Prince Edward Highlander / Day 2 – Cavendish National Park’s scenic Gulf Shore Parkway
JULY 24 / Before I spend the next two weeks talking about the Highlander Hybrid we're driving here in P.E.I., perhaps a brief explanation of its upgraded-for-2011 gasoline-electric powertain is in order.
Like previous iterations, the Highlander H combines a V6 gas-engine with a an electric motor at its front axle. A second electric motor sits on the rear axle, giving the front-wheel-based crossover part-time (slip-then-grip) all-wheel-drive capabilities. Along with some styling and interior upgrades for 2011 that apply to the entire Highlander lineup, the Hybrid gets the larger 3.5-litre six from the upscale Lexus RX 450h Hybrid, substituting the older 3.3L unit and an "enhanced" electric system. Combined, the Toyota hybrid crossover delivers 280 hp, more than the V6-gas Highlander, but less than the RX 450h.
At $42,850, the six- or seven-passenger Hybrid Highlander costs $11,350 than a base, FWD four-cylinder gas model (BTW, also rated at 7.3L/100 km on the highway) and $7,100 more than the base V6 gas version. While no rivals offer a hybrid crossover in its price range, the Highlander faces plenty of three-row crossover competition from the likes of the Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer/Flex, Mazda CX-9 and Chevrolet Traverse. And there’s always the five-passenger $53,190 Volkswagen Touareg TDI diesel, and its 11.1 L/100 km city, 7.0L hwy. numbers.
As I've mentioned, this won’t be the traditional auto journo road trip. We won’t be piling up huge daily mileages. Come on. You can only drive so far in P.E.I. before things start getting wet. But because the house we rented is not on the water, we’ve developed a routine of piling the family into our vehicle and making day trips. Some short. Some long. Usually a beach. The itinerary ends up an “away stay-cation”.
A relaxed Day Two ended up being such a “low mileage” day. We drove the length the unbelievably scenic Gulf Shore Parkway, a two-lane parkway that runs along the coast between Cavendish and Stanhope By The Sea (above), near where Kate and What’s His Name battled in a dragon boat race on Dalvay Lake recently. Needless to say, our arrival today received less attention…
Total kms: 278
Av. L/100 km: 7.6