Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota , New Car Reviews People, us included, make a big stink about the importance of family sedans. There’s no doubt they’re critical – they represent a huge slice of the market’s annual sales and profits. However, despite accounting for far fewer transactions than the midsize sedan segment, the fullsize sedan is getting attention from manufacturers now that our market’s entire lineup of those (slightly) smaller four-doors has turned over in the last two years or so. As most of the fullsize segment’s mainstays derive a fair bit of their platform and powertrain technologies from their midsize cousins, these larger four-doors offer the potential for fatter profit margins, too. And with the newly stylish duds found on many of the industry’s most successful midsize sedans, it’s only right that automakers no longer think about fullsizers as big, squishy, vanilla family haulers with flat seats, vague steering and a thin layer of ‘luxury’ in the form of faux wood trim. As manufacturers have again started diving into large sedans feet-first, the cars themselves have become sharper. The interiors are now of a higher quality and loaded with tech, while the exteriors have become further extensions of each manufacturer’s design language. There’s perhaps no greater example of this than the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus , two models that evolved from subpar offerings into market leaders. This segment-wide transformation happened quite quickly, whether because of coincidental timing or because manufacturers are trying to get more out of their big cars, recognizing they account for a small portion of overall sales (just 3.5 percent of the new-car market in the first half of 2013). The 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is one such vehicle.
Filed under: Crossover , Toyota , New Car Reviews A Nicer View Than Ever Of Middle Of The Road When we had our first shot behind the wheel of the 2013 Toyota RAV4 , the overall judgment from Managing Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski could be summed up in a sentence along the lines of, “Eh, not bad.” The truth is that the compact crossover segment, now filled with not-so-compact offerings, is as cutthroat as any in the industry these days. When a heavyweight player like the RAV4 comes to market with a new generation, it is not at liberty to start from a clean sheet, lest it throw cold water on a vehicle that sells tens of thousands of units globally every month. Like De La Soul says, “Stakes is high.” If the choices in the marketplace were still largely limited to the Honda CR-V , as was the case when this market niche was green, the Toyota offering might actually seem like the exciting choice. But with new players offering better dynamic thrills ( Mazda CX-5 ), cool turbo motors and fancy technology ( Ford Escape ), or even crunchy cred ( Subaru Forester ), the small crossover shopper is really spoiled for choice in 2013. With Mr. Korzeniewski’s excellent First Drive review covering the granularity of the RAV4 specification so well, we chose to focus our notes this time around on living with the Toyota in its natural suburban habitat for a longer stretch. What’s more, we’ll try to mark out where the CUV wins, loses or draws with the rest of the strident segment. Continue reading 2013 Toyota RAV4 2013 Toyota RAV4 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Apr 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota , New Car Reviews Giving Vanilla A Good Name “Vanilla.” Taken in modern context, that’s not a compliment, but it should be. Vanilla actually has exotic origins, and as spices go, only saffron is more costly. Despite the realities, calling something “vanilla” is not whistling in admiration. The Toyota Camry has been called “vanilla” countless times since its debut, but both the car and the bean have something up their sleeves. Scoff all you want, but vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor, and there is no mainstream sedan that outsells the Camry. Apparently, vanilla has an underlying tinge of filthy lucre. We didn’t feel rich, exactly, wheeling around in the Camry Hybrid, but we came away impressed, nonetheless. “When I go to an ice cream parlor for the first time, I always order their vanilla,” says Ralph Hannabury. Why vanilla? “When you’re making ice cream, everything builds off vanilla.
Filed under: SUV , Toyota , New Car Reviews , Off-Road Surefooted Workaholic Tamed For Civilian Duty 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser – Click above for high-res image gallery An ox is a domesticated bovine whose primary purpose is to pull heavy loads. Tipping the scales at more than a ton, the hefty animals are not considered quick workers, especially when compared to horses, but they’re steadfast in their actions and respond well to trained commands. Rarely spooked or unsettled, oxen deliver a long, dependable and rather unassuming service life. Toyota’s Land Cruiser is the ox’s four-wheeled equivalent. While the full-size sport utility vehicle is one of the automaker’s slowest-selling vehicles on U.S. shores – and one of its most expensive – those who’ve owned one tend to become very loyal fans. We recently spent a week with the current “200 Series,” the latest generation of the venerable ‘ute that has been in production since the 1950s. What has given the Land Cruiser such longevity and how does it compare to the Lexus LX570 , its nearly identical twin? Most importantly, did we become loyal Land Cruiser devotees in the process? Continue reading 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser [w/video] 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Jun 2011 11:57:00 EST.