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Toyota Hybrids Named Top Ranked Mid-Sized SUVs October 07, 2005 12:14 AM

USA: October 4, 2005 DETROIT - Two new hybrid vehicles, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX400h, were named Consumer Reports' top-rated mid-sized sport utility vehicles in the November issue, the magazine said on Monday. The two SUVs, both made by Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. , received "excellent" overall scores, the only mid-sized SUVs tested by the magazine to do so. Hybrids twin a gasoline engine to an electric motor and batteries to boost fuel economy. Four other SUVs in the monthly test group, the Mercedes-Benz ML350, Subaru B9 Tribeca, Nissan Pathfinder and Land Rover LR3 earned "very good" scores, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee earned a "good" rating, according to the magazine, which is published by Consumers Union. Consumer Reports recommends four of the vehicles in the test group -- the Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX400h, Subaru B9 Tribeca and Nissan Pathfinder. It said it had insufficient reliability data on the Mercedes ML350, and did not recommend the Jeep or Land Rover SUVs because of poor reliability. The magazine recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on the magazine's subscriber surveys and performed at least adequately if crash tested or included in a government rollover test. For drivers considering the hybrids to save money, it is hard to make a case, Consumer Reports said. Both hybrids in the test cost thousands of dollars more than conventional models and it would take 10 years or more to recoup that cost through savings at the pump.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
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