In this edition of Ask Nathan:
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid off road?
- Challenger 392 vs Camaro ZL1?
- Toyota 4Runner vs Grand Cherokee?
Today’s first question comes from a fan who has some interesting questions about the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
Hello Roman, Nathan, Andre, and other TFL crew,
I enjoy your videos. I just want to share an idea for a video that I think would spark a lot of interest. As you know AWD systems are not created equal, as your snow reviews demonstrate. Well, their is a bit of a unique new model for 2016 that I think we will see a lot more of with the increase in hybrid technology. It is the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid AWD.
So now, with the RAV4, you have 3 different drivetrains. The 2WD, the AWD, and the Hybrid AWD. The non-hybrid AWD will probably be like recent years. The hybrid AWD used the electric motor to drive the rear axle and the gasoline motor to drive the front axle. So, Toyota can truthfully put the AWD badge on all hybrid RAV4’s. But, how does it compare to their non-hybrid AWD? The RAV4 is obviously not a true off-road vehicle, but when you buy an AWD vehicle you want traction from all 4 wheels in the rain, gravel, snow, ice, etc.
I think it would be a great real-world test to compare the gasoline AWD with the hybrid AWD in these normal conditions that RAV4 buyers would likely experience. If you could get Toyota to let you test both a gasoline RAV4 AWD and a hybrid RAV4 AWD at the same time that would be a great video, especially this winter in Colorado.
Thank you for listening and I enjoy your channels.
Grace & Peace,
A: Howdy Paul,
Yes, you bring up a good point. We have tested hybrids off road before. The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid did well, but it was a mild hybrid that did not have a separate electric motor powering the rear wheels like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Unfortunately, Toyota geared the hybrid AWD system for poor traction conditions rather than serious off road ability.
Could you imagine what would happen if Toyota built the electric rear end to handle real off road challenges?
We will work on doing a side-by-side review that you requested; however, it would make sense for us to wait until Toyota offered something new with the Highlander.
Thank you so much for the email and your patronage!
I would love to do a side-by-side right now, during the winter, but it takes time to make the arrangements.
This next question comes from a young man from Texas who wants a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 or a Dodge Challenger 392.
First off, hello from the great state of Texas! Secondly, I truly can’t convey how I really enjoy watching your show and how the show has progressed since its inception. You guys are very informative, funny and interesting (good way) in your style with delivering the views, news, boos and future car show reviews. Of course, I always look forward to watching Nathan wedge behind the 3rd row seat of a small SUV and how impatient Roman can be with a slow, slow and slow as hell vehicle. Then again its always a great show when Mr. Truck and Andre the Russian get together for a truck review and they both heckle the other during the review. Needless to say I really enjoy watching you all grow, especially in waist size over the years. You guys have really done well!
So I’m looking for your opinion on a which muscle car (2015 Challenger 392 Shaker or 2014 Camaro ZL1) seems to be the most fun, daily driving capable, better value, better long term collect-ability and all around badass looks. Its quite apparent one should not purchase either one of the vehicles for practicality, but if a sense of practicality were to sneak into this debate the Challenger would surely be the clear winner. However, the debate in my head is between which vehicle would give the best satisfaction and one that I would not look back on with a purchase. I also know the decision rest on how my loins feel in the seat, but some feedback would be great.
Also, I don’t know if you all can state crash ratings, insurance cost and a 5 year cost of ownership to any of the reviews, but I think that information would be great to include within the show.
Once again, I think you guys are awesome and if you ever want to include a sea-level version of the test with the mile-high test, please consider me to the test. I love cars, trucks and airplanes with a huge passion! Just a thought! Have a blessed day and I look forward to the new car views, news and real world reviews!
A: Hi Freddie!
Thanks for the great email. Fortunately, we’ve driven both cars and we both agree, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will drive circles around the Challenger 392 on the track – BUT, the Dodge Challenger 392 would still be our choice for a daily driver. Bottom line, we like the Challenger more.
With that being said: I highly recommend you look at the new Chevrolet Camaro SS. It is vastly better than the car it replaces and it’s a better driver than the Challenger.
Regarding your questions about featuring the NHTSA and IIHS information in our future reviews: it’s a great idea. Unfortunately, not all of that data is easy to use when we review each vehicle. It would be time consuming and require a lot of extra work for our people as well.
Still, it’s something to think about.
The last question comes from a fan and a tweeter that are curious about my height.
Q:Dec 11 at 10:23 PM
Nathan, pick a size! Are you 6’1 or 6’2? You either say you’re one of the other!
– – –
I am a Big fan of your reviews. I recently saw your review of the Lexus NX and you mentioned headroom was tight. I was wondering how tall you so I can use as reference since I am seriously considering this car but the nearest dealer is 4 hr away so that the reason for me bugging you.
A: Thanks for reaching out.
I am hair over six-foot-one, (6’1″); however, when I wear boots (“My big-boy shoes”), which I often wear, I stand at 6’2″.
Hope that helps.
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: email@example.com
|Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.|