Hybrid Vehicles Why Can’t the U.S. Have Toyota’s 40 MPG 4WD Minivan?

Published on September 22nd, 2008 | by Nick Chambers

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Why Can’t the U.S. Have Toyota’s 40 MPG 4WD Minivan?


Toyota sells a 40 mile-per-gallon, four-wheel-drive hybrid minivan in Japan, and has since 2001, but they’re playing keeps.

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Its become a bit of a perennial question that I’m reminded of when I find myself mired in the depths of the internet — a question that’s been simmering in the back of my mind since I learned about the Toyota Estima hybrid minivan 3 years ago… and then went to full boil when I learned that the Estima hybrid has been sold in Japan since 2001.

At the time, I googled extensively, I asked some Japanese colleagues, I contacted Toyota — I even set up a half-hearted online petition to bring the Estima hybrid to the US (offline now, but the Union of Concerned Scientists was more ambitious, garnering over 18,000 signatures).

After all that, I never really got answers as to why Toyota had no plans to bring this family-fantasy four-wheel-drive, 40 mpg minivan to the US, but as I did more research, I pieced together my own picture of the reasons. It seemed that Toyota didn’t think Americans would buy it because it wasn’t a “full-sized” minivan and it didn’t have enough power.

But now, with the hearts and minds of consumers changing and demand for fuel efficient vehicles steaming ahead, I come back to the same question. And it’s the question I find myself asking of most every major auto manufacturer these days: WTF? If you’ve got a car that everybody will want, why don’t you just go ahead and sell it to everybody?

When I was growing up, my family was one of the first to buy Toyota’s Previa minivan. I remember sitting in it for the first time and thinking I was at the helm of a spaceship. It seemed so cool and turned me into an instant Toyota fanboy.

That Previa was built like a tank: it went 170,000 miles without any major service needed. It was also the source of many a fond teenage make-out and illicit substance memory — although most of those are a little foggy now, aren’t they?

I’ve owned Toyotas ever since, and probably will ’till the day I die. But recently I’ve started to get pissed at Toyota in the same way that I am at the American auto manufacturers for some of the dolt-headed, intelligence-defying marketing decisions they’ve made in regards to fuel efficient vehicles.

You see folks, that first generation Previa was the precursor to the Estima, but for some reason, when Toyota introduced the next generation Estima to the rest of the world as it phased-out the Previa, it introduced the turd-like Sienna to the US. The Sienna was a gas hog — just like all other US minivans — and was designed with not a hint of the Previa in mind.

As the years went on, the Japanese Estima got better and better and Toyota even released a “full-size” hybrid minivan to the Japanese market called the Alphard. But we were still stuck with the hulking Sienna.

Currently, the rumors indicate that Toyota will introduce a hybrid version of the Sienna to the US market sometime next year, but it won’t get nearly the mileage of the Estima. Again, I ask, WTF? Yo, Toyota, you’ve already got a minivan that half of the families in the US would kill for, what the hell are you doing investing so much energy in redesigning a has-been?

The video below is in Japanese, but regardless, it clearly shows the Estima hybrid in operation with its fancy Americans-need-it options and all. As a dad to two, I want this car for my family. What do you think? Is Toyota crazy just like all the other big auto manufacturers?

Posts Related to Hybrids:

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons under a GNU Free Documentation License

Video Credit: VasyaKurolesov from Youtube


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About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.



  • aperson

    it wont be sold here because it wouldnt meet U.S. safety regulations (i.e. bumper height, gas tank placement, emissions, dimensions). Its the same reason many european cars arent sold here.

    It would have to be completely re-engineered to meet u.s. regulations so redesigning the sienna is actually a better deal.

  • aperson

    it wont be sold here because it wouldnt meet U.S. safety regulations (i.e. bumper height, gas tank placement, emissions, dimensions). Its the same reason many european cars arent sold here.

    It would have to be completely re-engineered to meet u.s. regulations so redesigning the sienna is actually a better deal.

  • aperson

    it wont be sold here because it wouldnt meet U.S. safety regulations (i.e. bumper height, gas tank placement, emissions, dimensions). Its the same reason many european cars arent sold here.

    It would have to be completely re-engineered to meet u.s. regulations so redesigning the sienna is actually a better deal.

  • Nick Chambers

    “Aperson”,

    I only buy your argument to a point. The reasons you give are the reasons that are always given, but I have yet to see those arguments proven. I’m sorry to say, but I think that’s a cop-out. I certainly don’t buy the emissions argument considering that this is a ULEV. I’m not sure what “dimensions” regulations you’re talking about, but I would imagine the Estima falls well into those.

    Anyway, until I see some actual numbers from Toyota showing that your reasons are true, I just don’t buy it.

  • http://www.ibuyitgreen.com David Blacker

    Does seem crazy…Lately it seems like I’m constantly coming across fantastic fuel economy cars that aren’t available here in US.

    Below are 2 links to related articles:

    100 MPG Gasoline Engine – Not A Hybrid, Electric, Hydrogen – Available in Europe 2010:

    http://www.ibuyitgreen.com/green-articles/cars/100-mpg-gasoline-engine-not-a-hybrid-electric-hydrogen

    Best SUV Fuel Economy 2008:

    http://www.ibuyitgreen.com/green-articles/cars/best-suv-fuel-economy-2008

  • http://www.ibuyitgreen.com David Blacker

    Does seem crazy…Lately it seems like I’m constantly coming across fantastic fuel economy cars that aren’t available here in US.

    Below are 2 links to related articles:

    100 MPG Gasoline Engine – Not A Hybrid, Electric, Hydrogen – Available in Europe 2010:

    http://www.ibuyitgreen.com/green-articles/cars/100-mpg-gasoline-engine-not-a-hybrid-electric-hydrogen

    Best SUV Fuel Economy 2008:

    http://www.ibuyitgreen.com/green-articles/cars/best-suv-fuel-economy-2008

  • http://www.ibuyitgreen.com David Blacker

    Does seem crazy…Lately it seems like I’m constantly coming across fantastic fuel economy cars that aren’t available here in US.

    Below are 2 links to related articles:

    100 MPG Gasoline Engine – Not A Hybrid, Electric, Hydrogen – Available in Europe 2010:

    http://www.ibuyitgreen.com/green-articles/cars/100-mpg-gasoline-engine-not-a-hybrid-electric-hydrogen

    Best SUV Fuel Economy 2008:

    http://www.ibuyitgreen.com/green-articles/cars/best-suv-fuel-economy-2008

  • http://www.alittlegreenereveryday.com Robin

    I might buy it. We’ve got a Prius and a Mazda MPV minivan that does fairly decent in mileage for a minivan. We only drive it once or twice a week, though. Most of the time we drive the Prius. I told my husband that we won’t replace it until an extremely fuel efficient mini van comes on the market. I know I’m one of at least a million who are waiting for a more environmentally friendly minivan to come along.

  • http://www.alittlegreenereveryday.com Robin

    I might buy it. We’ve got a Prius and a Mazda MPV minivan that does fairly decent in mileage for a minivan. We only drive it once or twice a week, though. Most of the time we drive the Prius. I told my husband that we won’t replace it until an extremely fuel efficient mini van comes on the market. I know I’m one of at least a million who are waiting for a more environmentally friendly minivan to come along.

  • http://www.alittlegreenereveryday.com Robin

    I might buy it. We’ve got a Prius and a Mazda MPV minivan that does fairly decent in mileage for a minivan. We only drive it once or twice a week, though. Most of the time we drive the Prius. I told my husband that we won’t replace it until an extremely fuel efficient mini van comes on the market. I know I’m one of at least a million who are waiting for a more environmentally friendly minivan to come along.

  • http://www.alittlegreenereveryday.com Robin

    I might buy it. We’ve got a Prius and a Mazda MPV minivan that does fairly decent in mileage for a minivan. We only drive it once or twice a week, though. Most of the time we drive the Prius. I told my husband that we won’t replace it until an extremely fuel efficient mini van comes on the market. I know I’m one of at least a million who are waiting for a more environmentally friendly minivan to come along.

  • Garagravaar

    Oh come on, connect some dots. Oil family in power …..

  • Garagravaar

    Oh come on, connect some dots. Oil family in power …..

  • Garagravaar

    Oh come on, connect some dots. Oil family in power …..

  • mAineAc

    The reason you don’t see vehicles like this here is because our country is run by people who work for big oil. We will not see this change until we vote for a change.

    Write in Ron Paul… If you don’t like him write in someone else. If you vote for the people that are being forced down our throat you will see the same thing for the next four years. Change will come when people finally wake up and decide to change our circumstances.

  • mAineAc

    The reason you don’t see vehicles like this here is because our country is run by people who work for big oil. We will not see this change until we vote for a change.

    Write in Ron Paul… If you don’t like him write in someone else. If you vote for the people that are being forced down our throat you will see the same thing for the next four years. Change will come when people finally wake up and decide to change our circumstances.

  • mAineAc

    The reason you don’t see vehicles like this here is because our country is run by people who work for big oil. We will not see this change until we vote for a change.

    Write in Ron Paul… If you don’t like him write in someone else. If you vote for the people that are being forced down our throat you will see the same thing for the next four years. Change will come when people finally wake up and decide to change our circumstances.

  • Mr. Sinister

    You’re absolutely right…the major auto companies must be run by ignorant, high-school flunkies. Imagine how much money they could be making if they would just read these posts!

    Wait, on second thought, Toyota is running neck and neck for the title of world’s largest auto-maker. I suppose that means they know a thing or two about the markets they serve. Thanks, Nick, but I guess the fine folks at Toyota have it covered. Shame on them, though, for not taking the time to prepare a full business case for your review.

  • Mr. Sinister

    You’re absolutely right…the major auto companies must be run by ignorant, high-school flunkies. Imagine how much money they could be making if they would just read these posts!

    Wait, on second thought, Toyota is running neck and neck for the title of world’s largest auto-maker. I suppose that means they know a thing or two about the markets they serve. Thanks, Nick, but I guess the fine folks at Toyota have it covered. Shame on them, though, for not taking the time to prepare a full business case for your review.

  • Mr. Sinister

    You’re absolutely right…the major auto companies must be run by ignorant, high-school flunkies. Imagine how much money they could be making if they would just read these posts!

    Wait, on second thought, Toyota is running neck and neck for the title of world’s largest auto-maker. I suppose that means they know a thing or two about the markets they serve. Thanks, Nick, but I guess the fine folks at Toyota have it covered. Shame on them, though, for not taking the time to prepare a full business case for your review.

  • Mr. Sinister

    You’re absolutely right…the major auto companies must be run by ignorant, high-school flunkies. Imagine how much money they could be making if they would just read these posts!

    Wait, on second thought, Toyota is running neck and neck for the title of world’s largest auto-maker. I suppose that means they know a thing or two about the markets they serve. Thanks, Nick, but I guess the fine folks at Toyota have it covered. Shame on them, though, for not taking the time to prepare a full business case for your review.

  • http://n/a jonmarch

    Ive gone thru this same disbelief for the last 4 years.

    Estima, Alphard.

    Can it really be that the Bush people are keeping it out??

    I fond that hard to believe, when the Chevy Volt is on the way, and Priuses are filling the road.

    Does ANYone have an “in” at Toyota to get us one, or both, of these vans HERE??

  • Jacob

    The real reason you won’t see this is hidden in the wikipedia article you linked:

    “The Previa continues to be excluded from North America as the locally-produced Sienna occupies that market.”

    Retooling the US plant(s?) would be very costly, and shutting it down will be even more costly. Having cars built in America really helps foreign car manufacturers get acceptance, and they will not close those plants lightly.

    Plus, why go through all of that effort when the current crop of minivans are much better than the SUVs they’re replacing. 26mpg is good enough for most Americans, and Toyota can keep making the Sienna without the additional costs.

  • Jacob

    The real reason you won’t see this is hidden in the wikipedia article you linked:

    “The Previa continues to be excluded from North America as the locally-produced Sienna occupies that market.”

    Retooling the US plant(s?) would be very costly, and shutting it down will be even more costly. Having cars built in America really helps foreign car manufacturers get acceptance, and they will not close those plants lightly.

    Plus, why go through all of that effort when the current crop of minivans are much better than the SUVs they’re replacing. 26mpg is good enough for most Americans, and Toyota can keep making the Sienna without the additional costs.

  • Jacob

    The real reason you won’t see this is hidden in the wikipedia article you linked:

    “The Previa continues to be excluded from North America as the locally-produced Sienna occupies that market.”

    Retooling the US plant(s?) would be very costly, and shutting it down will be even more costly. Having cars built in America really helps foreign car manufacturers get acceptance, and they will not close those plants lightly.

    Plus, why go through all of that effort when the current crop of minivans are much better than the SUVs they’re replacing. 26mpg is good enough for most Americans, and Toyota can keep making the Sienna without the additional costs.

  • Asia Cars

    There’re both safety and market issues that keeps cars like the Estima from the US Market. The Previa did horribly in crash tests, and with a 4 cylinder engine didn’t stand up well to the Caravans from Chrysler, which also cost much less. Recall that there was even a supercharged Previa, which fell into obscurity in the US. In Asia, the car market is much different than in the US. The Average US buyer is in the middle-income class, where price is a big consideration. In Asia, the average car buyer is someone in a higher-income segment — the middle-income class in Asia simply can’t afford cars, where a deeded parking spot can cost more than the car itself. What this means is that whereas the average minivan in the US is sold with cloth seats and some optional package, the average minivan sold in Asia is loaded up with luxury options — which means much higher profit margins per van sold in Asia, versus in the US. Also, in the crowd roads and streets of Asia, you don’t need to go 0-60 in less than 12 seconds. The average speeds are lower, which means safety is less of an issue, and plus there’re not as many government regulations (nothing comparable to the US). For Toyota to send this car to the US market, it would need (as mentioned) better structural integrity — and at the same time, it would have to sell for less per car because the biggest segment of the market is not the luxury segment. Bottom line, more cost, less profit — hmmm…tough decision, but I would stick to selling Camry’s and Corolla’s and Yaris’s.

  • Asia Cars

    There’re both safety and market issues that keeps cars like the Estima from the US Market. The Previa did horribly in crash tests, and with a 4 cylinder engine didn’t stand up well to the Caravans from Chrysler, which also cost much less. Recall that there was even a supercharged Previa, which fell into obscurity in the US. In Asia, the car market is much different than in the US. The Average US buyer is in the middle-income class, where price is a big consideration. In Asia, the average car buyer is someone in a higher-income segment — the middle-income class in Asia simply can’t afford cars, where a deeded parking spot can cost more than the car itself. What this means is that whereas the average minivan in the US is sold with cloth seats and some optional package, the average minivan sold in Asia is loaded up with luxury options — which means much higher profit margins per van sold in Asia, versus in the US. Also, in the crowd roads and streets of Asia, you don’t need to go 0-60 in less than 12 seconds. The average speeds are lower, which means safety is less of an issue, and plus there’re not as many government regulations (nothing comparable to the US). For Toyota to send this car to the US market, it would need (as mentioned) better structural integrity — and at the same time, it would have to sell for less per car because the biggest segment of the market is not the luxury segment. Bottom line, more cost, less profit — hmmm…tough decision, but I would stick to selling Camry’s and Corolla’s and Yaris’s.

  • Asia Cars

    There’re both safety and market issues that keeps cars like the Estima from the US Market. The Previa did horribly in crash tests, and with a 4 cylinder engine didn’t stand up well to the Caravans from Chrysler, which also cost much less. Recall that there was even a supercharged Previa, which fell into obscurity in the US. In Asia, the car market is much different than in the US. The Average US buyer is in the middle-income class, where price is a big consideration. In Asia, the average car buyer is someone in a higher-income segment — the middle-income class in Asia simply can’t afford cars, where a deeded parking spot can cost more than the car itself. What this means is that whereas the average minivan in the US is sold with cloth seats and some optional package, the average minivan sold in Asia is loaded up with luxury options — which means much higher profit margins per van sold in Asia, versus in the US. Also, in the crowd roads and streets of Asia, you don’t need to go 0-60 in less than 12 seconds. The average speeds are lower, which means safety is less of an issue, and plus there’re not as many government regulations (nothing comparable to the US). For Toyota to send this car to the US market, it would need (as mentioned) better structural integrity — and at the same time, it would have to sell for less per car because the biggest segment of the market is not the luxury segment. Bottom line, more cost, less profit — hmmm…tough decision, but I would stick to selling Camry’s and Corolla’s and Yaris’s.

  • Asia Cars

    There’re both safety and market issues that keeps cars like the Estima from the US Market. The Previa did horribly in crash tests, and with a 4 cylinder engine didn’t stand up well to the Caravans from Chrysler, which also cost much less. Recall that there was even a supercharged Previa, which fell into obscurity in the US. In Asia, the car market is much different than in the US. The Average US buyer is in the middle-income class, where price is a big consideration. In Asia, the average car buyer is someone in a higher-income segment — the middle-income class in Asia simply can’t afford cars, where a deeded parking spot can cost more than the car itself. What this means is that whereas the average minivan in the US is sold with cloth seats and some optional package, the average minivan sold in Asia is loaded up with luxury options — which means much higher profit margins per van sold in Asia, versus in the US. Also, in the crowd roads and streets of Asia, you don’t need to go 0-60 in less than 12 seconds. The average speeds are lower, which means safety is less of an issue, and plus there’re not as many government regulations (nothing comparable to the US). For Toyota to send this car to the US market, it would need (as mentioned) better structural integrity — and at the same time, it would have to sell for less per car because the biggest segment of the market is not the luxury segment. Bottom line, more cost, less profit — hmmm…tough decision, but I would stick to selling Camry’s and Corolla’s and Yaris’s.

  • John

    I would even drive it from the right side and have everything in Japanese so they did not have to do anything to it. Of course I think all car companies are usually five years behind the curve at all times on what people really want.

  • John

    I would even drive it from the right side and have everything in Japanese so they did not have to do anything to it. Of course I think all car companies are usually five years behind the curve at all times on what people really want.

  • http://dir.blogflux.com/tracker.php?id=175696&47715698=47715698http://www.xemion.com/out.php?id=24062&47715698 design

    Hey, I don’t have a brood of cubs and two golden retrievers, but I can definitely use a 4×4 minivan. Those things are GREAT for camping. Especially if it gets 2.5x better mileage than I’m currently getting from my 4Runner.

    What’s the tow cap?

  • http://dir.blogflux.com/tracker.php?id=175696&47715698=47715698http://www.xemion.com/out.php?id=24062&47715698 design

    Hey, I don’t have a brood of cubs and two golden retrievers, but I can definitely use a 4×4 minivan. Those things are GREAT for camping. Especially if it gets 2.5x better mileage than I’m currently getting from my 4Runner.

    What’s the tow cap?

  • http://dir.blogflux.com/tracker.php?id=175696&47715698=47715698http://www.xemion.com/out.php?id=24062&47715698 design

    Hey, I don’t have a brood of cubs and two golden retrievers, but I can definitely use a 4×4 minivan. Those things are GREAT for camping. Especially if it gets 2.5x better mileage than I’m currently getting from my 4Runner.

    What’s the tow cap?

  • Jiff Mason

    LOL, thats easy, US Government WONT allow it! Why? because Big Oil has the US Government in its back pocket and cars on the streets doing 40+ MPG cost the oil companies too much in losses. This is no big secret. All about PROFIT.

    Jiff

    http://www.anonymize.us.tc

  • Jiff Mason

    LOL, thats easy, US Government WONT allow it! Why? because Big Oil has the US Government in its back pocket and cars on the streets doing 40+ MPG cost the oil companies too much in losses. This is no big secret. All about PROFIT.

    Jiff

    http://www.anonymize.us.tc

  • Brent

    Nick – You have great points and for the most part I agree with you but unfortunately our system has a lot of business greed that far out weights common sense. As you mention without a doubt this Toyota Estima, and other vehicles would sell just fine here in the US.

    You have heard about the recent oil scandals going on, and that’s just what we hear about. For example:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fi-oilsex11-2008sep11,0,607347,print.story

    Toyota is a business and makes decisions based on dollars and cents, and I bet you a dollar if they could make more money selling the Estima in the US, than not they would. So what do that tell us then…

  • Brent

    Nick – You have great points and for the most part I agree with you but unfortunately our system has a lot of business greed that far out weights common sense. As you mention without a doubt this Toyota Estima, and other vehicles would sell just fine here in the US.

    You have heard about the recent oil scandals going on, and that’s just what we hear about. For example:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fi-oilsex11-2008sep11,0,607347,print.story

    Toyota is a business and makes decisions based on dollars and cents, and I bet you a dollar if they could make more money selling the Estima in the US, than not they would. So what do that tell us then…

  • Brent

    Nick – You have great points and for the most part I agree with you but unfortunately our system has a lot of business greed that far out weights common sense. As you mention without a doubt this Toyota Estima, and other vehicles would sell just fine here in the US.

    You have heard about the recent oil scandals going on, and that’s just what we hear about. For example:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fi-oilsex11-2008sep11,0,607347,print.story

    Toyota is a business and makes decisions based on dollars and cents, and I bet you a dollar if they could make more money selling the Estima in the US, than not they would. So what do that tell us then…

  • Brent

    Nick – You have great points and for the most part I agree with you but unfortunately our system has a lot of business greed that far out weights common sense. As you mention without a doubt this Toyota Estima, and other vehicles would sell just fine here in the US.

    You have heard about the recent oil scandals going on, and that’s just what we hear about. For example:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fi-oilsex11-2008sep11,0,607347,print.story

    Toyota is a business and makes decisions based on dollars and cents, and I bet you a dollar if they could make more money selling the Estima in the US, than not they would. So what do that tell us then…

  • Dan S

    Toyota hasn’t sold an Estima in North America (Aka Previa in North America) since the mid 90s. My family has one of the last of the line before they stopped selling them here. I would LOVE to have them here, they are the NICEST vans ever but its probably because the vans dont meet safety standards here. I too wish the Estima/Previa came back

  • Dan S

    Toyota hasn’t sold an Estima in North America (Aka Previa in North America) since the mid 90s. My family has one of the last of the line before they stopped selling them here. I would LOVE to have them here, they are the NICEST vans ever but its probably because the vans dont meet safety standards here. I too wish the Estima/Previa came back

  • Nick Chambers

    When I write about some of the fuel efficient and cool cars being sold elsewhere in the world, but not available to the US, a lot of the inevitable comments I see revolve around “so-and-so automaker has done their research and if they could make money selling this in the US they would” or “it would cost too much to convert the thing to be legal in the US.”

    The way I feel about those kinds of statements is that the world has changed dramatically in the last year and a half and the US market has changed dramatically too. I think that the market models these car companies are working from while making their marketing decisions are based on old data about the markets they serve.

    If they were to actually gather information about likely car buyers in today’s market they would come to completely different conclusions about what cars they should sell and how profitable they would be.

    This is why start-ups like Tesla and Aptera will ultimately be the new American car giants — they are tapping into this wholesale shift in consumer demand at an early stage and not designing for the consumer of the past.

  • Chris

    The small mini-van from Japan is pretty ubiquitous in the Japan domestic market. I’ve always been a big fan of the Nissan Serena, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Estima. Personally, I’d like to see the kei-cars (700cc or less) brought to the US.

  • Chris

    The small mini-van from Japan is pretty ubiquitous in the Japan domestic market. I’ve always been a big fan of the Nissan Serena, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Estima. Personally, I’d like to see the kei-cars (700cc or less) brought to the US.

  • Chris

    The small mini-van from Japan is pretty ubiquitous in the Japan domestic market. I’ve always been a big fan of the Nissan Serena, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Estima. Personally, I’d like to see the kei-cars (700cc or less) brought to the US.

  • Andy Leeman

    Google the Mazda 5. I get 35 mpg combined, driven for economy, of course. Six passenger.

  • Andy Leeman

    Google the Mazda 5. I get 35 mpg combined, driven for economy, of course. Six passenger.

  • Andy Leeman

    Google the Mazda 5. I get 35 mpg combined, driven for economy, of course. Six passenger.

  • Andy Leeman

    Google the Mazda 5. I get 35 mpg combined, driven for economy, of course. Six passenger.

  • Get A Life

    IT’S A FREAKING MATRIX!!!!

    The real question is: Why would anyone buy it in the first place? IT’S A MATRIX!!!

  • Get A Life

    IT’S A FREAKING MATRIX!!!!

    The real question is: Why would anyone buy it in the first place? IT’S A MATRIX!!!

  • Get A Life

    IT’S A FREAKING MATRIX!!!!

    The real question is: Why would anyone buy it in the first place? IT’S A MATRIX!!!

  • Get A Life

    IT’S A FREAKING MATRIX!!!!

    The real question is: Why would anyone buy it in the first place? IT’S A MATRIX!!!

  • Get A Life

    IT’S A FREAKING MATRIX!!!!

    The real question is: Why would anyone buy it in the first place? IT’S A MATRIX!!!

  • Roger

    We have a Sienna now and love it. Unfortunately, the gas mileage isn’t that great (17mpg). We’d switch to an Estima in a heartbeat.

  • Roger

    We have a Sienna now and love it. Unfortunately, the gas mileage isn’t that great (17mpg). We’d switch to an Estima in a heartbeat.

  • Parker mosman

    There are many flaws in this post. First, you can’t compare fuel economy numbers from Japan or anywhere else to US numbers. They are all based on totally different driving cycles. Example, look up the SmartForTwo mileage rating in Europe. It is in the realm of 60mpg. In the US it was rated at about 44, and most people get about 37 in practice. Second, in most situations Hybrid powertrains are a joke. Yes, if you drive in stop and go settings, they work out ok due to the engine deactivation feature. Put them on the highway at speed, and they do as well as any economy car. Factor in the huge upcharge for the hybrid, and it just isn’t worth it. Why is this? The Toyota system converts mechanical energy to electrical energy and back to mechanical energy, which is extremely inefficient, when you are in scenarios where you don’t get electrical energy for free, such as braking. Not to mention they contain batteries that will pollute the earth for many years to come. If fuel economy is your goal, buy a 2007 mini cooper, and you will spend about 18k and get 40 mpg in essentially all conditions without rewarding Toyota for the biggest scam in the auto industry.

  • Parker mosman

    There are many flaws in this post. First, you can’t compare fuel economy numbers from Japan or anywhere else to US numbers. They are all based on totally different driving cycles. Example, look up the SmartForTwo mileage rating in Europe. It is in the realm of 60mpg. In the US it was rated at about 44, and most people get about 37 in practice. Second, in most situations Hybrid powertrains are a joke. Yes, if you drive in stop and go settings, they work out ok due to the engine deactivation feature. Put them on the highway at speed, and they do as well as any economy car. Factor in the huge upcharge for the hybrid, and it just isn’t worth it. Why is this? The Toyota system converts mechanical energy to electrical energy and back to mechanical energy, which is extremely inefficient, when you are in scenarios where you don’t get electrical energy for free, such as braking. Not to mention they contain batteries that will pollute the earth for many years to come. If fuel economy is your goal, buy a 2007 mini cooper, and you will spend about 18k and get 40 mpg in essentially all conditions without rewarding Toyota for the biggest scam in the auto industry.

  • Nick Chambers

    Parker,

    There is no flaw in my mpg calculation. Toyota lists the Estima as getting 20 km/l in whatever fuel economy test the Japanese government uses as standard. 20 km/l is roughly 47 mpg. The Union of Concerned Scientists (referenced in my post) estimate that the Estima would get 35 mpg. I chose to take the middle road and hedge it down a bit from that by estimating a 40 mpg fuel economy. To be fair, we will probably never know what this minivan would actually get given that Toyota won’t sell the damn thing in the US.

  • Parker Mosman

    I agree there is no doubt this would be a competitor for fuel economy in the mini van market, although I would hesitate to assume that it will perform 15% better than predicted and achieve 40 mpg instead of 35 mpg. Also, this van is now being offered with a 3.5L V6 in all other markets besides Japan, because the 2.4L engine was not enough to drive in countries with similar driving environments to the US (Australia).

    My real complaint is not with this van, but with America’s love for the Prius, hybrids, and Toyota in general. In my opinion U.S. automakers did not pursue hybrid drives for a simple reason: in the every day man’s drive, they accomplish nothing other than adding cost to the vehicle, as well as an expensive repair when the batteries need replaced. What they did underestimate was excellent marketing execs at Toyota and uninformed American consumers. This link serves a good indication of what generally happens when a person with a commute that does not involve a lot of stop and go traffic buys a Prius (or other hybrid) http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/hybridwatch01.html. Hybrids have been employed with excellent results in mass transportation buses, because this is the ideal driving environment for this technology.

    Fuel economy is a function of performance, vehicle weight (safety), and emissions. You can usually get two of the three, but not all three. In general most internal combustion engines are working with the same set of control features and are of comparable quality and efficiency. Compare Toyota’s product line up with any U.S. automaker’s in an apples to apples comparison, and you find that the fuel economy is essentially identical. Now, Toyota advertises the Corolla at 35 mpg, but when you dig in to it you learn this is for a 1.8L engine. Some might consider this unsafe to drive in the U.S. in a 2900 pound vehicle, but it is the customer’s call. Bump it up to the 2.4L and the fuel economy is no different than the Chrysler Sebring, which weighs 500-600lbs more. This holds true for Camry and the rest of their product portfolio. Couple this with the fact that Toyota’s in general are much less feature rich than an American/European vehicle at the same price (including standard safety features such as ESP and traction control), and reliability becomes the only reason to consider Toyota. Reliability is a notoriously difficult thing to measure, but Toyota was recently derated by consumer reports from their “Always Recommend” status.

    I think the key message I’m trying to get across is that their isn’t a magical vehicle out there that gets 100 mpg that is being kept from us in America. The “evil” big 3 sells many vehicles in Europe that get exceptional fuel economy, but they don’t meet US regulations. Toyota benefits from an uneducated customer base, coupled with a great Yen to Dollar exchange rate (they make several billion per year explicitly from this and devalue their currency to maintain it). This is not to say they don’t have an attractive product for certain types of consumers, but in general it is less than extraordinary and does not deserve the praise it draws.

  • Parker Mosman

    I agree there is no doubt this would be a competitor for fuel economy in the mini van market, although I would hesitate to assume that it will perform 15% better than predicted and achieve 40 mpg instead of 35 mpg. Also, this van is now being offered with a 3.5L V6 in all other markets besides Japan, because the 2.4L engine was not enough to drive in countries with similar driving environments to the US (Australia).

    My real complaint is not with this van, but with America’s love for the Prius, hybrids, and Toyota in general. In my opinion U.S. automakers did not pursue hybrid drives for a simple reason: in the every day man’s drive, they accomplish nothing other than adding cost to the vehicle, as well as an expensive repair when the batteries need replaced. What they did underestimate was excellent marketing execs at Toyota and uninformed American consumers. This link serves a good indication of what generally happens when a person with a commute that does not involve a lot of stop and go traffic buys a Prius (or other hybrid) http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/hybridwatch01.html. Hybrids have been employed with excellent results in mass transportation buses, because this is the ideal driving environment for this technology.

    Fuel economy is a function of performance, vehicle weight (safety), and emissions. You can usually get two of the three, but not all three. In general most internal combustion engines are working with the same set of control features and are of comparable quality and efficiency. Compare Toyota’s product line up with any U.S. automaker’s in an apples to apples comparison, and you find that the fuel economy is essentially identical. Now, Toyota advertises the Corolla at 35 mpg, but when you dig in to it you learn this is for a 1.8L engine. Some might consider this unsafe to drive in the U.S. in a 2900 pound vehicle, but it is the customer’s call. Bump it up to the 2.4L and the fuel economy is no different than the Chrysler Sebring, which weighs 500-600lbs more. This holds true for Camry and the rest of their product portfolio. Couple this with the fact that Toyota’s in general are much less feature rich than an American/European vehicle at the same price (including standard safety features such as ESP and traction control), and reliability becomes the only reason to consider Toyota. Reliability is a notoriously difficult thing to measure, but Toyota was recently derated by consumer reports from their “Always Recommend” status.

    I think the key message I’m trying to get across is that their isn’t a magical vehicle out there that gets 100 mpg that is being kept from us in America. The “evil” big 3 sells many vehicles in Europe that get exceptional fuel economy, but they don’t meet US regulations. Toyota benefits from an uneducated customer base, coupled with a great Yen to Dollar exchange rate (they make several billion per year explicitly from this and devalue their currency to maintain it). This is not to say they don’t have an attractive product for certain types of consumers, but in general it is less than extraordinary and does not deserve the praise it draws.

  • Parker Mosman

    I agree there is no doubt this would be a competitor for fuel economy in the mini van market, although I would hesitate to assume that it will perform 15% better than predicted and achieve 40 mpg instead of 35 mpg. Also, this van is now being offered with a 3.5L V6 in all other markets besides Japan, because the 2.4L engine was not enough to drive in countries with similar driving environments to the US (Australia).

    My real complaint is not with this van, but with America’s love for the Prius, hybrids, and Toyota in general. In my opinion U.S. automakers did not pursue hybrid drives for a simple reason: in the every day man’s drive, they accomplish nothing other than adding cost to the vehicle, as well as an expensive repair when the batteries need replaced. What they did underestimate was excellent marketing execs at Toyota and uninformed American consumers. This link serves a good indication of what generally happens when a person with a commute that does not involve a lot of stop and go traffic buys a Prius (or other hybrid) http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/hybridwatch01.html. Hybrids have been employed with excellent results in mass transportation buses, because this is the ideal driving environment for this technology.

    Fuel economy is a function of performance, vehicle weight (safety), and emissions. You can usually get two of the three, but not all three. In general most internal combustion engines are working with the same set of control features and are of comparable quality and efficiency. Compare Toyota’s product line up with any U.S. automaker’s in an apples to apples comparison, and you find that the fuel economy is essentially identical. Now, Toyota advertises the Corolla at 35 mpg, but when you dig in to it you learn this is for a 1.8L engine. Some might consider this unsafe to drive in the U.S. in a 2900 pound vehicle, but it is the customer’s call. Bump it up to the 2.4L and the fuel economy is no different than the Chrysler Sebring, which weighs 500-600lbs more. This holds true for Camry and the rest of their product portfolio. Couple this with the fact that Toyota’s in general are much less feature rich than an American/European vehicle at the same price (including standard safety features such as ESP and traction control), and reliability becomes the only reason to consider Toyota. Reliability is a notoriously difficult thing to measure, but Toyota was recently derated by consumer reports from their “Always Recommend” status.

    I think the key message I’m trying to get across is that their isn’t a magical vehicle out there that gets 100 mpg that is being kept from us in America. The “evil” big 3 sells many vehicles in Europe that get exceptional fuel economy, but they don’t meet US regulations. Toyota benefits from an uneducated customer base, coupled with a great Yen to Dollar exchange rate (they make several billion per year explicitly from this and devalue their currency to maintain it). This is not to say they don’t have an attractive product for certain types of consumers, but in general it is less than extraordinary and does not deserve the praise it draws.

  • Parker Mosman

    I agree there is no doubt this would be a competitor for fuel economy in the mini van market, although I would hesitate to assume that it will perform 15% better than predicted and achieve 40 mpg instead of 35 mpg. Also, this van is now being offered with a 3.5L V6 in all other markets besides Japan, because the 2.4L engine was not enough to drive in countries with similar driving environments to the US (Australia).

    My real complaint is not with this van, but with America’s love for the Prius, hybrids, and Toyota in general. In my opinion U.S. automakers did not pursue hybrid drives for a simple reason: in the every day man’s drive, they accomplish nothing other than adding cost to the vehicle, as well as an expensive repair when the batteries need replaced. What they did underestimate was excellent marketing execs at Toyota and uninformed American consumers. This link serves a good indication of what generally happens when a person with a commute that does not involve a lot of stop and go traffic buys a Prius (or other hybrid) http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/hybridwatch01.html. Hybrids have been employed with excellent results in mass transportation buses, because this is the ideal driving environment for this technology.

    Fuel economy is a function of performance, vehicle weight (safety), and emissions. You can usually get two of the three, but not all three. In general most internal combustion engines are working with the same set of control features and are of comparable quality and efficiency. Compare Toyota’s product line up with any U.S. automaker’s in an apples to apples comparison, and you find that the fuel economy is essentially identical. Now, Toyota advertises the Corolla at 35 mpg, but when you dig in to it you learn this is for a 1.8L engine. Some might consider this unsafe to drive in the U.S. in a 2900 pound vehicle, but it is the customer’s call. Bump it up to the 2.4L and the fuel economy is no different than the Chrysler Sebring, which weighs 500-600lbs more. This holds true for Camry and the rest of their product portfolio. Couple this with the fact that Toyota’s in general are much less feature rich than an American/European vehicle at the same price (including standard safety features such as ESP and traction control), and reliability becomes the only reason to consider Toyota. Reliability is a notoriously difficult thing to measure, but Toyota was recently derated by consumer reports from their “Always Recommend” status.

    I think the key message I’m trying to get across is that their isn’t a magical vehicle out there that gets 100 mpg that is being kept from us in America. The “evil” big 3 sells many vehicles in Europe that get exceptional fuel economy, but they don’t meet US regulations. Toyota benefits from an uneducated customer base, coupled with a great Yen to Dollar exchange rate (they make several billion per year explicitly from this and devalue their currency to maintain it). This is not to say they don’t have an attractive product for certain types of consumers, but in general it is less than extraordinary and does not deserve the praise it draws.

  • Parker Mosman

    I agree there is no doubt this would be a competitor for fuel economy in the mini van market, although I would hesitate to assume that it will perform 15% better than predicted and achieve 40 mpg instead of 35 mpg. Also, this van is now being offered with a 3.5L V6 in all other markets besides Japan, because the 2.4L engine was not enough to drive in countries with similar driving environments to the US (Australia).

    My real complaint is not with this van, but with America’s love for the Prius, hybrids, and Toyota in general. In my opinion U.S. automakers did not pursue hybrid drives for a simple reason: in the every day man’s drive, they accomplish nothing other than adding cost to the vehicle, as well as an expensive repair when the batteries need replaced. What they did underestimate was excellent marketing execs at Toyota and uninformed American consumers. This link serves a good indication of what generally happens when a person with a commute that does not involve a lot of stop and go traffic buys a Prius (or other hybrid) http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/hybridwatch01.html. Hybrids have been employed with excellent results in mass transportation buses, because this is the ideal driving environment for this technology.

    Fuel economy is a function of performance, vehicle weight (safety), and emissions. You can usually get two of the three, but not all three. In general most internal combustion engines are working with the same set of control features and are of comparable quality and efficiency. Compare Toyota’s product line up with any U.S. automaker’s in an apples to apples comparison, and you find that the fuel economy is essentially identical. Now, Toyota advertises the Corolla at 35 mpg, but when you dig in to it you learn this is for a 1.8L engine. Some might consider this unsafe to drive in the U.S. in a 2900 pound vehicle, but it is the customer’s call. Bump it up to the 2.4L and the fuel economy is no different than the Chrysler Sebring, which weighs 500-600lbs more. This holds true for Camry and the rest of their product portfolio. Couple this with the fact that Toyota’s in general are much less feature rich than an American/European vehicle at the same price (including standard safety features such as ESP and traction control), and reliability becomes the only reason to consider Toyota. Reliability is a notoriously difficult thing to measure, but Toyota was recently derated by consumer reports from their “Always Recommend” status.

    I think the key message I’m trying to get across is that their isn’t a magical vehicle out there that gets 100 mpg that is being kept from us in America. The “evil” big 3 sells many vehicles in Europe that get exceptional fuel economy, but they don’t meet US regulations. Toyota benefits from an uneducated customer base, coupled with a great Yen to Dollar exchange rate (they make several billion per year explicitly from this and devalue their currency to maintain it). This is not to say they don’t have an attractive product for certain types of consumers, but in general it is less than extraordinary and does not deserve the praise it draws.

  • Parker Mosman

    I agree there is no doubt this would be a competitor for fuel economy in the mini van market, although I would hesitate to assume that it will perform 15% better than predicted and achieve 40 mpg instead of 35 mpg. Also, this van is now being offered with a 3.5L V6 in all other markets besides Japan, because the 2.4L engine was not enough to drive in countries with similar driving environments to the US (Australia).

    My real complaint is not with this van, but with America’s love for the Prius, hybrids, and Toyota in general. In my opinion U.S. automakers did not pursue hybrid drives for a simple reason: in the every day man’s drive, they accomplish nothing other than adding cost to the vehicle, as well as an expensive repair when the batteries need replaced. What they did underestimate was excellent marketing execs at Toyota and uninformed American consumers. This link serves a good indication of what generally happens when a person with a commute that does not involve a lot of stop and go traffic buys a Prius (or other hybrid) http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/hybridwatch01.html. Hybrids have been employed with excellent results in mass transportation buses, because this is the ideal driving environment for this technology.

    Fuel economy is a function of performance, vehicle weight (safety), and emissions. You can usually get two of the three, but not all three. In general most internal combustion engines are working with the same set of control features and are of comparable quality and efficiency. Compare Toyota’s product line up with any U.S. automaker’s in an apples to apples comparison, and you find that the fuel economy is essentially identical. Now, Toyota advertises the Corolla at 35 mpg, but when you dig in to it you learn this is for a 1.8L engine. Some might consider this unsafe to drive in the U.S. in a 2900 pound vehicle, but it is the customer’s call. Bump it up to the 2.4L and the fuel economy is no different than the Chrysler Sebring, which weighs 500-600lbs more. This holds true for Camry and the rest of their product portfolio. Couple this with the fact that Toyota’s in general are much less feature rich than an American/European vehicle at the same price (including standard safety features such as ESP and traction control), and reliability becomes the only reason to consider Toyota. Reliability is a notoriously difficult thing to measure, but Toyota was recently derated by consumer reports from their “Always Recommend” status.

    I think the key message I’m trying to get across is that their isn’t a magical vehicle out there that gets 100 mpg that is being kept from us in America. The “evil” big 3 sells many vehicles in Europe that get exceptional fuel economy, but they don’t meet US regulations. Toyota benefits from an uneducated customer base, coupled with a great Yen to Dollar exchange rate (they make several billion per year explicitly from this and devalue their currency to maintain it). This is not to say they don’t have an attractive product for certain types of consumers, but in general it is less than extraordinary and does not deserve the praise it draws.

  • Charles

    I’d once read that there is a single machine in DC that is used to make MPG estimations; it’s a treadmill built in the 1970s and is woefully inaccuarate, oversetimating mileage by 30% or more. Is perhaps the auto companies resistance to bringing in efficient foreign autos an attempt to hide this fact?

  • Charles

    I’d once read that there is a single machine in DC that is used to make MPG estimations; it’s a treadmill built in the 1970s and is woefully inaccuarate, oversetimating mileage by 30% or more. Is perhaps the auto companies resistance to bringing in efficient foreign autos an attempt to hide this fact?

  • Charles

    I’d once read that there is a single machine in DC that is used to make MPG estimations; it’s a treadmill built in the 1970s and is woefully inaccuarate, oversetimating mileage by 30% or more. Is perhaps the auto companies resistance to bringing in efficient foreign autos an attempt to hide this fact?

  • Stephen

    Join the club … I’ve been wondering why they won’t bring the Isuzu D-Max on-shore(it’s essentially a Chevy Colorado with a diesel engine).

    IMHO, the first automaker to make a truck smaller than the Silverado 2500HD avaible with a diesel will make a killing, and I really hope it’s Chevy.

  • Stephen

    Join the club … I’ve been wondering why they won’t bring the Isuzu D-Max on-shore(it’s essentially a Chevy Colorado with a diesel engine).

    IMHO, the first automaker to make a truck smaller than the Silverado 2500HD avaible with a diesel will make a killing, and I really hope it’s Chevy.

  • Stephen

    Join the club … I’ve been wondering why they won’t bring the Isuzu D-Max on-shore(it’s essentially a Chevy Colorado with a diesel engine).

    IMHO, the first automaker to make a truck smaller than the Silverado 2500HD avaible with a diesel will make a killing, and I really hope it’s Chevy.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    There’s a car just like that already sold on the U.S. market: a Mazda mini-minivan. It’s terrific, but do you see many around? It’s the object lesson for Toyota.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    There’s a car just like that already sold on the U.S. market: a Mazda mini-minivan. It’s terrific, but do you see many around? It’s the object lesson for Toyota.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    There’s a car just like that already sold on the U.S. market: a Mazda mini-minivan. It’s terrific, but do you see many around? It’s the object lesson for Toyota.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    There’s a car just like that already sold on the U.S. market: a Mazda mini-minivan. It’s terrific, but do you see many around? It’s the object lesson for Toyota.

  • fuzzybutt

    I’m not buying any of this “safety” concerns stuff, structural integrity, crash tests, bumper heights, blah blah blah

    can someone tell me how the “smart car” that I am now seeing pop up all over town was able to penetrate the market here in the US?

    That “smart car” is smaller than a golf cart??

  • fuzzybutt

    I’m not buying any of this “safety” concerns stuff, structural integrity, crash tests, bumper heights, blah blah blah

    can someone tell me how the “smart car” that I am now seeing pop up all over town was able to penetrate the market here in the US?

    That “smart car” is smaller than a golf cart??

  • fuzzybutt

    I’m not buying any of this “safety” concerns stuff, structural integrity, crash tests, bumper heights, blah blah blah

    can someone tell me how the “smart car” that I am now seeing pop up all over town was able to penetrate the market here in the US?

    That “smart car” is smaller than a golf cart??

  • fuzzybutt

    I’m not buying any of this “safety” concerns stuff, structural integrity, crash tests, bumper heights, blah blah blah

    can someone tell me how the “smart car” that I am now seeing pop up all over town was able to penetrate the market here in the US?

    That “smart car” is smaller than a golf cart??

  • DensityDuck

    Nick Chambers:

    “The way I feel about those kinds of statements [regarding safety regulations] is that the world has changed dramatically in the last year and a half and the US market has changed dramatically too.”

    Unfortunately we still have the same NHTSB. Get rid of the regs and you’ll see a massive improvement in fuel efficiency, as well as a massive increase in fatalities due to accident.

    “This is why start-ups like Tesla and Aptera will ultimately be the new American car giants…”

    Ahem. Aptera is not building cars. They are, according to the regs, building three-wheeled motorcycles. That’s why Aptera can get away with building a carbon-fiber eggshell that will be totalled by a door ding. (Yes, really. Damage to a carbon-epoxy laminate CANNOT be repaired. You can’t just bang out the dent with a hammer; a monocoque body, once damaged, is unusable.)

  • DensityDuck

    Nick Chambers:

    “The way I feel about those kinds of statements [regarding safety regulations] is that the world has changed dramatically in the last year and a half and the US market has changed dramatically too.”

    Unfortunately we still have the same NHTSB. Get rid of the regs and you’ll see a massive improvement in fuel efficiency, as well as a massive increase in fatalities due to accident.

    “This is why start-ups like Tesla and Aptera will ultimately be the new American car giants…”

    Ahem. Aptera is not building cars. They are, according to the regs, building three-wheeled motorcycles. That’s why Aptera can get away with building a carbon-fiber eggshell that will be totalled by a door ding. (Yes, really. Damage to a carbon-epoxy laminate CANNOT be repaired. You can’t just bang out the dent with a hammer; a monocoque body, once damaged, is unusable.)

  • DensityDuck

    Nick Chambers:

    “The way I feel about those kinds of statements [regarding safety regulations] is that the world has changed dramatically in the last year and a half and the US market has changed dramatically too.”

    Unfortunately we still have the same NHTSB. Get rid of the regs and you’ll see a massive improvement in fuel efficiency, as well as a massive increase in fatalities due to accident.

    “This is why start-ups like Tesla and Aptera will ultimately be the new American car giants…”

    Ahem. Aptera is not building cars. They are, according to the regs, building three-wheeled motorcycles. That’s why Aptera can get away with building a carbon-fiber eggshell that will be totalled by a door ding. (Yes, really. Damage to a carbon-epoxy laminate CANNOT be repaired. You can’t just bang out the dent with a hammer; a monocoque body, once damaged, is unusable.)

  • Ben

    A little presumptuous, aren’t you? My family owns a Sienna, and we love it. With three kids, including an infant, we need all the space we can get, especially on long trips. And it’s great when we have our kids’ friends in tow.

    I agree there may be a market for a smaller van that gets 40 mpg. If so, Toyota is nuts not to fill it. That said, it’s more than a little irritating when pugnaciously self-righteous twerps denigrate the economic choices of others as either selfish or stupid and proclaim that they alone know what consumers really want. Feh.

  • Ben

    A little presumptuous, aren’t you? My family owns a Sienna, and we love it. With three kids, including an infant, we need all the space we can get, especially on long trips. And it’s great when we have our kids’ friends in tow.

    I agree there may be a market for a smaller van that gets 40 mpg. If so, Toyota is nuts not to fill it. That said, it’s more than a little irritating when pugnaciously self-righteous twerps denigrate the economic choices of others as either selfish or stupid and proclaim that they alone know what consumers really want. Feh.

  • Ben

    A little presumptuous, aren’t you? My family owns a Sienna, and we love it. With three kids, including an infant, we need all the space we can get, especially on long trips. And it’s great when we have our kids’ friends in tow.

    I agree there may be a market for a smaller van that gets 40 mpg. If so, Toyota is nuts not to fill it. That said, it’s more than a little irritating when pugnaciously self-righteous twerps denigrate the economic choices of others as either selfish or stupid and proclaim that they alone know what consumers really want. Feh.

  • Ben

    A little presumptuous, aren’t you? My family owns a Sienna, and we love it. With three kids, including an infant, we need all the space we can get, especially on long trips. And it’s great when we have our kids’ friends in tow.

    I agree there may be a market for a smaller van that gets 40 mpg. If so, Toyota is nuts not to fill it. That said, it’s more than a little irritating when pugnaciously self-righteous twerps denigrate the economic choices of others as either selfish or stupid and proclaim that they alone know what consumers really want. Feh.

  • Ben

    A little presumptuous, aren’t you? My family owns a Sienna, and we love it. With three kids, including an infant, we need all the space we can get, especially on long trips. And it’s great when we have our kids’ friends in tow.

    I agree there may be a market for a smaller van that gets 40 mpg. If so, Toyota is nuts not to fill it. That said, it’s more than a little irritating when pugnaciously self-righteous twerps denigrate the economic choices of others as either selfish or stupid and proclaim that they alone know what consumers really want. Feh.

  • Nick Chambers

    Ben,

    Sounds like you’ve got some guilt associated with driving a gas hog that leads you to draw conclusions about what I wrote that are completely antithetical to what I actually meant.

    Nowhere in there did I denigrate the economic choices of others as selfish or stupid. Where the hell did you get that? If anything I was trying to point out that we’re stuck with gas hogs because auto manufacturers have us cornered into whatever they choose to sell us. I think it’s clear that I fully understand the needs of a US family.

    So stop passing blame and go blow your hot air at somebody who’s actually threatening your lifestyle — like the foreign oil empires that you support everyday by not demanding that the US kick its oil habit.

  • MoTim

    I found a 4 door Ford Ranger pickup that was 4WD and had a small diesel engine in it. Sold in Australia, but not here. I would buy one in a second as well as several of my friends. Emission standards is supposedly the reason it won’t be available. I have no idea who is doing the thinking for the major auto makers. They are losing market to the more innovative out there.

  • MoTim

    I found a 4 door Ford Ranger pickup that was 4WD and had a small diesel engine in it. Sold in Australia, but not here. I would buy one in a second as well as several of my friends. Emission standards is supposedly the reason it won’t be available. I have no idea who is doing the thinking for the major auto makers. They are losing market to the more innovative out there.

  • MoTim

    I found a 4 door Ford Ranger pickup that was 4WD and had a small diesel engine in it. Sold in Australia, but not here. I would buy one in a second as well as several of my friends. Emission standards is supposedly the reason it won’t be available. I have no idea who is doing the thinking for the major auto makers. They are losing market to the more innovative out there.

  • MoTim

    I found a 4 door Ford Ranger pickup that was 4WD and had a small diesel engine in it. Sold in Australia, but not here. I would buy one in a second as well as several of my friends. Emission standards is supposedly the reason it won’t be available. I have no idea who is doing the thinking for the major auto makers. They are losing market to the more innovative out there.

  • MoTim

    I found a 4 door Ford Ranger pickup that was 4WD and had a small diesel engine in it. Sold in Australia, but not here. I would buy one in a second as well as several of my friends. Emission standards is supposedly the reason it won’t be available. I have no idea who is doing the thinking for the major auto makers. They are losing market to the more innovative out there.

  • buzz

    I want to know why I could buy a Ford Escort in 1991 with 4 doors and a trunk that got me 40-42 mpg on the highway and now 17 years later the car manufactures are selling cars and bragging about getting 28-33 mpg on the highway.

  • buzz

    I want to know why I could buy a Ford Escort in 1991 with 4 doors and a trunk that got me 40-42 mpg on the highway and now 17 years later the car manufactures are selling cars and bragging about getting 28-33 mpg on the highway.

  • buzz

    I want to know why I could buy a Ford Escort in 1991 with 4 doors and a trunk that got me 40-42 mpg on the highway and now 17 years later the car manufactures are selling cars and bragging about getting 28-33 mpg on the highway.

  • Bruce

    Actually, it is left-wing nutbars in California that pioneered the car regulations that keep the Estima out of the US market.

  • Bruce

    Actually, it is left-wing nutbars in California that pioneered the car regulations that keep the Estima out of the US market.

  • Bruce

    Actually, it is left-wing nutbars in California that pioneered the car regulations that keep the Estima out of the US market.

    • JefferyHaas

      This left wing nutbar in California could not even SEE the mountains when he first moved to L.A. in 1982. In fact it was difficult to see down the BLOCK.
      I moved BACK to L.A. a year ago after ten years in TX and the thing that amazed me most is that I could actually see the mountains around me which are about 35 miles away. We all know what that means, the steps California took to fight smog are WORKING. L.A. is still a very polluted city and in summer we still have brown haze choking the downtown area.
      But it has gotten much much better.

      Meanwhile birth defects in the Texas town (Midlothian) next door to the one I lived in are among the highest in the country, thanks to the four cement plants located INSIDE the city limits.
      Yeah, you WILL thank us nutbars when your kids don’t pop out with horrendous deformities.

  • Bruce

    Actually, it is left-wing nutbars in California that pioneered the car regulations that keep the Estima out of the US market.

  • Joe

    The “smart car” gets lousy gas mileage. My 99 Civic does better. A friend had a Geo Metro that did much better and was bigger.

  • Joe

    The “smart car” gets lousy gas mileage. My 99 Civic does better. A friend had a Geo Metro that did much better and was bigger.

  • D Palmer

    Buzz,

    Because your 1991 Escort had nominal safety equipment, a VERY low power engine, and very likely less luxury equipment (i.e. power windows and locks, sun roof).

    According to Consumer Guide, a 1991 Escort Sedan 5-speed weighed 2400 pounds and came with a standard 88 hp engine rated at 31/38 mpg.

    A 2008 Focus Sedan 5-speed weighs 2600 pounds and comes standard with a 140 hp engine rated at 24/35 mpg (not really that much worse on the highway considering the 59% increase in power).

    The Focus comes standard with ABS, traction control and front and side airbags.

    The Escort came standard with brakes, seat belts and 5 mph bumpers.

    Frankly, give the Focus with the 1.4 litre diesel available in Europe and it would get mileage that even a Prius Owner would admire. But 0-60 times would be measured in minutes, not seconds.

    I’m sure you think that power doesn’t matter, but I bet if you got into that Escort today you would be shocked at how slow it felt and how unsafe that lack of acceleration makes you feel.

    We might not need 360 hp V-8′s (well, you might not, I do) but in most of the US you need something better than 60 hp diesels. That’s why the Smart will never be anything but an oddity. Only a very few markets (NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, LA and some others) have nasty enough commuter traffic to make the lack of acceleration irrelevant.

    Fortunately, help is on the way. BMW and Mercedes both make diesel sedans that are almost as fast as their gas counterparts, but get 30% better mileage. imagine a Ford Taurus that goes 0-60 in 7 seconds and gets 40 mpg on the highway. That’s the kind of performance I can get behind.

  • D Palmer

    Buzz,

    Because your 1991 Escort had nominal safety equipment, a VERY low power engine, and very likely less luxury equipment (i.e. power windows and locks, sun roof).

    According to Consumer Guide, a 1991 Escort Sedan 5-speed weighed 2400 pounds and came with a standard 88 hp engine rated at 31/38 mpg.

    A 2008 Focus Sedan 5-speed weighs 2600 pounds and comes standard with a 140 hp engine rated at 24/35 mpg (not really that much worse on the highway considering the 59% increase in power).

    The Focus comes standard with ABS, traction control and front and side airbags.

    The Escort came standard with brakes, seat belts and 5 mph bumpers.

    Frankly, give the Focus with the 1.4 litre diesel available in Europe and it would get mileage that even a Prius Owner would admire. But 0-60 times would be measured in minutes, not seconds.

    I’m sure you think that power doesn’t matter, but I bet if you got into that Escort today you would be shocked at how slow it felt and how unsafe that lack of acceleration makes you feel.

    We might not need 360 hp V-8′s (well, you might not, I do) but in most of the US you need something better than 60 hp diesels. That’s why the Smart will never be anything but an oddity. Only a very few markets (NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, LA and some others) have nasty enough commuter traffic to make the lack of acceleration irrelevant.

    Fortunately, help is on the way. BMW and Mercedes both make diesel sedans that are almost as fast as their gas counterparts, but get 30% better mileage. imagine a Ford Taurus that goes 0-60 in 7 seconds and gets 40 mpg on the highway. That’s the kind of performance I can get behind.

  • D Palmer

    Buzz,

    Because your 1991 Escort had nominal safety equipment, a VERY low power engine, and very likely less luxury equipment (i.e. power windows and locks, sun roof).

    According to Consumer Guide, a 1991 Escort Sedan 5-speed weighed 2400 pounds and came with a standard 88 hp engine rated at 31/38 mpg.

    A 2008 Focus Sedan 5-speed weighs 2600 pounds and comes standard with a 140 hp engine rated at 24/35 mpg (not really that much worse on the highway considering the 59% increase in power).

    The Focus comes standard with ABS, traction control and front and side airbags.

    The Escort came standard with brakes, seat belts and 5 mph bumpers.

    Frankly, give the Focus with the 1.4 litre diesel available in Europe and it would get mileage that even a Prius Owner would admire. But 0-60 times would be measured in minutes, not seconds.

    I’m sure you think that power doesn’t matter, but I bet if you got into that Escort today you would be shocked at how slow it felt and how unsafe that lack of acceleration makes you feel.

    We might not need 360 hp V-8′s (well, you might not, I do) but in most of the US you need something better than 60 hp diesels. That’s why the Smart will never be anything but an oddity. Only a very few markets (NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, LA and some others) have nasty enough commuter traffic to make the lack of acceleration irrelevant.

    Fortunately, help is on the way. BMW and Mercedes both make diesel sedans that are almost as fast as their gas counterparts, but get 30% better mileage. imagine a Ford Taurus that goes 0-60 in 7 seconds and gets 40 mpg on the highway. That’s the kind of performance I can get behind.

  • D Palmer

    Buzz,

    Because your 1991 Escort had nominal safety equipment, a VERY low power engine, and very likely less luxury equipment (i.e. power windows and locks, sun roof).

    According to Consumer Guide, a 1991 Escort Sedan 5-speed weighed 2400 pounds and came with a standard 88 hp engine rated at 31/38 mpg.

    A 2008 Focus Sedan 5-speed weighs 2600 pounds and comes standard with a 140 hp engine rated at 24/35 mpg (not really that much worse on the highway considering the 59% increase in power).

    The Focus comes standard with ABS, traction control and front and side airbags.

    The Escort came standard with brakes, seat belts and 5 mph bumpers.

    Frankly, give the Focus with the 1.4 litre diesel available in Europe and it would get mileage that even a Prius Owner would admire. But 0-60 times would be measured in minutes, not seconds.

    I’m sure you think that power doesn’t matter, but I bet if you got into that Escort today you would be shocked at how slow it felt and how unsafe that lack of acceleration makes you feel.

    We might not need 360 hp V-8′s (well, you might not, I do) but in most of the US you need something better than 60 hp diesels. That’s why the Smart will never be anything but an oddity. Only a very few markets (NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, LA and some others) have nasty enough commuter traffic to make the lack of acceleration irrelevant.

    Fortunately, help is on the way. BMW and Mercedes both make diesel sedans that are almost as fast as their gas counterparts, but get 30% better mileage. imagine a Ford Taurus that goes 0-60 in 7 seconds and gets 40 mpg on the highway. That’s the kind of performance I can get behind.

  • D Palmer

    Buzz,

    Because your 1991 Escort had nominal safety equipment, a VERY low power engine, and very likely less luxury equipment (i.e. power windows and locks, sun roof).

    According to Consumer Guide, a 1991 Escort Sedan 5-speed weighed 2400 pounds and came with a standard 88 hp engine rated at 31/38 mpg.

    A 2008 Focus Sedan 5-speed weighs 2600 pounds and comes standard with a 140 hp engine rated at 24/35 mpg (not really that much worse on the highway considering the 59% increase in power).

    The Focus comes standard with ABS, traction control and front and side airbags.

    The Escort came standard with brakes, seat belts and 5 mph bumpers.

    Frankly, give the Focus with the 1.4 litre diesel available in Europe and it would get mileage that even a Prius Owner would admire. But 0-60 times would be measured in minutes, not seconds.

    I’m sure you think that power doesn’t matter, but I bet if you got into that Escort today you would be shocked at how slow it felt and how unsafe that lack of acceleration makes you feel.

    We might not need 360 hp V-8′s (well, you might not, I do) but in most of the US you need something better than 60 hp diesels. That’s why the Smart will never be anything but an oddity. Only a very few markets (NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, LA and some others) have nasty enough commuter traffic to make the lack of acceleration irrelevant.

    Fortunately, help is on the way. BMW and Mercedes both make diesel sedans that are almost as fast as their gas counterparts, but get 30% better mileage. imagine a Ford Taurus that goes 0-60 in 7 seconds and gets 40 mpg on the highway. That’s the kind of performance I can get behind.

  • D Palmer

    Buzz,

    Because your 1991 Escort had nominal safety equipment, a VERY low power engine, and very likely less luxury equipment (i.e. power windows and locks, sun roof).

    According to Consumer Guide, a 1991 Escort Sedan 5-speed weighed 2400 pounds and came with a standard 88 hp engine rated at 31/38 mpg.

    A 2008 Focus Sedan 5-speed weighs 2600 pounds and comes standard with a 140 hp engine rated at 24/35 mpg (not really that much worse on the highway considering the 59% increase in power).

    The Focus comes standard with ABS, traction control and front and side airbags.

    The Escort came standard with brakes, seat belts and 5 mph bumpers.

    Frankly, give the Focus with the 1.4 litre diesel available in Europe and it would get mileage that even a Prius Owner would admire. But 0-60 times would be measured in minutes, not seconds.

    I’m sure you think that power doesn’t matter, but I bet if you got into that Escort today you would be shocked at how slow it felt and how unsafe that lack of acceleration makes you feel.

    We might not need 360 hp V-8′s (well, you might not, I do) but in most of the US you need something better than 60 hp diesels. That’s why the Smart will never be anything but an oddity. Only a very few markets (NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, LA and some others) have nasty enough commuter traffic to make the lack of acceleration irrelevant.

    Fortunately, help is on the way. BMW and Mercedes both make diesel sedans that are almost as fast as their gas counterparts, but get 30% better mileage. imagine a Ford Taurus that goes 0-60 in 7 seconds and gets 40 mpg on the highway. That’s the kind of performance I can get behind.

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    Nick,

    I too liked the Previa and thought the Sienna was a big step backward, but I distinctly remember reading that Toyota was not happy with the Previa’s sales, and that some market research they did discovered that minivan buyers didn’t want anything too innovative or that, “looked like a jellybean.” I remember those words exactly.

    I think this is the coolest minivan I’ve ever heard of, but it looks pretty radical, and while I’d like the 4WD, I think a lot of folks may think it’s just something they’re paying for, but don’t need.

    Oh, and may I just add that US vehicle regulations are retarded. But then, they were made up by lawyers, so what do you expect (Rhetorical question, hence no question mark).

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    Nick,

    I too liked the Previa and thought the Sienna was a big step backward, but I distinctly remember reading that Toyota was not happy with the Previa’s sales, and that some market research they did discovered that minivan buyers didn’t want anything too innovative or that, “looked like a jellybean.” I remember those words exactly.

    I think this is the coolest minivan I’ve ever heard of, but it looks pretty radical, and while I’d like the 4WD, I think a lot of folks may think it’s just something they’re paying for, but don’t need.

    Oh, and may I just add that US vehicle regulations are retarded. But then, they were made up by lawyers, so what do you expect (Rhetorical question, hence no question mark).

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    Nick,

    I too liked the Previa and thought the Sienna was a big step backward, but I distinctly remember reading that Toyota was not happy with the Previa’s sales, and that some market research they did discovered that minivan buyers didn’t want anything too innovative or that, “looked like a jellybean.” I remember those words exactly.

    I think this is the coolest minivan I’ve ever heard of, but it looks pretty radical, and while I’d like the 4WD, I think a lot of folks may think it’s just something they’re paying for, but don’t need.

    Oh, and may I just add that US vehicle regulations are retarded. But then, they were made up by lawyers, so what do you expect (Rhetorical question, hence no question mark).

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    Nick,

    I too liked the Previa and thought the Sienna was a big step backward, but I distinctly remember reading that Toyota was not happy with the Previa’s sales, and that some market research they did discovered that minivan buyers didn’t want anything too innovative or that, “looked like a jellybean.” I remember those words exactly.

    I think this is the coolest minivan I’ve ever heard of, but it looks pretty radical, and while I’d like the 4WD, I think a lot of folks may think it’s just something they’re paying for, but don’t need.

    Oh, and may I just add that US vehicle regulations are retarded. But then, they were made up by lawyers, so what do you expect (Rhetorical question, hence no question mark).

  • JJ Joseph

    Canada imports about 2000 “grey market” Japanese cars every year. Even though they come with right-hand drive, they’re very popular with 4WD off-roaders and speed demons. Where else in North America are you going to find a 4WD diesel camper-van, for example? Or a small 1.5 litre 4WD SUV?

  • JJ Joseph

    Canada imports about 2000 “grey market” Japanese cars every year. Even though they come with right-hand drive, they’re very popular with 4WD off-roaders and speed demons. Where else in North America are you going to find a 4WD diesel camper-van, for example? Or a small 1.5 litre 4WD SUV?

  • JJ Joseph

    Canada imports about 2000 “grey market” Japanese cars every year. Even though they come with right-hand drive, they’re very popular with 4WD off-roaders and speed demons. Where else in North America are you going to find a 4WD diesel camper-van, for example? Or a small 1.5 litre 4WD SUV?

  • JJ Joseph

    Canada imports about 2000 “grey market” Japanese cars every year. Even though they come with right-hand drive, they’re very popular with 4WD off-roaders and speed demons. Where else in North America are you going to find a 4WD diesel camper-van, for example? Or a small 1.5 litre 4WD SUV?

  • Ben

    Nick,

    Your response mirrors the original post: You think the Sienna and similar vehicles are extravagant fuel-wasters, and your disdain for those who drive them is obvious. Again, you’re entitled to your opinion, but don’t get your panties in a knot when someone calls you out for being a judgmental know-it-all.

    As for the “gas hog” charge, the Sienna is rated at 27 mpg, and I can actually squeeze 29 mpg out of it on long trips. Not bad at all — especially for such a large, comfortable, safe, and useable vehicle.

  • Ben

    Nick,

    Your response mirrors the original post: You think the Sienna and similar vehicles are extravagant fuel-wasters, and your disdain for those who drive them is obvious. Again, you’re entitled to your opinion, but don’t get your panties in a knot when someone calls you out for being a judgmental know-it-all.

    As for the “gas hog” charge, the Sienna is rated at 27 mpg, and I can actually squeeze 29 mpg out of it on long trips. Not bad at all — especially for such a large, comfortable, safe, and useable vehicle.

  • Ben

    Nick,

    Your response mirrors the original post: You think the Sienna and similar vehicles are extravagant fuel-wasters, and your disdain for those who drive them is obvious. Again, you’re entitled to your opinion, but don’t get your panties in a knot when someone calls you out for being a judgmental know-it-all.

    As for the “gas hog” charge, the Sienna is rated at 27 mpg, and I can actually squeeze 29 mpg out of it on long trips. Not bad at all — especially for such a large, comfortable, safe, and useable vehicle.

  • Ben

    Nick,

    Your response mirrors the original post: You think the Sienna and similar vehicles are extravagant fuel-wasters, and your disdain for those who drive them is obvious. Again, you’re entitled to your opinion, but don’t get your panties in a knot when someone calls you out for being a judgmental know-it-all.

    As for the “gas hog” charge, the Sienna is rated at 27 mpg, and I can actually squeeze 29 mpg out of it on long trips. Not bad at all — especially for such a large, comfortable, safe, and useable vehicle.

  • Nick Chambers

    Ben,

    Take a long look in the mirror. You have a talent for placing words in people’s mouths that they didn’t say themselves… “extravagant fuel-wasters”.. WTF, mate?

    Stop accusing me of things that you can’t support with references. Point out exactly where in my post you think I’m showing disdain for the PEOPLE who drive minivans and not the minivans THEMSELVES. Point out exactly where in my post you think I’m denigrating the economic choices of others as selfish and stupid.

    I’ll say it again, to be clear… My point is that the rest of the world has choices that we don’t — choices that potentially could make the world a better place — and it’s not exactly clear why we don’t have those choices ourselves.

    It seems that you live in a bit of a fantasy world where people say things to you and you interpret them how you like so that you can retaliate in a way that makes you feel comfortable with your choices as a human being.

    And don’t play that “you can have your opinion, but no matter what you say it’s totally wrong” BS on me. It’s childish and a typical tactic of people who are completely unaccepting of others’ points of views.

  • http://brian.mastenbrook.net/ Brian E

    Be very careful when comparing mileage for vehicles that haven’t been tested in the US. Toyota’s Japanese web site (http://toyota.jp/carlineup/name6.html) lists 77mpg and 42mpg for the Prius and the RX400h, respectively, but the US EPA gives a combined city/highway mileage of 46mpg and 25mpg, only 60% of the Japanese mileage. Using that factor to convert the Estima Hybrid’s mileage to a US EPA figure gives 28mpg – respectable, but not as good as it sounds at first glance either.

    The bigger question is why that pairing of Toyota’s 2.4l I4 and hybrid motor isn’t in the RAV4, which is already produced here in the US.

  • http://brian.mastenbrook.net/ Brian E

    Be very careful when comparing mileage for vehicles that haven’t been tested in the US. Toyota’s Japanese web site (http://toyota.jp/carlineup/name6.html) lists 77mpg and 42mpg for the Prius and the RX400h, respectively, but the US EPA gives a combined city/highway mileage of 46mpg and 25mpg, only 60% of the Japanese mileage. Using that factor to convert the Estima Hybrid’s mileage to a US EPA figure gives 28mpg – respectable, but not as good as it sounds at first glance either.

    The bigger question is why that pairing of Toyota’s 2.4l I4 and hybrid motor isn’t in the RAV4, which is already produced here in the US.

  • http://brian.mastenbrook.net/ Brian E

    Be very careful when comparing mileage for vehicles that haven’t been tested in the US. Toyota’s Japanese web site (http://toyota.jp/carlineup/name6.html) lists 77mpg and 42mpg for the Prius and the RX400h, respectively, but the US EPA gives a combined city/highway mileage of 46mpg and 25mpg, only 60% of the Japanese mileage. Using that factor to convert the Estima Hybrid’s mileage to a US EPA figure gives 28mpg – respectable, but not as good as it sounds at first glance either.

    The bigger question is why that pairing of Toyota’s 2.4l I4 and hybrid motor isn’t in the RAV4, which is already produced here in the US.

  • http://brian.mastenbrook.net/ Brian E

    Be very careful when comparing mileage for vehicles that haven’t been tested in the US. Toyota’s Japanese web site (http://toyota.jp/carlineup/name6.html) lists 77mpg and 42mpg for the Prius and the RX400h, respectively, but the US EPA gives a combined city/highway mileage of 46mpg and 25mpg, only 60% of the Japanese mileage. Using that factor to convert the Estima Hybrid’s mileage to a US EPA figure gives 28mpg – respectable, but not as good as it sounds at first glance either.

    The bigger question is why that pairing of Toyota’s 2.4l I4 and hybrid motor isn’t in the RAV4, which is already produced here in the US.

  • Jack

    Just curious… why would anyone need to feel “guilty” about driving a car that gets over 25mpg? My beloved Vette doesn’t get anything close to that, but I certainly don’t feel guilty about it — I’m paying for the gas, after all. I don’t get it.

  • Jack

    Just curious… why would anyone need to feel “guilty” about driving a car that gets over 25mpg? My beloved Vette doesn’t get anything close to that, but I certainly don’t feel guilty about it — I’m paying for the gas, after all. I don’t get it.

  • Jack

    Just curious… why would anyone need to feel “guilty” about driving a car that gets over 25mpg? My beloved Vette doesn’t get anything close to that, but I certainly don’t feel guilty about it — I’m paying for the gas, after all. I don’t get it.

  • Nick Chambers

    Jack,

    Nobody needs to feel guilty for driving a car that gets 25 mpg, and, obviously, many people don’t and never will. If you’re referring to my comment in which I stated that Ben must be feeling guilty because of the nature of his comments towards me, I didn’t say that he should feel guilty, just that his comments seemed to underlie a deep seated discomfort with the idea that a 25 mpg minivan isn’t fuel efficient.

    The reality is that 25 mpg isn’t fuel efficient when you look at what other vehicles of the same type around the world can get. If there is anything to feel guilty about, it isn’t necessarily that any particular car gets bad fuel economy, it’s that the worse fuel economy you get the more you contribute to foreign oil regimes that care nothing for our domestic security and the more impact you have on the environment. If the fuel you used didn’t do any of that, then low mileage wouldn’t matter.

  • Right Brain

    I live in Japan a portion of the year, my in-laws own one of these vans so I ride in one frequently. Whereas its roomy for a population that averages 90 lbs for the women and 140 for the men, one can only guess what would happen should a half dozen midwest porkers pile into it.

    They would not fit. Its a nice car with cameras on the front corners for very-close steering and other perks, but forget packing a ton of Americans in it. Just can’t fit.

  • Right Brain

    I live in Japan a portion of the year, my in-laws own one of these vans so I ride in one frequently. Whereas its roomy for a population that averages 90 lbs for the women and 140 for the men, one can only guess what would happen should a half dozen midwest porkers pile into it.

    They would not fit. Its a nice car with cameras on the front corners for very-close steering and other perks, but forget packing a ton of Americans in it. Just can’t fit.

  • Right Brain

    I live in Japan a portion of the year, my in-laws own one of these vans so I ride in one frequently. Whereas its roomy for a population that averages 90 lbs for the women and 140 for the men, one can only guess what would happen should a half dozen midwest porkers pile into it.

    They would not fit. Its a nice car with cameras on the front corners for very-close steering and other perks, but forget packing a ton of Americans in it. Just can’t fit.

  • Right Brain

    I live in Japan a portion of the year, my in-laws own one of these vans so I ride in one frequently. Whereas its roomy for a population that averages 90 lbs for the women and 140 for the men, one can only guess what would happen should a half dozen midwest porkers pile into it.

    They would not fit. Its a nice car with cameras on the front corners for very-close steering and other perks, but forget packing a ton of Americans in it. Just can’t fit.

  • Parker Mosman

    I think the biggest issue with the “green” vehicle movement is that people don’t understand what green is. People treat it like a religion instead of objectively evaluating the facts. I love efficient vehicles, but exotic hybrids and the like are not the answer because they don’t make good engineering sense. Here are inarguable facts that have been ignored or misstated in this thread:

    Fact 1: The US EPA test lab is in Ann Arbor, MI and it is a state of the art facility that accurately measures fuel economy based on a given driving cycle. There is no 30% overestimate that is being covered up, because both foreign and American vehicles are tested there. The driving cycle determines EVERYTHING when it comes to the final verdict.

    Fact 2: There are NO foreign cars out there that are being with held from Americans that would dramatically improve fuel economy in any vehicle sector. The Smart car was supposed to be the first of many foreign imports to redefine what Americans thought of fuel economy. Unfortunately, like other imports out there, it failed when subjected to US tests. Yes, it still gets excellent fuel economy, but there are consumer complains galore about the “real” fuel economy being in the mid to low 30′s, not in the 40′s. Don’t forget that the Euro standards rated it at 60+ mpg. There are many better options out there for fuel economy compared with paying the space penalty of the Smart.

    Fact 3: No one, not even the mystical, magical Japanese have a distinguishing technology when it comes to fuel economy. They don’t, it’s that easy. Everyone is playing in the same technology pool (VVL, VVT, GDI, etc…), buying the same components from the same suppliers, and hiring the same engineers. The formula is easy, light cars with small engines and marginal emissions get great fuel economy. I drive one, a Mini Cooper. It greats great fuel economy and performance, but has a very poor emissions rating.

    Fact 4: The biggest advocates of the “green” vehicle movement are the ones that have hampered it the most by also being advocates for vehicle safety and emissions standards. Like it or not, safety directly correlates to fuel economy. A heavier car (compare 1980′s vehicle weights to today) gets worse fuel economy than a lighter car with the same powertrain. Also, good emissions do not imply good fuel economy. Emissions are a function of good chemistry in the engine (i.e. proper mix of fuel, air, etc..). This means that there are scenarios where “unnecessary” fuel is added to the engine to ensure it falls within emissions guidelines. So, some of the “greenest” people from a fuel economy standpoint actually drive some of the highest polluting vehicles from an emissions stand point in the US.

    Fact 5. US automakers are not out to get you. They try to give you what you want. Who would have though that people would actually buy a vehicle as ridiculous as the Prius for the misinformed reasons that they do. Again, it is a good fit in some driving circumstances, but is ridiculous in most. I urge you all to objectively sit down and compare fuel economy between the Big 3 and what you consider “green” auto companies, and I think you will be in for a shock. Just make sure that the vehicle engine displacements are equivalent. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy foreign, I’m just saying don’t buy foreign for “green” reasons, because it is an invalid reason based on the facts.

  • Parker Mosman

    I think the biggest issue with the “green” vehicle movement is that people don’t understand what green is. People treat it like a religion instead of objectively evaluating the facts. I love efficient vehicles, but exotic hybrids and the like are not the answer because they don’t make good engineering sense. Here are inarguable facts that have been ignored or misstated in this thread:

    Fact 1: The US EPA test lab is in Ann Arbor, MI and it is a state of the art facility that accurately measures fuel economy based on a given driving cycle. There is no 30% overestimate that is being covered up, because both foreign and American vehicles are tested there. The driving cycle determines EVERYTHING when it comes to the final verdict.

    Fact 2: There are NO foreign cars out there that are being with held from Americans that would dramatically improve fuel economy in any vehicle sector. The Smart car was supposed to be the first of many foreign imports to redefine what Americans thought of fuel economy. Unfortunately, like other imports out there, it failed when subjected to US tests. Yes, it still gets excellent fuel economy, but there are consumer complains galore about the “real” fuel economy being in the mid to low 30′s, not in the 40′s. Don’t forget that the Euro standards rated it at 60+ mpg. There are many better options out there for fuel economy compared with paying the space penalty of the Smart.

    Fact 3: No one, not even the mystical, magical Japanese have a distinguishing technology when it comes to fuel economy. They don’t, it’s that easy. Everyone is playing in the same technology pool (VVL, VVT, GDI, etc…), buying the same components from the same suppliers, and hiring the same engineers. The formula is easy, light cars with small engines and marginal emissions get great fuel economy. I drive one, a Mini Cooper. It greats great fuel economy and performance, but has a very poor emissions rating.

    Fact 4: The biggest advocates of the “green” vehicle movement are the ones that have hampered it the most by also being advocates for vehicle safety and emissions standards. Like it or not, safety directly correlates to fuel economy. A heavier car (compare 1980′s vehicle weights to today) gets worse fuel economy than a lighter car with the same powertrain. Also, good emissions do not imply good fuel economy. Emissions are a function of good chemistry in the engine (i.e. proper mix of fuel, air, etc..). This means that there are scenarios where “unnecessary” fuel is added to the engine to ensure it falls within emissions guidelines. So, some of the “greenest” people from a fuel economy standpoint actually drive some of the highest polluting vehicles from an emissions stand point in the US.

    Fact 5. US automakers are not out to get you. They try to give you what you want. Who would have though that people would actually buy a vehicle as ridiculous as the Prius for the misinformed reasons that they do. Again, it is a good fit in some driving circumstances, but is ridiculous in most. I urge you all to objectively sit down and compare fuel economy between the Big 3 and what you consider “green” auto companies, and I think you will be in for a shock. Just make sure that the vehicle engine displacements are equivalent. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy foreign, I’m just saying don’t buy foreign for “green” reasons, because it is an invalid reason based on the facts.

  • Parker Mosman

    I think the biggest issue with the “green” vehicle movement is that people don’t understand what green is. People treat it like a religion instead of objectively evaluating the facts. I love efficient vehicles, but exotic hybrids and the like are not the answer because they don’t make good engineering sense. Here are inarguable facts that have been ignored or misstated in this thread:

    Fact 1: The US EPA test lab is in Ann Arbor, MI and it is a state of the art facility that accurately measures fuel economy based on a given driving cycle. There is no 30% overestimate that is being covered up, because both foreign and American vehicles are tested there. The driving cycle determines EVERYTHING when it comes to the final verdict.

    Fact 2: There are NO foreign cars out there that are being with held from Americans that would dramatically improve fuel economy in any vehicle sector. The Smart car was supposed to be the first of many foreign imports to redefine what Americans thought of fuel economy. Unfortunately, like other imports out there, it failed when subjected to US tests. Yes, it still gets excellent fuel economy, but there are consumer complains galore about the “real” fuel economy being in the mid to low 30′s, not in the 40′s. Don’t forget that the Euro standards rated it at 60+ mpg. There are many better options out there for fuel economy compared with paying the space penalty of the Smart.

    Fact 3: No one, not even the mystical, magical Japanese have a distinguishing technology when it comes to fuel economy. They don’t, it’s that easy. Everyone is playing in the same technology pool (VVL, VVT, GDI, etc…), buying the same components from the same suppliers, and hiring the same engineers. The formula is easy, light cars with small engines and marginal emissions get great fuel economy. I drive one, a Mini Cooper. It greats great fuel economy and performance, but has a very poor emissions rating.

    Fact 4: The biggest advocates of the “green” vehicle movement are the ones that have hampered it the most by also being advocates for vehicle safety and emissions standards. Like it or not, safety directly correlates to fuel economy. A heavier car (compare 1980′s vehicle weights to today) gets worse fuel economy than a lighter car with the same powertrain. Also, good emissions do not imply good fuel economy. Emissions are a function of good chemistry in the engine (i.e. proper mix of fuel, air, etc..). This means that there are scenarios where “unnecessary” fuel is added to the engine to ensure it falls within emissions guidelines. So, some of the “greenest” people from a fuel economy standpoint actually drive some of the highest polluting vehicles from an emissions stand point in the US.

    Fact 5. US automakers are not out to get you. They try to give you what you want. Who would have though that people would actually buy a vehicle as ridiculous as the Prius for the misinformed reasons that they do. Again, it is a good fit in some driving circumstances, but is ridiculous in most. I urge you all to objectively sit down and compare fuel economy between the Big 3 and what you consider “green” auto companies, and I think you will be in for a shock. Just make sure that the vehicle engine displacements are equivalent. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy foreign, I’m just saying don’t buy foreign for “green” reasons, because it is an invalid reason based on the facts.

  • 50 y. o. female

    I want a Daihatsu Copen. Why aren’t these sold in the USA? They are incredibly cute.

  • 50 y. o. female

    I want a Daihatsu Copen. Why aren’t these sold in the USA? They are incredibly cute.

  • 50 y. o. female

    I want a Daihatsu Copen. Why aren’t these sold in the USA? They are incredibly cute.

  • http://TreatedAndReleased.blogspot.com neindoch

    and how come you can only buy the Honda Civic GX in New York & California?

    the cleanest internal-combustion engine on the planet – runs on AMERICAN fuel – 5 cents per mile in city driving

    and ‘Big Oil’ would profit, so c’mon conspiracy freaks come up with another explanation…

  • http://TreatedAndReleased.blogspot.com neindoch

    and how come you can only buy the Honda Civic GX in New York & California?

    the cleanest internal-combustion engine on the planet – runs on AMERICAN fuel – 5 cents per mile in city driving

    and ‘Big Oil’ would profit, so c’mon conspiracy freaks come up with another explanation…

  • Wind Rider

    I’d go with the likelihood it’s a US Safety standards issue. In addition to the re-design effort, bring them up to US specs would probably increase the weight, probably significantly, and thus impact the overall performance – probably to an unacceptable degree.

    I recall seeing, in Japan, some of the early version minivans (a variety of models that never saw the US markets – and with the lower safety standards, most of the ones I saw involved in major accidents (even at a 50kph/32mph speed limit) resembled crumpled balls of tinfoil more than something that used to be a vehicle.

  • Wind Rider

    I’d go with the likelihood it’s a US Safety standards issue. In addition to the re-design effort, bring them up to US specs would probably increase the weight, probably significantly, and thus impact the overall performance – probably to an unacceptable degree.

    I recall seeing, in Japan, some of the early version minivans (a variety of models that never saw the US markets – and with the lower safety standards, most of the ones I saw involved in major accidents (even at a 50kph/32mph speed limit) resembled crumpled balls of tinfoil more than something that used to be a vehicle.

  • http://ectophensis.com Chad Johnson

    Crash tests, perhaps?

    I recall that the Previa went away from these shores because it failed the independent crash tests so badly that it embarrassed Toyota. They still made it for other markets, I believe, but that was the impetus where the Sienna came from, among other reasons — and why the Sienna has always gotten top marks for safety.

  • http://ectophensis.com Chad Johnson

    Crash tests, perhaps?

    I recall that the Previa went away from these shores because it failed the independent crash tests so badly that it embarrassed Toyota. They still made it for other markets, I believe, but that was the impetus where the Sienna came from, among other reasons — and why the Sienna has always gotten top marks for safety.

  • Jim Fiore

    will this mini-van be approved by Toyota for sale here in the U.S.soon?

  • Jim Fiore

    will this mini-van be approved by Toyota for sale here in the U.S.soon?

  • mary anne

    It seems that fuel saving and less pollution would be the way to go. I hate dealing with repairs. I hate dealing with car dealers. I just want basic reliable transportation. So what do we do to have our opinions heard?

  • mary anne

    It seems that fuel saving and less pollution would be the way to go. I hate dealing with repairs. I hate dealing with car dealers. I just want basic reliable transportation. So what do we do to have our opinions heard?

  • Jim Fiore

    is Toyota now intending to produce this mini-van for the American market? if so, when can we expect it?

  • Jim Fiore

    is Toyota now intending to produce this mini-van for the American market? if so, when can we expect it?

  • http://none Kurt Linsenmaier

    With a 2001 VW TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) Bug I get a consistant 50 to 55 MPG. 90 HP w/a turbo makes it a serious sports car. Hook it to a 5 speed trans and your really rolling. I get that at 80 MPH every day on 4 lanes that I need too run 100 miles round trip per day for my job. 12 Gallons fills my tank, and I’m good for 600+ miles. I run 6 days on that fill up. No hybrid here, just good German engineering. VW has a Model called the ‘Polo’ in Europe that is a 70 MPG right off the showroom floor. Shame on them for not getting this car into the US market. There is one at 81 MPG that I don’t have any info on at this point. Guess what, some great engineering is already here, use it. Conclusion, the TDI has needed nothing in 180,000 miles. Chevy, Dodge, Ford, can you say the same?

  • Parker mosman

    The TDI is a good techology for fuel economy. However, I would again hesitate to throw “quality” stones at the big 3, as a VW fan. The fact is that VW/Audi typically rank very near dead last in all quality rankings. It’s a fact, look it up. You also can’t compare diesel engine durability to traditional gas, as the characteristics of a diesel engine inherintly make it last longer. The big 3 haven’t sold diesels in America because Americans won’t buy them. They sell tons of them overseas, so it’s not a matter of not having the technology. Finally, diesel is a ggod answer for saving fuel, but it costs as much more per gallon as the fuel it saves. Couple that with the stigma they have in the US, and you have an unsaleable product. Times are changing, so I expect them to reappear, but from a cost/benefit perspective, an efficient gasoline engine is an equally good choice.

  • Parker mosman

    The TDI is a good techology for fuel economy. However, I would again hesitate to throw “quality” stones at the big 3, as a VW fan. The fact is that VW/Audi typically rank very near dead last in all quality rankings. It’s a fact, look it up. You also can’t compare diesel engine durability to traditional gas, as the characteristics of a diesel engine inherintly make it last longer. The big 3 haven’t sold diesels in America because Americans won’t buy them. They sell tons of them overseas, so it’s not a matter of not having the technology. Finally, diesel is a ggod answer for saving fuel, but it costs as much more per gallon as the fuel it saves. Couple that with the stigma they have in the US, and you have an unsaleable product. Times are changing, so I expect them to reappear, but from a cost/benefit perspective, an efficient gasoline engine is an equally good choice.

  • timbeaumont

    I wholeheartedly agree. I have visited Japan since 1994,and I recall a hybrid Alphard, loaded with more people than us in a gas only Honda StepWagon, outpacing us in the mountains. What’s up Toyota?

  • timbeaumont

    I wholeheartedly agree. I have visited Japan since 1994,and I recall a hybrid Alphard, loaded with more people than us in a gas only Honda StepWagon, outpacing us in the mountains. What’s up Toyota?

  • Justin

    Hell my parents bought a Dodge Grand Carvan in 2001, if this was out here in America that’d be there choice and they wouldnt be shelving the van now because of poor mpg and high gas prices

  • Justin

    Hell my parents bought a Dodge Grand Carvan in 2001, if this was out here in America that’d be there choice and they wouldnt be shelving the van now because of poor mpg and high gas prices

  • Buy American

    This is another reason to buy American. Unfair trade practices by other countries. They constantly give us only what they want and hold back anything that they feel they should keep for themselves. Yet we are required to share all our technologies with the rest of the world.

    Japan is one of the worst offenders of this type of trading. Does the general public know that we are not allowed to sell Kodak film in Japan? Yet they flood our markets with fuji film. That’s just one example.

    And take China dumping all their poisonous products on our door step. The American people better wise up. We should boycot all this one sided trade policy and tell them to stick it till they play fair!!

  • Buy American

    This is another reason to buy American. Unfair trade practices by other countries. They constantly give us only what they want and hold back anything that they feel they should keep for themselves. Yet we are required to share all our technologies with the rest of the world.

    Japan is one of the worst offenders of this type of trading. Does the general public know that we are not allowed to sell Kodak film in Japan? Yet they flood our markets with fuji film. That’s just one example.

    And take China dumping all their poisonous products on our door step. The American people better wise up. We should boycot all this one sided trade policy and tell them to stick it till they play fair!!

  • Eric

    I feel your pain. last year I inquired of transport Canada what I would need to do to import a hybrid Estima. In short… they told me all I can do is wait until it is 15 years old and is no longer subject to the protectionist regulations.

    Side note: Citroen has a new hybrid minivan that gets over 40mpg. Too bad they didn’t sell in N. America. I am sure that the thought of a competitor beating them to the punch might make them rethink their financial arrangements with the Oil lobbyists.

  • Eric

    I feel your pain. last year I inquired of transport Canada what I would need to do to import a hybrid Estima. In short… they told me all I can do is wait until it is 15 years old and is no longer subject to the protectionist regulations.

    Side note: Citroen has a new hybrid minivan that gets over 40mpg. Too bad they didn’t sell in N. America. I am sure that the thought of a competitor beating them to the punch might make them rethink their financial arrangements with the Oil lobbyists.

  • JD

    One thing about emissions that people don’t get, much of the world concentrates their emissions regulations on CO2, and the only way to reduce CO2 is to burn less fuel; our regulations concentrate on NOX (oxides of nitrogen, a contributor to acid rain) and to reduce NOX you must reduce combustion temperatures, the easy way to reduce combustion temperatures is to richen the fuel mix (burn more gas) so when cars *are* brought to the US from Europe and Asia, they often get drastically worse fuel mileage.

  • JD

    One thing about emissions that people don’t get, much of the world concentrates their emissions regulations on CO2, and the only way to reduce CO2 is to burn less fuel; our regulations concentrate on NOX (oxides of nitrogen, a contributor to acid rain) and to reduce NOX you must reduce combustion temperatures, the easy way to reduce combustion temperatures is to richen the fuel mix (burn more gas) so when cars *are* brought to the US from Europe and Asia, they often get drastically worse fuel mileage.

  • Pingback: This is the Hybrid Van Barack Obama Wants You to Buy (video) – Gas 2.0

  • Holly

    I am sooo with you. Would buy this in a heartbeat.

  • LC

    My wife has a Prius V and while i hate its “roll on” abilities, i do wish (just like you) that we would have the internation 7 seater version instead of the 5 seater.
    Apparently there are 2 reasons for this:
    1. One is a technical problem in that the compact internation battery is not allowed in the US, and we are stuck with the “older” and bigger battery. This leaves no room for the 3rd seat.
    2. This might be a reason in my mind, but i think average size of an American person is definitely bigger than that of a Japanese person, making it a challenge to appeal to potential buyers here.
    But then again, like you said … WTF… so get a bigger car that maybe does not do 40 but does only 38 .. still way better for an 8 seater.. right?

  • stoyboy

    Its the same story with Honda odyssey. The first generation was a great 4cyl minivan, yet the second generation for US got on a different path with 6cyl gas thirsty engines and Japan now has mkV or mkVI odyssey / shuttle with 4 cyl hybrid engines

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