Filed under: Hybrid , Etc. , Crossover , Porsche , Toyota Our controversial automotive beliefs Everyone’s got an opinion, and some of ours are more unfavorable than others. Whether its one staffer’s pro-vote for the Smart Fortwo, or another’s dislike of a certain Hellcat-powered Challenger, these not-so-popular beliefs are often kept off the pages of Autoblog . Until now. Read our confessions, here. Quick Spin: 2015 Porsche Macan S We already gave Porsche’s Macan Turbo a proper shakedown over in Europe, but back at home, west coast editor Michael Harley was able to take the less-powerful, less-expensive Macan out for a proper drive, on- and off-road. Yes, we hit both track and trail in the new baby Porsche. Have a read in our Quick Spin. CR pushes for Camry recall There’s a potential problem with certain Camry Hybrid models from the 2007 to 2011 model years, but Toyota hasn’t issued a recall – yet. The folks at Consumer Reports are urging the Japanese automaker to call back some of these sedans due to problems with the brakes.
Filed under: Coupe , Performance , Europe , Videos , Scion , Toyota We have entered a drifting arms race. Last year, BMW smashed the Guinness World Record for the longest drift by hanging the tail out for 51.3 miles around a wet skid pad in an M5 at the BMW Performance Driving School in South Carolina. That beat the previous milestone of nearly seven miles. Now, Bimmer’s record is up in smoke as well and is in the possession of a Toyota . German driver Harald M
Filed under: Budget , Hatchback , Scion , Toyota Scion seemed like such a good idea when it was first launched. Toyota’s aim was to provide young people with stylish, affordable cars that would serve as a gateway to the automaker’s family of products. It was also supposed to be something of an incubator for new ideas that were too radical for its more conservative Toyota and Lexus brands. Over a decade since its launch, the brand has languished, and today’s showroom is populated by slow-selling and aging vehicles that have often been slow to receive upgrades. However, there may be a bright spot on the imminent horizon, as there are reportedly a slate of new models on the way over the next three years. According to a model timeline published by Automotive News , the Scion lineup is about to get a major overhaul . First, the boxy xB may finally be going to the big refrigerator box in the sky, to be replaced by a version of the more conventionally styled Auris hatchback (pictured above) from overseas markets in early 2015. Later next year, the xD will also allegedly bow out in favor of a new hatchback based on the Mazda2 (thanks to a recently signed platform-sharing deal ). For 2016, the sporty tC hatchback is also said to get a redesign, and interestingly enough, a Corolla -based compact crossover could join the ranks, too. While those changes should boost sales volume, there’s also news that’s sure to make enthusiasts happy.
Filed under: Truck , Etc. , Government/Legal , Toyota , Celebrities Rogue or no, Tea Party darling and former Alaskan governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is still subject to traffic laws. That means when Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55,” comes on the radio, she’s still expected to keep a moderate pace, and even her celebrity status isn’t enough to get her out of a speeding ticket. ” I wasn’t speeding. I was qualifying ,” Palin allegedly told the celebrity gossip hounds at TMZ. She was nabbed going 63 miles per hour in a 45-mph zone while driving her Toyota Tundra in her hometown of Wasilla, AK on July 16. Palin, according to the website, amusingly blamed her lead foot on the Hagar track. Palin was cited for driving 10 to 19 mph over the speed limit, which carries a $144 fine in addition to a $10 “police training” surcharge, according to The Detroit Free Press . Sarah Palin blames speeding ticket on Sammy Hagar originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Budget , Hatchback , Toyota , Design/Style Toyota released a new Yaris in Europe and its Vitz clone in Japan a few months ago, so we knew it would only be a matter of time before it would launch the new hatchback here in North America. And that time has come. The new, more distinctive 2015 Yaris features far more aggressive exterior styling, a look set apart by that large lower air dam and X-motif front end. It rides on a retuned suspension hooked up to an altogether more rigid chassis, and Toyota promises it will ride more quietly and comfortably than the model it replaces. Inside the new model has additional soft-touch materials in a more comfortable cabin equipped with everything from a 6.1-inch touchscreen display to nine airbags. The 2015 Yaris comes in both three- and five-door bodystyles, and three trim levels that seek to eliminate the need for options packages. In fact the only option to speak of is a dealer-installed nav system. Power comes from a modest 1.5-liter four with variable valve timing, dual overhead cams and sixteen valves, sending 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. For all the updates, Toyota has only increased pricing by two or three percent (amounting to a few hundred bucks), with the 2015′s MSRP ranging from $14,825 for a three-door, manual-transmission Yaris L to $17,620 for five-door, automatic Yaris SE (*before $825 destination charge). Scope out all the details and pricing in the press release below .
Filed under: Acura , BMW , Cadillac , Chevrolet , Chrysler , Infiniti , Lamborghini , Lexus , Mazda , Mercedes-Benz , Nissan , Scion , Toyota , Volkswagen , Volvo Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception. Japan’s automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet . Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD , and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC . From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives. German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler -made Routan . Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Hurac
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: Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , UAW/Unions , Canada Union tactics apparently translate across borders, as Canada’s Unifor may take inspiration from the United Auto Workers’ recent move at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN , and establish a local for the Toyota factories in Cambridge and Woodstock. Unifor last attempted to organize the workers at the two factories , which are responsible for production of the Toyota Corolla (above), RAV4 and Lexus RX back in April, but that vote was eventually delayed . According to that report, 3,000 of the two plants’ 7,500 employees signed union cards, but that apparently wasn’t enough for Unifor to force a vote. Because of this, the union is looking at the local approach, like what the UAW is attempting with VW. “We have union halls in Woodstock and Kitchener-Waterloo; they could elect an executive and run monthly membership meetings,” union president Jerry Dias told The Windsor Star. Dias added that the union ” continues to sign up new members on a regular basis .” So what would the benefit to employees be if they sign up with the local? According to The Star, while Unifor couldn’t act as a bargaining agent for the workers, employees would still be able to take part in other union activities. It’s not entirely clear what these include, though, and as the primary mission of a union is to act as a bargaining agent for employees, the idea of a local would appear to leave something on the table. As for when this plan could come to fruition, Dias says a final decision isn’t expected until fall. Unifor may establish local union for Toyota’s Canadian plants originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:59:00 EST.
Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota , Design/Style If you want to know who’s been responsible for injecting some attitude into Toyota’s designs in recent years, look to Akihiro Nagaya. As a design executive and as a freelance consultant, the rockstar designer known as Dezi has styled more concept and production cars for Toyota and its Lexus brand than we would dare to count. But now he’s moving to Yamaha . According to Automotive News , Dezi Nagaya moved on July 1 to the Yamaha Motor Company as its general manager of design – a role it had never filled before, choosing to outsource most of its design work. Nagaya’s Facebook page indicates he’s been at Yamaha since January. We don’t know at this point whether Nagaya will be responsible for the design of all of Yamaha’s motor vehicles – including its motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and marine products – or just its automotive operations, but the hire comes at a time when the company has been exploring further involvement in four-wheeled transportation. In the past Yamaha has provided engines for vehicles like the Lexus LFA , Volvo XC90 and Ford Taurus SHO , and toyed with the idea of a supercar with the oddball OX99-11 concept in the early 1990s, but more recently embarked on a partnership with Gordon Murray Design to build the Motiv.e city car. Because Yamaha and Toyota each own a small piece of each other and collaborate on a range of projects, Nagaya’s move is being characterized as a “transfer” between partners instead of a poaching of one company’s employee by another. Toyota design leader Dezi Nagaya moving to Yamaha originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
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.