Category: Toyota

Toyota is Finally Adding Stop Start Technology to Standard Vehicles

October 11, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is the very first fuel-only Toyota vehicle to get stop-start technology. This is a pretty nice breakthrough for the automaker and a nice perk for drivers considering picking up a new SUV this year. Sure other automakers have been offering the technology for a few years now, but drivers that favor Toyota vehicles will be really pleased to hear about the tech offering that will soon be available to buyers.


What is Start-Stop?

Start-stop is a technology that shuts off a vehicle’s engine when it isn’t in motion. This is technology that is used on all Toyota hybrid vehicles, but something that hasn’t been added to standard vehicles yet. It’s pretty cool tech, that will keep you from worrying about all the fuel that you’re wasting in traffic jams and slow driving conditions with plenty of braking and stopping.

The Major Benefits

The main benefit of start-stop technology is saved fuel. That’s because any time that you are idling you are wasting fuel. With this tech you won’t idle any longer. Instead the car shuts right off and when you get ready to go it kicks right back on again seamlessly.

Another benefit is the reduction in pollution. With your engine running less, you’ll be putting off less pollution and helping to keep the environment just a little bit nicer. By running your engine less, you’ll also likely extend the lifespan of the engine, helping it to last longer and function more reliably.

Turn it on or Off

Highlander owners won’t have to rely on the technology if they don’t want to. There is going to be a button that allows drivers to shut off stop-start if they would rather not use it. There are also some conditions when the technology won’t be available. For instance, if the vehicle is sitting on a significant slope, or if the AC is turned all the way up. This prevents stop-start from initiating to prevent issues from arising.

Toyota plans on adding the technology to most of its vehicles in the future, but would not divulge which vehicles specifically would be getting the technology. If you are looking for a way to be more efficient, or you just like the idea of stop-start tech, you should consider the 2017 Toyota Highlander. Just make sure it isn’t the LE model, or it won’t come with the technology available.

Driving Impressions from the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

October 4, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

The Toyota Prius Prime is just about to come online and for sale at Toyota Hollywood and Toyota Santa Monica.  We had the opportunity to get behind the wheel recently in a preview drive, and we think the Prius Prime is going to be a big winner! Overall it looks to be the most capable Prius to date, and it’s actually pretty enjoyable to drive around as well. Here’s an overview of the Prime and what you can expect if you get behind the wheel of one of these technological marvels.



It Looks Much Different

The Prius Prime is designed to look unique and to stand out. Toyota doesn’t want other vehicles to look like the Prius, and that’s exactly what they’ve achieved with the Prime. The front end of the vehicle is pretty aggressive with an hourglass shaped grill, and glinting headlamps that are made of four LED lights that swoop down toward the grill in an almost scowling expression. It’s got a stacked rear end with multiple sharp angular shapes and taillights that almost hang to the sides of the rear end. The car doesn’t look like anything else on the road today, and for anyone that wants to stand out, that’s a good thing.

Whisper Quiet

A great deal of emphasis has been put on a nice quiet ride in the Prius Prime, and that means a great deal of soundproofing. There is soundproofing on the windshield of the vehicle, the floor as well as all the other windows throughout the cabin. The end result is an almost eerily quiet interior that is emphasized even more in EV mode when no engine hum is audible.

Efficient Heating and Cooling

The Prime can be cooled remotely with the press of a button on the fob, or a click tap on a smartphone using the included app. It also comes equipped with an electric heat pump, something that most other vehicles don’t have. That’s to allow it to produce heat even when the combustion engine isn’t in use while traveling down the road. It’s particularly effective at warming up the interior, and gets things nice and toasty quick.

Rear Visibility

The unique rear glass doesn’t hinder rearward visibility, however, the bar that separates the glass portions takes some getting used to.


Solid Driving Mechanics

In electric mode, the Prius Prime has good acceleration up to around 50 miles an hour.  It’s the instant torque of the electric motor that works so well in stop and go driving.  Unlike the previous Prius Plugin, there is more substantial pure electric range with the new Prius Prime.  We were able to achieve the rated 25 miles of pure electric range easily, while driving it in a fairly aggressive manner.  If you’ve had a chance to drive the new Prius then you will know that the current generation, which includes the Prius Prime, has vastly improved in driving dynamics.  If you want to take the Prius Prime up into the canyons you can, while it won’t be a powerhouse up there, it IS actually fun to drive.

Fuel Economy

It’s excellent as you’d expect.  On top of the 25-mile pure electric range (124 MPGe) it has a 640-mile highway range and EPA fuel economy numbers of 55 City, 53 Highway and 54 Combined.

More To Come

We will have more to say about the Prius Prime, including the all new 11.6 inch touch screen display, so make sure you keep an eye on this blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Highlights of the 2017 Toyota 86

October 3, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

Well the Toyota 86 has been out for awhile, and we’ve taken the time to test out the vehicle. I’m not going to say that it’s a revolutionary vehicle, or that it’s a perfect sports car, but it does have some nice improvements since when it was the Scion FR-S, and it’s a lot of fun to drive around. Here are some highlights of the vehicle experience.


It’s a Whole lot of Fun

The Toyota 86 is great fun when taken on backgrounds with plenty of twists and turns. It’s well-balanced and offers very direct steering. While it performs beautifully out on most roads, the car is pretty much the same as the Scion FR-S. It relies on the same general mechanics, and

The Manual is the Way to Go

One of the biggest perks of the Toyota 86 is that it comes with a manual transmission and it’s a blast to use. This transmission shifts smoothly, the shifter is highly ergonomic in the hand, and the vehicle gets a 5 HP boost to 205 HP, making it slightly more powerful than the automatic transmission option. For any driver that wants to maximize their experience, there’s really no better option than a manual transmission. The automatic does offer a higher fuel economy with 24/32 MPG while the manual only offers 21/28 MPG, but the added entertainment is worth the loss in fuel in my opinion.

More Comfortable Performance

With adjusted spring rates, and damping around the vehicle, and a more robust anti-roll bar, the Toyota 86 feels more grounded and capable than the Scion FR-S. It offers improved handling over major bumps, and is just more stable overall.

A Nice Quality Interior

The Toyota 86 isn’t a luxury car, but it still looks and feels pretty nice inside. Most of the interior surfaces are covered by a suede-like material, and running your hand along any surface feels much better than plastic would. The steering wheel is a bit thinner than in the FR-S, and there are audio controls mounted on it that weren’t present before. Overall the 86 is comfortable and feels sporty up front without being over the top.

The Toyota 86 isn’t a crazy sports car, and it isn’t priced like one either. At around $27,000 it’s quite affordable and a pretty decent little sports car for someone looking for a more engaging ride. Sure it’s not packed with power at right around 200 HP, but it’s not slow either. It’s satisfying to drive around, and a lot of fun when you opt for the manual version.

The Futuristic FCV Concept by Toyota is Something to See

September 29, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

toyota-fcv-conceptToyota made a lasting impression at the 2016 Paris Motor Show with its FCV concept vehicle. The pint-sized car looks like a flying vehicle straight out of the Jetsons and focuses on futuristic technology that we might benefit from in a decade from now.


Unique Styling

The most notable thing about this concept car is its outward appearance. The little vehicle looks like a flying car out of the Jetsons. Of course it doesn’t fly, but the way that the front end of the vehicle was designed, the car has a lifted up look that makes it appear to glide as it moves down the road. The door is actually a series of separate ribs, and has a pretty edgy look. The rear wheels are nearly entirely encapsulated, and only peak out the bottom of the car body slightly.

Hydrogen Powered

Toyota is all for hydrogen power, and the automaker believes it is the fuel of the future. That’s why it should be no surprise that the FCV concept runs on hydrogen just like the Mirai. This vehicle can be filled with hydrogen, and will propel you down the road, or it can be used to send power to your home or back into your community itself.

In-Wheel Motors

This concept vehicle relies on a unique motor setup that places the motors within the wheels themselves. There are four small motors that reside in the compact wheels, and they offer all-wheel drive performance and will propel you down the road nearly silently.

Power Your Home or Community

This concept vehicle can be attached to your home or even to a community power line to provide power for your neighbors. The concept shows how you can use your vehicle for more than just getting around. By keeping your car full of hydrogen, you could theoretically use it as a generator for your home, or to send power back into your local grid for the benefit of other people nearby. It’s a pretty cool concept and I could see it being quite useful in the event of an apocalypse that leaves people without widespread power, though then how will we all get our hands on the hydrogen needed to run the car?

It’s unlikely that moist of the tech shown off in the FCV concept is going to make its way into a Toyota car in the near future, but it shows where styling is headed, and how vehicles of the future could be composed.

Toyota Only 8.8 Billion Miles from Automated Vehicles

September 27, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

There was a point in time when Toyota didn’t believe that Autonomous vehicles would be a thing. The company said the tech would be too difficult and that it would be a long way off. Even though Toyota has its doubts about the tech, it’s still pushing forward at full speed trying to make it a reality in their vehicles before other automakers crack the code. One of the key elements to making this all possible is a single figure, 8.8 billion. That’s how many miles of testing that the Toyota technicians believe is necessary before the technology is possible. Wait what! That’s a whole lot of driving.



Chauffeur Mode

Toyota has plans to create automated driving that takes over some of the driving responsibilities. The company wants to make it a feature that you can turn on and off, similar to cruise control today. Don’t feel like driving yourself to the mall? Just flip on chaffeur mode, sit back and relax until you reach your destination. That’s the type of tech that Toyota wants to make possible for everyone interested.

Aid the Elderly and Disabled

One of the major benefits of autonomous technology according to Toyota, is the benefit that it will bring to both disabled and elderly people. Anyone that would normally have difficulty driving, could seriously benefit from a vehicle that drives itself. It would be a great source of freedom being able to travel independently with a vehicle, without having to worry about actually driving it.

Microsoft and Toyota Team up

Microsoft is helping Toyota by working with the Toyota Gazoo WRC Racing Team. Perhaps, Microsoft will help bring some interesting tech advancements to the company.

With a testing goal of 8.8 billion miles, it will take a significant amount of time before Toyota believes that autonomous vehicles are safe for the general public. By then it’s likely that some other automakers will have released self-driving technology as well, but few will have as much time into testing, research and development, as Toyota does.

Toyota Might Add a Plug to Every Future Prius

September 26, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

Recent comments from Toyota indicate that the automaker might decide to put a plug on every single Prius sold in the future. The automaker stated that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to create an improved Prius that offers higher levels of efficiency. Most of the obvious improvements have already been made, and it took a whole lot of work to push the Prius Eco up the the 58 MPG city and 53 MPG highway that it offers. It would be very difficult to create a model that offers around 60 MPG combined, which is what Toyota would want to offer on the next model. That’s why the most logical step might be to make every single Prius a plug-in hybrid instead.



The Plug In Option

By going with plug-in models Toyota has a lot of room for future improvements. The automaker could expand the battery of the vehicle to offer progressively farther electric-only distances. Toyota could also improve the recharge speed of the vehicle until filling it up is as quick and easy as adding gas to your current vehicle, or maybe even faster with a potent enough recharge station.

While the standard gas-electric hybrid model is quite limited and already pretty maximized by the top Prius today, there is plenty that Toyota can do with the plug-in model. That’s why buyers shouldn’t be surprised if they hear Toyota announce that all future Prius vehicles are going to receive a plug and a larger battery. Toyota is already making it possible to drive around with just electric power using the current Prius, and future enhancements could be really exciting as long as they include a plug in the mix.

If you are interested in trying out a Prius with a plug in it, there is already a Prius model that offers just that. The Prius Prime is a pretty cool little hybrid that comes equipped with a plug. According to Toyota execs, the future of the company’s technology rests in hands of the Prime. If it does well, the chances of future plug-in hybrids is very good and it’s possible the whole lineup will take on the technology. If it doesn’t sell well, Toyota might decide to scrap plugs entirely. We’re on the verge of some major changes at Toyota and it will be interesting to see which way the automaker decides to go from here.

Toyota Plans to Power Cars Using Sludge Waste

September 21, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

Every day there are millions of pounds of sludge waste produced around the world. Much of this waste is sent right into landfills around the world where it builds up and occupies a whole lot of space. Toyota is using some of that sludge waste in Japan to power Mirai hydrogen vehicles, and the automaker believes it’s possible to do this all over the world.


What is Sludge Waste?

Sludge waste is a byproduct of the sewage systems around the world. Each time that you flush the toilet sewage is sent down to a treatment plant, or a septic tank. At treatment plants the sewage is split up into liquid water that needs to be treated, and solid sludge that is collected and shipped to a landfill.

The water would still be recycled as usual, but Toyota would like to take that solid sludge, and convert it into hydrogen with a few minor inputs. It’s a really green practice that takes advantage of a fuel source we’re just throwing away. It’s one of the best ways to begin producing hydrogen to power our vehicles.

How Can it Be Used to Produce Hydrogen?

In order to create hydrogen from sludge, microorganisms are added to the mixture. They convert sludge into biogas, which is a mix of methane and carbon dioxide. With these two mixtures, workers simply have to filter out the CO2 and then add in water vapor, which generates hydrogen. The final step is to remove the remaining CO2 from the mixture and pure hydrogen is the end result. This hydrogen can be put straight into the tank of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles like the Mirai and used to drive them around.

How Much Hydrogen

A single plant in Japan is capable of producing about 2800 Kg of hydrogen each and every day, or enough fuel to power approximately 600 cars for the day. Just imagine how many vehicles could be operated with plants set up all over the United States. Making biogas and utilizing it isn’t something new, and India relies on a similar approach to produce a large portion of its electricity each day, but it is something that we aren’t doing much of in the United States, and a good clean way to produce hydrogen for those early Mirai adopters that are having trouble finding a refueling station.

New and Improved 2017 Toyota Corolla

September 20, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Toyota has released information about the 2017 Toyota Corolla, and it looks to be getting some pretty nice enhancements. If you’re considering picking up a new sedan, you may want to consider this new offering from Toyota for the features that are going to be included as standard with the new model.


Exterior Changes

The 2017 version of the corolla has some pretty notable changes compared to the outgoing model. One change that you’ll likely spot right away is the grill. Instead of visually splitting the grill with a separator, Toyota decided to rely on a rougher vent texture on the lower section of the grill, and a finer texture up top. This gives it some noticeable variation. The front LEDs are also modified. Instead of sitting right in the center of the air vents up front, they are now set right at the back of them and are in a long thin strip, rather than the circle used on 2016 Corollas.

Interior Enhancements

The outside of the 2017 Corolla isn‘t the only thing that was changed, there are also some pretty noticeable changes inside. The upholster is made from new and improved fabric. The HVAC controls are redesigned to make them more user-friendly than the outgoing design. There is also a set of circular air vents that offer a nice clean look inside the Corolla.

Added Tech Features

When you pick up a 2017 Corolla you’ll enjoy standard Bluetooth as well as an enhanced Entune audio system. Not only that, but the car is going to come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense P safety package, a really comprehensive suite of safety prevention technologies. This is a good enough reason to upgrade to the Corolla alone, but there are some other enhancements the vehicle benefits from as well.

Improved Fuel Efficiency

Not only is the Corolla going to be more fuel efficient, with a projected economy of 40 MPG, but it’s also going to be more powerful with a 140 HP engine in the LE Eco trim, instead of the 132 that was offered on the outgoing model. This means that you’ll enjoy improved performance while also going farther on a single tank of gas.

The Corolla continues to get better and better, which is part of why it’s one of the most popular sedans in America. These latest changes to the 2017 model year version are pretty significant, and make upgrading a no-brainer. The safety features alone are worth taking a look at.

The Toyota Mirai Used to Set World Record

September 13, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

Plenty of standard cars have traveled over long distances, but the same can’t be said for electric vehicles. Most are used for short-distance travel, but that’s not the case with the Toyota Mirai. Sure the Mirai is technically a hydrogen-powered car, but it utilizes an electric motor, which also makes it an electric car. For that reason, the vehicle was able to set a record for the greatest distance an electric vehicle has traveled in a 24 hour period.


The Record

Drivers operated the Mirai for a total of 1,438 miles in a 24 hour period. This is the greatest distance that an electric car has travelled over a 24 hour period, and it’s truly an impressive accomplishment. It’s also a cool achievement that shows the Mirai can be used for long-distance travel just like a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle. Sure it runs on a different type of fuel, but it’s just as capable as its competitors are. In order to achieve this record the vehicle would have had to travel an average speed of about 59 miles per hour, and that doesn’t factor in any stops that it had to make for refueling. That means the Mirai was able to maintain speeds upwards of 60 miles per hour for a full 24 hours, a pretty impressive feat to say the least.

Setting the Record

In order to set the record, the Toyota Mirai was piloted nearly continuously in between different hydrogen charging stations. At each station the vehicle was stopped and refueled for a total of four minutes. Throughout the 24 hour period, the drivers took turns operating the vehicle and pushing it toward a pretty impressive record.

The Toyota Mirai is the most well-known hydrogen-electric vehicle currently on the market. There aren’t many competitors that are gaining much traction at the moment, but the Mirai is out and available in a few different parts of California. It’s expected to increase in popularity over the next few years, and both Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai plan on releasing their own version of a hydrogen vehicle in 2017. For the moment the Mirai is the best hydrogen vehicle that the average consumer can pick up, and it seems that you can enjoy some seriously long-distance drives while behind the wheel of the vehicle.

The Impressive 2017 Prius Prime

September 12, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

The 2017 Prius Prime is just about ready for release, and it offers a lot of special surprised that you may not have been expecting. Hybrid fans will enjoy everything that the Prime has to offer, and it might just be enough to get buyers to switch over to hybrid technology, or to try out a plug-in vehicle for the first time.


Careful Aerodynamics

A great deal of trouble went into making the 2017 Prius Prime as aerodynamic as possible, which is why the vehicle has a 0.24 coefficient of drag overall. That’s part of the reason the car is able to operate with such high levels of fuel efficiency.

Weight Loss Adjustments

Though the Prius Prime is 168 pounds heavier than the standard Prius, mostly because of the heavier 8.8 KWh battery, it still shows off some features that were put in place specifically to lower the vehicle’s overall weight. The car comes with a carbon-fiber hatch that’s more lightweight than the standard steel used on many vehicles.

Easily Stash the Charging Cords

The Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid, which means that it has some pretty large charging cords. In order to keep them out of the way when you aren’t using them, the car comes with built-in storage bins in the trunk to hold the cords. The bin is relatively small, and it offers just enough space to hold the cords out of your way. It’s much more intuitive than some of the other stash setups in vehicles like the Chevy Volt, that can be a bit cumbersome to make use of.

The car comes with the standard American charging port built in on the left side of the vehicle, hidden behind a small door, and there is another port built into the right side of the vehicle that’s the standard for Japan and Europe.

A Decent Electric Driving Range

The 2017 Prius Prime will offer a full-electric driving range of about 22 miles. That’s not enough to handle all your driving needs, but according to Toyota is will handle the round-trip needs of about half of the commuters throughout the United States. If you’re one of those people, you might be able to start driving to and from work without worrying about putting any fuel in your vehicle to do so.

If you don’t mind burning up some of the fuel held within the 11.3 gallon tank, you can travel up to 600 miles on a single tank of gas with the Prius Prime. That’s an industry-leading distance, and it will make taking long-distance trips more enjoyable.

Futuristic and Comfortable

The 2017 Prius Prime comes with a fully digital dashboard that shows all the important controls and computer figures for your viewing pleasure. It’s a pretty intuitive setup, that makes handling all your media needs simple and fast to do.

The inside of the Prius Prime is surprisingly attractive, and very comfortable for its riders. You’ll be impressed by the way that it looks, and you probably won’t want to climb out of the supple faux-leather seats once you’re in position.

Overall the 2017 Prius Prime is a nice improvement over the older model Priuses, and it’s definitely something to look forward to.