Filed under: Truck , Toyota , Off-Road Despite the earnest efforts of Japanese automakers like Toyota and Nissan , the American pickup truck scene remains wholly dominated by the likes of Ford , General Motors and Chrysler . This is not news. Part of the reason is because of the sheer number of variants offered by US automakers – everything from work-spec base trucks to house-leveling heavy duty models can be had, with a seemingly endless combination of engines, cab sizes, bed lengths and trim levels. It’s a hugely profitable business, and though the Japanese automakers still offer competitive fullsize trucks, in terms of sheer volume, they simply don’t compete. But American pickups aren’t just about work; there’s a huge play aspect involved, too. Look at the desert-storming Ford F-150 SVT Raptor or the Ram Power Wagon – these butch trucks are built with superb off-road prowess in mind, and Detroit’s Japanese rivals have once again largely been silent in this segment. Until now. Introduced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show , Toyota now offers the TRD Pro series of models that, in addition to the crazy-orange Tundra seen here, includes the smaller Tacoma pickup and 4Runner SUV. And this isn’t just some pretty appearance package, either – there’s honest-to-goodness capability baked into all of the TRD Pro models. Intriguing, for sure, so I recently spent a weekend with the big boy Tundra to see what’s what.
Filed under: Truck , Recalls , Safety , Toyota Toyota is announcing a recall for about 130,000 examples of the 2014 Tundra Tundra pickup in Crew-Max Cab and Double Cab configurations. According to the company, the “garnish on the center pillars” inside the trucks might not have been installed correctly. If the vehicle were in an accident, the side curtain airbags could deploy in the wrong shape. Toyota says that it’s not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities related to this potential problem. To fix the issue, the pickups will have their interior center pillars inspected, and if faulty, the pieces will be replaced. Obviously, this will be done at no cost to owners. Scroll down to read the full announcement. Continue reading 130,000 Toyota Tundra pickups recalled over airbag issue 130,000 Toyota Tundra pickups recalled over airbag issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Sedan , Japan , Toyota Never heard of the Toyota Mark X ? That’s because the Japanese automaker only sells it in its home market (and in China as the Reiz). It’s a rear-drive (or all-wheel-drive) sports sedan about the size of a Lexus IS , whose existence is probably why Toyota will never bring the Mark X to North America. The current model has been on the market since 2009, but Toyota is rolling out a series of updates – including the new Yellow Label model pictured here. Available on the 250G, 250G Four and 250G S trim levels, the Yellow Label gets a special shade of Awaken Yellow paint (though it can be had in black, white or silver as well), with an interior decked out in either yellow or black. It also gets piano lacquer trim, yellow stitching, pink gold accents, special tread plates and other interior equipment upgrades, as well as a unique set of alloys. All of which makes the Toyota Mark X Yellow Label perfect for recreating scenes from Kill Bill without the need to squeeze into yellow leathers. (In fact we wouldn’t be surprised to see Toyota doing just that for a promo clip.) Power comes from a 2.5-liter V6 (and not the larger 3.5 available on the 350S model) channeled through a six-speed automatic to either the rear wheels or all four. Pricing ranges between 2.8 and 3.1 million yen (~$26-30k), representing a premium of about 106k yen ($1k) over non-yellow models. Toyota operates four distinct dealer networks in Japan, and the Mark X is sold through Toyopet stores.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Coupe , Performance , Toyota , Misc. Auto Shows , Racing Toyota certainly caught our attention when it unveiled the FT-1 concept at the Detroit Auto Show last January. Coming from the same people who gave us the Lexus LFA , Scion FR-S and Toyota Supra , the FT-1 concept looked striking in its bright red livery. But the Japanese automaker isn’t quite done with it yet. No, we’re afraid we don’t have a production announcement to share at the moment, but Toyota has revealed two new versions of the FT-1 concept that cast it in different light. Most notable is the graphite version pictured above. Replacing the bright red paintjob and two-tone red and black interior of the original concept, this second iteration – presented in the metal at McCall’s Motorworks Revival in Monterey , California – goes for a more upscale and refined graphite exterior and a tan leather interior with exposed metal elements. Both versions of the virtually road-going FT-1 concept will be playable in GT6 , but at the same time Toyota also revealed (in digital form, at least) a virtual racing version of the concept called the FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo. Looking like the original concept was prepared for Japan’s Super GT series , the FT-1 Vision GT is retuned for racing, with wider fenders, more extreme aero, competition-spec alloys on slicks and the like. Check out the race-ready digital concept in the video below , our live shots from the graphite concept’s reveal at Pebble Beach in the gallery above and the galleries of both new versions at bottom for a closer look.
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: 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: Concept Cars , Japan , Tokyo Motor Show , Hatchback , Toyota , Specialty , Design/Style As far as beasts of burden go, New York City’s new – and much maligned – Nissan NV200 ” Taxi of Tomorrow ” isn’t a bad one. It’s space efficient, reasonably economical, and its simple construction should mean it’s pretty robust over the long haul, too. But it lacks panache and a sense of occasion – let alone a sense of humor – three things this this Toyota JPN Taxi Concept we found at the Tokyo Motor Show has in spades. Unfortunately, that’s about all the information we have on this cheeky London-taxi-inspired showcar. Toyota hasn’t provided much in the way of details, other than to proclaim that the five-seat JPN was “created with Japanese hospitality in mind” and it “aims to enliven city streets.” Japan’s livery landscape has long been occupied by traditional three-box sedans – models like the Toyota Crown and Nissan Cedric. The JPN Taxi at just over 171 inches would appear to offer both a tighter footprint and added whimsy, both of which are in the automaker’s favor; we hear it hopes this concept will one day become the country’s own version of America’s yellow Crown Vic cab. Toyota isn’t providing powertrain specifications, but we like the airy feeling of the interior (Japanese cabs typically don’t have cumbersome partitions between cabbie and passengers), the minimalist driver area with three screens, and the widescreen overhead video system for passengers that bookends the panoramic moonroof. Check it out in our gallery of live shots and let us know what you think in Comments. Continue reading Toyota JPN Taxi Concept is a Japanese riff on an English classic Toyota JPN Taxi Concept is a Japanese riff on an English classic originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Nov 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Japan , Crossover , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury Japanese site CarWatch has revealed images of the next-generation Toyota Harrier , known to US and European buyers as the Lexus RX . The new model features a considerably more aggressive fascia in keeping with some of the latest Lexus design trends, while the back features a pair of wide, wraparound taillights. The profile features a revised greenhouse, with a rather complex rear window treatment, while a subtle character line connects the front and rear taillights. According to the badging, the model shown features a hybrid powertrain, although there’s little information on which engine is being used. We’d wager it’s an evolution of the same 3.5-liter V6 hybrid found in the current RX450h . This early look doesn’t have a great deal of other info, and there are no images of the interior. We’re not yet clear on how closely the North American RX will adhere to the Harrier seen here, but historically the two models have been quite close. That said, we’d expect a more prominent ‘spindle’ grille on the Lexus version than the baleen strainer on the vehicle shown here. A page on Toyota’s Japanese website says the new Harrier/RX will receive a winter 2013 debut. That makes for a difficult determination of what auto show the new CUV will arrive at.
Filed under: Spy Photos , Hybrid , Hatchback , Toyota Toyota has built itself into the industry’s standard-bearer when it comes to hybrids, and it isn’t going to let the poster child for gas-electric vehicles get stale on the market. These spy shots captured in California are our first good look at the next-generation Prius , which could come to market wearing a 2015 model year designation. Even though it looks like Toyota may have blown its annual camouflage budget on this mule, we can clearly see that it will have the same iconic half-moon design that has been with the car since 2003. If so, this goes against reports from last year that suggested the car would be getting a different look inspired by the 2013 NS4 Concept . Although, this could also indicate that the Prius family will continue to grow – adding a new sedan – to the existing Prius C , Prius V and Prius Plug-In lineup. These spy shots also give us an indication as to what the interior will look like, with a more stylish three-spoke steering wheel and an instrument panel design that sort of reminds us of a BMW . On the other hand, all the tape, cobbled together pieces and lack of space for a center stack display screen has us thinking this isn’t what the final product will resemble. As for what will be powering the 2015 Prius, we hear that updated versions of the current electric system and engine will be employed, but it will carry over the nickel metal hydride batteries found in today’s model. Still no word on the rumored possibility of all-wheel-drive system, either. In addition to a new design and updated powertrain, it sounds like production of the next-generation Prius could be making a move to the US, joining the line at Toyota’s Tupelo, MS plant.
Filed under: Etc. , BMW , Buick , Chrysler , Ford , Honda , Lexus , Mercedes-Benz , Mini , Porsche , Toyota The sixth edition of the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards have crowned a wide range of winners – in a couple of cases the recipient of the laurels might say more about KBB users than they do about the actual winner. Compiled from the responses of more than 12,000 shoppers on KBB.com over the past year, there are 13 categories broken into non-luxury, luxury and truck segments “representing the combined wisdom of the American car-buying public.” The award categories have been revamped this year , with some dropping off, some new ones appearing and at least one other given a new term. What isn’t surprising is that Honda won Most Trusted Brand for the second year running, Best Value Brand for the third year in a row and took Best Overall Brand, which wasn’t on last year’s list of awards. On our own shores, in the non-luxury categories Chrysler got Most Refined Brand and Buick took Best Value Luxury Brand. Neither one of those marques won anything in last year’s Brand Image Awards, while Cadillac , which won Best Interior Design Brand and Best Comfort Brand last year – those awards disappeared this year – went home without a single accolade. Winners that made us go “Hmmm…” are Toyota for Best Overall Truck Brand and Mini for Best Performance Brand in the non-luxury segment. Last year’s truck award was for the Most Rugged Truck Brand and was won by Ford ; the switch to “overall” takes things in a completely different direction for KBB users, it seems. And Mini dominating non-luxury performance is something we’d like to hold some focus groups to find out more about. Check out the press release below for all the winners and the details.