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  1. Back in 2011, Toyota made a very bold prediction; the Prius would be the best-selling Toyota model in the U.S. by the end of this decade. This seemed legitimate as gas prices had been climbing a steady rate and the Prius was the most popular hybrid. But that meant beating the Toyota Camry which in 2010 sold 327,104 models (the Prius only sold 140,928 models in 2010). To do this, Toyota would create the Prius family with the introduction of the Prius C, V, and Plug-In Hybrids. Five years on after this bold prediction, Toyota is reconsidering their plans. Thanks to lower gas prices (and in turn, consumers returning to pickups and crossovers) and models such as the Camry, Corolla, and RAV4 outselling it by a large margin, Toyota is now saying the Prius won't achieve that lofty goal. "Given all the changes in consumers' preferences right now, I don't think we're forecasting the Prius to be our top volume seller anymore," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager to Automotive News. Part of the reconsideration deals with the Prius C and V. Fay said Toyota is planning to "reinvest" in the C and V. But whether or not a second-generation happens for either model is still too early to tell. The V's future is in doubt more than the C because of a new hybrid model - the RAV4 Hybrid. While the RAV4 doesn't come close to matching the Prius V's fuel economy numbers (34 City/31 Highway/33 Combined for RAV4 Hybrid, 44 City/40 Highway/42 Combined for the Prius V), it does offer slightly more practicality and the option of all-wheel drive. "We'll have to see how well the RAV4 Hybrid does. Because the RAV4 could really take the place of the Prius V," Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  2. Back in 2011, Toyota made a very bold prediction; the Prius would be the best-selling Toyota model in the U.S. by the end of this decade. This seemed legitimate as gas prices had been climbing a steady rate and the Prius was the most popular hybrid. But that meant beating the Toyota Camry which in 2010 sold 327,104 models (the Prius only sold 140,928 models in 2010). To do this, Toyota would create the Prius family with the introduction of the Prius C, V, and Plug-In Hybrids. Five years on after this bold prediction, Toyota is reconsidering their plans. Thanks to lower gas prices (and in turn, consumers returning to pickups and crossovers) and models such as the Camry, Corolla, and RAV4 outselling it by a large margin, Toyota is now saying the Prius won't achieve that lofty goal. "Given all the changes in consumers' preferences right now, I don't think we're forecasting the Prius to be our top volume seller anymore," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager to Automotive News. Part of the reconsideration deals with the Prius C and V. Fay said Toyota is planning to "reinvest" in the C and V. But whether or not a second-generation happens for either model is still too early to tell. The V's future is in doubt more than the C because of a new hybrid model - the RAV4 Hybrid. While the RAV4 doesn't come close to matching the Prius V's fuel economy numbers (34 City/31 Highway/33 Combined for RAV4 Hybrid, 44 City/40 Highway/42 Combined for the Prius V), it does offer slightly more practicality and the option of all-wheel drive. "We'll have to see how well the RAV4 Hybrid does. Because the RAV4 could really take the place of the Prius V," Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. Toyota Motor Sales Posts January 2016 Results RAV4 continues surge, marks best January TMS light trucks set new January record Lexus LX, RX, and NX see strong gains TORRANCE, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2016) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. today reported January 2016 sales. With two fewer selling days in January of 2016, sales were up 3.3 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Total sales volume for January was 161,283 units, a decrease of 4.7 percent from January 2015 on a volume basis. Toyota division January 2016 sales were up 4.1 percent on a DSR basis with sales of 140,350 units, down 3.9 percent in volume. “The industry is off to a healthy start in 2016,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota division. “For Toyota Division, RAV4 led the way with a record January and pick-up truck sales continued to rise, setting a new January Toyota division light truck record.” Lexus reported January 2016 sales of 20,933 units, a decrease of 9.5 percent on a volume basis. “The appetite for crossovers and SUVs in the luxury market has continued to drive customers to Lexus,” commented Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “In January, our new vehicle sales were propelled by the all-new RX crossover and the NX, which continue to exceed sales forecasts.” January 2016 Highlights: Combined TMS light truck sales of 84,841, up 4.4 percent RAV4 posts best-ever January with sales of 21,554 units; up 8.7 percent Highlander reports best January sales since 2008 of 11,258 vehicles 4Runner and Sienna up 7.9 and 23 percent respectively Tacoma is up 11.5 percent Camry sales up year-over-year NX up 11.4 percent RX up 5.9 percent at 6,956 units LX up 99.7 percent
  4. Toyota Motor Sales Results Up 10.8 Percent in December; 5.3 Percent for 2015 Toyota and Lexus post best-ever December sales TMS light trucks set new December record Toyota Division No. 1 retail brand in 2015 TORRANCE, Calif. (Jan. 5, 2016) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported December 2015 sales of 238,350, an increase of 10.8 percent from December 2014 on a volume basis. With two additional selling days in December of 2015, sales were up 2.9 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. For the year TMS reported sales of 2,499,313 units, a 5.3 percent increase. Toyota Division posted record December 2015 sales of 196,970 units, up 12.4 percent. For the year, Toyota Division sales of 2,154,712 were up 4.5 percent. “2015 was a standout year for the auto industry,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota division. “Best-ever light truck sales helped the Toyota division earn the retail sales crown for the fourth consecutive year.” Lexus reported all-time, any-month record sales in December of 41,380 units, a 3.8 percent increase. For the year, Lexus sales of 344,601 units were up 10.7 percent. “December closed out an all-time, best-ever year with sales we couldn’t have predicted,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager for the Lexus division. “Lexus’ SUV sales momentum and the strength of our product lineup has us well positioned for 2016.” “Next week in Detroit, we will debut a Lexus vehicle that opens a new chapter for an even brighter future,” Bracken added. December 2015 Highlights: Toyota and Lexus post best-ever sales December sales Combined TMS light truck sales set December record RAV4 posts best-ever December with sales of 31,866 units; up 38.6 percent Highlander reports best-ever December with sales of 16,100 units NX up 76.7 percent; 5,134 units sold LX up nearly 80 percent GS posts sales of 3,423 units Lexus Certified Used Vehicles reports best-ever month 2015 CY Highlights Best-ever year for Corolla, with sales of 363,332 units Best-ever year for RAV4 and Highlander, up 17.8 and 8.8 respectfully 4Runner sales up 26.2 percent Tacoma sales up 15.8, with sales of nearly 180,000 units Camry best-selling passenger car in America for 14th straight year Lexus luxury utility vehicles sales up 26.5 percent GX up 11.1 percent *Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume
  5. The end of another year is upon us and I’m in the process of picking my favorite vehicles from the year. But before we get to that, I need to give some vehicles their time in the review spotlight. Trying to crank a review or a two a week is a hard task for some folks, myself included. I tend to spend a week with a vehicle, driving it in my daily routine, taking notes and photos, and hopefully beginning the review before the vehicle leaves. But that last part is the thickest part as it doesn’t always work out because of life. Whether it's a personal or family emergency, vacation, changes in work, or just being distracted, life always finds a way to get in and mess up whatever you are trying to do. Towards the end of every year, I have a small number of vehicles that have fallen between the cracks and are just waiting for me to find them and write something up. This year is no different as seven vehicles have been waiting patiently for their turn and their time has come. We're going to be looking at the last three of the seven. For this piece, I’ll be listing the good and bad of each vehicle, along with some notes that I took on each vehicle. 2015 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 3.7L VQ DOHC 24-valve V6 (330 Horsepower, 270 Pound-Feet) Seven-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $53,500/$62,755 Cheers: Comfortable ride, large back seat, still looks stylish on the exterior Jeers: Interior is starting to look dated, Fuel economy could be better, Competitors are much more modern Notes: Let’s play a game. See if you can try to spot the differences between the 2015 Infiniti Q70L and the 2012 Infiniti M35h. Ready? Go. Now if you figured out the Q70L is longer than the M35h, then pat yourself on the back. Since Infiniti went to the Q nomenclature, the only real change to their midsize luxury sedan was to introduce a long-wheelbase model. Compared to the standard Q70, the adds about 5.9 inches to the wheelbase. Sitting in the back seat was very pleasurable thanks to a large amount of legroom on offer. Disappointingly, there isn’t any seat adjustments for the rear passengers, nor any heat. Despite getting up in age, the Q70L is still a striking vehicle to look. The flowing lines up front and along the side still look fresh as the day it was first introduced into the world. Twenty-inch wheels only add a bit of prestige to the model. But the interior is where you begin to feel the age of the Q70. Despite the model being trimmed in leather and wood, the Q70’s interior hasn’t changed at all since we last drove it back in 2012. The center stack is pushed out, giving a cramped feeling for passengers sitting up front. Not helping is the very dated infotainment system which looks like it has come from the Windows 98 era. For the Q70L, there is a choice of a 3.7L V6 or a 5.6L V8. Our tester had the V6 with 330 horsepower paired up to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Power comes on a very linear rate though you’ll need to plant your foot to the pedal if you are making a pass. This introduces a sound of the engine being put under a lot of strain. The ride is somewhat stiff as it seems to pick out a fair amount of imperfections on the road and transmit them to the passengers. A lot of this comes down to the optional twenty-inch wheels, and we expect the standard eighteen-inch wheels to provide a much better ride. At least, wind and road noise are kept to near-silent levels. While the introduction of the long-wheelbase for the Q70 does give it some new blood, there isn’t a good reason why anyone should choose it over one of the new midsize luxury sedans in the class. Let’s hope Infiniti has a replacement coming very soon. 2015 Kia Forte5 SX 1.6L Turbocharged GDI Four-Cylinder Six-Speed Manual Base/As-Tested: $20,890/$26,035 Cheers: Exterior Styling, Fuel Economy, Space Jeers: Wrong gearing in vehicle, Engine doesn’t feel quick, Interior looking very dated, not really sporty Notes: We have hot hatches and we have cold hatches (the non-sporty variety). Is there space for something warm? Maybe if the 2015 Kia Forte5 SX is something to go on. The Forte5 as the name suggests is a five-door hatchback and looks much sportier than the Forte sedan. This is thanks to a new front end with a wide and narrow grille, and a set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels done in a five leaf pattern. These wheels might be my favorite OEM wheels. Inside is where the Forte5 begins to lose some points. The dashboard makes the interior feel much older than it is (Forte5 was introduced back in 2013 as a 2014 model) thanks to hard plastics and parts having a scratchy texture. We hope a Kia is planning a refresh for the interior in the near future. Not helping are the leather power seats which comes as part of the SX Premium package. While they do provide a decent level of comfort and support for short trips, the seats cannot provide long-distance support. My brother and I learned this as the Forte5 was pressed into Christmas travel duty. But Kia wins some points back in the interior. The back seat is large, providing more than enough head and legroom for anyone sitting back here. Also, the Forte5 can be equipped with everything except the kitchen sink. Our tester boasted heated seats for front and rear passengers, a cooled seat for the driver, memory seat for the driver, a touchscreen with navigation, dual-zone climate control, and a sunroof. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Our tester came with the standard six-speed manual, but you can go with a six-speed automatic. This is the same engine we liked in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, but in the Forte5, it is a bit of a mess. The engine seems smothered and not as powerful as the Veloster Turbo. The cause is due to the manual. The gears are too short to allow the engine to fully produce all of the power it is capable of. Also, the short gearing means you’ll be seeing the revs up at 3,000 rpm at a 70 MPH cruise. Some longer gearing could solve both of these problems. At least, fuel economy wasn’t badly affected. Close to 700 Miles were put on the Forte5 SX and we got an average of 33.2 MPG on mostly highway and rural roads. Ride and handling are somewhere in the middle. The Forte5’s suspension is able to deal with most bumps and imperfections on the road with no problem. Bigger bumps do unsettle the vehicle a little bit. In the corners, the Forte5 feels steady and doesn’t show any sign of roll. But it isn’t any fun to pilot around such as a Mazda3. This mostly comes down to the steering with Kia’s FlexSteer system that allows you to vary the weight from light to heavy. We don’t like this system as the light setting is way too light and the heavy setting doesn’t feel hefty. Kia would do itself a lot of good by throwing out the FlexSteer system and do a new steering system that is somewhere in the middle. 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax 5.7L DOHC 32-Valve Dual Independent VVT-i V8 Six-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $44,000/$45,465 Cheers: Off-Road Package Comes With Everything, Excellent Value, Comfortable Ride Jeers: V8 Feels Sluggish, Fuel Economy Notes: Toyota decided to go back to some of their roots when it comes to their trucks and SUVs. Earlier in the year, the automaker launched the TRD Pro series for the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra. The TRD Pro boasts changes to suspension, wheels, and exterior to make them ready to go off the beaten trail. Our first taste in the TRD Pro came in the form of a Tundra CrewMax. There is no mistaking the TRD Pro Tundra as it comes in a wild orange paint, paired with an old school Toyota grille (reminiscent of Toyota’s SUVs in the late eighties and early nineties) and eighteen-inch off-road alloy wheels finished in black and wrapped in meaty off-road tires. We like the TRD Pro embossed into the rear fenders as it adds a touch of distinctiveness. Inside is your standard Tundra interior with black cloth seats embroidered with the TRD Pro logo. Under the skin, Toyota made some small changes to the Tundra TRD Pro with revised suspension tuning, new front springs, outboard off-road shocks in the rear, and skid plates. We gave the TRD Pro a light exercise around a dirt field and it passed with flying colors. The suspension has more than enough travel to traverse various heights of terrain and the steering provides a good feel on the terrain you are driving on. This is a truck I love to go on a trail to see what it is fully capable of. These changes to make the Tundra a capable off-roader don’t hurt it on a day to day basis. The suspension provides a smooth ride, and there isn’t much noise coming from the tires. The one problem that is holding the Tundra TRD Pro back is the engine. Toyota uses a 5.7L I-FORCE V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. This engine never feels powerful due to two reasons; a curb weight of 5,625 lbs and a lazy throttle. These two cause you to put your foot farther down on the pedal to get to that power. That also means your fuel economy will be hurting. Average for the week in the Tundra TRD Pro was 12.9 MPG. Toyota really needs to go back to drawing board and figure out how to make a V8 that can balance power and fuel economy. Otherwise, Toyota has a really interesting offering in the truck market with the TRD Pro. Disclaimer: Infiniti, Kia, and Toyota Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
  6. The end of another year is upon us and I’m in the process of picking my favorite vehicles from the year. But before we get to that, I need to give some vehicles their time in the review spotlight. Trying to crank a review or a two a week is a hard task for some folks, myself included. I tend to spend a week with a vehicle, driving it in my daily routine, taking notes and photos, and hopefully beginning the review before the vehicle leaves. But that last part is the thickest part as it doesn’t always work out because of life. Whether it's a personal or family emergency, vacation, changes in work, or just being distracted, life always finds a way to get in and mess up whatever you are trying to do. Towards the end of every year, I have a small number of vehicles that have fallen between the cracks and are just waiting for me to find them and write something up. This year is no different as seven vehicles have been waiting patiently for their turn and their time has come. We're going to be looking at the last three of the seven. For this piece, I’ll be listing the good and bad of each vehicle, along with some notes that I took on each vehicle. 2015 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 3.7L VQ DOHC 24-valve V6 (330 Horsepower, 270 Pound-Feet) Seven-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $53,500/$62,755 Cheers: Comfortable ride, large back seat, still looks stylish on the exterior Jeers: Interior is starting to look dated, Fuel economy could be better, Competitors are much more modern Notes: Let’s play a game. See if you can try to spot the differences between the 2015 Infiniti Q70L and the 2012 Infiniti M35h. Ready? Go. Now if you figured out the Q70L is longer than the M35h, then pat yourself on the back. Since Infiniti went to the Q nomenclature, the only real change to their midsize luxury sedan was to introduce a long-wheelbase model. Compared to the standard Q70, the adds about 5.9 inches to the wheelbase. Sitting in the back seat was very pleasurable thanks to a large amount of legroom on offer. Disappointingly, there isn’t any seat adjustments for the rear passengers, nor any heat. Despite getting up in age, the Q70L is still a striking vehicle to look. The flowing lines up front and along the side still look fresh as the day it was first introduced into the world. Twenty-inch wheels only add a bit of prestige to the model. But the interior is where you begin to feel the age of the Q70. Despite the model being trimmed in leather and wood, the Q70’s interior hasn’t changed at all since we last drove it back in 2012. The center stack is pushed out, giving a cramped feeling for passengers sitting up front. Not helping is the very dated infotainment system which looks like it has come from the Windows 98 era. For the Q70L, there is a choice of a 3.7L V6 or a 5.6L V8. Our tester had the V6 with 330 horsepower paired up to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Power comes on a very linear rate though you’ll need to plant your foot to the pedal if you are making a pass. This introduces a sound of the engine being put under a lot of strain. The ride is somewhat stiff as it seems to pick out a fair amount of imperfections on the road and transmit them to the passengers. A lot of this comes down to the optional twenty-inch wheels, and we expect the standard eighteen-inch wheels to provide a much better ride. At least, wind and road noise are kept to near-silent levels. While the introduction of the long-wheelbase for the Q70 does give it some new blood, there isn’t a good reason why anyone should choose it over one of the new midsize luxury sedans in the class. Let’s hope Infiniti has a replacement coming very soon. 2015 Kia Forte5 SX 1.6L Turbocharged GDI Four-Cylinder Six-Speed Manual Base/As-Tested: $20,890/$26,035 Cheers: Exterior Styling, Fuel Economy, Space Jeers: Wrong gearing in vehicle, Engine doesn’t feel quick, Interior looking very dated, not really sporty Notes: We have hot hatches and we have cold hatches (the non-sporty variety). Is there space for something warm? Maybe if the 2015 Kia Forte5 SX is something to go on. The Forte5 as the name suggests is a five-door hatchback and looks much sportier than the Forte sedan. This is thanks to a new front end with a wide and narrow grille, and a set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels done in a five leaf pattern. These wheels might be my favorite OEM wheels. Inside is where the Forte5 begins to lose some points. The dashboard makes the interior feel much older than it is (Forte5 was introduced back in 2013 as a 2014 model) thanks to hard plastics and parts having a scratchy texture. We hope a Kia is planning a refresh for the interior in the near future. Not helping are the leather power seats which comes as part of the SX Premium package. While they do provide a decent level of comfort and support for short trips, the seats cannot provide long-distance support. My brother and I learned this as the Forte5 was pressed into Christmas travel duty. But Kia wins some points back in the interior. The back seat is large, providing more than enough head and legroom for anyone sitting back here. Also, the Forte5 can be equipped with everything except the kitchen sink. Our tester boasted heated seats for front and rear passengers, a cooled seat for the driver, memory seat for the driver, a touchscreen with navigation, dual-zone climate control, and a sunroof. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Our tester came with the standard six-speed manual, but you can go with a six-speed automatic. This is the same engine we liked in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, but in the Forte5, it is a bit of a mess. The engine seems smothered and not as powerful as the Veloster Turbo. The cause is due to the manual. The gears are too short to allow the engine to fully produce all of the power it is capable of. Also, the short gearing means you’ll be seeing the revs up at 3,000 rpm at a 70 MPH cruise. Some longer gearing could solve both of these problems. At least, fuel economy wasn’t badly affected. Close to 700 Miles were put on the Forte5 SX and we got an average of 33.2 MPG on mostly highway and rural roads. Ride and handling are somewhere in the middle. The Forte5’s suspension is able to deal with most bumps and imperfections on the road with no problem. Bigger bumps do unsettle the vehicle a little bit. In the corners, the Forte5 feels steady and doesn’t show any sign of roll. But it isn’t any fun to pilot around such as a Mazda3. This mostly comes down to the steering with Kia’s FlexSteer system that allows you to vary the weight from light to heavy. We don’t like this system as the light setting is way too light and the heavy setting doesn’t feel hefty. Kia would do itself a lot of good by throwing out the FlexSteer system and do a new steering system that is somewhere in the middle. 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax 5.7L DOHC 32-Valve Dual Independent VVT-i V8 Six-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $44,000/$45,465 Cheers: Off-Road Package Comes With Everything, Excellent Value, Comfortable Ride Jeers: V8 Feels Sluggish, Fuel Economy Notes: Toyota decided to go back to some of their roots when it comes to their trucks and SUVs. Earlier in the year, the automaker launched the TRD Pro series for the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra. The TRD Pro boasts changes to suspension, wheels, and exterior to make them ready to go off the beaten trail. Our first taste in the TRD Pro came in the form of a Tundra CrewMax. There is no mistaking the TRD Pro Tundra as it comes in a wild orange paint, paired with an old school Toyota grille (reminiscent of Toyota’s SUVs in the late eighties and early nineties) and eighteen-inch off-road alloy wheels finished in black and wrapped in meaty off-road tires. We like the TRD Pro embossed into the rear fenders as it adds a touch of distinctiveness. Inside is your standard Tundra interior with black cloth seats embroidered with the TRD Pro logo. Under the skin, Toyota made some small changes to the Tundra TRD Pro with revised suspension tuning, new front springs, outboard off-road shocks in the rear, and skid plates. We gave the TRD Pro a light exercise around a dirt field and it passed with flying colors. The suspension has more than enough travel to traverse various heights of terrain and the steering provides a good feel on the terrain you are driving on. This is a truck I love to go on a trail to see what it is fully capable of. These changes to make the Tundra a capable off-roader don’t hurt it on a day to day basis. The suspension provides a smooth ride, and there isn’t much noise coming from the tires. The one problem that is holding the Tundra TRD Pro back is the engine. Toyota uses a 5.7L I-FORCE V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. This engine never feels powerful due to two reasons; a curb weight of 5,625 lbs and a lazy throttle. These two cause you to put your foot farther down on the pedal to get to that power. That also means your fuel economy will be hurting. Average for the week in the Tundra TRD Pro was 12.9 MPG. Toyota really needs to go back to drawing board and figure out how to make a V8 that can balance power and fuel economy. Otherwise, Toyota has a really interesting offering in the truck market with the TRD Pro. Disclaimer: Infiniti, Kia, and Toyota Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas View full article
  7. The end of another year is upon us and I’m in the process of picking my favorite vehicles from the year. But before we get to that, I need to give some vehicles their time in the review spotlight. Trying to crank a review or a two a week is a hard task for some folks, myself included. I tend to spend a week with a vehicle, driving it in my daily routine, taking notes and photos, and hopefully beginning the review before the vehicle leaves. But that last part is the thickest part as it doesn’t always work out because of life. Whether it's a personal or family emergency, vacation, changes in work, or just being distracted, life always finds a way to get in and mess up whatever you are trying to do. Towards the end of every year, I have a small number of vehicles that have fallen between the cracks and are just waiting for me to find them and write something up. This year is no different as seven vehicles have been waiting patiently for their turn and their time has come. We're going to be looking at the first four of the seven. For this piece, I’ll be listing the good and bad of each vehicle, along with some notes that I took on each vehicle. 2016 Acura ILX A-Spec 2.4L 16-Valve, DOHC i-VTEC Four-Cylinder (201 Horsepower, 180 Pound-Feet of Torque) Eight-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic Base/As-Tested: $31,830/$32,830 Cheers: Excellent handling in the corners, improved styling, large back seat Jeers: Engine has to be worked hard, a large amount of wind and road noise, bouncy ride, questionable material choice, poor value when compared to competitors. Notes: Acura went back to the drawing board this year with the ILX in an effort to fix the slumping sales of the model. Some of the fixes do make a difference such as a new front clip and headlights that give some much need aggression. Inside, a set of leather and suede seats add a nice touch and provide good comfort. It should be noted the seats come with the A-Spec package. The engine lineup which included a 2.0L, 2.4L, and hybrid has been simplified to just the 2.4 with 201 horsepower. This eliminates one of the big problems for the ILX of being too slow if you opted for the hybrid or 2.0L. One item that Acura didn’t mess with was the handling. The ILX is a sweetheart around corners as it provides minimal body roll and excellent steering. Acura also made sure that the ILX’s suspension was compliant when dealing with bumps on a day-to-day basis, something it does very well. Sadly, that is where the good points of the ILX end. Despite Acura’s attempt on improving the ILX’s interior, it looks and in some parts, feels like the Civic that it is based on. Not something you want to be said since this vehicle competes in the same class as the Audi A3 and Buick Verano, both with impressive interiors. The 2.4L has the power to compete with the vehicles in the class. But to access this power, you’ll need to be working the engine somewhat hard - around 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. This would be ok if the ILX had a six-speed manual. But Acura dropped it for this year, replacing it with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. There isn’t anything wrong with the dual-clutch transmission, it’s quite smooth and doesn’t hesitate when going up or down. But it makes working the engine to its fullest, boring and not joyful. But the biggest problem for the ILX is the price. This particular ILX came with an as-tested price of $32,830 and that doesn’t include one of the huge changes for the model, a load of additional safety equipment. Acura added a number of safety systems such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, and road departure mitigation. To get all of this, you need to either get the ILX Technology Plus ($32,990) or the ILX Technology Plus and A-Spec ($34,890). Around that price, you could get yourself into a well-equipped Buick Verano Turbo with much more amenities and better performance. 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 3.2L 24-Valve VVT V6 (271 Horsepower, 239 Pound-Feet of Torque) Nine-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $30,395/$36,869 Cheers: Sharp Looks, Very Capable Off-Road, V6 Performance Jeers: Ninth-Gear Seems Non-Existent, Price-Tag, Annoying Stop-Start System Notes: In my original review of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, I said that I was very impressed as Jeep made the leap from a boxy, go-anywhere SUV to sharp looking crossover with some Jeep DNA still there. But I wasn’t as impressed with the nine-speed automatic as it shuddered through the first three gears and wouldn’t go into ninth. At the time, I put the Cherokee on the wait and see list. A year has passed and another Cherokee has come in for a review. This particular Cherokee is the top of the line Trailhawk and it features a number of changes to make it a ‘Trail-Rated’ model by Jeep. Outside are a set of tow hooks on the front and rear bumper to pull out the vehicle if it gets stuck. A set seventeen-inch aluminum wheels come wrapped in meaty all-terrain tires to get you through whatever muck you decide to go through. Done up in a sharp red, the Cherokee Trailhawk makes no apologies of what its intended purpose is - going off-road. Under the skin, the Cherokee Trailhawk comes with Jeep Active Drive II. This four-wheel drive system is quite advanced as it offers a low-range setting for rock crawling and a rear lock to improve traction. Other changes for the Trailhawk include an off-road suspension with a one-inch lift, skid plates, and a 56:1 crawl ratio. We did some light off-roading on a dirt trail and found the Trailhawk to very capable as the four-wheel drive kept power flowing to us moving. Also, the suspension provided a very comfortable ride over the trail. Power for the Trailhawk comes from the optional 3.2L V6 with 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet. This engine feels plenty powerful for any situation that it is thrown at it. It also very refined during acceleration and at cruise. One part of the engine we aren’t keen on is the stop-start system. We found it be somewhat annoying as the engine wouldn’t always shut off, despite our foot planted firmly on the brake pedal. We mostly left it off for the majority of the week. As for the nine-speed automatic, it has been cleaned up for the most part. Gone is the shuddering we experienced in our first Cherokee, replaced by smooth and crisp shifts. Still, the transmission was very hesitant to go into ninth gear. We drove about 50 miles on the freeway at a 70 MPH cruise to see if it would go into ninth and no luck. At least, the ride is smooth and refined, even with the off-road tires. The big problem for the Cherokee Trailhawk is the price. The base model will set you back $30,395. Our test Trailhawk with a few options such as the V6, navigation, and a couple of other packages to reach an as-tested price of $36,869. That is a lot of money for a small crossover. But considering the number of changes to make the Trailhawk a very capable model, we think that for some folks who want the capability of something like a Wrangler, but with a bit more comfort should give this model a look. Everyone else should stick with the Latitude or Altitude models. 2016 Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder (184 Horsepower, 185 Pound-Feet of Torque) Six-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $26,465/$28,835 Cheers: Improved Dash Makes Huge Difference, New Infotainment System, Performance and Fuel Economy, Excellent Handling Jeers: Road and Wind Noise are still in abundance Notes: It seems every time we get into the CX-5, Mazda has done some sort of change to it. The last time we drove a CX-5, it came with the new 2.5L version of the Skyactiv-G four-cylinder. The 2016 model fixes two of the biggest complaints we had in previous CX-5’s; the plain dashboard and poor infotainment system. We’ll start with the dash. First seen in the 2016 Mazda6, the dashboard looks more premium thanks to improved materials and new shapes. The new dash also brings in Mazda Connect, the latest infotainment system. This system is a huge improvement over the old system in terms of overall performance and usability. We didn’t have the issue of the navigation system showing you traveling on a different than the one you were on like we did in the 6. The CX-5 is still a joy to drive thanks to the 2.5L Skyactiv-G four-cylinder providing more than enough power for any situation and the chassis that provides superb handling in the corners. One issue we hope Mazda addresses in the future is noise isolation. There is still an abundance of wind and road noise entering the cabin. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 shows the continual improvement that the Japanese automaker has been doing is making it a better vehicle. 2015 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve Dual VVT-i V6 (268 Horsepower, 248 Pound-Feet of Torque) Six-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $36,080/$37,130 Cheers: Stylish Look, Powerful V6, Upscale Interior, Excellent Fuel Economy Jeers: Sporty ride may turn off some buyers Notes: I came away very impressed when I drove the Avalon Hybrid a couple years ago. The combination of sharp styling, sporty ride, and amazing fuel economy made me pick this as one of my favorite vehicles of that year. But would the regular Avalon receive the same praise? Mostly. The Avalon is still one the sharpest looking full-size sedans with a low-slung front end, narrow grille, and coupe-like roofline. The interior is much the same as the hybrid with loads of space for both front and rear seat passengers, comfortable leather seats, and a impressive design with quality materials used throughout. Unlike the hybrid, our XLE Touring came with the smaller seven-inch Entune infotainment system. It still is easy to use and quick to respond whenever you touch the screen or one of the capacitive touch buttons. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 which is used in a number of other Toyota and Lexus products. Horsepower is rated at 268 and torque is rated at 248 pound-feet. The engine is quite a peach as speed comes on at a very quick rate. But the engine is also quiet during acceleration, making a perfect highway companion. In the corners, the Avalon displays a level of athleticism not seen in other full-size sedans. Body roll is kept in check and the steering provides decent weight. This does mean the Avalon isn’t as comfortable as competitors as some bumps do make their way into the interior. Disclaimer: Acura, Jeep, Mazda, and Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas View full article
  8. The end of another year is upon us and I’m in the process of picking my favorite vehicles from the year. But before we get to that, I need to give some vehicles their time in the review spotlight. Trying to crank a review or a two a week is a hard task for some folks, myself included. I tend to spend a week with a vehicle, driving it in my daily routine, taking notes and photos, and hopefully beginning the review before the vehicle leaves. But that last part is the thickest part as it doesn’t always work out because of life. Whether it's a personal or family emergency, vacation, changes in work, or just being distracted, life always finds a way to get in and mess up whatever you are trying to do. Towards the end of every year, I have a small number of vehicles that have fallen between the cracks and are just waiting for me to find them and write something up. This year is no different as seven vehicles have been waiting patiently for their turn and their time has come. We're going to be looking at the first four of the seven. For this piece, I’ll be listing the good and bad of each vehicle, along with some notes that I took on each vehicle. 2016 Acura ILX A-Spec 2.4L 16-Valve, DOHC i-VTEC Four-Cylinder (201 Horsepower, 180 Pound-Feet of Torque) Eight-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic Base/As-Tested: $31,830/$32,830 Cheers: Excellent handling in the corners, improved styling, large back seat Jeers: Engine has to be worked hard, a large amount of wind and road noise, bouncy ride, questionable material choice, poor value when compared to competitors. Notes: Acura went back to the drawing board this year with the ILX in an effort to fix the slumping sales of the model. Some of the fixes do make a difference such as a new front clip and headlights that give some much need aggression. Inside, a set of leather and suede seats add a nice touch and provide good comfort. It should be noted the seats come with the A-Spec package. The engine lineup which included a 2.0L, 2.4L, and hybrid has been simplified to just the 2.4 with 201 horsepower. This eliminates one of the big problems for the ILX of being too slow if you opted for the hybrid or 2.0L. One item that Acura didn’t mess with was the handling. The ILX is a sweetheart around corners as it provides minimal body roll and excellent steering. Acura also made sure that the ILX’s suspension was compliant when dealing with bumps on a day-to-day basis, something it does very well. Sadly, that is where the good points of the ILX end. Despite Acura’s attempt on improving the ILX’s interior, it looks and in some parts, feels like the Civic that it is based on. Not something you want to be said since this vehicle competes in the same class as the Audi A3 and Buick Verano, both with impressive interiors. The 2.4L has the power to compete with the vehicles in the class. But to access this power, you’ll need to be working the engine somewhat hard - around 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. This would be ok if the ILX had a six-speed manual. But Acura dropped it for this year, replacing it with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. There isn’t anything wrong with the dual-clutch transmission, it’s quite smooth and doesn’t hesitate when going up or down. But it makes working the engine to its fullest, boring and not joyful. But the biggest problem for the ILX is the price. This particular ILX came with an as-tested price of $32,830 and that doesn’t include one of the huge changes for the model, a load of additional safety equipment. Acura added a number of safety systems such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, and road departure mitigation. To get all of this, you need to either get the ILX Technology Plus ($32,990) or the ILX Technology Plus and A-Spec ($34,890). Around that price, you could get yourself into a well-equipped Buick Verano Turbo with much more amenities and better performance. 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 3.2L 24-Valve VVT V6 (271 Horsepower, 239 Pound-Feet of Torque) Nine-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $30,395/$36,869 Cheers: Sharp Looks, Very Capable Off-Road, V6 Performance Jeers: Ninth-Gear Seems Non-Existent, Price-Tag, Annoying Stop-Start System Notes: In my original review of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, I said that I was very impressed as Jeep made the leap from a boxy, go-anywhere SUV to sharp looking crossover with some Jeep DNA still there. But I wasn’t as impressed with the nine-speed automatic as it shuddered through the first three gears and wouldn’t go into ninth. At the time, I put the Cherokee on the wait and see list. A year has passed and another Cherokee has come in for a review. This particular Cherokee is the top of the line Trailhawk and it features a number of changes to make it a ‘Trail-Rated’ model by Jeep. Outside are a set of tow hooks on the front and rear bumper to pull out the vehicle if it gets stuck. A set seventeen-inch aluminum wheels come wrapped in meaty all-terrain tires to get you through whatever muck you decide to go through. Done up in a sharp red, the Cherokee Trailhawk makes no apologies of what its intended purpose is - going off-road. Under the skin, the Cherokee Trailhawk comes with Jeep Active Drive II. This four-wheel drive system is quite advanced as it offers a low-range setting for rock crawling and a rear lock to improve traction. Other changes for the Trailhawk include an off-road suspension with a one-inch lift, skid plates, and a 56:1 crawl ratio. We did some light off-roading on a dirt trail and found the Trailhawk to very capable as the four-wheel drive kept power flowing to us moving. Also, the suspension provided a very comfortable ride over the trail. Power for the Trailhawk comes from the optional 3.2L V6 with 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet. This engine feels plenty powerful for any situation that it is thrown at it. It also very refined during acceleration and at cruise. One part of the engine we aren’t keen on is the stop-start system. We found it be somewhat annoying as the engine wouldn’t always shut off, despite our foot planted firmly on the brake pedal. We mostly left it off for the majority of the week. As for the nine-speed automatic, it has been cleaned up for the most part. Gone is the shuddering we experienced in our first Cherokee, replaced by smooth and crisp shifts. Still, the transmission was very hesitant to go into ninth gear. We drove about 50 miles on the freeway at a 70 MPH cruise to see if it would go into ninth and no luck. At least, the ride is smooth and refined, even with the off-road tires. The big problem for the Cherokee Trailhawk is the price. The base model will set you back $30,395. Our test Trailhawk with a few options such as the V6, navigation, and a couple of other packages to reach an as-tested price of $36,869. That is a lot of money for a small crossover. But considering the number of changes to make the Trailhawk a very capable model, we think that for some folks who want the capability of something like a Wrangler, but with a bit more comfort should give this model a look. Everyone else should stick with the Latitude or Altitude models. 2016 Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder (184 Horsepower, 185 Pound-Feet of Torque) Six-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $26,465/$28,835 Cheers: Improved Dash Makes Huge Difference, New Infotainment System, Performance and Fuel Economy, Excellent Handling Jeers: Road and Wind Noise are still in abundance Notes: It seems every time we get into the CX-5, Mazda has done some sort of change to it. The last time we drove a CX-5, it came with the new 2.5L version of the Skyactiv-G four-cylinder. The 2016 model fixes two of the biggest complaints we had in previous CX-5’s; the plain dashboard and poor infotainment system. We’ll start with the dash. First seen in the 2016 Mazda6, the dashboard looks more premium thanks to improved materials and new shapes. The new dash also brings in Mazda Connect, the latest infotainment system. This system is a huge improvement over the old system in terms of overall performance and usability. We didn’t have the issue of the navigation system showing you traveling on a different than the one you were on like we did in the 6. The CX-5 is still a joy to drive thanks to the 2.5L Skyactiv-G four-cylinder providing more than enough power for any situation and the chassis that provides superb handling in the corners. One issue we hope Mazda addresses in the future is noise isolation. There is still an abundance of wind and road noise entering the cabin. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 shows the continual improvement that the Japanese automaker has been doing is making it a better vehicle. 2015 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve Dual VVT-i V6 (268 Horsepower, 248 Pound-Feet of Torque) Six-Speed Automatic Base/As-Tested: $36,080/$37,130 Cheers: Stylish Look, Powerful V6, Upscale Interior, Excellent Fuel Economy Jeers: Sporty ride may turn off some buyers Notes: I came away very impressed when I drove the Avalon Hybrid a couple years ago. The combination of sharp styling, sporty ride, and amazing fuel economy made me pick this as one of my favorite vehicles of that year. But would the regular Avalon receive the same praise? Mostly. The Avalon is still one the sharpest looking full-size sedans with a low-slung front end, narrow grille, and coupe-like roofline. The interior is much the same as the hybrid with loads of space for both front and rear seat passengers, comfortable leather seats, and a impressive design with quality materials used throughout. Unlike the hybrid, our XLE Touring came with the smaller seven-inch Entune infotainment system. It still is easy to use and quick to respond whenever you touch the screen or one of the capacitive touch buttons. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 which is used in a number of other Toyota and Lexus products. Horsepower is rated at 268 and torque is rated at 248 pound-feet. The engine is quite a peach as speed comes on at a very quick rate. But the engine is also quiet during acceleration, making a perfect highway companion. In the corners, the Avalon displays a level of athleticism not seen in other full-size sedans. Body roll is kept in check and the steering provides decent weight. This does mean the Avalon isn’t as comfortable as competitors as some bumps do make their way into the interior. Disclaimer: Acura, Jeep, Mazda, and Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
  9. G. David Felt Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com Toyota converting auto transportation fleet to CNG. Nov 23rd 2015 Toyota Corporation released a media announcement that they would start with their first CNG auto hauler as they moved to be greener in transporting their green fleet of auto's to the dealers. CNG Auto Hauler Toyota worked with Peterbilt and Cottrell to build the first of many to come. This is a Peterbilt 365 day cab tractor with an 11.9L ISX 12 G Engine by Cummins modified for CNG operation. This is a 9 car hauler with 90 gallon capacity of CNG, two type IV carbon fiber 45 gallon tanks, one on each side of the truck. Toyota states that this hauler does what every other hauler out there does but with 85% less particulate matter and 10% less carbon dioxide. Toyota is deploying this hauler out of Long Beach California where it will deliver auto's while racking up between 7000-8000 miles per month.
  10. To meet the growing demand for pickups in the U.S., Toyota will be boosting production of the Tacoma and Tundra in 2016. Bill Fay, head of Toyota's U.S. division says a third shift has been added to their Baja California, Mexico plant (Tacoma) and an additional 250 workers, plus a more flexible work schedule to its San Antonio, Texas plant (Tacoma and Tundra). The new workers and extra production will be in place in San Antonio by the middle of next year, said Fay. At the moment, Toyota's dealers are sitting on a 20-day supply of the Tundra, while the Tacoma is at a 10-day supply. "If you were to ask any of our U.S. dealers what they want, I'd say every one of them would say 'More trucks," said Bob Carter, senior vice president for U.S. Toyota operations. Source: Reuters View full article
  11. To meet the growing demand for pickups in the U.S., Toyota will be boosting production of the Tacoma and Tundra in 2016. Bill Fay, head of Toyota's U.S. division says a third shift has been added to their Baja California, Mexico plant (Tacoma) and an additional 250 workers, plus a more flexible work schedule to its San Antonio, Texas plant (Tacoma and Tundra). The new workers and extra production will be in place in San Antonio by the middle of next year, said Fay. At the moment, Toyota's dealers are sitting on a 20-day supply of the Tundra, while the Tacoma is at a 10-day supply. "If you were to ask any of our U.S. dealers what they want, I'd say every one of them would say 'More trucks," said Bob Carter, senior vice president for U.S. Toyota operations. Source: Reuters
  12. Toyota Posts 12.4 Percent Increase in November 2015 Toyota Division light trucks post best-ever November RAV4 has best-ever November sales month Scion posts double-digit gains TORRANCE, Calif. (Dec. 1, 2015) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported November 2015 sales up 12.4 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis, with sales of 189,517 units. On a raw volume basis, with two less selling days in November 2015 than in November 2014, sales were up 3.4 percent. Toyota Division posted November 2015 sales up 11.7 percent on a DSR basis with sales of 160,177 units, up 2.8 percent on a volume basis. "The auto industry is on-track to exceed 2015 expectations," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota Division. "With the best Black Friday weekend in eight years, Toyota’s record sales of RAV4 and Light Trucks overall contributed to double-digit growth in November." Lexus reported November 2015 sales up 16.1 percent on a DSR basis with sales of 29,340 units, up 6.8 percent on a volume basis. “Lexus had its best November sales in the brand’s history with record performances in sales, parts, service, customer care and vehicle quality,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager, Lexus Division. “Considering the industry momentum and the strong early sales pace of the 2016 RX, Lexus is well positioned to post its best-ever calendar year sales.” November 2015 Highlights: Camry posted sales of 30,945 units, up 7.3 percent All-new Scion iA and iM posted combined sales of 2,876 units Total Toyota Division light trucks up 5.5 percent; a best-ever November Highlander posted sales of 12,741 units 4Runner up 5.6 percent RAV4 up almost 30 percent; a best-ever November Tacoma posted sales of 13,465 units, up 3.4 percent RC up 45.7 percent Lexus luxury utility vehicles up over 37 percent NX posted sales of 3,284 units *Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume
  13. AutoGuide recently found patent filing in Japan for a possible hardcore version of the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota GT86. The filing features renderings of a coupe with a new front end, large rear wing, and a new set of wheels. This looks similar to the Subaru STI Performance Concept shown at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Now the filing has Toyota and Fuji Heavy Industries - Subaru's parent company - listed as the creators. Not surprising since both have been working together on this coupe. One of the big questions lingering over this filing aside from when we could actual see this, is how much performance could this coupe have. The STI Performance Concept boasted around 300 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four. Source: AutoGuide View full article
  14. AutoGuide recently found patent filing in Japan for a possible hardcore version of the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota GT86. The filing features renderings of a coupe with a new front end, large rear wing, and a new set of wheels. This looks similar to the Subaru STI Performance Concept shown at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Now the filing has Toyota and Fuji Heavy Industries - Subaru's parent company - listed as the creators. Not surprising since both have been working together on this coupe. One of the big questions lingering over this filing aside from when we could actual see this, is how much performance could this coupe have. The STI Performance Concept boasted around 300 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four. Source: AutoGuide
  15. Toyota Exceeds Expectations by Topping 200,000 Sales in October Toyota and Lexus post best-ever October sales Highlander and RAV4 have best-ever October sales month Scion posts double-digit gains TORRANCE, Calif. (November 3, 2015) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported October 2015 sales of 204,045 units, an increase of 13 percent on a volume basis. With one more selling day in October 2015 than in October 2014, sales were up 9.0 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Toyota Division posted October 2015 sales of 177,609 units, up 13 percent on a volume and 8.9 percent on a DSR basis. “October was a huge month for the industry, smashing expectations and continuing its hot streak,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota Division. “Toyota Division posted best-ever sales for the month led by October record-breaking sales of Highlander and RAV4.” Lexus reported October 2015 sales of 26,436 units, up 13.2 percent from October 2014 on a volume basis and 9.1 percent on a DSR basis. “We continue to see strong sales for our luxury utility vehicles as evident by a solid month posted by NX and GX. The LS flagship luxury sedan and RC F coupe also posted gains that helped propel us to a best-ever October,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager, Lexus Division. “We are most excited about the arrival of the all-new RX as it hits showrooms today. We expect this new model to continue energizing the brand as we close the year.” October 2015 Highlights: Corolla posted sales of 27,951 units, up 12 percent Camry October up nearly 5 percent Prius up 12.5 percent Mirai went on sale in October; posted sales of 34 units Scion iA and iM posted combined sales of 3,385 units Total TMS light trucks posted sales of 101,907 units, up almost 19 percent Highlander up 10 percent, a best-ever October 4Runner up over 36 percent RAV4 up 31.3 percent, a best-ever October Sequoia posted sales of 1,303 units, up 43 percent Tacoma up more than 17 percent All-new RC posted sales of 1,333 units Lexus luxury utility vehicles up 33.9 percent NX posted sales of 3,399 units GX up nearly 15 percent *Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume
  16. Here's my reaction: I think it looks like a fusion of a Scion XB, Popemobile and a London Taxi. It's just so...goofy. But I guess it's super practical, because it's a just another ugly box on wheels.
  17. Toyota Division Remains Retail Sales Leader in Third Quarter Highlander posts best-ever sales Scion iM and iA post combined sales of 3,388 units Lexus LUV up 36.4 percent TORRANCE, Calif. (Oct. 1, 2015) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported September 2015 sales of 194,370 units, an increase of 16.2 percent from September 2014 on a volume basis. With one more selling day in September 2015 than in September 2014, sales were up 11.5 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Toyota Division posted September 2015 sales of 169,076 units, up 16.3 percent on a volume and 11.6 percent on a DSR basis. "Auto industry sales continue to accelerate at a strong pace,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager. “Toyota Division sales were up over 16 percent in September, led by best-ever sales of RAV4 and Highlander.” Lexus reported September 2015 sales of 25,294 units, up 15.8 percent from September 2014 on a volume basis and 11.1 percent on a DSR basis. “Lexus’ robust sales performance continues to be driven by our luxury utility vehicles. The outgoing RX maintained its segment dominance while the GX enjoyed another solid month,” said Jeff Bracken group vice president and general manager of the Lexus division. “With this momentum and the arrival of new models like the 2016 RX, RC200t, IS200t and GS200t, Lexus is well positioned to finish the fourth quarter strong.” September 2015 Highlights: TCUV sales post best-ever third quarter Total Toyota passenger car up 19 percent Corolla up 29.7 percent with sales of 26,636 units Camry up 21 percent for the month Prius up 12.4 percent Scion iM and iA post combined sales of 3,388 units Total TMS light trucks up 13.2 percent Highlander up almost 18 percent; posts best-ever sales 4Runner up 31.5 percent RAV4 up almost 19 percent Sequoia up over 36 percent Tacoma and Tundra post combined sales of 19,637 units Lexus luxury utility vehicles up 36.4 percent All-new NX posts sales of 3,113 units All-new RC posts sales of 1,159 units GX up 2.6 percent; posts sales of 1,611 units RX up 4.1 percent *Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume
  18. The past few months at the Cheers & Gears Detroit Bureau has seen some midsize sedans make a second appearance. One has gone the eco-friendly route, another came with some added zip in its sporty model, and the last has undergone some significant changes. The three sedans in question are the Hyundai Sonata Eco, Toyota Camry XSE V6, and 2016 Mazda6. Now if you want to know what we thought of these vehicles originally, you check out our reviews here. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring 2015 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Next: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco The current Hyundai Sonata is a bit head scratcher. When the new model was shown last year at the New York Auto Show, it looked like Hyundai dropped the ball. While the automaker had made a number of improvements in terms of the interior and the engine, the big item of the exterior design was somewhat forgotten. The sleek shape had been changed for something a bit more conservative. This has caused sales to slump and Hyundai to order a refresh a year sooner than expected. But even with these problems, is there a Sonata model that can stand above the rest? As we found out earlier this year, it isn’t the Sonata Sport 2.0T as it has a number of problems with being sporty. Let’s see if the Hyundai Sonata Eco can do it. What makes the Eco different from other Sonata models is under the hood. Hyundai employs a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 177 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Aside from this and an Eco badge on the trunk, it looks like the standard Sonata. But the Eco doesn’t drive like the standard model. With the torque arriving at 1,500 and continuing towards 4,500 rpm, this means the Eco’s has power readily available when you’re leaving a stop and continues onwards. Power comes on smoothly and linearly. The only downside to this powertrain is the dual-clutch transmission stumbles a bit due to slow shifts and occasional juddering. It should be noted that Hyundai has made some improvements to the DCT since we’ve driven the Sonata Eco, and the improvements are noticeable when we drove Tucson with this transmission. The other difference between the Sonata Eco and other trims comes in the form of fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco at 28 City/38 Highway/32 Combined. This is slightly better than the standard Sonata with 25 City/37 Highway/29 Combined. My week of driving saw an average of 33.4 MPG, slightly above the combined figure. In the ride and handling department, the Sonata Eco is quite a comfortable car as the suspension keeps most bumps from reaching the interior. Road and wind noise are kept to acceptable levels. Those who want a bit of sport should look towards the Mazda6 as it offers the driver a bit more information and enjoyment on the curves. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco starts at $23,275, about $2,125 more than the base SE model. Considering what comes standard - a power drivers seat, backup camera, five-inch touchscreen radio, and a chrome front grille - the Eco is quite a good value. Our test Eco came with the optional tech package which adds $4,100 to the base price. But the package transforms the Eco into a handsomely loaded model with such features as blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, leather seats, heated front seats, and push-button start. The Eco may be the best all-around trim in the Hyundai Sonata lineup. Not only does it offer impressive fuel economy for a midsize sedan, it comes well equipped and boasts a price tag that will not make you wonder if you spent too much. For many, it might be the right sedan. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonata Eco, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Trim: Eco Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged, Direct-Injected Four-Cylinder Driveline: Seven-Speed Dual Clutch, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 178 @ 5,500 Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/38/32 Curb Weight: 3,250 lbs Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL Base Price: $23,275 As Tested Price: $28,310 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge) Options: Tech Package - $4,100 Carpet Floor Mats - $125.00 Next: 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring Small changes can make a big difference to a vehicle. No one is a bigger believer to this mantra than Mazda. A classic example is the CX-5. When it launched in 2013, the crossover drew me in with its sharp looks and impressive handling dynamics. But the 2.0L four-cylinder was a bit of a let down as it was a bit underpowered for the vehicle’s weight. Mazda went back and installed a larger 2.5L four-cylinder for the CX-5 and it made a world of difference in overall performance. So imagine taking this idea of making small changes and doing it to another vehicle. Mazda has done that with the 2016 Mazda sedan. Let see what the changes are and if they make the 6 an even better sedan. The outside get some minor changes such as the grille slats draped in chrome and a longer chrome bar that runs underneath the grille. The big changes for the 2016 model are for the interior as Mazda has taken the interior from 3 and placed it into 6. The new dash brings forth improved materials to make it look and feel more premium, along with Mazda’s new infotainment system. This system is a massive improvement over the older one in terms of performance and overall usability. However, Mazda’s system has an odd problem with the navigation system as it shows you traveling on a different road a few hundred feet away than the one you are currently on. Now the system does correct itself, but it takes up to half a minute. One other change for the 2016 Mazda6 is the optional i-Eloop system. This is a regenerative braking system that recycles the kinetic energy that is moving the vehicle into electricity that is stored in a capacitor. The capacitor then feeds that power to various electronic components to help reduce the load on the alternator and improve fuel economy. Now Mazda says the system delivers up five percent better fuel economy. This shows in the 2016 Mazda6’s fuel economy numbers of 28 City/40 Highway/32 Combined, slightly better than the 26 City/38 Highway/30 Combined on the 2014 model. So does it make a difference? Most likely as my average for the week in the 2016 model was 31 MPG, three MPGs higher than the 2014 model. Aside from all of these changes, the Mazda6 is still one of the best driving midsize sedans on sale. The 2.5L Skyactiv-G engine gets up to speed at a quick rate, while the six-speed automatic is one the fastest and smoothest shifting transmissions on sale. Mazda also hasn’t changed the fun-to-drive characteristics we loved in our original road test of the 6. One item we wished Mazda would work on is noise isolation. Road and wind noise were very apparent when driving the 6 on the expressway. The 2016 Mazda6 shows the little changes can take a sedan that is considered by many to be one of best and make and make it that much more. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 6, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Mazda Model: 6 Trim: Grand Touring Engine: Skyactiv-G 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder Driveline: Skyactiv-Drive Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700 Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/40/32 Curb Weight: 3,250 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan Base Price: $30,195 As Tested Price: $33,395 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge) Options: GT Technology Package - $2,180 Door Sill Trim Plates - $125.00 Cargo Mat - $75.00 Next: 2015 Toyota Camry XSE V6 Can a Toyota Camry be sporty? Before you start writing comments saying no and telling me that I’m crazy, it is a legitimate question. Consider Toyota’s pledge a couple years ago where it pledged to make their vehicles more engaging. So far, Toyota’s vehicles have looked more exciting. In terms of making them more engaging with driving, it has been mixed. The Avalon Hybrid we thought was a good driving vehicle, while the Corolla S wasn’t. So with that in mind, let us see how the sportiest Camry, the new XSE fares. The 2015 Camry went through a substantial refresh with most of body being changed - aside from the roof. It’s quite dramatic when compared to the previous model. The Camry XSE gets some unique tweaks to make it stand out further such as new mesh grille insert, 18-inch wheels, and dual-exhaust ports. The changes do make the Camry XSE stand out, but it also makes the XSE look like it's trying a bit too hard. Inside the XSE features a number of changes that we delved into our Camry Hybrid SE review including the revised dash with stitching. The only differences for the XSE is a set of faux-suede seats and red stitching. It would be nice if Toyota could do something more to differentiate the Camry XSE from other Camry models in the interior like some new trim pieces specific to the XSE. Power for the XSE comes in the form of a 2.5L four-cylinder as the base, with a 3.5L V6 as an option. Our XSE tester came with the optional V6 which packs 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet. No matter which engine you pick, a six-speed automatic comes standard. The V6 is quite the surprise as it pulls very strong through the rev range and will cause the front wheels to break loose if you aren’t careful with the accelerator. Toyota should also be given some credit for building one of the smoothest and quietest V6 engines on sale. The six-speed automatic shares the smooth characteristics of the engine. Fuel economy for the Camry V6 is rated at 21 City/31 Highway/25 Combined. I saw an average 24 MPG for the week. Now Toyota has made a number of improvements to the XSE to make it sporty such as firmer shocks and springs, new bushings, and a revised ­electric power steering system. So does it make a noticeable improvement to the Camry’s handling? Somewhat. The changes to the suspension do help in terms of body control. But the steering feels a little-bit rubbery and doesn’t provide any increased weight from the standard Camry. At least the Camry XSE provides a somewhat smooth ride. The big problem for the Camry XSE is the value proposition. The base price of the Camry XSE V6 starts at $31,370 and includes LED headlights, a seven-inch touchscreen with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system and navigation; power seats, and dual-zone climate control. However, our test vehicle was fitted with a number of options such as blind-spot monitoring, a JBL audio system, radar cruise control, and lane-departure warning which caused our as-tested price to be $35,768. Considering what you get and how the model doesn’t live up to its sport pretensions, it makes us question whether or not the XSE is worth it. While the XSE is a step in the right direction for in terms of making the Camry a bit more sporty, we think Toyota could have gone a little bit farther in this regard. Also, the value for money equation doesn’t quite work for the Camry XSE. It is a good effort, but Toyota needs to do a bit more work. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry XSE, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Toyota Model: Camry Trim: XSE V6 Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve w/Dual-VVTi V6 Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 268 @ 6,200 Torque @ RPM: 248 @ 4,700 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/31/25 Curb Weight: 3,480 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY Base Price: $31,370 As Tested Price: $35,768 (Includes $525.00 Destination Charge) Options: Entune Premium JBL Audio with Navigation - $805.00 Technology Package - $750.00 Blind Spot Monitor with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert - $500.00 Remote Start - $499.00 Special Color (Ruby Flare Pearl) - $395.00 Four Seasons Floor Mat Package - $325.00 Illuminated Door Sills - $299.00
  19. The past few months at the Cheers & Gears Detroit Bureau has seen some midsize sedans make a second appearance. One has gone the eco-friendly route, another came with some added zip in its sporty model, and the last has undergone some significant changes. The three sedans in question are the Hyundai Sonata Eco, Toyota Camry XSE V6, and 2016 Mazda6. Now if you want to know what we thought of these vehicles originally, you check out our reviews here. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring 2015 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Next: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco The current Hyundai Sonata is a bit head scratcher. When the new model was shown last year at the New York Auto Show, it looked like Hyundai dropped the ball. While the automaker had made a number of improvements in terms of the interior and the engine, the big item of the exterior design was somewhat forgotten. The sleek shape had been changed for something a bit more conservative. This has caused sales to slump and Hyundai to order a refresh a year sooner than expected. But even with these problems, is there a Sonata model that can stand above the rest? As we found out earlier this year, it isn’t the Sonata Sport 2.0T as it has a number of problems with being sporty. Let’s see if the Hyundai Sonata Eco can do it. What makes the Eco different from other Sonata models is under the hood. Hyundai employs a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 177 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Aside from this and an Eco badge on the trunk, it looks like the standard Sonata. But the Eco doesn’t drive like the standard model. With the torque arriving at 1,500 and continuing towards 4,500 rpm, this means the Eco’s has power readily available when you’re leaving a stop and continues onwards. Power comes on smoothly and linearly. The only downside to this powertrain is the dual-clutch transmission stumbles a bit due to slow shifts and occasional juddering. It should be noted that Hyundai has made some improvements to the DCT since we’ve driven the Sonata Eco, and the improvements are noticeable when we drove Tucson with this transmission. The other difference between the Sonata Eco and other trims comes in the form of fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco at 28 City/38 Highway/32 Combined. This is slightly better than the standard Sonata with 25 City/37 Highway/29 Combined. My week of driving saw an average of 33.4 MPG, slightly above the combined figure. In the ride and handling department, the Sonata Eco is quite a comfortable car as the suspension keeps most bumps from reaching the interior. Road and wind noise are kept to acceptable levels. Those who want a bit of sport should look towards the Mazda6 as it offers the driver a bit more information and enjoyment on the curves. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco starts at $23,275, about $2,125 more than the base SE model. Considering what comes standard - a power drivers seat, backup camera, five-inch touchscreen radio, and a chrome front grille - the Eco is quite a good value. Our test Eco came with the optional tech package which adds $4,100 to the base price. But the package transforms the Eco into a handsomely loaded model with such features as blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, leather seats, heated front seats, and push-button start. The Eco may be the best all-around trim in the Hyundai Sonata lineup. Not only does it offer impressive fuel economy for a midsize sedan, it comes well equipped and boasts a price tag that will not make you wonder if you spent too much. For many, it might be the right sedan. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonata Eco, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Trim: Eco Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged, Direct-Injected Four-Cylinder Driveline: Seven-Speed Dual Clutch, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 178 @ 5,500 Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/38/32 Curb Weight: 3,250 lbs Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL Base Price: $23,275 As Tested Price: $28,310 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge) Options: Tech Package - $4,100 Carpet Floor Mats - $125.00 Next: 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring Small changes can make a big difference to a vehicle. No one is a bigger believer to this mantra than Mazda. A classic example is the CX-5. When it launched in 2013, the crossover drew me in with its sharp looks and impressive handling dynamics. But the 2.0L four-cylinder was a bit of a let down as it was a bit underpowered for the vehicle’s weight. Mazda went back and installed a larger 2.5L four-cylinder for the CX-5 and it made a world of difference in overall performance. So imagine taking this idea of making small changes and doing it to another vehicle. Mazda has done that with the 2016 Mazda sedan. Let see what the changes are and if they make the 6 an even better sedan. The outside get some minor changes such as the grille slats draped in chrome and a longer chrome bar that runs underneath the grille. The big changes for the 2016 model are for the interior as Mazda has taken the interior from 3 and placed it into 6. The new dash brings forth improved materials to make it look and feel more premium, along with Mazda’s new infotainment system. This system is a massive improvement over the older one in terms of performance and overall usability. However, Mazda’s system has an odd problem with the navigation system as it shows you traveling on a different road a few hundred feet away than the one you are currently on. Now the system does correct itself, but it takes up to half a minute. One other change for the 2016 Mazda6 is the optional i-Eloop system. This is a regenerative braking system that recycles the kinetic energy that is moving the vehicle into electricity that is stored in a capacitor. The capacitor then feeds that power to various electronic components to help reduce the load on the alternator and improve fuel economy. Now Mazda says the system delivers up five percent better fuel economy. This shows in the 2016 Mazda6’s fuel economy numbers of 28 City/40 Highway/32 Combined, slightly better than the 26 City/38 Highway/30 Combined on the 2014 model. So does it make a difference? Most likely as my average for the week in the 2016 model was 31 MPG, three MPGs higher than the 2014 model. Aside from all of these changes, the Mazda6 is still one of the best driving midsize sedans on sale. The 2.5L Skyactiv-G engine gets up to speed at a quick rate, while the six-speed automatic is one the fastest and smoothest shifting transmissions on sale. Mazda also hasn’t changed the fun-to-drive characteristics we loved in our original road test of the 6. One item we wished Mazda would work on is noise isolation. Road and wind noise were very apparent when driving the 6 on the expressway. The 2016 Mazda6 shows the little changes can take a sedan that is considered by many to be one of best and make and make it that much more. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 6, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Mazda Model: 6 Trim: Grand Touring Engine: Skyactiv-G 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder Driveline: Skyactiv-Drive Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700 Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/40/32 Curb Weight: 3,250 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan Base Price: $30,195 As Tested Price: $33,395 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge) Options: GT Technology Package - $2,180 Door Sill Trim Plates - $125.00 Cargo Mat - $75.00 Next: 2015 Toyota Camry XSE V6 Can a Toyota Camry be sporty? Before you start writing comments saying no and telling me that I’m crazy, it is a legitimate question. Consider Toyota’s pledge a couple years ago where it pledged to make their vehicles more engaging. So far, Toyota’s vehicles have looked more exciting. In terms of making them more engaging with driving, it has been mixed. The Avalon Hybrid we thought was a good driving vehicle, while the Corolla S wasn’t. So with that in mind, let us see how the sportiest Camry, the new XSE fares. The 2015 Camry went through a substantial refresh with most of body being changed - aside from the roof. It’s quite dramatic when compared to the previous model. The Camry XSE gets some unique tweaks to make it stand out further such as new mesh grille insert, 18-inch wheels, and dual-exhaust ports. The changes do make the Camry XSE stand out, but it also makes the XSE look like it's trying a bit too hard. Inside the XSE features a number of changes that we delved into our Camry Hybrid SE review including the revised dash with stitching. The only differences for the XSE is a set of faux-suede seats and red stitching. It would be nice if Toyota could do something more to differentiate the Camry XSE from other Camry models in the interior like some new trim pieces specific to the XSE. Power for the XSE comes in the form of a 2.5L four-cylinder as the base, with a 3.5L V6 as an option. Our XSE tester came with the optional V6 which packs 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet. No matter which engine you pick, a six-speed automatic comes standard. The V6 is quite the surprise as it pulls very strong through the rev range and will cause the front wheels to break loose if you aren’t careful with the accelerator. Toyota should also be given some credit for building one of the smoothest and quietest V6 engines on sale. The six-speed automatic shares the smooth characteristics of the engine. Fuel economy for the Camry V6 is rated at 21 City/31 Highway/25 Combined. I saw an average 24 MPG for the week. Now Toyota has made a number of improvements to the XSE to make it sporty such as firmer shocks and springs, new bushings, and a revised ­electric power steering system. So does it make a noticeable improvement to the Camry’s handling? Somewhat. The changes to the suspension do help in terms of body control. But the steering feels a little-bit rubbery and doesn’t provide any increased weight from the standard Camry. At least the Camry XSE provides a somewhat smooth ride. The big problem for the Camry XSE is the value proposition. The base price of the Camry XSE V6 starts at $31,370 and includes LED headlights, a seven-inch touchscreen with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system and navigation; power seats, and dual-zone climate control. However, our test vehicle was fitted with a number of options such as blind-spot monitoring, a JBL audio system, radar cruise control, and lane-departure warning which caused our as-tested price to be $35,768. Considering what you get and how the model doesn’t live up to its sport pretensions, it makes us question whether or not the XSE is worth it. While the XSE is a step in the right direction for in terms of making the Camry a bit more sporty, we think Toyota could have gone a little bit farther in this regard. Also, the value for money equation doesn’t quite work for the Camry XSE. It is a good effort, but Toyota needs to do a bit more work. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry XSE, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Toyota Model: Camry Trim: XSE V6 Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve w/Dual-VVTi V6 Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 268 @ 6,200 Torque @ RPM: 248 @ 4,700 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/31/25 Curb Weight: 3,480 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY Base Price: $31,370 As Tested Price: $35,768 (Includes $525.00 Destination Charge) Options: Entune Premium JBL Audio with Navigation - $805.00 Technology Package - $750.00 Blind Spot Monitor with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert - $500.00 Remote Start - $499.00 Special Color (Ruby Flare Pearl) - $395.00 Four Seasons Floor Mat Package - $325.00 Illuminated Door Sills - $299.00 View full article
  20. The fourth-generation Toyota Prius has made an early debut thanks to spy photographer who caught the vehicle uncovered at a photo shoot. There's a lot of the Mirai hydrogen vehicle in the new Prius' design. Such details include very busy front-end with split opening grille and forked headlights, to a similar side profile and blacked-out C-Pillar. The Prius will be keeping the liftback shape that it has been using since the seconf-generation model. We don't know any details on the next-generation Prius hybrid powertrain, but Green Car Reports says the next Prius will use Toyota's new global modular platform and possibly have all-wheel drive as an option. We'll get our first look at the next-generation Prius next month. Source: Green Car Reports
  21. The fourth-generation Toyota Prius has made an early debut thanks to spy photographer who caught the vehicle uncovered at a photo shoot. There's a lot of the Mirai hydrogen vehicle in the new Prius' design. Such details include very busy front-end with split opening grille and forked headlights, to a similar side profile and blacked-out C-Pillar. The Prius will be keeping the liftback shape that it has been using since the seconf-generation model. We don't know any details on the next-generation Prius hybrid powertrain, but Green Car Reports says the next Prius will use Toyota's new global modular platform and possibly have all-wheel drive as an option. We'll get our first look at the next-generation Prius next month. Source: Green Car Reports View full article
  22. It seems not a day goes by without someone saying that 'crossovers are the hot thing'. Yes, we are part of this group. Just consider the automakers who are currently selling a subcompact; Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, and Nissan Juke. There is one automaker missing from this list, Toyota. However, the Japanese automaker could be joining in the near future. A spy photographer caught a fully camouflaged Toyota subcompact crossover testing in the deserts of the American southwest. The overall shape seems to inspired from the C-HR concept shown at the Paris Motor show last year. Comparing the two, we can see some similarities such as a long hood and sloping roofline. The subcompact crossover will use a new modular platform and come with a turbocharged four-cylinder with a CVT. No word if a manual transmission will be on offer. One item still up in the air is whether or not this subcompact crossover will be sold as a Toyota or Scion in the U.S. Some believe it could be destined for Scion as some of the photos show a xB following the test mule. Another item that is not known at this time, when we will see the subcompact in production form. Source: Autoblog
  23. It seems not a day goes by without someone saying that 'crossovers are the hot thing'. Yes, we are part of this group. Just consider the automakers who are currently selling a subcompact; Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, and Nissan Juke. There is one automaker missing from this list, Toyota. However, the Japanese automaker could be joining in the near future. A spy photographer caught a fully camouflaged Toyota subcompact crossover testing in the deserts of the American southwest. The overall shape seems to inspired from the C-HR concept shown at the Paris Motor show last year. Comparing the two, we can see some similarities such as a long hood and sloping roofline. The subcompact crossover will use a new modular platform and come with a turbocharged four-cylinder with a CVT. No word if a manual transmission will be on offer. One item still up in the air is whether or not this subcompact crossover will be sold as a Toyota or Scion in the U.S. Some believe it could be destined for Scion as some of the photos show a xB following the test mule. Another item that is not known at this time, when we will see the subcompact in production form. Source: Autoblog View full article
  24. G. David Felt Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com According to the Today show this morning, Volkswagen has for the first 6 months of the 2015 year taken over Toyota and pushed GM to 3rd in worldwide sales. http://www.today.com/video/volkswagen-overtakes-toyota-in-worldwide-sales-493330499874 With that then VW follows it up with the normal financial reporting of earnings up 18% for the first 6 months, revenue grew 10.3% to $52.74 billion for the first half. This is on top of VW saying over all deliveries will be flat in 2015 compared to 2014 but due to efficiency and currency translations profits will grow. Yet with this positive info, VW stock is down 30% for the year. http://news.investors.com/business/072915-763993-volkswagen-q2-beats-forecasts-lackluster-sales.htm The story goes on to report that VW sold 5.04 million autos in the world, Toyota sold 5.02 million and GM was just a distant 3rd in global sales. Guess people mostly like bland boring auto design. Sad
  25. Toyota Reports More Than 200,000 in Sales for Fifth Consecutive Month Toyota Division is No. 1 retail brand in July TMS light trucks set July sales record Camry No. 1 selling car in America TORRANCE, Calif. (Aug. 3, 2015) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported July 2015 sales of 217,181 units, an increase of 0.6 percent from July 2014 on a volume basis. With the same amount of selling days in July 2015 as in July 2014, sales were up 0.6 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Toyota Division posted July 2015 sales of 187,365 units, down 0.6 percent on a volume and DSR basis. "July auto sales showed no signs of slow down for the industry," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager. "Led by Tacoma sales, the Toyota division light trucks posted a best-ever July." Lexus reported July sales of 29,816 units, up 9.1 percent from July 2014 on a volume basis and DSR basis. “We continue to see strong demand for luxury utility vehicles. In fact, this past July marked the GX model’s best July sales since 2005,” said Jeff Bracken Lexus group vice president and general manager. “On the heels of strong sales of NX, and with a new LX and RX models arriving to showrooms in the coming months, we are very excited about the future of our lineup of luxury utility vehicles.” July 2015 Highlights: Camry was best-selling car in July; posted sales of 38,435 units Corolla posted sales of 30,249 units Total TMS light trucks up 8.6 percent, a July record Highlander up more than 12 percent 4Runner up almost 26 percent RAV4 posted sales of 26,709 units Combined Tacoma and Tundra pickup sales up almost 17 percent Lexus luxury utility vehicles up nearly 28 percent All-new NX posted sales of 4,337 units GX up about 20 percent with sales of 2,337 units, best July since 2005

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