Prince Edward Highlander / Days 8 & 9 - Chasing windmills
JULY 31 / If you think of the shape of Prince Edward Island like a giant horse saddle, but angled clockwise about 30 degrees, North Cape is in the left-top (northwest) corner. It’s about a 240 km roundtrip from our holiday home base, just east of centrally-located Cavendish. After a rainy, low-mileage Saturday, we piled into our loaned 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and headed off to North Cape on a less precipation-filled Sunday.
Why go there? North Cape (left) is said to have the longest rock reef in North America, sedimentary rock reaching two kilometres offshore, marking the melding of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait. The other feature of North cape is a farm of wind turbines the P.E.I. Energy Corporation has been installing since 2004. Plus its cool to drive out to its red rock edge and know you're literally at the end of the road (above).
Mainly, to get to the Cape, you need to drive the Island’s only major thoroughfare, Highway 2. Its primarily a two-lane, 90 km/h speed limit route that stretches lengthewise across P.E.I. But the long, straight stretch between Summerside and Tignish allows for passing opportunities, which gave some measure to the hybrid Highlander’s performance.
For a “hybrid”, the Highlander H’s combined gas and electric motors deliver descent power. With the move to the larger 3.6-litre gas V6 from the last model’s 3.3 unit, the Toyota now sports 231 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. Like I said “decent”. But less juice than all comparably priced gas V6 rivals. That said, the Highlander Hybrid can scoot from zero to 100 km/h in about 7.5 seconds. Or about two seconds faster than Lexus’ so-called sporty hybrid, the CT200h.
When not being pressed, the Highlander’s drivetrain is buttery smooth and luxuriously quiet. But when said passing maneuvres are requested, its gets noisy. Fast. I’ll blame its continuously variable transmission, which, like every other CVT I’ve tested, likes to get to maximum revs (i.e. maximum noise) as quickly as possible.
Consider it the price you pay for the excellent 8.0L/100 km fuel consumption average we’ve been experiencing more than half way through our two week trip.
Total kms: 1,431
Av. L/100 km: 8.0