Filed under: LA Auto Show , Videos , Audi , Toyota , Volkswagen , Electric , Translogic , Technology The LA Auto Show is known for its environmentally friendly vehicle debuts. At last year’s show , hydrogen fuel cell concepts from Honda and Toyota joined a lease-ready Hyundai Tuscan FCEV to cast a green hue over the convention center. This year, automakers took us a step closer to a fuel cell future by offering drives of their hydrogen-electric hybrids. Translogic host Jonathon Buckley takes a ride in the Toyota Mirai , which is headed for production in 2016. He follows that with a spin in the Volkswagen Passat HyMotion and the Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro concept. Which of these fuel cell vehicles holds the most promise? Tune in to find out. Continue reading Translogic 164: Driving the fuel cell vehicles of the 2014 LA Auto Show Translogic 164: Driving the fuel cell vehicles of the 2014 LA Auto Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Minivan/Van , Safety , Videos , Chrysler , Dodge , Nissan , Toyota First introduced in 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small-overlap frontal crash test has become the bane of many auto engineers’ existence. It’s a particularly steep design challenge because it forces just 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end to take the brunt of a 40-mile-per-hour impact. The newly released results of four family-minded minivans underscore just how difficult the crash test is: only one scored an Acceptable rating, and the other three did very poorly. The 2008-2015 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan , plus the 2011-2015 Nissan Quest , all received Poor ratings in the test, the IIHS’ lowest possible score. The three of them showed significant crash intrusion into the driver’s area. The dummy in the Nissan actually had to be cut out of the vehicle, with an IIHS spokesperson remarking, “the structure collapsed like a house of cards.” In the Fiat Chrysler Automobile vans, the steering wheels moved out of the way, making the airbag less effective and letting the driver’s head hit the dashboard. While it was not actually crashed, the agency is also giving the 2009-12 Volkswagen Routan a Poor score because it shares a structure with the FCA models. The newly released results of four minivans underscore just how difficult the small-offset crash test is. The refreshed 2015 Toyota Sienna (shown), conversely, earned an Acceptable rating and is also a Top Safety Pick+ because of its optional forward collision warning and automatic braking system. While the crash test dummy moved around during the impact more than the agency would have liked, sensors showed a low risk of injuries.
Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Toyota The twin-turbo fourth-generation Toyota Supra has slowly built up a reputation as one of the premiere sports coupes of the 1990s. The image was partially helped by its inclusion in the original The Fast and the Furious in 2001, but even before that it was part of the quartet of Japanese performance machines along with the Acura NSX , Mazda RX-7 and Nissan 300ZX Twin-Turbo that defined speed for a generation of enthusiasts. Thanks to Motorweek ‘s Retro Review series, now we get a chance to hear opinions on the Toyota from its original release. Two things strike the viewer in the review. First, it shows what a performance standout the Supra TT is. A run to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds and 14 seconds in the quarter mile is strong against its contemporaries and makes it hardly a slouch today. The second surprising thing is just how flabbergasted the reviewers seem at the coupe. The price is up about $8,000 from the previous year, and MotorWeek isn’t entirely impressed with the Toyota’s weight saving measures that make the fourth-generation Supra a bit more raw than the last model. The great thing about these retro takes is that there’s no nostalgia in the way to cloud the reviewers’ judgment. Check out the video to find out how the twin-turbo Supra was received before it became part of the performance pantheon.
Filed under: Classics , Convertible , Performance , Japan , Videos , Toyota There’s an automotive axiom that claims it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow. If that’s the case, then pushing a Toyota Sports 800 around must be one of the most exhilarating experiences behind the wheel in the world. With just 800cc of displacement from a two-cylinder boxer engine, the focus is on finesse over outright speed. Still, it’s a fantastic page in Toyota’s performance history, and Petrolicious takes a ride with a man who owns a meticulously restored 1967 example in its latest video. The Sports 800 used the classic cost-saving strategy in the auto industry of taking parts from a standard model in the lineup and modifying it into a sports car. In this case that meant borrowing the engine from the plebian Toyota Publica, beefing it up for more power and clothing the whole thing a in beautifully shaped, wind-tunnel-honed body. The look of these lithe, targa roadsters is the exact opposite of the rather dull styling sometimes associated with Toyota today. Everywhere you look there are louvers, vents or curves to draw the eye. Check out the latest Petrolicious video for a detailed look at the history of this rare model that’s largely unknown on this side of the Pacific. Continue reading Sports 800 is a progenitor of Toyota performance Sports 800 is a progenitor of Toyota performance originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Nov 2014 20:01:00 EST.
Filed under: Minivan/Van , Japan , Videos , Toyota , Luxury A few months back we reported on a dealership owner in Japan who was petitioning Toyota to make a luxury van. The problem, he reasoned, was that he couldn’t take as many friends, colleagues and clients around with him in his Lexus LS , and his Toyota Alphard van wasn’t luxurious enough. Well, it seems like he wasn’t alone, and Toyota has listened. The Japanese auto giant has just revealed the Esquire, a new luxury van designed with just such customers in mind. It’s significantly smaller than the Sienna we get in America, smaller than the aforementioned Alphard and about the same size as (this writer’s favorite) the JDM Noah van (on which we gather it’s based). But what sets the Esquire apart is its upscale appearance. The boxy van is distinguished by its dominant T-shaped chrome grille with a unique emblem that encompasses a shield, sword, “the collar of a gentleman’s suit” and the letters Esq. The flank is characterized by a strong beltline with chrome lower window frame and an expansive greenhouse with tinted rear glass. Inside the flexible cabin you’ll find accommodation for seven or eight passengers (depending on specification), synthetic leather upholstery and wood and metallic trim. There are even wheelchair-enabled models on offer as well.
Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Supercars , Acura , Toyota , TV/Movies It’s easy to poke a joke here and there about John Davis, the long-time host of MotorWeek . His voice is so monotonous that, from time to time, if you closed your eyes, you may think it’s generated via a computer. But you have to give him and the rest of the show a lot of credit. The program has been on the air for decades, giving people direct, straight-down-the middle automotive reviews. MotorWeek ‘s massive back catalog of reviews are slowly making their way onto YouTube , and they provide a fascinating chance to look back on how performance cars rank against their contemporaries from back in the day. Two recent additions include the show’s old looks at the 1986 Toyota Supra , the dawn of the third-generation model, and the now-iconic 1991 Acura NSX . Both reviews are interesting in their own way. These days you hear nary a negative word about the original NSX, but MotorWeek isn’t afraid to point out a few flaws. And the Supra really shows the progress of suspension tuning in the intervening decades because it has some serious body roll in the corners. Scroll down to check out both videos and get a blast from the automotive past.
Filed under: Etc. , Japan , Videos , Toyota UPDATE: A previous version of this post included an incorrectly converted price figure. The text below has been updated with the correct information. Some Japanese automakers focus purely on cars, while others dabble in all sorts of motorized transportation. Honda , for example, makes everything from motorbikes to jet aircraft. But while Toyota may be known principally for automobiles, it also makes a line of boats . And this is the latest. The new Toyota Ponam-31 motor yacht is built around an aluminum hull with a flybridge and cockpit rear deck layout, similar to the Carver 32 on which this writer spent his childhood summers. It measures 31 feet overall and is powered by a pair of 3.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engines derived from the Land Cruiser Prado (known in these parts as the Lexus GX 460 ) but marinized for nautical application. Toyota has even equipped its new Sports Utility Cruiser with such features as Drive Assist and a Virtual Anchor System.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Hybrid , Videos , Paris Motor Show , Crossover , Toyota Despite having the tendency to offer decidedly bland production cars, Toyota occasionally surprises us with interesting concept cars. Such is the case with the C-HR concept making its debut at the Paris Motor Show this week. It’s a concept showing forward-thinking design that hints at “a type of crossover vehicle Toyota would like to bring to market,” according to the automaker’s release, and it rides on an all-new platform and uses a hybrid powertrain. About that powertrain: Toyota isn’t revealing anything, just saying that it will – brace yourselves – “deliver significantly improved fuel efficiency” (over what, exactly?) The car also uses a brand-new architecture, though it hasn’t really revealed any major details about that aspect, either. It’s a high-riding, muscular thing, with a rakish hatchback shape. Should it reach production, Toyota says it would take the shape of a C-segment crossover. It’d be cool to see something like this hit the road someday, but for now, we won’t hold our breath. See the C-HR for yourself in the galleries above and below, and scroll down for the full press release and a couple of videos including a designer walkaround from the folks at Autoline . Continue reading Toyota C-HR Concept is a high-riding hybrid hatch [w/videos] Toyota C-HR Concept is a high-riding hybrid hatch [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Concept Cars , Videos , Toyota , Toys/Games Gran Turismo 6 has been the preferred marketing springboard for quite a few brands and concept cars since its debut last winter. Specifically the GT Vision concept idea – allowing manufacturers a built-in place to offer up new, original, drivable content – has enticed the likes of Mercedes , Nissan , Volkswagen , Toyota and more to dream big on the digital stage before pulling the sheets back on real concept cars. In fact, Toyota teamed its live reveal of the FT-1 Concept at the Detroit Auto Show with an in-game launch of the car, just this past January. Looking for a second bite at the GT6 apple, Toyota has just released a teaser video for a new, FT-1 Vision GT version of the same concept. The company isn’t giving us much to go on save for the 30-second video, saying only that the concept was penned by Toyota’s Calty Design Research team in California, and that it will “soon be available for download.” By the looks of it, the new FT-1 seems to be more of a racecar than the original, without obvious changes to the basic form. No word on whether or not there’s a physical concept car in the offing at a yet-to-be-named auto show. Stay tuned. Continue reading New version of Toyota FT-1 Concept gets racy for Gran Turismo 6 New version of Toyota FT-1 Concept gets racy for Gran Turismo 6 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Etc. , Japan , Marketing/Advertising , Videos , Toyota A new Japanese Toyota ad featuring crisply suited businessmen driving into the jungle only to segue into a Psy-style music-video dance-off with a gorilla and natives is the latest car commercial to go viral. Jungle Wakudoki is the newest installment in a grand tradition of bizarre ads from the island nation that are by turns hilarious, head-scratching and occasionally even frightening. Let’s face it: My people are weird. I’m half-Japanese and take suitable pride in my Asian roots, but even I can’t figure out what’s been slipped into the water coolers of the country’s ad agencies much of the time – or the nation at large, for that matter. From Japan’s ubiquitous obsession with all things adorable ( kawaii ) to its offbeat sense of humor and its bizarrely perverse and violent tentacle porn, it’s clear there’s a lot going on in the culture, and only some of it bubbles up to the surface in its marketing efforts. Much of the strangest and most amazing ads are for non-transportation products (e.g. laundry soap , snacks, energy drinks), but the automotive space has its fair share. This latest Toyota ad had me trawling YouTube for a common theme, trying to make sense of why these spots are the way they are. Scroll down to watch the Toyota ad in question as well as a bunch of other examples of Japan’s most bizarre car-related ads and see if you can’t find the thread that runs between them.