MY RIDE- Roger Voisinet- 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

When real estate agent and UVA hockey coach Roger Voisinet took his previous car, a Volkswagen Passat, out to show a property on rugged terrain last year, he knew it was time for a new ride. 

"It bottomed out on the driveway," he says. Searching for a vehicle that would combine the all-terrain capabilities and storage space of an SUV with the gas mileage of a sedan, Voisinet soon settled on his new wheels, a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which he purchased in July 2005.

Anyone can understand the elegance of the leather seats, the dazzle of the GPS display, and the convenience of the sunroof, but ask Voisinet how the engine works, and prepare for a high-tech earful.

"It has three motors," he says, "two high-torque electric motors, one for each set of wheels, and a separate bank of batteries that power the car when the engine's not needed"– on flat roads at a steady speed. Silence, says Voisinet, is one of the car's best features. And indeed, when Voisinet starts the engine, there is nary a sound.

Voisinet, who once worked in the solar industry and who remains interested in eco-friendly technology, says he has another tip for improving gas mileage: filling his tires with nitrogen instead of regular air, something he believes helps maintain tire pressure and therefore improves fuel efficiency. (Voisinet says he believes it works, though the science behind this is hotly debated on various online car sites.)

As for the expense of maintaining the complex Hybrid engine, Voisinet says he won't worry about that for a while.

"I have an eight- or 10-year warranty," he says.

Roger Voisinet


What drives you? Call 295-8700 ext. 239, then pull up in front of Hook headquarters at 100 Second St. NW, and tell us why you love your ride. Each week's featured driver will receive a free car wash courtesy of H&H Quality Car Care.