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  1. We know that Scion will be heading to the great parking lot into the sky later this year. But we didn't know how Toyota is planning to rename Scion's models when the changeover happens. Autoblog spoke with Scion spokeswoman Nancy Hubbell who said the iA would be renamed 'Yaris iA' and the iM to 'Corolla iM'. We know, not the most imaginative names. But there are reasons for this. Hubbel explained the iA is sold as the Yaris sedan in Canada and Mexico, so "that connection was already there." As for the Corolla iM, it is basically the Corolla wrapped in a hatchback. As we reported last week, the FR-S will become the Toyota 86. One model that won't be making the transition will be the tC. 2016 marks the final year of production of Scion's front-wheel drive coupe. Source: Autoblog View full article
  2. Toyota Motor Sales Reports March 2016 Sales TMS, Toyota, and Lexus divisions set March sales record in light trucks RAV4 up over 15 percent Lexus LUV sales up 9.5 percent TORRANCE, Calif. (April 1, 2016) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported March 2016 sales of 219,842 units, a decrease of 2.7 percent from March 2015 on a volume basis. With two more selling days in March 2016 compared to March 2015, sales were down 9.9 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Toyota division posted March 2016 sales of 189,644 units, down 2.7 percent on a volume basis and 9.9 percent on a DSR basis. "Trucks hauled the industry to see the best March in over a decade," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. "For the Toyota division, light trucks, mostly supported by record sales of RAV4 and Highlander, posted best-ever March and first quarter sales." Lexus posted sales of 30,198 units, down 2.8 percent on a volume basis and 10 percent on a DSR basis. “Lexus continues to be well-positioned with our fresh LUV lineup to meet the increasing customer demand for crossover and utility vehicles in the luxury market,” said Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “Our NX posted its best-ever month, and the all new RX posted its best-month since launch. In addition, the new LX was up 45.7 percent” March 2016 Highlights: Camry posts sales of nearly 37,000 units Corolla posts sales of 32,556 units TMS, Toyota, and Lexus divisions all post new March record for light truck sales RAV4 sales rose 15.1 percent; a best-ever March and first quarter Highlander up 14.6 percent; a best-ever March and first quarter 4Runner up 11 percent Tacoma up 11.3 percent for the month Lexus luxury utility vehicles up 9.5 percent for the month NX up nearly 25 percent for the month RX posts sales of 9,648 units, up over 5 percent for the month LX up almost 46 percent for the month *Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume
  3. The Toyota Prius remains the poster child for the hybrid vehicle. But when it comes to the plug-in hybrid, there really isn't a vehicle that stands for it. Sure you could make the case for the Chevrolet Volt or the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq, but Toyota wants the Prius to be that vehicle. Today at New York, the Japanese brand introduced the second-generation Prius Plug-In or as they call it, the Prius Prime. The Prime boasts a larger 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery to increase EV-only range from 11 to 22 Miles. It's better than the Ford Fusion Plug-In Hybrid (20 Miles), but it still trails the likes of the Chevrolet Volt (53 Miles). Toyota has also improved the hybrid system for the Prius Prime. For the first time, Toyota is using a dual-motor generator drive system, allowing the electric motor and generator to power the front wheels. This means the Prius Prime can use the 1.8L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder, electric motor, or both to move the vehicle along. Toyota says the Prius Prime is estimated to get 120 MPGe when using the battery only, and "targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback" - 54 City/50 Highway/52 Combined for the standard Prius. In terms of looks, the Prius Prime features different headlights, a blacked-out front fascia, and new taillights. The Prime also gets an aluminum hood and a carbon-fiber liftback to shed some weight. Toyota says the Prius Prime will arrive at dealers this fall. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Prime Mover: Toyota Maxes Out Tech and Style in the World's Best-Selling Hybrid to Create the 2017 Prius Prime Ultra-efficient Prius with Plug-in Hybrid Powertrain Manufacturer-estimated 120 MPGe Available in 50 States Techno-wonder with Available 11.6-inch Multimedia HD Display, Head-up Display and Wireless Phone Charging A Total Package in Every Aspect, Adding Up to Great Value NEW YORK, March 23, 2016 – If there’s electricity in the air at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, it’s probably coming from the Toyota display, where the world’s hybrid vehicle leader has unveiled the new Prius Prime, an ultra-efficient model with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. “Prime” means best, making it the perfect name for one of the most technologically advanced, best-equipped Prius in the model’s history. The Prius Prime’s manufacturer-estimated 120 or above MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) is expected to be the highest MPGe rating of any Plug-in Hybrid.* It also represents a substantial 26-percent enhancement over its predecessor, a result of greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime is targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback. The 2017 Prius Prime combines an electrifying design with an even more capable electric powertrain than the previous-generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The Prius Prime is expected to offer an estimated two times the electric range of the previous model -- 22 miles – meeting the daily commuter distance of over half of U.S. drivers, and drive at speeds up to 84 mph without leaving EV mode. As parsimonious with fuel as the Prius Prime may be, it drives with the same verve as the standard new-generation Prius hybrid, one result of the new high-strength platform and double-wishbone independent rear suspension. Prius Prime adds even more premium touches and exclusive tech features compared to the all-new Prius hybrid, including its available 11.6-inch, HD central multimedia screen with standard navigation and available full color head-up display. “Prime” also describes the vehicle’s available advanced safety technology, Toyota Safety Sense™ P. This multi-feature advanced active safety suite, bundles the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also available for additional peace of mind. All 2017 Prius hybrid models come standard with eight supplemental restraint system airbags, including multi-stage driver and front passenger front airbags; driver and front passenger side airbags; full-length curtain airbags; a driver knee airbag, and a front passenger seat cushion airbag. Electrifying Design Cheats the Wind … and the Scales If the 2017 Prius Prime looks like the future, it was purely intentional on the designers’ part. The new-generation Prius Prime is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and about an inch lower than its predecessor. The growth boosts cargo room over its predecessor and gives the Prius Prime a road-hugging stance. The wind-cheating body and its high-strength/low weight structure are critical factors in the Prius Prime’s astoundingly low energy consumption. Its coefficient of drag is expected to be among the lowest for production sedans. Automatic grille shutters help reduce drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed. Yet the Prius Prime is no aero jellybean. It’s chiseled profile and edgy character lines seem to dare the wind to stand in its way. Energy-conserving quad LED headlights glow like diamonds cutting the night, and LED rear combination lamps leave an unforgettable nighttime signature. Driver visibility remains excellent, aided by a full-width aero glass panel over the rear spoiler and a standard backup camera. The distinctive aero rear window is eye-catching and adds to its slipstream character. While giving the new-generation Prius models more features, Toyota kept vehicle weight in check by using aluminum for the hood, carbon fiber on the rear hatch, and by using high-tensile strength steel in other parts of the structure. In fact, the lightweight carbon fiber rear hatch makes opening and closing almost effortless. EV or Hybrid? Both. The Prius Prime will please anyone who wants to reduce trips to the gas pump, and it would make a great road trip car, too. The Prius Prime will allow drivers to stay in EV mode in more situations, helping to enhance vehicle range on one tank of fuel. You can plug it in, gas it up, or both. On one 11.3-gallon tank of regular-grade gasoline and a full electric charge, the 2017 Prius Prime anticipates a class-leading estimated total driving range of over 600 miles (Toyota recommends making occasional stops to refuel and recharge yourself and passengers). Mechanical Genius Both the standard Prius hybrid and the Prius Prime are powered by Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which seamlessly combines the output of the gasoline engine and electric motor through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The biggest difference is that the Prius Prime can be plugged in at home to recharge its larger 8.8kWh battery pack. In Hybrid mode, the Prius Prime can run on the gasoline engine or electric motor alone or a combination of both. Even when not running in EV mode, the Prius Prime will automatically rely more on its electric capability in situations where it is more efficient than running the gasoline engine, especially in urban and suburban driving and during shorter trips. The Prius Prime will also feature a Toyota-first dual motor generator drive system, using both the electric motor and the generator for drive force, helping to boost acceleration performance. Regenerative braking recaptures electrical energy under deceleration and braking and stores it in the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption. Even better, there’s no special equipment for home charging. Just use the supplied cord and the Prius Prime takes approximately 5.5 hours using a standard household outlet. Charging takes less than half the time with a 240V source. Efficiency Expert Not to be overshadowed by all the electrical magic, the Prius Prime’s gasoline engine also plays a starring role in that efficiency. The 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, 4-cylinder engine – the same as in all 2016 Prius hybrid models – earns a groundbreaking 40 percent-plus thermal efficiency. Most modern automobile engines reach about 25-30 percent. Myriad details throughout the hybrid powertrain contribute to the efficiency, including an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system with a cooler, smaller, lighter, quieter hybrid system water pump and an exhaust heat recirculation system that speeds engine warm-up. Looks Marvelous, Feels Marvelous The Prius Prime looks and feels far from frugal on the inside, where a four-seat cabin layout, with center console running front to back, looks more like a high-end luxury coupe. Practicality remains ever present, however, with standard 60/40 folding rear seatbacks. It’s a quiet cabin, too, thanks to the sound-insulating laminated windshield and front door glass and the optimized aero shape that helps keep wind noise where it belongs – outside. The Prius Prime coddles the driver and passengers with standard heated front seats, an automatic climate control system, and available SofTex® synthetic leather trimmed seats. The climate control system is quieter, thanks to an electric compressor, and it’s smarter, focusing airflow only to areas where occupants are seated in order to help maximize fuel economy and comfort. The climate control system can also operate without the engine on, with a heat pump that allows the system to cool or heat the cabin while driving in EV mode. The driver can activate the remote air conditioning system with an available key fob or smartphone app to cool the interior before entering the cabin. High Tech, Low Effort The centrally mounted gauge panel, a Prius hallmark since the model’s inception, appears to float above the dashboard. The panel features dual 4.2-inch full-color TFT (thin film transistor) multi-information displays, and the driver can change their content by using steering wheel controls. The display provides a multitude of readouts for hybrid energy information and more, and the driver can choose how much information to view. Want to cut the cord? With available wireless cell phone charging for Qi-compatible devices, just place your Qi-compatible devices on the console pad to charge it wirelessly. Multimedia Mogul Sound and vision inside the Prius Prime likewise meet the standard of “prime.” Toyota equipped this top Prius with its top Entune® multimedia system and made it all accessible through a new and exclusive 11.6-inch HD tablet display. The navigation graphics look simply stunning, and intuitive touch controls make operation a snap. Prius Prime will also offer an exclusive suite of Prius Prime Apps, allowing you to remotely manage your vehicle’s charging schedule and status, locate charging stations, track and compare your eco driving score with others on social media, remotely control the vehicle’s climate system, and more – all from your smartphone. It’s advanced eco at your fingertips. An available Entune™ Premium JBL® Audio system with Integrated Navigation and App Suite puts 10 JBL GreenEdge™ speakers in six locations for sonic bliss. The Entune™ Multimedia Bundle includes AM/FM cache radio (letting you pause songs and play later), HD Radio™, HD Radio™ predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with 3-month complimentary SiriusXM All Access trial and Gracenote® album cover art. Of course there’s a USB 2.0 port with iPod® connectivity and control, plus advanced voice recognition and hands-free phone capability, phonebook access and music streaming via Bluetooth®. For iPhone users, Siri® Eyes Free mode adds yet another in-car assistant. The Entune™ App Suite adds yet more music sources, including Slacker Radio, iHeartRadio and Pandora® as well as Destination Search, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Facebook Places, Yelp™ plus real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks. Access to Entune® services is subscription-free. Built-in Parking Valet In the urban jungle, where hunting for a prime parking space is a sport, the Prius Prime wins. Available Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) uses ultrasonic wave sensors to size up a parallel parking space and then, when activated by the driver, can steer the car into it. The system can also reverse the Prius Prime into perpendicular spaces and automatically steer it out of a parallel space. When the way forward gets narrow, such as in a parking garage, the system’s Intelligent Clearance Sonar provides visible and audible warnings if the driver gets too close to obstacles on the vehicle’s sides. The 2017 Prius Prime will begin arriving in Toyota showrooms in late fall. Source: Toyota View full article
  4. The Toyota Prius remains the poster child for the hybrid vehicle. But when it comes to the plug-in hybrid, there really isn't a vehicle that stands for it. Sure you could make the case for the Chevrolet Volt or the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq, but Toyota wants the Prius to be that vehicle. Today at New York, the Japanese brand introduced the second-generation Prius Plug-In or as they call it, the Prius Prime. The Prime boasts a larger 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery to increase EV-only range from 11 to 22 Miles. It's better than the Ford Fusion Plug-In Hybrid (20 Miles), but it still trails the likes of the Chevrolet Volt (53 Miles). Toyota has also improved the hybrid system for the Prius Prime. For the first time, Toyota is using a dual-motor generator drive system, allowing the electric motor and generator to power the front wheels. This means the Prius Prime can use the 1.8L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder, electric motor, or both to move the vehicle along. Toyota says the Prius Prime is estimated to get 120 MPGe when using the battery only, and "targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback" - 54 City/50 Highway/52 Combined for the standard Prius. In terms of looks, the Prius Prime features different headlights, a blacked-out front fascia, and new taillights. The Prime also gets an aluminum hood and a carbon-fiber liftback to shed some weight. Toyota says the Prius Prime will arrive at dealers this fall. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Prime Mover: Toyota Maxes Out Tech and Style in the World's Best-Selling Hybrid to Create the 2017 Prius Prime Ultra-efficient Prius with Plug-in Hybrid Powertrain Manufacturer-estimated 120 MPGe Available in 50 States Techno-wonder with Available 11.6-inch Multimedia HD Display, Head-up Display and Wireless Phone Charging A Total Package in Every Aspect, Adding Up to Great Value NEW YORK, March 23, 2016 – If there’s electricity in the air at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, it’s probably coming from the Toyota display, where the world’s hybrid vehicle leader has unveiled the new Prius Prime, an ultra-efficient model with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. “Prime” means best, making it the perfect name for one of the most technologically advanced, best-equipped Prius in the model’s history. The Prius Prime’s manufacturer-estimated 120 or above MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) is expected to be the highest MPGe rating of any Plug-in Hybrid.* It also represents a substantial 26-percent enhancement over its predecessor, a result of greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime is targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback. The 2017 Prius Prime combines an electrifying design with an even more capable electric powertrain than the previous-generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The Prius Prime is expected to offer an estimated two times the electric range of the previous model -- 22 miles – meeting the daily commuter distance of over half of U.S. drivers, and drive at speeds up to 84 mph without leaving EV mode. As parsimonious with fuel as the Prius Prime may be, it drives with the same verve as the standard new-generation Prius hybrid, one result of the new high-strength platform and double-wishbone independent rear suspension. Prius Prime adds even more premium touches and exclusive tech features compared to the all-new Prius hybrid, including its available 11.6-inch, HD central multimedia screen with standard navigation and available full color head-up display. “Prime” also describes the vehicle’s available advanced safety technology, Toyota Safety Sense™ P. This multi-feature advanced active safety suite, bundles the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also available for additional peace of mind. All 2017 Prius hybrid models come standard with eight supplemental restraint system airbags, including multi-stage driver and front passenger front airbags; driver and front passenger side airbags; full-length curtain airbags; a driver knee airbag, and a front passenger seat cushion airbag. Electrifying Design Cheats the Wind … and the Scales If the 2017 Prius Prime looks like the future, it was purely intentional on the designers’ part. The new-generation Prius Prime is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and about an inch lower than its predecessor. The growth boosts cargo room over its predecessor and gives the Prius Prime a road-hugging stance. The wind-cheating body and its high-strength/low weight structure are critical factors in the Prius Prime’s astoundingly low energy consumption. Its coefficient of drag is expected to be among the lowest for production sedans. Automatic grille shutters help reduce drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed. Yet the Prius Prime is no aero jellybean. It’s chiseled profile and edgy character lines seem to dare the wind to stand in its way. Energy-conserving quad LED headlights glow like diamonds cutting the night, and LED rear combination lamps leave an unforgettable nighttime signature. Driver visibility remains excellent, aided by a full-width aero glass panel over the rear spoiler and a standard backup camera. The distinctive aero rear window is eye-catching and adds to its slipstream character. While giving the new-generation Prius models more features, Toyota kept vehicle weight in check by using aluminum for the hood, carbon fiber on the rear hatch, and by using high-tensile strength steel in other parts of the structure. In fact, the lightweight carbon fiber rear hatch makes opening and closing almost effortless. EV or Hybrid? Both. The Prius Prime will please anyone who wants to reduce trips to the gas pump, and it would make a great road trip car, too. The Prius Prime will allow drivers to stay in EV mode in more situations, helping to enhance vehicle range on one tank of fuel. You can plug it in, gas it up, or both. On one 11.3-gallon tank of regular-grade gasoline and a full electric charge, the 2017 Prius Prime anticipates a class-leading estimated total driving range of over 600 miles (Toyota recommends making occasional stops to refuel and recharge yourself and passengers). Mechanical Genius Both the standard Prius hybrid and the Prius Prime are powered by Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which seamlessly combines the output of the gasoline engine and electric motor through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The biggest difference is that the Prius Prime can be plugged in at home to recharge its larger 8.8kWh battery pack. In Hybrid mode, the Prius Prime can run on the gasoline engine or electric motor alone or a combination of both. Even when not running in EV mode, the Prius Prime will automatically rely more on its electric capability in situations where it is more efficient than running the gasoline engine, especially in urban and suburban driving and during shorter trips. The Prius Prime will also feature a Toyota-first dual motor generator drive system, using both the electric motor and the generator for drive force, helping to boost acceleration performance. Regenerative braking recaptures electrical energy under deceleration and braking and stores it in the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption. Even better, there’s no special equipment for home charging. Just use the supplied cord and the Prius Prime takes approximately 5.5 hours using a standard household outlet. Charging takes less than half the time with a 240V source. Efficiency Expert Not to be overshadowed by all the electrical magic, the Prius Prime’s gasoline engine also plays a starring role in that efficiency. The 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, 4-cylinder engine – the same as in all 2016 Prius hybrid models – earns a groundbreaking 40 percent-plus thermal efficiency. Most modern automobile engines reach about 25-30 percent. Myriad details throughout the hybrid powertrain contribute to the efficiency, including an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system with a cooler, smaller, lighter, quieter hybrid system water pump and an exhaust heat recirculation system that speeds engine warm-up. Looks Marvelous, Feels Marvelous The Prius Prime looks and feels far from frugal on the inside, where a four-seat cabin layout, with center console running front to back, looks more like a high-end luxury coupe. Practicality remains ever present, however, with standard 60/40 folding rear seatbacks. It’s a quiet cabin, too, thanks to the sound-insulating laminated windshield and front door glass and the optimized aero shape that helps keep wind noise where it belongs – outside. The Prius Prime coddles the driver and passengers with standard heated front seats, an automatic climate control system, and available SofTex® synthetic leather trimmed seats. The climate control system is quieter, thanks to an electric compressor, and it’s smarter, focusing airflow only to areas where occupants are seated in order to help maximize fuel economy and comfort. The climate control system can also operate without the engine on, with a heat pump that allows the system to cool or heat the cabin while driving in EV mode. The driver can activate the remote air conditioning system with an available key fob or smartphone app to cool the interior before entering the cabin. High Tech, Low Effort The centrally mounted gauge panel, a Prius hallmark since the model’s inception, appears to float above the dashboard. The panel features dual 4.2-inch full-color TFT (thin film transistor) multi-information displays, and the driver can change their content by using steering wheel controls. The display provides a multitude of readouts for hybrid energy information and more, and the driver can choose how much information to view. Want to cut the cord? With available wireless cell phone charging for Qi-compatible devices, just place your Qi-compatible devices on the console pad to charge it wirelessly. Multimedia Mogul Sound and vision inside the Prius Prime likewise meet the standard of “prime.” Toyota equipped this top Prius with its top Entune® multimedia system and made it all accessible through a new and exclusive 11.6-inch HD tablet display. The navigation graphics look simply stunning, and intuitive touch controls make operation a snap. Prius Prime will also offer an exclusive suite of Prius Prime Apps, allowing you to remotely manage your vehicle’s charging schedule and status, locate charging stations, track and compare your eco driving score with others on social media, remotely control the vehicle’s climate system, and more – all from your smartphone. It’s advanced eco at your fingertips. An available Entune™ Premium JBL® Audio system with Integrated Navigation and App Suite puts 10 JBL GreenEdge™ speakers in six locations for sonic bliss. The Entune™ Multimedia Bundle includes AM/FM cache radio (letting you pause songs and play later), HD Radio™, HD Radio™ predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with 3-month complimentary SiriusXM All Access trial and Gracenote® album cover art. Of course there’s a USB 2.0 port with iPod® connectivity and control, plus advanced voice recognition and hands-free phone capability, phonebook access and music streaming via Bluetooth®. For iPhone users, Siri® Eyes Free mode adds yet another in-car assistant. The Entune™ App Suite adds yet more music sources, including Slacker Radio, iHeartRadio and Pandora® as well as Destination Search, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Facebook Places, Yelp™ plus real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks. Access to Entune® services is subscription-free. Built-in Parking Valet In the urban jungle, where hunting for a prime parking space is a sport, the Prius Prime wins. Available Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) uses ultrasonic wave sensors to size up a parallel parking space and then, when activated by the driver, can steer the car into it. The system can also reverse the Prius Prime into perpendicular spaces and automatically steer it out of a parallel space. When the way forward gets narrow, such as in a parking garage, the system’s Intelligent Clearance Sonar provides visible and audible warnings if the driver gets too close to obstacles on the vehicle’s sides. The 2017 Prius Prime will begin arriving in Toyota showrooms in late fall. Source: Toyota
  5. Toyota has updated the Highlander - its three-row crossover - for the 2017 model year. It might not be the most exciting vehicle making its debut at the New York Auto Show, but it is an important one as crossovers are currently the big sellers for many automakers. The changes begin on the exterior with more prominent lower and upper grilles that are finished in either silver (LE, LE Plus and XLE) or chrome (Limited or Limited Platinum). Toyota has also introduced a new trim for the Highlander called the SE. This trim adds a dark finish for the grilles, 19-inch alloy wheels, and new suspension tuning. Under the hood is a new 3.5L V6 with direct injection. Toyota hasn't revealed any power figures, but does say “will generate significantly more horsepower” than the current 3.5L V6. An eight-speed automatic will no doubt improve fuel economy. The base 2.7L four-cylinder and hybrid powertrain carry over. Toyota has added a number of safety features for the 2017 Highlander. Automatic braking, auto high-beams, lane-departure warning, Pedestrian Pre-Collision, and radar cruise control all come standard via Toyota Safety Sense package. The 2017 Highlander family arrives at dealers later this fall. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Toyota's Debut of 2017 Highlander Mid-Size SUV to Showcase Significant Performance Updates Newly Developed Direct Shift 8-Speed Automatic Transmission New 3.5-liter Direct Injection V6 Boosts Horsepower/Helps Increase MPG New Available Stop and Start (S&S) Engine System Standard Toyota Safety Sense New Sportier SE Gas Model; Hybrid Trim Expands to Four Grades Refreshed Exterior Styling TORRANCE, Calif., March 14, 2016 -- Toyota will be debuting the significantly enhanced 2017 model year Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) on Wednesday, March 23 at the upcoming New York International Auto Show. The popular Highlander, receives an array of new and updated equipment and technology, inside and out, including a new Direct Shift 8-speed (8AT automatic transmission). Highlander is a no-compromise mid-size three-row SUV that brings together the best in style, technology, comfort, capability, and safety. Its exterior design conveys both refinement and strength, which complements a refined interior that sets a high bar in its segment. The third- generation model, now entering its fourth year, offers room for up to eight, a choice of three powertrains and six model grades, including a new sporty SE model. The Highlander Hybrid adds two new grades, (LE and XLE) to its existing lineup of Limited and Platinum models for a total of four. All Highlander Hybrid models will continue to be all-wheel drive (AWD). The six Highlander gas models will continue to be (LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited and Limited Platinum) available in both front-wheel and AWD. It all adds up to the ideal family vehicle. Greater Level of Performance Performance will be enhanced in the 2017 Highlander gas models with the addition of the new Direct Shift 8AT (automatic transmission) that will be paired with a new 3.5-liter V6 Direct Injection Engine. The new transmission is more compact and will provide more transmission efficiency through its 8-speed gear range. The 8AT (Automatic Transmission) will be standard on all V6 Highlander gas models. The new 3.5-liter Direct Injection V6 Engine will be available on all Highlander gas models and standard on all Hybrid grades. The new engine will generate significantly more horsepower, provide enhanced fuel efficiency, and deliver a more direct driving feel by expanding the lock up range. In addition to Highlander, the new Direct Shift 8AT (automatic transmission) and 3.5-liter V6 Direct Injection Engine powertrain will be equipped in the 2017 model year Toyota Sienna van. In an effort to help conserve fuel, Highlander V6 models (excluding LE) will come standard with a new Stop and Start Engine System (S&S). While driving the Highlander, the S&S allows the engine to shut off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop and restarts when the driver lifts their foot off of the brake pedal. The standard powertrain on Highlander 4x2 LE gas models will remain the 2.7-liter 4- cylinder paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. All Highlander Hybrid models will continue to receive the electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT). Updated Luxury Look and Feel The 2017 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid will receive tasteful styling enhancements that will continue to turn heads. The changes start with a new upper and lower front grille design for all grades. Each grade will be distinguished by different grille finishes that will also carry into the headlamp housing. The grille on all LE, LE Plus and XLE grades will receive a silver painted finish, while Limited and Platinum grades will receive a painted chrome finish. From behind, the rear taillights will receive a sleeker redesign. A chrome trim garnish will also be added on the rear bumper of Limited and Platinum models. Highlander will receive three new exterior colors, including Celestial Silver Metallic, Toasted Walnut Pearl, and, exclusively on the new SE, Salsa Red Pearl. Interior updates include a new brown leather interior that will be available on the Limited Platinum grade. Charging personal devices will be more efficient as all Highlanders will add four USB ports for a total of five. For those looking for a Highlander with all the bells and whistles but require added passenger seating, the premium Limited and Limited Platinum grades will offer buyers the choice of second-row captain’s chairs (providing seating for seven), or second-row bench seats that will expand capacity to eight people. Sporty New SE Grade For a touch of sportiness, Highlander will now be available in the new SE model. It starts on the outside with unique 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, tuned suspension for a sportier ride, and a sporty dark paint treatment to the front grille, which is also incorporated into the headlamp housings and roof rails. Inside, the SE will stand apart from all other Highlander models with unique black leather- trimmed seats with silver stitching and pattern seat inserts, a black front tray, and matching dash and door inserts. Toyota Safety That Makes Sense The 2017 Highlander will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS), a new multi- feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including Pre-Collision System (with Forward Collision Warning and automatic emergency brake), Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, Pedestrian Pre- Collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The Pedestrian Pre-collision System (PCS) uses a camera and radar to detect objects ahead of the vehicle. When the system determines there is a possibility of collision it prompts the driver to brake with an audio and visual alert. If the driver notices the hazard and brakes, the system provides additional braking force. If the driver fails to brake in a set time, the system automatically applies the brakes, reducing speed in order to prevent or mitigate the collision. Lane Departure Alert (LDA) uses a camera to detect visible lane markings. If the system determines that the vehicle is starting to deviate from the lane, LDA alerts the driver and will provide steering assist to help get the vehicle back into its lane. Automatic High Beam (AHB) helps enhance forward visibility during nighttime driving. It uses a camera to detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and the tail lights of vehicles ahead, and then automatically switches between high beams and low beams so as not to dazzle other drivers. The Highlander XLE grade will also adopt blind spot monitor as standard equipment. To help make parking easy and safe, the 2017 Highlander Limited Platinum grade will come standard with a Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan. This Toyota technology employs four cameras that are mounted on the front, the side mirrors and rear of the vehicle to project a panoramic view of the vehicle’s surroundings on the central touch display monitor. The system offers drivers assistance when parallel parking, and when pulling in and out of parking spaces. The Bird’s Eye View Monitor system also debuts a Toyota-first feature called Perimeter Scan, which provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle, helping the driver to see potential obstacles. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) in Princeton, Ind., which employs over 4,000 American workers, assembles all Highlanders and exports them to 12 countries. The 2017 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid will begin arriving at Toyota showrooms in the fall of 2016.
  6. Toyota has updated the Highlander - its three-row crossover - for the 2017 model year. It might not be the most exciting vehicle making its debut at the New York Auto Show, but it is an important one as crossovers are currently the big sellers for many automakers. The changes begin on the exterior with more prominent lower and upper grilles that are finished in either silver (LE, LE Plus and XLE) or chrome (Limited or Limited Platinum). Toyota has also introduced a new trim for the Highlander called the SE. This trim adds a dark finish for the grilles, 19-inch alloy wheels, and new suspension tuning. Under the hood is a new 3.5L V6 with direct injection. Toyota hasn't revealed any power figures, but does say “will generate significantly more horsepower” than the current 3.5L V6. An eight-speed automatic will no doubt improve fuel economy. The base 2.7L four-cylinder and hybrid powertrain carry over. Toyota has added a number of safety features for the 2017 Highlander. Automatic braking, auto high-beams, lane-departure warning, Pedestrian Pre-Collision, and radar cruise control all come standard via Toyota Safety Sense package. The 2017 Highlander family arrives at dealers later this fall. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Toyota's Debut of 2017 Highlander Mid-Size SUV to Showcase Significant Performance Updates Newly Developed Direct Shift 8-Speed Automatic Transmission New 3.5-liter Direct Injection V6 Boosts Horsepower/Helps Increase MPG New Available Stop and Start (S&S) Engine System Standard Toyota Safety Sense New Sportier SE Gas Model; Hybrid Trim Expands to Four Grades Refreshed Exterior Styling TORRANCE, Calif., March 14, 2016 -- Toyota will be debuting the significantly enhanced 2017 model year Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) on Wednesday, March 23 at the upcoming New York International Auto Show. The popular Highlander, receives an array of new and updated equipment and technology, inside and out, including a new Direct Shift 8-speed (8AT automatic transmission). Highlander is a no-compromise mid-size three-row SUV that brings together the best in style, technology, comfort, capability, and safety. Its exterior design conveys both refinement and strength, which complements a refined interior that sets a high bar in its segment. The third- generation model, now entering its fourth year, offers room for up to eight, a choice of three powertrains and six model grades, including a new sporty SE model. The Highlander Hybrid adds two new grades, (LE and XLE) to its existing lineup of Limited and Platinum models for a total of four. All Highlander Hybrid models will continue to be all-wheel drive (AWD). The six Highlander gas models will continue to be (LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited and Limited Platinum) available in both front-wheel and AWD. It all adds up to the ideal family vehicle. Greater Level of Performance Performance will be enhanced in the 2017 Highlander gas models with the addition of the new Direct Shift 8AT (automatic transmission) that will be paired with a new 3.5-liter V6 Direct Injection Engine. The new transmission is more compact and will provide more transmission efficiency through its 8-speed gear range. The 8AT (Automatic Transmission) will be standard on all V6 Highlander gas models. The new 3.5-liter Direct Injection V6 Engine will be available on all Highlander gas models and standard on all Hybrid grades. The new engine will generate significantly more horsepower, provide enhanced fuel efficiency, and deliver a more direct driving feel by expanding the lock up range. In addition to Highlander, the new Direct Shift 8AT (automatic transmission) and 3.5-liter V6 Direct Injection Engine powertrain will be equipped in the 2017 model year Toyota Sienna van. In an effort to help conserve fuel, Highlander V6 models (excluding LE) will come standard with a new Stop and Start Engine System (S&S). While driving the Highlander, the S&S allows the engine to shut off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop and restarts when the driver lifts their foot off of the brake pedal. The standard powertrain on Highlander 4x2 LE gas models will remain the 2.7-liter 4- cylinder paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. All Highlander Hybrid models will continue to receive the electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT). Updated Luxury Look and Feel The 2017 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid will receive tasteful styling enhancements that will continue to turn heads. The changes start with a new upper and lower front grille design for all grades. Each grade will be distinguished by different grille finishes that will also carry into the headlamp housing. The grille on all LE, LE Plus and XLE grades will receive a silver painted finish, while Limited and Platinum grades will receive a painted chrome finish. From behind, the rear taillights will receive a sleeker redesign. A chrome trim garnish will also be added on the rear bumper of Limited and Platinum models. Highlander will receive three new exterior colors, including Celestial Silver Metallic, Toasted Walnut Pearl, and, exclusively on the new SE, Salsa Red Pearl. Interior updates include a new brown leather interior that will be available on the Limited Platinum grade. Charging personal devices will be more efficient as all Highlanders will add four USB ports for a total of five. For those looking for a Highlander with all the bells and whistles but require added passenger seating, the premium Limited and Limited Platinum grades will offer buyers the choice of second-row captain’s chairs (providing seating for seven), or second-row bench seats that will expand capacity to eight people. Sporty New SE Grade For a touch of sportiness, Highlander will now be available in the new SE model. It starts on the outside with unique 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, tuned suspension for a sportier ride, and a sporty dark paint treatment to the front grille, which is also incorporated into the headlamp housings and roof rails. Inside, the SE will stand apart from all other Highlander models with unique black leather- trimmed seats with silver stitching and pattern seat inserts, a black front tray, and matching dash and door inserts. Toyota Safety That Makes Sense The 2017 Highlander will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS), a new multi- feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including Pre-Collision System (with Forward Collision Warning and automatic emergency brake), Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, Pedestrian Pre- Collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The Pedestrian Pre-collision System (PCS) uses a camera and radar to detect objects ahead of the vehicle. When the system determines there is a possibility of collision it prompts the driver to brake with an audio and visual alert. If the driver notices the hazard and brakes, the system provides additional braking force. If the driver fails to brake in a set time, the system automatically applies the brakes, reducing speed in order to prevent or mitigate the collision. Lane Departure Alert (LDA) uses a camera to detect visible lane markings. If the system determines that the vehicle is starting to deviate from the lane, LDA alerts the driver and will provide steering assist to help get the vehicle back into its lane. Automatic High Beam (AHB) helps enhance forward visibility during nighttime driving. It uses a camera to detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and the tail lights of vehicles ahead, and then automatically switches between high beams and low beams so as not to dazzle other drivers. The Highlander XLE grade will also adopt blind spot monitor as standard equipment. To help make parking easy and safe, the 2017 Highlander Limited Platinum grade will come standard with a Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan. This Toyota technology employs four cameras that are mounted on the front, the side mirrors and rear of the vehicle to project a panoramic view of the vehicle’s surroundings on the central touch display monitor. The system offers drivers assistance when parallel parking, and when pulling in and out of parking spaces. The Bird’s Eye View Monitor system also debuts a Toyota-first feature called Perimeter Scan, which provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle, helping the driver to see potential obstacles. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) in Princeton, Ind., which employs over 4,000 American workers, assembles all Highlanders and exports them to 12 countries. The 2017 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid will begin arriving at Toyota showrooms in the fall of 2016. View full article
  7. When Toyota redesigned the Tacoma last year, we wondered if a TRD Pro version would be coming as well. Today at the Chicago Auto Show, Toyota revealed the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro. The Tacoma TRD Pro begins with the suspension as Toyota has added a set of FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks, TRD front springs that raise the ride height by an inch, and a set of progressive-rate off-road leaf springs. The four-wheel drive system comes with a limited-slip differential, Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select. A set Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires come with a set of sixteen-inch TRD wheels. Power comes from a 3.5L 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. There is a choice between a six-speed manual or automatic. Outside, the Tacoma TRD Pro comes with the old school TOYOTA emblem on the grille, TRD Pro badging finished in black, hood scoop, and a skid plate. Inside are a set of leather seats with the TRD logo embroidered, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Toyota's Entune infotainment system with navigation, and a mount for a GoPro camera. The Tacoma TRD Pro arrives at dealers this fall. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro - - Dirtier Than Ever! Toyota Kicks Up More Dust with the Debut of the Newest Tacoma TRD Pro Off-Road Pickup CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2016 - - Whether tackling treacherous snow-covered terrain, driving off the beaten path, or surviving extreme conditions where roads fear to tread, the adrenaline-pumping TRD Pro Series from Toyota is up for any challenge. Two years ago, the TRD Pro Series arose from Toyota’s storied off-road racing heritage, with its numerous victories in the grueling Baja off-road endurance races. Born from this experience, the Toyota TRD Pro Series Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner have helped serious off-roaders go places they never dreamed possible. This fall, the Toyota Tacoma will rejoin the 2017 model year TRD Pro family with all-new factory-installed off-road equipment designed by the experts at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) to make it even more off-road capable than before. Aimed squarely at extreme off-roading enthusiasts who challenge themselves and their trucks and SUV’s in some of the harshest conditions, the new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro will raise the bar on TRD Pro performance. Courtesy of TRD, the new Tacoma TRD Pro will add an array of new performance equipment and features, making this a truly second-generation TRD Pro product, and the new benchmark for challenging off-road terrain. Extreme Exterior for Extreme Performance The 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro is designed to not only look tough, but to perform in the toughest off-road environment. Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab Short Bed model in either 6-speed manual (with clutch start-cancel switch) or 6-speed automatic transmission, the new Tacoma TRD Pro will be available in three exterior colors: Cement, Barcelona Red Metallic, and Super White. The exterior of each Tacoma TRD Pro model will also include: 16-inch TRD black alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler® All-Terrain Kevlar®-reinforced tires TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate Rigid Industries® LED fog lights Projector-beam headlights with black bezels, LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and auto on/off feature Taillights with black bezels TRD Pro badge on front door with diamond-pattern knurled finish Black TRD Pro and 4x4 rear tailgate badging Each Tacoma TRD Pro will also come equipped with a heritage-inspired TOYOTA front grille with color-keyed surround, blacked out hood scoop and graphic, color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, color-keyed door handles, black overfenders, and a color-keyed rear bumper. Interior Sportiness Combined with Convenience Technology Driving a sporty package in rugged off-road conditions does not mean you can’t ride in comfort and with the latest safety and convenience technologies. The new Tacoma TRD Pro combines sportiness and convenience with standard features that include: Black TRD Pro leather-trimmed heated front seats with TRD Pro logo located in the headrest 4-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and 4-way adjustable front passenger seat Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite TRD shift knob TRD Pro floor mats Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth® hands-free phone controls Rear parking assist sonar Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) The new Tacoma TRD Pro also includes an analog instrumentation that features a 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID) with an integrated inclinometer and tilt gauge. The MID also adds outside temperature, odometer, tripmeters, and average fuel economy. As in all Tacoma models, a GoPro® mount is located on the windshield for serious off-roaders who like to document their exploits with GoPro® HERO cameras. Pro Performance The new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro continues to be all about off-road performance as it strives to raise the bar from the original. The Tacoma TRD Pro will be powered by a 3.5-Liter V6 DOHC 24-valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle engine with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) intake and VVT-I exhaust. Tacoma TRD Pro really earns its off-road cred through its TRD-installed suspension and exhaust enhancements that include: FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass shocks tuned by TRD TRD-tuned front springs with a 1-inch lift TRD-tuned rear suspension with progressive-rate off-road leaf spring Every Tacoma TRD Pro will be equipped with 4WDemand part-time 4WD with a transfer case and Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto LSD) that are both electronically-controlled. Also standard will be a V6 Tow Package that includes a Class-IV towing receiver hitch, ATF cooler (automatic only), engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4- and 7-pin connector with convertor, and Trailer-Sway Control (TSC). An electronically controlled locking rear differential is also standard to help distribute engine power evenly to both rear wheels so they move at the same speed, providing more grip in low-traction conditions. When the trail gets challenging, Tacoma TRD Pro’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) will help drivers conquer their off-road adventure. Equipped on automatics only, this advanced system automatically modulates the throttle and brakes on five low-speed settings so you can keep your focus on navigating across difficult terrain. Equipped on Tacoma TRD Pro automatic is the Toyota Multi-terrain Select system. With five modes to choose from, the system helps regulate wheel spin by automatically adjusting the engine throttle and traction control. When combined with the standard Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires with tough Kevlar construction, Multi-terrain Select helps enhance traction dramatically, meaning you can get back to the fun more quickly. Tacoma TRD Pro’s Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), equipped on automatic transmission models only, helps you safely get up those hills. This technology helps minimize Tacoma from rolling backward when you move your foot from the brake to the gas pedal, so you can move upward with confidence. The added traction of 4WD is great, but with Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), it’s even better! Equipped only on the Tacoma TRD Pro manual, A-TRAC is a 4WD traction control system that uses the 4-channel ABS system to control power flow to the front and rear wheels, all without cutting throttle input, to help make traction no matter where you may be. View full article
  8. When Toyota redesigned the Tacoma last year, we wondered if a TRD Pro version would be coming as well. Today at the Chicago Auto Show, Toyota revealed the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro. The Tacoma TRD Pro begins with the suspension as Toyota has added a set of FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks, TRD front springs that raise the ride height by an inch, and a set of progressive-rate off-road leaf springs. The four-wheel drive system comes with a limited-slip differential, Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select. A set Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires come with a set of sixteen-inch TRD wheels. Power comes from a 3.5L 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. There is a choice between a six-speed manual or automatic. Outside, the Tacoma TRD Pro comes with the old school TOYOTA emblem on the grille, TRD Pro badging finished in black, hood scoop, and a skid plate. Inside are a set of leather seats with the TRD logo embroidered, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Toyota's Entune infotainment system with navigation, and a mount for a GoPro camera. The Tacoma TRD Pro arrives at dealers this fall. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro - - Dirtier Than Ever! Toyota Kicks Up More Dust with the Debut of the Newest Tacoma TRD Pro Off-Road Pickup CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2016 - - Whether tackling treacherous snow-covered terrain, driving off the beaten path, or surviving extreme conditions where roads fear to tread, the adrenaline-pumping TRD Pro Series from Toyota is up for any challenge. Two years ago, the TRD Pro Series arose from Toyota’s storied off-road racing heritage, with its numerous victories in the grueling Baja off-road endurance races. Born from this experience, the Toyota TRD Pro Series Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner have helped serious off-roaders go places they never dreamed possible. This fall, the Toyota Tacoma will rejoin the 2017 model year TRD Pro family with all-new factory-installed off-road equipment designed by the experts at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) to make it even more off-road capable than before. Aimed squarely at extreme off-roading enthusiasts who challenge themselves and their trucks and SUV’s in some of the harshest conditions, the new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro will raise the bar on TRD Pro performance. Courtesy of TRD, the new Tacoma TRD Pro will add an array of new performance equipment and features, making this a truly second-generation TRD Pro product, and the new benchmark for challenging off-road terrain. Extreme Exterior for Extreme Performance The 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro is designed to not only look tough, but to perform in the toughest off-road environment. Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab Short Bed model in either 6-speed manual (with clutch start-cancel switch) or 6-speed automatic transmission, the new Tacoma TRD Pro will be available in three exterior colors: Cement, Barcelona Red Metallic, and Super White. The exterior of each Tacoma TRD Pro model will also include: 16-inch TRD black alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler® All-Terrain Kevlar®-reinforced tires TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate Rigid Industries® LED fog lights Projector-beam headlights with black bezels, LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and auto on/off feature Taillights with black bezels TRD Pro badge on front door with diamond-pattern knurled finish Black TRD Pro and 4x4 rear tailgate badging Each Tacoma TRD Pro will also come equipped with a heritage-inspired TOYOTA front grille with color-keyed surround, blacked out hood scoop and graphic, color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, color-keyed door handles, black overfenders, and a color-keyed rear bumper. Interior Sportiness Combined with Convenience Technology Driving a sporty package in rugged off-road conditions does not mean you can’t ride in comfort and with the latest safety and convenience technologies. The new Tacoma TRD Pro combines sportiness and convenience with standard features that include: Black TRD Pro leather-trimmed heated front seats with TRD Pro logo located in the headrest 4-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and 4-way adjustable front passenger seat Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite TRD shift knob TRD Pro floor mats Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth® hands-free phone controls Rear parking assist sonar Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) The new Tacoma TRD Pro also includes an analog instrumentation that features a 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID) with an integrated inclinometer and tilt gauge. The MID also adds outside temperature, odometer, tripmeters, and average fuel economy. As in all Tacoma models, a GoPro® mount is located on the windshield for serious off-roaders who like to document their exploits with GoPro® HERO cameras. Pro Performance The new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro continues to be all about off-road performance as it strives to raise the bar from the original. The Tacoma TRD Pro will be powered by a 3.5-Liter V6 DOHC 24-valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle engine with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) intake and VVT-I exhaust. Tacoma TRD Pro really earns its off-road cred through its TRD-installed suspension and exhaust enhancements that include: FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass shocks tuned by TRD TRD-tuned front springs with a 1-inch lift TRD-tuned rear suspension with progressive-rate off-road leaf spring Every Tacoma TRD Pro will be equipped with 4WDemand part-time 4WD with a transfer case and Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto LSD) that are both electronically-controlled. Also standard will be a V6 Tow Package that includes a Class-IV towing receiver hitch, ATF cooler (automatic only), engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4- and 7-pin connector with convertor, and Trailer-Sway Control (TSC). An electronically controlled locking rear differential is also standard to help distribute engine power evenly to both rear wheels so they move at the same speed, providing more grip in low-traction conditions. When the trail gets challenging, Tacoma TRD Pro’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) will help drivers conquer their off-road adventure. Equipped on automatics only, this advanced system automatically modulates the throttle and brakes on five low-speed settings so you can keep your focus on navigating across difficult terrain. Equipped on Tacoma TRD Pro automatic is the Toyota Multi-terrain Select system. With five modes to choose from, the system helps regulate wheel spin by automatically adjusting the engine throttle and traction control. When combined with the standard Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires with tough Kevlar construction, Multi-terrain Select helps enhance traction dramatically, meaning you can get back to the fun more quickly. Tacoma TRD Pro’s Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), equipped on automatic transmission models only, helps you safely get up those hills. This technology helps minimize Tacoma from rolling backward when you move your foot from the brake to the gas pedal, so you can move upward with confidence. The added traction of 4WD is great, but with Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), it’s even better! Equipped only on the Tacoma TRD Pro manual, A-TRAC is a 4WD traction control system that uses the 4-channel ABS system to control power flow to the front and rear wheels, all without cutting throttle input, to help make traction no matter where you may be.
  9. Last night in Las Vegas, Toyota introduced everyone to the forth-generation Prius. The new model promises to be more efficient and sportier than the previous model. The 2016 Prius shares a resemblance to the Mirai hydrogen car in terms of looks. From the overall profile to the shape of the rear taillights, the fourth-generation Prius is very polarizing. Size-wise, the 2016 Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider, and 0.8 inches lower than the outgoing model. This is due to the new Prius using Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA). The interior for the Prius retains a number of characteristics from previous models such as the instrument cluster positioned in the middle and the joystick control for the transmission. There is also a fair amount of white plastic around the center stack and console, reminding us of the first-generation Chevrolet Volt. Unfortunately, Toyota didn't say anything about the Prius' powertrain or fuel economy numbers. What they did say is the new model will bring a 10 percent increase in overall fuel economy, and there will be a new Eco trim which will increase fuel economy numbers more. Toyota promises the 2016 Prius will also be fun to drive. We'll have more information the next Prius in due time, including when it will go on sale. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Beyond Possible: The Sky's the Limit for the All-New 2016 Prius at Las Vegas World Premiere Event Striking exterior design ushers in new hybrid era New platform and rear double wishbone suspension dial up driving dynamics Ten percent fuel economy improvement on core models; highest MPG without a plug First vehicle based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture Toyota Safety Sense system available among other safety enhancements LAS VEGAS, Sept. 8, 2015 - - The same vehicle that pioneered the hybrid category just disrupted the status quo again. The all-new, fourth-generation Prius starred in a spectacular evening production of music, food and special effects to celebrate an industry icon in a way that was anything but expected. More than 350 journalists, social influencers and Toyota guests watched the all-new 2016 Prius elevate into the Las Vegas night sky. After almost twenty years of shaping the world view on alternative energy vehicles, and more than 3.5 million global sales, Prius is setting out to change the world again. Today’s consumers expect environmental credentials, and the new Prius delivers. Smaller, lighter hybrid system components, higher-energy density in the batteries, and an internal combustion engine touting ground-breaking thermal efficiency (more than forty percent), contribute to a significant advancement in fuel economy. With an expected ten percent improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models, Prius will offer best-in-class fuel economy among vehicles without a plug. A soon-to-be unveiled Eco model will achieve an even greater improvement, strengthening Toyota’s leadership in hybrid fuel efficiency. But it’s not just about MPG anymore. Today’s customers want all the traditional benefits of a hybrid, but don’t want to compromise on looks and performance. So Toyota upgraded the Prius inside and out to deliver the complete package - emotional styling, smarter technology and impressive MPG, in a vehicle that’s more fun to drive than ever. “Prius set the global benchmark for hybrids, but now is breaking its own boundaries with more engaging style and fun-to-drive dynamics,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “What was once a rational purchase that for many customers focused on fuel economy, is now so much more. This Prius will invite new drivers into the category by delivering an impressive look and feel, built on the foundation of safety and eco-consciousness that define the vehicle’s heritage.” Easy on the Eyes The Prius’ exterior has been completely reimagined. From the side, it is longer and sleeker with the overall outline evoking an athletic shape. Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks, the sporty design conveys a feeling of forward motion. The hood is lower and the distinctive roof peak has been moved forward. Bold character lines run along the side from the front fenders – one just above the sill that sweeps up towards the rear fender, while the upper crease morphs into the rear spoiler, which has been lowered. The use of new standard LED headlamps minimizes the Prius’ front fascia and, at the same time, provides an arresting lighting display which helps define the vehicle’s character. The unique and striking rear combination lamps express the distinctive lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides. A palette of seven exterior colors includes an all-new Toyota hue, “Hypersonic Red.” This new color utilizes a newly developed treatment process, which results in a deep and vibrant luster highlighting the external forms. Need a Hug? The Prius’ new, premium interior adopts advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and improved visibility put the driver in complete control. Once inside, drivers will feel immediately comfortable and impressed by styling cues that are unique in the industry. The wide instrument panel, seamlessly designed to be both functional and beautiful, gives a sense of comfort and spaciousness. Available premium white ornamentation in the lower sections of the cabin is reminiscent of fine bone china. Efficient Development from the Start The 2016 Prius is the first global vehicle to implement Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA). TNGA aims to greatly improve core vehicle performance and enhance product appeal through an integrated development program for powertrain components and vehicle platforms. Development of vehicles is being grouped to promote strategic sharing of components with the goal of improving resource efficiency by better than twenty percent. Resources will be directed into developing advanced technologies, and most importantly even further strengthening product appeal. A Fun-to-Drive Hybrid? A “Wish” Come True Engineered from the ground up, the new Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the model it replaces, providing a planted on-road presence while delivering more occupant and cargo room. Hallmarks of TNGA, a lower center of gravity and a more responsive suspension package, dial up the driving excitement. In fact, the height of the Prius’ front badge is exactly the same as that of Scion’s FR-S sports car – a remarkable achievement in height and mass reduction. The all-new rear double wishbone suspension produces a better connection to the road, providing greater control and feedback in all driving conditions. A more rigid body helps improve responsiveness while cornering. From winding mountain roads to the wide boulevards downtown, the new Prius stays connected to the road, without sacrificing ride quality and occupant comfort. Safety First TNGA also provides a more rigid structural framework to help enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. Plus, the Prius will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control Automatic High Beams Available on the new Prius, Toyota aims to make Toyota Safety Sense available across nearly the entire vehicle lineup by the end of 2017.
  10. Last night in Las Vegas, Toyota introduced everyone to the forth-generation Prius. The new model promises to be more efficient and sportier than the previous model. The 2016 Prius shares a resemblance to the Mirai hydrogen car in terms of looks. From the overall profile to the shape of the rear taillights, the fourth-generation Prius is very polarizing. Size-wise, the 2016 Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider, and 0.8 inches lower than the outgoing model. This is due to the new Prius using Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA). The interior for the Prius retains a number of characteristics from previous models such as the instrument cluster positioned in the middle and the joystick control for the transmission. There is also a fair amount of white plastic around the center stack and console, reminding us of the first-generation Chevrolet Volt. Unfortunately, Toyota didn't say anything about the Prius' powertrain or fuel economy numbers. What they did say is the new model will bring a 10 percent increase in overall fuel economy, and there will be a new Eco trim which will increase fuel economy numbers more. Toyota promises the 2016 Prius will also be fun to drive. We'll have more information the next Prius in due time, including when it will go on sale. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Beyond Possible: The Sky's the Limit for the All-New 2016 Prius at Las Vegas World Premiere Event Striking exterior design ushers in new hybrid era New platform and rear double wishbone suspension dial up driving dynamics Ten percent fuel economy improvement on core models; highest MPG without a plug First vehicle based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture Toyota Safety Sense system available among other safety enhancements LAS VEGAS, Sept. 8, 2015 - - The same vehicle that pioneered the hybrid category just disrupted the status quo again. The all-new, fourth-generation Prius starred in a spectacular evening production of music, food and special effects to celebrate an industry icon in a way that was anything but expected. More than 350 journalists, social influencers and Toyota guests watched the all-new 2016 Prius elevate into the Las Vegas night sky. After almost twenty years of shaping the world view on alternative energy vehicles, and more than 3.5 million global sales, Prius is setting out to change the world again. Today’s consumers expect environmental credentials, and the new Prius delivers. Smaller, lighter hybrid system components, higher-energy density in the batteries, and an internal combustion engine touting ground-breaking thermal efficiency (more than forty percent), contribute to a significant advancement in fuel economy. With an expected ten percent improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models, Prius will offer best-in-class fuel economy among vehicles without a plug. A soon-to-be unveiled Eco model will achieve an even greater improvement, strengthening Toyota’s leadership in hybrid fuel efficiency. But it’s not just about MPG anymore. Today’s customers want all the traditional benefits of a hybrid, but don’t want to compromise on looks and performance. So Toyota upgraded the Prius inside and out to deliver the complete package - emotional styling, smarter technology and impressive MPG, in a vehicle that’s more fun to drive than ever. “Prius set the global benchmark for hybrids, but now is breaking its own boundaries with more engaging style and fun-to-drive dynamics,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “What was once a rational purchase that for many customers focused on fuel economy, is now so much more. This Prius will invite new drivers into the category by delivering an impressive look and feel, built on the foundation of safety and eco-consciousness that define the vehicle’s heritage.” Easy on the Eyes The Prius’ exterior has been completely reimagined. From the side, it is longer and sleeker with the overall outline evoking an athletic shape. Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks, the sporty design conveys a feeling of forward motion. The hood is lower and the distinctive roof peak has been moved forward. Bold character lines run along the side from the front fenders – one just above the sill that sweeps up towards the rear fender, while the upper crease morphs into the rear spoiler, which has been lowered. The use of new standard LED headlamps minimizes the Prius’ front fascia and, at the same time, provides an arresting lighting display which helps define the vehicle’s character. The unique and striking rear combination lamps express the distinctive lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides. A palette of seven exterior colors includes an all-new Toyota hue, “Hypersonic Red.” This new color utilizes a newly developed treatment process, which results in a deep and vibrant luster highlighting the external forms. Need a Hug? The Prius’ new, premium interior adopts advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and improved visibility put the driver in complete control. Once inside, drivers will feel immediately comfortable and impressed by styling cues that are unique in the industry. The wide instrument panel, seamlessly designed to be both functional and beautiful, gives a sense of comfort and spaciousness. Available premium white ornamentation in the lower sections of the cabin is reminiscent of fine bone china. Efficient Development from the Start The 2016 Prius is the first global vehicle to implement Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA). TNGA aims to greatly improve core vehicle performance and enhance product appeal through an integrated development program for powertrain components and vehicle platforms. Development of vehicles is being grouped to promote strategic sharing of components with the goal of improving resource efficiency by better than twenty percent. Resources will be directed into developing advanced technologies, and most importantly even further strengthening product appeal. A Fun-to-Drive Hybrid? A “Wish” Come True Engineered from the ground up, the new Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the model it replaces, providing a planted on-road presence while delivering more occupant and cargo room. Hallmarks of TNGA, a lower center of gravity and a more responsive suspension package, dial up the driving excitement. In fact, the height of the Prius’ front badge is exactly the same as that of Scion’s FR-S sports car – a remarkable achievement in height and mass reduction. The all-new rear double wishbone suspension produces a better connection to the road, providing greater control and feedback in all driving conditions. A more rigid body helps improve responsiveness while cornering. From winding mountain roads to the wide boulevards downtown, the new Prius stays connected to the road, without sacrificing ride quality and occupant comfort. Safety First TNGA also provides a more rigid structural framework to help enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. Plus, the Prius will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control Automatic High Beams Available on the new Prius, Toyota aims to make Toyota Safety Sense available across nearly the entire vehicle lineup by the end of 2017. View full article
  11. 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
  12. 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)
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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

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