Filed under: Concept Cars , LA Auto Show , Motorsports , Performance , Chevrolet , Lincoln , Toyota , Ferrari , Design/Style “I said our cars are built to be winners.” – Jim Hall Racing legend Jim Hall never thought he’d be a video game consultant, but when Chevrolet asked for his advice to create a futuristic Chaparral for the Vision Gran Turismo series, he was eager to help. He reviewed early sketches and suggested some changes that made it onto the concept, including the addition of a camera that’s mounted onto a mast over the cabin to aid the driver. The Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept was revealed this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show and will be part of a downloadable update for PlayStation 3’s Gran Turismo 6 in December. Theoretically, at least, it uses a laser-beam propulsion system and an air-powered generator to produce 900 horsepower in the video game. It’s capable of sprinting to 60 miles per hour in 1.5 seconds en route to a top speed of 240 mph. Continue reading Weekly Recap: Racing legend Jim Hall explains Chevy’s futuristic Chaparral concept Weekly Recap: Racing legend Jim Hall explains Chevy’s futuristic Chaparral concept originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Minivan/Van , Safety , Videos , Chrysler , Dodge , Nissan , Toyota First introduced in 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small-overlap frontal crash test has become the bane of many auto engineers’ existence. It’s a particularly steep design challenge because it forces just 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end to take the brunt of a 40-mile-per-hour impact. The newly released results of four family-minded minivans underscore just how difficult the crash test is: only one scored an Acceptable rating, and the other three did very poorly. The 2008-2015 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan , plus the 2011-2015 Nissan Quest , all received Poor ratings in the test, the IIHS’ lowest possible score. The three of them showed significant crash intrusion into the driver’s area. The dummy in the Nissan actually had to be cut out of the vehicle, with an IIHS spokesperson remarking, “the structure collapsed like a house of cards.” In the Fiat Chrysler Automobile vans, the steering wheels moved out of the way, making the airbag less effective and letting the driver’s head hit the dashboard. While it was not actually crashed, the agency is also giving the 2009-12 Volkswagen Routan a Poor score because it shares a structure with the FCA models. The newly released results of four minivans underscore just how difficult the small-offset crash test is. The refreshed 2015 Toyota Sienna (shown), conversely, earned an Acceptable rating and is also a Top Safety Pick+ because of its optional forward collision warning and automatic braking system. While the crash test dummy moved around during the impact more than the agency would have liked, sensors showed a low risk of injuries.
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota , Quick Spins Toyota offers many flavors of its refreshed 2015 Camry , but those who choose to lower their operating cost-per-mile, squeeze 500-plus miles out of each tank of fuel or run a very efficient and reliable sedan in their taxi fleets will only be interested in one: the Camry Hybrid. The exterior of the 2015 Camry Hybrid is nearly indistinguishable from its gasoline-only counterparts, with the same all-new sheetmetal and bumpers. The Hybrid is offered in LE, SE and XLE trims, meaning customers are offered base, sport or luxury configurations, respectively. While Toyota expended quite a bit of effort resculpting and improving the 2015 Camry Hybrid, one area it didn’t touch was the powertrain – it is virtually identical to last year’s model (just like the gas version). Under the hood is a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine (156 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque) and an electric tractive motor (141 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque). Combined, and running through Toyota’s unique Hybrid Synergy Drive electronic continuously variable transmission, the two produce 200 horsepower (Toyota does not list a combined torque figure, and we’ve asked for clarification). A 1.6 kilowatt-hour nickel-metal-hydride battery, packaged behind the rear seats, provides energy storage. The test car featured here is the Camry Hybrid SE in Blue Crush Metallic, with the optional moonroof, wireless charging and Entune premium audio with navigation and app suite. Driving Notes Toyota offers several different driving modes for the Camry Hybrid. The standard mode is Drive, which incorporates hybrid/EV driving automatically.
Filed under: Minivan/Van , Toyota Toyota found huge success with its “Swagger Wagon” rap video for the 2011 Sienna SE . It showed that a minivan could actually sort of maybe be fun and didn’t have to be a lame vehicle for people who long ago lost their sense of humor. Now that there is a slight refresh for the 2015 model, the company is trying to capture that effervescent image again with a bunch of videos aimed at families. For the latest launch, Toyota is partnering with some family-friendly online video stars and having them show off the Sienna’s features. It’s releasing YouTube videos from the creators of Action Movie Kid and Convos with My 2-Year-Old and a Vine from Eh Bee Family, and they all hope to show that it’s cool to be a family with a minivan. In terms of actual changes, though, the update is pretty light aesthetically, but the new tech inside seems aimed directly at mom and dad. However, unless you’ve got a sharp eye, spotting the exterior refresh might be tough. Toyota is tweaking the front end slightly by adding a dark mesh grille and trim. The headlights are also slightly reshaped to incorporate a new strip of available LED running lights. As they say, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and there are two, new features that parents with precocious kids are really going to love.
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.
Toyota and Discovery Education Announce Students from Irvine Named Winners of the 2014 Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge
Silver Spring, MD (June 17, 2014) – Toyota and Discovery Education today announced that four teens from Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine, CA – Jenny Kim, Tyler Koski, Kevin Kim and Chase Masters – have been named the grand prize winners of the 2014 Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge.
Silver Spring, MD (April 17, 2014) – Toyota and Discovery Education announced today the top ten finalists in the annual Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge, the nation’s premier teen safe driving program. Beginning today and continuing for the next two weeks, these top ten inspirational videos will appear online for public voting not only to determine the grand prize winner, but also to send a national reminder about the importance of safe teen driving.
Filed under: Europe , Japan , Recalls , Safety , Toyota UPDATE: The text below has been amended to include new details provided by Toyota. It looks like 2014 may go down as the year of recalls. We were already at a record pace , and now it seems Toyota is recalling 6.39 million vehicles worldwide, including about 30 of its models for a variety of problems. None of the faults have caused any injuries or fatalities, but there have been two reports of fires caused by a defective engine starter motor. Toyota’s numbers show 1.772 million vehicles being recalled in the US, but that includes some overlap because the Yaris is being repaired for multiple faults. According to The Detroit News , there are 2.36 million affected models in all of north North America, 1.09 million in Japan and 810,000 in Europe, plus smaller numbers in other regions. Toyota tells us that there are 6.76-million faults to repair in total, with those problems spread out over the aforementioned 6.39-million units. Among the vehicles recalled in the US are 1.3 million units of the 2009-2010 Corolla , Matrix and Tacoma , the 2008-2010 Highlander , the 2006-2008 RAV4 and 2006-2010 Yaris . The problem is that the driver’s airbag module is attached via a spiral electrical cable. The connections on the cable can be damaged when the steering wheel is turned, which could deactivate the airbag and cause the airbag warning light to come on.
Filed under: Marketing/Advertising , Videos , Toyota , Celebrities With just over a week to go before the Big Game, automakers left and right are giving us sneak peeks at the big-budget ads they’ve got lined up for game day. Audi is keeping us on our collective toes with something about a dog show , and Volkswagen is trying to squeeze everything awesome into one spot, but Toyota looks poised to have them both beat. Because the Japanese automaker has got a far more lovable dog cast for its commercial, and the one bit of awesome the Germans seem to have forgotten. That’s right, Toyota’s commercial has got Muppets. With their new movie Muppets Most Wanted set to hit theaters in March, everybody’s favorite gang of shag carpets with googly eyes is on a mission to “unborify” Terry Crews, the actor of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Everybody Hates Chris fame. Which only seems fitting for a Super Bowl commercial, seeing as how Crews played six seasons in the NFL as a defensive end and linebacker. We’re not sure that portraying the driver of a Highlander as someone who needs to be “unborified” is the right message Toyota wants to send in the first place, but we’ll reserve final judgement for when we see the full clip. In the meantime you can watch the half-minute teaser video below for a little Muppet mayhem. Continue reading Terry Crews and The Muppets out to ‘unborify’ Toyota’s Super Bowl commercial Terry Crews and The Muppets out to ‘unborify’ Toyota’s Super Bowl commercial originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Budget , Hybrid , Crossover , Toyota , Luxury We now have pricing for Toyota’s redesigned 2014 Highlander , which is seeing moderate price hikes across the board. Prices for the popular crossover have been bumped from less than 1 percent to less than 3 percent on lower-end models (anywhere from $125 to $890, depending on trim). Toyota has increased prices on higher-end XLE and Limited models more substantially – between 4.1 and 4.5 percent ($1,480 to $1,700). The Highlander Hybrid sees its price increase 2 percent ($930). The new model will be available in four different trims and with either front or all-wheel drive. The absolute cheapest member of the Highlander range, the base LE, with a four-cylinder and front-wheel drive starts at $30,075, an increase of just $195. The LE is also available with a V6 and all-wheel drive, with the bigger engine upping the price to $31,380. All-wheel drive models start at $32,840. A slightly pricier LE Plus starts at $33,600 for a V6 FWD model and $35,060 if you add all-wheel drive. Next up, we have the XLE, which starts at $36,900 for FWD models and moves up to $38,360 for AWD.