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101 posts

Master Geek


#272042 6-Jun-2020 17:26
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I am looking at buying a 2nd hand older 4WD car which would be my daily runabout, but as well needs to capable of towing my 900kg Caravan. So I'm looking for a balance of power for towing and economical running cost.
So looking at a Toyota Kluger Hybrid with Synergy Drive 3MZ-FE 3.3 V6 engine.
Can anyone tell me if this ok for towing?. Also any other possible pitfalls or caveat to be aware of compared to the normal no hybrid version? Expensive things that can go wrong?
The fuel economy rating is nearly half for the Hybrid.. Wow sounds too good to be true 😬

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gzt

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  #2499835 6-Jun-2020 18:25
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Does it have a factory towbar?



101 posts

Master Geek


  #2499872 6-Jun-2020 21:27
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gzt: Does it have a factory towbar?

The one I'm looking at no, its a fresh used Jap import so I would have to get one fitted

 
 
 
 


gzt

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  #2499917 6-Jun-2020 21:47
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The stats I've seen say the hybrid is 1600kg max for braked load. Unbraked, I'll guess at 1/3 of that.

The sensible thing to do is get the full chassis numbers and check with Toyota here on a towbar fit cost and the tow rating.

I've driven Toyota hybrids for a few years now and I have a lot of confidence in whatever Toyota might rate them at. The reviews tend to rate the hybrid as an occasional tower and point out the pulling difference of the conventional. How many kg does your caravan weigh in at?

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Master Geek


  #2499940 6-Jun-2020 23:15
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Gearbox would be the first thing i'd look at, being a hybrid or not shouldn't affect the tow rating. Find out what the tow rating is and go from there. 

 

CVT compared to a normal automatic transmission. 3.3L probably has a normal automatic transmission so will have an ok tow rating I imagine.




101 posts

Master Geek


  #2499942 6-Jun-2020 23:19
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gzt: The stats I've seen say the hybrid is 1600kg max for braked load. Unbraked, I'll guess at 1/3 of that.

The sensible thing to do is get the full chassis numbers and check with Toyota here on a towbar fit cost and the tow rating.

I've driven Toyota hybrids for a few years now and I have a lot of confidence in whatever Toyota might rate them at. The reviews tend to rate the hybrid as an occasional tower and point out the pulling difference of the conventional. How many kg does your caravan weigh in at?

Its just a small 2 birth UK Caravan, weighs under 900kg

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Ultimate Geek

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  #2499947 7-Jun-2020 00:34
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I have a  RX400h, which is pritty much the same car as what JDM Harrier Hybrid.

 

Mine is rated at 1,500kg braked, and 150kg nose weight.

 

Have done a couple of long trips towing a boat around that limit without issue. At 200kW it has heaps of power, and the 2000kg of kerb weight reassuring. Ride quality was significantly worse with the big trailer hooked up though.

 

I think it would tow your 900kg caravan without issue. It's well under the tow limits.

 

I love the hybrid drive train & EVT in mine. So smooth and powerful. Seats in mine are really comfortable, rear seats were the best of any cars we cross shopped when we brought it.

 

Things to be aware of:

 

  • In some markets these were offered as 2wd, so don't assume one is AWD
  • AWD system is really frount biased (typical in traverse engine soft roaders). There is no mechanical linkage between the engine and the rear axle, rather a 50kW electric motor is mounted at the rear. Rear motor does not have active cooling, so is more their to give you a shove forward under rapid acceleration or in low traction conditions. Will easily spin the front tires (before traction control kicks in) if you give it the Jandle it at lower speeds.
  • A lot of torque steer. Put both hand's on the wheel if you are going to floor it to pass somebody on the open road.
  • Hybrid drive-train has less engine breaking potential for long hills than non-hybrid version. Use B mode and take it gentle down hills while towing.
  • Hybrid drive-train has some limitations around hill climbing ability in reverse, avoid reversing trailers up super steep hills.
  • 12v battery is quite small (as engine is started from traction pack), apparently can go flat faster than comparable cars if left unused for a while. Has never been an issue on mine.
  • Traction control cannot be turned off. (unless you use a service mode, which you shouldn't). Not ideal when driving on soft sand.
  • Rear seat in the hybrid sits a little higher because of the battery pack underneath. Head room in Left rear is not that great due to the powered boot opener (with the back seat in the rearmost position).

In the USA there is a variant with a an additional cooler, called something like tow prep, has a blue background to the lexus badge. I think mine has this, but not really sure. Mine was rated for the 1500kg by lexus NZ anyway.

 

In terms of thinks that can go wrong.

 

  • Battery - I took mine to a hybrid specialist for a pre-purchase check to ensure it is not on it's last legs, would recommend you do the same. Unlike the Prius the pack is rived together (not bolted), and is under the back seat (not boot), so interior needs to be stripped if it needs service or replacement.
  • Air con refrigerant can go conductive and kill the air con motor (it runs off the traction battery pack). It is recommended that you have the refrigerant & special oil replaced roughly half way through the cars life.
  • Inverter - Apparently there is some issue where the inverter can leak coolant, and then fail. I decided it wasn't a big concern to me, but don't buy the car if it is leaking coolant.

 

 

This car is shares a lot of components with the highlander of the same generation. Expect it to cost more to run and maintain than the likes of a hatchback as everything is a bit bigger. This engine has a cambelt due every 150,000km.

 

Note that some of the non-hybrid cars picked up the newer 3.5L engine in this generation, where the hybrid stuck with the 3.3L until the next revision of the car.

 

 

 

Regarding fuel consumtion the Lexus RX330 is rated at 12.3l/100km, and the 400h is rated at 8.1L/100km.

 

Generally I sit at around 9L/100km dash reported either urban or rural, I have seen mid 7's doing a long trip in holiday weekend traffic. Towing a light trailer on a long trip had no noticeable impact on economy. Towing the big boat sends consumption skyrocketing, but to similar levels to what a diesel hilux used towing the same load.

 

Of course hybrids come into their own if you do a lot of city work. Was shocked how much fuel a modern highlander used in the city, even if it did do OK on the open road.

 

This car is the first performance hybrid and was never intended to blow people away with it's economy. That said it uses a touch less fuel than my dads 2.4L outlander of the same year and has a heap more power and sound deadening. Next version the RX450h is rated at 6.4L/100km so was a big jump.

 

Ask if you want to know anything else.


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Ultimate Geek

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  #2499948 7-Jun-2020 00:39
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Froglotion:

 

Gearbox would be the first thing i'd look at, being a hybrid or not shouldn't affect the tow rating. Find out what the tow rating is and go from there. 

 

CVT compared to a normal automatic transmission. 3.3L probably has a normal automatic transmission so will have an ok tow rating I imagine.

 

 

Hybrid is toyota's hybrid synergy drive. It is a CVT, but works in a different way typical belt CVT. The system uses the engine, multiple electric motors and an epicyclic gear train to give the effect of a CVT without a frictional belt and pully system.

 

Same deal as the prius, but with a total output of 200kW. I really like it.


 
 
 
 




101 posts

Master Geek


  #2499982 7-Jun-2020 10:00
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Scott3:

Ask if you want to know anything else.



Thanks Scott3 for your very detailed answer thats great, I'm feeling happy that this could be the car for me and will investigate further. Btw i’ll doubt I would need the 4wd for much more than a boggy camping ground, the Caravan Is not built for off-road an I wouldn’t be overly adventurous.
Thanks everyone 👍🏼

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Uber Geek

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  #2499986 7-Jun-2020 10:39
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You may not think you need AWD but be careful once you stick a trailer on the back. It can be as mundane as pulling off road going slightly uphill and trying to get going again. You only need 1 wheel on a soft spot. We replaced an AWD with 2wd and I've had a couple of occasions where I've had to run backwards to a better spot to restart with just an 8x4 trailer.

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