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: SUV , Toyota , Off-Road , Quick Spins I recently took the redesigned 2014 Toyota 4Runner for a muddy romp in Pennsylvania. While the mechanical bits and pieces beneath the body-on-frame SUV trudge forward into the new model year with very few tweaks, the truck “receives a rugged new exterior design and interior refinements that add comfort and convenience without sacrificing its hallmark performance capability and excellent value,” says the automaker. A quick visual scan of the 4Runner reveals a new front end with a more “aggressive” and “muscular” appearance (yes, I’m quoting Toyota ) that includes new headlights, grille and hood scoop. A roof rack is now standard across all trims, too. While the SR5 has a bland color-keyed grille insert that gives the face a monochromatic appearance, the Trail (shown above and in our gallery ) and range-topping Limited have brightwork on the front that provides a bit more character. New soft-touch surfaces within the cabin provide a more upscale environment and a bright new Optitron instrument panel improves readability and functionality. As before, the SR5 and Trail models arrive with fabric upholstery or optional Softex seats (synthetic leather). Genuine hides are reserved for the Limited trim, which is also fitted with Toyota’s unique X-REAS (X-Relative Absorber System) automatic suspension system as standard equipment. Driving Notes Despite (or arguably, because of) its 2014 facelift, the 4Runner is challenged in the appearance department. The styling, inside and out, is confusing to us, with odd angles and shapes that don’t appear cohesive with any overall sense of design.
Filed under: Truck , Toyota , Quick Spins “Oh yeah, Toyota still makes the Tacoma .” Admit it, that’s what you just said to yourself. It’s a perfectly natural reaction, but the Tacoma has been quietly anchoring its segment for years, outselling every other compact pickup without making too much of a fuss. Toyota hasn’t neglected the Tacoma – it was updated in 2012 with a revised nose and interior as the most noteable changes. In a world awash with high-value fullsize pickups all vying for your attention, the Tacoma still charms more than a few buyers out of their cash. I hooked a Tacoma for a week to see whether it still has enough to recommend it. Driving Notes The size of the Tacoma is nice. While fullsize trucks can feel a bit like the automotive equivalent of relaxed-fit jeans, the Tacoma does the Goldilocks “just right” thing for my purposes. Yet the cozy cockpit of the Access Cab I drove can become uncomfortably tight if you’ve got adults using the jumpseats regularly. If you travel in a pack, get the Double Cab. That goes double if you’ve got kids still in child seats, it’s the better choice.
Filed under: Crossover , Toyota , Electric , Quick Spin A Solid Electric CUV, For A Prototype Toyota RAV4 EV – Click above for high-res image gallery Ahh, the joys of driving a prototype vehicle. During the annual Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar in San Diego, California this week, Toyota brought in a handful of all-electric RAV4 EVs for us to tool around in, but there were some caveats: The route was decidedly highway-free; when it rained one afternoon, we were told it would be better to wait to drive the cars; and one journalist had a problem with his vehicle that made it sluggish. The biggest asterisk in the whole program, though, was that the RAV4 EVs we were testing are only a pale shadow of what the real RAV4 EVs will be like when Toyota releases them in the first quarter of 2012. Why’s that? Because the current fleet of new RAV4 EVs was an intentional rush job by Toyota’s partner Tesla Motors to get vehicles into auto shows and on the road. A completely separate batch is being built to really get this model ready for production, and it will operate differently than the ones we got to drive this week. Still, we learned a lot about what’s coming by checking out what’s here today. Continue reading Quick Spin: Toyota RAV4 EV … Gallery: Toyota RAV4 EV: Quick Spin Photos copyright (C)2011 Sebastian Blanco / AOL Quick Spin: Toyota RAV4 EV originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Apr 2011 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .