Filed under: Coupe , Performance , Scion , Subaru , Toyota The Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S have been struck by a minor gremlin, but the repair is turning into an episode that ends with “Stay Tuned” rather than a definite conclusion. Automotive News reports that a software mapping hiccup can cause the adaptive engine ECU to get out of whack with the engine, which can, in turn, cause rough idling and stalling. Toyota said the issue does “involve the variable valve timing,” but both Subaru and Toyota say the issue is entirely about the software, that the ECU can develop a “handshake issue” with the engine after having an unfavorable ” reaction to normal mechanical variations ” in a small number of cases. The two automakers diverge on the remedy, however. After 100 miles of learning the powertrain and the driver’s driving style, AN reports that the ECU’s mapping is pretty much baked in. If engine operation exceeds the established parameters, at low revs the engine succumbs to uneven idling and stalling as the ECU tries to recalibrate to a new range of tolerances . Toyota has said that if the issue is suffered by a car with less than 100 miles, the ECU should be reflashed, but that cars with more than 100 miles should have their ECUs replaced. Subaru, though, has said that the ECU doesn’t need to be replaced no matter the mileage – a reflash is all that’s required. It appears that some owners who have had the reflash have suffered the problem again. We don’t have any hard numbers on how many of the coupes are afflicted and how many have been fixed, so it’s impossible to know how big or little the issue is.
Filed under: New York Auto Show , Sedan , Toyota When we read through the press materials for the new 2013 Toyota Avalon , we had to double-check… had we downloaded the release for the wrong car? Because right here it says, “In Sport mode, throttle response is enhanced and steering effort is weighted… to offer a sportier character.” And what’s this about paddle shifters? This is the Avalon, the car that replaced the Mercury Grand Marquis in the hearts, minds and garages of Florida retirees. But yes, we had the right car. Apparently Toyota is serious about developing more interesting and youthful products, and it’s off to a good start with the Avalon, based on what we have heard and seen at the New York Auto Show today. The car was developed, styled and engineered in the United States, and it will be built here too, at Toyota’s Georgetown, KY, plant. While that doesn’t mean much without a product that can deliver the goods, we like most of what we see. From the A-pillar on back, the new Avalon looks long and sleek and seems to have a lot of BMW inspiration in its design.
Flooding in Thailand has caused some interruption in production for a number of Toyota suppliers in that region.