Toyota held the top spot for most valuable auto brand in the world accord to Interbrand’s new ranking of 100 best global brands. This is the 11th year in a row that Toyota has bested the rest of the World’s automakers and it even moved up from 10th to 8th position on the list of worldwide brands. This goes to show that Toyota isn’t just providing solid stability that it’s known for, but also shaking up the market and adding in excitement with its latest offerings and increasing in power.
How Interbrand Compiles Their List
Interbrand compiles a list based on the overall quality of brands that they assess, using three different metrics. They take a close look at the financial performance of the brand, its competitive strength, and how much of a role the brand plays in purchasing decisions around the industry. These three factors come together to determine the best and worst brands, and together they are what put Toyota at the top of the Automotive Heap.
Toyota’s Improved Position
Toyota has been leading the auto industry according to Interbrand for 11 years now, but between 2013 and 2014 their ranking improved. Toyota was ranked at position 10 last year, and now is holding strong at number 8. Toyota’s well-known reputation for quality products is what holds it up at such a good position, but their growth in China and Europe over the last year are the two factors that helped propel the brand up to its new and improved position.
Advancing Alternative Technology
Not only does Toyota have a strong foothold in traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, but it also has one of the strongest market shares in hybrid vehicles currently with the Prius lineup, and the brand is trying to expand to uncharted waters with the new hydrogen fuel cell car. By branching out into these new technologies, and dominating the market, Toyota is improving its brand overall and becoming even more of an industry giant.
There are only three other car manufacturers that managed to crack the top 20 on Interbrand’s list and they are Mercedes at 10, BMW at 11 and Honda at 20. Each of these brands has a long list of followers and their badges are all able to command purchases effectively. Toyota manages to stay ahead of the rest of these brands by offering a broader lineup, and holding a larger market share That being said, brands like Audi and Volkswagen are gaining ground on Toyota with brand value gains of 27% and 23% respectively. Both were able to outgain Toyota even though the top brand managed to improve by 20%.
Toyota is clearly a market leader, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that has owned one of their vehicles. They build good cars that are highly reliable, and they are always working hard to innovate and expand their lineup further.
Voice-controlled media systems were invented to make driving a safer experience. Unfortunately, recent studies show that many of these systems can cause “inattention blindness”. Essentially drivers are getting distracted and not watching the road as closely as they should be. Luckily this isn’t the case for every media system, and AAA’s recent study shows that Toyota’s voice recognition system is the least distracting of the bunch.
The AAA foundation put six different automaker media systems to the test to see which was the least distracting. During the test they instructed drivers to make phone calls and operate both the CD player and the radio. The test results were a bit disarming.
Out of all six systems tested only Toyota’s was less distracting than making a phone call using a standard cell phone.
No More Distracting than an Audiobook
The study determined that Toyota’s system was no more distracting than an audiobook, which is more than safe for regular driving conditions. If you have ever listened to a book on tape while driving around safely, you could probably operate Toyota’s system without a problem as well.
Why Other Systems are Distracting?
Drivers want to be able to use voice controls while driving around, but they become easily distracted when the controls are working as smoothly as they would like them to. When the system does not recognize a command and the driver can’t perform the desired command they not only become frustrated but also distracted.
The longer drivers had to spend trying to make the system understand their commands, the more distracted they became. It can also be distracting when the system doesn’t respond back to the driver confirming their command.
How Toyota Gets it Right
The reason that Toyota’s system is so much safer than many of its competitors is its simplicity. It doesn’t jam in a bunch of unnecessary features. The interface is simple, the system understands most voice commands very accurately and it talks back to the driver. With all of these different elements put together you get a very reliable media system that can be depended on to entertain while being safe to use.
The AAA foundation has provided the data from their study to each of the automakers involved in the testing and they hope that the rest of the companies involved will take action to improve their systems. According to Peter Kissinger, the AAA Foundations president, Toyota’s results are something that they would like to see replicated by all of the automakers in the future for improved road safety.
Toyota recently unveiled their Bass Pro Shop edition of the 2015 Toyota Tundra. This custom vehicle was created to compete with high-end Chevy and Dodge models and does a great job setting itself apart from other offerings. Customers will enjoy a nice custom look, and special packages from Bass Pro Shop that nobody else has access to. This is the first partnership between Bass Pro Shop and Toyota and it’s worth taking a look at if you’re an avid outdoorsman.
When you opt for the Bass Pro Shops Edition of the 2015 Toyota Tundra what you’re really paying for is a great looking custom vehicle. It comes equipped with 20 –inch matte black wheels that are completely milled. Bass Pro Shops off-road decals can be spotted in several different locations on the sides and the rear of the vehicle. A durable spray-on bed liner enhances the utility of the vehicle, and a stainless steel exhaust tip is a nice piece of refinement. Unique fender flares feature pockets giving them a bolted-on appearance. Black textured oval step tubes make the truck easier to climb into and help continue the dark theme started by the wheels.
This Tundra is based on the 4×4 CrewMax SR5 and provides an impressive level of performance. It comes equipped with a powerful 381 HP V8 with a six speed automatic transmission. This rugged vehicle is built on a durable suspension meant to handle major bumps and dips that you’ll encounter when taking dirt or grass paths.
The added fender flares help keep the truck looking nice and shiny even when you go over muddy roads. Even the interior is easier to maintain thanks to durable Bass Pro Shops branded floor mats that are included throughout the cab.
Special Bass Pro Shop Packages
To make this vehicle even more unique there are special outdoor packages available to owners offered by Bass Pro Shops. Owners can choose between fishing, camping, marine outdoor, or hunting gear to enhance their trucks with.
Where to Get it
If this truck’s caught your eye you’ll have to travel to one of the few states that has them available in October. The Bass Pro Shops Edition will only be available in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma. That means if you don’t live near one of those states you’ll have to take a little road trip to secure one of these beauties.
Whether you’re an avid fisherman or a dedicated hunter the 2015 Toyota Tundra Bass Pro Shops edition is a vehicle that you can be proud showing off. It’s more than capable of getting the job done, and it stands out among many trucks that all look the same. It retails for $43,975 putting it on the higher end of the pricing spectrum for Tundra trucks, but it comes with enough customizations and improvements to make it worth considering.
The 2015 Toyota Sienna has undergone some pretty serious changes for just being a model refresh. While it may look nearly unchanged on the outside, when you climb inside the cab it’s easy to see all of the hard work that Toyota has put into the latest iteration of their family hauler.
Nearly Unchanged Appearance
If you were hoping for a completely revamped look for the 2015 Sienna you’ll be disappointed, because it looks very similar to the 2014 edition. So similar in fact, that it took me a couple minutes of studying to pick out the differences between the two versions. You’ll notice that the LED lights are slimmer on the 2015 model, and you now have LED accents around the lights. Other than that you won’t see much difference between the two vehicles.
Massive Interior Overhaul
While Toyota decided not to tamper with success with their exterior styling, they knew they had some ground to cover in the interior department. Critics have long been claiming that the Sienna cabin isn’t quite as luxurious as some of its competitors. The 2015 remodel solves most of those issues marvelously. More durable and classy plastics are used throughout the cabin, and padded trim has been added to the tops of the doors. The dash is adorned with stitched faux leather or you can opt for wood trim for an even classier look.
With the interior overhaul the Sienna goes from trailing its competitors a bit to leading out in front. They have arguably one of the nicest interiors available in the minivan segment in the 2015 year, and that’s pretty important when it comes to a vehicle most families will spend a significant amount of time in.
Improved Console Layout
Extending your arms while trying to reach buttons is never fun while driving down the freeway, and the 2015 Sienna offers a more comfortable layout than ever before. Many of the controls have been moved closer to the driver, and they are compacted into a more orderly cluster that not only makes the whole interior look more well-laid out, but also makes changing stations on the radio or adjusting the interior temperature more comfortable.
Added Standard Features
When you pick up the 2015 Sienna there are more standard features that everyone can look forward to, without worrying about paying expensive added feature costs. It comes with the touchscreen Entune media system, a rear-backup camera and a powerful three-zone automatic climate control system to ensure that everyone remains comfortable throughout the trip.
On top of these three features safety also gets a boost in the Sienna, with blind spot monitor systems becoming a standard feature. The side curtain airbags also provide 30 percent more coverage than before.
Same Powertrains but Enhanced Ride Quality
Toyota didn’t make any changes to the powertrains being used in the Sienna, but they did make some changes to the suspension for the better. 142 spot welds were added around the suspension of the vehicle making it much more rigid than before. This allowed engineers to change up other aspects of the suspension making it smoother and more comfortable. The end-result is a very comfortable ride, that is less bouncy and more grounded than before.
Between all the changes the 2015 Toyota Sienna is more attractive to ride in, more comfortable, more responsive and safer, while maintaining all its positive features and design qualities. There isn’t much to complain about and a lot to look forward to.
Toyota recently announced the pricing and a more details about their TRD package for the 2015 Toyota Tundra as well as their other performance vehicles (the Tacoma and the 4Runner) for all you off-roaders out there. The package provides a range of performance and aesthetic enhancements that make this rugged truck a whole lot more fun to take out on trails and into the woods. This rugged pack was designed by the expert engineers who work at Toyota Racing Development and it’s built using the same technology that goes into many of the tough off-roading race cars the team competes with regularly.
Getting the Package
If you decide that you want this off-roading package you need to purchase the four-wheel drive version of the Tundra and have it added on. The package will also be available with the Tacoma and the 4Runner later on. Getting this package is essentially the same as getting one of the specialty trim packages of the Tundra and you have to special request it at the time of ordering.
What All the Vehicles Get
Each of the TRD performance vehicles in the Toyota lineup will receive advanced Bilstein shocks, TRD-tuned front springs, a unique TOYOTA badged front grill, special TRD floor mats, TRD shift knobs and black TRD alloy wheels. The Bilstein shocks come equipped with a remote reservoir allowing them to hold more oil which increases the total suspension travel possible making the vehicles more effective in very rough conditions.
Exclusive Tundra Features
Although each of the TRD models come with many beefed up features some of the nicest features are exclusive to the Tundra model. The vehicle is equipped with a TRD badged front skid plate to help protect against rocks and debris. It also comes with specially tuned springs that provide two inches of lift to the front of the vehicle for added clearance. The all-black wheels come with Michelin off-road tires designed specifically for the Tundra making them highly effective while off-roading.
On top of all the performance enhancements this special Tundra also comes with some aesthetic upgrades to enjoy. It’s equipped with PRO stamping on the bed of the truck, a special interior seat color and a TRD Pro custom instrument panel. This truck has halogen headlights fitted with black sport bezels, and it comes with a TRD dual exhaust system making the truck more audible and aggressive sounding.
The Tundra TRD pricing was announced as starting at $41,285 at the double cab level and $43,900 if you decide you want the CrewMax cab instead. It isn’t available at the lower cab levels.
If you decide that you want a more rugged version of the Tundra the TRD package offers a lot of performance value for the price. Sure you could pay for an aftermarket kit to enhance your truck yourself, but it makes sense to leave it in the hands of the company that created the original vehicle to enhance it as well. The resulting vehicle is more rugged, more capable and more fun to drive around.
Consumer Reports recently did a comparison of the top SUVs out on the market today to determine the best models based on weight class and size. The Toyota Highlander came out on top for the mid-sized SUV class thanks to a long list of features and impressive performance figures cited by the company. Read on to learn what Consumer Reports found so enchanting about the 2014 Highlander, and why it might be a good SUV to take a look at some time in the future.
One of the main reasons that the Highlander received the vote form the editors at Consumer Reports was because of its impressive level of performance. The hybrid version of the vehicle achieved a very high level of fuel efficiency at 25 MPG while still maintaining power and being able to pull up to 3,500 lbs. behind it. Even the standard V6 version of the vehicle managed to get 20 MPG helping it beat out plenty of the competitors.
Smooth Handling and Enjoyable Features
Compared to many of the other test subjects that Consumer Reports looked at the Highlander had better handling. It felt like a steadier ride while dealing with several different terrain types and experienced less body roll around corners. This made the Highlander feel like a more solid and stable option than most of the competitors.
On top of the impressive handling, the critics were also impressed with the infotainment system because of its ease-of-use. Most brands focus on cramming in as many features as they can into a vehicle without worrying about how difficult they will be to access, but this isn’t the case with the Highlander. It comes with plenty of useful features, but they are all very easy to access and make use of. The system also sports reliable voice controls making it easier for drivers to get the information they need safely while driving.
Beating out the Competitors
The Toyota Highlander was up against some very tough competitors and still managed to come out on top. It was tested against the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban as well as the Ford C-Max. Each of these SUVs was rated as “Very Good” by Consumer Reports but the Highlander still managed to beat them all out thanks to its unique blend of quality features.
After going through all the perks that Consumer Reports lists off there is no question of why they chose the 2014 Toyota Highlander as the best mid-sized SUV out of all their test subjects. It just combines the best set of features together to create an extremely enticing package overall. If you’re interested in picking up a new SUV the Highlander is a good model to check out. Not only does it have the enjoyable features listed above, but it’s known for its high resale value and its reliability.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra has been getting a lot of positive feedback since it was released, and after taking a look at the vehicle up close it’s easy to see why that is. This massive vehicle is designed for convenient hauling and comes with additions that most truck owners would kill for.
The cargo bed
It’s clear that Toyota put a lot of work and thought into the cargo area of their mammoth truck. It comes equipped with a series of tie down loops and cleats that will make holding a variety of cargo items secure simple. It also has a unique area designed to accommodate 2×4 boards to create a nice shelf for additional storage. The tailgate slowly lowers once released from the upward position until it is gently resting at the bottom. The cargo area is even lit for nighttime loading and unloading projects.
The Toyota Tundra comes in a variety of cabin types, the SR is a work vehicle, the SR5 can be either work vehicle with the Crew Cab or a family/work hybrid with the double cab, and the platinum and limited editions can go up to a CrewMax which provides even more interior space. The Double cab is a nice in-between option that provides plenty of space for hauling, but enough room for four adults or two adults and four children to sit comfortably.
The Inside of the SR5 Double cab is utilitarian with ample plastic and vinyl throughout, but it’s comfortable and still has a classy look about it. The two tone styling makes it a bit more appealing to look at. The center seat up front can be folded down providing a massive storage space for driver and passenger convenience. This space is big enough to hold two full sized cups and a variety of electronics and accessories.
The rear bench seat is designed to fold up vertically, providing a high amount of storage space for whatever you want to keep out of the elements. The rear window opens manually, providing an area for laying extra-long boards into the bed of the truck without dangling them off the back. It also provides a nice breeze while driving. The seating layout of this double cab is designed with tall people in mind and will accommodate four adults over six feet comfortably.
Tech Savvy Interior
The simple work trucks of yesterday are nearly gone for good, and this Tundra comes packed with useful tech features. Not only does it have a touchscreen display with Bluetooth connectivity, but it also has built in navigation and a smartphone connectivity with additional apps for listening to internet radio or setting reservations. It also comes with a convenient backup camera
The Tundra comes with at three different engine options with a 4.0 l V6, a 4.6 L V8 and a 5.7 L V8. Each is suitable for everyday driving but I’d recommend the 5.7 liter for any towing needs you have. beefy 5.7 liter V8 engine providing 361 HP. It’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly from gear to gear without complaint. The springs make this truck bounce a bit over bumps but that’s to provide enough lift for a heavy load to glide smoothly down the road. The Tundra is built for work, and it only gets 13 MPG in the city and 17 on the highway for a combined rating of 15 MPG. The Tundra is capable of towing up to 6,800 lbs. standard, which is enough for most people, but the Limited trim levels and up can be upgraded with a towing package enabling up to 10,000 lbs. of pure towing force.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra is a powerful workhorse designed for hauling heavy lumber, but it will accommodate several passengers comfortably as well. Just don’t expect this vehicle to get good gas mileage, but who expects that from a full-sized truck anyway?
The Toyota Venza is an interesting blend between a sedan and a crossover making it both a highly capable driver and an all-around excellent vehicle from a utility standpoint. The 2015 Venza adds in a variety of new changes that will both excite and intrigue prospective buyers, but with all the new changes the vehicle just offers more of the same high utility fun.
The latest Venza comes in four cylinder and six cylinder models and offer 182 or 268 HP prospectively. Each of the vehicles relies on a smooth six-speed automatic transmission that offers acceptable shifting speeds. The vehicle isn’t overly powerful, but its fitted with an all-wheel drive system that makes it very capable on both wet and dry surfaces, and it’s capable of towing up to 3,500 lbs. making it an ideal vehicle for family trips. The Venza gets acceptable fuel efficiency levels with 22 MPG combined in the lower power version and 21 combines in the V6.
The inside of a Venza has a nice modern appearance, but it’s not overly flashy. This understated vehicle goes for a classy look and relies on neutral upholstery with black, chrome, and wooden accents for a nice look. The one major benefit of riding around in the Venza is that there is ample room for up to five adults to sit comfortably. The higher-up positioning of the Venza also improves road vision while making it easier to get in and out of than your standard sedan would be. In the rear of the Venza you get a massive storage space for grocieries, camping gear, or anything else you might want to carry along with you. If you need even more space you can fold the back row of seats into the floor. Even though the Venza is a great utility vehicle it lacks many of the soft touch accents that would make it feel like a luxury model. Hard plastic is used regularly and it feels more utilitarian than luxurious, even though it looks quite nice.
Driving the Venza is like driving a more capable sedan. It grips roads tightly and goes around corners smoothly. It doesn’t have a lot of power, and the steering is a bit soft, but rides are very comfortable and drivers will feel quite confident driving in most conditions thanks to the quality all-wheel drive system employed.
The 2015 Venza comes with a memory system that allows stored seat position profiles for multiple drivers. It supports Bluetooth technology and comes tandard with an auxillary port for listening to mobile devices. It also comes with a radio with an LCD display that is upgradeable to the advanced Entune app and navigation system. Each of these vehicles comes standard with a rearview camera, and blind spot mirrors help add to the safety as well.
The 2015 Toyota Venza isn’t the sexiest vehicle on the road but its one of the most capable. It offers plenty of space, provides acceptable fuel efficiency levels and comes with all the features that most drivers need to travel comfortably. It’s a good value vehicle and might be a good option for someone who wants a vehicle larger than a sedan but smaller than an SUV.
If you thought the Guinness World Record for the longest drift of 51.3 miles set by a driver in a BMW was impressive, you’re about to be astounded by the latest record set while driving a Scion FR-S, also known as the Toyota GT86 in Turkey the country the record was set.
Over the course of 2 hours 25 minutes and 18 seconds Harald Muller skidded around his tiny .15 mile track for a total of 89.55 miles. In order to achieve this astounding record Muller had to squeal around the track for a total of 612 laps showing a true level of endurance and the reliability of a Scion FR-S. The record was set in Samsun Turkey on a course that was wet down by a significant amount of water to keep the tire traction low.
Smashing the Old BMW Record
The BMW record was set at the BMW Performance Driving School in South Carolina using an M5. To achieve their record a specialized skid pad was set up on the course in order to bring the record back to the USA. Now it seems that the record has left the states once again and it’s going to be a tough feat to beat.
Why the Scion FR-S?
The Scion FR-S is an obvious choice of vehicle to try to set the drifting record with for a number of reasons. First it is rear wheel drive and packs enough power to burnout without a problem. It is also a well-balanced vehicle and designed to be easily tune-able. Finally this car relies on a limited slip differential making it possible to get the car set exactly how you want it for effective drifting.
All of these useful elements came together and allowed Muller to set a new record that will probably hold for quite a while.
Sure drifting is still pretty new and there are bound to be more records set in the future, but drifting around a track for over two hours is impressive no matter how you look at it. In the video the Scion FR-S shows its true colors as a reliable and powerful vehicle, that just happens to be really good at drifting as well.
Toyota is planning on releasing an all-new Yaris in a few years from now, but up until that point drivers will be rewarded with a major facelift of the current model. Toyota has taken its time going over the model and improving upon the little things in an effort to make the already enjoyable driving experience even more so.
One of the major changes that Toyota made with the latest Yaris lineup is enhancing the vehicle’s comfort level on the inside. The seats were revamped for added comfort making the vehicle more ideal for longer drives. Although the interior retains a very familiar layout soft-touch materials have been added throughout for a more luxurious and enjoyable experience.
The New Aesthetic Appeal
Toyota states that they’ve injected the latest Yaris with a distinct “European Flavor” and it’s no wonder that they took this route since the Japanese Automaker sells more Yaris models in Europe than anything else. The vehicle has a more distinct look than before with a large black grille with upper chrome accents. It comes with redesigned alloy wheels, and a variety of styling cues taken from the Auris and the Rav4 to give the vehicle sharper edges.
Toyota decided to retain the current Yaris engine so it still puts out 106 HP, but they did make changes to the suspension as well as the soundproofing in the cabin. The new Yaris is designed with a retuned suspension and a more rigid body overall. The enhanced rigidity should improve the ride quality of the vehicle while making it more responsive and fun to drive. Toyota also added more insulation on the interior to help with outside noise. This should make the cabin more enjoyable to ride in and patch up one of the few complaints that customers have with the Yaris.
The latest Yaris will retain its fuel economy levels and is expected to get about 32 MPG in automatic models and 33 MPG combined in manual models. Much of the rest of the Yaris remains the same, but a new set of options are available that weren’t there before giving drivers the ability to customize the vehicle more. One of those options is a dealer-installed navigation system, which would likely have a nicer fit and finish than many after-market products offered.
While Yaris fans looking for a complete overhaul will have to patiently await the new Yaris models a few years down the road, the latest changes should offer a better Yaris than ever before. After all the vehicle is designed to be more comfortable, better looking, more responsive and more customizable than ever before. What’s not to like about that?