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Found 387 results

  1. It has been a long time coming, but finally, we have gotten our first look at the upcoming 2020 Toyota Supra. The SupraMKV forums obtained a photo of the upcoming sports car in a transporter with most of the car cover removed from it. Comparing this photo with the FT-1 concept from a few years back, Toyota's designers toned down the front end. The nose isn't as pointy and the bumper has three large intakes - not two like the concept. It also appears the bubble roof has carried over onto the production model. As we reported back in June, the Supra will come with two engines from BMW; the 2.0L turbo-four (265 horsepower) and 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six (335 horsepower). This will be paired with an eight-speed automatic. Toyota will be revealing the Supra next month at the Detroit Auto Show. In the meantime, we have pictures of the FT-1 Concept, a camouflaged Supra prototype, and the production model for your perusal. Source: SupraMKV.com Pic Credit: SupraMKV.com View full article
  2. William Maley

    2020 Toyota Supra Finally is Revealed Sans Camo

    It has been a long time coming, but finally, we have gotten our first look at the upcoming 2020 Toyota Supra. The SupraMKV forums obtained a photo of the upcoming sports car in a transporter with most of the car cover removed from it. Comparing this photo with the FT-1 concept from a few years back, Toyota's designers toned down the front end. The nose isn't as pointy and the bumper has three large intakes - not two like the concept. It also appears the bubble roof has carried over onto the production model. As we reported back in June, the Supra will come with two engines from BMW; the 2.0L turbo-four (265 horsepower) and 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six (335 horsepower). This will be paired with an eight-speed automatic. Toyota will be revealing the Supra next month at the Detroit Auto Show. In the meantime, we have pictures of the FT-1 Concept, a camouflaged Supra prototype, and the production model for your perusal. Source: SupraMKV.com Pic Credit: SupraMKV.com
  3. The past couple of years has seen a lot of talk about consumers are turning away from cars towards trucks and utility vehicles. U.S. automakers have responded to this trend by announcing cuts to their car lineup - General Motors being the latest one. But other automakers are being more cautious. Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America told a gathering at the Detroit Economic Club last week that car sales are reaching the point of bottoming out - just under 30 percent in November sales. Unlike the American brands, Lentz isn't giving up on cars as they represent more than 4 million compact, midsize, and near-luxury cars sold to buyers. "There’s no way I’m going to walk away from that. We are always going to have a bias toward passenger cars,” said Lentz. The Associated Press reports that sales of passenger cars "are on pace to be 800,000 vehicles below 2017, while truck and SUV sales should increase by the same amount." Source: Associated Press View full article
  4. The past couple of years has seen a lot of talk about consumers are turning away from cars towards trucks and utility vehicles. U.S. automakers have responded to this trend by announcing cuts to their car lineup - General Motors being the latest one. But other automakers are being more cautious. Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America told a gathering at the Detroit Economic Club last week that car sales are reaching the point of bottoming out - just under 30 percent in November sales. Unlike the American brands, Lentz isn't giving up on cars as they represent more than 4 million compact, midsize, and near-luxury cars sold to buyers. "There’s no way I’m going to walk away from that. We are always going to have a bias toward passenger cars,” said Lentz. The Associated Press reports that sales of passenger cars "are on pace to be 800,000 vehicles below 2017, while truck and SUV sales should increase by the same amount." Source: Associated Press
  5. Toyota has been on a quest to shed its ho-hum image for the past few years. We found their efforts to be somewhat mixed in terms of the design and powertrains, but applaud them for trying. Their latest attempt is the 2020 Corolla sedan which debuted last night before heading off to the LA Auto Show in a couple of weeks. The basic shape of the Corolla isn't that much different from the outgoing model with slab sides and similar profile. The front and rear end varies on the trim. L, LE, and XLE feature a more conservative look with a larger lower grille for the front and clean styling for the rear. SE and XSE models get front end styling similar to the Kia Forte with a narrow top grille and fang-like headlights. Around back sits a faux rear diffuser and chrome-tip exhaust system. Compared to the hatchback, the Corolla sedan is about 2.4-inches longer. The interior appears to be the same as the Corolla hatchback with a modern dash design and better materials. A 7-inch touchscreen is standard on the L, while higher trims get an 8-inch screen. SE and XSE models get new front seats with slightly more bolstering. Two engines will be on offer for the Corolla. A revised version of the 1.8L four-cylinder used in the current Corolla will be used in the L, LE, and XLE. Toyota didn't provide any numbers, but did say the engine will provide "more horsepower and better fuel efficiency." SE and XSE get the 2.0L four used in the Corolla hatchback produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A hybrid variant will be coming in the future. Most Corollas will come equipped with a CVT, while a six-speed manual is available on the SE. A key change we're happy to see is the Corolla sedan moving to Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA). This means a wider track, multi-link setup for the rear, stiffer structure, and improved steering. These changes should result in a better to drive model. Toyota will be equipping the 2020 Corolla with a number of active safety features as standard. This includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and lane-keeping assist. No word on pricing, but the 2020 Corolla will arrive next spring. Gallery: 2020 Toyota Corolla Source: Toyota All-New 2020 Toyota Corolla Ready to Rock the Sedan World All-New Dynamic Design TNGA Platform for Outstanding Agility and Comfort New 169 Horsepower, 2.0-liter Dynamic Force Engine Available Dynamic-Shift CVT or Six-Speed Manual Transmission Standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 Standard Entune 3.0 Audio with Wi-Fi Connect, Amazon Alexa, and Apple CarPlay Compatibility CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2018) -- With more than 46 million Toyota Corollas sold globally since its introduction in 1966, it would be difficult to find a driver who did not recognize the name. Everyone, it seems, has a Corolla story. Many, though are going to be doing double takes when they see the re-imagined and reconfigured 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan. And that’s exactly the point. The 12th-generation Toyota Corolla made its arrival in two chapters: the all-new Corolla hatchback arrived earlier this year, and now comes the current best-selling Corolla body style, the sedan. Both are based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which is far more than a new body structure, bringing together new approaches to engineering, design, assembly, and materials. TNGA transforms both Corolla styles into drivers’ delights while also bolstering the model’s renowned value and reliability. Both draw from the same DNA and share powertrains. It’s no surprise, then, that the 2020 Corolla sedan dramatically elevates this model’s focus on comfort and refinement while also infusing it with the Corolla hatchback’s feisty personality. The Corolla sedan’s bold new look is a perfect reflection of the bumper-to-bumper, wheels-to-roof transformation that has taken place. The TNGA platform means an available engine that produces more power than its predecessor yet delivers better fuel efficiency. TNGA imbues the Corolla sedan with greater agility, yet also with its smoothest, quietest ride. TNGA also means an elevated feeling of quality in every surface, switch and control the driver sees and touches. And, critically, TNGA delivers on Toyota’s commitment to driver and passenger safety with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety systems – standard on every Corolla sedan model. Design Transformation Toyota shook up the midsize sedan ranks with the new-generation Camry, and now the compact sedan segment is in for a jolt with the 2020 Corolla sedan. From every angle, the new Corolla sedan looks lower and leaner, tauter and tighter. Powerful fender flares and generously curved fender top surfaces accent its sculpted, athletic core. The design team called its working concept “shooting robust,” because they were shooting for a robust, confidence-inspiring stance. Yet, they had to maintain ample space for practical, real-world use. That’s why people buy sedans, after all. The 2020 Corolla sedan rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, like its predecessor, yet any commonality ends there. Corolla sedan’s dynamic performance and stance benefit greatly from wider front (+0.47 in.) and rear (+0.87 in.) track dimensions. The front overhang was shortened by 1.3 in., and the rear overhang extended by more than half an inch. Height was reduced 0.8 in., and the hood lowered 1.4 in. for better forward visibility, made possible by mounting the engine lower. Those changes, plus many others, reduce the center of gravity by 0.39 in. That’s just one part of the transformation that has turned the Corolla sedan into a highly nimble, engaging machine to drive. The bold front fascia details vary by model grade, with the SE and XSE putting on the sportiest face, including a body-color chin spoiler and aero stabilizing fins to emphasize the wide stance. The slim, J-shaped Bi-Beam LED headlamps wrap deeply into the front fenders and give the Corolla sedan a steely stare and a distinct nighttime signature. The sporty SE and XSE grades use triple J-shaped clearance lamps with LED light guides along with LED turn signals, creating a unique design signature. The available Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) provides a wider field of light and steers the low beam in the direction of the turn, based on steering angle and vehicle speed. The rear leaves a distinct lighting impression as well, with narrow combination lamps that wrap deeply into the fenders. All 2020 Corolla sedan models use LEDs, the type and style varying by model grade. The sporty grades feature smoked outer light lenses. What better way to showcase the Corolla sedan’s dramatic new sheet metal than with a dramatic new color? The new hue is a highly iridescent Celestite Grey Metallic. The rest of the palette includes Blizzard Pearl, Super White, Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Barcelona Red, Blue Crush Metallic and Blueprint. Big Wheels Keep on Turning The Corolla sedan transformation continues where the rubber meets the road. For the first time, 18-inch wheels are on the menu, standard on the SE and XSE grades. These multi-spoke alloys get their great looks from a complex machining technique paired with deep surfacing and dark accents. The LE grade rides on 16-inch steel wheels with covers. The XLE grade gets new 16-inch alloy wheels with three-dimensional twisted spokes. Cabin Fever Simple. Warm. Inviting. Sensuous. These descriptors, seemingly from the luxury car realm, inspired designers’ efforts when visualizing Corolla sedan’s cabin. The result is called “sensuous minimalism.” It’s equal parts sporty and elegant, and, as always, Corolla-comfortable and durable. A neat instrument panel lends an open, harmonious feeling thanks to its slimmer upper surface, with character lines that interlock with the door trim to convey an airy atmosphere. At the center of the instrument panel, within easy view for the driver and front passenger, sits a high-resolution 8-inch multimedia touchscreen for the standard Entune 3.0 multimedia system on all grades except the L grade, which gets a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen. The center stack screen provides access to vehicle settings, audio controls, navigation, and Entune 3.0 apps. Climate controls, located below the multimedia portal, are fashioned in a bright, highly visible digitized configuration. The center stack flows into a wider console, with an armrest that’s nearly 0.8-in. longer than in the previous model, for greater comfort. The cockpit provides an engaging interior space that surrounds the driver while offering a spacious environment for all passengers. Compared to the previous Corolla sedan, the instrument panel, cowl, hood and beltline height are all lowered to increase visibility and create the interior’s open feel. High-gloss materials are paired with matte elements – silver accents with piano black and available contrasting stitching – to accentuate a premium look and feel. Minimized gaps between buttons and switches, along with the elimination of unnecessary lettering on switchgear, adds to the high-class ambience. Consistency in all materials’ and elements’ shape, color, grain, and gloss maximize continuity and aesthetic quality. Available ambient lighting illuminates the front door trim, console tray and front cupholder. The tray can hold small items such as a smartphone or wallet, or, when so equipped, houses the optional Qi wireless device charging pad. Terraced cup holders adapt to various-sized beverage containers. Digital Tools The Corolla sedan comes standard with a 4.2-inch thin film transistor (TFT) Multi-Information Display (MID), with an available 7-inch MID located between the high-grade tachometer and speedometer. With the larger display, the driver can switch between analog and digital speedometer styles. Featuring rich graphics, the easy-to-read MID can be custom configured by the driver and offers intuitive operation to access information for the audio and multimedia systems, navigation system, vehicle information including fuel efficiency and tire pressure, the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and other important parameters and system settings. Front Row Seating From behind the wheel, the 2020 Corolla sedan feels quite different than its predecessor. Positioning the driver’s hip point 0.98-in. lower and 1.57-in. further rearward yields an optimized driving position. The result not only improves comfort, but also helps to lower the vehicle’s center of gravity and improves front/rear weight distribution. These changes, along with the reconfigured lower beltline, slimmer instrument panel, slimmer A-pillars, and repositioned side view mirrors, result in more expansive outward visibility. The front seats of the XSE and SE grades debut a new design featuring a unique shape with a headrest that nestles into the shoulder area, while the XLE and LE grades offer a seatback with a new U-shaped pattern. This major departure from a conventional square seatback design creates a sense of youthful, sporty appeal while improving comfort. The SE and XSE grades’ front seats offer thin, yet broad shoulder supports, evocative of a competition bucket seat, which overlap solid and thick side bolsters to achieve enhanced holding performance. Seating materials include standard cloth or, in higher grades, SofTex. New interior color schemes include several striking two-tone accents. Choices include Blue/Black (black as the main color with blue highlights), Moonstone (light gray as the main color with dark gray highlights) and new Macadamia (a warm, inviting cream color). Lots of Room, Not Noise The Corolla sedan may break tradition in the styling department, but it keeps to Toyota tradition when it comes to passenger room and comfort. The rear seat area retains excellent headroom, despite the lower roofline. Legroom is also plentiful, fulfilling a basic mission of sedans. What you don’t get in the 2020 Corolla sedan is noise. Powertrain and road noise have been culled thanks to revised drivetrain efficiencies, plus the widespread implementation of sound-absorbing materials, including Thinsulate, sealants, foams, and silencers. The TNGA structure utilizes additional seals in its body panel gaps to insulate noise penetration and enhance air-sealing performance. As one example, the floor silencer pad is now one large piece, instead of many smaller elements. The inner and outer dash silencers are thicker. Combine all that with Corolla sedan’s quieter powertrain, and it’s one tranquil ride. Cooler Where It Counts Corolla sedan’s fully redesigned air conditioning system is more compact, more efficient and more effective. One example of the smarter climate control is the innovative twin-layer recirculation/fresh air induction unit: In cold climates, it will automatically send dehumidified fresh air to the upper cabin to reduce glass fogging while promoting recirculation of warm cabin air in lower areas. System controls, located below the multimedia portal, are fashioned in a bright, highly-visible digitized configuration. The climate control interface features a piano black background with satin and silver accents for a premium, high-quality look and feel. Multi-choice Multimedia The 2020 Corolla sedan comes ready to pair with the driver’s digital life. The standard Entune 3.0 Audio includes an available 8-in. touchscreen display; six speakers; Apple CarPlay compatibility; Amazon Alexa; Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect; Safety Connect; Wi-Fi Connect; Scout GPS Link Compatible; Siri Eyes Free; auxiliary audio jack and USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control; AM/FM; MP3/WMA playback capability; hands-free phone capability; voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth; customizable home screen; and weather/traffic info via Entune 3.0 App Suite. The LE and SE grades get Entune 3.0 Audio with an 8-inch touch screen and 2 USB ports. Entune 3.0 Audio Plus, standard on XSE, XLE and optional on SE CVT, adds an HD Radio and Weather/Traffic info; SiriusXM with Cache Radio; Entune 3.0 Connected Services; Service Connect, and Remote Connect. Also available on the SE CVT is Entune 3.0 Audio Plus with JBL. Topping the range is Entune 3.0 Audio Premium that’s optional on XSE and XLE. The package includes a JBL nine-speaker, 800-watt system with Clari-Fi; Dynamic Voice Recognition; Dynamic Navigation; Dynamic Points of Interest Search; and Destination Assist Connect. JBL Audio system highlights include: Next-Generation HID8 amplifier creates 800-watts of total power Free-standing horn tweeters located in the A-pillar at ear level for optimal high-frequency performance 6.7-inch door subwoofers for powerful deep-bass response Sealed inner door panels promote cleaner, more powerful bass Midrange speakers provide full-range sound for rear passengers Clari-Fi technology analyzes, rebuilds, and restores audio signals that were lost in the digital compression process Featured apps for Entune systems include: Safety Connect® In the event of an accident or other emergency, assistance can be dispatched directly to the vehicle’s GPS location. Other connected services available on the Corolla include airbag-linked Automatic Emergency Notification, Manual Emergency Notification (SOS button) and Stolen Vehicle Locator. Service Connect Provides updates on everything from fuel level and mileage to maintenance alerts and more via email or the mobile app. Remote Connect Can lock and unlock doors, start the engine, locate the vehicle in a parking lot and monitor guest drivers. Wi-Fi Connect – powered by Verizon Connects up to five devices using the in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Destination Assist Connect Directions and destinations delivered by a real person with 24-hour, en-route navigation assistance. Dynamic Navigation Provides the most up-to-date map data, routes and POI on its embedded system. (Available with Entune 3.0 Premium Audio.) Dynamic Force is with You The 2020 Corolla sedan L, LE, and XLE grades will use the 1.8-liter engine (2ZR-FAE) found in the previous generation, yet with more horsepower and better fuel efficiency. The XSE and SE grades are powered by a completely-new 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine (M20A-FKS). This new engine delivers more performance while using less fuel. Remarkably, the new Corolla sedan engine is physically smaller and lighter, helping to lower the car’s center of gravity and improve its overall balance. Here are some of the tech bits on Corolla sedan’s new available engine: The new Dynamic Force engine gets it high power and efficiency from a combination of high compression ratio (13:1), Toyota D4-S fuel injection combining direct and secondary port injectors, high-speed combustion, VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing on the intake side and VVT-i on the exhaust. VVT-iE uses an electric motor instead of oil pressure to control the variable valve timing. A two-discharge port oil pump and a variable cooling system with electric water pump help maximize engine performance and efficiency. The more efficient cooling system also ensures quicker cabin heating on cold days and quicker cool-down when the air conditioner is used. All of those technologies, along with ultra-low internal friction, yield a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent, very high for a passenger vehicle engine. You can’t feel thermal efficiency, but you can feel the effects of 169 peak horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb.-ft peak torque at 4,800 rpm. Shifting Smarter Sedan buyer trends are shifting, and the 2020 Corolla sedan is right there with them. The new Dynamic-Shift CVT (continuously variable transmission) combines the smooth, fuel-efficient performance of a CVT with a more direct driving feel of a traditional geared automatic. The key to its distinct performance feel is a physical first gear used for start-off acceleration, before handing off to the CVT’s pulley system. Because the launch gear is handling the higher input load at launch, the size of the CVT’s belt and pulley components could be reduced, yielding shifting speeds that are 20 percent faster than in a conventional CVT. High-speed, high-response gear-shifting technology, using a multiplate wet clutch, switches power from the gearset to the CVT’s belt and pulleys. The Direct Shift CVT has simulated 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic steps along with Sport Mode. Synchronization of the increasing engine revs and vehicle speed gives a linear acceleration feel. For those who want to shift for themselves, the 2020 Corolla sedan offers an intriguing choice with the all-new 6-speed iMT (intelligent manual transmission). Like some premium sports cars, it features downshift rev-matching control, automatically detecting when the driver is shifting and quickly rev-matching to make any driver a stick-shift pro. New control logic improves acceleration feel when starting off, and improved shift feel makes this a stick shift you want to use. Increased use of micro polishing on gear teeth reduces cabin noise. Standard Hill-start Assist Control (also on the CVT models), helps prevent the dreaded roll-back when starting off on an incline. Platform: The Strong, Silent Type A super-rigid structure, lower center of gravity and highly refined suspension tuning endow the Corolla sedan with exemplary handling agility and ride comfort, along with a distinctive driving personality. This high-strength platform is fortified through the increased use of ultra-high-tensile steel as well as the application of new structural adhesive technology for enhanced body rigidity and occupant safety. Specifically, torsional rigidity is improved by 60 percent compared to its predecessor. The new body uses a totally new multi-load path front structure to absorb frontal collision impact forces and disperses collision energy to help prevent deformation of the occupant compartment. High-tensile steel in the rocker panel reinforcements and the upper kick panel; wider underbody side members; strengthened rear bumper reinforcements, and thicker dashboard panel, floor panels, and underbody tunnel all improve energy dispersion in the event of a collision. A squared figure-of-eight reinforced ring-shaped structure around the door openings, along with larger-diameter impact beams for the front and rear doors, are designed to help in the event of a side collision. Sport Sedan Handling, Sedan Comfort The 2020 Corolla sedan looks the part of a fun-to-drive sport sedan, and the chassis delivers on the promise. The multi-link rear suspension is a major advance over the torsion beam setup used in the previous model, more adept at comfortably absorbing bumps while also ratcheting up agility. The MacPherson strut front suspension, totally revised for this platform, uses sophisticated techniques, including a strut bearing mounted coaxially with the kingpin axis. This feature allows smoother upward suspension travel, especially while traversing bumps, resulting in more comfortable steering feel. Overall, front and rear suspension friction has been reduced by 40 percent. Newly developed shock absorbers have been tuned to provide optimal damping force for dynamic handling and stability with exemplary ride comfort. Foundation for Safety The 2020 Corolla sedan features eight standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. All Corolla sedan models come equipped with a standard backup camera. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 Significantly, all 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan models are equipped standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, an advanced suite of integrated active and pre-collision safety features. PCS (Pre-Collision System): Uses both a millimeter wave radar sensor and a forward-facing camera sensor for highly accurate detection of objects such as a vehicle or pedestrian or bicyclist in front of the vehicle. If the PCS determines there is a high probability of a collision, or if it deems a collision is unavoidable, the system is designed to automatically activate the brakes to help avoid the collision entirely or mitigate the impact force. DRCC (Dynamic Radar Cruise Control): Designed for highway use, has a vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode that utilizes a millimeter wave radar sensor and camera sensor to maintain a pre-set follow distance from the preceding vehicle. The Full-speed DRCC version, standard on CVT models, is also capable of low-speed following, including stop-and-go traffic. The Corolla sedan is designed to stop when the vehicle ahead comes to a stop, maintaining an appropriate distance to it. The driver enjoys more relaxed driving in situations that can be annoying and fatiguing, while also gaining a measure of safety. LDA (Lane Departure Alert) with Steer Assist: Provides the driver with audible and visual warnings (vehicle positioning warning image shown in the Multi-Information Display) and, if necessary, is designed to provide steering assistance if it determines the possibility of deviation from the driving lane. It is also designed to detect vehicle sway (excess weaving within the driving lane) that might indicate driver distraction, inattention or drowsiness. LTA (Lane Tracing Assist): LTA, available on CVT-equipped models, is enabled when LDA and DRCC are both on and active. LTA employs a lane centering function that is designed to make constant steering inputs to help the driver keep the vehicle in the center of its lane. LTA is designed for uses on relatively straight highways to preemptively avoid unwanted lane departures and reduce driver fatigue. AHB (Automatic High Beams): When enabled, the AHB system uses an in-vehicle camera to help detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of preceding vehicles, then automatically switches between high and low beams as appropriate. RSA (Road Sign Assist): Designed to recognize speed limit, Stop, Yield, and Do Not Enter signs and displays them on the vehicles MID to help assist the driver. Blind Spot Monitor is a standard or optional feature, depending on model grade. When an approaching vehicle is detected, the system is designed to alert the driver using indicators on the outside mirrors. Brake Hold, when engaged, is a convenient technology that helps reduces driver workload while waiting at a traffic light or while driving in traffic. When the driver depresses the accelerator pedal, Brake Hold releases. The 2020 Corolla will be available at dealerships Spring 2019. View full article
  6. William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2018 Toyota Prius C Four

    When Toyota introduced the Prius C back in 2012, it served two purposes. It was the entry-level model for then growing Prius family (Prius, Prius Plug-In, and Prius V). Plus, it was part of a small group of vehicles that could achieve almost 50 mpg if driven efficiently. But Toyota really hasn’t made any changes to the Prius C since it was launched, only making minor changes to the feature set for the past few years. Meanwhile, the rest of the Prius lineup has undergone significant changes with models either being dropped (Prius V) or being redesigned (Prius). For 2018, Toyota has decided to take the Prius C out of its deep freeze and make some changes. But is that enough considering larger hybrid models return higher fuel economy figures, and are slightly more expensive? The answer is no. Toyota has given the Prius C a much needed exterior update with a revised front end (new hood shape and slimmer grille), crossover-esq design touches (black wheel arches, faux skid plates, and a set of roof rails), and a set of 15-inch alloy wheels. The Prius C is one of the few Toyota models that come in a number of vibrant colors like the Tangerine Orange on this tester. It did make it look like a giant Jack-O-Lantern, but it also gave this small model some personality. The Prius C’s interior design is a bit odd. While it lacks some of the craziness found in the standard Prius (see the Storm Trooper inspired center console and stack), there are some decisions that left me scratching my head. For example, there is a storage shelf behind the steering wheel. I not sure what you can put in there aside from spare change or snacks to eat while on the move. Almost all of the materials used in the Prius C are hard plastics. Usually, I would be giving this pass considering it is a subcompact vehicle and this one of the sacrifices needed to meet the low price. But this particular Prius C has an as-tested price of $26,479. For that price, I do wish Toyota had stuck some soft-touch material to ease some of the pain on the wallet. The manual adjustments weren’t the smoothest and it took me a few days to find a position that didn’t have me constantly fidgeting around. This is disappointing considering the seat itself is nice to sit on with soft padding and decent support for long trips. In the back seat, headroom is surprisingly good due to the tall height of the roof. Like other subcompacts, the Prius C’s rear legroom is on the tight side. All Prius Cs come with a 6.1-inch touchscreen with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Higher end models like my Four tester come with navigation. The screen is a bit on the small side, which makes it hard to hit some of the touchscreen buttons. At least the screen is easy to read and bright. One slight disappointment is the slowness of the system. Compared to other hybrid vehicles, Entune is a few ticks slower when going through the various screens. The Prius C’s hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 1.5L Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder, 45 kW electric motor, Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack, and a CVT. Total output is rated at 99 horsepower. If your driving takes place mostly in urban areas, then the Prius C is a fine car. At speeds under 45 mph, the powertrain gets the vehicle moving a decent clip. But there is a fair amount of buzzing coming from the engine and CVT. On rural roads and highways, the limited performance of hybrid powertrain makes itself known as the model records a 0-60 mph of over 12 seconds. Passing is best done when there are no vehicles appearing in your eyesight. EPA fuel economy figures for the Prius C are 48 City/43 Highway/46 Combined. The figures are disappointing when you consider the likes of the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq return higher figures - 54/50/52 for the Prius and 55/54/55 in the Ioniq. My average for the Prius C was 49.6 mpg, very disappointing when compared to the 60 mpg in the Prius and 62 mpg in the Ioniq Blue I have reviewed previously. The reason for the poor fuel economy showing in the Prius C comes down Toyota not making any changes to the powertrain since its launch in 2012. Handling in the Prius C is quite surprising with excellent body control and feeling quite nimble around the corners. The low-rolling resistance tires will complain if you decide to push it. Where the Prius C shines is in an urban area where the compact size and tight turning radius make it easy to navigate tight spots. Ride quality is about average with most bumps being smoothed over. One item to be aware of is the abundance of road and wind noise. Be prepared to crank the radio up to drown out most of the road noise. We come now to the Prius C’s big problem. The base C One begins at $20,630. My Four tester begins at $24,965, which already makes it a tough sell when you consider that the larger Prius Two is only $280 less and returns higher fuel economy figures. With a couple of options and destination, the as-tested price came to $26,479. Again, you can get into larger Prius or the Hyundai Ioniq that not only offer better fuel economy figures but more features for a similar price. Gallery: 2018 Toyota Prius C Four Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Prius C, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: Prius C Trim: Four Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive: 1.5L DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i, Electric Motor, Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery Pack Driveline: eCVT, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 73 @ 4,800 (Gas); 60 @ 0 (Electric) Torque @ RPM: 82 @ 4,000 (Gas); 125 @ 0 (Electric) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 48/43/46 Curb Weight: 2,530 lbs Location of Manufacture: Isawa, Iwate, Japan Base Price: $24,965 As Tested Price: $26,479 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Special Color - $395.00 Carpet Floor Mats/Cargo Mat - $224.00 View full article
  7. Beginning next month, Toyota will slow down one of its three assembly lines at its Georgetown, Kentucky plant. Aside from building the Avalon and Lexus ES, Georgetown is home to the Camry - the best-selling car in the U.S. for the past 16 years. “The auto industry is cyclical, and our normal process is to proactively plan months in advance for volume adjustments,” said Rick Hesterberg, a Toyota spokesman to Bloomberg. Hesterberg declined to comment on how much production would be reduced by the slowdown. He did say that none of the 8,000 permanent workers or 1,500 temps will be laid off during this slowdown. Demand for the Camry has been slipping for the past few years as buyers are opting for SUVs and trucks. So far in 2018, Camry sales have 6.1 percent when compared to the same time last year. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  8. Beginning next month, Toyota will slow down one of its three assembly lines at its Georgetown, Kentucky plant. Aside from building the Avalon and Lexus ES, Georgetown is home to the Camry - the best-selling car in the U.S. for the past 16 years. “The auto industry is cyclical, and our normal process is to proactively plan months in advance for volume adjustments,” said Rick Hesterberg, a Toyota spokesman to Bloomberg. Hesterberg declined to comment on how much production would be reduced by the slowdown. He did say that none of the 8,000 permanent workers or 1,500 temps will be laid off during this slowdown. Demand for the Camry has been slipping for the past few years as buyers are opting for SUVs and trucks. So far in 2018, Camry sales have 6.1 percent when compared to the same time last year. Source: Bloomberg
  9. Toyota has been doing their best to make the Camry and Avalon a bit more exciting to help shed their plain image. Their latest attempt involves Toyota Racing Development (TRD) to work their magic on these two sedans. The end result is the Camry and Avalon TRD which will be showing up at the LA Auto Show in a couple of weeks. The changes begin under the skin as TRD fits new shock absorbers and springs that drops both models by 0.6-inches; thicker underbody braces, and larger brakes. Camry TRD models get thicker sway bars to improve overall handling, The Avalon TRD does without the sway bars as Toyota believes buyers of this model still want a little bit of comfort. Power comes from the 3.5L V6 found in the regular Camry and Avalon with 301 horsepower. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic. TRD fits their catback exhaust system that allows for more of a growl. Both models wear a body kit that includes a front splitter, side skirts, a rear diffuser, and a decklid spoiler. Red accents on various trim pieces and 19-inch wheels finished in black complete the look. Toyota says both TRD models will be available next fall. Gallery: 2020 Toyota Avalon and Camry TRD Source: Toyota Toyota Racing Development Turns Up Heat for Camry and Avalon Toyota’s First-Ever Camry TRD and Avalon TRD Track-Tuned Chassis Upgrades Aggressive Cat-Back Dual Exhaust Exclusive Matte-Black 19-Inch Alloy Wheels Calty-Designed Aero kit Unique TRD Interior Trim Limited Availability PLANO, Texas (Nov. 14, 2018) – Toyota is once again bringing its racing pedigree to the road as it unveils the Camry TRD and Avalon TRD, two sedans with an appetite for curves and a distinct exhaust note bristling with attitude. With aero-enhanced styling by Calty, Toyota’s U.S. design studio, and chassis performance fortified by Toyota Racing Development (TRD), these revved-up Camry and Avalon models are the track-tuned sedans that enthusiasts have been asking for. Many Toyota enthusiasts already know the equity behind the TRD badge seen on the brand’s hardcore, off-road-ready pickups and SUVs. Conquering the Baja, however, is just one of many feats won by TRD vehicles across the motorsports spectrum. Now, TRD brings its track tuning to sedans that blend greater agility, precision and body control with attention-grabbing design and everyday drivability. When Toyota introduced the new-generation 2018 Camry, sales of the sporty SE and XSE versions spiked. A year later, Toyota introduced the all-new 2019 Avalon, which came in an available XSE grade for the first time ever. These sedans are stylish and fun to drive. And Toyota is pushing the limit even further with Camry TRD and Avalon TRD, both with greater track-inspired handling performance and styling. These models include all standard content from the Camry SE grade and Avalon XSE grade, combined with exclusive TRD chassis enhancements and tuning. Camry TRD and Avalon TRD will both be model year 2020 vehicles and available in fall 2019. Roaring to Go The new Camry TRD and Avalon TRD embody TRD’s holistic approach to vehicle enhancement. Notably, both are powered by Toyota’s renowned 301 horsepower DOHC 3.5-liter V6 and 8AT with sport mode and paddle shifters. The V6 breathes easier with a specially-tuned cat-back dual exhaust, giving both models a throatier idle and acceleration sound. “Track-tuned” means exactly that. TRD engineers developed the dynamic characteristics through extensive testing at Toyota Arizona Proving Ground, TMC Higashi-Fuij Proving Ground (Japan), and MotorSport Ranch (Texas). Thicker underbody braces increase torsional rigidity and unique coil springs lower both vehicles by 0.6 inches for a reduced center of gravity. Specially tuned shock absorbers and 19 x 8.5 inch matte black alloy wheels complete a suspension package that improves body control, handling agility, and steering precision. The front brakes are larger with 12.9-inch diameter rotors and dual-piston calipers compared to 12.0-inch rotors and single piston calipers found on XSE grades. Brake performance was also tuned to provide more direct feedback, matching the sporty dynamics of the vehicle. Calty gave both models striking aero elements, taking advantage of the edgier designs of the new-generation Camry and Avalon and aggressive stance of the TRD-modified chassis. The aerodynamic body kit, which includes the front splitter, side aero skirts, trunk lid spoiler, and rear diffuser, blends a bold styling element and improves high speed vehicle stability to aid in driver confidence. Add that with the red pinstriping, red painted brake calipers, and red TRD badging and both sedans have a road-hungry look. These TRD sedans will continue to deliver all the quality, dependability, and reliability that is synonymous with Toyota. Both models will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense-P, a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies, among these Pre-Collision Braking. Camry TRD Toyota’s commitment to enthusiast drivers is apparent in the level of detail that TRD and Calty poured into these models. On Camry TRD, the matte-black 19 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels are a half-inch wider, yet 3.1 pounds lighter (each) than the 19 x 8.0-inch alloy wheels on the XSE grade. Paired with standard Bridgestone Potenza 235/40R19 summer tires, this combination reduces unsprung mass, increases lateral grip, and quickens turn-in response. Camry’s chassis is further enhanced with stiffer coil springs and front/rear sway bars for increased roll stiffness of 44% in the front and 67% in the rear. To compliment spring changes, a unique set of TRD shock absorbers were developed to control vehicle vertical and roll movement while maintaining on-road TRD ride quality. In addition to the TRD aero body features, Camry TRD wears a unique gloss black front grille with sport mesh insert and black exterior badging. Available colors include the appropriately dramatic Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic -- all three of which are two-toned -- and Midnight Black Metallic. Polished stainless steel TRD exhaust tips on the catback exhaust complete the exterior makeover. Inside, the Camry TRD driver will be seeing red – in the trim, that is. The cabin is decked out with Black Sport SofTex®-trimmed front seats with fabric inserts, red accents and red-stitched TRD embroidered headrests. The leather-wrapped steering wheel also has red stitching, and even the seatbelts are red. A shift knob with an embossed TRD logo, along with unique TRD floor and trunk mats, and a TRD MID visual start up complete the cabin upgrades. Avalon TRD TRD’s modifications work the same magic on the Avalon as they do on the Camry. Avalon TRD gets Black Sport SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with Ultra-suede inserts and red accents. It also gets red-stitched TRD embroidered headrests, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching, red seatbelts, a shift knob with an embossed TRD logo, and unique TRD floor and trunk mats. The matte-black 19 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels reduce 18 pounds of unsprung mass compared to the 19-inch wheels on the 2019 Avalon XSE. As on Camry TRD, the unbridled tone of the 301-hp V6 bellows through stainless steel TRD exhaust tips. The red pinstriping on the aero body elements, and the red seatbelts and accents complete Avalon TRD’s styling. Avalon TRD will be available in Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic. View full article
  10. Toyota has been doing their best to make the Camry and Avalon a bit more exciting to help shed their plain image. Their latest attempt involves Toyota Racing Development (TRD) to work their magic on these two sedans. The end result is the Camry and Avalon TRD which will be showing up at the LA Auto Show in a couple of weeks. The changes begin under the skin as TRD fits new shock absorbers and springs that drops both models by 0.6-inches; thicker underbody braces, and larger brakes. Camry TRD models get thicker sway bars to improve overall handling, The Avalon TRD does without the sway bars as Toyota believes buyers of this model still want a little bit of comfort. Power comes from the 3.5L V6 found in the regular Camry and Avalon with 301 horsepower. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic. TRD fits their catback exhaust system that allows for more of a growl. Both models wear a body kit that includes a front splitter, side skirts, a rear diffuser, and a decklid spoiler. Red accents on various trim pieces and 19-inch wheels finished in black complete the look. Toyota says both TRD models will be available next fall. Gallery: 2020 Toyota Avalon and Camry TRD Source: Toyota Toyota Racing Development Turns Up Heat for Camry and Avalon Toyota’s First-Ever Camry TRD and Avalon TRD Track-Tuned Chassis Upgrades Aggressive Cat-Back Dual Exhaust Exclusive Matte-Black 19-Inch Alloy Wheels Calty-Designed Aero kit Unique TRD Interior Trim Limited Availability PLANO, Texas (Nov. 14, 2018) – Toyota is once again bringing its racing pedigree to the road as it unveils the Camry TRD and Avalon TRD, two sedans with an appetite for curves and a distinct exhaust note bristling with attitude. With aero-enhanced styling by Calty, Toyota’s U.S. design studio, and chassis performance fortified by Toyota Racing Development (TRD), these revved-up Camry and Avalon models are the track-tuned sedans that enthusiasts have been asking for. Many Toyota enthusiasts already know the equity behind the TRD badge seen on the brand’s hardcore, off-road-ready pickups and SUVs. Conquering the Baja, however, is just one of many feats won by TRD vehicles across the motorsports spectrum. Now, TRD brings its track tuning to sedans that blend greater agility, precision and body control with attention-grabbing design and everyday drivability. When Toyota introduced the new-generation 2018 Camry, sales of the sporty SE and XSE versions spiked. A year later, Toyota introduced the all-new 2019 Avalon, which came in an available XSE grade for the first time ever. These sedans are stylish and fun to drive. And Toyota is pushing the limit even further with Camry TRD and Avalon TRD, both with greater track-inspired handling performance and styling. These models include all standard content from the Camry SE grade and Avalon XSE grade, combined with exclusive TRD chassis enhancements and tuning. Camry TRD and Avalon TRD will both be model year 2020 vehicles and available in fall 2019. Roaring to Go The new Camry TRD and Avalon TRD embody TRD’s holistic approach to vehicle enhancement. Notably, both are powered by Toyota’s renowned 301 horsepower DOHC 3.5-liter V6 and 8AT with sport mode and paddle shifters. The V6 breathes easier with a specially-tuned cat-back dual exhaust, giving both models a throatier idle and acceleration sound. “Track-tuned” means exactly that. TRD engineers developed the dynamic characteristics through extensive testing at Toyota Arizona Proving Ground, TMC Higashi-Fuij Proving Ground (Japan), and MotorSport Ranch (Texas). Thicker underbody braces increase torsional rigidity and unique coil springs lower both vehicles by 0.6 inches for a reduced center of gravity. Specially tuned shock absorbers and 19 x 8.5 inch matte black alloy wheels complete a suspension package that improves body control, handling agility, and steering precision. The front brakes are larger with 12.9-inch diameter rotors and dual-piston calipers compared to 12.0-inch rotors and single piston calipers found on XSE grades. Brake performance was also tuned to provide more direct feedback, matching the sporty dynamics of the vehicle. Calty gave both models striking aero elements, taking advantage of the edgier designs of the new-generation Camry and Avalon and aggressive stance of the TRD-modified chassis. The aerodynamic body kit, which includes the front splitter, side aero skirts, trunk lid spoiler, and rear diffuser, blends a bold styling element and improves high speed vehicle stability to aid in driver confidence. Add that with the red pinstriping, red painted brake calipers, and red TRD badging and both sedans have a road-hungry look. These TRD sedans will continue to deliver all the quality, dependability, and reliability that is synonymous with Toyota. Both models will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense-P, a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies, among these Pre-Collision Braking. Camry TRD Toyota’s commitment to enthusiast drivers is apparent in the level of detail that TRD and Calty poured into these models. On Camry TRD, the matte-black 19 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels are a half-inch wider, yet 3.1 pounds lighter (each) than the 19 x 8.0-inch alloy wheels on the XSE grade. Paired with standard Bridgestone Potenza 235/40R19 summer tires, this combination reduces unsprung mass, increases lateral grip, and quickens turn-in response. Camry’s chassis is further enhanced with stiffer coil springs and front/rear sway bars for increased roll stiffness of 44% in the front and 67% in the rear. To compliment spring changes, a unique set of TRD shock absorbers were developed to control vehicle vertical and roll movement while maintaining on-road TRD ride quality. In addition to the TRD aero body features, Camry TRD wears a unique gloss black front grille with sport mesh insert and black exterior badging. Available colors include the appropriately dramatic Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic -- all three of which are two-toned -- and Midnight Black Metallic. Polished stainless steel TRD exhaust tips on the catback exhaust complete the exterior makeover. Inside, the Camry TRD driver will be seeing red – in the trim, that is. The cabin is decked out with Black Sport SofTex®-trimmed front seats with fabric inserts, red accents and red-stitched TRD embroidered headrests. The leather-wrapped steering wheel also has red stitching, and even the seatbelts are red. A shift knob with an embossed TRD logo, along with unique TRD floor and trunk mats, and a TRD MID visual start up complete the cabin upgrades. Avalon TRD TRD’s modifications work the same magic on the Avalon as they do on the Camry. Avalon TRD gets Black Sport SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with Ultra-suede inserts and red accents. It also gets red-stitched TRD embroidered headrests, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching, red seatbelts, a shift knob with an embossed TRD logo, and unique TRD floor and trunk mats. The matte-black 19 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels reduce 18 pounds of unsprung mass compared to the 19-inch wheels on the 2019 Avalon XSE. As on Camry TRD, the unbridled tone of the 301-hp V6 bellows through stainless steel TRD exhaust tips. The red pinstriping on the aero body elements, and the red seatbelts and accents complete Avalon TRD’s styling. Avalon TRD will be available in Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic.
  11. Toyota has been on a quest to shed its ho-hum image for the past few years. We found their efforts to be somewhat mixed in terms of the design and powertrains, but applaud them for trying. Their latest attempt is the 2020 Corolla sedan which debuted last night before heading off to the LA Auto Show in a couple of weeks. The basic shape of the Corolla isn't that much different from the outgoing model with slab sides and similar profile. The front and rear end varies on the trim. L, LE, and XLE feature a more conservative look with a larger lower grille for the front and clean styling for the rear. SE and XSE models get front end styling similar to the Kia Forte with a narrow top grille and fang-like headlights. Around back sits a faux rear diffuser and chrome-tip exhaust system. Compared to the hatchback, the Corolla sedan is about 2.4-inches longer. The interior appears to be the same as the Corolla hatchback with a modern dash design and better materials. A 7-inch touchscreen is standard on the L, while higher trims get an 8-inch screen. SE and XSE models get new front seats with slightly more bolstering. Two engines will be on offer for the Corolla. A revised version of the 1.8L four-cylinder used in the current Corolla will be used in the L, LE, and XLE. Toyota didn't provide any numbers, but did say the engine will provide "more horsepower and better fuel efficiency." SE and XSE get the 2.0L four used in the Corolla hatchback produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A hybrid variant will be coming in the future. Most Corollas will come equipped with a CVT, while a six-speed manual is available on the SE. A key change we're happy to see is the Corolla sedan moving to Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA). This means a wider track, multi-link setup for the rear, stiffer structure, and improved steering. These changes should result in a better to drive model. Toyota will be equipping the 2020 Corolla with a number of active safety features as standard. This includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and lane-keeping assist. No word on pricing, but the 2020 Corolla will arrive next spring. Gallery: 2020 Toyota Corolla Source: Toyota All-New 2020 Toyota Corolla Ready to Rock the Sedan World All-New Dynamic Design TNGA Platform for Outstanding Agility and Comfort New 169 Horsepower, 2.0-liter Dynamic Force Engine Available Dynamic-Shift CVT or Six-Speed Manual Transmission Standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 Standard Entune 3.0 Audio with Wi-Fi Connect, Amazon Alexa, and Apple CarPlay Compatibility CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2018) -- With more than 46 million Toyota Corollas sold globally since its introduction in 1966, it would be difficult to find a driver who did not recognize the name. Everyone, it seems, has a Corolla story. Many, though are going to be doing double takes when they see the re-imagined and reconfigured 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan. And that’s exactly the point. The 12th-generation Toyota Corolla made its arrival in two chapters: the all-new Corolla hatchback arrived earlier this year, and now comes the current best-selling Corolla body style, the sedan. Both are based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which is far more than a new body structure, bringing together new approaches to engineering, design, assembly, and materials. TNGA transforms both Corolla styles into drivers’ delights while also bolstering the model’s renowned value and reliability. Both draw from the same DNA and share powertrains. It’s no surprise, then, that the 2020 Corolla sedan dramatically elevates this model’s focus on comfort and refinement while also infusing it with the Corolla hatchback’s feisty personality. The Corolla sedan’s bold new look is a perfect reflection of the bumper-to-bumper, wheels-to-roof transformation that has taken place. The TNGA platform means an available engine that produces more power than its predecessor yet delivers better fuel efficiency. TNGA imbues the Corolla sedan with greater agility, yet also with its smoothest, quietest ride. TNGA also means an elevated feeling of quality in every surface, switch and control the driver sees and touches. And, critically, TNGA delivers on Toyota’s commitment to driver and passenger safety with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety systems – standard on every Corolla sedan model. Design Transformation Toyota shook up the midsize sedan ranks with the new-generation Camry, and now the compact sedan segment is in for a jolt with the 2020 Corolla sedan. From every angle, the new Corolla sedan looks lower and leaner, tauter and tighter. Powerful fender flares and generously curved fender top surfaces accent its sculpted, athletic core. The design team called its working concept “shooting robust,” because they were shooting for a robust, confidence-inspiring stance. Yet, they had to maintain ample space for practical, real-world use. That’s why people buy sedans, after all. The 2020 Corolla sedan rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, like its predecessor, yet any commonality ends there. Corolla sedan’s dynamic performance and stance benefit greatly from wider front (+0.47 in.) and rear (+0.87 in.) track dimensions. The front overhang was shortened by 1.3 in., and the rear overhang extended by more than half an inch. Height was reduced 0.8 in., and the hood lowered 1.4 in. for better forward visibility, made possible by mounting the engine lower. Those changes, plus many others, reduce the center of gravity by 0.39 in. That’s just one part of the transformation that has turned the Corolla sedan into a highly nimble, engaging machine to drive. The bold front fascia details vary by model grade, with the SE and XSE putting on the sportiest face, including a body-color chin spoiler and aero stabilizing fins to emphasize the wide stance. The slim, J-shaped Bi-Beam LED headlamps wrap deeply into the front fenders and give the Corolla sedan a steely stare and a distinct nighttime signature. The sporty SE and XSE grades use triple J-shaped clearance lamps with LED light guides along with LED turn signals, creating a unique design signature. The available Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) provides a wider field of light and steers the low beam in the direction of the turn, based on steering angle and vehicle speed. The rear leaves a distinct lighting impression as well, with narrow combination lamps that wrap deeply into the fenders. All 2020 Corolla sedan models use LEDs, the type and style varying by model grade. The sporty grades feature smoked outer light lenses. What better way to showcase the Corolla sedan’s dramatic new sheet metal than with a dramatic new color? The new hue is a highly iridescent Celestite Grey Metallic. The rest of the palette includes Blizzard Pearl, Super White, Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Barcelona Red, Blue Crush Metallic and Blueprint. Big Wheels Keep on Turning The Corolla sedan transformation continues where the rubber meets the road. For the first time, 18-inch wheels are on the menu, standard on the SE and XSE grades. These multi-spoke alloys get their great looks from a complex machining technique paired with deep surfacing and dark accents. The LE grade rides on 16-inch steel wheels with covers. The XLE grade gets new 16-inch alloy wheels with three-dimensional twisted spokes. Cabin Fever Simple. Warm. Inviting. Sensuous. These descriptors, seemingly from the luxury car realm, inspired designers’ efforts when visualizing Corolla sedan’s cabin. The result is called “sensuous minimalism.” It’s equal parts sporty and elegant, and, as always, Corolla-comfortable and durable. A neat instrument panel lends an open, harmonious feeling thanks to its slimmer upper surface, with character lines that interlock with the door trim to convey an airy atmosphere. At the center of the instrument panel, within easy view for the driver and front passenger, sits a high-resolution 8-inch multimedia touchscreen for the standard Entune 3.0 multimedia system on all grades except the L grade, which gets a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen. The center stack screen provides access to vehicle settings, audio controls, navigation, and Entune 3.0 apps. Climate controls, located below the multimedia portal, are fashioned in a bright, highly visible digitized configuration. The center stack flows into a wider console, with an armrest that’s nearly 0.8-in. longer than in the previous model, for greater comfort. The cockpit provides an engaging interior space that surrounds the driver while offering a spacious environment for all passengers. Compared to the previous Corolla sedan, the instrument panel, cowl, hood and beltline height are all lowered to increase visibility and create the interior’s open feel. High-gloss materials are paired with matte elements – silver accents with piano black and available contrasting stitching – to accentuate a premium look and feel. Minimized gaps between buttons and switches, along with the elimination of unnecessary lettering on switchgear, adds to the high-class ambience. Consistency in all materials’ and elements’ shape, color, grain, and gloss maximize continuity and aesthetic quality. Available ambient lighting illuminates the front door trim, console tray and front cupholder. The tray can hold small items such as a smartphone or wallet, or, when so equipped, houses the optional Qi wireless device charging pad. Terraced cup holders adapt to various-sized beverage containers. Digital Tools The Corolla sedan comes standard with a 4.2-inch thin film transistor (TFT) Multi-Information Display (MID), with an available 7-inch MID located between the high-grade tachometer and speedometer. With the larger display, the driver can switch between analog and digital speedometer styles. Featuring rich graphics, the easy-to-read MID can be custom configured by the driver and offers intuitive operation to access information for the audio and multimedia systems, navigation system, vehicle information including fuel efficiency and tire pressure, the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and other important parameters and system settings. Front Row Seating From behind the wheel, the 2020 Corolla sedan feels quite different than its predecessor. Positioning the driver’s hip point 0.98-in. lower and 1.57-in. further rearward yields an optimized driving position. The result not only improves comfort, but also helps to lower the vehicle’s center of gravity and improves front/rear weight distribution. These changes, along with the reconfigured lower beltline, slimmer instrument panel, slimmer A-pillars, and repositioned side view mirrors, result in more expansive outward visibility. The front seats of the XSE and SE grades debut a new design featuring a unique shape with a headrest that nestles into the shoulder area, while the XLE and LE grades offer a seatback with a new U-shaped pattern. This major departure from a conventional square seatback design creates a sense of youthful, sporty appeal while improving comfort. The SE and XSE grades’ front seats offer thin, yet broad shoulder supports, evocative of a competition bucket seat, which overlap solid and thick side bolsters to achieve enhanced holding performance. Seating materials include standard cloth or, in higher grades, SofTex. New interior color schemes include several striking two-tone accents. Choices include Blue/Black (black as the main color with blue highlights), Moonstone (light gray as the main color with dark gray highlights) and new Macadamia (a warm, inviting cream color). Lots of Room, Not Noise The Corolla sedan may break tradition in the styling department, but it keeps to Toyota tradition when it comes to passenger room and comfort. The rear seat area retains excellent headroom, despite the lower roofline. Legroom is also plentiful, fulfilling a basic mission of sedans. What you don’t get in the 2020 Corolla sedan is noise. Powertrain and road noise have been culled thanks to revised drivetrain efficiencies, plus the widespread implementation of sound-absorbing materials, including Thinsulate, sealants, foams, and silencers. The TNGA structure utilizes additional seals in its body panel gaps to insulate noise penetration and enhance air-sealing performance. As one example, the floor silencer pad is now one large piece, instead of many smaller elements. The inner and outer dash silencers are thicker. Combine all that with Corolla sedan’s quieter powertrain, and it’s one tranquil ride. Cooler Where It Counts Corolla sedan’s fully redesigned air conditioning system is more compact, more efficient and more effective. One example of the smarter climate control is the innovative twin-layer recirculation/fresh air induction unit: In cold climates, it will automatically send dehumidified fresh air to the upper cabin to reduce glass fogging while promoting recirculation of warm cabin air in lower areas. System controls, located below the multimedia portal, are fashioned in a bright, highly-visible digitized configuration. The climate control interface features a piano black background with satin and silver accents for a premium, high-quality look and feel. Multi-choice Multimedia The 2020 Corolla sedan comes ready to pair with the driver’s digital life. The standard Entune 3.0 Audio includes an available 8-in. touchscreen display; six speakers; Apple CarPlay compatibility; Amazon Alexa; Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect; Safety Connect; Wi-Fi Connect; Scout GPS Link Compatible; Siri Eyes Free; auxiliary audio jack and USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control; AM/FM; MP3/WMA playback capability; hands-free phone capability; voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth; customizable home screen; and weather/traffic info via Entune 3.0 App Suite. The LE and SE grades get Entune 3.0 Audio with an 8-inch touch screen and 2 USB ports. Entune 3.0 Audio Plus, standard on XSE, XLE and optional on SE CVT, adds an HD Radio and Weather/Traffic info; SiriusXM with Cache Radio; Entune 3.0 Connected Services; Service Connect, and Remote Connect. Also available on the SE CVT is Entune 3.0 Audio Plus with JBL. Topping the range is Entune 3.0 Audio Premium that’s optional on XSE and XLE. The package includes a JBL nine-speaker, 800-watt system with Clari-Fi; Dynamic Voice Recognition; Dynamic Navigation; Dynamic Points of Interest Search; and Destination Assist Connect. JBL Audio system highlights include: Next-Generation HID8 amplifier creates 800-watts of total power Free-standing horn tweeters located in the A-pillar at ear level for optimal high-frequency performance 6.7-inch door subwoofers for powerful deep-bass response Sealed inner door panels promote cleaner, more powerful bass Midrange speakers provide full-range sound for rear passengers Clari-Fi technology analyzes, rebuilds, and restores audio signals that were lost in the digital compression process Featured apps for Entune systems include: Safety Connect® In the event of an accident or other emergency, assistance can be dispatched directly to the vehicle’s GPS location. Other connected services available on the Corolla include airbag-linked Automatic Emergency Notification, Manual Emergency Notification (SOS button) and Stolen Vehicle Locator. Service Connect Provides updates on everything from fuel level and mileage to maintenance alerts and more via email or the mobile app. Remote Connect Can lock and unlock doors, start the engine, locate the vehicle in a parking lot and monitor guest drivers. Wi-Fi Connect – powered by Verizon Connects up to five devices using the in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Destination Assist Connect Directions and destinations delivered by a real person with 24-hour, en-route navigation assistance. Dynamic Navigation Provides the most up-to-date map data, routes and POI on its embedded system. (Available with Entune 3.0 Premium Audio.) Dynamic Force is with You The 2020 Corolla sedan L, LE, and XLE grades will use the 1.8-liter engine (2ZR-FAE) found in the previous generation, yet with more horsepower and better fuel efficiency. The XSE and SE grades are powered by a completely-new 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine (M20A-FKS). This new engine delivers more performance while using less fuel. Remarkably, the new Corolla sedan engine is physically smaller and lighter, helping to lower the car’s center of gravity and improve its overall balance. Here are some of the tech bits on Corolla sedan’s new available engine: The new Dynamic Force engine gets it high power and efficiency from a combination of high compression ratio (13:1), Toyota D4-S fuel injection combining direct and secondary port injectors, high-speed combustion, VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing on the intake side and VVT-i on the exhaust. VVT-iE uses an electric motor instead of oil pressure to control the variable valve timing. A two-discharge port oil pump and a variable cooling system with electric water pump help maximize engine performance and efficiency. The more efficient cooling system also ensures quicker cabin heating on cold days and quicker cool-down when the air conditioner is used. All of those technologies, along with ultra-low internal friction, yield a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent, very high for a passenger vehicle engine. You can’t feel thermal efficiency, but you can feel the effects of 169 peak horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb.-ft peak torque at 4,800 rpm. Shifting Smarter Sedan buyer trends are shifting, and the 2020 Corolla sedan is right there with them. The new Dynamic-Shift CVT (continuously variable transmission) combines the smooth, fuel-efficient performance of a CVT with a more direct driving feel of a traditional geared automatic. The key to its distinct performance feel is a physical first gear used for start-off acceleration, before handing off to the CVT’s pulley system. Because the launch gear is handling the higher input load at launch, the size of the CVT’s belt and pulley components could be reduced, yielding shifting speeds that are 20 percent faster than in a conventional CVT. High-speed, high-response gear-shifting technology, using a multiplate wet clutch, switches power from the gearset to the CVT’s belt and pulleys. The Direct Shift CVT has simulated 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic steps along with Sport Mode. Synchronization of the increasing engine revs and vehicle speed gives a linear acceleration feel. For those who want to shift for themselves, the 2020 Corolla sedan offers an intriguing choice with the all-new 6-speed iMT (intelligent manual transmission). Like some premium sports cars, it features downshift rev-matching control, automatically detecting when the driver is shifting and quickly rev-matching to make any driver a stick-shift pro. New control logic improves acceleration feel when starting off, and improved shift feel makes this a stick shift you want to use. Increased use of micro polishing on gear teeth reduces cabin noise. Standard Hill-start Assist Control (also on the CVT models), helps prevent the dreaded roll-back when starting off on an incline. Platform: The Strong, Silent Type A super-rigid structure, lower center of gravity and highly refined suspension tuning endow the Corolla sedan with exemplary handling agility and ride comfort, along with a distinctive driving personality. This high-strength platform is fortified through the increased use of ultra-high-tensile steel as well as the application of new structural adhesive technology for enhanced body rigidity and occupant safety. Specifically, torsional rigidity is improved by 60 percent compared to its predecessor. The new body uses a totally new multi-load path front structure to absorb frontal collision impact forces and disperses collision energy to help prevent deformation of the occupant compartment. High-tensile steel in the rocker panel reinforcements and the upper kick panel; wider underbody side members; strengthened rear bumper reinforcements, and thicker dashboard panel, floor panels, and underbody tunnel all improve energy dispersion in the event of a collision. A squared figure-of-eight reinforced ring-shaped structure around the door openings, along with larger-diameter impact beams for the front and rear doors, are designed to help in the event of a side collision. Sport Sedan Handling, Sedan Comfort The 2020 Corolla sedan looks the part of a fun-to-drive sport sedan, and the chassis delivers on the promise. The multi-link rear suspension is a major advance over the torsion beam setup used in the previous model, more adept at comfortably absorbing bumps while also ratcheting up agility. The MacPherson strut front suspension, totally revised for this platform, uses sophisticated techniques, including a strut bearing mounted coaxially with the kingpin axis. This feature allows smoother upward suspension travel, especially while traversing bumps, resulting in more comfortable steering feel. Overall, front and rear suspension friction has been reduced by 40 percent. Newly developed shock absorbers have been tuned to provide optimal damping force for dynamic handling and stability with exemplary ride comfort. Foundation for Safety The 2020 Corolla sedan features eight standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. All Corolla sedan models come equipped with a standard backup camera. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 Significantly, all 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan models are equipped standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, an advanced suite of integrated active and pre-collision safety features. PCS (Pre-Collision System): Uses both a millimeter wave radar sensor and a forward-facing camera sensor for highly accurate detection of objects such as a vehicle or pedestrian or bicyclist in front of the vehicle. If the PCS determines there is a high probability of a collision, or if it deems a collision is unavoidable, the system is designed to automatically activate the brakes to help avoid the collision entirely or mitigate the impact force. DRCC (Dynamic Radar Cruise Control): Designed for highway use, has a vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode that utilizes a millimeter wave radar sensor and camera sensor to maintain a pre-set follow distance from the preceding vehicle. The Full-speed DRCC version, standard on CVT models, is also capable of low-speed following, including stop-and-go traffic. The Corolla sedan is designed to stop when the vehicle ahead comes to a stop, maintaining an appropriate distance to it. The driver enjoys more relaxed driving in situations that can be annoying and fatiguing, while also gaining a measure of safety. LDA (Lane Departure Alert) with Steer Assist: Provides the driver with audible and visual warnings (vehicle positioning warning image shown in the Multi-Information Display) and, if necessary, is designed to provide steering assistance if it determines the possibility of deviation from the driving lane. It is also designed to detect vehicle sway (excess weaving within the driving lane) that might indicate driver distraction, inattention or drowsiness. LTA (Lane Tracing Assist): LTA, available on CVT-equipped models, is enabled when LDA and DRCC are both on and active. LTA employs a lane centering function that is designed to make constant steering inputs to help the driver keep the vehicle in the center of its lane. LTA is designed for uses on relatively straight highways to preemptively avoid unwanted lane departures and reduce driver fatigue. AHB (Automatic High Beams): When enabled, the AHB system uses an in-vehicle camera to help detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of preceding vehicles, then automatically switches between high and low beams as appropriate. RSA (Road Sign Assist): Designed to recognize speed limit, Stop, Yield, and Do Not Enter signs and displays them on the vehicles MID to help assist the driver. Blind Spot Monitor is a standard or optional feature, depending on model grade. When an approaching vehicle is detected, the system is designed to alert the driver using indicators on the outside mirrors. Brake Hold, when engaged, is a convenient technology that helps reduces driver workload while waiting at a traffic light or while driving in traffic. When the driver depresses the accelerator pedal, Brake Hold releases. The 2020 Corolla will be available at dealerships Spring 2019.
  12. Toyota isn't immune to the falling sales of passenger vehicles as more buyers trend towards trucks and SUVs. In the first ten months of this year, cars are down 11.1 percent. Meanwhile, trucks are up 7.7 percent. This has the Japanese automaker considering dropping some models. "We are taking a hard look at all of the segments that we compete in to make sure we are competing in profitable segments and that products we sell have strategic value," said Jim Lentz, Toyota's North America CEO after the automaker reported an increase in quarterly profits. Unlike Ford which is revamping its lineup to changing consumer tastes, Toyota isn't planning to "abandon passenger cars," instead "scrutinizing offerings in some areas, such as convertibles or coupes." No mention was made of the models on the chopping block, but we have a possible few candidates. Yaris: Sales have dropped 38 percent this year Prius C : Not big a seller and hasn't really been updated aside from the 2018 model Pruis C we reviewed last month. Lexus RC: Sales down 52 percent so far in 2018 Lexus GS: Been long rumored to be heading to the gallows View full article
  13. Toyota isn't immune to the falling sales of passenger vehicles as more buyers trend towards trucks and SUVs. In the first ten months of this year, cars are down 11.1 percent. Meanwhile, trucks are up 7.7 percent. This has the Japanese automaker considering dropping some models. "We are taking a hard look at all of the segments that we compete in to make sure we are competing in profitable segments and that products we sell have strategic value," said Jim Lentz, Toyota's North America CEO after the automaker reported an increase in quarterly profits. Unlike Ford which is revamping its lineup to changing consumer tastes, Toyota isn't planning to "abandon passenger cars," instead "scrutinizing offerings in some areas, such as convertibles or coupes." No mention was made of the models on the chopping block, but we have a possible few candidates. Yaris: Sales have dropped 38 percent this year Prius C : Not big a seller and hasn't really been updated aside from the 2018 model Pruis C we reviewed last month. Lexus RC: Sales down 52 percent so far in 2018 Lexus GS: Been long rumored to be heading to the gallows
  14. William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2018 Toyota Prius C Four

    When Toyota introduced the Prius C back in 2012, it served two purposes. It was the entry-level model for then growing Prius family (Prius, Prius Plug-In, and Prius V). Plus, it was part of a small group of vehicles that could achieve almost 50 mpg if driven efficiently. But Toyota really hasn’t made any changes to the Prius C since it was launched, only making minor changes to the feature set for the past few years. Meanwhile, the rest of the Prius lineup has undergone significant changes with models either being dropped (Prius V) or being redesigned (Prius). For 2018, Toyota has decided to take the Prius C out of its deep freeze and make some changes. But is that enough considering larger hybrid models return higher fuel economy figures, and are slightly more expensive? The answer is no. Toyota has given the Prius C a much needed exterior update with a revised front end (new hood shape and slimmer grille), crossover-esq design touches (black wheel arches, faux skid plates, and a set of roof rails), and a set of 15-inch alloy wheels. The Prius C is one of the few Toyota models that come in a number of vibrant colors like the Tangerine Orange on this tester. It did make it look like a giant Jack-O-Lantern, but it also gave this small model some personality. The Prius C’s interior design is a bit odd. While it lacks some of the craziness found in the standard Prius (see the Storm Trooper inspired center console and stack), there are some decisions that left me scratching my head. For example, there is a storage shelf behind the steering wheel. I not sure what you can put in there aside from spare change or snacks to eat while on the move. Almost all of the materials used in the Prius C are hard plastics. Usually, I would be giving this pass considering it is a subcompact vehicle and this one of the sacrifices needed to meet the low price. But this particular Prius C has an as-tested price of $26,479. For that price, I do wish Toyota had stuck some soft-touch material to ease some of the pain on the wallet. The manual adjustments weren’t the smoothest and it took me a few days to find a position that didn’t have me constantly fidgeting around. This is disappointing considering the seat itself is nice to sit on with soft padding and decent support for long trips. In the back seat, headroom is surprisingly good due to the tall height of the roof. Like other subcompacts, the Prius C’s rear legroom is on the tight side. All Prius Cs come with a 6.1-inch touchscreen with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Higher end models like my Four tester come with navigation. The screen is a bit on the small side, which makes it hard to hit some of the touchscreen buttons. At least the screen is easy to read and bright. One slight disappointment is the slowness of the system. Compared to other hybrid vehicles, Entune is a few ticks slower when going through the various screens. The Prius C’s hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 1.5L Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder, 45 kW electric motor, Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack, and a CVT. Total output is rated at 99 horsepower. If your driving takes place mostly in urban areas, then the Prius C is a fine car. At speeds under 45 mph, the powertrain gets the vehicle moving a decent clip. But there is a fair amount of buzzing coming from the engine and CVT. On rural roads and highways, the limited performance of hybrid powertrain makes itself known as the model records a 0-60 mph of over 12 seconds. Passing is best done when there are no vehicles appearing in your eyesight. EPA fuel economy figures for the Prius C are 48 City/43 Highway/46 Combined. The figures are disappointing when you consider the likes of the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq return higher figures - 54/50/52 for the Prius and 55/54/55 in the Ioniq. My average for the Prius C was 49.6 mpg, very disappointing when compared to the 60 mpg in the Prius and 62 mpg in the Ioniq Blue I have reviewed previously. The reason for the poor fuel economy showing in the Prius C comes down Toyota not making any changes to the powertrain since its launch in 2012. Handling in the Prius C is quite surprising with excellent body control and feeling quite nimble around the corners. The low-rolling resistance tires will complain if you decide to push it. Where the Prius C shines is in an urban area where the compact size and tight turning radius make it easy to navigate tight spots. Ride quality is about average with most bumps being smoothed over. One item to be aware of is the abundance of road and wind noise. Be prepared to crank the radio up to drown out most of the road noise. We come now to the Prius C’s big problem. The base C One begins at $20,630. My Four tester begins at $24,965, which already makes it a tough sell when you consider that the larger Prius Two is only $280 less and returns higher fuel economy figures. With a couple of options and destination, the as-tested price came to $26,479. Again, you can get into larger Prius or the Hyundai Ioniq that not only offer better fuel economy figures but more features for a similar price. Gallery: 2018 Toyota Prius C Four Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Prius C, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: Prius C Trim: Four Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive: 1.5L DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i, Electric Motor, Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery Pack Driveline: eCVT, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 73 @ 4,800 (Gas); 60 @ 0 (Electric) Torque @ RPM: 82 @ 4,000 (Gas); 125 @ 0 (Electric) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 48/43/46 Curb Weight: 2,530 lbs Location of Manufacture: Isawa, Iwate, Japan Base Price: $24,965 As Tested Price: $26,479 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Special Color - $395.00 Carpet Floor Mats/Cargo Mat - $224.00
  15. The Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX 570 are part of an endangered species: SUVs designed with the purpose of going off-road. It may seem somewhat mad to describe most SUVs as not off-road oriented, but most buyers don’t really take SUVs off the beaten path. Automakers have responded in kind by providing a minimum four-wheel capability while improving on-road behavior. The Land Cruiser and LX 570 haven’t gone down this path as they have a small, but loyal owner base that would cry foul if Toyota/Lexus decided to do this. But as I found out during my week with them, Toyota and Lexus need to do some serious thinking about the future of these models if they want to keep them around. Exterior Both the Land Cruiser and LX 570 share the same boxy shape with a slightly angled front end, large area of glass, and a split opening tailgate. Where the two differentiate is in the details. Toyota plays it safe with a large rectangular grille and chrome bars that separate the front headlights. The set of 18-inch alloy wheels look somewhat small on the Land Cruiser, mostly due to the large size of the off-road tires. The LX 570 is very extroverted as evidenced by the front end styling. It features the largest version of Lexus’ spindle grille that gives it an intense look. A set of LED headlights with a unique lamp design sit on either side. Multi-spoke 20-inch wheels are standard and seem suited to fit the large size of the SUV. Interior Considering the $84k+ price tag of this Land Cruiser, it is slightly disappointing that Toyota went for a very utilitarian look. It doesn’t have the flash or elegance and you’ll find in competitors such as the Range Rover or Mercedes-Benz GLS. Material quality is what you expect for the price with an abundance of soft-touch plastic, leather upholstery, wood trim, and faux metal used all around. The Lexus LX 570 takes a different approach with the interior, feeling more like a real contender to the likes of the Germans and Range Rover. The dash design is very modern with a short center stack, a widescreen display for the infotainment system, and glossy wood trim. Both models have a button-ladened center stack, but I found the LX 570’s easier to use as the buttons weren’t tightly packed. Getting inside either SUV is somewhat tough due to the tall ride height. But thanks to doorsteps and pull handles, entering both models becomes easier. The front seats are some of best I have sat in, offering plenty of cushioning and support for any trip length. Power adjustments and memory come standard on both models. The second-row offers plenty of head and legroom for passengers. You can slide the seat to either increase legroom or cargo space. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is only a minuscule amount of legroom. The lack of padding also makes third-row best for short trips. One quirk about the Land Cruiser and LX 570’s third-row is that the seats don’t fold into the floor. Instead, the seats flip towards the side. Not only does it make it slightly awkward to load cargo into either model, but it also makes for a small cargo area. Measurements for the two models are 16.1 cubic feet with all three-rows up, 44.7 with the third-row folded, and 81.7 with the second-row folded. For 2018, Lexus did introduce a two-row version that increases space by 5.8 cubic feet - bringing the total to 50.5 cubic feet. Infotainment Lexus has fitted one the of largest infotainment screens in the class into the LX 570. Measuring 12.3-inches, this allows for a split-screen capability where you can have various functions up at the same time. For example, you can have navigation on one side and audio on the other. Some of the configuration options Lexus offers are strange to say in the least like having two maps of the navigation system up at the same time. Where the LX 570 falls short is the Remote Touch controller. The joystick controller is a pain to use as it feels quite vague when moving around and causes you to overshoot when trying to select something. This is very problematic when you’re driving as you’ll find yourself paying more attention to the system than the road. In the Land Cruiser, you’ll find a smaller 9-inch infotainment system with Toyota’s Entune system. Thankfully, Toyota had decided to use a touchscreen instead of a frustrating controller. Moving around in Entune is easy thanks to a simple interface with large touchscreen buttons and a set of physical shortcut buttons underneath. I did notice that Entune was a few ticks slower than the system found in the LX 570. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is not available on either model. Powertrain Under the hoods of the Land Cruiser and LX 570 is a 5.7L V8. The Land Cruiser gets 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The LX 570 features 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. This is teamed with an eight-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel drive system. Interestingly, the Land Cruiser feels slightly faster than the LX 570. Outlets who have timed both models say the Land Cruiser is about 0.5 seconds quicker to 60 than the LX 570. This is a bit surprising considering the two models are nearly identical in power and weight. But the LX 570 has a noticeable pause when accelerating. It feels like the engine was asleep and was startled by the throttle being prodded, before realizing it needed to get to work. The eight-speed automatic delivers rapid and smooth upshifts, but stumbles somewhat when it comes to downshifts. Both models come fully-equipped to take on whatever Mother Nature decides to dish out. This includes a two-speed transfer case, locking center differential, crawl-control system, terrain selection system, and an adjustable suspension system. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to take either model off the paved road to see what they are capable of. Fuel Economy EPA rates the 2018 Land Cruiser and LX 570 at 13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined. My average in both vehicles landed around 14.9 mpg in a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving. Ride and Handling These SUVs prefer the roads to be straight as there is significant body motion when cornering. Blame the tall ride height and soft-suspension tuning. Steering feels very numb and slow, making it somewhat tough to figure out how much input is needed when turning. When the road is straight, both vehicles provide a smooth ride. I did find that on the highway, I needed to make constant corrections with the steering to keep it in the middle of the lane. One major difference between the two is braking. The LX 570’s braking system felt very discombobulated. It was very difficult to modulate the pedal to provide a smooth stop. Either the vehicle wasn’t slowing down or the braking system would enter panic stop mode and passengers being thrown from their seats. I thought this was an issue that was limited to my LX, but other people who have driven different LXs have reported similar behavior. The Land Cruiser didn’t experience any of this during my week. Value The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser begins at $83,665, while the LX 570 begins at $85,630 for the two-row variant and $89,980 for the three-row model. Both models come generously equipped with a number of standard features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, heated and ventilated front seats; power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, and three-zone climate control. The vehicles tested here came lightly optioned. The Land Cruiser featured a set of optional floor mats, bringing the as-tested price to $85,185. For the LX 570, it came with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and center console cool box to bring its as-tested price to $93,350. The best value of the two models has to be the two-row LX 570 as you get a nicer interior and more cargo space, for not much more money than the three-row Land Cruiser. But if you really want three-rows, then the Land Cruiser is your best bet. Verdict Unless your daily commute includes traversing the Rocky Mountains or driving through Death Valley, I cannot recommend either of these SUVs. They have a number of flaws such as middling fuel economy, small cargo area, and needing constant steering corrections on the highway. But the LX 570 comes off slightly worse as it has some issues with the powertrain and brakes need to be addressed quickly. Besides, the Land Cruiser offers many of the features of LX 570, albeit in a more utilitarian package for a couple of grand less. But for some people, the off-road capability and legendary reliability of these two models are more than enough to excuse the faults. That group of people though we have to think is getting smaller as time goes on and makes us wonder if the next-generation of the Land Cruiser and LX 570 will go through a dramatic change or not. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Lexus Model: LX 570 Trim: N/A Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i V8 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15 Curb Weight: 5,815 lbs Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan Base Price: $89,980 As Tested Price: $93,350 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge) Options: Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Entertainment System - $2,005.00 Cool Box - $170.00 Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: Land Cruiser Trim: N/A Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i V8 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 381@ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15 Curb Weight: 5,815 lbs Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan Base Price: $83,685 As Tested Price: $85,185 (Includes $1,295.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpet Floor/Cargo Mat Set - $225.00 View full article
  16. The Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX 570 are part of an endangered species: SUVs designed with the purpose of going off-road. It may seem somewhat mad to describe most SUVs as not off-road oriented, but most buyers don’t really take SUVs off the beaten path. Automakers have responded in kind by providing a minimum four-wheel capability while improving on-road behavior. The Land Cruiser and LX 570 haven’t gone down this path as they have a small, but loyal owner base that would cry foul if Toyota/Lexus decided to do this. But as I found out during my week with them, Toyota and Lexus need to do some serious thinking about the future of these models if they want to keep them around. Exterior Both the Land Cruiser and LX 570 share the same boxy shape with a slightly angled front end, large area of glass, and a split opening tailgate. Where the two differentiate is in the details. Toyota plays it safe with a large rectangular grille and chrome bars that separate the front headlights. The set of 18-inch alloy wheels look somewhat small on the Land Cruiser, mostly due to the large size of the off-road tires. The LX 570 is very extroverted as evidenced by the front end styling. It features the largest version of Lexus’ spindle grille that gives it an intense look. A set of LED headlights with a unique lamp design sit on either side. Multi-spoke 20-inch wheels are standard and seem suited to fit the large size of the SUV. Interior Considering the $84k+ price tag of this Land Cruiser, it is slightly disappointing that Toyota went for a very utilitarian look. It doesn’t have the flash or elegance and you’ll find in competitors such as the Range Rover or Mercedes-Benz GLS. Material quality is what you expect for the price with an abundance of soft-touch plastic, leather upholstery, wood trim, and faux metal used all around. The Lexus LX 570 takes a different approach with the interior, feeling more like a real contender to the likes of the Germans and Range Rover. The dash design is very modern with a short center stack, a widescreen display for the infotainment system, and glossy wood trim. Both models have a button-ladened center stack, but I found the LX 570’s easier to use as the buttons weren’t tightly packed. Getting inside either SUV is somewhat tough due to the tall ride height. But thanks to doorsteps and pull handles, entering both models becomes easier. The front seats are some of best I have sat in, offering plenty of cushioning and support for any trip length. Power adjustments and memory come standard on both models. The second-row offers plenty of head and legroom for passengers. You can slide the seat to either increase legroom or cargo space. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is only a minuscule amount of legroom. The lack of padding also makes third-row best for short trips. One quirk about the Land Cruiser and LX 570’s third-row is that the seats don’t fold into the floor. Instead, the seats flip towards the side. Not only does it make it slightly awkward to load cargo into either model, but it also makes for a small cargo area. Measurements for the two models are 16.1 cubic feet with all three-rows up, 44.7 with the third-row folded, and 81.7 with the second-row folded. For 2018, Lexus did introduce a two-row version that increases space by 5.8 cubic feet - bringing the total to 50.5 cubic feet. Infotainment Lexus has fitted one the of largest infotainment screens in the class into the LX 570. Measuring 12.3-inches, this allows for a split-screen capability where you can have various functions up at the same time. For example, you can have navigation on one side and audio on the other. Some of the configuration options Lexus offers are strange to say in the least like having two maps of the navigation system up at the same time. Where the LX 570 falls short is the Remote Touch controller. The joystick controller is a pain to use as it feels quite vague when moving around and causes you to overshoot when trying to select something. This is very problematic when you’re driving as you’ll find yourself paying more attention to the system than the road. In the Land Cruiser, you’ll find a smaller 9-inch infotainment system with Toyota’s Entune system. Thankfully, Toyota had decided to use a touchscreen instead of a frustrating controller. Moving around in Entune is easy thanks to a simple interface with large touchscreen buttons and a set of physical shortcut buttons underneath. I did notice that Entune was a few ticks slower than the system found in the LX 570. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is not available on either model. Powertrain Under the hoods of the Land Cruiser and LX 570 is a 5.7L V8. The Land Cruiser gets 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The LX 570 features 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. This is teamed with an eight-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel drive system. Interestingly, the Land Cruiser feels slightly faster than the LX 570. Outlets who have timed both models say the Land Cruiser is about 0.5 seconds quicker to 60 than the LX 570. This is a bit surprising considering the two models are nearly identical in power and weight. But the LX 570 has a noticeable pause when accelerating. It feels like the engine was asleep and was startled by the throttle being prodded, before realizing it needed to get to work. The eight-speed automatic delivers rapid and smooth upshifts, but stumbles somewhat when it comes to downshifts. Both models come fully-equipped to take on whatever Mother Nature decides to dish out. This includes a two-speed transfer case, locking center differential, crawl-control system, terrain selection system, and an adjustable suspension system. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to take either model off the paved road to see what they are capable of. Fuel Economy EPA rates the 2018 Land Cruiser and LX 570 at 13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined. My average in both vehicles landed around 14.9 mpg in a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving. Ride and Handling These SUVs prefer the roads to be straight as there is significant body motion when cornering. Blame the tall ride height and soft-suspension tuning. Steering feels very numb and slow, making it somewhat tough to figure out how much input is needed when turning. When the road is straight, both vehicles provide a smooth ride. I did find that on the highway, I needed to make constant corrections with the steering to keep it in the middle of the lane. One major difference between the two is braking. The LX 570’s braking system felt very discombobulated. It was very difficult to modulate the pedal to provide a smooth stop. Either the vehicle wasn’t slowing down or the braking system would enter panic stop mode and passengers being thrown from their seats. I thought this was an issue that was limited to my LX, but other people who have driven different LXs have reported similar behavior. The Land Cruiser didn’t experience any of this during my week. Value The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser begins at $83,665, while the LX 570 begins at $85,630 for the two-row variant and $89,980 for the three-row model. Both models come generously equipped with a number of standard features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, heated and ventilated front seats; power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, and three-zone climate control. The vehicles tested here came lightly optioned. The Land Cruiser featured a set of optional floor mats, bringing the as-tested price to $85,185. For the LX 570, it came with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and center console cool box to bring its as-tested price to $93,350. The best value of the two models has to be the two-row LX 570 as you get a nicer interior and more cargo space, for not much more money than the three-row Land Cruiser. But if you really want three-rows, then the Land Cruiser is your best bet. Verdict Unless your daily commute includes traversing the Rocky Mountains or driving through Death Valley, I cannot recommend either of these SUVs. They have a number of flaws such as middling fuel economy, small cargo area, and needing constant steering corrections on the highway. But the LX 570 comes off slightly worse as it has some issues with the powertrain and brakes need to be addressed quickly. Besides, the Land Cruiser offers many of the features of LX 570, albeit in a more utilitarian package for a couple of grand less. But for some people, the off-road capability and legendary reliability of these two models are more than enough to excuse the faults. That group of people though we have to think is getting smaller as time goes on and makes us wonder if the next-generation of the Land Cruiser and LX 570 will go through a dramatic change or not. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Lexus Model: LX 570 Trim: N/A Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i V8 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15 Curb Weight: 5,815 lbs Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan Base Price: $89,980 As Tested Price: $93,350 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge) Options: Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Entertainment System - $2,005.00 Cool Box - $170.00 Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: Land Cruiser Trim: N/A Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i V8 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 381@ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15 Curb Weight: 5,815 lbs Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan Base Price: $83,685 As Tested Price: $85,185 (Includes $1,295.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpet Floor/Cargo Mat Set - $225.00
  17. As the Toyota Supra continues its slow march to production, the automaker is considering adding another sports car that may revive an iconic nameplate. "We want to have Celica back, we want to have the MR2 back," said Masayuki Kai, Assistant Chief Engineer on the Supra project. The biggest was Supra. Supra was number one, the biggest demand from the market. Now that we've brought Supra back, what will come next depends on the market needs." Kai suggested that nothing is set in stone, but did hint that the Celica could be an all-wheel drive performance coupe. The MR2 could keep its mid-engine layout if a business case could be made. There lies within the problem for Toyota - making the business case for either model. Kai said that today's market makes it quite challenging "to introduce niche, small-volume performance models." "Sports car are becoming more and more expensive to develop. So a single company cannot afford to invest in all the tooling for parts and components, because the volume of sports car is quite small. A sports car requires a lot of specific components that you cannot share with other cars. The suspension components we're using on the Supra, you can't use on a sedan like Camry or Corolla. And as you know, all the homologation issues are also getting more and more complex and difficult," he said. One possibility is for Toyota is to forge a partnership like they did with BMW with the Supra, or Subaru with the 86/BRZ. Source: Road & Track View full article
  18. William Maley

    Toyota Wants To Bring Back the Celica or MR2

    As the Toyota Supra continues its slow march to production, the automaker is considering adding another sports car that may revive an iconic nameplate. "We want to have Celica back, we want to have the MR2 back," said Masayuki Kai, Assistant Chief Engineer on the Supra project. The biggest was Supra. Supra was number one, the biggest demand from the market. Now that we've brought Supra back, what will come next depends on the market needs." Kai suggested that nothing is set in stone, but did hint that the Celica could be an all-wheel drive performance coupe. The MR2 could keep its mid-engine layout if a business case could be made. There lies within the problem for Toyota - making the business case for either model. Kai said that today's market makes it quite challenging "to introduce niche, small-volume performance models." "Sports car are becoming more and more expensive to develop. So a single company cannot afford to invest in all the tooling for parts and components, because the volume of sports car is quite small. A sports car requires a lot of specific components that you cannot share with other cars. The suspension components we're using on the Supra, you can't use on a sedan like Camry or Corolla. And as you know, all the homologation issues are also getting more and more complex and difficult," he said. One possibility is for Toyota is to forge a partnership like they did with BMW with the Supra, or Subaru with the 86/BRZ. Source: Road & Track
  19. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Toyota Camry XSE

    Many automotive journalists have been flummoxed by the popularity of the Toyota Camry. The model trails the pack in a number of key areas such as design, handling, and performance. But I know the reason why the Camry is beloved by many; it is a no hassle midsize sedan that will go the distance. But there is a change that endangers many midsize sedans. Buyers who previously brought sedans are now trending towards crossovers and SUVs as they offer a number of traits such as a higher ride height and a large area for people and stuff. Automakers find themselves in a difficult spot as to whether they should drop their sedans to focus on utility vehicles, or put more effort into making them more appealing. Toyota has chosen the latter option with the 2018 Camry. Let’s see if they made the right call. Previous Camrys have tended to play it safe with their exterior designs. The new model drops the safe attitude and goes for something very extroverted. For the XSE, this includes a different front end with a smaller lower grille and large cutouts in the bumper. The side profile shows off a pronounced character line and a set of 19-inch machined-finish alloy wheels. Move the back to find a faux diffuser and a set of quad tailpipes. I actually prefer the look of the XSE to the other Camry models as it loses out on the gaping maw that is the lower grille. Compared to the jumbled-together look of the previous Camry’s interior, the new model features a flowing and modern design. The unique shape of the center stack and contrasting trim pieces for the passenger really help the model stand out. Controls are laid out in a very logical fashion and have easy-to-read text. Material quality is very impressive with exposed stitching, metal trim, and a lot of soft-touch plastic. The XSE features leather seats with eight-way power adjustments for driver and passenger. I found the seats to be on the firm side and provide decent support on short trips. But on longer trips, my lower back started to ache. I couldn’t tell if I design of the seat just didn’t work with my back or if I had too much lumbar. On paper, the Camry has the smallest amount of rear legroom. But in reality, I found that I had more than enough to feel comfortable. Taller passengers will need to duck as headroom is quite tight due to the optional sunroof. Toyota has installed the latest version of their Entune infotainment system in the 2018 Camry. The new version comes with an updated look that retains the ease of use that we have liked on the older systems. Performance is about average for the class as it takes only a few milliseconds to get to the various functions. I do like the array of physical buttons that provide an easy way to move around the system. There is still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But considering the 2019 Avalon does have Apple CarPlay, we hope the Camry will get it as well. XSE models get a heads-up display as standard. However, I found the display to be more of a hindrance as the image was blurry. I think this is a problem with Toyota as I experienced the same issue in the LC 500 coupe I drove late last year. For its polarizing character, you might be expecting the Camry XSE to have either a turbo-four or V6 under the hood. While a 3.5L V6 is available, this XSE featured the standard 2.5L four-cylinder engine producing 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It was a bit disappointing to find this engine under the hood considering the vehicle’s character. Around town, the Camry doesn’t feel as fast as the Hyundai Sonata due to most of the power being available only at higher rpms. On the highway or needing to make a pass, the four-cylinder comes alive with enough shove to get you moving at a decent clip. Disappointingly, Toyota forgot to quiet down the engine during acceleration as there is a fair amount of buzz coming inside the cabin. But the engine quiets down to a murmur when cruising. The new eight-speed transmission pairs well with the engine, delivering unobtrusive and quick shifts. Fuel economy figures for the 2.5 are 28 City/39 Highway/32 Combined. My average for the week landed around 32.6 mpg in mixed driving. The Camry is the latest Toyota model to move on to the TGNA modular platform and it makes the model somewhat fun to pilot. On a curvy stretch of road, the XSE feels well-mannered as there isn’t excessive body motion and the steering proving a direct and well-weighted feel. Despite its sporting nature, the XSE’s ride is well-controlled with only a few bumps making their way inside. One disappointment is the large amount road and wind noise that comes inside when driving on the freeway. The Camry XSE sits as the flagship trim with a starting price of $29,150 for the four-cylinder and $35,100 for the V6. With a number of options, the as-tested price of this XSE comes to $35,333. That is quite the poor value considering for a few hundred dollars more, you can get into a loaded an Accord Touring complete with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 252 horsepower. For a couple thousand dollars less, the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T and Kia Optima SX offer similar driving dynamics and more luxury touches. Toyota knew it had to take a big gamble with the new Camry considering the growing demand for crossovers. In certain respects, Toyota has done it. The Camry is not a wallflower in terms of its looks and handling. Additionally, the interior blends a distinctive design with ease of use. But there are some problems that put the Camry in a tough spot. The four-cylinder engine needs a bit more low-end punch for around-town driving. Some more sound deadening would go a long way in making the Camry a good long-distance cruiser. The biggest issue is the value argument as other sedans offer much more equipment for similar or less money than the Camry. Toyota is likely banking on the name equity of model to justify the higher price. This would be ok if we weren’t in a time where more and more buyers are moving to crossovers and utility vehicles. The 2018 Toyota Camry is a much better car from the one it replaces, but the high price tag may be its downfall. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: Camry Trim: XSE Engine: 2.5L Twin-Cam, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 206 @ 6,600 Torque @ RPM: 186 @ 5,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/39/32 Curb Weight: 3,395 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY Base Price: $29,000 As Tested Price: $35,355 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Audio Package - $1,800.00 Driver Assist Package - $1,675.00 Panoramic Sunroof - $1,045.00 Special Color - $395.00 Illuminated Door Sill Enhancements - $299.00 Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $224.00 View full article
  20. Toyota has announced that it will be recalling 1.03 million vehicles worldwide to fix an issue that could start a fire. According to Reuters, the problem deals with a wiring harness that connects to the hybrid system's power control unit. Vibrations and accumulating dirt can wear down the wire insulation at the connection point. This will expose the bare wires and possibly cause an electric short - increasing the chances of a fire. Toyota has told the news service they have one report of a vehicle in Japan that went up in smoke. The majority of vehicles involved in the recall are located in Japan. In the U.S., around 192,000 examples of the 2016-2018 Toyota Prius are involved. Owners of the affected models will be notified later this month by Toyota. Dealers will inspect the harness in question and, if any wires are exposed, replace it with an updated harness with a protective sleeve, If none of the wires are exposed, dealer technicians will apply a protective coating to the harness. Source: Reuters
  21. Toyota has announced that it will be recalling 1.03 million vehicles worldwide to fix an issue that could start a fire. According to Reuters, the problem deals with a wiring harness that connects to the hybrid system's power control unit. Vibrations and accumulating dirt can wear down the wire insulation at the connection point. This will expose the bare wires and possibly cause an electric short - increasing the chances of a fire. Toyota has told the news service they have one report of a vehicle in Japan that went up in smoke. The majority of vehicles involved in the recall are located in Japan. In the U.S., around 192,000 examples of the 2016-2018 Toyota Prius are involved. Owners of the affected models will be notified later this month by Toyota. Dealers will inspect the harness in question and, if any wires are exposed, replace it with an updated harness with a protective sleeve, If none of the wires are exposed, dealer technicians will apply a protective coating to the harness. Source: Reuters View full article
  22. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Toyota Camry XSE

    Many automotive journalists have been flummoxed by the popularity of the Toyota Camry. The model trails the pack in a number of key areas such as design, handling, and performance. But I know the reason why the Camry is beloved by many; it is a no hassle midsize sedan that will go the distance. But there is a change that endangers many midsize sedans. Buyers who previously brought sedans are now trending towards crossovers and SUVs as they offer a number of traits such as a higher ride height and a large area for people and stuff. Automakers find themselves in a difficult spot as to whether they should drop their sedans to focus on utility vehicles, or put more effort into making them more appealing. Toyota has chosen the latter option with the 2018 Camry. Let’s see if they made the right call. Previous Camrys have tended to play it safe with their exterior designs. The new model drops the safe attitude and goes for something very extroverted. For the XSE, this includes a different front end with a smaller lower grille and large cutouts in the bumper. The side profile shows off a pronounced character line and a set of 19-inch machined-finish alloy wheels. Move the back to find a faux diffuser and a set of quad tailpipes. I actually prefer the look of the XSE to the other Camry models as it loses out on the gaping maw that is the lower grille. Compared to the jumbled-together look of the previous Camry’s interior, the new model features a flowing and modern design. The unique shape of the center stack and contrasting trim pieces for the passenger really help the model stand out. Controls are laid out in a very logical fashion and have easy-to-read text. Material quality is very impressive with exposed stitching, metal trim, and a lot of soft-touch plastic. The XSE features leather seats with eight-way power adjustments for driver and passenger. I found the seats to be on the firm side and provide decent support on short trips. But on longer trips, my lower back started to ache. I couldn’t tell if I design of the seat just didn’t work with my back or if I had too much lumbar. On paper, the Camry has the smallest amount of rear legroom. But in reality, I found that I had more than enough to feel comfortable. Taller passengers will need to duck as headroom is quite tight due to the optional sunroof. Toyota has installed the latest version of their Entune infotainment system in the 2018 Camry. The new version comes with an updated look that retains the ease of use that we have liked on the older systems. Performance is about average for the class as it takes only a few milliseconds to get to the various functions. I do like the array of physical buttons that provide an easy way to move around the system. There is still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But considering the 2019 Avalon does have Apple CarPlay, we hope the Camry will get it as well. XSE models get a heads-up display as standard. However, I found the display to be more of a hindrance as the image was blurry. I think this is a problem with Toyota as I experienced the same issue in the LC 500 coupe I drove late last year. For its polarizing character, you might be expecting the Camry XSE to have either a turbo-four or V6 under the hood. While a 3.5L V6 is available, this XSE featured the standard 2.5L four-cylinder engine producing 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It was a bit disappointing to find this engine under the hood considering the vehicle’s character. Around town, the Camry doesn’t feel as fast as the Hyundai Sonata due to most of the power being available only at higher rpms. On the highway or needing to make a pass, the four-cylinder comes alive with enough shove to get you moving at a decent clip. Disappointingly, Toyota forgot to quiet down the engine during acceleration as there is a fair amount of buzz coming inside the cabin. But the engine quiets down to a murmur when cruising. The new eight-speed transmission pairs well with the engine, delivering unobtrusive and quick shifts. Fuel economy figures for the 2.5 are 28 City/39 Highway/32 Combined. My average for the week landed around 32.6 mpg in mixed driving. The Camry is the latest Toyota model to move on to the TGNA modular platform and it makes the model somewhat fun to pilot. On a curvy stretch of road, the XSE feels well-mannered as there isn’t excessive body motion and the steering proving a direct and well-weighted feel. Despite its sporting nature, the XSE’s ride is well-controlled with only a few bumps making their way inside. One disappointment is the large amount road and wind noise that comes inside when driving on the freeway. The Camry XSE sits as the flagship trim with a starting price of $29,150 for the four-cylinder and $35,100 for the V6. With a number of options, the as-tested price of this XSE comes to $35,333. That is quite the poor value considering for a few hundred dollars more, you can get into a loaded an Accord Touring complete with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 252 horsepower. For a couple thousand dollars less, the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T and Kia Optima SX offer similar driving dynamics and more luxury touches. Toyota knew it had to take a big gamble with the new Camry considering the growing demand for crossovers. In certain respects, Toyota has done it. The Camry is not a wallflower in terms of its looks and handling. Additionally, the interior blends a distinctive design with ease of use. But there are some problems that put the Camry in a tough spot. The four-cylinder engine needs a bit more low-end punch for around-town driving. Some more sound deadening would go a long way in making the Camry a good long-distance cruiser. The biggest issue is the value argument as other sedans offer much more equipment for similar or less money than the Camry. Toyota is likely banking on the name equity of model to justify the higher price. This would be ok if we weren’t in a time where more and more buyers are moving to crossovers and utility vehicles. The 2018 Toyota Camry is a much better car from the one it replaces, but the high price tag may be its downfall. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: Camry Trim: XSE Engine: 2.5L Twin-Cam, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 206 @ 6,600 Torque @ RPM: 186 @ 5,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/39/32 Curb Weight: 3,395 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY Base Price: $29,000 As Tested Price: $35,355 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Audio Package - $1,800.00 Driver Assist Package - $1,675.00 Panoramic Sunroof - $1,045.00 Special Color - $395.00 Illuminated Door Sill Enhancements - $299.00 Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $224.00
  23. Toyota is planning a big push with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. According to Reuters, the Japanese automaker is doubling-down on investments for fuel cell vehicles by making improvements to reduce costs and building different models including commercial trucks. “We’re going to shift from limited production to mass production, reduce the amount of expensive materials like platinum used in FCV components, and make the system more compact and powerful,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai. Currently, Toyota hand builds the Mirai at a plant in Toyota City. Everyday, about 6.5 cars roll out of the plant. This is due to the detailed inspections that partially assembled models go through. The parts comprising the Mirai are quite expensive as well. According to analysis done by Strategic Analysis Inc., it costs Toyota about $11,000 to produce each of the fuel cell stacks. Blame the use of the platinum, titanium, and carbon fiber for the stacks. Toyota has been building up production capacity as it expects sales of FCVs to increase from about 3,000 to over 20,000 after 2020. This will help reduce the cost of each fuel cell stack to $8,000. “It will be difficult for Toyota to lower FCV production costs if it only produces the Mirai,” said a source, That's where an expansion of FCVs come in. Toyota is planning a "phased introduction' of other FCVs, including SUVs and commercial trucks starting around 2025. Toyota declined to talk about future products, but did reveal that it has built prototypes of small delivery vehicles and transport trucks with fuel cell powertrains. “We’re going to use as many parts from existing passenger cars and other models as possible in fuel cell trucks. Otherwise, we won’t see the benefits of mass production,” said Ikuo Ota, manager of new business planning for fuel cell projects at Toyota. Why is Toyota doubling down on fuel cells? Sources say that Toyota believes demand will increase as more countries, including China "warm to fuel cell technology". The company also sees FCVs as a hedge against battery materials such as cobalt becoming scarce. But there is still one issue that Toyota, and other automakers build FCVs still need to solve; infrastructure. There aren't many hydrogen refueling stations around. For example, the majority of hydrogen stations in the U.S. are in California. Not helping is a current shortage of hydrogen at refueling stations in California. Green Car Reports says this issue is due to various problems with supplier Air Products. The company said that it hopes to restore hydrogen supplies sometime in early August. Source: Reuters, Green Car Reports View full article
  24. William Maley

    Toyota Double Downs Investment On Hydrogen

    Toyota is planning a big push with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. According to Reuters, the Japanese automaker is doubling-down on investments for fuel cell vehicles by making improvements to reduce costs and building different models including commercial trucks. “We’re going to shift from limited production to mass production, reduce the amount of expensive materials like platinum used in FCV components, and make the system more compact and powerful,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai. Currently, Toyota hand builds the Mirai at a plant in Toyota City. Everyday, about 6.5 cars roll out of the plant. This is due to the detailed inspections that partially assembled models go through. The parts comprising the Mirai are quite expensive as well. According to analysis done by Strategic Analysis Inc., it costs Toyota about $11,000 to produce each of the fuel cell stacks. Blame the use of the platinum, titanium, and carbon fiber for the stacks. Toyota has been building up production capacity as it expects sales of FCVs to increase from about 3,000 to over 20,000 after 2020. This will help reduce the cost of each fuel cell stack to $8,000. “It will be difficult for Toyota to lower FCV production costs if it only produces the Mirai,” said a source, That's where an expansion of FCVs come in. Toyota is planning a "phased introduction' of other FCVs, including SUVs and commercial trucks starting around 2025. Toyota declined to talk about future products, but did reveal that it has built prototypes of small delivery vehicles and transport trucks with fuel cell powertrains. “We’re going to use as many parts from existing passenger cars and other models as possible in fuel cell trucks. Otherwise, we won’t see the benefits of mass production,” said Ikuo Ota, manager of new business planning for fuel cell projects at Toyota. Why is Toyota doubling down on fuel cells? Sources say that Toyota believes demand will increase as more countries, including China "warm to fuel cell technology". The company also sees FCVs as a hedge against battery materials such as cobalt becoming scarce. But there is still one issue that Toyota, and other automakers build FCVs still need to solve; infrastructure. There aren't many hydrogen refueling stations around. For example, the majority of hydrogen stations in the U.S. are in California. Not helping is a current shortage of hydrogen at refueling stations in California. Green Car Reports says this issue is due to various problems with supplier Air Products. The company said that it hopes to restore hydrogen supplies sometime in early August. Source: Reuters, Green Car Reports
  25. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

    I need to get something out of the way before diving into the review of the 2018 Toyota C-HR. Originally the C-HR was to join Scion’s lineup, but the C-HR would become a Toyota as the Scion brand would shut its doors in late 2016. With this change of brands, does this leave the C-HR with an identity crisis? The C-HR is short for ‘Coupe High Roof’ and the design makes that very clear. Proportions are very similar to a coupe with a long front and stubby back. Other coupe details to be aware of are a set of wider fenders, a sloping roofline, and a rear spoiler. It makes for a very polarizing design that many will agree catches your eye for better or worse Toyota’s designers must have been infatuated with diamonds as you’ll notice this shape throughout the C-HR. Key examples include the pattern on the cloth seats and arrangement of buttons on the steering wheel. The center stack is slightly angled towards the driver to emphasize a sporty nature. Material quality is about average with a mix of soft-touch plastics on the dash, and hard plastics for the door panels and center console. The C-HR’s ergonomics are excellent as controls are laid out logically and easy to use. I found the front seats are lacking in lower-body support. I’m 5’9” and after driving the C-HR for an hour, I found my thighs and legs started to ache. This comes down to a short bottom cushion. Shorter drivers will likely not run into this issue. ‘Claustrophobic’ is the word to describe the C-HR’s back seat as the small rear windows make it feel small. Not helping is the limited amount of legroom as I found my knees touching the backside of the front seat. CH-R’s cargo space is in the middle of the class when the rear seats are up at 19 cubic feet. To give some perspective, the Mazda CX-3 is the smallest at 12.4 cubic feet, while the Honda HR-V has the largest at 24.3. Fold the rear seats and the C-HR is at the bottom of the class with 36.4 cubic feet. The Mazda CX-3 has 9.1 cubic feet more space when its rear seats are folded. All C-HRs come equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen radio with the basics; AM/FM, Bluetooth, and inputs for USB and aux cords. While I found the system to be intuitive to use with a simple menu structure and decent performance, I did find myself wishing Toyota had included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or the option of a larger system with navigation. Powering the C-HR is a 2.0L four-cylinder with 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a CVT and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is nowhere to be found despite the C-HR offering it in markets outside the U.S. Driving in town, the C-HR feels lively thanks to a responsive throttle. But above these speeds, the C-HR reveals a major weakness; put your foot down and the engine takes its sweet time to get up to speed - taking over 11 seconds to hit 60 mph. This makes certain tasks such as passing a slower vehicle treacherous. Under hard acceleration, the CVT is quite loud. Toyota does offer other engines for the C-HR elsewhere, including a hybrid. Reading through various test drives, the hybrid is slightly quicker; recording a 0-60 time of 11 seconds. Fuel economy figures for the 2018 C-HR are 27 City/31 Highway/29 Combined. My average for the week landed at 28.1 mpg. Like most new and redesigned Toyota models, the C-HR rides on the modular TGNA platform. I have praised this platform on both the Prius and Prius Prime as it makes them feel playful on a winding road. This extends to the C-HR. Despite a higher ride height, body motions are kept in check when cornering. Steering feels precise and has ample weight when turning. Ride quality is on the firm side, but it will not beat up passengers. A fair amount of tire and wind noise comes inside when driving on the expressway. The Toyota C-HR is quite expensive for a subcompact crossovers. The base XLE begins at $22,500. My XLE Premium tester begins at $24,350 and with some added accessories, the final price was $25,633. That’s without leather seats, navigation, or a sunroof. Toyota is quick to point out that the C-HR does come equipped with a number of active safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist as standard. That only helps the base XLE when it comes to arguing value. The XLE Premium has a tougher time since you can get into a well equipped Hyundai Kona Limited FWD with a sunroof, leather seats, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration; and 18-inch alloy wheels for only $53 more. You do miss out on the active safety features since as you can only get those on the top-line Ultimate, but the Kona presents a better value than the C-HR when you compare features bit by bit. The Toyota C-HR left me very frustrated as the week came to a close. The crossover has some charm with sharp driving dynamics and a very willing chassis. But it is clear that the C-HR feels more like a Scion than a Toyota as it was built to be cost-effective as it doesn’t offer any options. What you see is what you get. The problem is that competitors offer more equipment for similar money. The C-HR also trails competitors in terms of cargo capacity and performance. I do believe there is a crossover that can stand out from the growing field of subcompact models, but Toyota needs to think of the C-HR as one of their own models, not as a Scion. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the C-HR, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: C-HR Trim: XLE Premium Engine: 2.0L DOHC, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder with Valvematic Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 144 @ 6,100 Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 3,900 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/31/29 Curb Weight: 3,300 lbs Location of Manufacture: Arifiye, Sakarya, Turkey Base Price: $24,350 As Tested Price: $25,633 (Includes $960.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpeted Floormats and Cargo Mat - $194.00 Mudguards - $129.00 View full article

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