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Hybrids - Long On Mileage, Short On Soul

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    well, very true, very true. For some time now, Toyota has been saying that the Lexus hybrids will strictly be for performance and not for gas savings, which makes it slightly confusing when they include the part about "...with V-8 fuel economy..." in their promotional stuff.

    But they already have a V-12 engine, which they are proposing to put in their new $100K+ sports car, and perhaps another model too, so it's not like they don't want to build larger engines. I think they are trying to hold to some sense of environmental responsibility, but it is stretching it when they are already producing these large V-8s for the Lexus line (the new one for the LS to be a 5.0). That's not that good for the environment any way you cut it. I applaud the intent, but the execution doesn't really match it.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    It'll be interesting to see if the Honda CR-Z, which may be the spiritual successor of the CRX, will be the first production hybrid that's fun to drive. Sportiness plus good fuel economy should be a winning combination, and attract imitators.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,076
    That and the new Insight intrigue me, although I doubt if the new Insight will be fun to drive.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Yes, the new Insight interests me too, based on what I've read.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,744
    Cars do not have soul anyway. They are machines and if one is designed simply for mileage that is what they should do best. To the driver that admires hyper mileage above hyper road holding a hybrid has more soul than a Porsche. Only the buyer has Soul. Unless the car is made in Korea. ;)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    "Cars do not have soul anyway."

    It depends on how you define the term. Of course cars don't have soul in the human sense. Following that definition, music doesn't have soul either, but the word has more than one application.

    In an automotive sense, a car that's a bit unique in the way it drives and responds, as opposed to generic, and one that has some character and is engaging to drive, can be described as having soul. Cars that drive like appliances, than deliver a bland driving experience, may have many positive attributes, but soul isn't one of them.

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  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,744
    "The capital of South Korea is Seoul."
    Hence the wink.

    Soul is totally subjective and if the greatest joy a person can have is better fuel mileage hybrids can have that subjective soul.

    Still there are no anthropomorphic qualities to cars. They are tools and nothing more. A car that had this elusive "soul" 20 years ago would either lack all of that "soul' or acquire character. My old Sprite might have had soul by some subjective qualification but what was it? Does skid pad holding ability equal soul? Slalom speeds? Race track credibility? Or the fact that one individual simply likes the way their car drives? No, it is nothing more than an attempt by some to give a reason why they like one vehicle over another. But it doesn't exist for the car without the driver.

    The musical instrument doesn't have soul the human playing the music can impart something we call soul. Lucile in my hands has no soul, but for BB King? Cars are the same.

    To someone from green peace a Prius would maybe show soul but to them a Porsche would be a soulless as a SUV.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    edited September 2010
    The CRX had soul while the CR-V is an appliance, trying to masquerade as a, a, a. Just what does is the CR-V?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    edited September 2010
    the CR-Z will offer a 6 speed manual transmission, so I'm told---now that's something unique to hybrids as we know them.

    Arguing about "soul" in a car would leave us all breathless but unfulfilled; however, it would be disingenuous to suggest that once around a high speed track in a professionally-driven Ferrari at 180 mph would be no different than in a Prius at a shopping mall, or that the sound of the V-12 engine right behind your head wouldn't have *some* titillating effect on most sentient beings. After all, in a Ferrari the engine vibrations and sounds are actually working your whole body over. Ferraris get into your brain :shades:

    I've been reading some auto journalists from Japan who complain that "most" Japanese buyers these days have no real interest in cars anymore---the vast majority view them as appliances.

    Essentially, what they are telling us is that Japanese automakers look to the USA to market their "interesting" cars, not to the domestic market.

    If it hasn't been mentioned before, the main accomplishment of the Tesla, aside from burning up huge amounts of capital and showing no profits whatsoever, was to demonstrate that an alternative energy vehicle need not a) be boring or b) look boring.

    To my mind, one of the main handicaps at the present time for hybrids is that they are either a) homely or b) indistinguishable from a regular vehicle.

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    A few test drive reviews of the CR-Z:

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Shoot, for those mileage numbers you could buy a MINI and have 3Xs the fun and the same gas mileage.

    Hmmm....body roll, eh? I do recall that driving the Prius would be a lot like taking Mom's sofa out for a spin, but body roll in itself does not inhibit a car from being fun or from handling well (I mean, look at French cars) ---it just won't be very balanced going to turns aggressively, so you'll have to drift through them---not the fastest way around a race track, to be sure.

    Of course, if you add body roll to lack of power, a CVT and non-supportive seating, then it starts to get ugly.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    You're right about French cars, in that they could be fun to drive, in their own way. I wonder if the newer French cars are as softly sprung as the old ones.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,675
    edited September 2010
    Essentially, what they are telling us is that Japanese automakers look to the USA to market their "interesting" cars, not to the domestic market.

    I think that the most real car lovers exist in the U.S. And the reason for this is because the best cars come from the U.S. Think 60's cars here. What a design decade!

    And there's plenty of us baby boomers who remember that decade well. I just think we still love the best cars from the best carmakers, and they used to be from the U.S. Ford is really strong again and some of GM is getting turned around. And from all the Charger's, Magnum's and Avengers I see around Arizona and Nevada,
    I think a lot of people around here still love Chrysler. Maybe this new Fiatsler thing will really work out well for those two automakers.

    So if Japanese carmakers are "testing" new rigs out on us I could really understand it as being true. I just love the stuff Mitsubishi is laying out these days, too. Their new "baby" Outlander, the Outlander Sport, is a fine new Outlander that I am going to have to take a closer look at. It would be perfect for these new cold environs I'm in in northeastern Nevada.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Well the best cars USED to come from the USA but that hasn't been the case since the 1960s---with a few exceptions.

    Most innovation in technology and design comes from abroad. US automakers can be clever, but they don't do their homework.

    People don't want innovation for innovation's sake...they want cars that also work day after day.

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    Forget about reducing emissions and fuel consumption. How about subtracting the driver?

    Driverless Vans 8000 Mile Trip to China
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Only goes to remind me that the future of hybrids seems to include less and less driver participation. I suppose if you want maximum fuel efficiency, this is a given.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    I see driverless cars on the road around here all the time :shades: :sick:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Portions of release taken from AutoWeek...

    "Honda is set to provide the CR-Z with an all-new four-cylinder gasoline-engine option as part of plans to broaden the compact coupe's appeal in key world markets, including North America.

    With forced induction and Honda's patented VTEC-i fully variable camshaft-timing system, the new 1.6-liter engine is aimed at providing the performance of a typical 2.0-liter engine. sources in Japan say the new engine is likely to be offered in two guises: a standard version making about 160 hp and a highly tuned version aimed at matching the 200 hp of the discontinued 2.0-liter four-cylinder used in the Civic Type R. The latter engine is likely to form the basis of a CR-Z Type R tentatively due out in late 2011.

    Plans to go beyond the single hybrid-engine option for the CR-Z come as sales of the coupe have begun to sag in Honda's all-important home market. The Japanese carmaker's intentions to add a gasoline engine to the lineup were first hinted at with the CR-Z Type R concept revealed at the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas. Unlike the proposed production version though, that car ran a turbocharged version of the CR-Z's existing 1.5-liter four-cylinder."
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