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    Detroit Auto Show: Toyota FT-1 Concept Is Something Very Different


    • There's No Hybrid Around Here


    And now for something completely different from Toyota. This is the Toyota FT-1 Concept which debuted at the Detroit Auto Show this morning and its a stunner.

    The FT-1 is the result of two years of hard work at the company’s Calty, California design center. The team drew a lot of inspiration from company’s sporting heritage; cars like the Celica, Supra, MR2 and of course the contemporary Scion FR-S. Toyota says the design is a unique fusion of of both emotional and rational factors, the former missing from a number of their current vehicles. Overall, the design to our eyes looks to be an updated version FT-HS hybrid concept car shown at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show with a number of aerodynamic features for race track duty.

    The cabin is a sporty, low-slung affair with a cockpit that is focused on the driver. There are also light weight components such as a composite seat.

    The FT-1 is a front engine, rear-drive coupe. Toyota doesn't say what powers it, only saying it is a "high-technology, high performance internal combustion engine."

    “Sports cars represent the ultimate driving expression in its purest form. As car enthusiasts ourselves, this is the kind of project we dream about working on. Beyond its obvious five-alarm visual impact, FT-1 is symbolic of a new chapter for Toyota Global Design. This provocative concept truly captures the passion, excitement, and energy of the Toyota we are evolving into and embodies elements of the emotion and performance that Toyota will imprint upon future production designs,” said Calty Design Research president Kevin Hunter.

    Source: Toyota

    Press Release is on Page 2


    From Virtual to Reality? Toyota FT-1 Concept Sets the Pace for Future Design

    • Company answers Akio Toyoda’s call for design revolution, more heart-pounding design
    • Stunning design draws on Toyota’s rich sports car history
    • Calty Design Research celebrates 40th anniversary with ultimate design concept

    DETROIT, Michigan (Jan. 13, 2014) - Toyota virtually blew the doors off the North American International Auto Show with the reveal of the stunning FT-1 sports car concept. First devised by Calty Design Research in the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo game environment, FT-1 leapt from the screen to the stage in a race-inspired press conference at COBO Hall.

    The name says it all. FT-1 stands for “Future Toyota,” and the number “1” represents the ultimate. According to its designers at Calty Design Research, the FT-1 Concept is the ultimate expression of a Toyota coupe design, building upon Toyota’s rich sports coupe heritage dating back to the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, MR2 and most recently Scion FR-S. In addition, the concept draws inspiration from Calty’s more recent sports car concept work such as FT-HS (2007) and the Lexus LF-LC (2012).

    The project started nearly two years ago and represents a labor of love by a passionate, dedicated and gifted Calty design team. “The FT-1 is a dream-project for a designer and car enthusiast like myself,” said Alex Shen, Calty’s Studio Chief Designer. “Our team was heavily influenced by Toyota’s sports car past, especially Celica and Supra, and we sought to capture some of that history. It is an aggressive, track-focused sports car concept with a presence that has been amplified for shock and awe.”

    The FT-1’s audacious design represents the pinnacle of Calty’s 40th year of operation. Guided by the Toyota design ethos of Vibrant Clarity, a unique fusion of both emotional and rational factors that delivers a more exciting and dramatic design expression with unique Toyota identity, the concept is a spiritual pace car for Toyota Global Design. The goal of this ideological shift is to develop future generations of products that better connect emotionally with Toyota’s global consumer base.

    Traditionally, Toyota’s design decisions have been driven by consensus among a large group of stakeholders. Under Akio Toyoda’s stated directive to invigorate Toyota products with energy, passion and “Waku-Doki” (translation: a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement), the approval process has been streamlined. This new approach aims to produce cars that connect more deeply with customers, generating a more satisfying ownership experience that complements Toyota’s legendary reputation for quality, dependability and reliability.

    “Function-sculpting” design language yields curved, muscular, expressive body forms seemingly shaped by the wind. Inlets, ducting, and vents are features of the exterior design that help reinforce its track–ready nature with elements of purposeful airflow management. At higher speeds a retractable rear wing deploys and tilts forward to create additional downforce. The body’s athleticism is expressed with taut surfaces and dramatic fender forms that seduce the eyes when covered in an unapologetically red hue.

    The front engine rear-wheel drive configuration locates the cockpit far rearward within the wheelbase to improve weight distribution. This design element also helps create the classic sportscar proportions one would expect from a vehicle poised to dominate even the most challenging road course. The cockpit’s wraparound windshield and side glass openings are a distinct nod to the design of the legendary Toyota 2000GT.

    The interior is a focused, highly functional “place of business” that locates the driver at the controls behind an F1 inspired steering-wheel. The intimate, low slung cockpit has its A-pillars set far back to help optimize cornering vision and sensation of the cabin’s intimacy. A delta-shaped display zone surrounds and integrates the driver to provide an exhilarating sense of being connected to the vehicle. The cockpit’s sense of minimalism adds to the purposefulness of the driver-focused environment with an emphasis on light weight components such as the composite seat covered with just the right amount of padding in only the areas that come into contact with the driver. A color heads-up display keeps the driver’s attention on the road ahead, with vital information projected just above the steering wheel within the driver’s line of sight.

    While technical specifications do not accompany the concept, one can assume that the FT-1 represents an ideally balanced front-engine, rear wheel-drive layout that is powered by a high-technology, high performance internal combustion engine. Beneath a transparent glass hood, an ambiguous engine cover hides a powerplant left to the imagination of the onlooker.

    In preparation for pitching the concept to Toyota management, Calty worked with Polyphony Digital, creators of the popular Gran Turismo driving simulator, to bring FT-1 to life in a virtual world that captured the excitement, passion and performance conveyed by the concept model. Toyota executives were offered the opportunity to take FT-1 for a timed lap around a computer-generated Fuji Speedway. Behind the wheel of the concept, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, an accomplished race car driver, completed the virtual circuit faster than his best real-world lap time at Fuji in his LFA. From that moment, he was convinced and the concept was approved to be built in model-form for the international auto show circuit.

    For Toyota, this concept embodies the possibilities of the new and exciting design mission ahead. “Sports cars represent the ultimate driving expression in its purest form. As car enthusiasts ourselves, this is the kind of project we dream about working on,” said Calty Design Research president Kevin Hunter. “Beyond its obvious five-alarm visual impact, FT-1 is symbolic of a new chapter for Toyota Global Design. This provocative concept truly captures the passion, excitement, and energy of the Toyota we are evolving into and embodies elements of the emotion and performance that Toyota will imprint upon future production designs.”

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    Interesting car, actually like the body style and very different from anything Toyota has done in the past. Course I see allot of Ferrari so maybe they had a stable full of the prancing ponies to look at to build this.

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    Watching the video makes me want to play but the car still does not stir the soul to say WOW, I want to pay a ton of money and own that.

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      Value:
       
      Both of these test trucks make a strong case for going with one of the lower trims. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab starts at $37,820 for the four-wheel drive model. With options, the as-tested price came to $41,024. Yes, you do get a lot of standard equipment such as blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, navigation, heated seats, push-button start, and a JBL audio system. But you can get a fair amount of those features as options on the SR5 and the two TRD models. One other thing to consider. The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best vehicles to retain its resale value. Kelly Blue Book says the Tacoma will retain 73 percent of its resale value after three years.
       
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      Final Thoughts:
       
      If you’re expecting me to say the GMC Canyon is better than the Toyota Tacoma or vice-versa, then you’ll be surprised at what I’m going to say. Both of these trucks are good choices in the midsize truck class. The choice comes down to what are your desires and needs. For example, if you’re coming from passenger sedan into your first truck or planning to do some towing, the GMC Canyon and sister Chevrolet Colorado are what you should go for. On the opposite end, the Tacoma is perfect for those who want something to tackle the trail or need a V6 with a bit of punch.
       
      2016 GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab
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      Jeers: Price, GMC Intellilink still has some bugs, fair amount of turbo lag
       

      Album: Review: 2016 GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab Diesel
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      2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab
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      Jeers: Rides like an old school truck, difficult to find a comfortable seating position, fair amount of road and wind noise
       

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      Disclaimer: GMC and Toyota Provided the trucks, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
       
      Year: 2016
      Make: GMC
      Model: Canyon
      Trim: SLT 4WD Crew Cab Short Box
      Engine: 2.8L Turbodiesel Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 3,400
      Torque @ RPM: 369 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/29/23
      Curb Weight: 4,698 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Wentzville, MO
      Base Price: $37,450
      As Tested Price: $44,365 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
       
      Options:
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      Bose Audio System - $500.00
      8" Color Touchscreen with GMC Intellilink and Navigation - $495.00
      Spray-On Bed Liner - $475.00
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      Driver Alert Package - $395.00
       
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      Make: Toyota
      Model: Tacoma
      Trim: Limited 4X4 Double Cab
      Engine: 3.5L Atkinson Cycle V6 with Dual VVT-i
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 278 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 265 @ 4,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/23/20
      Curb Weight: 4,480 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: San Antonio, TX
      Base Price: $37,820
      As Tested Price: $41,024 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
       
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    • By William Maley
      It seemed for a time that the midsize truck was a dead vehicle driving. If you wanted one a few years back, you only had the choice of the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. All of the other midsize trucks had disappeared due to pricing and fuel economy figures being very close to full-size trucks, causing many buyers to go with the larger option. But the midsize truck has been enjoying a resurgence thanks to General Motors introducing the latest versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon into the U.S. This, in turn, has caused automakers to reconsider this class with Toyota introducing a ‘redesigned’ Tacoma last year and news coming out that Ford readying a new Ranger towards the end of this decade. GM hasn’t been resting on their laurels either. Last year saw them introduce a diesel engine that gives the Colorado and Canyon best-in-class towing numbers.
       
      A check-up in the midsize truck class was needed. Over the past few months, we spent some time in the 2016 Toyota Tacoma and GMC Canyon with the diesel option. Here is what we found out.
       
      Exterior:
       
      First up is the Toyota Tacoma which doesn’t look that much different from the previous model we drove back in 2013. The design brief for the 2016 model must have something to the effect of ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it’ in terms of the overall shape. But that isn’t to say Toyota hasn’t made some changes to the design. The front end gets a larger grille, new headlights, and a more aggressive front bumper. Around the back, the tailgate has the ‘Tacoma’ name embossed.
       



      The GMC Canyon takes some ideas from the full-size Sierra in design. The front features a large chrome grille and rectangular headlights with LED daytime running lights. Our truck came fitted with a set of 18-inch wheels finished in what GM calls ‘ultra-bright chrome’. The rest of the truck is similar to Colorado in terms of the cab and bed design. I have to admit I prefer the Colorado over the Canyon in terms of design. The Colorado just stands out slightly more due to its more distinctive front end. 
      In terms of beds, both trucks came with their short bed option - measuring about 5 feet. Those needing a bigger bed can option a 6-foot on both trucks. But it should be noted that the Tacoma Limited only comes with the 5-foot bed option. If you want the longer bed, you’ll need to drop down to one of the lower trims. As for bed features, both trucks feature a dampened tailgate and adjustable tie-downs on the bed rails. But the Tacoma begins to pull ahead as it features tie-downs integrated into the floor, storage compartments, and the option of a 120V/400W outlet.
       
      Interior:
       
      Like their full-size brethren, midsize trucks have been seeing a noticeable increase in terms of interior design and materials. Sitting in either truck, you’ll be impressed with the amount of soft-touch materials and the small design touches throughout the interior. Between the two trucks, we would say the Tacoma is the sharper looking with dash inserts that match the color of the seats and silver trim running around various parts. As for the dash layout, both trucks feature a simple layout with controls within easy reach.
       



      In terms of seating, the Canyon and Tacoma offer seating up to five. But the Canyon is the most comfortable of the two trucks. The front seats provide the right balance of comfort and support. For 2016, GM has added a height adjustment for the power seats. This little addition makes finding a comfortable position that much easier. As for the back, there is a decent amount of headroom. Legroom varies on how tall the passenger sitting up front is. It ranges from decent to nonexistent. 
      The Tacoma, on the other hand, is a comedy of errors. First off, the front seats are mounted quite low and cause you to think that you’re sitting in a bunker. This wouldn’t be an issue if you could adjust the height, but the Tacoma doesn’t offer that. Making matters worse is the tilt and telescoping steering doesn’t offer enough range in terms of its adjustments. As I wrote my notes about the Tacoma, “instead of the truck fitting around you, you have to fit around it.” The back seat is best reserved for either small kids or cargo. An average size adult like your’s truly will find barely any head and legroom.
       
      Infotainment:
       
      The base Canyon SL and Canyon get a 4.2-inch color screen radio, while SLE and SLT trims get an 8-inch IntelliLink system. Our Canyon SLT tester featured the optional 8-inch IntelliLink system with navigation. General Motors has been improving IntelliLink/MyLink over the past few years in terms of overall stability. The system still stumbles in terms of performance and recognizing various devices plugged into the USB inputs. For 2016, GM has added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. We tried out CarPlay in the Canyon and found it to be slightly better than IntelliLink in terms of the iPhone-like interface and snappy performance. But like in previous GM models with CarPlay, we found various applications would crash and the system wouldn’t always see my iPhone. Since driving the Canyon, we have tried out CarPlay in vehicles other manufacturers and didn’t have any issues.
       
      All Tacomas feature Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Depending on the trim, the screen will measure either 6.1 or 7-inches. Our Tacoma Limited tester came with the 7-inch screen. Entune might not be newest-looking infotainment systems on the block, but its simple interface and fast response times make it one of the better systems on sale. We also like how you can customize the home screen to provide various information such as audio and navigation. At the moment, Toyota hasn’t added Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to Entune.
       
      Powertrain:
       
      The GMC Canyon is the most well-rounded when it comes to powertrains. There is a 2.5L inline-four, a 3.6L V6, and the engine found in our tester, a 2.8L Duramax Turbodiesel four-cylinder. The diesel produces 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. When leaving a stop, you’ll find yourself wondering where that turbodiesel thrust is. Turbo lag is very apparent with this engine. Once the turbo does spool up, the engine delivers power at a smooth and immediate rate. The six-speed automatic provides quick gear changes. In terms of towing, GMC says the Canyon diesel with four-wheel drive can tow up to 7,600 pounds.
       



      For the Toyota Tacoma, you can choose from a 2.7L four-cylinder or a 3.5L V6. We had the V6 in our tester which boasted 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The V6 can be paired with a six-speed manual or automatic, and either two or four-wheel drive. Our truck came with the automatic and four-wheel drive. On paper, the Tacoma trails the Canyon’s V6 (305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque). Out in the world, the Tacoma surpasses GM’s V6 partly due to it feeling more grunty at low rpms. You don’t feel that you need to give the Tacoma’s V6 more gas to get moving at a decent clip. The six-speed automatic delivers smooth gear changes, but we wished it would go through the gears quicker. Towing is rated at 6,400 lbs, about 600 pounds less than the Canyon with the V6. 
      Fuel Economy:
       
      The EPA rates the 2016 GMC Canyon four-wheel drive with the diesel at 20 City/29 Highway/23 Combined and the 2016 Toyota Tacoma V6 with four-wheel drive at 18 City/23 Highway/20 Combined. Our average for the week in both trucks were 25 MPG for the Canyon and 19.2 MPG for the Tacoma.
       
      Ride & Handling:
       
      No other midsize truck can come close to the GMC Canyon in terms of ride. Like the Chevrolet Colorado I drove last year, the Canyon’s suspension smooths over bumps and other road imperfections. You think that you’re riding in a sedan and not a truck. GM has done a lot of work in terms of sound-deadening for models equipped with the Duramax diesel. Thicker windows and more soundproofing means you’ll the clatter of the diesel engine when accelerating. The extra soundproofing also means the Canyon doesn’t have much wind and road noise coming inside.
       
      Contrast this with the Tacoma which feels more like a bucking bronco. You’ll able to tell how smooth or rough various roads are as the suspension will transmit a good amount of the surface into the seats due to the Tacoma retaining a solid-rear axle. Put a heavy load into the bed and the ride does smooth out. This is ok if you’re coming from an old pickup truck. Not so much if you’re coming from a sedan or crossover. Road and wind noise are very apparent at speeds above 45 mph.
       



      But the Tacoma does redeem itself when it comes to off-roading. Thanks to 9.4 inches of ground clearance, flexible suspension, and loads of off-road tech (hill start and descent control to name a couple), the Tacoma can tackle a trail with no issue. Thanks to winter storm during our week in the Tacoma, we were able to put the four-wheel drive system to the test. Fitted with a set of Michelin off-road tires, the Tacoma went through deep snow with no issues. It should be noted that if you’re serious about taking a Tacoma off-road, then you should look at the TRD Off-Road which adds new shocks, meatier off-road tires, the Multi-Terrain Select system that varies the traction control system for different conditions, and crawl control that modulates the brakes and engine when dealing with some treacherous obstacles such as a steep hill. 
      The Canyon isn’t as capable off-road. For one, it is about an inch shorter in terms of overall ground clearance. Second, the front air dam which is used to improve overall aerodynamics hampers off-road performance. A key example of this comes in approach angle. The Canyon only has an 18-degree approach angle while the Tacoma has either a 29 or 32-degree approach angle.
       
      Value:
       
      Both of these test trucks make a strong case for going with one of the lower trims. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab starts at $37,820 for the four-wheel drive model. With options, the as-tested price came to $41,024. Yes, you do get a lot of standard equipment such as blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, navigation, heated seats, push-button start, and a JBL audio system. But you can get a fair amount of those features as options on the SR5 and the two TRD models. One other thing to consider. The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best vehicles to retain its resale value. Kelly Blue Book says the Tacoma will retain 73 percent of its resale value after three years.
       
      The Canyon SLT has a slightly lower base price of $37,450. But it is the more expensive of the two with an as-tested price of $44,365. A fair chunk of the price comes from Duramax diesel which will set you back $3,730. For the as-tested price, you can get into a decently equipped full-size truck. Again, the lower trim SLE gets most of the equipment from the SLT as options for a slightly lower price.
       
      Final Thoughts:
       
      If you’re expecting me to say the GMC Canyon is better than the Toyota Tacoma or vice-versa, then you’ll be surprised at what I’m going to say. Both of these trucks are good choices in the midsize truck class. The choice comes down to what are your desires and needs. For example, if you’re coming from passenger sedan into your first truck or planning to do some towing, the GMC Canyon and sister Chevrolet Colorado are what you should go for. On the opposite end, the Tacoma is perfect for those who want something to tackle the trail or need a V6 with a bit of punch.
       
      2016 GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab
      Cheers: Fuel economy of the diesel, barely any wind and road noise, smooth ride
      Jeers: Price, GMC Intellilink still has some bugs, fair amount of turbo lag
       

       
      2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab
      Cheers: Very capable off-road, V6 feels quite punchy, clever features in the bed
      Jeers: Rides like an old school truck, difficult to find a comfortable seating position, fair amount of road and wind noise
       

       
      Disclaimer: GMC and Toyota Provided the trucks, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
       
      Year: 2016
      Make: GMC
      Model: Canyon
      Trim: SLT 4WD Crew Cab Short Box
      Engine: 2.8L Turbodiesel Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 3,400
      Torque @ RPM: 369 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/29/23
      Curb Weight: 4,698 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Wentzville, MO
      Base Price: $37,450
      As Tested Price: $44,365 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
       
      Options:
      2.8L Duramax Turbodiesel Four - $3,730
      Bose Audio System - $500.00
      8" Color Touchscreen with GMC Intellilink and Navigation - $495.00
      Spray-On Bed Liner - $475.00
      Copper Red Metallic Pain - $395.00
      Driver Alert Package - $395.00
       
      Year: 2016
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Tacoma
      Trim: Limited 4X4 Double Cab
      Engine: 3.5L Atkinson Cycle V6 with Dual VVT-i
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 278 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 265 @ 4,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/23/20
      Curb Weight: 4,480 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: San Antonio, TX
      Base Price: $37,820
      As Tested Price: $41,024 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
       
      Options:
      Tonneau Cover - $650.00
      V6 Tow Package - $650.00
      5" Chrome Oval Tube Step - $535.00
      Carpet Floor Mats w/Door Sill - $209.00
      Mudgaurds - $140.00
      Bed Mat - $120.00
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