Toyota is on a quest to come up with the most effective materials for storing energy. It needs these materials for its electric vehicles, otherwise it could take decades to come up with new products for its batteries. Unlike many companies that go through massive rounds of trials and tests to come up with new materials relying heavily on scientists, Toyota is making use of artificial intelligence and computer simulations to speed up the process. Toyota isn’t going to do all that on its own though, it will involve several universities as well as British materials company llika to come up with the necessary resources to find new materials effectively.
Making a Major Investment
Toyota believes strongly that new materials can unlock a lot of paths that the automaker wants to go down. That’s exactly why the company is investing $35 million into the team and the research that it’se conducting All that hard work could pay off nicely over time and give Toyota the technology that it needs to produce something particularly exciting.
The Next Step
In order to maximize the material options available as soon as possible, the team working with Toyota (made up of Toyota Research Institute, MIT, the University of Michigan, Stanford University as well as llika) will put together its data sources and collaborate in efforts of machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer modeling to come up with answers. Not only is the team looking for new materials to use for more effective energy storage for batteries, but it’s also looking for a new catalyst other than platinum for the Toyota hydrogen vehicles. This would make vehicles like the Mirai notably more affordable overall, and it will solve the issue of a platinum shortage that will be difficult to overcome when trying to mass-produce the Mirai.
While these efforts are still in their early stages, Toyota is hoping to use this partnership to forge new technologies over time, but it’s not expected to be a magic bullet that is going to solve all the automaker’s problems either. Computer simulation can’t solve every issue, but it can help bring together existing technologies in new ways to make exciting enhancements that the average person would have overlooked.
The Volkswagen Golf is well-known as a leading compact car on the market today. It’s a capable vehicle that comes in many different shapes and types. The car’s quick too, with plenty of interior amenities that you would have to pay extra for with many other compact cars. It’s because of all those perks and more that the Volkswagen Golf was voted as the Best Small Car in 2017 according to New York Daily News Autos. It’s a great honor to earn such an award and it’s not easy to obtain either. There was plenty of stiff competition the Golf had to come up against.
How the Cars Were Ranked
The ranking process for all the 2017 vehicles was a stringent one that called on a full panel of 8 different journalists to look over a wide selection of 2017 car models. The vehicles came from a selection of 16 different categories, and the reviewers were asked to look the options over in the order they would recommend them out to friends, family or co-workers.
Why the Top Spot?
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf managed to take the top sport for Best Small Car in 2017 because it’s fun to drive in all its formats, it’s fitted with the latest tech, it comes in a wide variety of shapes and types, and it just has more to offer than most other small vehicles on the market.
Christian Wardlaw, the Editor of the ?New York Daily News Autos said that “No other small car touches the depth and breadth of purpose found within the Golf family” and “That it is fun to drive even in its most basic format and supplies all kinds of utility simply serves to cement the Golf’s superiority.”
Whether you want a pretty basic compact sedan, a hatchback with more storage space, or a performance car, you can find each of those things in the Golf family.
About the Golf
The Volkswagen Golf comes with a 1.8 liter four-cylinder gas engine that’s turbocharged with direct-injection technology and puts out a total of 170 HP. That’s a lot of power for a compact vehicle like the Golf, and that’s just at the base level. The car comes with either manual or automatic transmission, comes in a variety of form factors, gets pretty decent fuel efficiency with 25 MPG city and 36 MPG highway and just has a lot to offer to drivers looking for a small vehicle overall.
The 2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4S is an exciting throwback to the original Targa with the same looks, but a whole lot more tech and performance. It’s a modern-day high powered equivalent to the classic car, and it’s exhilarating to drive around. We’ll get into what makes it so special down below, but to really understand what makes the car special you have to drive it for yourself.
It Has the Original Look
The car looks very similar to the original 911 Targa with the same curvaceous rear glass, the same Targa bar and the same overall body shape. Sure it’s not identical, but for a Porsche enthusiast it’s the best you’ll get other than picking up the original vehicle for nostalgia’s sake.
An Advanced Retractable Top
The cloth top on the original Targa couldn’t have been simpler. You unhook a few clips and it pops right off. The modern equivalent of that is an overly-complicated electrical-mechanical matchup that takes nearly 20 seconds to fold down the top under the glass. The plus side of that is that during that time you don’t have to do anything. You press the button and the top folds up and out of the way until you need it again. It’s convenient, you just have to be patient.
A Whole Lot of Power
The modern Targa 4S comes with a massive amount of power. You’ll have 420 HP and 368 lb.-ft. of torque at your disposal thanks to the 3.0 liter twin-turbo flat six under the hood. It’s water cooled and mechanically impressive and the car really hauls down the road because of it. There’s no better feeling than stomping on the pedal and being thrown back against the seat as you literally launch.
The Targa 4S comes standard with a silky 7-speed manual transmission that’s fun to operate, but if you’re not the shifting type, or you want the absolute peak performance, you can upgrade to the seven-speed dual clutch automatic PDK transmission. It gets the job done faster and more smoothly, and you don’t have a clutch pedal to worry about. Either way power distribution is excellent and you’ll climb through the gears without any notable jerks or uneven performance.
Massive Performance Power
Thanks to that oversized engine that I mentioned earlier the 2017 Targa 4S is a serious monster on the track. 0 to 60 happens in just 3.3 seconds, a quarter mile is over in 11.7 seconds and the car stops on a dime with 0 to 60 occurring in just 97 feet. Sure it won’t win any fuel efficiency awards with a 24 MPG combined rating, but it saves fuel better than many other sports cars that you’ll encounter.
If there’s something about the handling of the Porsche that you don’t like, you might be able to modify it to your liking as well. You can change around the drive mode between Sport, Sport + and a small collection of other drive modes to change the steering stiffness, the throttle response and shifting aggression to get you a dynamic that feels right for your situation.
The 911 Targa 4S is a real joy to drive, but it doesn’t come cheap with a base price of just over $123,000. It’s not uncommon for the price tag to climb above $150,000 with options added on, so you have to be comfortable spending heavily to enjoy this car.
One of the most important tools in a modern-day vehicle is its navigation system. After all, without a good setup you could become lost very easily when driving around in unfamiliar territory. That’s why most people today make sure they get a car or truck with a nav system so that it can be relied on each time that you take the vehicle out. Nearly every Lexus vehicle sold today comes with navigation, so it’s pretty important for Lexus owners to know how to make the most of these systems. Here are a couple of helpful tips to help you make more of your navigation system when out and about.
Turn up the Volume
One of the biggest issues that drivers experience with the navigation system is directions that are too quiet. If you can’t hear the directions while driving, you’re going to miss important turns and end up driving inefficiently. Fortunately, there is a way that you can turn up the volume so that those directions are a bit easier for you to hear all along. To change the volume levels you’ll have to dig through a few menus, but the process isn’t too difficult, we promise.
Select “Menu” then choose the “Setup” option.
From there you need to choose “Voice.” And “Voice Settings”.
Once in this menu you can easily turn the volume up or down between 1 and 7. It often defaults on 2, so you can crank the volume up significantly.
Finding Your Way Home
There is a special feature known as Route Trace that makes it easy to figure out how to make it back to your starting location. Whether you are exploring a new area, or you simply need to remember how to trace your steps, this system is the way to do it. When it’s enabled the car will leave a series of dots on your navigation map that you can follow back in the opposite direction. This makes it easy to drive in unfamiliar surroundings, or to drop off a person and find your way home after.
To turn on this feature you’ll have to go through one of two different step sets. New vehicles make it easy, you just select “Options” and “Navigation Options”. Now choose “Map information” and select “Route Trace” to enable the option.
If you’re driving an older model you’ll have to choose “Show on Map” at the bottom of navigation, and choose “Route Trace”.
No matter how you turn Route Trace on, it should help you avoid getting lost while driving around and leave you with more positive stories to tell about driving. No matter what you want to use your vehicle for, hopefully these two navigation tips will help you make the most of it and stay out of trouble more consistently.
The Audi A4 is an excellent entry-level luxury vehicle for people new to the brand, but it’s more than that. It’s a beautiful little car, with plenty of power and all the luxury features that you could expect from a high-end vehicle in its price range. The 2017 Audi offers a whole lot to customers, which is probably why it received the Daily News Auto Best Premium Car of 2017 Award. Now let’s get into just what makes the car so special.
Beautiful and Functional Interior
Audi is known for its beautiful interior. It’s just the right balance of clean design with functional tools. The 2017 A4 comes equipped with a top-notch infotainment setup that you can upgrade to the industry-leading “Virtual Cockpit” with a 12” touchscreen and all the media goodies that you could ask for. Either way, you’re going to get a pretty comprehensive media setup that you should enjoy using.
Safe and Reliable
The A4 isn’t just about looks or comfort, it’s a confident and capable vehicle when out on the road in a range of handling conditions. The car comes with optional all-wheel drive, but holds up well even in the front-wheel drive variation. It has a 5-star rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. The A4 comes with systems that offer warnings about oncoming traffic as well, helping you to remain safe before hopping out of the car.
Luxury Interior Options
If you really want the luxury experience while driving your A4 you can purchase enhancements to make it that much better. Add an optional 12.3-inch screen for more menu space and added tech features that you simply can’t get with the entry-level system. Add in the Bang and Olufsen audio system for an unparalleled listening experience. The car also features rear climate control for added comfort throughout the cabin and it’s built with most of the connectivity features that you could want out of a modern-day vehicle.
Whether you’re driving with the front-wheel model or using the all-wheel Quattro system, you can tool around in different driving conditions with confidence when you’re in the A4. It stands up to slippery or uneven driving surfaces and provides dynamic stability control that’s even more impressive with the all-wheel setup.
The 2017 Audi A4 is sophisticated, it’s capable, it’s beautiful, it’s filled with modern tech and it’s just a solid car. Sure it’s more money than a budget Camry, but it’s worth the added cost for all that you get when you make the purchase.
Drifting is becoming more and more popular with high-powered sports car owners. There’s something particularly enjoyable about slamming on the gas and skidding around a corner or pulling a donut while burning up the rear tires of the vehicle. This isn’t a fondness that Audi Sport Development chief Stephan Reil shares with those fans. Drift modes have been popping up on sport cars and supercars for years now, but Reil doesn’t see the point, and believes that the systems aren’t good for the vehicles.
Reil insists that drift modes are a waste of tires and time, and he says that they aren’t necessary either. It’s possible to drive the Audi R8, the RS3 and the RS6 without a button designed to let you do it, you just need to have the skills and the courage.
Drift it Yourself
To drift an Audi car you simply hold down the skid-control button for 3 seconds and all the safety nets will shut off. This makes it easy to drift to your heart’s content. The car is much more dangerous to drive around like this and it stops being good in track environments, but shutting off the safety nets is simple enough to do that most drift enthusiasts aren’t likely to complain.
Is Drift Mode Irresponsible or Not?
There are critics of the drift mode buttons in vehicles like the BMW M, the Ferrari F430, the Mclaren 720S and so many others, saying that the mode is irresponsible and encourages poor behavior and driving mechanics. They also state that it encourages excess driving without certain safety nets on the vehicle. Others say that drift mode is good because it keeps some of the safety nets intact. Without a drift mode you would have to shut off every safety net in order to drift. There is support in both directions, but if you don’t want to drift the old-fashioned way, it doesn’t make sense to pick up an Audi supercar anytime soon. They don’t come with drifting features, so you’ll have to make the magic happen all on your own.
It’s no secret to anyone that the Toyota Prius is one of the most capable hybrid vehicles on the road today. It’s affordable, it’s stylish, it offers enough power and industry-leading fuel economy. That’s why it shouldn’t come completely as a surprise that the 2017 Prius managed to receive Canada’s Green Car of the Year award. It’s a prestigious title that’s worth celebrating, and it’s not something that’s given out to many vehicles. The title is just another reason why it makes sense to own a Prius.
What Toyota had to Say
This is what Toyota had to say about receiving the award, and it was clearly an honor for the company.
“Toyota is committed to maintaining its leadership position in designing, engineering and building environmentally-advanced vehicles that meet the many demands of today’s drivers – which is why the 2017 Prius sets new standards for efficiency and emissions even as it provides owners with more style and driving fun,” said Cyril Dimitris , Vice-President, Toyota Canada Inc. “We’re delighted that members of AJAC agree, and thank them for this important award.”
Exceptional Efficiency Fueled by Technology
The 2017 Toyota Prius is one of the most efficient hybrid vehicles to date, thanks in large part to it’s highly technical powertrain setup. It’s fitted with an efficient 1.8L four-cylinder engine on the Atkinson Cycle. The car’s equipped with a high-power electric motor, new and improved batteries and an advanced powertrain management computer that effectively doles out the power and mixes electric and gas power to make the hybrid magic happen. When everything comes together properly, the car can achieve a combined MPG rating of just over 52 MPG, an exceptional figure that’s unrivaled by other hybrids today.
Comfort and Safety
It’s the exceptional fuel efficiency of the modern-day Prius that won it the Green Award, but that’s not all that the car has to offer either. It provides enough power to avoid feeling sluggish in all driving conditions. The car comes equipped with the advanced Toyota Safety Sense P system of avoidance safety features as standard. It has a set of driving modes to give you more control over how it handles, and comes with a slew of infotainment and tech features like nav, keyless entry, push button start, full color gauges and much more.
It’s hard not to love the 2017 Prius, and it’s even improved dramatically in the looks department since the older models. It looks sportier, sleeker and more stylish than ever before.
LAcarGUY was proud to support and represent at the recent Organization of Women Leaders breakfast in Santa Monica. The International Women’s Day breakfast gathered professionals from throughout the community to network and celebrate women leaders in Santa Monica. This year “OWLIE” honorees were Elaine Polachek, Assistant City Manager of the City of Santa Monica and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Amy Ziering.
“The Chamber holds this event annually with a dual focus: to highlight outstanding women leaders in the city and surrounding county, and to unite women in business in all levels of the community,” states Laurel Rosen, President and CEO of the Santa Monica Chamber. “The Organization of Women Leaders (OWL) feels this breakfast now more than ever highlights the importance of female entrepreneurs and business champions! Everyone enjoyed the networking and a delicious breakfast while listening to the inspiring speakers.
Audi is known for making top-notch vehicles, but not necessarily for creating products that are fuel efficient. That’s why it’s impressive that the 2018 Q5 has received the highest EPA-estimated fuel economy rating within the competitive segment. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient mid-sized crossovers that you can get today, making it a highly desirable vehicle for buyers that are interested in saving money on gas and reducing their environmental impact while driving around in luxury.
It’s all in the Wheels
The 2018 Q5 comes with a special all-wheel drive setup known as Quattro with Ultra technology. The system offers completely adjustable torque at each of the four wheels, giving the right amount of power to each wheel depending on the situation. The crossover is able to do this thanks to a decoupling rear axle differential, as well as a multi-plate clutch system. Not only is the system highly variable, but it makes use of an electro-mechanical system and can engage in just 250 milliseconds, up to eight times faster than a standard all-wheel drive system.
To top it all off, the system makes use of a rear dog leg crutch to cut power to the rear differential and prop shaft on and off throughout driving to improve fuel economy. When you add in all the computers and sensors around the vehicle attached to a powerful computer that’s checking for loss of traction repeatedly, you get a very smooth driving vehicle that can take on most driving conditions without flinching.
Efficient and Powerful
The 2018 Audi Q5 is taking top spots for mid-sized crossovers thanks to its 25 MPG combined highway and city rating. It manages these figures while still having plenty of power to drive confidently. The crossover comes with a 2.0 liter TFSI four-cylinder engine that puts out 252 HP and 274 lb.-ft. of torque. It doesn’t feel sluggish in the slightest, and is a lot of fun to drive for this reason.
Luxurious with Leading Tech and Entertainment
The 2018 Q5 will be outfitted with top-end seats and upholstery throughout, it’s going to come with a modern infotainment system with app connectivity, and will likely look more modern than Audi vehicles today, creating a very enjoyable in-vehicle ride experience. Even without the industry-leading fuel economy of the 2018 Q5, it would be hard to look in another direction instead. It just has too much to offer to ignore, which is why it’s going to be a very popular vehicle when it’s finally released to the public.
The Volkswagen Golf has a lot going for it. It’s just the right size for many small families. It’s efficient, it’s fun to drive, it comes with nice features and is a nice looking vehicle in general. It’s a pretty solid package and it’s no wonder that so many autobuyers are interested in the vehicle each year. Even if you do decide that the Golf is the right vehicle for you though, you still have to decide which version of the vehicle is the right one, and with over 5 different trim levels to choose from, and additional options on top of that, making that decision is more difficult than you might think. That’s why we’re here to break down what we believe is the very best version of Volkswagen’s most versatile little vehicle.
Take a Look at the Golf Sport
While there are more prestigious versions of the Golf, the Golf Sport offers an excellent mix of value and desirable features. For a starting cost of just north of $28,000 you get the high quality plaid upholstery, 18-inch wheels, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as bixenon headlights. There’s even a proximity entry system and a push button to start the vehicle up. The features in the Sport make the vehicle feel like a luxury model, and what I listed above isn’t even everything that you get either.
Not only do you get the nice features when you opt for the Sport, you also get performance features that help the trim level earn its name. You’ll get a 10 HP power boost, as well as more capable brakes, and a powerful limited-slip differential. This is the most affordable trim model to come with all these performance enhancements, and that’s what makes it so darn desirable.
What You’ll Miss out on
By going with the Sport you will miss out on some features of the more expensive models. You’ll miss out on active-safety features, a Fender audio system and leather seats, but you’ll also save a bundle in the process. If those features mean enough to you, then it’s clear you should either get the Autobahn or SE trims, but if they don’t you’re better off with the Sport version of the vehicle.
The GTI Sport also comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission that makes the vehicle even more fun to drive around, but you can switch it over to a dual-clutch auto if you’re willing to add $1,100 to the purchase price. Either way the car is pretty darned quick with times of 5.9 seconds with the manual and 5.6 seconds from 0 to 60 with the automatic.
Choosing the right Golf to drive around isn’t always easy to do. Hopefully the explanation up above makes your decision process a bit easier to go through.