The Toyota Mirai Enters Production

March 2, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Toyota has just begun production of the Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle and the first few models should start rolling around public roadways in the next couple weeks. The car is only being sold in limited locations initially, mainly because there isn’t a hydrogen refueling infrastructure to support the vehicles yet, and it will only be available in small numbers for the first couple years, but Toyota is making it happen and actually producing the highly anticipated vehicles for mass consumption.

toyota mirai

Vehicles are Becoming Available Daily

Now that production of the Mirai has begun approximately three new vehicles will roll off the assembly line on a daily basis at the plant. This is just the starting point for vehicle production and it’s set to increase over time. There is a greater demand for the Mirai than expected, especially from Japan, and that’s making it crucial for the plant to begin producing higher volumes of the car over time.

Seeing How its Made

Perhaps in hopes of familiarizing people with hydrogen cars a bit more, Toyota wants the world to know what goes into its newest cars and has put together a series of short videos detailing the construction process. These little “How its Made” videos give you a firsthand look into the Mirai and the hard work involved with building one.

If you would like to see how the Mirai is made you can see the various stages in the videos below.

A Higher Profile Plant

It’s no surprise that the Mirai construction is going to take place at the Motomachi plant in Toyota City Japan. This is where many of the high-profile Toyota and Lexus vehicles are created, and where a vehicle as important as the Mirai should be manufactured. The plant was home to the Lexus LFA supercar, as well as many other high-profile vehicles such as the Supra, the Soarer and the Corona. The plant is known for its highly skilled workforce, and should help improve the quality of the finished product.

About the Mirai

If you haven’t heard much about the Toyota Mirai yet, its the first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and is going to be out on the roads shortly. The vehicle is capable of getting 300 miles on each fill up and generates a total of 153 horsepower. The car costs about $45,000 and only limited numbers will be available during the first few years of production. Toyota hopes that it will pull consumers away from current gasoline powered vehicles and that it becomes the new mainstream form of mobility, but there are still hydrogen production and infrastructure details to work out before the technology becomes mainstream.

 




The Upcoming Electric Porsche

February 26, 2015 lacarguy Porsche Tags: , , , ,

Porsche is reportedly working on an all-electric vehicle known as the 717 that will rival the Tesla S in range and capabilities. Tesla has become one of the leading names in electric vehicles, and now even top automakers such as Porsche are scrambling to keep up. The 717 will likely be based on the chassis being developed for the next Panamera as well as the Bentley Continental. This sedan will come with four wheel drive that’s split using torque vectoring to provide high-performance handling that people expect from a Porsche.

porsche 717

Energy Storage

It’s common to use the battery packs in electric vehicles to form the floor, but that’s not what Porsche is planning to do according to sources. Instead they are going to be using a more complex battery system that is stored within the vehicle’s central tunnel as well as in the bulkheads between the back and front of the car. What doesn’t fit in these locations will be stored underneath the floor and in the side sills of the vehicle. There are going to be 108 different battery modules in all and the targeted range for the vehicle is 300 miles.

Driver Selectable Power

While the car is going to be designed to drive efficiently and go as far as possible, it’s a Porsche, and will come packed with power too. It’s rumored that the vehicle is going to come with selectable power levels of somewhere around 400, 500 and 600 HP. These aren’t guaranteed figures, but it’s likely that similar figures will be offered.

Advanced Charging

Porsche and a group of other automakers are coming together to work with Quantumspace to try and develop an induction charger that will rival the high-speed charging system that Tesla is developing but be more convenient to use. There aren’t many specifics about the project and it’s still a work in progress, but the hope is to create a charging tool that makes driving full electric cars much more convenient to use on a regular basis.

The Design

There is no official information about what the Porsche 717 will actually look like, but some believe it will look similar to the Panamera, giving it a look similar to a space-aged station wagon. The long car will sport enough space for a whole family to ride around comfortably, and is likely to be a powerhouse that’s fun to drive once complete.

 

Volkswagen’s Most Capable Station Wagon Will Remain in Europe for Now

February 25, 2015 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , ,

VW will be unveiling the 2016 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack at the Geneva Motor Show this year and it looks to be one of the most capable all-weather vehicles that the automaker is offering. Not only is it sleek and efficient, but it comes with very capable all-wheel drive and an advanced off-road system.

2016 passat alltrack station wagon

Rugged Handling Capabilities

The main reason that people decide to go for the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack rather than the Passat is for its rugged handling capabilities. The vehicle comes standard with all-wheel drive and is designed to handle poor driving conditions easily. The advanced drive system only sends power through the front wheels during standard conditions, but as soon as the roads become poor and there is a risk of losing traction the rear wheels are given power and the car becomes capable enough to avoid any problems.

The advanced all-wheel drive is well-suited for when you encounter driving conditions that you aren’t expecting, but when you know you will be taken a turn off the beaten track there is a driver select mode that allows you to adjust how the vehicle responds further. These dynamic driving settings let you choose between “Eco”, “Normal”, “Individual”, “Sport” and also “Offroad” modes. When you switch through the different options all the adaptive features adjust to accommodate the new driving conditions as well.

The Custom Interior

When you climb into the interior of the Passat Alltrack it’s clear that Volkswagen went all out on customizing this special edition vehicle. It comes with embossed stainless steel door sillplates and floor mats that both say “Alltrack”. The vehicle also has specially designed seats that feature Alcantara on the outside and 7 Summits decorated fabric on the center panels giving it a distinct design. They are electric adjustable and have 14 different positions for maximum comfort and flexibility. If the standard seats aren’t luxurious enough for you, there are added options that you can choose as well. You can get the vehicle with massaging seats, you can add in climate control, and you can also choose between several different leather options. The car also comes equipped with a special info display setup designed specifically for the Alltrack, and it comes with a mobile phone box for enhanced connectivity.

Backup Effortlessly Using Trailer Assist

One of the most common accessories with the Passat Alltrack is the Tow Bar, and that’s why the vehicle comes with a Trailer Assist feature to help make backing up with a trailer easier than ever before. The system has a camera mounted at the back that monitors the angle between the vehicle and the trailer. The driver only needs to operate the accelerator pedal and the brake and the program will help you get the trailer exactly where you want it.

The Trailer assist feature goes along nicely with a very capable towing capacity of up to nearly 5,000 lbs. As long as you don’t go up a gradient steeper than 12 percent, the vehicle is more than capable of handling that amount of weight behind it.

Everyone in the US without access to the Alltrack will either have to make do with one of the highly capable VW SUVs or spend the extra money to import an Alltrack after it comes to market over in Europe. Either option will give you a nice vehicle for the money, but it’s a shame that VW hasn’t decided to send this over stateside just yet.

Audi Showcases their OLED Light Technology

February 24, 2015 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , ,

If you thought Audi’s laser headlights were extreme then you’ll really love the OLED “Swarm” concept put together by the company. The large clusters of tiny OLED lights come together to create different pictures and dynamic effects. This gives the automaker more control over what the vehicle looks like and allows them to do some pretty cool things besides just letting everyone know which way the car is going to turn.

What the Lights Can Do

The lights of the vehicle respond to the actions of the car. When the car travels faster so do the lights. They spread apart and move quickly. When the vehicle turns to the right the lights flow to the right as well. When the car swerves to the left the lights change directions and follow suit. Not only are the dynamic light effects fun to watch but they help the vehicles around the car figure out exactly what the car is doing. The dynamic cues help make drivers more aware and show what future light systems may look like.

No Government Support

The U.S. government wasn’t willing to let the laser headlights out on roadways and they most likely won’t be up for the OLED array either. Not that it matters, Audi doesn’t plan on releasing this technology any time soon. The concept vehicle is only to show off the new technology and what it can do.

Safer Driving Conditions

If cars continue to be operated by people who have to make quick decisions it’s important for light technology to progress to provide clearer information and OLED technology could be the best option for this. A single array of OLED lights can be used to show off multiple messages and to give out a great deal of information. Audi is clearly working hard to develop the technology into their future projects and there will likely be more advanced light tech used on future vehicles, even if it doesn’t make it into the United States.

 

The Last of the Veyrons

February 23, 2015 lacarguy Uncategorized, Volkswagen Tags: , , , , ,

This month Volkswagen sold their final Bugatti Veyron supercar ending a very highly-acclaimed chapter for the automaker. After acquiring the Bugatti brand back in 1998 Volkswagen had been waiting for the right period to showcase their skill by producing a car like the world had never seen before, and for the most part they succeeded.

Bugatti Veyron

The Idea Behind the Veyron

When the automakers originally started designing the Veyron they had two goals in mind. The vehicle had to be powerful enough to go more than 249 MPH and it had to be classy enough to look at home driving up to the opera house. They succeeded on both fronts when designing the 1200 HP behemoth.

A total of 450 of the vehicles were sold since their release close to ten years ago making the cars some of the most exclusive ever sold. The average price of these cars over that period was 2.6 million dollars, making the Bugatti Veyron one of the most expensive cars out on the road.

Where did the Cars Go?

One quarter of all the vehicles produced were sold in the United States, and around half of them ended up in Europe. The final vehicle was sold to a buyer in the Middle East, but these prestigious vehicles ended up all over the world. Now that there are no more available for purchase from VW, the value of the vehicles will likely increase over time, and buyers may be reselling their vehicles for more than they paid, that is if the successor isn’t released anytime soon.

The Next Gen Veyron

Even though Volkswagen just finished selling off the last Bugatti Veyron they are already working on a successor to the hyper-luxury vehicle. They want to improve upon the engine and add in as much as 25 percent more power to the motor than what the first model had. According to Walter de Silva, the chief of VW design, the next version of the vehicle could be unveiled as early as 2016 and will be a work of art.

Why the 2015 Subaru Outback is an Excellent Family Vehicle

February 22, 2015 lacarguy Subaru Tags: , , , ,

According to Kelly Blue Book the 2015 Subaru Outback is the best variation to date. It’s the most capable, and has enough improvements to make it worth the upgrade for many drivers as well. Not only is the latest Outback a major improvement, but it’s also a good option for a family vehicle, provided that you have the right kind of family. If your family likes to go off into the mountains and to camp and hike regularly the Outback will be a nice addition. If you prefer to stay home, or simply take trips around town there are other options that would be better.

2015 subaru outback

New Refinements

The 2015 Outback received several major improvements that make it the most capable version yet. The inside of the vehicle has been expanded to allow even more seating room than before. This allows children or adults to sit in the back seats more comfortably. It also means you’ll have more space for gear or groceries.

For those who like to go camping and to take more strenuous roads the Outback has a more capable chassis than before. It’s been reinforced to handle major bumps more capably while helping to dampen the blow as much as possible. The interior has also been noise-proofed more effectively to provide a quieter ride than before.

The SUV is more fuel efficient than ever before making it a more economical commuter for families who like to travel comfortably. The enhanced AWD setup will allow everyone to get where they need to go smoothly and safely. Even if the roads aren’t completely clear the whole way. Finally the Outback has a new gritty design that shows it for the capable off-road vehicle it is. The boxy front end combines with the curved sides and edges to create a modern and powerful looking vehicle.

Getting Attention in Canada as Well

There’s no better test of a vehicles capability than by driving around on the harsh roads of Canada where you’re almost guaranteed to encounter some snow throughout the year. The Outback was recognized by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada as the Best New SUV under $35,000. The Outback has been selling heavily since it first came out, and that’s in large part because of how nice of a vehicle it is.

 

Kelly Blue Books Best Family Vehicle

Each year Kelly Blue Book chooses a selection of family vehicles that stand up to real-world driving situations the best. This year one of the 15 selected vehicles was the Subaru Outback. The judges at KBB considered the interior space and comfort of the vehicle, its overall level of utility and finally it’s performance, handling and safety features to decide if it was worthy of hauling around a family or not.

Since release the Outback has been showered with praise from the media and many of its new customers, and that’s because the SUV is well-built and made to perform those necessary family duties that can’t be done by just any vehicle out there.

 

The 2016 Audi R8: Improving a Legend

February 20, 2015 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , , , ,

Car enthusiasts around the world have been waiting for the next release of the sexy Audi R8 performance sports car, and while ther hasn’t been an official release yet, the folks over at Top Gear had a chance to test out the vehicle and have let slip quite a bit of information about the new and improved version of one of Audi’s most potent vehicles. The details paint a picture of an even more powerful, fast, and performance-focused model than the one before it. The 2016 Audi R8 is sure to be high on the buy list for many car collectors, and it sounds like it will be a blast to drive around.

2016 audi r8

Adding More Power

According to Top Gear the all-the R8 is going to be available in two different V10 versions, one offering 540 HP and the other 610. This is a big jump up from the current V10 offerings that only provide 525 and 550 respectively.

Enhanced Performance

The newest model should handle more effectively as well since it’s 40 percent stiffer and 30mm lower to the ground. It’s also quite light at under 3,300 lbs. but that’s because it’s sitting atop the Lamborghini Huracan platform. The vehicle also gets an electric steering rack for a quicker and smoother response compared to what you get with the old hydraulic setup.

According to the critics at Top Gear the performance of the new R8 is “savage” with lightning fast shifts, tire peeling acceleration and tight handling that makes fast cornering not only possible but highly enjoyable.

Lower Models Later On

While Audi is releasing their high-powered premium versions of the R8 early on, there is a good chance that smaller engine versions will be put out after the car has been out for a few years. According to Top Gear the R8 should start to see small engine options later on in its seven year lifespan to help differentiate the lineup and make it a bit more affordable for prospective buyers.

The 2016 R8 will look very similar to the outgoing model, but it should be more satisfying to drive. Not only do you get more power, you also get enhanced performance and handling mechanics. What more could you possibly want from the car?

Audi will Unveil the Highly Anticipated Prologue Avant Concept at the Geneva Auto Show

February 16, 2015 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , , , , , ,

Audi stunned the world with its first Prologue concept car last year, showing off a very modern looking vehicle, and giving everyone a glimpse into the possible future of the brand. Now they are going to release a second Prologue concept that stretches out the first creating the Prologue Avant Concept, or a highly modern hatchback design. It’s expected to rely on the same modern features that wowed the world in the first model, but expand upon them and bring in some enhancements that will only serve to make it even more stunning than the first.

audi prologue avant concept sketch

The Most Likely Engine

Audi hasn’t given out any details about what type of engine is going to be packed into the Prologue Avant car yet, but it’s pretty likely that it’s going to rely on the same engine setup that was in the Prologue Concept back in 2014. If that’s the case it will have a 4 liter V8 engine packing 605 HP overall and managing a massive 750 Nm of torque thanks to the turbocharged nature of the engine. That’s a massive amount of power. The vehicle will probably rely on the same electric turbo feature as the concept by utilizing a built-in 48 volt system.

A Glance into the Interior

Since the Prologue Avant hasn’t been released yet it’s impossible to give you an actual look into the interior, but by looking at the Prologue concept once again it’s easy to guess at what will be inside. The concept car was outfitted with a bendable OLED display and was configured much like the cockpit of an airplane. It also used a tiered dash display to give the vehicle a more spacious feel. Overall the vehicle had a very streamlined look with all of the screens shaped like the dash and other surfaces they are mounted on to provide a natural look while offering advanced information.

Difference from the First concept

While there aren’t any official images out for the Avant concept car it’s believed to be a stretched out version of the original concept with a longer and sleeker look. The  Avant will have a set of four doors at on the sides and a fifth door at the back making it into a modern hatch design. It is also going to feature very similar tail lights with new graphics to change up the design a bit. The car’s also going to have a roof-mounted spoiler that adds a nice sporty accent to it. The interior is expected to be exactly the same, but there is a chance that a few minor changes could be made, such as some new colors being worked into the materials, and some new trim options being added on.

This new concept car will be displayed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and should be one of the more interesting vehicles to be unveiled. Keep an eye on the event for a closer look at the highly anticipated concept, and get a glimpse into Audi’s future.

 

 

 

 

Buyers Should Consider the 2015 Scion tC Release Series 9.0

February 15, 2015 lacarguy Scion Tags: , , , ,

If you’ve been admiring the Scion tC from afar and you would jump at the chance to own a custom version of one of the company’s most popular sedans, now’s your chance with the Scion tC Release Series 9.0. This little sedan features a hot black on orange paint job, and a number of customizations that help it stand out from the stock version. It’s only being sold for a short period and it’s worth it to take some time to check it out if you’re considering picking up a new version of the vehicle anyway, because the customizations only serve to enhance the vehicle in our opinion.

scion tc release series 9

The Unique Features

Aside from the stand-out paint job that the vehicle’s received, it has a number of additional customizations as well. The Carlet Customs body kit gives the sedan a sportier almost race-car like look, giving the vehicle a set of custom emblems and black door handles, mirrors, and a rear spoiler that all go together really well. When building the vehicle the designers made the decision to go with a pair of 18 inch wheels that have been rendered in a nice gloss black color to further go along with that common theme.

The vehicle relies on a set of brightly-colored powder-coated springs to lower down the body, giving it that sleek low-rider look that allows a car to seemingly glide across the road. The center-mounted TRD exhaust system gives the engine a sporty tune, and offers a more performance-focused look to the vehicle.

Once you climb inside the vehicle the orange and black continues, with almost everything covered in black material or rendered a black color. Scion added in light touches of orange throughout the vehicle to help separate out the black, and to give it some added flare while keeping with the exterior theme.

Sure black and orange might not be for everyone, but for the sector that Scion’s trying to target with their tC we think that it will go over very nicely, and while you probably wouldn’t want to see the color on a top-end luxury car, it goes really well on this Scion making it into a car that you can’t help but notice when you pass it going down the road. You can own a piece of history with this special vehicle, but it only really makes sense to do so if you like the look and style of it, because it’s ingrained into every part of the vehicle.

 

Subaru Vehicles Hold Value Better than Any Other Accordging to ALG

February 14, 2015 lacarguy Subaru, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , ,

According to the ALG.com there is one vehicle brand that stands out more than all the others in North America for maintaining residual value and that brand’s Subaru. The award ceremony not only picks a brand overall, but also focuses on individual vehicles for its different categories. Subaru managed to snag the top spot for four of the different categories thanks to a big chunk of its overall lineup. According to the ALG, Subaru Ca managed to lock down the mid-sized, sports, mid-sized utility, and compact car categories with four of it’s most well-known vehicles.

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The Mid-sized Car

If you’re looking for a rock solid mid-sized vehicle that you’re going to be able to resell for a good price later on, you should consider the Subaru Legacy. According to experts at ALG it’s the Legacy’s all-weather capability as well as the newly improved refinement of the vehicle that makes it so desirable and will help it to hold it’s value so well over the next five years.

Sports Cars

In the Sports Cars category Subaru managed to take the top spot once again with the BRZ. ALG points out a few special details about this car that really makes it stand out. The first is the low center of gravity that gives it performance qualities of much more expensive sports cars. The second is the low entry price tag that allows it stand out when put up against vehicles such as Audi’s, BMW’s, and Porsche’s.

The Best Mid-sized Utility Vehicle

The Subaru Outback took the midsize utility vehicle category with ease. It did so because it has a “fun to drive attitude” and a high level of fuel efficiency that allows it to remain competitive with other vehicles in the segment. The all-wheel drive capabilities of the vehicle also help to allow it to stand out when compared to many other two-row utility vehicles.

Compact Car

If you’re looking for a good quality compact car the Subaru Impreza was voted the most likely to retain it’s value by ALG. The company states that the compact segment is one of the most competitive of them all and that the Impreza has a fun-to-drive feel that helps it stand out against all of the main competitors.

Overall Subaru managed to take the ALG’s Best Mainstream Brand Award for 2015 and with all the different models that managed to snag a title it’s no wonder either. If you’re shopping for a vehicle in North American, and you want something that you can resell easily later on, the clear message seems to be that you should be shopping for one of these Subaru models. Each has something special to offer and would make a nice addition to most family garages.