Toyota plans to be the very first auto manufacturer that creates talking vehicles on a massive scale. They plan on selling cars that speak to one another over a set frequency. This communication is key to getting vehicles driving themselves, because sensors alone aren’t going to offer enough information to keep vehicles from smacking into one another all the time. By being the first company to offer this technology to consumers Toyota is taking the lead in the self-driving market.
The Intelligent Transportation System
Before year’s end Toyota is going to start sticking the systems into their vehicles and calling them Intelligent Transportation Systems. There isn’t any information about whether they are going to be offered in the United States, or how much the technology will cost consumers, but it’s a good place to start.
Toyota is setting up its vehicles to talk to one another over a 760 megahertz frequency while driving down the road. The automaker will make use of signals similar to WiFi and radio waves to send lightning quick messages between nearby vehicles.
We already know that the technology is an important precursor to self-driving vehicles, but what do current drivers get out of it? Toyota states that it will help make radar cruise more efficient so that several vehicles on the highway could all synchronize speed changes and create a smoother traffic flow that’s more enjoyable for everyone.
Making Driving Safer for Everyone
Toyota is fighting to get what it calls a “smart infrastructure” in place around countries. This includes a series of cameras and sensors and communication systems in all the vehicles driving around. A combination of all these features could reduce accidents significantly together and make driving into the safe activity that it should be. The inter-car communication system is just the first step to this overall goal, and it’s a good way to get the American public, and other sections of the world, to see the benefits of cars that can talk to one another and their surroundings.
Toyota wasn’t saying much about the 2016 Prius during either of the two public releases that the automaker made, but a few more details came out about the vehicle thanks to a leaked staff manual. As long as the manual’s correct it looks like the Prius could receive all-wheel drive on some models, it also looks like it will have a highly efficient combustion engine, which isn’t surprising, and Toyota has already stated that a new eco-Prius will be available for even higher levels of efficiency.
According to the staff manual some of the higher level Toyota Prius models will come with an all-wheel drive option. The all-wheel drive is believed to be achieved through the addition of an electric motor on the non-powered axle of the vehicle. This additional motor will likely reduce efficiency slightly, but the added control offered by the all-wheel drive should be more than worth the efficiency loss to the right people.
The next Prius is expected to run on a 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine based on the Atkinson’s cycle. The engine is thought to be able to achieve up to 40 percent thermal efficiency in some applications and is likely instrumental in some of the efficiency improvements to the latest Prius.
The Eco Prius
By now most people believe that the 2016 Toyota Prius is going to get about 55 MPG, which is a nice 5 MPG improvement over the 2015 model, but there could be an even more efficient model that gets around 60 MPG. According to Automotive News Toyota is going to release an eco grade of the 2016 Prius that gets around 60 MPG thanks to an improved battery. The standard battery used in the Prius is a pack made from nickel-metal hydride, but the Eco version is rumored to use a Li-ion pack instead. The pack will be lighter and more effective than the standard option and that’s where the efficiency improvement comes from, along with a range of other optimizations to the vehicle.
There’s no guarantee that two different battery packs are going to be used in the two different Prius types, but if they are the Li-ion pack could also be used to boost the EV-mode driving range of the vehicle to something a bit more competitive with other models. At the moment the EV range isn’t extended enough to do much more than drive to the corner store, but that could change in the future with vehicle improvements.
The 2016 Toyota Prius looks to be an improved version of the vehicle that so many American’s have grown used to. It’s still the best-selling hybrid on the market and that’s largely because Toyota manages to stay out ahead in terms of fuel-efficiency.
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is just being released to markets and it’s a truly impressive package. It’s polished, redesigned, built for improved performance and overall just a really well-done mid-sized truck. In a truck market that’s growing by leaps and bounds in recent history, Toyota is pushing the envelope and fighting to hold onto the top market share spot it’s been maintaining for years now.
The 2016 Tacoma is aggressive, it’s got a scowling maw that’s just plain mean, but it’s refined as well. It’s stylish within, built with a streamlined layout and created to be enjoyable to drive around. Within the Tacoma is the truck that customers have been shouting for. A single center stack houses all the goodies and gadgets and the rest of the cabin looks nice and clean.
Good on Pavement
It’s easy to mark the Toyota Tacoma as a glorified city-cruiser but that’s not what the smooth gliding, tomb quiet mid-sized truck is all about. Sure it’s a real pleasure to drive around town, and it’s nothing like the utilitarian pickups from long ago that were built for hauling and not much else, but it’s highly capable through mud, uneven surfaces and all the rugged terrain that you’ll encounter
The Toyota Tacoma feels like it was born to take on tough terrain when you divert from the nicely beaten path. It slips through sand trenches, climbs up over uneven hills and takes on most terrain with an even keeled composure that’s liable to surprise most anyone. It’s the type of truck that you can count on to get you where you need to go, whether that’s a cocktail party, or to the base of your favorite mountain.
Built with Features Not Common on Many Mid-Sized Trucks
Mid-sized trucks are known for being lower tier vehicles when compared to full-sized trucks, but that’s a perception that Toyota’s changing right here and now. The 2016 Tacoma comes with 12 cupholders, it’s fitted with a backup cam, it has a locking tailgate and a wireless phone charger. It’s fitted with the first standard Go-Pro mount, and the TRD model comes with a 120 volt electric outlet in the tailgate. The truck’s loaded with goodies that you wouldn’t expect, and it’s a very cool package that should attract a bunch of new buyers, young and older alike.
When customers look at the all-new Tacoma, they’ll see a mixture of refinement and rugged edge, that come together to form something exciting. It’s hard not to be interested in the Tacoma.
The big question: When is it coming out?
No firm date was given, but it looks like early first quarter of 2016
What is going to cost?
Again, no firm numbers were given, but we’d bet that it will be very close in pricing to the current one, even though there is more content and safety items available.
How big is it?
The new Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the model it replaces, providing a planted on-road presence while delivering more occupant and cargo room.
Will it get better fuel economy?
With an expected ten percent improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models, Prius will offer best-in-class fuel economy among vehicles without a plug. A soon-to-be unveiled Eco model will achieve an even greater improvement, strengthening Toyota’s leadership in hybrid fuel efficiency.
What is the interior like?
The Prius’ new, premium interior adopts advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and improved visibility put the driver in complete control.
What has Toyota done to make the Prius safer?
The new global architecture that the 2016 Prius is built on also provides a more rigid structural framework to help enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. Plus, the Prius will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including:
- Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
- Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
- Automatic High Beams
What inspired the design?
From the side, it is longer and sleeker with the overall outline evoking an athletic shape. Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks, the sporty design conveys a feeling of forward motion.
The hood is lower and the distinctive roof peak has been moved forward. Bold character lines run along the side from the front fenders – one just above the sill that sweeps up towards the rear fender, while the upper crease morphs into the rear spoiler, which has been lowered.
The use of new standard LED headlamps minimizes the Prius’ front fascia and, at the same time, provides an arresting lighting display which helps define the vehicle’s character. The unique and striking rear combination lamps express the distinctive lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides.
When can I place my order?
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After hearing from Toyota about their future plans for vehicle automation, it’s clear that they don’t plan on releasing a fully-autonomous vehicle anytime soon, but they are betting heavily on succeeding in creating a viable product in the future. They’ve committed about $50 million on the venture, and are actively working on developing technology that will help it compete with the likes of Google, Audi and a variety of other automation leaders.
Teaming up with MIT and Stanford
Toyota is teaming up with MIT and Stanford to try and develop artificial intelligence that will go toward vehicle automation as well as robotics. That’s where the $50 million investment is going, and it’s through this partnership that Toyota is hoping to get the answers that it needs to common automation challenges. Most of these answers should come through developed artificial intelligence.
Bringing on a Technical Legend
To help oversee the automation and AI project Toyota brought on Dr. Gill A. Pratt, the former manager of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, and the leader of the well-known Robotics Challenge events. With Pratt at the helm of the project there’s no doubt that it’s going to move along toward a successful completion, but he says that full automation is a very difficult task.
Reaching Fully Autonomous is the Difficult Part
Pratt says that while it’s possible to create a vehicle that can handle driving without passenger intervention most of the time, getting that last little bit of automation in so the driver doesn’t have to intervene at all is by far the most challenging. The main issue is that people are always going to be involved.
Without People the Solution is Simple
Pratt states that people add in an element of the unknown to the whole equation. Whether you are talking about pedestrians, bike riders, or drivers who don’t have autonomous vehicles yet you’re going to have that element of unknown that can’t be predicted and that makes programming a vehicle to respond effectively all the time really challenging.
Getting going with all the research should help Toyota develop their autonomous technology and get a solid base to build off of. It’s hard to say if it will be enough to allow them to launch autonomous products before the likes of Google, or Audi, but they’re certainly on the right path.
The latest and greatest Toyota Tacoma is about to be launched. It’s expected to become available in some dealerships around the country on September 10th and is being positioned as a lifestyle vehicle more than it is a work vehicle. The 2016 Tacoma is the 9th generation of the vehicle, and it comes with enough upgrades to make it into a desirable upgrade that should be considered for those interested in a mid-sized pickup truck.
A Long Overdue Update
The last Tacoma update was done way back in 2005. Since then the pickup truck market has morphed dramatically, and that’s why this latest model is packed with so many different upgrades and changes. Even after sitting in the market for the last 10 years, the Tacoma managed to outlive all the other models that were around in 2005 and still holds more than 50% of the mid-sized pickup truck market share.
New and Improved Looks
The 2016 Tacoma has a sharper and better looking exterior overall. It’s sleeker than the outgoing model and it has some heavy creasing that gives it that sporty/aggressive look so many are after. The latest model has a beefy hexagon grille, with a boxy front end that provides that masculine stance that looks so good on a truck.
Major Structural Changes
While the 2016 Tacoma is maintaining the size and general footprint that so many buyers have come to know and love, it has a lot of revisions for improved handling and performance. The truck comes with a retuned suspension for improved handling and comfort. It also comes with a bolstered powertrain that’s more efficient while delivering the same level of power that’s expected from the mid-sized truck.
Climbing in the Cabin
The Tacoma features a new cabin structure for improved comfort and a more modern look inside. It’s also been sound-proofed for a much quieter ride for everyone involved. Overall you get a more upscale vehicle, packed with a variety of new tech features that you won’t find on many modern Tacoma’s.
The Same Variations
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma still comes with short bed and long bed options and both a double cab and access cab. The double cab provides enough interior seating for up to five people to ride comfortably. The access cab has a fold-down bench seat that will hold passengers, but is much better suited for use as added cargo space rather than actual seating.
The 2016 Tacoma will come with either a 2.7 liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.5 liter V6, depending on how much power you’re looking for and which variation of the vehicle you opt for. Either engine runs on the Atkinson cycle for boosted efficiency. The V6 is expected to be the class leader for fuel economy, but the EPA testing isn’t complete yet for official figures.
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma builds on top of what drivers love so much about the older models, and makes it into an even more refined vehicle overall. It’s designed for improved efficiency, it looks nicer and it rides a whole lot nicer than before. It’s everything that old models were, it’s just a bit better overall, which is great news for anyone looking for a quality mid-sized truck.
Flying cars probably seem like a thing of the future that isn’t going to happen for many years in any practical way, and that’s probably true, but that doesn’t mean Toyota isn’t already working on such a vehicle! That’s right, Toyota has filed a patent for a pretty ingenious stackable wing design for a Prius-esque vehicle. The system helps make cars into flying vehicles, without compromising a compact footprint that drivers are used to.
The Problem with Current Flying Cars
That’s right, there are currently flying cars such as the Terrafugia Transition and the Aerombil 3.0, but they are more driving planes than they are actual flying cars. By that I mean that they are bulky and they look like airplanes. They don’t really look like cars, and you’d stand out dramatically if you were to drive one of these behemoths around on standard roads.
The Benefit of Toyota’s Solution
Toyota’s patented solution shows a series of wings stacked on top of one another and positioned right on top of the vehicle. These wings simply extend vertically and pick up air one on top of the other to generate enough lift to get up off the ground. Unlike the other flying cars that have big bulky wings that extend to either side, or hang back behind the vehicle while driving, these wings simply look like a slightly bulky carrier on top of the vehicle. They’re much more compact and convenient. The car also makes use of a vertical fin that’s just looks like an aggressive spoiler or fin at the back of the vehicle. Overall, from the drawings you get a vehicle that doesn’t look much different than your everyday Prius. There’s no telling if adding in a source of propulsion, such as a pair of turbines is going to take away from the relatively clean design that Toyota currently has, but it’s exciting to see that flying cars that actually look and function like cars when they aren’t in the air could be coming closer to a reality.
Take a look at the pictures from the patent above and you’ll see how simple and cool the design is that Toyota is proposing. There’s no telling if the company already has a working prototype that it’s testing out, but going off their track record, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were already trying things out.
The 2016 Toyota Prius is planned to debut in just a week from now, and it was expected that someone would leak photos before that date. Well now we have them, and what’s surprising about this new model isn’t that it’s pretty refreshing (though it is), it’s that the 2016 Prius looks a lot like the Mirai. That resemblance is really obvious out back of the Prius, but there are a few other similarities around the vehicle as well.
What’s New Out Front?
The seemingly happy face of the 2015 Toyota Prius out front has been transformed into a more aggressive scowl on the 2016 version. The headlights are more swooped and angular, the grille is lower down and thinner and the fog lights go off at a more aggressive curve than before. The end result is a clearly more aggressive and sportier vehicle, and I’m really digging it.
Take a Look at the Rear
At the rear of the 2016 Prius you get a lot of styling cues taken straight from the Mirai. It’s got a very similar lighting setup with lights that curve and angle down toward the floor in close to a scythe shape. The car also has that same “floating” roof design, making use of black pillars to give the roof a floating look nearly identical to what the Mirai has going for it. The Prius has a higher tail in the back than the Mirai however, giving it that distinctly lifted look that everyone is familiar with on Prius’s now.
Bolstered Fuel Efficiency
While this post wasn’t originally meant to talk about much more than the look improvements to the 2016 Prius, it’s hard to go through a full post without at least mentioning how much more efficient this car is supposed to be. Toyota execs say that the car is supposed to be at least 10 percent more efficient than the outgoing Prius model. The old version managed 50 MPG combined, so it’s safe to say that we should expect somewhere around 55 MPG combined in the 2016 model. To achieve the efficiency improvements Toyota relied on a new engine with a higher thermal efficiency than the other model. Toyota also refined some of the electrical components around the vehicle to not only make it more affordable but more efficient.
If you’re into what Toyota did with the Mirai as far as looks is concerned, you’re sure to enjoy the 2016 Prius more than its predecessors. It certainly has a new edginess about it that it didn’t in the past, but it still has that unique styling that sets it apart from other vehicles. You won’t mistake the Prius for the Camry, or any other vehicle that Toyota has rolling around in its fleet, and that’s a good thing for the car.
The Toyota Highlander has long-been one of the customer favorites for transporting larger families. This highly capable vehicle is spacious, packed full of utility and versatile enough to meet most everyday needs. On top of all that it’s relatively efficient compared ot other vehicles in the industry. The Highlander hybrid is an even more pronounced and effective version of the SUV, and it just got even more capable in 2015.
It’s Not Cheap but Worth It
As with most great things in life, the Highlander hybrid isn’t cheap. You’ll have to fork over more than $40,000 to become the owner of this highly capable vehicle, and the top-end variations climb up over the $50,000 mark. By spending the extra money you get a wildly more efficient version of the highly popular SUV. A standard Highlander gets 18 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. Upgrading to the hybrid version bumps those figures up to 27 MPG and 28 MPG respectively. That means that you can drive in the city and out on the highway with a very respectable fuel economy. You will have to sacrifice a bit more than just extra cash when you opt for this model though, because it has a lower level of power and only tows 3,500 lbs. which is about a 1,500 lb. drop from the standard version.
Impressive Storage Capacity
The vehicle will carry around up to eight people, and even with the added battery packs it still manages to offer a high level of storage for whatever you need to carry around. There is 13.6 cubic feet behind the third row, and a massive 42.3 cubic feet of storage with the third row folded down into the floor.
One thing that you’ll notice about the highlander hybrid right away is just how comfortable it is to ride around in. It has a highly capable suspension system that takes bumps and uneven road surfaces with ease. You’ll effortlessly glide over all sorts of road defects while travelling and you’ll be amazed at how quiet it is inside. Even at highway speeds the inside of the Highlander is almost whisper quiet, making it easier than ever to have a conversation or to just enjoy the music you have playing in the background.
The Highlander Hybrid isn’t a race car, and it’s not meant to zip around tracks at pulse pounding speeds. It is however designed to speed up capably in the middle of traffic, and to handle going up a hill while packed full of heavy cargo. It does all of these things well, and it actually drives pretty well. Even though the hybrid model is heavier than the gasoline version they both go from 0 to 60 in a very adequate 7.5 seconds. The steering is a bit soft and there is noticeable body roll around corners, but for being as large as it is, the highlander is very comfortable to drive around.
Families looking for a mid-sized SUV to travel around in will surely enjoy what the Highlander has to offer, and those looking to save on fuel should consider moving up to the slightly pricier hybrid version. Both options are highly capable and provide the performance that you would expect from an SUV.
Toyota understands the importance of SUVs in today’s market, and that’s why they’ve taken the time to completely go over and improve their flagship model, the 2016 Land Cruiser, to appeal to even more buyers. It’s better looking, more capable and safer than ever before.
Finally the Toyota Land Cruiser gets a bump up from the six speed automatic transmission to a more capable eight speed. Not only does this improve fuel efficiency for the vehicle, but it also gives it a smoother and more enjoyable ride. You’ll delight in how easily the vehicle switches from one gear to the next. The gear changes are almost imperceptible and they’re much cleaner than they were on the older model.
The latest model gets a nice wireless phone charger making it even more convenient to keep your latest devices topped up while on the move. It also comes with a new advanced rear entertainment system that has a pair of 10-inch screens for the kiddies to watch. There is also a center console that comes with a built-in cooler for long-distance trip treats. There is a set of cup holders and a USB port imbedded in that center console as well.
Toyota made its top SUV even more enjoyable to ride in by adding soft-touch interior materials throughout the cabin.
On the outside it’s clear that something is different, but it’s hard to spot the changes immediately. The grille is larger and covered with more chrome than before to really stand out. The headlights have a curvy, more modern look about them, and they also include a set of daytime-running LEDs. The new and improved lower bumper has chrome trim now and is imbedded with a set of fog lights. There is also a sporty body kit available for buyers, but they’ll have to pay a bit extra for it.
New Safety Features
The 2016 Land cruiser comes jam-packed with some of the best safety features that you’ll find on the market today, all standard. It has front collision mitigation and avoidance systems. It also comes with a rear cross traffic alert system and a blind spot monitor to keep you aware when changing lanes. Finally it’s packed with automatic high beams and an adaptive cruise control system and a backup camera to help you pull out of the driveway.
Overall the latest Land Cruiser is more capable than before, nicer looking and a whole lot safer than it used to be. It’s an exciting upgrade, and something that SUV fans will be happy to get their hands on.