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    • By William Maley
      The Toyota Yaris and Yaris Hatchback will be no more in the U.S. come the end of June. That's according to a leaked memo posted to Reddit and found by CarBuzz. Sent to "All Southeast Toyota Dealers and General Managers" by Toyota, the memo says the Yaris will "cease production" at the end of June.
      "The Yaris sedan and Yaris Hatchback will not be available for model year 2021. Model year 2020 will be the last year for Yaris. June 2020 will be the last month of production for the Yaris sedan and Yaris Hatchback for the US," wrote Christine N. Henley, Toyota North America's Western Communications Manager in the memo.
      Toyota confirmed the memo, and gave Car and Driver this statement;
      "The entry-subcompact segment has new regulations that require additional homologation. Those regulations, coupled with declining sales in the segment, are some of the reasons behind the decision."
      (Author's Note: We're wondering what Toyota means by the statement we bolded here, and we'll update if we get some sort of clarification. -WM).
      The declining sales makes sense as Toyota only moved 21,917 Yaris models in 2019, down 5,293 units when compared to 2018. To give more perspective, the Corolla moved 304,850 units last year.
      So if you're interested an affordable Toyota, we would hurry down to your nearest dealer ASAP.
      Source: CarBuzz, Car and Driver

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The Toyota Yaris and Yaris Hatchback will be no more in the U.S. come the end of June. That's according to a leaked memo posted to Reddit and found by CarBuzz. Sent to "All Southeast Toyota Dealers and General Managers" by Toyota, the memo says the Yaris will "cease production" at the end of June.
      "The Yaris sedan and Yaris Hatchback will not be available for model year 2021. Model year 2020 will be the last year for Yaris. June 2020 will be the last month of production for the Yaris sedan and Yaris Hatchback for the US," wrote Christine N. Henley, Toyota North America's Western Communications Manager in the memo.
      Toyota confirmed the memo, and gave Car and Driver this statement;
      "The entry-subcompact segment has new regulations that require additional homologation. Those regulations, coupled with declining sales in the segment, are some of the reasons behind the decision."
      (Author's Note: We're wondering what Toyota means by the statement we bolded here, and we'll update if we get some sort of clarification. -WM).
      The declining sales makes sense as Toyota only moved 21,917 Yaris models in 2019, down 5,293 units when compared to 2018. To give more perspective, the Corolla moved 304,850 units last year.
      So if you're interested an affordable Toyota, we would hurry down to your nearest dealer ASAP.
      Source: CarBuzz, Car and Driver
    • By William Maley
      The landscape of midsize sedans was much different ten to fifteen years ago. All of them offered the choice of a four-cylinder and V6 engine. Today, it is a completely different story as most automakers that still offer a midsize sedan have dropped their V6 engines in favor of turbo-fours. But Toyota is bucking the trend by sticking with the V6 in the Camry. It seemed like a good time to ask whether or not there is a place for a V6 in the midsize class.
      The V6 in question is a 3.5L used in many Toyota and Lexus vehicles. In the Camry, output is rated at 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic routes power to the front wheels. This V6 is one of my favorites due to its combination of excellent acceleration off the line and smoothness that turbo-fours can only dream of. One gotcha you need to keep in mind that torque steer will pop up if you decide to mash on the accelerator. The eight-speed automatic is very smooth and quick to upshift but hesitates to downshift when you need more speed. This is likely due to programming in the transmission to improve fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the Camry XLE V6 are 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined. My average for the week landed around 24 on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The XSE and TRD V6s see a slight dip in fuel economy due to their performance ambitions. While the XLE can’t fully match the athleticism of the XSE I drove last year, it still can hold its own in the bends. The XLE has the added benefit of providing a smoother ride, as most bumps and road imperfections become mere ripples. Disappointingly, there is a fair amount of road and wind noise comes inside when driving on the freeway. A key difference between the XLE and the XSE I drove last year is the front end treatment. There is a larger lower grille and a different top grille design. I find this design to be a bit much and may scare a lot of people away. On the other hand, the new front does give Camry some needed presence on the road - something that couldn’t be said for previous-generation models. The XLE is surprisingly luxurious with quilted luxury upholstery for the seats and stitching on the dash. Although, a Mazda6 Signature is slightly more premium in terms of offering more luxurious trim pieces, whereas the Camry XLE uses a lot of piano black trim.  Comfort is one area that the Camry XLE excels in. The seats are quite cushy and offer plenty of support, no matter the distance of any trip. The back seat offers plenty of head and legroom. The Entune system may not have the sharp and modern graphics as some competitors, but it does have a simple interface and the ability to use either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The XLE starts at $29,455 for the base four-cylinder, while the V6 will set you back $34,580. With a few options, my test XLE V6 carried an as-tested price of $37,824. That’s slightly more expensive than a Mazda6 Signature which offers a slightly more premium interior and better driving dynamics. But the Camry can counter with the smooth performance of the V6, comfortable ride, and its long-standing reputation for reliability. I came away really impressed with the Camry XLE, but also wondering how much longer Toyota will hold out. Despite all of the positives, the V6 is a very expensive proposition and most buyers will likely be happy with the four-cylinder. If I was to buy one, I would likely go for an XLE minus the options. Disclaimer: Toyota provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: XLE V6
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC D-4S Dual-Injection w/Dual VVT-i V6
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26
      Curb Weight: 3,549 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $34,050
      As Tested Price: $37,824 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Assist Package - $1,550.00
      Navigation Package - $1,040.00
      Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $264.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The landscape of midsize sedans was much different ten to fifteen years ago. All of them offered the choice of a four-cylinder and V6 engine. Today, it is a completely different story as most automakers that still offer a midsize sedan have dropped their V6 engines in favor of turbo-fours. But Toyota is bucking the trend by sticking with the V6 in the Camry. It seemed like a good time to ask whether or not there is a place for a V6 in the midsize class.
      The V6 in question is a 3.5L used in many Toyota and Lexus vehicles. In the Camry, output is rated at 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic routes power to the front wheels. This V6 is one of my favorites due to its combination of excellent acceleration off the line and smoothness that turbo-fours can only dream of. One gotcha you need to keep in mind that torque steer will pop up if you decide to mash on the accelerator. The eight-speed automatic is very smooth and quick to upshift but hesitates to downshift when you need more speed. This is likely due to programming in the transmission to improve fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the Camry XLE V6 are 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined. My average for the week landed around 24 on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The XSE and TRD V6s see a slight dip in fuel economy due to their performance ambitions. While the XLE can’t fully match the athleticism of the XSE I drove last year, it still can hold its own in the bends. The XLE has the added benefit of providing a smoother ride, as most bumps and road imperfections become mere ripples. Disappointingly, there is a fair amount of road and wind noise comes inside when driving on the freeway. A key difference between the XLE and the XSE I drove last year is the front end treatment. There is a larger lower grille and a different top grille design. I find this design to be a bit much and may scare a lot of people away. On the other hand, the new front does give Camry some needed presence on the road - something that couldn’t be said for previous-generation models. The XLE is surprisingly luxurious with quilted luxury upholstery for the seats and stitching on the dash. Although, a Mazda6 Signature is slightly more premium in terms of offering more luxurious trim pieces, whereas the Camry XLE uses a lot of piano black trim.  Comfort is one area that the Camry XLE excels in. The seats are quite cushy and offer plenty of support, no matter the distance of any trip. The back seat offers plenty of head and legroom. The Entune system may not have the sharp and modern graphics as some competitors, but it does have a simple interface and the ability to use either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The XLE starts at $29,455 for the base four-cylinder, while the V6 will set you back $34,580. With a few options, my test XLE V6 carried an as-tested price of $37,824. That’s slightly more expensive than a Mazda6 Signature which offers a slightly more premium interior and better driving dynamics. But the Camry can counter with the smooth performance of the V6, comfortable ride, and its long-standing reputation for reliability. I came away really impressed with the Camry XLE, but also wondering how much longer Toyota will hold out. Despite all of the positives, the V6 is a very expensive proposition and most buyers will likely be happy with the four-cylinder. If I was to buy one, I would likely go for an XLE minus the options. Disclaimer: Toyota provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: XLE V6
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC D-4S Dual-Injection w/Dual VVT-i V6
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26
      Curb Weight: 3,549 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $34,050
      As Tested Price: $37,824 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Assist Package - $1,550.00
      Navigation Package - $1,040.00
      Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $264.00
    • By William Maley
      The redesigned Corolla Hatchback brought back something that was missing in the Corolla for a number of years; being somewhat interesting. With more expressive styling and a new platform that improves driving dynamics, the model has started to shed its image of being bland. But would this continue with the redesigned Corolla sedan? To find out, I spent a week in the top-line Corolla XSE.
      The basic profile is unchanged from the previous Corolla sedan, but Toyota has done their best to make look a bit more exciting. On the XSE, this means a different front clip from other Corollas with the emblem moved to towards the cutline of the hood, a larger lower grille, and deep cuts for the bumper. The distinctive fang headlights are carried over from other Corollas. Around back, not much has changed aside from a new rear diffuser. The updated look does make the Corolla sedan have presence, but I prefer the hatchback in terms of overall looks. One item that is shared between the sedan and hatchback is the dashboard. As I noted in my Corolla Hatchback review, the dash features a layered design, faux stitching, and infotainment screen mounted on top - measuring either seven or eight inches depending on the trim. I like that Toyota is taking chances with the design, but also retaining the excellent ergonomics it’s  known for. My particular tester came with the larger eight-inch featuring the newest version of Entune. While I wish Toyota had done more to make the interface look more modern and feature colors that weren’t various shades of grey. But I cannot deny Toyota builds a system that anyone can quickly grasp thanks to the simple interface design, physical shortcut buttons to various features, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Those with Android smartphones are left out in the cold. Those sitting up front will have no complaints about space, seat adjustment, or comfort. In the back, legroom is about average for the class. But headroom for taller passengers comes up a bit short, especially when you have the optional moonroof. Three powertrains are available in the Corolla; a 1.8L four in the L, LE, and XLE; 2.0L four for the SE and XSE; and a hybrid for the LE Hybrid.  The 2.0L produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet. The XSE only gets a CVT transmission, while the SE has the choice between the CVT and a six-speed manual. Performance is the same as with the Corolla SE I drove last year; decent around town and leaving stoplights, but really struggles when trying to get to higher speeds. A fair amount of engine noise does make it way inside when driving on the highway. EPA fuel economy figures for the Corolla XSE are 31 City/38 City/34 Highway - lower than the Corolla SE hatchback (32/41/35). My average for the week landed around 33.4 mpg on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. Handling is an improvement over the old Corolla as it feels slightly more lively with better control of body motions. But it cannot match the nimbleness of the hatchback. This likely comes down to the Corolla Hatchback being sold in the European market where a sportier ride is desired. The sedan sold in the U.S. is more attuned to providing a smooth ride. The Corolla XSE for the most part is able to smooth over most bumps and imperfections, but the 18-inch wheels does mean some bumps do make their way inside. Road and wind noise is kept to acceptable levels. There is one area that the Corolla XSE falters, value for money. With an as-tested price of $28,794, that puts you in the range of a well-equipped Mazda3 that not only offers more power, but has an interior that the Corolla cannot match. For only a couple grand less, a Kia Forte EX offers more equipment and a slightly larger back seat. Toyota has improved the Corolla sedan to a point where most of the blandness doesn’t exist. I would have liked to seen Toyota take some of the handling magic used on the hatchback and place it into the sedan. But Toyota knows most buyers don’t really care about this. By taking the strengths and wrapping it up in a package that stands out, it will mean more people may check out the Corolla. But I would recommend sticking with one of the lower trims as they offer a slightly better bang your for your buck. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Corolla, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Corolla
      Trim: XSE
      Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve, Dual VVT-i
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 169 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 31/38/34
      Curb Weight: 3,150 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $25,450
      As Tested Price: $28,794 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation and JBL w/Clari-Fi - $1,715.00
      Adaptive Front Lighting System - $450.00
      Cargo Mat Package - $249.00

      View full article
  • Posts

    • According to the '77 brochure, the Phoenix had the 231 V6 standard, and the Iron Duke 151, the 305 V8 and 350 V8 as options. Also standard was a 3-spd manual on the column, with a 3 on the floor and a THM optional.
    • The RWD X body Phoenix did have a base 2.5L Iron Duke some of the years, which I hope this one did not have.  The 231 V6 would have been adequate. 
    • Very cool.  I'm guessing this is a Pontiac Phoenix ... '77 to '79 ... most likely with the base engine.  Its predecessor, the Ventura, which used that platform (with leaf spring rear suspension ... don't know the letter code) had nicer frontal styling in '75 and '76.  I thought its engine lineup was almost better, too.   I think PMD was a little misdirected on what to do with the styling of these last few Phoenix years.  Of the foursome sharing this platform, the Ventura got my nod, followed by the Omega, provided both of them had nice trim levels. Yesterday, I was traveling down the freeway and a dark brown metallic LaCrosse SUPER passed me up.  It had the canted front grille, so it was either a 2008 or a 2009.  The dudes in it had their windows down and were rocking out to some music.  At any rate, I hadn't seen a Super in about a year.  It would be interesting to know how many Supers (5.3L V8) were produced in their V8 years compared to CXs and CXLs.
    • Thanks! 🙂  I  have been working the two jobs even after I really no longer had to- as I really wanted to build a good sized emergency fund in case something happened. I’ve been unlucky enough to be in an industry as it was on the way down- from the tech bubble to the decline in car sales. Looks like my gut turned out to be right this time..... I least I know my job is trying to keep me while working a plan the company back to work. The second job depends on if we have to close things up again.  The good news in this is that my resume was just updated- and it is gandering some nice attention right now. While I am happy where I am at- I have started the search just in case. I am hoping everyone here is doing well, and get to enjoy some family and car time....... 🙂 
    • The impact on housing prices has been negligible.  I'm one of those people who loves looking at the R.E. sites. Anyway, check out these HIGH gas prices ... ... and check out that mint Buick Skylark coupe ... for sale ... see sign in rear window!  This was around Christmas 2013 and in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, which was once mostly Nordic and working class and, in the last few decades, became very in demand and full of new condos, like the complex beyond.  Its balconies and windows would have a view of the either the Ballard Locks or the Ship Canal.
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