Camry Rumored to Get Turbocharger Engine

July 27, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

With one of the most fuel efficient lineups in the United States currently, Toyota doesn’t have anything to prove to the public about efficiency. That doesn’t stop the company from continuing to improve on what it’s already done, and that is precisely why the 2016 Toyota Camry is expected to receive a four-cylinder turbocharged engine. While most people think of turbo engines as a way to produce more power and go faster, for Toyota, it’s actually a way to continue going the same speed while doing so more efficiently.

2015 toyota camry

Upsizing Fuel Efficiency

The 2015 Camry floats between 25 and 28 MPG combined depending on the engine size and trim level that you get. These models are capable of getting between 31 and 35 MPG in highway driving conditions. While these figures don’t stand up to hybrid tech, and they won’t be trumping some of the new compact diesels out on the market, they are impressive in the mid-sized sedan segment. In-fact, they are some of the best efficiency figures that you can get.

Even with those figures behind the vehicle, Toyota is likely to switch over to four-cylinder engines that rely on a turbo for the added power necessary. This enables the automaker to shrink down the naturally aspirated engine used, and rely on a more efficient version instead. The change will likely improve fuel efficiency figures noticeably and make the Camry an even more desirable option for families looking to shave fuel costs further.

Turbos are Part of Toyota’s Heritage

Toyota seems to be naturally drawn to turbochargers as a company. Many people have already forgotten about the Supra and MR2 projects that Toyota worked on back in the day. They were up against some real automotive giants at the time, and went with turbocharger technology that many people didn’t think made sense at the time. Turbo charging its lineup can only help extend that heritage, while making every Toyota even more competitive and desirable.

Preparing for the Future

Even though Toyota is leading the market for fuel efficiency, later restrictions by the EPA will require automakers to improve the fuel efficiency levels of their entire lineup noticeably. Working to make the improvements now rather than later makes a lot of sense for an auto giant like Toyota, and that could be part of the reason they seem to be tirelessly working toward more efficient vehicles.

The Toyota Camry is about to get even more fuel efficient, and that’s good news for any Toyota fan looking for a reason to upgrade. It’s bound to have a whole slew of improvements, but a turbocharged engine that runs more efficiently would be one of the best reasons to make the upgrade.

Will the Pajun Make an Electric Appearance at the Frankfurt Auto Show?

July 24, 2015 lacarguy Porsche Tags: , , , , ,

It’s a common belief that Porsche is going to release a sedan smaller than the Panamera to compete with some of BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes offerings, but up until now there hasn’t been much of an idea around where that car would be released and when we could get a first look at it.

The 2014 Porsche Panamera
The 2014 Porsche Panamera

Now, according to L’Automobile, it’s likely that the “Pajun” will show up at the Frankfurt auto show in September. Not only that but it’s likely going to be a hatchback that’s running on electricity. The auto company expects the vehicle to show up with two electric motors and a bank of under-the-floor batteries that power the whole construction.

A First for Porsche

While it’s hard to confirm or deny this suspicion, if this car was brought to the motor show it would be a first for Porsche. It would be the first production pure-electric car that Porsche released, and if L’Automobile is to believed, it is going to have an impressive range of between 250 and 300 miles.

This all sounds a little extreme, and It’s hard to see this happening with such little announcement around the matter, but if that happened, Porsche would suddenly be taking on TESLA in the electric car sector. That’s a bold move to make when you aren’t making and selling electric cars at all.

While it’s still pretty unlikely that the Pajun is going to show up in any form this year, it’s still an exciting prospect to think we could be less than two months away from seeing this all-new model. We’ll be keeping an eye on the Frankfurt auto show, and I’m sure a lot of other Porsche fans will now as well, thanks to the speculation by L’Automobile.

The Lexus Hoverboard Gets a Skate Park to Match

July 23, 2015 lacarguy Lexus Tags: , , , , ,

By now we’ve all at least viewed photos of the Lexus hoverboard they’ve been developing. It’s an interesting piece of tech for sure, and according to the videos it appears to be something that actually works as well. Now Lexus is saying that they’ve completed a whole skate park around the concept, and we can expect a range of promotional videos around the technology and what it can do. What isn’t clear is why is Lexus doing this at all? Sure it’s awesome that they built a hoverboard, but why did they do it? Will they mass produce them and sell them to the public? That seems unlikely. Are they trying draw more young interest to the brand? Or are they showing off tech they plan on releasing on their cars in the future?

Lexus Hoverboard

How Does the Board Work?

If you think you can bring this hoverboard anywhere you like and ride it around you’re sadly mistaken. It has to be operated in specific areas that have a metallic grid underneath. That’s why a special skate park had to be constructed for the hoverboard.

The board relies on powerful magnetics to create the lift it needs to stay off the ground. This isn’t some amazing new breakthrough that Lexus has made, it’s simply technology that they packaged very nicely into a compact and highly attractive product. Liquid nitrogen is used as the cooling source, which makes it put off a futuristic mist as you use it.

Releasing the Board as a Consumer Product

If Lexus does decide to try and release the board as a consumer product, which I doubt, they would have to figure out how to make the board more affordable and add a metal framework on a range of skate parks around the world. Even a very focused, low-volume, product release would be difficult.

The Board in Action

There are videos around the Internet showing the board in use through a straightaway section of the skate park. It shows that the technology works and that a hoverboard experience can really be enjoyed with the product as long as it’s used in the right situations.

Professional Skater Interest

Several professional skate boarders have already expressed interest at trying out the product. Lexus hasn’t responded to them yet and hasn’t released any plans for it to be tested out in such a way. For this reason the product mostly seems to be a marketing stunt that they are relying on to gain interest in the brand or some new technology that they are developing.

If you would like to learn more about the technology and keep an eye on where it goes, you can keep an eye on the Lexus blog to see what news comes out about it. The automaker has been releasing regular stories covering the tech and you better believe that the stories will keep coming for quite a while.

2015 Porsche Models are the Most Adored for 11th Year

July 22, 2015 lacarguy Porsche Tags: , , , , , ,

According to J.D. Power and Associates Porsche was able to maintain their streak and hit year number 11 of Porsche owners loving their vehicles more than any other group of car buyers. That’s pretty impressive, but let’s be honest, did you think it would go any other way? Porsche has been wowing customers for years, but they don’t do it simply through great advertising, they really make quality vehicles that people enjoy driving and want to hold onto for years.

2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S
2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

Getting in Touch with the Buyers

To figure out which brand was adored the most by auto buyers, J.D. Power and Associates got in touch with 84,000 different 2015 owners and asked them a series of 77 questions about all the new vehicles to get an overall feel for how they liked the different features. While it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Porsche managed to come out on top again, it might surprise you a bit why the brand the top pick above everyone else.

Safety is a Major Factor

One of the things that had a major effect on the ranking of a new vehicle s the safety features it has. Vehicles with advanced safety and warning features had a score 38 points higher than vehicles without those features. The safety features likely inspire confidence in drivers and they aren’t difficult or troublesome to use like some of the other new features that cars are getting, like the increasingly more complicated media systems. That means that drivers can rely on the systems to get them out of binds and they feel good about their vehicles for having this helpful technology.

Advanced Features and Quality Interior

Another important reason that Porsche ranks to high is because of the high build quality of the interior. The cars are known for being supremely comfortable, quiet and high performers. They also have some pretty cool tech features that make them stand out compared to other cars on the market.

The 2nd and 3rd Place Brands

The top spots were all held by European luxury car makers. Porsche took number one, Jaguar took second and BMW landed in third. Unsurprisingly most of the top spots were held by luxury vehicles. That’s just more proof that luxury vehicles are worth the cost and that they truly are more enjoyable to drive around than standard vehicles are.

If you’re looking for a vehicle that you’re really going to enjoy, it makes sense to pick up a Porsche more than any other. A good used Porsche, or an entry level model can be had relatively affordably. If you want the top experience you can even go after one of the new 2015 models. They all rank well and offer an enjoyable driving experience.

Enjoy the Standard GoPro Mount in the New Tacoma

July 21, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mid-sized trucks and SUVs are both known for being rugged and meant for fun off-roading expeditions. These vehicles are taken on interesting trips out into the great outdoors more often than most others are, and that’s exactly why Toyota decided to make the 2016 Toyota Tacoma the first vehicle in history to come standard with a GoPro camera mount. That means that GoPro owners can easily bring their cameras along for the ride to record all their exciting feats.

toyota tacoma gopro mount

Camera Not Included

Unfortunately for Tacoma buyers the actual GoPro camera isn’t included with the purchase of the vehicle. This means that you’ll still have to go out and buy the camera for use in your vehicle if you don’t have one already. For owners of the GoPro already it’s pretty cool to have a quick and easy way to bring it along on trips. For everyone else, now you’ll have an excuse to pick up the GoPro so that you can begin recording your adventures.

Rugged Mounting Solution

The included mount in all the new Tacomas will offer a secure mounting location to allow GoPro cameras to take clear video footage while driving around. It will make taking live-action footage easier than ever before, and will likely help increase the amount of exciting footage that Toyota has to show off the New Tacoma.

The mount comes set up right on windshield of the passenger’s side. You simply slip the camera into place, start it up and you can begin recording new footage of your drive right away. The uses for this technology are numerous, and any time that you can think of a reason to record where you’re going this mount is going to make your life easier.

On top of the efficiency improvements and a more rugged build, Toyota just made it even easier to get reliable footage while driving around behind the wheel of a new truck. This is Toyota’s way of making the Tacoma more enticing to action junkies and it should sway more than a couple people. Even critics of the new addition can’t argue that the tech isn’t going to appeal to plenty of truck drivers.

If you’ve been shopping for camera mounts to go with your next Truck or SUV purchase, or you currently make use of a GoPro camera, it might be time to consider the 2016 Tacoma. It’s already one of the most capable mid-sized trucks on the market, now you can show that off to everyone you know with some live action video.

Toyota Explains the Benefits of Hydrogen Versus Full Electric

July 20, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

Forbes recently spoke with Toyota about some of Tesla’s offerings as well as the upcoming launch of the Toyota Mirai. The Mirai is a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle that runs on compress hydrogen as its fuel source. Toyota doesn’t see electric vehicles as being a realistic green source of transportation at the moment, and according to the automaker a time when electric vehicles are a good reliable way to get around over long distances is a long way off in the future.

2015 Toyota Mirai

Electric Cars Have Some Difficult Challenges to Overcome

When it comes to increasing the range of electric vehicles, Scott, a Toyota Executive says that there are some difficult Physics and chemistry problems that have to be solved still. He explains that to increase the range of an electric vehicle you have to add a heavy electric battery. He goes on to say that each additional battery improves the range of the vehicle by a marginal amount and that all the added weight that you add from the battery further decreases the range that you’ll get from that battery.

According to Scott electric vehicles are an ideal solution for short-distance travel because they are highly efficient at what they do. He goes on to state that they aren’t yet suitable for long distance travel and that a new material with a higher energy density has to be developed to change that.

The Charging Dilemma

Another issue that Scott sees with electric vehicles is that they can’t be charged too quickly. Charging an electric vehicle quickly can damage the battery components and it requires a massive amount of power. With an increase in energy capacity it would become more and more difficult to get all the necessary power into the batteries in a timely manner. This isn’t an issue with vehicles like the Mirai or standard gasoline or diesel vehicles, because they rely on a fuel source that can be pumped into the vehicle relatively efficiently. The fuel source has a higher energy density than batteries do, and that makes them into a more effective tool for long-distance travelling.

Hydrogen Vehicles Don’t Face the Same Hurdles

Unlike electric vehicles that are still waiting for key technology enhancements, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles aren’t waiting for those enhancements. According to Toyota the vehicles are already ready for long distance travel, and with a range of over 300 miles on a fill up that takes less than 10 minutes it’s easy to see that they’re on to something. The Mirai only really faces two specific challenges still. The first is lowering the cost of the technology to make cars that are around similar prices to standard new vehicles sold today. Toyota says that goal is a realistic one and that they are already making improvements to lower the cost of the technology further. The second is getting hydrogen refueling stations around the country so that owners can actually enjoy long-distance travel. This issue won’t be that difficult to solve once enough drivers adopt the fuel cell technology. As demand increases for the new fuel source more stations will pop up around the country, and there is already a significant level of support for the stations with infrastructure being improved around the country already.

The hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle isn’t perfect yet, but it’s much closer to being the best suitable option for long-distance travel than the electric vehicle is, and that’s exactly what Toyota had to say about electric vehicles versus the Toyota Mirai.

The Next Audi A8 is Confirmed to Contain Limited Self Driving Tech

July 17, 2015 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , , , , ,

There have been plenty of rumors floating around about Audi finally including some substantial autonomous technology in its production vehicles. There is going to be a bit of automated tech in the Audi A4, but it looks like the next-gen Audi A8 is going to get the most substantial autonomous technology.

2015 Audi A8
2015 Audi A8

The Technology

The next Audi A8 will be fully capable of driving the vehicle around town in standard conditions at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. That may not sound like much to regular highway operators, but for the drivers that go through lots of low-speed commuting on a daily basis the technology would be extremely beneficial. Sure the A8 will only drive itself under very specific conditions, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. It will help drivers become more familiar with the technology and get comfortable in its capabilities. Audi has done some impressive things with its automated technology so far, and the most impressive yet will be when they release a production version of the tech that thousands of people are relying on.

Why Audi Approves Autonomous Technology

Besides for the fact that autonomous technology is going to be a hot seller and that many car buyers are going to lust after vehicles that can drive themselves, there are a few other reasons that Audi really supports automated driving technology. According to Audi automated technology will be more efficient and a car that drives itself will use up less fuel than a car operated by a person. That’s not surprising since a self-driving car could be optimized to drive under the most efficient conditions all the time, while a human-operated vehicle is always going to experience some error, and even professionally trained drivers won’t be able to best well-tuned software programs over time.

Audi also claims that the technology will make driving more comfortable and safer. It keeps drivers from becoming bored and from tuning out the driving conditions around them while operating the vehicle. By taking some of the driving burden away from the driver they have a chance to rejuvenate, focus on more interesting tasks and perform better when the wheel is back in their hands.

The Release of the Next A8

It could still be awhile until the next Audi A8 is released, but since the model hasn’t had a real remodel since 2009 it’s already about overdue. I think it’s safe to assume that this new and improved model will be out in the next few years, and it could be the first production partially automated vehicle out on the road, that can handle what Audi says the next A8 will be able to handle. It’s a major step toward fully-automated vehicles, and it looks like Audi will be at the front of that movement.

2016 Toyota Sienna Best New Car for Families According to Car and Driver

July 17, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Car and Driver recently took the time to compare a whole slew of family vehicles to choose the best of the bunch. After a whole lot of testing and some careful deliberation, the company decided on the 2016 Toyota Sienna as the best option for a family vehicle. That’s an impressive feat for the Toyota minivan, but after you look at the benefits of the minivan it would be hard to deny it the top spot.

2016 toyota sienna

Making the Decision

Choosing the best family car for 2016 isn’t a simple task for Car and Driver. They don’t just glance at spec sheets, and they don’t rely on short test drives to come to a conclusion. The company relies on lengthy test periods and a range of judges who all rate the vehicles and input their own beliefs. On top of this, the company also takes a look at the input of consumers about what they think about vehicles. After compiling all that information and really narrowing the vehicle options down the Toyota Sienna managed to come out on top for the best family vehicle of 2016. That’s not the best family van, or even the best van in general. It’s the best vehicle for any decent sized family to rely on in any segment available. That’s pretty impressive, and an achievement that Toyota is undoubtedly proud of.

Benefits of the Sienna

The Toyota Sienna is a powerful vehicle with 266 HP available to it. That keeps it from feeling sluggish when traveling down the road. It has a V6 engine and is paired with a six speed automatic that shifts smoothly. The Sienna is known for being comfortable and spacious on the inside. It’s reliable and it comes with most comfort features that you would find on other minivans in the same segment. The one major difference that gives the Sienna a major edge over the other models is that it’s available with all-wheel drive. If you want a vehicle that’s going to do good in snow, slush and any other weather that you have to travel through during the course of the year, the Sienna really is the best option of the bunch. It actually bested a Jeep Grand Cherokee during a snow race, and proved that the Sienna is a highly capable driver when the conditions outside get nasty. Sure you’ll lose a bit of fuel efficiency for the all-wheel drive, but with it you’ll have the stability to handle most nasty weather conditions with ease. That’s something everyone else will have to pick up an SUV to get.

If you’re in the market for a new family vehicle you might want to consider the 2016 Toyota Sienna. Sure it’s pricey when compared to budget vehicles like the Kia Sedona, but it performs better, it’s more reliable, handles the weather better and you’ll get most of that price difference back when it comes time to resell the vehicle later on down the road. When you consider all the pros of owning a Sienna, there’s really no reason not to at least test drive the vehicle. Once you do you’ll be glad that you did.

Mike Sullivan Talks about the Toyota Mirai in the Media

July 16, 2015 lacarguy LAcarGUY News & Events, mike sullivan, Toyota, Toyota Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , , ,

Automotive News and Transport Evolved recently interviewed LAcarGuy owner Mike Sullivan about the Toyota Mirai and about how his Toyota dealership in Santa Monica California is one of just eight dealerships in the country releasing the product early on.

Mike SUllivan with Toyota Mirai

The Mirai is One Car Sullivan Isn’t Selling

Don’t get me wrong, the Toyota Mirai will be available for order at Toyota of Santa Monica, and it will be available there earlier than most other places in the world. While the car’s going to be in stock, Mike Sullivan explains that getting the cars to customers is more of a matchmaking process than it is a numbers game like most vehicles are. This is because he wants to make sure that each and every one of the early adopters truly loves the car.

If a buyer comes into the dealership and requests the vehicle the dealership will look them over and decide if the car is a good fit for their lifestyle. If it isn’t they will actually turn customers down and redirect them to a more suitable vehicle. This isn’t to be mean, or to be overly exclusive. It’s just to make sure that customers aren’t unhappy with their purchase.

This is what Sullivan had to say about the challenge of selling the Mirai.“With everything else on my lot, I’m selling something. It’s what I do,” “This car is the exact opposite. It’s the reverse of selling. We’re going to turn people down if this isn’t the car for you.”

Challenges with the Mirai

The Toyota Mirai isn’t a bargain car with a starting price of $58,325 and initially it won’t be the easiest to refuel with just a handful of hydrogen refueling stations around California. For these two reasons the vehicle simply isn’t going to be a good fit for everyone. If you don’t live close enough to refueling stations it will be a burden fueling up the car. If you’re looking for a bargain car this one’s likely too expensive.

Choosing the Original Mirai Dealerships

The first eight stores stocked with the Mirai were all chosen for a list of specific reasons. They are all located near planned hydrogen fueling stations. They are all high-volume electric and hybrid selling locations and they have the finances to handle any upgrades necessary to make the sales possible.

Giving Customers an Early Look at the Mirai

Mike Sullivan has been working hard to promote the Mirai and everything the vehicle stands for. He even hopped on the live streaming program Periscope to give dozens of interested people a walk around look at the Mirai in real time.

Introducing the Mirai Champion

Many of the eight Toyota dealerships to start off selling the Mirai before any others in the country plan on assigning a single employee to serve as the Mirai expert. This Mirai Champion will talk with every customer interested in buying the hydrogen fuel-cell car. The hope with assigning a single person to the task is that they become an expert on the matter and provide a more reliable and consistent buying experience for each of the Mirai shoppers. A similar strategy was employed by Nissan when the company began selling the LEAF to customers.

Toyota of Santa Monica Upgrades

To get the Toyota dealership ready to sell the Mirai a number of improvements have to be made to it. The first is an upgrade to the repair center so that repairs and services can be performed on the Mirai after it starts selling to customers. That way customers have a place they can take the vehicle if any work needs to be performed. Sullivan is also planning to add a personal hydrogen refueling station so that dealership customers can refuel their vehicles after making the purchase. This will cost around $150,000 for the dealership to do, but it’s a small price to make the dealership more accessible and it’s a real perk for customers that live in the area.

Volkswagen Travels more than 8000 Miles for Less than 300 Dollars

July 15, 2015 lacarguy Diesel Vehicles, High MPG Vehicles, Pacific Volkswagen, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , ,

It never ceases to amaze us how far some of these little diesel vehicles can travel. Volkswagen just set a new record with the Golf TDI by travelling a whopping 8,233.5 miles on less than 300 dollars in diesel fuel. If that’s not an impressive return on investment I don’t know what is. During the course of the trip the vehicle managed to travel through each of the 48 lower states and traveled for a total of 16 days.

golf_tdi_sets_guinness_world_records_achievement__5069

Setting the Record

Volkswagen managed to beat its own record while trying to do the same thing the company already did. Over this trip they managed to get 81.7 MPG, beating the old record of 77.99 MPG. It’s important to note that this trip beats the hybrid vehicle record by more than 6 MPG, which is pretty impressive since hybrids are supposed to be highly efficient drivers.

Driving Skills Preparation in California

You can’t just start driving and expect to meet the level of fuel efficiency that Bob Winger and Wayne Gerdes managed during their world-record trip. In order to hit the records that they did, the team had to spend hundreds of hours training in different driving conditions. They weren’t verifying the chosen route using these test trips, but rather honing efficient driving skills that would provide the fuel figures the team was striving for.

In a recount of the prep leading up the big trip Gerdes is on record saying that he relied on the Tejon Pass, the Cajon Pass, the San Gorgoino Pass and the Laguna mountains to figure out how to drive efficiently through steep elevation climbs and descents. It took countless trial runs through these mountain passes to hone steep incline driving skills enough to keep efficiency levels up where they needed them to be.

In order to learn how to deal with the highly congested sections of I-95 the trio would encounter through the northeastern portions of the trip, they headed over to 405 and 5 between LAX and San Diego. These notoriously congested sections served as a training ground to master efficient driving even when roads are packed and driving conditions are more restricted and start and stop traffic is common.

California is a state filled with unique features and even though the state was only a small portion of the overall record-setting trip, it served as the key training ground that made it possible for the trip to be successful in the first place.

The Trip

The trip started at the American Headquarters in Herndon Virginia on Monday the 22nd of June. After 16 days of straight driving the vehicle ended up in the same exact spot on July 7th. The main driver doing the run was Wayne Gerdes, but he had help from Bob Winger the co-driver along on the trip.

About the Vehicle

In order to accomplish this very impressive feat the 2015 Golf TDI relies on a turbo-charged engine that uses direct-injection technology and runs on diesel fuel. It has a 6-speed manual transmission that’s quite efficient. This particular vehicle was fitted with Linear Logic ScanGuage II to take a precise measure of the fuel economy throughout the trip. It also relied on an LG G4 smartphone and a Garmin Nuvi LM GPS navigator to get the vehicle where it needed to go all along.

This record shows you how far you can push a couple tanks of diesel if you know what you’re doing and if you have the proper equipment. The Golf TDI is meant to drive far without burning through much fuel, but I doubt anyone expected it to travel quite as far as it did in real-world driving conditions, or as efficiently.

Diesel vehicles are well-known for being fuel efficient and that’s why truck drivers rely on them to get freight around the country. It’s a benefit that recent vehicle buyers are beginning to notice, and could cause more shoppers to start choosing diesel when making their purchases.