Filed under: Convertible , Minivan/Van , Performance , Hatchback , Toyota , Ferrari 2015 Toyota Yaris: Still a car! It’s a car! Toyota hasn’t changed its formula for the subcompact Yaris all that much, still offering a blistering 106 horsepower and a four-speed automatic transmission in a small, affordable package. West Coast Editor Michael Harley took the new Yaris for a spin, and while it “breaks absolutely zero new ground in terms of innovation,” it’s still, you know, fine. Read more, here. The most powerful droptop Ferrari ever You know what’s nearly five and a half times more powerful than a Yaris? The new Ferrari 458 Speciale A convertible, which broke cover today ahead of its Paris Motor Show debut. It’s the limited-edition pinnacle of the 458 range, and we can’t wait to get a look at in-person, next week. For now, head over to today’s story to read all of the details. 2015 Toyota Sienna: Still a van! You know what’s twice as functional as a Yaris? A Sienna. And in fact, Toyota has thrown some thoughtful updates at its Swagger Wagon for 2015, including revised interior and exterior styling, and some tuning to give it a quieter ride.
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: 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: Car Buying , Chevrolet , GM , Lexus , Mazda , Toyota We focus a lot on what new cars are like to drive, but it’s difficult on a one-week loan to really get a sense of what a car is like to live with. Sure, we try to recreate that sense with our long-term vehicles, but even after a year, it’s impossible to know fully learn about a car, particularly in terms of reliability and cost of repairs. For 2014 model year vehicles, Kelley Blue Book has put together a list of the most affordable vehicles over a five-year period. At the tippy top of the list are Mazda and Lexus , with the Zoom-Zoom automaker winning the award for best non-luxury brand. Lexus, meanwhile, was the most affordable luxury marque over a five-year period. It’s interesting to note, though, that not a single Mazda won its segment in this year’s awards. General Motors did quite well, taking eight segments, including both the subcompact and plug-in segments, with the gas-powered Chevrolet Spark and Spark EV . The Chevy Camaro SS and ZL1 took the high-performance car award. Toyota was well represented, with five winners split between the main brand ( Corolla , Prius C and Tacoma ) and Lexus ( LS and RX ). KBB’s five-year cost-to-own analysis takes into account depreciation and fuel costs (the two biggest hits to a driver’s wallet), as well as finance and insurance costs, as well as repairs, maintenance and state fees that come with a new model.
Filed under: Truck , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Off-Road Toyota may be expanding its pickup truck production at its San Antonio, TX factory following calls from dealers for more Tacoma and Tundra models, according to a new report from Automotive News . The San Antonio plant is currently able to produce 250,000 trucks on two shifts with overtime, while a secondary facility in Tijuana, Mexico can build an extra 50,000 Tacomas. Despite this capacity, and the fact that Tundra is a slow seller relative to the full-size trucks from Ford , Ram and Chevrolet / GMC (not to mention the Tacoma being part of a segment with diminishing sales), Toyota franchisees apparently can’t get enough of the trucks. “Dealers are telling us they could sell more Tacomas and Tundras,” said Bill Fay , the general manager of the Toyota Division. “We are evaluating our footprint and capacity.” According to AN, Toyota has moved over 248,000 trucks through November. Whether the Japanese brand will expand, though, remains an open question. “We have 2008 and 2009 fresh in our minds, when the pickup market dropped from 2.5 million to 1.1 million,” Fay told AN. “But we also need to be flexible for three years down the road from now.” With the launch of the restyled Tundra resulting in 101,744 units sold so far in 2013 and Fay predicting 137,000 Tundras finding a home in 2014, Toyota faces a difficult decision – short dealers who are aching for more trucks or make a big investment and risk a low return. Toyota mulling more Tundra, Tacoma capacity in TX originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 Dec 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Australia With Ford and General Motors both announcing an end to production in Australia , the country’s auto industry is in a bad way. With the exit of two big players, there’s increased concern that a third Australian manufacturer, Toyota , will be forced out, as well. “We are saddened to learn of GM Holden’s decision. This will place unprecedented pressure on the local supplier network and our ability to build cars in Australia,” Toyota Australia said in a statement. The GM closure of Holden production will be the direct end to 2,900 jobs, but will also force a dramatic reduction in the size of the country’s supplier network, as there will simply be fewer cars to build. In the same statement, Toyota Australia said it would work with suppliers and local government to figure out whether continuing production Down Under was even feasible. According to Automotive News , a representative for the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union told reporters it was “highly likely” that Toyota would also close up shop within the next few years. Toyota fears supplier pressure in Australia with GM pull out originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Dec 2013 13:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink