Filed under: Truck , Toyota , Off-Road , Quick Spins Introduced at the end of 2006, this is the last year for the Toyota FJ Cruiser , the reincarnated FJ40-series Land Cruiser that will shortly journey to Takama-ga-hara , the Plain of High Heaven. In its first model year, we drove it to SEMA and found it, shall we say, coarse. It bobbled on the freeway and droned in the cabin, its boxy interior providing four bounce-boards for unpleasant frequencies. Tall mirrors helped one work around the eclipse of vision aft of the B-pillars, but navigating traffic required forethought and technique. Its turning circle was measured in kilometers. For the first two years of its life, it needed premium gas. It may have been fun to look at, but we couldn’t wait to get out of it. That’s not the case anymore, and now the FJ Cruiser is poised to join a long list of vehicles that got better and better, then got axed. Driving Notes The current FJ is rugged, and surprisingly it’s not really all that coarse dynamically. We drove into the California desert, spent nearly a week playing around off-road, drove it back and then did a lazy Sunday drive to Santa Barbara, all in amiable comfort.
Filed under: SUV , Etc. , Lexus , Toyota , Australia , Diesel Australian consumers appear poised to get another diesel-burning luxury SUV in the near future, and word is it’s coming from Lexus , of all automakers. Sean Hanley, chief executive of the company’s branch in Oz, recently told Aussie website Drive that he’s “pretty confident” that the new engine for the LX is getting the green light. Like in the US, the LX in Australia is currently only offered with a 5.7-liter, gasoline-burning V8. However, sales of the big SUV are presently minuscule Down Under, with Drive reporting just 153 LX570s sold in all of Oz last year. Hanley is negotiating with Japan to get the new diesel in hopes of boosting flagging sales. If his efforts are successful, it would be the first diesel engine offered in a Lexus there. Hanley didn’t specify exactly which mill the SUV would get. However, given the LX’s close relationship with Toyota Land Cruiser , the diesel 4.5-liter twin-turbo V8 already available in the Toyota in markets outside of North America seems like a natural choice. Don’t expect the variant to be hopping across the Pacific, though.
Filed under: Coupe , Performance , Subaru , Toyota Hallelujah friends, hallelujah. One of the highest voices in Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries , has just said that the boxer-obsessed automaker will release a second generation of the lovable BRZ . Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of FHI, has summarily shot down assertions made by Tetsuya Tada , the chief engineer for the Toyota GT86 . In a recent interview with an Australian publication, Tada claimed that Subaru had not decided whether it would be involved in the followup effort to the rear-drive coupe, and even speculated that the Toyota could team with BMW for a second-gen car, instead. “If I were to be told that, I’d pass out. It’s not going to be just one generation ,” Yoshinaga-san told Automotive News. Despite this claim, even Yoshinaga confirmed that in order for the BRZ to be viable, his company needs Toyota. Should Toyota make the move to BMW as part of its joint-venture agreement, though, it’d cast some major doubts on the likelihood of a second-gen BRZ ever seeing the light of day. Subaru BRZ to get second generation, says exec originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Sedan , Technology , Toyota , Electric Toyota is requesting an exemption from federal safety regulations that govern electric cars as it prepares to launch a small-scale hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle fleet. The Japanese automaker is targeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 305 , which covers the packaging of high-voltage parts in electric cars. According to Uncle Sam, these systems need to be isolated so that passengers and first responders aren’t electrocuted in the event of a crash. That seems pretty smart, but it’s become a problem for Toyota’s upcoming production fuel cell vehicle, as the mechanism that prevents electric shocks in low-speed crashes will apparently simply keep Toyota’s car from even functioning. Instead of the federally approved system, Bloomberg reports that Toyota plans to insulate the high-voltage wires and cables in the car, along with shielding electrical components like the fuel cells, electric motor and batteries with (presumably non-conductive) metal barriers. It’s unclear if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will bow to Toyota’s request, but the government safety watchdog might be swayed in light of the fact that the company is targeting a very small number of sales – 2,500 per year – and it still has a plan in place to protect first responders and vehicle occupants. Toyota asking NHTSA for fuel cell car safety exemption regarding electric shocks originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 Jun 2014 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , Chevrolet , Chrysler , Dodge , GM , Honda , Toyota , SRT Once again, the most American car on the market is from an American brand. The Ford F-150 retained its number one spot in Cars.com ‘s annual survey of the most American vehicles, trumping the Toyota Camry , which remains at number two. Ford taking the top spot is small consolation, though, as the Detroit Three aren’t too well represented here. General Motors scored a win at number seven, with the Chevrolet Corvette , while Chrysler squeaked in at number ten, with the Dodge Viper . Outside of those three vehicles, Toyota and Honda dominate the top ten. What’s most remarkable, though, is that there were so few cars available for this year’s list. “Only ten cars were eligible for the American-Made Index this year. That’s the fewest in the study’s nine-year history. In 2013, 14 cars met the threshold, 20 in 2012 and 30 cars the year before that,” said Patrick Olsen, Editor-In-Chief of Cars.com . “This consistent decline points to global nature of cars these days.
Filed under: Sedan , Technology , Toyota Toyota has finally unveiled its FCV hydrogen fuel cell sedan and its Japanese price. We won’t have to wait too long to see the first of these revolutionary vehicles on the roads. It will go on sale in Japan in April 2015 and will come to the US and Europe later that summer. In Japan, the FCV will be priced at roughly 7 million yen before taxes ($68,810 at current exchange rates). However, Toyota makes it clear in the press release that we shouldn’t try to extrapolate US MSRP from that figure, saying that official pricing for the US and Europe has not yet been determined. As will be the case in the US, sales in Japan will be limited to parts of the country that already have a hydrogen refueling infrastructure (that means you, California). The production version of the FCV looks almost identical to the concept from last year’s Tokyo Motor Show . There is a new vertical strip of LEDs at each corner of the front air intake and real sideview windows, instead of the nubs on the prototype. The weird squiggles from the rear trim are also gone in favor of a more production-ready look, but the taillights survive the changes mostly intact. The automaker is keeping most of the specs about the FCV a secret for now as well, but it is confirmed a few key details.
Filed under: Spy Photos , Coupe , Performance , Scion , Toyota We’ve seen (and frankly reported on) so many rumors of more powerful and performance-focused versions of the Subaru BRZ , Toyota GT86 and Scion FR-S at this point that haven’t materialized that, at this point, we’re almost tired of them. Almost. But what we have here was enough to pique our jaded interests as only a carbon-bodied sports car on the N
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota UPDATE : Honda, Mazda and Nissan have all issued statements about the airbag issue, which you can now find below . Interestingly, only Honda is actually using the word “recall” in its statement, with Nissan calling it a “field action” (like Chrysler), and Mazda referring to it as a “special service program.” Honda has also added various Accord, Pilot and Ridgeline models to the list, as well as Acura MDX, TL and CL. Mazda, meanwhile, has added certain Mazdaspeed6 and MPV vehicles to its list. We expect a full list of Nissan vehicles later this week. Three million more vehicles can be added to the worldwide tally to be repaired for the faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata . Honda , Nissan , and Mazda have all issued recalls to replace the bad part, including about 1.2 million of them in North America. NHTSA has been investigating all three companies, plus Chrysler and Toyota, for potentially affected vehicles. Honda is recalling roughly 1.02 million Civic , CR-V , Odyssey and Element models In North America, built between April 2000 and October 2002. Mazda needs to repair 14,794 units of the RX-8 and Mazda6 , and Nissan has 228,000 vehicles in North America to be fixed. Chrysler is also starting what it calls a “regional field action” to replace the inflators in the 2006 Dodge Charger , according to a company spokesperson.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Acura , BMW , Chrysler , Ford , Honda , Infiniti , Lexus , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota The recall of faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata has exploded today to grow to seven automakers. In most cases, only models in certain high-humidity regions were affected because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in its investigation that moisture played a roll in determining whether there would be a problem . However, some companies opted for national campaigns. The exact number of affected models for these campaigns isn’t yet known at this time. BMW is recalling an undisclosed number of 325i , 325Xi, 330i and 330Xi models from the 2001 through 2005 model years and the 2001-2006 model year versions of the 325Ci and 330Ci for the driver side and passenger side inflators. Only vehicles currently registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands are covered under this recall. Neither Chrysler’s filing with NHTSA nor its press release list the specific models affected, but a company spokesperson told Autoblog that at this time it only covers the driver and passenger side inflators for the 2006 Dodge Charger in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands In most cases, only models in certain high-humidity regions were affected because the NHTSA found that moisture played a roll in determining if there would be a problem. Ford is recalling an estimated 58,669 cars that include the 2005-2006 model years of the Ford GT for the driver and passenger inflators, the 2007-2007 model years of the Mustang for the driver side and 2004 Ranger for the passenger side. It covers vehicles originally sold or currently registered in, wait for it… Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Convertible , Japan , Videos , Toyota , Toys/Games It’s been two years since Toyota first revealed its Camatte show car at the Tokyo Toy Show. Though sadly never destined for production, Toyota brought the concept back the following year as the Camatte 57s roadster, and is now returning to the same show with yet another take on the kid-friendly, configurable 1+2 with interchangeable body panels – this time with a slew of features that are fresh not only to the concept itself, but to the industry altogether. This year the Camatte is being showcased in two forms: a bare chassis in the Tech Lab that lets kids see the inner workings of a modern automobile, and another in the Design Lab that lets kids draw their own motif for the concept that is then displayed on an LED hood. The overall approach reminds us of the way Toyota’s budget brand Daihatsu unveiled the Kopen roadster concept at the Tokyo Motor Show late last year, only even more kid-focused and decidedly more light-hearted than you might otherwise expect from one of the largest industrial giants in the world, and could only have been made for a toy exposition. In Japan. Which would explain the ridiculously upbeat videos below , where you’ll also find the brief press release. Continue reading Camatte concept puts the Toy back in Toyota [w/videos] Camatte concept puts the Toy back in Toyota [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink