Is there an electric vehicle in your future?

The answer is probably “Yes”

It’s pretty well established that the future is going to include electric vehicles of all sizes and shapes. This will likely include cars and trucks along with mass transportation and taxis for urban settings. And over the road cargo trucks are in development. Today we want to feature the electric, hybrid, or plug-in hybrids that can or will soon be found on our Central Maine Motors Auto Group sales lots or showroom floors.

First, let’s see at what exactly is a “Hybrid Vehicle”?

Car And Driver said it well— “Quite simply, a hybrid combines at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine to move the car, and its system recaptures energy via regenerative braking. Sometimes the electric motor does all the work, sometimes it’s the gas engine, and sometimes they work together. The result is less gasoline burned and, therefore, better fuel economy. Adding electric power can even boost performance in certain instances”

Believe it or not, the first hybrid car was built around 1900 by Ferdinand Porsche. He called it the System Lohner-Porsche Mixte and it used a gasoline engine, instead of a battery pack, that supplied power to two electric motors that each drove the front wheels.

But let’s look at the automobiles that truly broke trail for modern hybrid–powered vehicles. In December 1999, the Honda Insight became the first hybrid available in North America. Just over six months later the Toyota Prius Hybrid was introduced in Japan and came to the U.S. automotive market in 2001. While the Honda faded by 2006 (it would return a few years later) the Toyota Prius has set the standard for the many hybrid vehicles that followed. In 2021, most if not all automotive manufacturers have at least one hybrid model in their product line.

Meanwhile, Toyota has continued to expand the number of models now available as hybrids. They include the RAV4, Highlander, Avalon, Camry, Corolla & the all-new redesigned 2021 Toyota Venza crossover. There are now Prius Prime & RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid models that extend the electric travel range of the base models. An electronic all-wheel drive option (AWD-e) is also now available on Prius models. And rumblings and rumors about a hybrid Toyota truck keep coming from various corners of the automotive press. If it happens, we’ll be sure to let you know.                  

L to R – 2001 Toyota Prius, Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid, 2021 RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid

The year 2021 will see the introduction of two new hotly expected hybrid models. A plug-in Hybrid Jeep … the Wrangler 4Xe. 

And the all-new redesigned 2021 Toyota Sienna which will be all-hybrid and have an all-wheel drive option. This new Sienna is the first minivan to combine hybrid and all-wheel drive.

Chrysler introduced a Pacifica plug-in hybrid in 2017 (a first for minivans)

EV = Electric Vehicles

We currently have one model in our product line that meets the definition of an electric vehicle.   That is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, an all-electric subcompact hatchback.  The Bolt EV was introduced in late 2016 and owners continue to rave about its efficiency & performance. It made such an impression that it was named the Motor Trend Car of the Year 2017, North American Car of the Year 2017, and Time Magazine  included the Bolt EV among 25 Best Inventions of 2016. 


The Bolt EV has a combined EPA-rated range of 238 miles on a single charge.  A fast charge option will give 100 miles of range in 30 minutes. With the battery completely drained, a full charge can be had in approximately 9.5 hours.         

Chevrolet Volt

The Chevy Volt was part of Chevy’s product line from 2011—2019.  The Volt operates as a pure battery electric vehicle until its battery capacity drops to a predetermined threshold from full charge. From there, its internal combustion engine powers an electric generator to extend the vehicle’s range as needed.  We often get quality low mileage pre-owned Volts on our sales lot. They get snapped up quickly by sharp-eyed shoppers.

Recently, General Motors (GM) has updated their corporate logo. The gradient of vibrant blue tones evokes the clean skies of a zero-emissions future

Given the strong focus GM is giving to electric vehicles, this corporate logo upgrade makes sense. Another hidden visual “Easter egg” is the horizontal line under the letter “m”. If you look at the negative space over the solid line and include the blank space in the letter, you’ll see the shape of an electrical plug. Between the expected new GMC Hummer electric truck and a new contract with FedEx for electric delivery trucks, GM is putting a lot of eggs into the EV basket. We’re certain to be seeing more EV commercial vehicles with Chevy or GMC branding.

New sporty design of 2021 Toyota Murai

Hydrogen Powered Vehicles

Toyota appears to be rock-solid in their support of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle, having given that model a complete makeover for 2021. Fuel cell vehicles combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs a motor to drive the vehicle. Hydrogen production for vehicles is still in limited development and it may be a while before we’ll see fuel cell vehicles in all corners of the U.S.

In conclusion, hybrid and electric vehicles are here to stay. They will continue to be seen parked in the driveways around our neighborhoods.

We hope that when you’re ready to make the leap  to an electric or hybrid car, truck (soon?), SUV or van, who’ll come visit one of our Central Maine Motors Auto Group sales locations on Kennedy Memorial Drive or Airport Road here in Waterville. 

More New Models For 2021!

What’s The Hot News from, Chevrolet, Buick & Toyota

We’ve all been staying close to home for months now. Would a road trip behind the wheel of a new car, truck or SUV have a calming effect to your life? It could be just you and all the family or friends you can fit comfortably (and safely) into your new ride. There’s a lot to look forward to in 2021 from Chevrolet, Buick and Toyota

2021 Buick Encore GX

Buick – The Buick Encore GX was introduced midway through the 2020 model year. Don’t be confused (as some were) by the “Encore” nameplate … this is a substantially different model than the Buick Encore that arrived in 2012. The Encore GX is larger than the “original” Encore but is still rated as a compact SUV. That said, Buick has put a lot of technology, safety features and  driver / passenger comfort in a small package.

A redesigned Buick Envision has been teased and is expected to be released “into the wild” in the spring of 2021. Buick is heavily focused on making their product line of luxury SUV’s the first choice for current Buick owners and for new customers. A re-imagined Envision should not disappoint anyone shopping for a well-designed mid-size lux SUV. We’ll say more when we get the see the 2021 Envision live & in-person.

Chevrolet – Much of the big news from Chevrolet in 2021 is coming from the large SUV end of the model lineup. The Chevy Tahoe & the Suburban have both received through makeovers.

2021 Chevy Tahoe

”The new Tahoe is more spacious and sophisticated than before, which solidifies its spot atop the large-SUV class.”

Car and Driver

The Tahoe has grown all around, larger outside, roomier third row space and more cargo area. Some of this space growth was accomplished by the implementation of a new independent rear suspension, a first for the Tahoe. Creature comfort, infotainment & connectivity upgrades, safety and performance features add to the overall ride experience.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban

The all-new 2021 Suburban benefits from the same new independent rear suspension as the Tahoe.  This is most noticeable in additional rear cargo space, leg, head & hip room in the third row seat and an added “smoothness” to the ride. An optional adjustable air suspension with  adaptive dampers also make the new Suburban glide along whatever road surface you choose, pavement, back roads, or trail. Most, if not all of the Tahoe’s comfort, infotainment and connectivity upgrades are there.  Safety and driver assist features are well thought out and easy to use.

One thing of note for the 2021 Chevy Silverado is the availability of the multi-function tailgate previously seen on the GMC Sierra.

2021 also marks the “return” of the Chevy Trailblazer – “Return” is essentially not accurate … the previous TrailBlazer (capital T & B) ended production in 2005. Before that various generations of Chevy Blazer models had held court from 1969 through the mid-1990’s.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2021_Chevrolet_Trailblazer_1-1.jpg
2021 Chevy Trailblazer

The all-wheel drive 2021 Trailblazer will slot into Chevy’s lineup between the compact Trax and Equinox SUV’s. The Trailblazer should meet the needs of small crossover shoppers who are looking at the Jeep Renegade, Toyota C-HR or Honda HR-V.  Stacked above the base Trailblazer model, there will be Activ and RS trim levels. They are two different versions of the highest trim level, one off-road oriented and one sport-oriented. We’ll make sure to provide a good overview on our Facebook page once we get our hands on the steering wheel & our bottoms in the driver’s seat of a new Trailblazer.

New from Toyota for 2021

2021 Toyota Venza – New Crossover Hybrid w/ All-Wheel Drive

Venza – The all-new 2021 Toyota Venza crossover arrives with class-leading fuel economy, you’ll enjoy the extra miles with Venza’s EPA-estimated 39 combined mpg. The standard Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) capability helps you take on uncertain conditions with confidence. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard. You get:

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection,
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist,
  • Lane Tracing Assist,
  • Automatic High Beams,
  • Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
  • Road Sign Assist.

On the Venza Limited model, the optional Star Gaze sunroof is a fixed panoramic roof that incorporates electrochromic glass. This allows the occupants to switch between a “clear” or “frosted” mode. Instead of merely opening it, like a regular sunroof, you get to choose if you want to have sun or have no sun,

The new Toyota TRD sport sedans have been released; we’re hoping to have these Camry and Avalon models on the lot soon.  We do have the new all-wheel drive Camry’s here on our lot and they’re getting a lot of attention.  The Avalon AWD model is expected early in 2021.

2021 Toyota Avalon TRD
2021 Camry All-Wheel Drive

Looking out to 2022, a new redesigned Toyota Tundra is expected to debut … keep an eye on our Central Maine Toyota Facebook page for updates as more information or photos appear.

What’s New for 2021!

Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Trucks & Fiat

Could relief from the “pandemic blues” come with four wheels & room for all your friends? Maybe the answer to that is … Yes!

 These new 2021 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) models are here or arriving soon. Wouldn’t you look “marvelous” in the driver’s seat of one of these cars, trucks or SUV’s.

Chrysler – For 2021, the one-two punch of Chrysler’s minivan line-up is still strong. The Pacifica, Pacifica Hybrid & the Voyager still contend as leaders in their class.  But you can now add available all-wheel  drive to the Pacifica gas models  The Chrysler 300 sedan still exudes elegance and power with the combination of sleek exterior styling, a luxurious interior and “Yes, It’s A Hemi”  5.7L V8 under the hood.  And with available all-wheel drive, you can stay in control in nearly any condition.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica w/ All-Wheel Drive

Dodge – Dodge for 2021 continues their “Pursuit of Horsepower”. Their quest to lead the class in power and performance shines in these coming additions to their lineup. Arriving in early 2021 will be a Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, the fastest and most powerful Durango to date, with a 710-horsepower Hellcat Hemi V8 engine nestled under that broad-striped hood.  Also early next year, the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye will be looking to maintain the Charger’s status as the fastest American-made four-door sedan on the highways. But, in 2021, we’ll say “bye-bye” to the Grand Caravan, one of the models that were there at the birth of minivans back in the mid-1980’s.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Jeep – What? There’s a plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler?!?!  Yes ladies and gentlemen … that is a fact.

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4Xe (Four by E)

By the end of December 2020, with all the legendary capability and open-air freedom the Jeep Brand is known for, we should see the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe. The first Jeep Hybrid in North America, the Wrangler 4xe (pronounced Four by E ) delivers a plug-in electric boost with an impressive 375 horsepower, 470 pound-feet of instant torque and Jeep’s estimated total driving range of 400 miles.

Jeep 80th. Anniversary Edition Models (2021)

In 2021, there will also be a complete lineup of Jeep models designated as 80th Anniversary Editions. They will all be dressed in Granite Crystal Metallic finishes, distinctive interior styling and commemorative badging.  From their roots in World War II to their place as a modern 4×4 icon, Jeep Brand vehicles have seen nearly every corner of the world. It’s now time to celebrate eight decades of capability, innovation and an undying sense of adventure.

2021 RAM 1500 TRX

Ram Trucks – The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has arrived and it is redefining the boundaries of what a pickup truck can be. The TRX is the most powerful production “street-legal” half-ton pickup ever built. But why would you want to stay on the streets, this truck yearns for off-road adventures.  Yes, there is a supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 up front, but with 11.8” of ground clearance, 13” front suspension travel and 14” rear suspension travel, this Ram is “good-to-go” in snow, dirt, sand & rocky terrain. And then there’s the exhaust rumble that’s announces that this is one bad-ass truck.

2021 Ram 2500 Night Edition

Introduced late in the 2020 model year, the Night Edition Ram 1500, 2500 Heavy Duty and 3500HD continue into the 2021 lineup.  Available on Big Horn and Laramie models, you’ll stand out with all-black exterior accents and your choice of several monochromatic exterior color options. The black aluminum wheels on all three trucks give the Night Edition a sleek, no-nonsense look.

Fiat – For 2021, Fiat has narrowed down the U.S. market lineup to the Fiat 500X, the 500L and the Fiat 124 Spider. The 500L is getting a little aged but the 500X makes a nice choice for an all-wheel drive compact 4-dr hatchback. The Fiat 124 Spider still packs a lot of top down fun in an economic package. Though built on the same production line as the Mazda Miata (and shares the same chassis) the Spider has received many “preferred over the Miata” reviews when placed face-to-face. You’d be hard pressed to find a sports car / compact convertible this exciting and stylish in this price range.  

Fiat 124 Spider Convertible – Urbana Edition

We hope you found something of interest among these upcoming vehicles. Keep an eye out here on our blog and also on our Facebook & YouTube feeds for more details as these great new models arrive in our showroom or on our sales lot. You can start an inventory search at the link below:

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – The reviews are in!

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has been in the hands of the automotive press for a little while now. The test drives have happened and the reviews have been written. We thought we’d share some highlights of the reviews.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE
(photo – MotorTrend)

Motor Trend 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE Review: Gem in the Lineup

Design – “We’d argue the RAV4 is one of the most attractive vehicles in its segment. Eschewing the bulbous look of many competitors, the RAV4 features chiseled lines and strong, squared-off corners. Our XSE Hybrid tester is particularly stylish, sporting black accents all around the exterior, including the fender arches, rocker panels, and roof. Eighteen-inch black wheels complete the look, giving this RAV4 a lot more presence than your average mainstream compact SUV.”

Performance – “Forget what you think you know about hybrids—this vehicle is quick. In our track test, the RAV4 Hybrid ran from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, making it particularly zippy among compact SUVs. In fact, it’s almost a full second quicker to 60 mph than the gas-only RAV4 we’ve been driving for the past several months (8.0 seconds).

You can feel the difference on the road. The hybrid model, aided by its electric motors, delivers power quickly and smoothly whether you’re merging onto the freeway or making a quick lane change. In contrast, the standard RAV4’s powertrain feels rougher, almost gravelly. The power lags and it exhibits a gritty engine note.”

Interior – 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE
(photo – MotorTrend) – 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review“

“With the major changes handled in last year’s full redesign, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid carries over with just a few choice refinements. Android Auto smartphone functionality finally joins the existing Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa systems, and that’s definitely a welcome addition for Samsung, Pixel and other non-iPhone users. Several new standard features also appear throughout the lineup, including satellite radio (LE and XLE), a power-adjustable driver’s seat (XLE) and a premium JBL sound system (Limited).”

“These minor upgrades enhance the RAV4 Hybrid’s already substantial appeal. Its comfortable and roomy cabin is solidly built and has sensibly located and easy-to-use controls. Another bonus: The RAV4’s bundle of advanced driver safety aids — which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and, on everything except the base trim, blind-spot monitoring — is something that often costs extra on many competitive SUVs”

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE
(photos – MotorTrend)

Which RAV4 Hybrid does Edmunds recommend? – “Reasonably priced and equipped with a full roster of safety features, the XLE is an undeniable bargain. But we’d try to swing the XSE if we could. It’s a big price jump, but you get a full spectrum of upgrades such as improved interior trim and an 8-inch infotainment screen to practicalities such as a power liftgate and ambient cabin lighting.”

U.S. – 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

“The 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s #1 ranking is based on its score within the Hybrid and Electric SUVs category. It was the winner of our 2020 Best Hybrid or Electric SUV for the Money award and a finalist for our 2020 Best Hybrid or Electric SUV for Families award. Currently the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a score of 8.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 14 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.”

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE
(photo – MotorTrend)

So, now that you’ve read what the reviewers have to say, it’s time to stop by 15 Airport Road in Waterville to test drive the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Then with your own opinion in hand, sit down with a sales associate and let us find you a great deal. Click this link to start an online search of our RAV4 Hybrid inventory.

2020 Toyota Highlander

Here’s what the automotive press has to say …

The 2020 Toyota Highlander was introduced a few months ago. The test drives have happened and the automotive press reviews have been written. We thought we’d share some of their thoughts.

2020 Highlander – Celestial Silver Metallic

The Highlander is a seriously polished vehicle, something you notice practically from the moment you fire it up. Underway, it’s smooth, solid and serene, with Lexus levels of refinement. Not too shabby, Toyota, not too shabby. Aside from the standard version, I also got a bit of time behind the wheel of a Highlander Hybrid … this could be the way to go. The fuel economy it provides is absolutely astounding. … when you consider long-term reliability and resale value, things Toyota does better than just about any other automaker, {the Highlander} is easy to recommend. –– Road Show by CNET

2020 Highlander – Ruby Flare Pearl

Highlander owners wanted Toyota to improve the SUV’s front styling, and the new 2020 Highlander has a more appealing visage. The company didn’t stop there, however, lengthening and widening the Highlander while adding artistic flair to its flanks … the result is a captivating design that clearly draws upon but modernizes the outgoing Highlander’s styling themes. Even in relatively basic LE trim, the Highlander’s materials, control layout, and detailing elevate this family-sized Toyota SUV to a higher standard.  {compared to} the previous Highlander. Cargo space behind the second- and third-row seats is more generous, measuring 48.4 cubic-feet and 16 cu.-ft., respectively. (Maximum volume is 84.3 cu.-ft.).   – JD

If there’s one thing the Toyota Highlander needed, it was a tech-feature makeover. For 2020, Toyota delivered. The Highlander finally offers support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and even though an 8.0-inch touchscreen is still standard, an optional 12.3-inch touchscreen is also available. There are also three USB ports up front, a digital rearview mirror, two USB ports in the second row, and plenty of optional comfort features such as heated second-row seats.

Interior in Glazed Caramel leather trim

Even though most mainstream automakers offer advanced driver-assist and safety features on their vehicles these days, Toyota is one of the few that makes them standard (Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) suite.) So as with the Corolla and RAV4, even if you buy a base-model Highlander, it will come with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control with steering assist. Additional features such as a surround-view camera system are offered on higher trim levels. — Motor Trend

Whatever your travel plans, Highlander will get you & your family there safe & sound.

The all-new redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander has set the bar high for the mid-size SUV market. We invite you to contact us soon for a test drive. Or start an online visit at our website now –

All-New 2020 Highlanders –

All-New 2020 Highlander Hybrid –