2005 Hybrid SUV Preview
Ford Escape, Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX400h usher in a new era
Page 1: Intro
For years, automakers have been foisting hybrid vehicles on a relatively underwhelmed American public. They save gasoline, sure. They help you breathe easier, okay. But they don't go really fast or make a lot of noise. And it's hard to pack a troop of kids into the back of these little eco-friendly tuna cans. Save 'em for Green Peace. We don't need hybrids in Suburbia. Pollution is someone else's problem.
Right. And wrong. Pollution is actually our problem, but it's hard to justify going against market realities of the day. Americans want more, and bigger versions of it. So while maybe, on principle, we ought to look into compromising a little horsepower and space so we can help make tomorrow a better place, the facts are plain: we aren't likely to turn in our SUVs for compacts. Now, if an enterprising automaker were to serve up pollution-free commuting in an SUV size, well - maybe this hybrid business has a future after all. It does. And it is as bright as the smog-free sun. Two automakers, Ford and Toyota, have announced concrete plans to sell hybrid SUVs. On the heels of Ford's '04 summer launch of the Escape SUV hybrid, and the Lexus RX400h, will come the Highlander Hybrid, and what we have as a result is a full-bore trend in the making - and a promising sign that the future will include lower reliance on fossil fuel. From Global Warming to Geopolitics and the price at the pump, this is good news for everyone.