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Found 439 results

  1. The current generation Toyota Mirai has never been a "looker". It seemed like some sort of Prius with a glandular problem. Toyota hopes to change that and make the fuel cell vehicle sexy with the new 2021 Toyota Mirai Sedan Concept. The new concept sits on a rear-wheel drive platform and sports an new, more powerful fuel cell powertrain. Toyota claims a 30-percent increase in driving range with increased hydrogen capacity. Most importantly thought, Toyota un-weirded the Mirai so that it now looks like something that might sit in a Lexus showroom rather than Toyota. The next generation Toyota Mirai will go on sale in late 2020. View full article
  2. Toyota has announced that they will be bringing a new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to the Los Angeles Auto Show this year. The difference for this hybrid is that it will be a plug-in and it will also be more powerful. Toyota promises "spirited acceleration" in their press release. As we get closer to the show, we'll get more details on range, power, battery size, etc. The RAV4 is already the best selling crossover in the segment and that could mean that the RAV4 PHEV could end up being the most popular PHEV for sale. Globally that title currently belongs to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Toyota has twice previously made full EV versions of the RAV4, but limited their sales primarily to California where they enjoyed limited success as "compliance vehicles" with 1,484 sold of the first generation and 2,600 copies of the 3rd generation. There was no second generation RAV4 EV. View full article
  3. The current generation Toyota Mirai has never been a "looker". It seemed like some sort of Prius with a glandular problem. Toyota hopes to change that and make the fuel cell vehicle sexy with the new 2021 Toyota Mirai Sedan Concept. The new concept sits on a rear-wheel drive platform and sports an new, more powerful fuel cell powertrain. Toyota claims a 30-percent increase in driving range with increased hydrogen capacity. Most importantly thought, Toyota un-weirded the Mirai so that it now looks like something that might sit in a Lexus showroom rather than Toyota. The next generation Toyota Mirai will go on sale in late 2020.
  4. Toyota has announced that they will be bringing a new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to the Los Angeles Auto Show this year. The difference for this hybrid is that it will be a plug-in and it will also be more powerful. Toyota promises "spirited acceleration" in their press release. As we get closer to the show, we'll get more details on range, power, battery size, etc. The RAV4 is already the best selling crossover in the segment and that could mean that the RAV4 PHEV could end up being the most popular PHEV for sale. Globally that title currently belongs to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Toyota has twice previously made full EV versions of the RAV4, but limited their sales primarily to California where they enjoyed limited success as "compliance vehicles" with 1,484 sold of the first generation and 2,600 copies of the 3rd generation. There was no second generation RAV4 EV.
  5. Toyota has released an update to its funky little crossover/hatchback, the C-HR. The changes are slight and include a (slightly) revised front fascia, new wheels, two new colors, Android Auto and Apple Car play standard, and on the Limited trim, an adaptive front lighting system and 8-way power seats. The C-HR already comes with Toyota Safety Sense - P, a suite of safety technologies that include a multi-feature advanced active safety suite that bundles Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The C-HR is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder producing 144 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 139 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm. A CVT puts the power to the wheels, though in sport mode it simulates a 7-speed automatic. The C-HR has a EPA-estimated MPG of 27 city / 31 highway / 29 combined. View full article
  6. Toyota has released an update to its funky little crossover/hatchback, the C-HR. The changes are slight and include a (slightly) revised front fascia, new wheels, two new colors, Android Auto and Apple Car play standard, and on the Limited trim, an adaptive front lighting system and 8-way power seats. The C-HR already comes with Toyota Safety Sense - P, a suite of safety technologies that include a multi-feature advanced active safety suite that bundles Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The C-HR is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder producing 144 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 139 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm. A CVT puts the power to the wheels, though in sport mode it simulates a 7-speed automatic. The C-HR has a EPA-estimated MPG of 27 city / 31 highway / 29 combined.
  7. Toyota is in plans to purchase additional shares of Subaru to raise its stake to over 20% from around 17% today. Subaru in kind will also invest back in Toyota via a similar stock purchase of Toyota. If the deal is approved by Toyota's board, it is a step towards making Subaru a whole owned subsidiary that would create a 'Mega Toyota'. Toyota recently announced a similar purchase of Suzuki shares to form a new alliance for the Indian market. Toyota and Subaru have worked together before on projects such as the Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86 and Subaru for a time built Toyota Camrys at its plant in Indiana. Toyota sees Subaru as being strong in sport utility vehicles and in all-wheel drive technology. Toyota and Subaru have also announced plans to jointly build a platform for an electric SUV. View full article
  8. Toyota is in plans to purchase additional shares of Subaru to raise its stake to over 20% from around 17% today. Subaru in kind will also invest back in Toyota via a similar stock purchase of Toyota. If the deal is approved by Toyota's board, it is a step towards making Subaru a whole owned subsidiary that would create a 'Mega Toyota'. Toyota recently announced a similar purchase of Suzuki shares to form a new alliance for the Indian market. Toyota and Subaru have worked together before on projects such as the Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86 and Subaru for a time built Toyota Camrys at its plant in Indiana. Toyota sees Subaru as being strong in sport utility vehicles and in all-wheel drive technology. Toyota and Subaru have also announced plans to jointly build a platform for an electric SUV.
  9. We reported back in April that the Toyota Tundra and Toyota Tacoma would be consolidated to a single modular platform for their respective next generations. Now Toyota is making a $391 million dollar investment into its San Antonio production line to help smooth the way. The investment is not expected to create any new permanent jobs. The new platform, internally called F1, will first appear in the next generation Tundra expected in 2021 and eventually spread to all of Toyota's pickups worldwide. Tacoma will move to the F1 platform in 2023 or 2024. The new platform will be capable of electrification. One of the engines rumored for the Tundra is a Twin-Turbo V6 Hybrid with 450 hp and 500 lb.-ft of torque The Tundra is the oldest full-size pickup on the market today, first debuting in 2007 with the last major update done in 2014. View full article
  10. Toyota and Subaru are working on their next generations of the 86 and BRZ respectively and it is rumored that the concepts of the next generation cars will be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. The production versions would follow in 2021. While there is talk of a new platform, it is likely that it will be an upgraded version of the existing platform as neither of Toyota's TNGA or Subaru's Global Platform allow for the size and rear-wheel drive nature of the cars. Power will still come from a boxer 4-cylinder, but it will be upgraded from 2.0 liters to 2.4 liters producing around 220 horsepower. A 6-speed manual will still be available along with the 6-speed automatic. The change of engines would address one of the biggest complaints about the 86/BRZ twins, namely by boosting power.
  11. Toyota and Subaru are working on their next generations of the 86 and BRZ respectively and it is rumored that the concepts of the next generation cars will be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. The production versions would follow in 2021. While there is talk of a new platform, it is likely that it will be an upgraded version of the existing platform as neither of Toyota's TNGA or Subaru's Global Platform allow for the size and rear-wheel drive nature of the cars. Power will still come from a boxer 4-cylinder, but it will be upgraded from 2.0 liters to 2.4 liters producing around 220 horsepower. A 6-speed manual will still be available along with the 6-speed automatic. The change of engines would address one of the biggest complaints about the 86/BRZ twins, namely by boosting power. View full article
  12. We reported back in April that the Toyota Tundra and Toyota Tacoma would be consolidated to a single modular platform for their respective next generations. Now Toyota is making a $391 million dollar investment into its San Antonio production line to help smooth the way. The investment is not expected to create any new permanent jobs. The new platform, internally called F1, will first appear in the next generation Tundra expected in 2021 and eventually spread to all of Toyota's pickups worldwide. Tacoma will move to the F1 platform in 2023 or 2024. The new platform will be capable of electrification. One of the engines rumored for the Tundra is a Twin-Turbo V6 Hybrid with 450 hp and 500 lb.-ft of torque The Tundra is the oldest full-size pickup on the market today, first debuting in 2007 with the last major update done in 2014.
  13. Toyota and Suzuki have announce plans to formalize a technology alliance. Suzuki will purchase approximately $454 million of Toyota stock while Toyota will acquire approximately $908 million in Suzuki shares for a 4.94 percent stake in the company. The two companies will share technology and platforms. Toyota will provide technology for electrification while Suzuki will provide platforms for small vehicles. Both companies will collaborate in the area of autonomous driving technology. The two companies already have an agreement where Toyota will provide Suzuki badged variants of the RAV-4 and Corolla Estate for the European market, while a Suzuki model will be built at Toyota's Derbyshire plant in the UK. Toyota will get Suzuki's new compact vehicle engines for the Euro market, while both will co-develop hybrid vehicles for the Indian market. From the sounds of it, none of the technology swap will be seen here in the U.S., but it does make us wonder about the small car agreement that Toyota has with Mazda to build the Toyota Yaris. View full article
  14. Last week we reported that Toyota and Suzuki are forming an alliance to share technology and small-car platforms between the two companies. The deal, however, looked great for Suzuki but with not much in it for Toyota. Today brings some clarity to the arrangement. India is currently the 4th largest new car market and is expected to leapfrog Japan to number 3 in the near future. Being such a large and growing market has outsiders clamoring to get in, but one company is already there in a big way. Suzuki's local subsidiary Maruti accounts for 46 percent of the sub-contienent's new-vehicle sales. We reported earlier that Suzuki agreed to provide Toyota with two compact vehicles to sell in India and will produce one of its SUVs in a Toyota factory in India. Toyota has taken a rather hands-off approach to the companies it buys a stake in. Subaru, Mazda, Daihatsu all enjoy relative autonomy from the Toyota juggernaut. The same remains to be seen with this tie up with Suzuki. View full article
  15. Last week we reported that Toyota and Suzuki are forming an alliance to share technology and small-car platforms between the two companies. The deal, however, looked great for Suzuki but with not much in it for Toyota. Today brings some clarity to the arrangement. India is currently the 4th largest new car market and is expected to leapfrog Japan to number 3 in the near future. Being such a large and growing market has outsiders clamoring to get in, but one company is already there in a big way. Suzuki's local subsidiary Maruti accounts for 46 percent of the sub-contienent's new-vehicle sales. We reported earlier that Suzuki agreed to provide Toyota with two compact vehicles to sell in India and will produce one of its SUVs in a Toyota factory in India. Toyota has taken a rather hands-off approach to the companies it buys a stake in. Subaru, Mazda, Daihatsu all enjoy relative autonomy from the Toyota juggernaut. The same remains to be seen with this tie up with Suzuki.
  16. When Toyota introduced the last-generation Avalon for the 2014 model year, I was shocked by how Toyota had built the better Lexus ES. On the surface, this seems a bit crazy. But Toyota had put a lot of effort into shedding the image of Avalon of an old person’s car by bringing a modern and sleek look; luxurious interior, and a balance between a relaxing ride and sporty dynamics. This became more apparent when compared to the ES launched a couple of years earlier, looking very dated in terms of looks and driving like a cream puff. The times are a changing and the two brands have launched new versions of their respective sedans within the past year. I find myself wondering if Toyota still builds the better Lexus or if the ES has finally stepped up and can give the Avalon a real challenge. Exterior Toyota stuck with the shape of the previous Avalon but gave it some refinement. The low roofline and sloping rear glass shape are paired with more aggressive rear end featuring a full-length taillight. Where the new design falls apart is in the front. Toyota must have taken some of the pages out of Lexus’ design book on grille design as the Avalon has a massive grille. Lower trim models make do with black slats for the insert, but my Hybrid Limited tester features chrome slats that make it more polarizing. I understand Toyota wants to give the Avalon a bit more presence on the road, but this new grille design is a bit much. The ES 350 is a different story as Lexus’ designers pulled off an extensive transformation. Wearing a toned-down version of the brand’s current design language, the new ES has an overall look of something formidable and elegant. The spindle grille is front and center, but Lexus has made it slightly smaller to have fit in with the flowing lines. Other design traits include a sloping roofline and shortened rear deck. Interior Like the exterior, the ES’ interior is completely unrecognizable from the outgoing model. Gone are the cheap feeling and mismatch plastics. In their places is a combination of leather, soft-touch plastics, and wood trim that brings forth a sense of premium uniformity. Ergonomics are also top of the class with such touches as control knobs sitting on either side of the instrument panel, and controls for the climate and audio being in easy reach for driver and passenger. Those sitting in the front are treated to leather-covered seats that provide an excellent balance between support and coddle. Those sitting in the back seat might complain about the low position, but will like the ample amount of head and legroom. Stepping inside the Avalon Hybrid, Toyota has given it a major makeover. Gone is the flowing and rounded center stack with capacitive touch controls. Instead, the Avalon uses a narrower and blocky center stack with actual buttons. I’m sad to see the touch controls go away as I found them to be quite responsive. Toyota likely dropped them as buyers complained there was no feedback - a click sound or pulsation - to whoever was using it. Other changes include a slim chrome bar running along the dash vents and more color choices. Finding a comfortable position in the Avalon was no problem due to the numerous amount of power adjustments available on the Limited. Like the ES, the Avalon’s seats strike the balance of comfort and support just right. In the back, there is an abundance of legroom that allows passengers to stretch out. Headroom is fine for most adults. Infotainment Toyota has installed the latest version of Entune for the 2019 Avalon. While looking somewhat dated with a muted color palette and dull screen, Entune retains its ease of use. The menus with large touchscreen buttons make it very easy to move around the system, along with clearly marked buttons and knobs sitting on either side. Toyota has also got with times and made the Avalon the first model to feature CarPlay integration. Those wanting Android Auto will need to wait until 2020. If there is an Achilles heel to the ES 350, that would be Lexus’ Remote Touch. I have written numerously about how using this system is not only a pain, but very distracting when driving. Take for example changing an XMSirius station. Look at the screen to see where the cursor is. Use the touchpad to move the cursor to the station you want, making sure to keep an eye on the screen. Press down on the touchpad to make the selection, hoping you’re finger doesn’t slip and causes something else to happen. This whole routine plays out time and time again whenever you want to do something. Even Apple CarPlay which was introduced for 2019 is a pain to use with Remote Touch. There is salvation on the horizon. Earlier this year, Lexus unveiled an updated RX crossover with a touchscreen for the infotainment system. The automaker said that it will be available on other models in the coming years. Here’s to hoping the ES is one of the first recipients. Performance Both vehicles come with the choice of either a 3.5L V6 or hybrid system using a 2.5L four-cylinder. An eight-speed automatic is teamed with the V6. The hybrid uses a CVT. The 3.5 V6 has been given a bit more power for 2019, now producing 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This bump makes for a noticeable improvement in overall acceleration, feeling slightly quicker than the last ES 350 I drove. Power builds on a smooth and linear fashion. The engine is also noticeably refined, with barely a rumble coming from underneath the hood. With only a total output of 215 horsepower, the hybrid system in the Toyota Avalon may seem underpowered. This is only an issue when climbing a steep hill or needing to make an immediate pass. Otherwise, the hybrid system provides plenty of oomph for the daily drive. I like how the system seamless transitioned from electric to hybrid power with only a minimal buzz coming from the engine bay. Like other Toyota hybrids, the Avalon Hybrid can travel on electric power alone - albeit a short distance and at speeds below 25 mph. In EPA testing, the ES 350 returns 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined and the Avalon Hybrid returns 43 City/43 Highway/43 Combined. I clocked averages of 25 in the ES 350 and 40 in the Avalon Hybrid. Ride and Handling Aside from engines, the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 share another vital component. Under the skin of both models is a version of Toyota New Global Architecture (TGNA) known as GA-K. This variant provides the stiffer structure and lower-center of gravity found on other TGNA models, but allows both Toyota and Lexus to build larger front-wheel drive vehicles. In the Avalon Hybrid, the move to GA-K doesn’t change much. The last-generation model showed that you could have good driving dynamics and retain a mission of comfort. The new model continues that with slightly improved handling and sharper steering response. The ES 350 is a different story. Changing over to GA-K transforms the model from a creampuff on wheels to a luxury sedan with that can take corners without embarrassing itself. Body roll is significantly reduced and the steering responds to inputs without fuss. Neither one of these sedans will challenge the likes of the Germans or the Kia Stinger GT, but they will not fall over and cry uncle when pushed. Ride quality is still one of the impressive points for both models. On some of roughest, pothole-ladened streets that the Metro Detroit has on offer, the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 made it feel like mere ripples. Not much outside noise comes inside the cabin of either model, making them a perfect place to decompress after a long day. Verdict Let’s begin with the 2020 Avalon Hybrid. This updated sedan didn’t surprise me and that’s fine. Aside from the styling, Toyota made small changes to address certain issues of the previous-generation and build upon its strengths. Getting 40 MPG is still an impressive trait for such a big sedan. With a starting price tag of $35,560 for the gas version and $36,650 for the hybrid, the Avalon is still the one to buy if you want the luxuries of the ES without the luxury tax. The ES 350, on the other hand, is the more impressive of the two. You have to wonder if Lexus was motivated by what Toyota was able to pull off with last-generation Avalon. In a lot of ways, the ES 350 looks and feels like a proper luxury car. Add in a new platform that doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to tip over and Lexus is very close to that idea of “Experience Amazing”. The only fault is Remote Touch which sours many of the dramatic improvements. If Lexus can get that new touchscreen into the ES ASAP, I would gladly give it my “Most Improved Car of the Year” award. How I would configure a 2019 Lexus ES 350 or Toyota Avalon Hybrid Starting with the ES 350, I would skip the base model and go with the Luxury trim. This adds such items as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, and ambient lighting. On top of this, I would add Blind Spot Monitoring package and a power rear sunshade. With destination, I'm out the door with a final price of $45,540. For the Avalon Hybrid, I would pick the XSE. This is positioned as the sporty model with various exterior treatments including a mesh insert for the grille. Other standard equipment includes a moonroof, leatherette and suede upholstery, and wireless phone charging. The only two options I would tick are the Ruby Flare Pearl paint and 14-Speaker JBL Audio System. Add destination and the final price comes to $41,480. Alternatives Genesis G80: A perennial favorite, the G80 slots between the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 in terms of price - $41,750. It comes showered with loads of standard equipment and an excellent engine lineup. It cannot match the ES and Avalon in terms of interior design, but provides a more modern and easier to understand infotainment system. Ride quality is similar in all three vehicles, but the ES and Avalon have a slight edge in handling. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2019 Make: Lexus Model: ES 350 Trim: Luxury Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve with Dual VVT-i V6 Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600 Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26 Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky Base Price: $42,755 As Tested Price: $45,955 (Includes $1,025 Destination Charge)* Options: Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking - $1,065.00 18-Inch Split Five-Spoke Alloy Noise Reduction Wheels - $950.00 Wood and Leather Trimmed Steering Wheel - $300.00 Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00 *No window sticker was provided for the ES 350. This is me taking a guess as to final price and options. Year: 2019 Make: Toyota Model: Avalon Hybrid Trim: Limited Engine: 2.5L 16-valve DOHC with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder, 650V Electric Motor Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT Horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 5,700 (Gas); 118 (88 kW) (Electric); 215 (Total Output) Torque @ RPM: 163 @ 3,600-5,200 (Gas) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 43/43/43 Curb Weight: 3,715 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky Base Price: $42,800 As Tested Price: $45,118 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge) Options: Advanced Safety Package - $1,150.00 Carpet Mat Package - $248.00 View full article
  17. When Toyota introduced the last-generation Avalon for the 2014 model year, I was shocked by how Toyota had built the better Lexus ES. On the surface, this seems a bit crazy. But Toyota had put a lot of effort into shedding the image of Avalon of an old person’s car by bringing a modern and sleek look; luxurious interior, and a balance between a relaxing ride and sporty dynamics. This became more apparent when compared to the ES launched a couple of years earlier, looking very dated in terms of looks and driving like a cream puff. The times are a changing and the two brands have launched new versions of their respective sedans within the past year. I find myself wondering if Toyota still builds the better Lexus or if the ES has finally stepped up and can give the Avalon a real challenge. Exterior Toyota stuck with the shape of the previous Avalon but gave it some refinement. The low roofline and sloping rear glass shape are paired with more aggressive rear end featuring a full-length taillight. Where the new design falls apart is in the front. Toyota must have taken some of the pages out of Lexus’ design book on grille design as the Avalon has a massive grille. Lower trim models make do with black slats for the insert, but my Hybrid Limited tester features chrome slats that make it more polarizing. I understand Toyota wants to give the Avalon a bit more presence on the road, but this new grille design is a bit much. The ES 350 is a different story as Lexus’ designers pulled off an extensive transformation. Wearing a toned-down version of the brand’s current design language, the new ES has an overall look of something formidable and elegant. The spindle grille is front and center, but Lexus has made it slightly smaller to have fit in with the flowing lines. Other design traits include a sloping roofline and shortened rear deck. Interior Like the exterior, the ES’ interior is completely unrecognizable from the outgoing model. Gone are the cheap feeling and mismatch plastics. In their places is a combination of leather, soft-touch plastics, and wood trim that brings forth a sense of premium uniformity. Ergonomics are also top of the class with such touches as control knobs sitting on either side of the instrument panel, and controls for the climate and audio being in easy reach for driver and passenger. Those sitting in the front are treated to leather-covered seats that provide an excellent balance between support and coddle. Those sitting in the back seat might complain about the low position, but will like the ample amount of head and legroom. Stepping inside the Avalon Hybrid, Toyota has given it a major makeover. Gone is the flowing and rounded center stack with capacitive touch controls. Instead, the Avalon uses a narrower and blocky center stack with actual buttons. I’m sad to see the touch controls go away as I found them to be quite responsive. Toyota likely dropped them as buyers complained there was no feedback - a click sound or pulsation - to whoever was using it. Other changes include a slim chrome bar running along the dash vents and more color choices. Finding a comfortable position in the Avalon was no problem due to the numerous amount of power adjustments available on the Limited. Like the ES, the Avalon’s seats strike the balance of comfort and support just right. In the back, there is an abundance of legroom that allows passengers to stretch out. Headroom is fine for most adults. Infotainment Toyota has installed the latest version of Entune for the 2019 Avalon. While looking somewhat dated with a muted color palette and dull screen, Entune retains its ease of use. The menus with large touchscreen buttons make it very easy to move around the system, along with clearly marked buttons and knobs sitting on either side. Toyota has also got with times and made the Avalon the first model to feature CarPlay integration. Those wanting Android Auto will need to wait until 2020. If there is an Achilles heel to the ES 350, that would be Lexus’ Remote Touch. I have written numerously about how using this system is not only a pain, but very distracting when driving. Take for example changing an XMSirius station. Look at the screen to see where the cursor is. Use the touchpad to move the cursor to the station you want, making sure to keep an eye on the screen. Press down on the touchpad to make the selection, hoping you’re finger doesn’t slip and causes something else to happen. This whole routine plays out time and time again whenever you want to do something. Even Apple CarPlay which was introduced for 2019 is a pain to use with Remote Touch. There is salvation on the horizon. Earlier this year, Lexus unveiled an updated RX crossover with a touchscreen for the infotainment system. The automaker said that it will be available on other models in the coming years. Here’s to hoping the ES is one of the first recipients. Performance Both vehicles come with the choice of either a 3.5L V6 or hybrid system using a 2.5L four-cylinder. An eight-speed automatic is teamed with the V6. The hybrid uses a CVT. The 3.5 V6 has been given a bit more power for 2019, now producing 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This bump makes for a noticeable improvement in overall acceleration, feeling slightly quicker than the last ES 350 I drove. Power builds on a smooth and linear fashion. The engine is also noticeably refined, with barely a rumble coming from underneath the hood. With only a total output of 215 horsepower, the hybrid system in the Toyota Avalon may seem underpowered. This is only an issue when climbing a steep hill or needing to make an immediate pass. Otherwise, the hybrid system provides plenty of oomph for the daily drive. I like how the system seamless transitioned from electric to hybrid power with only a minimal buzz coming from the engine bay. Like other Toyota hybrids, the Avalon Hybrid can travel on electric power alone - albeit a short distance and at speeds below 25 mph. In EPA testing, the ES 350 returns 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined and the Avalon Hybrid returns 43 City/43 Highway/43 Combined. I clocked averages of 25 in the ES 350 and 40 in the Avalon Hybrid. Ride and Handling Aside from engines, the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 share another vital component. Under the skin of both models is a version of Toyota New Global Architecture (TGNA) known as GA-K. This variant provides the stiffer structure and lower-center of gravity found on other TGNA models, but allows both Toyota and Lexus to build larger front-wheel drive vehicles. In the Avalon Hybrid, the move to GA-K doesn’t change much. The last-generation model showed that you could have good driving dynamics and retain a mission of comfort. The new model continues that with slightly improved handling and sharper steering response. The ES 350 is a different story. Changing over to GA-K transforms the model from a creampuff on wheels to a luxury sedan with that can take corners without embarrassing itself. Body roll is significantly reduced and the steering responds to inputs without fuss. Neither one of these sedans will challenge the likes of the Germans or the Kia Stinger GT, but they will not fall over and cry uncle when pushed. Ride quality is still one of the impressive points for both models. On some of roughest, pothole-ladened streets that the Metro Detroit has on offer, the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 made it feel like mere ripples. Not much outside noise comes inside the cabin of either model, making them a perfect place to decompress after a long day. Verdict Let’s begin with the 2020 Avalon Hybrid. This updated sedan didn’t surprise me and that’s fine. Aside from the styling, Toyota made small changes to address certain issues of the previous-generation and build upon its strengths. Getting 40 MPG is still an impressive trait for such a big sedan. With a starting price tag of $35,560 for the gas version and $36,650 for the hybrid, the Avalon is still the one to buy if you want the luxuries of the ES without the luxury tax. The ES 350, on the other hand, is the more impressive of the two. You have to wonder if Lexus was motivated by what Toyota was able to pull off with last-generation Avalon. In a lot of ways, the ES 350 looks and feels like a proper luxury car. Add in a new platform that doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to tip over and Lexus is very close to that idea of “Experience Amazing”. The only fault is Remote Touch which sours many of the dramatic improvements. If Lexus can get that new touchscreen into the ES ASAP, I would gladly give it my “Most Improved Car of the Year” award. How I would configure a 2019 Lexus ES 350 or Toyota Avalon Hybrid Starting with the ES 350, I would skip the base model and go with the Luxury trim. This adds such items as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, and ambient lighting. On top of this, I would add Blind Spot Monitoring package and a power rear sunshade. With destination, I'm out the door with a final price of $45,540. For the Avalon Hybrid, I would pick the XSE. This is positioned as the sporty model with various exterior treatments including a mesh insert for the grille. Other standard equipment includes a moonroof, leatherette and suede upholstery, and wireless phone charging. The only two options I would tick are the Ruby Flare Pearl paint and 14-Speaker JBL Audio System. Add destination and the final price comes to $41,480. Alternatives Genesis G80: A perennial favorite, the G80 slots between the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 in terms of price - $41,750. It comes showered with loads of standard equipment and an excellent engine lineup. It cannot match the ES and Avalon in terms of interior design, but provides a more modern and easier to understand infotainment system. Ride quality is similar in all three vehicles, but the ES and Avalon have a slight edge in handling. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2019 Make: Lexus Model: ES 350 Trim: Luxury Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve with Dual VVT-i V6 Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600 Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26 Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky Base Price: $42,755 As Tested Price: $45,955 (Includes $1,025 Destination Charge)* Options: Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking - $1,065.00 18-Inch Split Five-Spoke Alloy Noise Reduction Wheels - $950.00 Wood and Leather Trimmed Steering Wheel - $300.00 Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00 *No window sticker was provided for the ES 350. This is me taking a guess as to final price and options. Year: 2019 Make: Toyota Model: Avalon Hybrid Trim: Limited Engine: 2.5L 16-valve DOHC with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder, 650V Electric Motor Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT Horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 5,700 (Gas); 118 (88 kW) (Electric); 215 (Total Output) Torque @ RPM: 163 @ 3,600-5,200 (Gas) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 43/43/43 Curb Weight: 3,715 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky Base Price: $42,800 As Tested Price: $45,118 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge) Options: Advanced Safety Package - $1,150.00 Carpet Mat Package - $248.00
  18. Toyota and Suzuki have announce plans to formalize a technology alliance. Suzuki will purchase approximately $454 million of Toyota stock while Toyota will acquire approximately $908 million in Suzuki shares for a 4.94 percent stake in the company. The two companies will share technology and platforms. Toyota will provide technology for electrification while Suzuki will provide platforms for small vehicles. Both companies will collaborate in the area of autonomous driving technology. The two companies already have an agreement where Toyota will provide Suzuki badged variants of the RAV-4 and Corolla Estate for the European market, while a Suzuki model will be built at Toyota's Derbyshire plant in the UK. Toyota will get Suzuki's new compact vehicle engines for the Euro market, while both will co-develop hybrid vehicles for the Indian market. From the sounds of it, none of the technology swap will be seen here in the U.S., but it does make us wonder about the small car agreement that Toyota has with Mazda to build the Toyota Yaris.
  19. A rumor has been leaked that the next generation of Toyota Tundra, coming in 2021, would have a twin-turbo V6 combined with an electric motor for its top trim trucks. The tipster posted to TFLtruck.com saying that the new motor would be based on the existing 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 found in the Lexus LS and LC 500h. It would have around 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque and able to achieve over 30 mpg highway. In the Lexi, the engine produces 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and manages 33 mpg highways. Our suspicion is that Toyota is making up the deficit by filling the bigger Tundra with bigger electric motors and adding an expected 10-speed automatic, up from the current 6-speed. Currently, the Tundra uses two V8s for its powertrain, a 4.6 liter making 310hp and 327 lb-ft of torque and a 5.7 liter making 381hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Neither engine gets better than 20 mpg currently. The next generation Toyota Tundra will be using an all-new platform dubbed F1 and will likely remain in Texas for production. View full article
  20. A rumor has been leaked that the next generation of Toyota Tundra, coming in 2021, would have a twin-turbo V6 combined with an electric motor for its top trim trucks. The tipster posted to TFLtruck.com saying that the new motor would be based on the existing 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 found in the Lexus LS and LC 500h. It would have around 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque and able to achieve over 30 mpg highway. In the Lexi, the engine produces 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and manages 33 mpg highways. Our suspicion is that Toyota is making up the deficit by filling the bigger Tundra with bigger electric motors and adding an expected 10-speed automatic, up from the current 6-speed. Currently, the Tundra uses two V8s for its powertrain, a 4.6 liter making 310hp and 327 lb-ft of torque and a 5.7 liter making 381hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Neither engine gets better than 20 mpg currently. The next generation Toyota Tundra will be using an all-new platform dubbed F1 and will likely remain in Texas for production.
  21. Toyota Motor North America Reports April 2019 Sales RAV4 sales up 10.1 percent; a best-ever April Tacoma up 8.3 percent; a best-ever April and the 18th consecutive month of increased sales Corolla Hatchback sales increased 14.2 percent; a best-ever April NXh sales up 13.0 percent; a best-ever April and the 19th consecutive best-ever month PLANO, Texas (May 1, 2019) – Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) today reported April 2019 sales of 183,866 vehicles, a decrease of 4.4 percent on a volume basis and a decrease of 8.2 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis versus April 2018. Toyota division posted April sales of 162,506 units, down 4.8 percent on a volume basis and down 8.6 percent on a DSR basis. Lexus division posted April sales of 21,360 vehicles, down 1.3 percent on a volume basis and down 5.3 percent on a DSR basis. April 2019 Highlights Tacoma up 8.3 percent; a best-ever April, with 18 consecutive months of increased sales Toyota light trucks marked a best-ever April, with 102,074 in sales RAV4 sales up of 10.1 percent; a best-ever April Corolla Hatchback sales increased 14.2 percent; a best-ever April Yaris sales up 21.6 percent Mirai sales increased 165.8 percent; a best-ever April LX sales up 4.9 percent ES sales increased by 8.7 percent NXh sales up 13.0 percent; a best-ever April and the 19th consecutive best-ever month RXh sales increased 30.4 percent Lexus Hybrid sales up 60.9 percent Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume

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