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.
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota When it debuted last year, the Toyota Camry came in for some criticism over its interior, most centered on material choices – both in quality (not enough) and variety (too much). Thus, Toyota has responded after just one model year, updating both materials and features on its gas-powered and hybrid family sedans for 2013. The LE version appeared to get the lion’s share of the improvements. Specifically, the LE is getting “soft-touch” door materials as well as armrests that match the rest of the interior color (instead of being black). The LE model also gets Toyota’s six-inch display screen that helps folks get a better gander at the car’s energy usage and fuel economy, among other things. Other changes include adding cross-traffic alert for models equipped with blind spot monitoring Toyota introduced its latest version of the Camry and Camry Hybrid in the fall of 2011 as a 2012 model. Sales have been solid, and in particular, the Camry Hybrid has improved its fortunes, bumping its US sales almost fivefold to more than 45,000 units. So far in 2013, the latter has carried over much of that momentum, boosting January 2013 sales from a year earlier by 81 percent to 3,826 units. Looking for more details? Toyota happily goes into a ton of detail on the interior improvements in the press release below.
Filed under: Spy Photos , Crossover , Toyota Aside from its shiny new EV counterpart, there hasn’t been much happening in the world of the Toyota RAV4 . That’s set to change, though, as these spy shots indicate that a refreshed model isn’t too far down the pipeline. Just how refreshed will it be? Well, considering the fact that the RAV4′s last major redesign took place six years ago, we hope that there are some significant changes under all of that camouflage. We can already see some new design elements, including a front fascia that reminds us of what we see on the new Camry . Arguably, the current RAV4 is a pretty handsome little thing, but with more and more crossovers adding curvy lines, we wouldn’t be shocked if this new model gained a dose of rakishness. Well, as much as Toyota can muster, anyway. Other details remain slim, but expect the interior to get a much-needed update, likely incorporating features like Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Under the hood, four-cylinder engines are likely going to be the driving force, including a rumored hybrid variant, but we won’t rule out the inclusion of the automaker’s 3.5-liter V6, as well. The new RAV4 will likely debut later this year in time for the 2013 model year.
Filed under: Truck , Auctions , Toyota If you take just a quick glance at this 2011 Toyota Tundra you might think that it’s had a pretty hard life, but a closer look reveals that the rusty appearance is actually a custom paint job from Sherwin-Williams. Built by NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer as a tribute to America’s Heartland, the truck features many classic design cues including a vertical bar grille, a wood bed floor and vintage looking 20-inch wheels. Much of the paint job is hand-painted including the white pinstripe to the lettering on the doors, and the interior has a vintage appearance as well, with a set of custom cloth seats. Toyota graciously donated the truck for the auction here at Barrett-Jackson in Orange County with the goal of raising money for the Emporia Community Foundation, a charity that benefits the citizens of Emporia, KS. Bidding for the truck started out slowly, sticking at $30,000, but after Bowyer added a driver suit and a trip to next year’s Daytona 500 the price tag skyrocketed to a final price of $100,000. You can see detailed photos of the custom 2011 Toyota Tundra at Barrett-Jackson in the gallery above. Custom Toyota Tundra pickup raises $100,000 for charity at Barrett-Jackson originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 21:06:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: New York Auto Show , Crossover , Toyota Toyota has been teasing us with glimpses of the redesigned 2013 Venza over the last month, and now we get to see its modest makeover just before the vehicle’s New York Auto Show debut. The new, less fussy grille is the first thing you’ll notice. Fewer horizontal bars above the bumper and a chrome accent goes some way toward below classing up the crossutilitywagon thing. The headlamps are new, and the fog lights have also been blacked out with chrome accent ring. Finishing off the new light fixtures are reworked door mirrors fitted with the obligatory built-in turn signals. In back, the taillights have been slightly updated, but everything else seems to be much the same as the 2012 model. Venzas can now be ordered in Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl and Cosmic Gray Mica. Interior changes also seem to be minimal except for updated steering wheel buttons and the option of adding Toyota’s Entune package that integrates your smart phone with the vehicle’s dashboard display. The interior is also available in black for 2013. Engine choices stay the same, with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder and a 3.5-liter V6 on offer.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Hybrid , Geneva Motor Show , Europe , Toyota If what Toyota tells us about the FT-Bh is true, it’s not some futuristic fantasy, but a design study that points to what a next generation Yaris hybrid might look like. With an unbelievably low, sub-1,800-pound curb weight and a 0.235 coefficient of drag, the FT-Bh uses minimalist design rather than sci-fi technology to achieve 112 miles per gallon. The FT-Bh packs a two-cylinder, one-liter gas engine that runs on the Atkinson cycle, and uses lithium-ion batteries for it’s hybrid drive system. Toyota says a compressed natural gas hybrid and a plug-in hybrid version would also be possible. But what’s really impressive about the FT-Bh is its massive weight reduction. Toyota says it managed to reduce the mass of the car by 25 percent when compared to the current Yaris. Much of that came in the interior parts and trim, which weigh half that of the production car. Toyota says that this drastic diet also makes possible a low center of gravity – just over 21 inches – that helps improve the FT-Bh’s handling. While the FT-Bh may look a little weird – we’re reminded of how odd the Prius looked before we’d gotten used to the shape – this may well be what the next generation of hybrids will look like. While Toyota has thrown out some branding buzzwords to describe the FT-Bh’s “Ecomotion” theme (or is that “Under Priority” design language?
Filed under: Concept Cars , Coupe , Tokyo Motor Show , Hatchback , Toyota , Electric The Tokyo Motor Show wackiness has officially begun, and the first far-out concept comes courtesy of Toyota and the Fun-Vii. Forget custom paint jobs and vinyl graphics, the Fun-Vii lets you change the exterior design “with the same ease as downloading an application,” allowing drivers to display everything from custom messages to flashy graphics through some manner of magical exterior display technology. The same goes for the interior, which Toyota claims can be customized to suit the mood of the driver, with a variety of themes and an augmented reality function taking place of the traditional navigation system. Less far-out is the incorporation of a “navigation concierge” that provides up-to-the-second driving and multimedia information through a virtual assistant. And naturally, the Fun-Vii interfaces with both your smartphone and other road users, adding both a safety and social element to the driving experience. We’ll be getting an eye-full of the Fun-Vii on Wednesday, but in the meantime, get the minimal details in the press release below the fold . Continue reading Toyota Fun-Vii is rolling, customizable weirdness Toyota Fun-Vii is rolling, customizable weirdness originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Nov 2011 08:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink