are very noticeable on the exterior. The biggest giveaway that you’re driving an Optima Hybrid besides the hybrid badge on the back is a unique set of seventeen-inch alloy wheels. Other changes Kia has done to the Optima Hybrid include a revised rear fascia and a new rear spoiler. On the interior, Kia has changed the instrument cluster to one that gives information on how much battery charge there is left, an eco gauge, and a small color screen providing trip computer info. The optional navigation unit (part of the $5,350.00 premium technology package) has a screen providing information about the system. The Optima Hybrid’s powertrain is made up of a 2.4L gas engine producing 166 HP (@ 6,000 RPM) and 154 lb-ft of torque (@ 4,250 RPM), an electric motor producing 40 HP (@ 1,400-6,000 RPM) and 151 lb-ft of torque (0 - 1,400 RPM), and a 270V lithium-polymer battery. Total output of the hybrid system is 206 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque going through a six-speed automatic. The best way to describe the Optima Hybrid’s powertrain is ‘almost fully realized’. When pulling away from a stop, the Hybrid pulls away quickly whether on electric or hybrid power. On open roads and in traffic, I never found myself wishing for more power since the powertrain is able to keep up. The downside to this system is the transition from electric to hybrid power is very noticeable. When the switch happens, you can hear the gas engine hesitate for a brief moment and feel some sort of vibration. The Optima Hybrid got EPA ratings of 35 City/40 Highway/37 combined. However a few weeks after turning the Optima Hybrid back in, Hyundai and Kia announced they had overstated fuel economy on certain 2011-2013 vehicles. The Optima Hybrid was one of those vehicles affected and has revised EPA fuel economy numbers of 34 City/39 Highway/36 combined. During the week, I averaged 37.2 on mostly rural and suburban roads. On the freeway, I hit 40 MPG with the cruise control set on 70 MPH. Kia didn’t change much with handling and ride of the Optima Hybrid, which means the sporty and composed ride from the standard Optima remains. Steering on the Optima Hybrid is the same as the normal Optima as well; not a lot of feel and a surprising amount of heaviness to it. Wind and road noise on the Optima Hybrid were kept to a minimum. The Kia Optima Hybrid is very good first effort. Building upon a good base of the normal Optima, the hybrid model possesses very good performance and decent fuel economy for the class. Kia does need to work on smoothing out the transition from electric to hybrid power though. There is one problem for the Kia Optima Hybrid, the competition. On paper, the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the new Ford Fusion Hybrid best the Optima Hybrid in fuel economy ratings. The only thing Kia can fight back with is the amount of equipment that you can get for the price. The Optima Hybrid I had in for review cost $32,500.00. But for that price, I got heated and cooled front seats, heated back seats, panoramic sunroof, navigation, a premium sound system, and much more. To try and match the equipment level of the Optima Hybrid, you’ll have to spend a few thousand more on the competitors. Is that enough though to convince someone to check it out? If you’re looking for a midsize hybrid to stand out, check out the Optima Hybrid. If fuel economy is a concern, look at the Camry and Fusion. Disclaimer: Kia provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2012 Make – Kia Model – Optima Hybrid Trim – N/A Engine – 2.4L Four-Cylinder, Electric Motor Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – (Gas) 166 HP (@ 6,000 RPM) , (Electric) 40.2 HP (@ 1,400 to 6,000 RPM), (Combined) 206 HP Torque @ RPM – (Gas) 154 lb-ft (@ 4,250 RPM), (Electric) 166 HP (@ 0 - 1,400 RPM), (Combined) 195 lb-ft Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 34/39/36 Curb Weight – 3,490 lbs Location of Manufacture – Hwasung, South Korea Base Price - $25,700.00 As Tested Price - $32,500.00 (Includes $750.00 Destination Charge) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  2. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 6, 2012 Lamborghini has a very ambitious goal for 2015; lower CO2 emissions by 35% fleet-wide. To achieve this, Lamborghini has introducing start/stop and a cylinder deactivation system on the 2013 Aventador. These two features will cut emissions down by 7%. The company has also revealed that they will use more carbon fiber in the construction of their vehicles to help reduce weight. One option that has been taken off the table for the time being is using a hybrid system. “Due to the size of the cars and due to the weight of the hybridisation it would be impossible for our cars to adopt this current technology. Firstly, it won’t fit, and secondly, it would reduce the their power-to-weight ratios by too much,” said CEO Stephan Winkelmann. Source: CarAdvice.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  3. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 6, 2012 Lamborghini has a very ambitious goal for 2015; lower CO2 emissions by 35% fleet-wide. To achieve this, Lamborghini has introducing start/stop and a cylinder deactivation system on the 2013 Aventador. These two features will cut emissions down by 7%. The company has also revealed that they will use more carbon fiber in the construction of their vehicles to help reduce weight. One option that has been taken off the table for the time being is using a hybrid system. “Due to the size of the cars and due to the weight of the hybridisation it would be impossible for our cars to adopt this current technology. Firstly, it won’t fit, and secondly, it would reduce the their power-to-weight ratios by too much,” said CEO Stephan Winkelmann. Source: CarAdvice.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  4. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 24, 2012 2012 was supposed to be the year that Toyota would begin selling the electric version of the iQ minicar called the eQ. When it introduced the vehicle back in 2010 expected, Toyota said it planned to sell several thousand of the vehicles per year. "Two years later, there are many difficulties," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development. Now, Toyota is planning to only sell about 100 of the eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an extremely limited release. "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge," said Uchiyamada. Toyota said they are putting more emphasis on hybrid technology, expecting to introduce 21 hybrid models by 2015. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  5. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 24, 2012 2012 was supposed to be the year that Toyota would begin selling the electric version of the iQ minicar called the eQ. When it introduced the vehicle back in 2010 expected, Toyota said it planned to sell several thousand of the vehicles per year. "Two years later, there are many difficulties," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development. Now, Toyota is planning to only sell about 100 of the eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an extremely limited release. "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge," said Uchiyamada. Toyota said they are putting more emphasis on hybrid technology, expecting to introduce 21 hybrid models by 2015. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  6. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 4, 2012 Hybrid vehicles usually fall into two completely different categories. The first category is filled with vehicles whose main purpose to use a hybrid powertrain is to eek out every drop of gas, which typically means they lack the fun to drive factor. The second category is the opposite; vehicles which use their hybrid powertrain, using a smaller engine, to produce the power and fuel economy of a larger engine. There are a few automakers who have figured out how to balance these polar opposites with a hybrid powetrain. The latest automaker who thinks it has got the balance correct is Infiniti with the hybrid version of the M sedan. But did Infiniti get it right? Next: The Outside Exterior The M Hybrid follows the same design doctrine of other M models. The front end of features a long hood that curves downward from the middle and rise back up before sitting next to the front fenders. A large, rectangular chrome grille and a set of projector headlights don the fascia. Around the side, the front and rear wheel wells are pushed out to cover the standard eighteen-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. The roof line slopes down to the trunk where in turn it gradually rises back up to the lip of the trunk lid. The short rear end has a curved trunk lid, a chrome bar hiding the trunk release and rearview camera, and a set of polished exhausts. The overall look of the M Hybrid is very daring and elegant to my eyes. I would put it in the same category as the Jaguar XF and Lexus GS as being my favorite mid-size luxury sedan designs. Next: The Inside Interior The M Hybrid’s interior is an exercise in the details. That’s very evident when you look inside and notice how the metal trim flows along with the leather and wood trim in the dash and door panels. Also, the M Hybrid doesn’t skimp out on the stitched leather, using a good amount on the seats, door panels, and dash. The wood used in this M Hybrid was the optional Japanese White Ash wood trim which has a silver powder finish to make it really stand out. All of these little details make the M Hybrid feel very special. For the front seat passengers, the M Hybrid comes equipped with supportive, powered leather seats. Back seat passengers sit on a very comfortable leather bench seat. Legroom is very good throughout the M Hybrid, while headroom is somewhat tight for backseat passengers due to the sloped roof. Trunk space is also on the tight side, measuring 11.3 cu.ft , due to the large lithium-ion battery pack. Our Infiniti M Hybrid came equipped with two massive option packages. The $3,800 premium package adds a eight-inch touchscreen, hard-drive based Navigation system, 9.3 GB music jukebox, XM NavTraffic and weather, a 10-speaker Bose sound system, Bluetooth audio streaming, climate-controlled front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The other option package on our test vehicle was the $3,350 Deluxe Touring Package which adds the Japanese White Ash wood trim, semi-aniline leather-appointed seats, suede-like headliner, forest air system, power rear sunshade, and a 5.1-channel, 16-speaker Bose sound system. Both packages are very much worth it as they add some needed features for the class and add on to the specialness of the M Hybrid’s interior. Next: Power! Powertrain The heart of the M Hybrid is Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid system. The system is made up of a 3.5L all-aluminum V6 producing 302 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque, a 50kW electric motor producing 67 HP and 199 lb-ft of torque, and a lithium-ion battery pack. Total output of the Hybrid system is 360 HP. How the M Hybrid delivers its power depends on the circumstances and how much the battery is charged. Leaving a stop with the battery fully or half charged, the M Hybrid will enter EV mode. Using only the electric motor, the M Hybrid able to sustain speeds in urban areas for a good distance. When the battery gets depleted, the 3.5L V6 seamlessly kicks on. If you need to merge onto a freeway or make a pass, the V6 and electric work together to provide more than enough power to get you through. The seven-speed automatic transmission does a very good job of making sure it is in the right gear as the situation demands. Also, the shifts are very quick and smooth. The M Hybrid also has Infiniti’s Drive Mode which allows the driver to change the throttle response, engine and transmission behavior via a knob in the car. Four settings are available: Snow, Eco, Standard, and Sport. Snow: Softens throttle response even more to reduce wheel spin in snowy conditions Eco: Softens the throttle response to help improve efficiency Standard: Sets throttle response and shifts points to provide a balance between responsiveness and fuel efficiency Sport: Increases throttle response and holds gears longer when driving aggressively Fuel economy for the M Hybrid is rated at 27 City/31 Highway/29 Combined. Our average for the week was 27 MPG, mostly on suburban and rural roads. Next: The Drive Ride & Drive The M Hybrid’s suspension is the same one used on the standard M37 and M56. Double wishbones are used up front and a multi-link setup in the rear, with stabilizer bars at both ends. The only difference between the regular M and the Hybrid is a set double-piston shock absorbers that have been tuned for the M Hybrid. The ride is soft and comfortable, no matter the road surface. Road, wind, and engine noise are kept to a minimum, making the M Hybrid a perfect long drive companion. But what if you want to have a little bit fun? The M Hybrid is a very willing partner. The suspension is very surefooted on curvy roads. Steering is very good, providing good feel and response. One surprise is the M Hybrid’s brakes. Most hybrids exhibit the mushy pedal syndrome, which doesn’t inspire much confidence and could cause you to have a longer braking distance. The M Hybrid differs from this by having a brake pedal that doesn’t feel as mushy, which gives you more confidence and shorter stopping distances. Despite the extra weight and soft suspension tuning, the M Hybrid can be very fun. Visibility for the M Hybrid is good for the front and side. Rear visibility is a little bit tricky due to the smallish rear window. Infiniti has included a rear-view camera as standard equipment, making it a bit easier. Next: The Verdict Verdict So has Infiniti figured out the balance of performance and economy with the M Hybrid? In a word, yes. Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid system delivers the same performance as a V8 and delivers some impressive fuel economy numbers. Add in a well-appointed interior and a distinct exterior shape, and the M Hybrid stands on its own. Aside from some rear headroom and trunk space concerns, the M Hybrid is one of the best arguments that choosing a hybrid doesn't mean you have to choose more power or better fuel economy; you can have both in perfect harmony. Disclaimer: Infiniti provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gas Cheers Exterior Design Interior Appointments Powertrain Fuel Economy Smooth Ride Handling Jeers Rear Headroom Trunk Space Year - 2012 Make – Infiniti Model – M Trim – M Hybrid Engine – 3.5L V6, 50 kW Electric Motor Driveline – Rear Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM - 302 @ 6800 (V6), 67 @ 1770 (Electric Motor), 360 HP (Total Outout) Torque @ RPM – 258 @ 5500 (V6), 199 @ 1770 (Electric Motor) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/31/29 Curb Weight – 4129 lbs Location of Manufacture – Tochigi, Japan Base Price - $53,700.00 As Tested Price - $61,745.00 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  7. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 4, 2012 Hybrid vehicles usually fall into two completely different categories. The first category is filled with vehicles whose main purpose to use a hybrid powertrain is to eek out every drop of gas, which typically means they lack the fun to drive factor. The second category is the opposite; vehicles which use their hybrid powertrain, using a smaller engine, to produce the power and fuel economy of a larger engine. There are a few automakers who have figured out how to balance these polar opposites with a hybrid powetrain. The latest automaker who thinks it has got the balance correct is Infiniti with the hybrid version of the M sedan. But did Infiniti get it right? Next: The Outside Exterior The M Hybrid follows the same design doctrine of other M models. The front end of features a long hood that curves downward from the middle and rise back up before sitting next to the front fenders. A large, rectangular chrome grille and a set of projector headlights don the fascia. Around the side, the front and rear wheel wells are pushed out to cover the standard eighteen-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. The roof line slopes down to the trunk where in turn it gradually rises back up to the lip of the trunk lid. The short rear end has a curved trunk lid, a chrome bar hiding the trunk release and rearview camera, and a set of polished exhausts. The overall look of the M Hybrid is very daring and elegant to my eyes. I would put it in the same category as the Jaguar XF and Lexus GS as being my favorite mid-size luxury sedan designs. Next: The Inside Interior The M Hybrid’s interior is an exercise in the details. That’s very evident when you look inside and notice how the metal trim flows along with the leather and wood trim in the dash and door panels. Also, the M Hybrid doesn’t skimp out on the stitched leather, using a good amount on the seats, door panels, and dash. The wood used in this M Hybrid was the optional Japanese White Ash wood trim which has a silver powder finish to make it really stand out. All of these little details make the M Hybrid feel very special. For the front seat passengers, the M Hybrid comes equipped with supportive, powered leather seats. Back seat passengers sit on a very comfortable leather bench seat. Legroom is very good throughout the M Hybrid, while headroom is somewhat tight for backseat passengers due to the sloped roof. Trunk space is also on the tight side, measuring 11.3 cu.ft , due to the large lithium-ion battery pack. Our Infiniti M Hybrid came equipped with two massive option packages. The $3,800 premium package adds a eight-inch touchscreen, hard-drive based Navigation system, 9.3 GB music jukebox, XM NavTraffic and weather, a 10-speaker Bose sound system, Bluetooth audio streaming, climate-controlled front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The other option package on our test vehicle was the $3,350 Deluxe Touring Package which adds the Japanese White Ash wood trim, semi-aniline leather-appointed seats, suede-like headliner, forest air system, power rear sunshade, and a 5.1-channel, 16-speaker Bose sound system. Both packages are very much worth it as they add some needed features for the class and add on to the specialness of the M Hybrid’s interior. Next: Power! Powertrain The heart of the M Hybrid is Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid system. The system is made up of a 3.5L all-aluminum V6 producing 302 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque, a 50kW electric motor producing 67 HP and 199 lb-ft of torque, and a lithium-ion battery pack. Total output of the Hybrid system is 360 HP. How the M Hybrid delivers its power depends on the circumstances and how much the battery is charged. Leaving a stop with the battery fully or half charged, the M Hybrid will enter EV mode. Using only the electric motor, the M Hybrid able to sustain speeds in urban areas for a good distance. When the battery gets depleted, the 3.5L V6 seamlessly kicks on. If you need to merge onto a freeway or make a pass, the V6 and electric work together to provide more than enough power to get you through. The seven-speed automatic transmission does a very good job of making sure it is in the right gear as the situation demands. Also, the shifts are very quick and smooth. The M Hybrid also has Infiniti’s Drive Mode which allows the driver to change the throttle response, engine and transmission behavior via a knob in the car. Four settings are available: Snow, Eco, Standard, and Sport. Snow: Softens throttle response even more to reduce wheel spin in snowy conditions Eco: Softens the throttle response to help improve efficiency Standard: Sets throttle response and shifts points to provide a balance between responsiveness and fuel efficiency Sport: Increases throttle response and holds gears longer when driving aggressively Fuel economy for the M Hybrid is rated at 27 City/31 Highway/29 Combined. Our average for the week was 27 MPG, mostly on suburban and rural roads. Next: The Drive Ride & Drive The M Hybrid’s suspension is the same one used on the standard M37 and M56. Double wishbones are used up front and a multi-link setup in the rear, with stabilizer bars at both ends. The only difference between the regular M and the Hybrid is a set double-piston shock absorbers that have been tuned for the M Hybrid. The ride is soft and comfortable, no matter the road surface. Road, wind, and engine noise are kept to a minimum, making the M Hybrid a perfect long drive companion. But what if you want to have a little bit fun? The M Hybrid is a very willing partner. The suspension is very surefooted on curvy roads. Steering is very good, providing good feel and response. One surprise is the M Hybrid’s brakes. Most hybrids exhibit the mushy pedal syndrome, which doesn’t inspire much confidence and could cause you to have a longer braking distance. The M Hybrid differs from this by having a brake pedal that doesn’t feel as mushy, which gives you more confidence and shorter stopping distances. Despite the extra weight and soft suspension tuning, the M Hybrid can be very fun. Visibility for the M Hybrid is good for the front and side. Rear visibility is a little bit tricky due to the smallish rear window. Infiniti has included a rear-view camera as standard equipment, making it a bit easier. Next: The Verdict Verdict So has Infiniti figured out the balance of performance and economy with the M Hybrid? In a word, yes. Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid system delivers the same performance as a V8 and delivers some impressive fuel economy numbers. Add in a well-appointed interior and a distinct exterior shape, and the M Hybrid stands on its own. Aside from some rear headroom and trunk space concerns, the M Hybrid is one of the best arguments that choosing a hybrid doesn't mean you have to choose more power or better fuel economy; you can have both in perfect harmony. Disclaimer: Infiniti provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gas Cheers Exterior Design Interior Appointments Powertrain Fuel Economy Smooth Ride Handling Jeers Rear Headroom Trunk Space Year - 2012 Make – Infiniti Model – M Trim – M Hybrid Engine – 3.5L V6, 50 kW Electric Motor Driveline – Rear Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM - 302 @ 6800 (V6), 67 @ 1770 (Electric Motor), 360 HP (Total Outout) Torque @ RPM – 258 @ 5500 (V6), 199 @ 1770 (Electric Motor) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/31/29 Curb Weight – 4129 lbs Location of Manufacture – Tochigi, Japan Base Price - $53,700.00 As Tested Price - $61,745.00 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  8. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 26, 2012 Toyota has revealed the powertrain details on the new 2013 Avalon. As expected, the new Avalon will still use the 3.5L V6 from the previous Avalon. The V6 is rated at 268 HP and 248 lb-ft. of torque and will go through a six-speed automatic. EPA rates the V6 at 21 City/31 Highway/25 Combined. Toyota has equipped the Avalon V6 with three different power modes (Eco, Normal, Sport) and certain models get paddle-shifters for a more “sporty” experience. The new Avalon will also come in a hybrid model. The hybrid comes equipped with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and electric motor producing a combined 200 HP. EPA rates the Avalon Hybrid at 40 City/39 Highway/40 Combined. The new Avalon goes on sale later this year. William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 All-New 2013 Toyota Avalon Features Both Gasoline and Hybrid Powertrains TORRANCE, Calif. (June 26, 2012) – When the all-new, North American designed and engineered 2013 Avalon goes on sale later this year, consumers can choose between a powerful V6 gasoline powertrain and Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive. The efficiency offered by the new hybrid model will help the all-new premium mid-size sedan achieve excellent fuel economy with an EPA-rating of 40 mpg combined. In addition to offering a hybrid powertrain, the new Avalon features a stunning design, improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior experience with an abundance of outstanding convenience technologies. Powerful, Efficient V6 Engine The 2013 Avalon will feature a proven 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transaxle, which has been enhanced to offer more responsive and efficient performance. The all-aluminum six-cylinder engine will produce 268 horsepower and 248 lbs. ft. of torque, which will propel the new sedan to 60 mph in under seven seconds. Compared to the previous-generation Avalon, this 2013 powertrain combination offers improved fuel economy, performance, superior shift feel and response, with upgraded drivability and quietness. This enhanced powertrain’s programming has been updated to offer ECO, NORMAL, and SPORT Modes. The ECO mode prioritizes fuel efficiency by reducing power application at lower speeds and reducing energy consumed by the air-conditioning system. The SPORT Mode provides increased acceleration responses though altered engine control unit (ECU) programming, and it offers a more direct and responsive EPS programming to enhance steering feel. In addition, the new transaxle is equipped with a numerically lower differential gear drive ratio (3.23), designed to help improve fuel economy. The V6-powered 2013 Avalon achieves an EPA-rated 25 mpg combined (21 city/ 31 hwy). The transmission operation has been made more efficient and responsive with the adoption of a flex-start control feature lock-up clutch. With lock-up control, the transmission’s torque converter fully engages at a lower RPM during standing starts to improve acceleration response and help suppress unnecessary engine revolutions. The new transmission is also kept at an optimal temperature with an automatic-transmission fluid warmer, helping enhance efficiency. The multi-mode automatic transmission console shifter offers a D range and can be moved into an S-mode gate, which allows manually operated sequential shifting using the console shifter or available (Touring and Limited models) steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The gear can be selected by moving the shifter up to (+) position or lower using the (-) position to experience highly responsive shifts. By using the paddles or in S-range, the transmission uses a quick responding shift-logic that includes throttle blipping for downshifts. The gear changes and range-of-gear selections are displayed in the color multi-information display. Avalon Adds Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive For consumers seeking a premium mid-size sedan with excellent fuel economy ratings and an environmental message, the new Avalon features a full power-split hybrid system. Coupled with reductions in vehicle weight and improvements in aerodynamics, the Avalon Hybrid is expects to achieve impressive fuel economy ratings. The 2013 Avalon incorporates the latest advances in Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, building upon Toyota’s 14 years of hybrid-development experience. The Avalon Hybrid features a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine, a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and a pair of electric motor/generators within the transaxle. A power-control unit located in the engine compartment houses an inverter, a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter (raises voltage to a maximum of 650 volts) and the hybrid-drive ECU, which governs the seamless operation of electric-motor power application and regenerative braking. The power control unit relies on liquid cooling to maintain an efficient temperature. The Avalon Hybrid achieves a total system output of 200 horsepower and offers three unique modes of operation: EV, ECO and SPORT. The Avalon Hybrid models achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg in the city, and a 39 mpg on the highway for a combined 40 mpg EPA-rating. The 2013 Avalon Hybrid offers an EV mode that, under certain conditions, allows the vehicle to operate solely on electric propulsion. EV mode can be engaged, provided other conditions are correct, for up to one mile at speeds up to 25 mph, providing an all-electric option that is convenient in residential areas or parking garages. The ECO drive mode engages the gasoline motor, but reduces throttle response and HVAC output to help improve overall efficiency. The SPORT Mode takes full advantage of the new Avalon’s dynamic character, improved chassis, and enhanced suspension by altering the engine’s throttle response and enhancing steering feel. The Avalon’s hybrid’s battery pack is comprised of 204 cells and is located in the vehicle trunk behind the rear seats, while still providing ample trunk space. The scroll casing for the battery cooling system’s blower fan has been designed to produce extremely quiet and efficient airflow, helping reduce interior noise and elevating refinement. The power-control unit, located in the engine bay, houses the inverter, DC-DC converter. The efficient hybrid transaxle in the new Avalon contains two high-output electric motor/generators, a power-split device, an open differential and the final drive ratio. Motor/Generator 1 (MG1) is used to start the gasoline engine and generate the energy that is returned to the battery to power the system. Motor/Generator 2 (MG2) is primarily responsible for electric drivetrain propulsion and regenerative braking. The hybrid vehicle transaxle also incorporates a flywheel-damper design that helps reduce noise and vibration during engine engagement. Captivating Styling with a Spacious, Luxurious Interior Experience The new 2013 Avalon is the product of a North American-focused design and engineering effort. The new sedan’s striking exterior and luxurious interior design was conceived by a youthful, talented team at the Calty Design Research Inc., facilities in Southern California and Michigan. The car’s engineering development was led by a passionate and dedicated group based at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Continuing a North American focus, the 2013 Avalon will be assembled at the award-winning Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) facility in Georgetown, Ky. True to the future product mission set forth by Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda, the new Avalon’s more stylish, bold, sporty exterior design and luxurious interior styling are matched by an enhanced dynamic package, a combination that foreshadows the more compelling and passionate nature of future Toyota products. Powertrain Specs Avalon V6 Avalon Hybrid Gasoline Engine Type/Displacement 2GR-FE / 3.5L 2AR-FXE / 2.5L Max Horsepower 268 hp 154 hp Max Torque 248 lbs.-ft. 153 lbs.-ft. Transaxle Type 6-speed AT E-CVT Electric Motor Max Output - 140 hp Max Torque - 200 ft. lbs. Battery Type - Nickel-Metal Hydride Nominal Voltage - 245 volts Number of Cells - 204 Cells Max Output - 34 kw or 45.6 hp Total System Output - 149 kw 200hp Key Dimensional Comparison 2013 Avalon 2012 Avalon Overall Length 195.3 in. 197.6 in. Overall Width 72.2 in. 72.8 in. Overall Height 57.5 in. 58.5 in. Wheelbase 111 in. 111 in. Front Tread 62.6 in. 62.2 in. Rear Tread 62.2 in. 61.6 in. Front Overhang 38.8 in. 39.4 in. Rear Overhang 45.5 in. 47.2 in. Curb Weight 3,497 lbs. (V6), 3594 lbs. (Hybrid XLE) 3,616 lbs. View full article
  9. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 26, 2012 Toyota has revealed the powertrain details on the new 2013 Avalon. As expected, the new Avalon will still use the 3.5L V6 from the previous Avalon. The V6 is rated at 268 HP and 248 lb-ft. of torque and will go through a six-speed automatic. EPA rates the V6 at 21 City/31 Highway/25 Combined. Toyota has equipped the Avalon V6 with three different power modes (Eco, Normal, Sport) and certain models get paddle-shifters for a more “sporty” experience. The new Avalon will also come in a hybrid model. The hybrid comes equipped with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and electric motor producing a combined 200 HP. EPA rates the Avalon Hybrid at 40 City/39 Highway/40 Combined. The new Avalon goes on sale later this year. William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 All-New 2013 Toyota Avalon Features Both Gasoline and Hybrid Powertrains TORRANCE, Calif. (June 26, 2012) – When the all-new, North American designed and engineered 2013 Avalon goes on sale later this year, consumers can choose between a powerful V6 gasoline powertrain and Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive. The efficiency offered by the new hybrid model will help the all-new premium mid-size sedan achieve excellent fuel economy with an EPA-rating of 40 mpg combined. In addition to offering a hybrid powertrain, the new Avalon features a stunning design, improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior experience with an abundance of outstanding convenience technologies. Powerful, Efficient V6 Engine The 2013 Avalon will feature a proven 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transaxle, which has been enhanced to offer more responsive and efficient performance. The all-aluminum six-cylinder engine will produce 268 horsepower and 248 lbs. ft. of torque, which will propel the new sedan to 60 mph in under seven seconds. Compared to the previous-generation Avalon, this 2013 powertrain combination offers improved fuel economy, performance, superior shift feel and response, with upgraded drivability and quietness. This enhanced powertrain’s programming has been updated to offer ECO, NORMAL, and SPORT Modes. The ECO mode prioritizes fuel efficiency by reducing power application at lower speeds and reducing energy consumed by the air-conditioning system. The SPORT Mode provides increased acceleration responses though altered engine control unit (ECU) programming, and it offers a more direct and responsive EPS programming to enhance steering feel. In addition, the new transaxle is equipped with a numerically lower differential gear drive ratio (3.23), designed to help improve fuel economy. The V6-powered 2013 Avalon achieves an EPA-rated 25 mpg combined (21 city/ 31 hwy). The transmission operation has been made more efficient and responsive with the adoption of a flex-start control feature lock-up clutch. With lock-up control, the transmission’s torque converter fully engages at a lower RPM during standing starts to improve acceleration response and help suppress unnecessary engine revolutions. The new transmission is also kept at an optimal temperature with an automatic-transmission fluid warmer, helping enhance efficiency. The multi-mode automatic transmission console shifter offers a D range and can be moved into an S-mode gate, which allows manually operated sequential shifting using the console shifter or available (Touring and Limited models) steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The gear can be selected by moving the shifter up to (+) position or lower using the (-) position to experience highly responsive shifts. By using the paddles or in S-range, the transmission uses a quick responding shift-logic that includes throttle blipping for downshifts. The gear changes and range-of-gear selections are displayed in the color multi-information display. Avalon Adds Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive For consumers seeking a premium mid-size sedan with excellent fuel economy ratings and an environmental message, the new Avalon features a full power-split hybrid system. Coupled with reductions in vehicle weight and improvements in aerodynamics, the Avalon Hybrid is expects to achieve impressive fuel economy ratings. The 2013 Avalon incorporates the latest advances in Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, building upon Toyota’s 14 years of hybrid-development experience. The Avalon Hybrid features a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine, a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and a pair of electric motor/generators within the transaxle. A power-control unit located in the engine compartment houses an inverter, a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter (raises voltage to a maximum of 650 volts) and the hybrid-drive ECU, which governs the seamless operation of electric-motor power application and regenerative braking. The power control unit relies on liquid cooling to maintain an efficient temperature. The Avalon Hybrid achieves a total system output of 200 horsepower and offers three unique modes of operation: EV, ECO and SPORT. The Avalon Hybrid models achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg in the city, and a 39 mpg on the highway for a combined 40 mpg EPA-rating. The 2013 Avalon Hybrid offers an EV mode that, under certain conditions, allows the vehicle to operate solely on electric propulsion. EV mode can be engaged, provided other conditions are correct, for up to one mile at speeds up to 25 mph, providing an all-electric option that is convenient in residential areas or parking garages. The ECO drive mode engages the gasoline motor, but reduces throttle response and HVAC output to help improve overall efficiency. The SPORT Mode takes full advantage of the new Avalon’s dynamic character, improved chassis, and enhanced suspension by altering the engine’s throttle response and enhancing steering feel. The Avalon’s hybrid’s battery pack is comprised of 204 cells and is located in the vehicle trunk behind the rear seats, while still providing ample trunk space. The scroll casing for the battery cooling system’s blower fan has been designed to produce extremely quiet and efficient airflow, helping reduce interior noise and elevating refinement. The power-control unit, located in the engine bay, houses the inverter, DC-DC converter. The efficient hybrid transaxle in the new Avalon contains two high-output electric motor/generators, a power-split device, an open differential and the final drive ratio. Motor/Generator 1 (MG1) is used to start the gasoline engine and generate the energy that is returned to the battery to power the system. Motor/Generator 2 (MG2) is primarily responsible for electric drivetrain propulsion and regenerative braking. The hybrid vehicle transaxle also incorporates a flywheel-damper design that helps reduce noise and vibration during engine engagement. Captivating Styling with a Spacious, Luxurious Interior Experience The new 2013 Avalon is the product of a North American-focused design and engineering effort. The new sedan’s striking exterior and luxurious interior design was conceived by a youthful, talented team at the Calty Design Research Inc., facilities in Southern California and Michigan. The car’s engineering development was led by a passionate and dedicated group based at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Continuing a North American focus, the 2013 Avalon will be assembled at the award-winning Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) facility in Georgetown, Ky. True to the future product mission set forth by Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda, the new Avalon’s more stylish, bold, sporty exterior design and luxurious interior styling are matched by an enhanced dynamic package, a combination that foreshadows the more compelling and passionate nature of future Toyota products. Powertrain Specs Avalon V6 Avalon Hybrid Gasoline Engine Type/Displacement 2GR-FE / 3.5L 2AR-FXE / 2.5L Max Horsepower 268 hp 154 hp Max Torque 248 lbs.-ft. 153 lbs.-ft. Transaxle Type 6-speed AT E-CVT Electric Motor Max Output - 140 hp Max Torque - 200 ft. lbs. Battery Type - Nickel-Metal Hydride Nominal Voltage - 245 volts Number of Cells - 204 Cells Max Output - 34 kw or 45.6 hp Total System Output - 149 kw 200hp Key Dimensional Comparison 2013 Avalon 2012 Avalon Overall Length 195.3 in. 197.6 in. Overall Width 72.2 in. 72.8 in. Overall Height 57.5 in. 58.5 in. Wheelbase 111 in. 111 in. Front Tread 62.6 in. 62.2 in. Rear Tread 62.2 in. 61.6 in. Front Overhang 38.8 in. 39.4 in. Rear Overhang 45.5 in. 47.2 in. Curb Weight 3,497 lbs. (V6), 3594 lbs. (Hybrid XLE) 3,616 lbs.

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