Category: Toyota Santa Monica
The Toyota GR HV concept vehicle, which is really a Frankenstein version of a few really popular Toyota vehicles, is showing off a very cool transmission setup that you probably haven’t seen before in the past. It’s essentially an automatic transmission that behaves like it is a manual transmission. No, I’m not talking about a basic paddle shifter that comes on so many vehicles today. This is something more. It behaves much like a manual and will give you that exciting manual feel as well.
The transmission has the standard automatic that you would expect on a modern Toyota vehicle, but it also has an H-gate manual shift stick. You shift through the gears with the stick much like you would a traditional manual and the vehicle responds accordingly. The only real difference between the vehicle and an actual manual transmission car is that it doesn’t have a clutch. You shift gears and the car responds, but you don’t have to operate a clutch pedal. Shifting is intuitive to anyone familiar with a manual transmission and frankly it’s a lot of fun.
The GR HV sports concept car looks a lot like the GT 86. But it borrows from other vehicles and has wider dimensions and a different back end. The vehicle is pretty cool looking, but it’s the transmission that’s most interesting. If you’re interested in having a manual feel in your next vehicle, you’ll have to hope that Toyota brings this transmission to more of its offerings. It’s an exciting idea and certainly something to look out for.
With how natural the shifting action is in the vehicle it’s something that would sell to many drivers around the world. The vehicle keeps the benefits of an automatic transmission but takes on the exciting feel of a manual so drivers can get the best of both worlds. It’s similar to a paddle shifter, but definitely a step up according to us.
Toyota buyers interested in a better shifting experience will have to keep their eyes on the GR HV sports concept and what becomes of the shifting tech. We bet that it’s going to find its way onto additional vehicles in the future like all good ideas demonstrated on concept cars.
Over the last 20 years, the Camry has been the franchise leader for Toyota. When you sell 400,000 units of something year after year after year, you have to be doing something right. However the Camry in its current guise has been around for quite a while, and it has been a decade since it was all new front to back. In that decade America, and the world have moved from four door family sedans to crossovers as their vehicles of choice. For 2017 the RAV4 will outsell the Camry, and by a fair number of units at that.
The family four-door sedan might not be the bread and butter for Toyota anymore, but the segment and the Camry specifically are still vital to the company. That is why Toyota has launched the all new 2018 Camry, and the first full vehicle to be built on the company’s new TNGA platform. The current Prius and C-HR share parts of the platform but the Camry is the first to employ it completely. The new platform (all new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, all new chassis) allow for more interior room, a quieter more comfortable ride and significant weight savings.
The new Toyota Camry makes a much bolder more cohesive statement than the outgoing model. That said Toyota knows that some customers would rather blend in, while others like to make a statement. With the new Camry, both are an option depending on which trim level of Camry you select.
The L, LE and XLE models styling is sporty without being a boy racer. The nose has an aggressive look, and from the side profile as well as the rear three-quarters view, it is muscular and handsome. Choosing the SE or XSE there are more sporty styling cues to make the Camry really stand out. They include a different front end styling, large side intake vents, small rear spoiler, plus and option of two-tone paint that adds a black metallic color to the roof along with matching paint on the rear spoiler and the rear view mirrors. SE and XSE come with 18” alloy wheels with 19” alloy wheels as an option.
The all-new Camry is built around the cockpit theme. Instruments, dials, knobs, and switchgear are all angled at the driver to make it as easy as possible to see, touch and feel exactly what you are looking for.
Materials have received a nice upgrade from the previous generation, and are now very competitive with the best in the segment. L and LE trims have nice cloth seating, SE trim gets SofTex seating material, while XLE, XSE get leather seating with XLE receiving a quilting pattern to give it a more high-end appearance.
Toyota has also upgraded the trim materials as well with different wood or metal materials depending on trim level and packages. SE gets embossed mesh interior trim while XSE gets textured metal materials. L and LE have a layered wood trim, XLE receives “Tiger Eye” trim based off the Tiger Eye gemstone. XLE and XSE interiors are very nice, and while they might not be at Lexus levels they aren’t far off and come at a much-reduced price compared to Lexus.
Standard on L, LE and SE Camry’s is a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment screen in the center stack and a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster. XLE, XSE and V6 models receive an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the center stack and a 7-in multi-information display in the instrument cluster.
A new and exciting option on the new Camry is a 10-inch Heads Up Display. The HUD can project audio, speed, driver assistance and navigation onto the windshield.
The 2018 Toyota Camry offers you the choice of three powertrains. Over 80% of Camry buyers are likely to choose an all new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. While the displacement and number of cylinders may be the same as the outgoing Camry, this is all new engine. The long stroke high compression engine with both direct and port fuel injection delivers 203 horsepower (a 25 horsepower jump over the old model) at 6,600 rpm and 184 lb/ft of torque at 5,000 rpm.
Next up is a 3.5-liter V6 engine. This engine is a carryover with some technology upgrades. New variable valve timing enables greater fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. The V6 is rated at 301 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 267 lb/ft of torque at 4,700 rpm. Both the four-cylinder and the V6 use a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
The final powertrain is the Hybrid system. Total power between the engine and hybrid power is rated at 208 horsepower. The big news with the hybrid is the fuel economy numbers. in LE trim (lighter vehicle weight and more efficient battery pack) the Camry Hybrid is EPA rated at 51 city/53 highway/52 combined. In SE and XLE it returns 44 city/47 highway/46 combined. If you were looking at the Prius for fuel economy but were not taken with the new styling direction then the 2018 Camry Hybrid LE will return very similar fuel economy numbers in a more “standard” looking car for around the same money.
Fuel economy for the four-cylinder Camry is EPA rated at 28 city/39 highway/32 combined, while the V6 is rated at 22 city/32 highway/26 combined.
The 2018 Camry comes with a standard suite of safety systems starting with Toyota’s Star Safety System which includes, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), 4-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA)andSmartStop Technology®(SST) and 10 airbags. Also available is Safety Connect® — includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification. Available by subscription. Complimentary one-year trial subscription. (XSE and XLE V6 models only) Toyota Safety SenseTM P (TSS-P) – Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Rear Cross Traffic Braking (XSE and XLE grades only)
Toyota will offer their latest Entune 3.0 system. Entune offers Scout GPS Link through an app on your phone for navigation and comes with a free three-year trial, Entune App Suite, Siri Eyes Free, Google Voice Control along with voice recognition and Bluetooth audio.
Other trim levels and options packages offer XM Radio, HD Radio, Gracenote album cover art, Safety Connect, Service Connect, Remote Connect and a built-in WiFi hotspot. Available with the upgraded JBL Audio system is a feature called Clari-Fi. Clari-Fi takes streaming audio from apps like Spotify, Pandora, Google Music and Apple Music and upconverts it to higher quality audio.
2018 Camry Wrapup:
The 2018 Toyota Camry is really three different cars depending on trim and powertrain chosen. The four-cylinder Camry feels light, composed and sporty. While you would not call it a sports sedan it can certainly handle back roads without effort. The ride is very composed and interior noise levels are very pleasant. The V6 Camry drives and rides like a very substantial car. The ride is still very composed yet it feels far more luxurious. The car feels more planted to the road and solid overall. That is not to say the four-cylinder is lacking in driving refinement, it’s that the V6 takes it to a higher level, near Lexus quality ride control. Finally, the Hybrid Camry combines the best of both the V6 and the four-cylinder. The overall feel of the car along with the ride quality is right in line with the V6, yet the steering is light as in the four-cylinder. Where the V6 gets up to speed very quickly, far quicker than you’d expect, the hybrid is not far behind and is almost silent in doing so.
Pricing for the 2018 Toyota Camry is as follows:
Camry L $23,495
Camry LE $24,000
Camry SE $25,200
Camry XLE $28,450
Camry XSE $29,000
Camry XLE V6 $34,400
Camry XSE V6 $34,950
Hybrid LE $27,800
Hybrid SE $29,500
Hybrid XLE $32,250
Family cars are one of the most popular ways to get around these days if you’re not in a crossover, and mid-sized sedans are the most common way to do it. Among these sedans, the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata are two major contenders that people are always comparing to one another. To help out all those families trying to pick between these two vehicles, we’ll take some time to consider the different features and what each has to offer overall.
Power doesn’t matter to many drivers that are just looking for a car to get them to work and back, but it’s an important consideration for some. This is an area that both vehicles are very close in at the base level. They both offer about 178 HP at base, but the Sonata incorporates direct injection into the system, making it more powerful and responsive. If you don’t mind spending extra for a more powerful vehicle, the 2017 Camry can be found with power levels as high as 268 HP, while the Sonata only goes to 245, making the Camry the clear higher range winner when it comes to power.
When you’re commuting regularly or you have many driving demands, it’s important for your vehicle to be fuel efficient. The best bet overall between the two vehicles when efficiency is important to you is the hybrid Camry that offers up to 38 MPG. If you don’t want to deal with a hybrid vehicle though, the Sonata is slightly more efficient than the base Camry, offering about 36 MPG highway and 28 MPG in the city.
One of the biggest factors that people consider when deciding on a new car is how it feels while turning. The steering wheel should be responsive while offering plenty of road feel at the same time. This is exactly what the Camry has to offer, which is one of the reasons that many people prefer it to the Sonata. The Hyundai Sonata comes with a soft steering wheel that isn’t as responsive and doesn’t offer the same level of road feel as the Camry. This creates a less satisfying driving experience.
A good reliable car is a joy to drive around and more affordable to own as well. Toyota vehicles are known for their reliability and can be counted on in most instances. Sonatas are known as good quality vehicles as well, but don’t have the same reputation for reliability as the Camry, this means it will likely cost a bit more to maintain over time.
After considering the features of a vehicle, it’s also important to think of the economics of owning one. While the Camry and Sonata are priced similarly, the Camry becomes considerably more affordable when you factor in resale value most of the time. That’s because the Camry holds its value longer than the Sonata does in most tests. If you plan on selling your car later on down the road, you will most likely get more for your money if you decide on the Camry.
There’s a lot to consider for both the Camry and the Sonata. If you care most about drive feel, efficiency, resale value and upper power levels, the Camry is likely the best option for you. If you’re more interested in base power or base fuel efficiency, the Sonata has a lot to offer.
We were very happy to hear that with the sunset of the Scion brand, Toyota was still committed to bringing the C-HR to our showrooms. We had the opportunity for a ride and drive last week in Austin, Texas of the new C-HR, and we think you are going to LOVE this new small crossover.
The C-HR (Coupé-High Riding) slots in just below the RAV4 in overall size and pricing, however, it is very roomy on the inside. The C-HR will be a front-drive only crossover, no all-wheel drive is available, it is offered with a 2.0-liter four cylinder producing 144 horsepower and 139 lb/ft of torque, and this is backed by a CVT transmission with seven simulated gears.
Perhaps in the past, you have experienced a CVT transmission where you put your foot down and the engine seems to rev to a point and never go beyond? With the CVT in the C-HR, that is mostly eliminated by the seven simulated gears. You get all the fuel efficiency of a CVT, yet it feels like a standard automatic transmission, it’s the best of both worlds.
In stop and go driving, and merging onto the highway, the C-HR has plenty of power so that you don’t have to worry about merging with oncoming traffic, nor getting away from stoplights.
On the road is where the C-HR really shines. Built off the same platform as the new Prius, it has a double wishbone rear suspension and SACHS dampers at all four corners. What this means to you is a very connected feeling to the road that is firm and well controlled while maintaining a pleasant ride quality.
On the inside, the quality of materials is much better that you would expect for the price point. There are plenty of soft-touch materials around, a rear vision camera integrated into the rearview mirror, a seven-inch touch screen display with Bluetooth and USB integration, dual zone climate controls on the XLE Premium trim, and a driver’s cockpit layout that will remind you of the Lexus IS!
Toyota is putting a premium on safety with the C-HR. Included as standard on all cars is:
- Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) – Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Electric Parking Brake (EPB)
- Star Safety SystemTM – includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology® (SST)
- 10 airbags — includes driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger and rear seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, front passenger seat cushion airbag, and front and rear side curtain airbags
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) includes lower anchors and tether anchors on
- outboard second-row seats
- Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) – XLE Premium only
- Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC)
- Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS). When the tire pressure drops to a critically low level, a light on the instrument panel alerts the driver.
- Child-protector rear door locks
The styling for the C-HR is a standout! It combines beautiful curves with diamond shaped angles. The more you walk around the car, the more interesting shapes you find, and they all flow together in a fun and sporty package.
In keeping with the Scion heritage, the C-HR does not have any options other than paint color. There will be two trim levels, XLE and XLE premium. Pricing for C-HR XLE will be $22,500 and for the XLE Premium $24,350, with $960 for destination and delivery on top.
Fuel economy for the C-HR is also very good for the crossover market, it is EPA-rated at 27 MPG City, 31 MPG Highway and 29 MPG Combined.
The C-HR will arrive in our showrooms in April, and we can’t wait for you to come in and take one for a drive.
While Toyota isn’t quite as excited at the prospect of self-driving vehicles as some other automakers on the market are, the auto giant is interested in the potential safety benefits of partially automated vehicles. Toyota would like to create a guardian angel type system that gets people out of trouble when they are about to get into an accident. Similar systems already exist today that wills low your vehicle down and issue warnings to help the driver pay attention, but Toyota wants to take all this a step further to design systems that will actually prevent accidents through more advanced self-driving.
Safety Maneuvers out on the Road
Right now there are vehicles that can slow you down before you rear end someone else. That’s pretty cool, and very helpful, but it’s also pretty basic. Imagine a vehicle that can speed you up when you’re about to be hit from the side to help you dodge the impact. Or a vehicle that can change the direction of your vehicle to help you go around a drunk driver that swerves into your lane. This is the kind of tech that Toyota is interested in and the automaker says there is a lot more that can be done with sensors and automatic driving tools.
Safe Driving Earlier on
While Toyota believes that fully-autonomous vehicles are still quite a ways away, an advanced safety setup might not be that far off into the future. It’s possible to create much more advanced safety features over the next year or two, and they could dramatically help make roads safer for drivers of all types. That’s why Toyota wants to focus on these safety tools before worrying about releasing fully self-driving vehicles. They can bring some benefits to drivers earlier on.
There’s a lot to be said for this type of safety advancement in a vehicle, but Toyota won’t say how long it believes the technology will take to develop before release. There are still some issues to work out, such as creating tech that will function alongside a human driver without causing additional problems. There needs to be a balance between vehicle and driver, and that’s something that must be fine-tuned to avoid causing more harm than good.
The Prius Prime was released to give Toyota drivers the ability to drive without using any gasoline at all. The vehicle has a decent all-electric driving range and can make around-town commuting more affordable for drivers that take the time to charge up the Prius while at home. Unfortunately too many people are driving without charging the vehicle, or at least that’s what Toyota is finding. In order to increase the amount of home charging that’s going on, Toyota is teaming up with local electric companies throughout Japan in order to offer an incentive to Prius Prime owners. This incentive encourages them to drive around on electricity alone, and should improve air quality over time.
Toyota teemed up with five different local utility companies in Japan to offer special points to drivers that utilize electric-only power much of the time that they are driving around in the Prius Prime. These drivers will earn special points that they can cash in to help pay their power bill, or to buy special products with. It’s an exciting incentive program for the drivers that qualify for it, and should help give drivers a reason to try and avoid gasoline as much as possible.
Safe Driving Credits
The electric credits is not the only time that Toyota teamed up with outside companies to incentivize certain activities for its owners. The automaker also offered coffee credits for safe drivers a while back. Texting while driving is pretty dangerous, most of us realize that now, but the realization isn’t enough to keep all drivers from doing so anyways. That’s why Toyota teamed up with some companies over in Japan to encourage drivers to stop texting while behind the wheel. The system relies on an app that must be running while traveling down the road. Drivers can track their mileage without texting and will earn credit toward free coffee as they drive. It’s a simple system, but one that ended up helping drivers travel more than 1.6 million miles text-free.
These measures that Toyota is taking are great steps toward safer driving practices. They show that the automaker is responsible and they display a real concern for healthy driving practices.
When most people think of a hybrid vehicle the first one that comes to mind is the Toyota Prius. That’s because it’s the biggest success story when it comes to hybrids. It was one of the first hybrids released and the first real success story in the segment. While there are plenty of other hybrid options out on the market today, the 2017 Toyota Prius remains the best value for the money when purchasing a hybrid vehicle according to News and World Report’s comparison. That means that if you are looking for a hybrid to lower your environmental impact, to cut your gas costs or just to avoid using as much fuel as you once did, the Toyota Prius is likely one of your very best options.
How Winners are Chosen
News and World Report gives out awards to vehicles in 20 different categories and there is a strict comparison technique that the company relies on to select the winners of the contest. To decide which vehicles are the best value, the company looks at the initial price of the vehicle, as well as the total cost of ownership over a five-year stretch. With these two figures it is a simple matter deciding which vehicle is the best value of the bunch.
Affordable and Efficient
The Toyota Prius is known for its efficiency and there are models that average around 55 MPG in city driving conditions today. That’s an impressive figure, and that’s not all the automobile has going for it. Compared to other hybrids on the market, the Toyota Prius is surprisingly affordable. At between $25,000 and $30,000 the Prius is easy for most people to purchase and something that the average homeowner would have no trouble buying.
Spacious and Well-Appointed
The Prius isn’t known for being a luxury vehicle, but that doesn’t stop it from being well-equipped, spacious and nice-looking within. Inside the vehicle you’ll find all the standard features that you expect from a modern vehicle, plus a bunch of active safety features that will help keep you safe while out on the road. The vehicle also comes with plenty of interior space for five people to sit comfortably. There’s ample trunk space in the back, allowing you to pack clothes for a trip or head to the grocery store and do some shopping.
Sure, the Prius isn’t a sports car, but that doesn’t matter. The Toyota Prius has over 120 HP thanks to the two electric motors and the small gasoline engine. The two electric motors rev up and get the vehicle off to a smooth start from a standstill quickly and effectively. The vehicle isn’t going to win any races, but it doesn’t feel sluggish and handles pretty nicely.
Overall the Toyota Prius is a solid vehicle with a lot to offer in the value department. If you want an efficient car that isn’t going to use much gasoline, the Toyota Prius is still the king of the hybrids and pretty hard to pass up.
Resale value is a figure that matters to millions of car buyers around the country. The resale value is how much a used vehicle is worth years after it’s purchased originally. Many people sell off used vehicles and switch to new ones in a cycle pattern. When doing this, it makes sense to invest in vehicles that are known for having a high resale value. If you do this, you’ll save money on automotive ownership and benefit from these savings over time. Certain brands are well-known for offering good resale values, and others are not. Toyota is one of the brands that’s known for holding value over time, and it’s easy to see why when you take a look at studies like the one conducted by KBB annually. The 2017 study awarded Toyota with the best resale value brand title, a very prestigious one indeed.
Toyota Offers the Best Brand Value
If you’re looking to get as much as possible back from a vehicle that you buy, Toyota is a really the way to go. Toyota has a history of offering excellent resale value figures years after an initial purchase. The automaker continues with that tradition in 2017 by winning the Brand Resale Value award once again. If you’re looking for a good general vehicle that’s going to sell for a high amount later on, you would have a tough time finding another brand better than Toyota to go with.
How Winners are Chosen
Kelley Blue Book is all about the numbers. The whole service offered by the company is based on car values, and those values are determined by a team of analysts at Kelley Blue Book. In order to determine the best brand to go with, Kelley Blue Book relies on predictions made by the analysts that take into account a bunch of different data points in order to determine which brand is the best investment overall. Toyota came out on top this year, just like the automaker did back in 2014. With several wins on its side it is easy to see how Toyota can be a good solid investment.
This data doesn’t mean that every auto buyer should pick up a Toyota vheicle, but it does mean that Toyota vehicles are generally a good solid investment. There are not too many other vehicles that will hold their value as well as a Toyota will, so if you want to get as much as possible out of your investment, consider buying a Toyota vehicle.
A few hours ago Toyota Group Vice President Bill Fay announced at an industry lunch that Toyota would debut the all new 8th generation Toyota Camry at the North American International (Detroit) Auto Show on January 9th.
Toyota released this teaser image and we can’t wait to see it in person! Yes, that’s correct, we will be on the floor of the show in January and will bring exclusive photos to our blog and to our Social Media channels, so make sure you have liked and followed us on Facebook and Twitter!
Scion’s been out of the media for a while now but thanks to the recent addition of the iM and the iA and some other improvements made by Scion has a lot to be happy about.
Winning at Safety
Safety sells when it comes to vehicles and Scion has some bragging rights in that respect. The iA received the IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating for doing so well on tests from the International Institute for Highway Safety. That shows that the vehicle is safe to drive around, and that it is built to hold up well in a variety of conditions. One of the things that helped the vehicle land such a high ranking in the IIHS tests was the Low-Speed Pre Collision system that comes standard. The system helps slow down the vehicle when oncoming obstacles are detected to help reduce
During the month of September, Scion was the fastest improving brand of any auto manufacturer in the United States. The company has a year over year increase of 57 percent, that’s some serious gains, and shows that the brand is moving somewhere. The gains are likely because of the new vehicles that Scion is releasing.
Not only are the gains here, but they are likely to keep coming since Scion will be releasing information about a third car here. They haven’t announced it yet but will come out with more about it at the L.A. Auto Show. It’s a good time to be a Scion fan.
Winning at Drifting
Scion’s also doing pretty well at professional drift racing as well. Their team managed to take a first and second place finish in last week’s competition and Frederic Aasbo won the World and National Formula Drift championships to really seal in that top position for Scion.
With New Leadership Even More is on the Horizon
Scion recently introduced Andre Gilleland as the new Vice President of the company. He’s an experienced professional that offers both skill and enthusiasm to his position at the company and should bring some interesting changes into the mix.
Overall Scion looks to be a company that’s growing and expanding quickly and evolving into something great. It’s too early to tell if the positives will keep on coming, but so far I would expect good things in the future for the company.