The Camry is known as one of the industry-leading sedans today and it’s no surprise that the hybrid version of that car is also a hot seller. Even with all of the tech advancements and media features that are packed into the Camry Hybrid it was beginning to fall behind new competitors a bit. The 2015 refresh offers in enough new features to help the vehicle compete with competitors new to the segment and makes it into an even more desirable sedan.
The New Look
The 2015 Camry Hybrid has a new look inside and out. On the outside all of the body panels have been swapped out for new ones. At the back of the car you’ll notice a more rounded look. Larger taillights and a premium chrome strip that helps give the vehicle that upscale look. The sides of the sedan have a more scultpted and edgier look, and the same C-pillars have been used but are broken up by chrome and black accents to give the impression of a more aerodynamic look. Overall the outside of the vehicle looks very similar to the old model, but it’s but modified in slight ways to give it an upscale and streamlined look.
On the inside of the Camry Hybrid everything’s been improved in slight ways. The plastic used throughout is of a higher quality. The climate control buttons and knobs are bigger and made of nicer material. The doors are covered in faux leather or suede depending on the trim level and the gauges are redesigned into a classy twin-gauge display. The touchscreen media system has been improved as well. The screen is larger and the menus on the display are more user-friendly than before and the same as the ones on the 2014 Highlander.
Enhanced Driving Mechanics
Even the more powerful Camry Hybrid has often been criticized about its somewhat dull driving dynamics. Toyota sought out to improve that situation a bit with this refresh. More effort is required to steer the vehicle than before, and the wheel holds firmly in the center more effectively than it did before. Some significant suspension tuning gives the vehicle a slightly stiffer feel, but it still holds that comfortable quality that makes the Camry attractive to easy-going family drivers. The car is just more responsive than before and a bit more fun to take around the bends and winds during family road trips.
Now with a Rearview Camera
The base version of the Camry Hybrid now comes with a simple rearview camera that makes backing up a bit safer and more enjoyable to do. It’s not one of the best systems on the market, but it certainly does a nice job of letting you see while backing up, and that’s all that really matters.
Overall the 2015 Toyota Camry hybrid is a nice improvement. It’s still clearly the same car, but it looks and feels better than it did before. It’s a more attractive version of one of America’s most popular hybrid sedans and it’s worth considering if you were planning on upgrading the family sedan anyway.
As the top level executives at Toyota were looking over the concept car for the new Prius Hybrid, they came to the conclusion that the design simply wasn’t good enough, and charged the designers and engineers with coming up with an edgier look to help set the vehicle apart.
Expect a Highly Refined Prius Look
A great deal of work has been done on the next generation of the Prius, and that work should give it a vastly different look than what we are used to. It’s not clear yet whether it will have an edgier look or not, but Toyota has been cracking down on design issues and trying to come up with better looking vehicles than ever before. They are working to give the Prius a sporty look that will draw in younger buyers looking for a cool and modern vehicle that isn’t just known for being environmentally friendly.
Although there is no word about exactly what changes have occurred, some appearance changes are pretty likely because the vehicle is being built in the C-platform. The car will likely have al owered hood, a lower center of gravity and a smaller air intake. It will also probably have a higher rear end with a sportier stance overall thanks to this new platform. This will give the vehicle an edgy look that will separate it from the old styled Prius dramatically.
Differentiate the Prius and the Plug-in Version
The new designs will reportedly help differentiate the standard Prius from the plug-in version as well. This will help those driving the plug-in stand out more and could make the experience more enjoyable for the buyers who decide to spring for the modified vehicle.
A More Modular Prius
The next generation of the Prius is being built on the more modular C-platform and this affords the engineers a great level of flexibility when desigining the interior of the vehicle. Now they are capable of making the inside larger and more enjoyable to be in thanks to all of the design options that they have available. This will result in a more pleasing interior in the next Prius.
In a vehicle that’s already known for its fuel efficiency it’s impressive that it will be improved upon even more. The engineers are making use of more lightweight materials to enhance the fuel economy even further, while maintaining the highly aerodynamic footprint of the vehicle to help avoid losing out on any of the efficiency benefits that the Prius already had going for it.
These new design changes are being guarded closely and Toyota expects them to have a major impact on how buyers see their vehicles in the future. For a brand that’s long been known as “dull” “safe” and “plain” new and improved designs could make a major difference.
The Audi Q7 is well-known for being one of the largest SUVs out on the road, but thanks to some changes made by the company it’s about to get quite a bit smaller. The Q7 is great for riding around in comfort and with plenty of space, but it hasn’t been the most efficient of SUVs out on the market. Audi decided to downsize their largest SUV offering for just that reason and the end result will be a much more efficient vehicle overall.
Unbelievable Weight Loss
The Q7 went from being one of the heavier models out on the road to being the lightest luxury crossover SUV in its class. It did this by shedding a total of 716 pounds. The body and chassis were made substantially lighter through the addition of a new chassis and lighter materials throughout the body. All of the careful measures that were taken to lighten up the Q7 will have a noticeable effect on overall fuel economy figures.
Impressive Fuel Economy Boosts
Thanks to the changes that Audi made to its Q7, the automaker expects to see some significant improvements to fuel economy figures. They expect gasoline fuel efficiency to jump by as much as 28 percent and the diesel version to jump up by 23 percent. These figures will make the SUV much more competitive against some of the other mammoth luxury SUVs on the market and it really isn’t sacrificing much in order to achieve these improved figures.
Audi did shorten its SUV by 1.6 inches overall and it made the vehicle about a half inch narrower, but even while doing that they managed to add overhead height to the SUV and enhance the space between first and second row seats to improve comfort even more from older versions of the vehicle.
Plug-in Diesel Power
The new version of the Q7 will also come with the option to get a plug-in diesel. This would help make the vehicle even more efficient while making it more desirable for those concerned about the environment as well. Not only that, but the hybrid power should help bolster performance figures as well. The plug-in version of the crossover will be able to go close to 35 miles running solely on battery power before the diesel motor needs to kick in to keep things moving.
Even though the Q7 is losing a bit of that size that makes it stand out so much, it’s improving upon its efficiency figures dramatically and even adding in a couple of nice features to make it more competitive on top of the efficiency improvements.
This year, LAcarGUY is proud to be teaming up with UCLA Athletics program to sponsor men’s and women’s basketball as well as women’s gymnastics. In addition, LAcarGUY is featuring a Super Shot Competition throughout the UCLA basketball season for both men and women’s teams. The contest is a fun and exciting way to get students involved and gives them an opportunity to win a car from one of the 10 LAcarGUY dealerships including Volkswagen, Audi, Lexus, Subaru, Scion, and Toyota.
The Super Shot Competition
At the beginning of each UCLA game, students visit the LAcarGUY table and put their name into a drawing for the Super Shot Competition. Three are chosen randomly. They have 30 seconds to try and make a lay-up, a free throw, a 3-point shot and a half-court shot. The first one to sink all shots will win the grand prize…a featured new car from one of the LAcarGUY dealerships.
LAcarGUY’s 10 dealerships all offer special College Grad programs with little or no credit required for qualifying graduates.
The head honchos at Porsche have been saying all along that they expected the special edition Panamera Exclusive to sell out over time, but even they didn’t expect the positive response they received. In just 48 hours after making the 100 run vehicle available for purchase, each of the vehicles was snapped up and off the market. Now they are kicking themselves wishing they had created more of the vehicles than they did.
While creating the limited Panamera Exclusive Series Porsche took the Panamera Turbo S and stretched it out by an additional six inches. They then gave it a two-tone paint job of black and chestnut brown and threw in matching leather upholstery and a premium luggage set. The rear seats of the vehicle were given 10-inch touchscreen displays for passenger enjoyment while riding around. Once all of the changes were made to the vehicle it was given a $310,500 price tag, tacking on $110,000 over the Panamera Executive model.
Giving it Another Try
Now that Porsche has seen the demand for their ultra-exclusive vehicle they are very likely to put out another run in the future. They know that some interested buyers were left out and that they could probably sell out another run of the vehicles without a problem. There is no word whether Porsche is going to release another run of these high-end special edition Panameras or if they are going to create highly exclusive lineups of some of their other models. Either way, according to Autocar this is a likely development in the future. The company spoke with Wolgang Hatz, Porsche’s head of Research and Development, and according to Hatz they will run similar limited offers in the future now that they know such a high demand exists for them.
It seems that buyers are interested in highly exclusive vehicles and are willing to pay exorbitant prices for them, even if they don’t have many performance improvements. The car is equipped with the same 570 HP engine and uses the same all-wheel drive setup giving both the ultra-rare version and the executive version similar feels while driving. We’ll have to wait and see what model Porsche decides to turn into an ultra-rare exclusive next, but it’s safe to say that there will be additional premium offerings coming up.
Subaru is well-known for giving safety a high priority when developing vehicles and the new Outback is an excellent example of that. The Outback managed to receive two of the gloves highest safety awards available thanks to some great advancements that were made to it. It’s now sturdier and offers more proactive warnings than ever before, which is great news for the driver and passengers as well as any nearby pedestrians.
The Outback managed to achieve the top five star rating available from the Euro NCAP safety rating system. It scored highly in adult occupant protection, child occupant protection. Pedestrian protection and safety assist while also managing to handle barrier tests well. According to the results the Outback is safe for everyone riding in it as well as the people out on the road.
The second of the two awards was even more impressive and it was given in Japan. The JNCAP testing agency is very stringent with their testing and they give each vehicle a rating between 0 and 40. Any vehicle that manages to get a 2 or higher is given the ASV or Advanced Safety Vehicle designation. Anything with a score of 12 or more is an ASV+ vehicle. The Outback blew those markers out of the water by achieving the very highest amount of points possible, it managed to score a 40 on the test thanks to its careful design and suite of safety features.
Major Safety Improvements
The 2015 Subaru Outback has received a variety of improvements to safety features. Additional airbags are present and they are located at the front, at knee level, at the side and as curtain bags to protect all passengers. The vehicle handles impacts better than before thanks to improvements made to the very durable ring-shaped frame that Subaru uses on all their vehicles. The automaker relied on high-tensile steel plates more than it has in the past, and that really upped its durability. The optional EyeSight system is upgraded as well, making it more responsive and capable of predicting accidental situations before they become a real issue.
Overall the 2015 Subaru Outback is more capable of protecting its passengers than ever before. It’s the type of vehicle that you can trust to protect your family and according to both Japan and Europe it’s one of the best out there for safety purposes. Subaru values safety and their latest Outback just serves to reinforce that concept even more.
The Toyota Tacoma has demonstrated an impressive level of longevity for the small number of updates it has received. It’s been going strong for the last 10 years as one of the real mid-sized trucks on the market, along with the Nissan Frontier. Now Toyota has decided that it’s time to up their game and offer a completely revised version of the Tacoma. They’re going to wipe the slate clean and come up with a model that’s equipped with more new parts than old, that should fix a lot of the trucks weaknesses.
Making Improvements to the Aging Truck
The Tacoma received a full revision in 2005 and since then has just been refreshed every few years with minor changes. The main areas that Toyota will try to improve on the Tacoma are in fuel efficiency and performance. The truck will receive a new engine along with a different transmission. These changes should give it more power while making it more fuel efficient as well, which are the two main changes that the Tacoma needs to stay on top.
Gearing Up for the Changes
Experts aren’t just releasing rumors about the Tacoma, Toyota is already gearing up their production plants to be able to create the modified mid-sized truck. According to a spokesperson from the San Antonio production plant engineers have already been there to make the needed changes to allow the new trucks to be built there. Toyota is committed to creating this refreshed model and they say that they have been planning it all along and that they aren’t simply reacting to the new models put out by GM.
New GM Models
GM recently released updated versions of the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon, both of which are more fuel efficient and capable than ever before. While these trucks aren’t exactly the same size as the Tacoma, they are close enough to be a threat to the vehicle. These are the models that the Tacoma has to compete with, and it’s a good bet that the changes it has received will have a major impact on how it performs overall.
Toyota will unveil the all-new Tacoma at the Detroit Auto Show next month. It promises to be a whole new truck that only bears a resemblance to the 2005 model of the Tacoma. It should have a new body and a highly modified interior with a whole new look.
Mid-sized truck fans should keep their eyes peeled for announcements coming out of Detroit in the coming month. It’s a pretty good bet that they will like what they see.
Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s development chief has been leaking a whole lot of information lately and he just released more info about an exciting variation on Audi’s Q7 that’s in the works. The new model will eventually include a diesel-hybrid version that can be plugged in, in between driving. By merging these technologies together Audi should be able to create a highly efficient SUV that’s very enjoyable to drive around.
Massive Amounts of Torque
One of the best features of electric and diesel vehicles is the high levels of torque that’s produced. The Q7 will be equipped with a diesel engine and electric-powered motors providing massive amounts of torque throughout the power range. The electric motor will provide a nice burst of torque early on before the diesel engine has a chance to power up much and at high speeds the diesel will add in a large amount of torque making the SUV a very capable driver.
About the Q7 Diesel Plug-in
This version of the Q7 is expected to rely on the same 3.0 liter diesel engine that the standard diesel model uses, and it will have an additional electric motor on top of that. This rare variation is expected to be released in Europe first, but Audi is planning on bringing it to the US as well. According to Hackenberg, the high level of power mixed with its fuel efficiency will make the Q7 model a popular seller in the states.
The only downside to this very advanced technology is the high price that will come along with it. The Q7 is already marketed as a luxury SUV and priced as such. The diesel engine bumps that price up by more than $5,000 and hybrid technology is well-known for adding additional costs to vehicle production. Adding in the plug-in tech will bump the price up further and the amount of fuel saved may not be enough to justify the price increase for some buyers. Still it’s a cool idea and would make the Q7 one of just three vehicles to use the diesel-hybrid setup. The vehicles expected to be released in the late part of 2015 or the early part of 2016 and will be the first of its kind offered by Audi.
There’s no information about how much total torque the vehicle will have, or about whether it will be able to drive on electric power alone or not, but it’s an exciting project that should draw a lot of interest from proponents of green technology.
Subaru Pacific, an LAcarGUY dealership has teamed up with Grades of Green with their “Share the Love” program. Essentially with this program each time that someone buys or leases a new vehicle from now through the end of 2014 the dealership will donate $250 to a charity selected by the person that purchases the vehicle. That means that anyone in the market for a vehicle could potentially use their purchase to help a good cause as well.
What Grades of Green Does?
There are many charities and non-profit organizations out there that focus on treating pollution issues that we’re dealing with now, and that’s important, but it doesn’t address the issues that will occur in the future. Grades of Green is focused on educating the youth of today about the value of helping and protecting the environment. The more they know about these values, the less likely that the world will experience the problems that it is today in the future. By going right into schools around the country, the organization is able to educate students and empower them to improve conditions today, while planning for an improved future later on.
What $250 Buys for Grades of Greens
Each time that Grades of Green receives a donation from Subaru Pacific 83 additional students can be educated in Grades of Green’s program. That’s 83 additional students who will learn about the importance of protecting the environment and will hopefully begin working actively to improve their communities. It’s easy to see how this program could result in some major changes around the country, and helpful improvements for the Grades of Green program overall.
If you’re in the market for a Subaru you could help the Grades of Green non-profit organization by working with Subaru Pacific. The donation made is included in the cost of the vehicle and you don’t pay anything extra for the contribution. It’s through efforts like these, and additional fundraisers throughout the year that Grades of Green is able to keep running and improving the country by educating the youth of America. Partnerships such as the one between LAcarGUY and Grades of Green have led to several impressive environmental accomplishments this year and it’s only through continued involvement with the organization that students around the country will become aware of just how important sustainable practices are.
Over the years LAcarGUY and Grades of Green have become more involved than they once were. They have been working together to accomplish the Trash Free Lunch Challenge for several years now, and Subaru Pacific just started making donations to the organization as vehicles are sold with their Sharing the Love event. This partnership helps educate more children about the importance of recycling and sustainable practices and helps shape a better future for everyone.
Trash Free Lunch Challenge
Each year LAcarGUY sponsors the Trash Free Lunch challenge for surrounding schools. This challenge is put on by Grades of Green and challenges schools to try and limit their trash production by as much as possible. They do this by educating students on recycling practices and importance and setting up recycling stations that organize recyclables and compost food products.
Subaru Pacific recently began their Sharing the Love event where each new vehicle purchase or lease results in the donation of $250 toward a chosen charity. After beginning the program the dealership decided to include Grades of Green in the charity as well and customers have already started making donations through their purchases and will continue to do so throughout the rest of 2014.
Additional Activities Inspired by Grades of Green
At Hermosa Valley Elementary School, three students, Reese, Sarajane and Kiley began their first project in conjunction with Grades of Green called the Electricity Challenge. In the Electricity Challenge these three students took it upon themselves to educate the rest of the students about ways to save electricity at home and in school. They provided each classroom with a list of “10 ways to save energy” and challenged each classroom to try and save as much energy as they could. It was decided that the classroom to save the most electricity by the end of the challenge would be given a popsicle party as well as $100 in school supplies. On top of educating the rest of the school, and getting 350 students involved in the challenge, these three girls also audited their own classroom looking at unnecessary lights, and appliances that didn’t need to be plugged in and let their teacher know ways she could save electricity.
Grades of Green Youth Corps members also made an appearance at the TEDx Manhattan Beach event and helped make it into a zero waste event. They set up 12 different recycling stations around the venue and gave a lunchtime presentation explaining to the guests the importance of reducing waste and how to properly recycle their items. Their hard work helped minimize the waste from the event down to just 11 bags of trash, making a massive difference in the amount of waste that would have been produced.