Category: Toyota

Toyota Recently Showed Off Two Electric Concept Cars

June 23, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

It seems that Toyota is developing a set of small urban electric vehicles for the United States, and they recently held a press event for members of the media to get together and test the new vehicles out. The location was the American Airlines Center, and Toyota set out the i-Road and Toyota Coms electric vehicles for press to try out.

toyota i-road concept

The i-Road Concept

The Toyota i-Road concept is an interesting mix of scooter and car. It sits on three wheels and is compact enough to wrap around a single person closely. The car hits a max speed of 35 miles per hour and leans with you as it corners. The leaning feature occurs with one wheel descending down toward the ground more than the other. This tips the car and helps it avoid tipping over in the same way that a motorcycle avoids tipping around sharp turns. According to a member from Toyota the concept is incapable of tipping over even at top speeds. It’s a fun little vehicle that really lets you feel the speed as you travel around, but more importantly it’s quite easy to drive around.

toyota coms concept

The Toyota Coms

The Coms has a more traditional car look. Sure it’s only got a single seat that’s positioned in the center, but it has four wheels and doesn’t do any crazy leaning around corners. It’s designed for simplicity and only has minimal controls. This little vehicle has enough seating for a single person and a small amount of storage at the back as well. It’s an ideal solution for commuting short distances to work, or even for doing something like delivering pizzas.

Toyota hasn’t put either of the models up for sale yet and isn’t even sure when it will release them to the public, how much they will be priced for or what category they will be listed in. The automaker hopes to use them as a solution for clearing up urban congestion. Switching these pint-sized vehicles out for the full-sized cars on the road would certainly clear up some space in clogged up cities, but everyone could still enjoy quick and convenient transportation. For all the people who don’t carpool this seems like an ideal transportation solution.

The vehicles are currently being used as part of a car-sharing program in France, and the company plans on releasing them in an open road policy in Japan in July. Hopefully they catch on and start showing up in cities around the United States, there a real solution to a serious congestion problem that would also help cut emissions and pollution overall.

 

Toyota Comes Out with Two Improved GD Turbo Diesel Engines

June 21, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

With diesel engines becoming more popular in the United States each year you might be interested to hear that Toyota produced a new batch of highly efficient turbo diesel engines. This pair of engines is much more efficient than the old ones. They are also cleaner and produce more torque to make them pretty desirable for a range of uses.

toyota gd turbo diesel

Reduced Emissions

This new diesel engine is designed to cut 99 percent of the nitrogen oxide from the emissions to help reduce pollution noticeably. It does this through Toyota’s Urea Selective Catalytic Reduction System. The system is highly efficient and cleaning up the emissions from the diesel engine and is only used on this new engine.

More Power and Efficiency

Both of the new turbo-diesel engines released by Toyota have somewhat lackluster horsepower outputs, but that doesn’t matter. Even though horsepower is around the same, or even a bit lower, torque figures are higher than ever in this more fuel-efficient engine. This is all thanks to Toyota’s use of Thermo Swing Wall insulation in the engines. It makes them 15 percent more efficient and boosts torque by 25 percent.

The Details

Toyota released two new engines, a 2.4 liter and a 2.8 liter. The 2.4 liter is 148HP and provides a whopping 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 to 3,400 RPM. The bigger engine is said to be the most thermally efficient ever produced and it offers 175 HP and 332 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 to 2,400 RPMs. The 2.8 liter engine is one of the available options on the new Hilux pickup truck over in Thailand, and it’s likely to show up as an option on a range of powerful Toyota vehicles.

Toyota made several other changes to their new engines to boost efficiency figures even further. The turbocharger used is a high-efficiency variable geometry system that’s 30 percent smaller than its equivalent currently being used. The pistons in the engine are made from a mix of silica and aluminum to allow heating and cooling more easily and boost efficiency that way.

Overall the new engine options should offer impressive efficiency boosts. They aren’t powerful enough to drive some of Toyota’s largest vehicles, but for its lightweight or commercial applications the engines will work wonderfully. They are expected to phase out the current line of diesels throughout 2016 and will be released in 90 different countries around the world.

 

How to Keep Children Safe While Out on the Road

June 9, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

Car seat technology has come along with in the last couple decades, and with the new technology children are safer in motor vehicles than ever before. Unfortunately all of that technology isn’t always used properly. A pretty scary statistic is that three out of four car seats aren’t installed properly. That means that 75 percent of children out on the road today aren’t as safe as they could be. Here’s a few tips to make your child’s trip a bit safer the next time you head out of the house.

2011 toyota sienna car seat

Check for Proper Snugness

Through use of the “Inch” or “Pinch” test, adults can verify that a car seat is installed properly. When your child is sitting in his seat, simply shake it back and forth to see if it moves in one direction any more than a single inch. If it does, the seat needs to be tightened down more to be safe. Now that the seat is locked in properly, pinch the straps going over your little one. If you can create an actual pinch where the strap is bunched down over itself it needs to be tightened further until it’s no longer possible to do so. You might think your little one is strapped in too tightly at first, but this is the way that the seats were meant to be used, and having your little one strapped down tightly will ensure that he’s safer when out travelling.

Let the Seat Cool Down

Not only is it dangerous to allow your child to travel around while sitting in a hot car seat, but it’s also quite uncomfortable. The material the plastic the seat is made out of performs better at lower temperatures. If it’s allowed to heat up too highly in the direct summer sunlight just open up the doors and windows of the vehicle and allow it to cool off for a minutes before getting in the vehicle and heading out. Waiting makes the car more comfortable to travel in and also makes sure the seat is ready to go.

Secure Loose Items

Any loose items floating around your vehicle present a hazard to children in the event of an accident. Seemingly innocent items such as umbrellas, CD’s and even some toys can turn into dangerous projectiles in a major crash situation. Make sure that everything’s secured, and for the items that you can’t lock down in the passenger area of your vehicle, slip them into the trunk instead where they will be out of the way.

Taking these simple precautions before taking your child out onto the road will help increase his safety and make the experience more enjoyable as well. They are simple to go through and make a big difference in the safety of your child. Take the time and make this valuable change.

Recently Improved Toyota Tacoma Sales Show that More People are Buying Midsized Trucks

June 3, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

Mid-size trucks used to be highly popular and people would choose to go with them for work purposes or to just have the utility of a truck without having to have a huge hulking machine in the driveway. Then the trend shifted more toward large full-sized trucks and fewer people bought mid-sized trucks. So few people started buying the smaller trucks that many automakers halted production on these machines altogether. Now there are just a handful of automakers that still make a mid-sized truck, and Toyota is one of the automakers that’s really reaping the benefits. Last month the Tacoma was able to outsell the Chevy Colorado, it’s closest competitor by 2-1. The figure shows how popular the Tacoma is, but also shows that the market for mid-sized trucks is growing once again.

2015-toyota-tacoma-redesign-photos

Increased Tacoma Production

Toyota announced back in October of last year that it was adding in another shift to product 30% more Tacomas without affecting the production rate of the Tundra. Both trucks are made at the same factory and until recently one would get more production time than the other and they would trade back and forth depending on the current buying trend. Now a much greater number of Tacomas are being produced and consumers are swooping in to buy them up. In May approximately 17,520 Tacomas were sold and just 8,881 Colorados were picked up. What’s even more impressive about these figures is that the old Tacoma was the one being sold and it was going up with a recently redesigned Colorado. The next generation Tacoma is expected to be launched soon and consumer enthusiasm is expected to be even higher for the new model.

An Enhanced Market

The Tacoma was not the only truck that was bought in larger numbers in May. The Colorado also received an increase in sales that shows that more people are buying mid-sized trucks than they were before. This is good news for both Toyota and Chevy who both worked hard to create new and exciting models for an industry that seems to be exploding. It’s hard to pinpoint why consumers are heading out in droves to pick up these trucks, but it seems like a trend that is likely to continue for quite some time.

Both Toyota and Chevy will likely increase the number of trucks sold in the coming months, and Nissan will have to scramble to put out an improved product to keep up with this new demand. The latest Tacoma is expected to launch in the coming months, and if you’re interested in one of the vehicles it’s a good idea to get ready to put your order in early, because apparently it’s a pretty hot commodity at the moment.

Toyota and Ford to Collaborate on a New Connected Media System

June 2, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Both Toyota and Ford have been relying on Google and Apply products to provide connected service to their vehicles and the companies are looking to change that as soon as possible. While Toyota and Ford aren’t exactly known allies, they are planning to collaborate on a project to create a connected car infotainment system. The system would be owned by both automakers and give them the ability to stop relying on others for their services.

toyota and ford

CarPlay and Android Auto

Apply released CarPlay and Google put out Android Auto to convince auto manufacturers to begin building media systems for vehicles on top of their specific frameworks. This gives Google and Apple both a foothold in the automotive industry, and makes automakers more reliant on the tech companies. This is something that both Ford and Toyota want to avoid, at least to an extent. Ford still plans on making all of its vehicles compatible with both systems in the near future, and it’s likely that Toyota will support the systems as well, at least initially.

Attracting New Tech Savvy Customers

One of the main goals for car manufacturers of late is to convince more tech-savvy consumers to take a close look at their offerings. This has become more and more focused on smartphone and media system technology, and that’s where every automaker is currently looking to improve. Ford and Toyota are willing to come together to work out their own media system solution that’s built on top of the open-source Smart Device Link platform. It’s an open-source version of AppLink, a system put together by Ford. Toyota wants to begin developing that platform further, and to adopt it for its own uses.

Working with other Automakers to Improve

Through recent arrangements with different automakers Toyota is showing just how willing it is to branch out and form relationships that will benefit the business. By working together with other companies the auto giant is going to rapidly expand its technology and come up with new features that benefit all its customers.

There’s a reason that Toyota vehicles tend to be at the leading edge of technology, and it’s because Toyota is more concerned about innovation and creating helpful products than it is about beating out its competitors. In the next couple years it’s likely that Toyota and Ford will release an improved media system for their vehicles that doesn’t rely on Google or Apple to get the job done. Whether or not their own system is better than the one made by Google or Apple still remains to be seen, but it will certainly be different and probably offer some unique features that you won’t find in other vehicles as well.

Toyota was Named the Most Valuable Automotive Brand by BrandZ Again

May 31, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

toyota badgeFor the 2015 BrandZ study that so many business owners and consumers look to each year, Toyota was named the number one automotive brand for another year. The brand is becoming known as one of the most valuable in the car industry and managed to beat out every automotive brand other than #2 and #3 by a massive margin. It’s ahead all the non-luxury brands by leaps and bounds, and that gives consumers even more reason to switch to Toyota.

 

Beating Out Competitors by a Wide Margin

Compared to the rest of the auto brands on the market, the top three are ahead by a wide margin. Coming up after Mercedes is Honda with 13.1 billion, then Nissan with 11.4 billion and Audi with 10.2 billion. These are all a far cry from Toyota’s market dominance since that doesn’t include Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand that has 4.3 billion all on its own.

Coming up with the Score

BrandZ relies on a mixture of real-life money generated by a company and how the public views the brand to come up with a total brand value. The main value of a brand name is how the public perceives it, and the BrandZ test is one of the most effective at determining how the public feels about a particular brand. It’s with this public element that it comes up with an accurate value figure of different brands that will tell companies and consumers which brands are the good ones.

High Quality Brand

If there’s one thing that consumers value more than anything else in an automobile it’s quality. They want a car that’s going to last. A car that won’t need too much work and can be maintained affordably. Finally, they want a car that is going to hold its value over time. That’s exactly what Toyota is known for and it’s why so many consumers continue to rely on the brand over time.

The BrandZ ranking is just one more thing pointing in Toyota’s direction. It’s not the only indicator that you should pick up a Corolla, a Prius or a Camry, but it’s a pretty strong one that should be taken into account. Whether you are shopping for a new vehicle, or just doing research about what you should get in the future you should start looking into Toyota models for a high value for the money.

 

A Candid Review of the Prius C Four

May 28, 2015 lacarguy Prius c Tags: , , , , ,

If you’re after a quality car that gets you around town without using much gas the Prius C is a good solid option. It’s not the sexiest car on the road, and it certainly isn’t the fastest, but that doesn’t stop it from being appealing. It’s a good value vehicle that you should consider if you’re trying to cut down on your gas consumption.

2015 prius c

Performance

Let’s be honest, when you climb behind the wheel of a Prius C 4 you aren’t hoping for high levels of performance. Instead you’re counting the gallons of gas that you save with each trip, and that’s exactly what this car is all about. Sure you won’t be accelerating very quick. After all, it only comes with a four-cylinder engine that manages a total of 99 lb.-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. The car does get up to speed alright though and will travel at highway speeds without issue. The real notable thing about this vehicle is always going to be the fuel efficiency it offers and you should expect to average around 50 MPG with 53 in the city and 46 on the highway. If those figures don’t excite you just a little bit, you probably shouldn’t be buying this car.

Handling

The steering wheel of this Prius is a bit undersized and it doesn’t offer much feedback at all. You’ll enjoy a slightly numb driving experience while traveling down the road. The braking experience is similar to the steering. The regen braking gives you a mushy feel for the first three or four inches as the car makes the most of that lost momentum. After that point you’ll get hit with a sharp stopping motion. With practice you can improve the stopping feel of this Prius, but it definitely takes some getting used to. Finally the suspension is a bit rough. The Prius C is one of the budget models of the Prius and the suspension isn’t quite as pillow soft as some of the other models. This means you’ll feel those potholes a bit more and will find yourself trying to steer around them as much as possible. It’s probably better for your tires in the long run, but when you inevitably have to hit a bump you’re going to know it.

Cost

The Prius C Four is pretty affordable with a base price of just $25,300. It’s more than the Yaris, but you’re paying for the fuel economy increase with the increased rate. If you decide you want any additional extras such as larger wheels you’ll have to pay a few hundred for most, though this Prius does come nicely loaded with extras like an improved surround sound system and a high quality multimedia system.

Features Galore

The Prius C Four is one of the upscale trim levels and it’s still quite affordable. It comes packed with a top notch multimedia system and a unique feature that lets you know how economically you are driving while travelling down the road. You’ll get information about your acceleration and braking habits and over time you can learn to be a more efficient driver with this car. You’ll notice that some training with this little Prius can improve your fuel ratings while driving other vehicles as well.

Looks

This Prius is a nice looking vehicle and lends a slightly sporty edge to the well-known Prius silhouette. It comes with LED headlights and fog lights and has creases and accents in all the right places.

Safety

This little Prius comes with all the standard safety features you would expect, and has a top-notch safety rating. Still it isn’t going to be as safe as riding around in a big truck or SUV with all those other large vehicles out on the road, but that’s the price you pay for such stellar fuel efficiency figures.

If you’re in the market for something compact and efficient, you won’t find a better car than this Prius. It offers one of the highest fuel economy ratings in the industry, and it doesn’t look half bad for a Prius either.

 

3 Vehicles that Might Improve from the Mazda Partnership

May 24, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , , ,

The new Mazda-Toyota partnership has some people completely perplexed. After all Toyota is much larger and more powerful than Mazda, what could Mazda possibly bring to the table? As it turns out Mazda has a lot to offer Toyota, despite the company’s compact size. Mazda excels at making fun-to-drive and efficient compact cars, something Toyota could learn a thing or two about still. Here’s a list of three different Toyota cars that are likely to improve in the future with help from Mazda.

Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda (L) and Mazda Motor Corp President and CEO Masamichi Kogai shake hands during their joint news conference in Tokyo May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda (L) and Mazda Motor Corp President and CEO Masamichi Kogai shake hands during their joint news conference in Tokyo May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The Corolla

The highly popular Toyota Corolla is built like a tank and holds value better than most, but it lacks the personality had by the Mazda3. By adapting some of the performance qualities and fun styling cues of the 3 the Corolla could be even more exceptional. As long as Toyota figures out a way to add to the Corolla without taking away it will become even more popular while growing a larger fan-base than it already has.

The Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the most reliable appliances on the market today. It’s not particularly exciting but it has impressive resale values and consumers expect this vehicle to stand the test of time. The Mazda 6, though while not nearly as reliable takes a similar price point as the Camry and injects it with upscale styling and improved handling mechanics making it feel higher quality. These are elements that Toyota could bring to the Camry to make it an even stronger offering.

The Yaris

In recent years the iconic Yaris has been taking over the roadways. It’s tiny, it’s cute and it’s an exceptional value. Unfortunately the Yaris feels a bit underpowered and Spartan on the interior. The Mazda2 is another vehicle that may not offer as much in the way of reliability or value as the Yaris, but offers superior handling and styling while residing in the same price range. It’s exciting to think about what Toyota and Mazda can do together and Mazda is already working with the automaker to help them develop a more lively compact.

With a bit of guidance from Mazda Toyota can take each of these three highly reliable vehicles and make them even more enjoyable to drive around. Toyota owners confidently pick up new models each year for reliability and safety reasons, but in the future perhaps they will pick them up for entertainment as well.

 

Introducing the 2016 Toyota Hilux

May 21, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

The Toyota Hilux has a strong reputation for being one of the most dependable and relatively indestructible vehicles of all time, and they are continuing that reputation with the 2016 model of the vehicle. The 2016 version gives the vehicle a face lift while also making it more tech-savvy and rugged than ever before.

toyota hilux

Polling Buyers to Make a Better Truck

Toyota get in touch with as many previous customers as it could to find out how to make the next generation of the Hilux, one of its most popular trucks ever, better. The customers requested a more durable suspension that’s also more flexible to reduce interior noise of the vehicle.

Getting Australian Engineers to Take a Look

One of the most popular markets for the Hilux is Australia. The Australian outback has some very difficult terrain to traverse and people want something that’s going to hold up to regular punishment. The Hilux does this nicely. Before Toyota started mass-producing the vehicle they brought in a set of Australian engineers to take a look at the new design. They wanted to make sure that the engineers liked the new design and the improvements that were made to the vehicle.

More Rugged Design

In order to make long-time Hilux fans happy Toyota invested its efforts into making the truck even more durable and reliable. The frame and suspension were both beefed up in the newest model, and some variations of the 2016 Hilux now have a working payload of a ton for all those heavy users that want to toss more into the bed. The truck is releasing with a four-cylinder turbo diesel, but is expected to be offered with a variety of engines both gas and diesel as time goes by.

Interior comfort

Another major adjustment that’s come with the new Hilux is more comfort amenities within. The truck comes with a touch screen media display as well as a rear view camera for easier backing up. It also has less interior noise than before and a slightly smoother ride.

Transmission Versatility

In an age when automatic transmissions are becoming the only option it’s rare to see a new release that comes with a manual as well. The Hilux delivers on that front as well. IT comes with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, so you can have it either way you want.

Widespread Release

The Hilux is a widespread vehicle that’s been sold in over 180 countries and Toyota is expecting this model to be just as popular. It’s releasing in countries like Australia and Thailand first, but it’s possible that it will make its way over to the United States after releasing to its biggest markets if it is successful enough.

How to Make a Safer Car Purchase

May 17, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

Most new car buyers focus on the features or the look of a vehicle far more than they do the safety features. When you think about this it seems a bit silly that so much focus is placed on the fun aspect of owning a vehicle and something so important like personal safety is often placed on the back burner. If you want to make sure you and possibly your family and friends are safe when riding in your vehicle, do yourself a favor and make sure that you spend a sufficient amount of time considering safety options before making the purchase.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Small Overlap Test
Toyota Prius Plug-in Small Overlap Test

Take a Look at Crash Ratings

One of the most important ways to verify the safety of vehicles is through crash test ratings. Both the NHTSA and the IIHS crash vehicles into specific barriers on a regular basis to check to see how durable they really are. There’s no better way to find out what a vehicle is made of than to look at the crash test ratings. Look for vehicles like the Prius V and the Toyota Highlander that scored highly on both crash tests, because they will hold together in the unfortunate event of a crash.

Count Airbags

Always look at the number of airbags that a vehicle comes with. The more airbags that it packs in the better, because this means you’ll be protected more effectively in the event of a crash. Many vehicles have at least six airbags today and an increasing number are getting knee bags and side-curtain bags even at the back of the vehicle. Keep track of the number of airbags before you buy.

Backup Cameras Make Sense

Many new vehicles are coming with backup cameras today, and that’s because they help avoid a lot of possible collisions. Co;nsider getting a vehicle that has a camera and if you have to choose between one that does and one that does not, you should get the vehicle with the camera. It will make you safer and make the vehicle more enjoyable to drive. While you’re at it, you should pay attention to how well you can see out all the windows of a vehicle and stick with one that offers a good level of visibility. If you’re having a hard time seeing out some of the windows or the pillars are too wide that can cause problems down the road.

Look for Active Safety Technology

While active safety technology such as adaptive cruise, blind spot monitors and even some autonomous driving systems are still pretty new to the market, they are good to have. They help keep you out of trouble when your mind wanders or when you simply don’t notice an impending problem. Active safety technology may be the most important safety feature that vehicles can have and getting a car loaded up with it is a good way to stay safer out on the road.

If you want a safer vehicle it’s a good idea to look out for all these features before you buy. They make a big difference and can create a much safer environment for you and your family.