Category: Toyota

The New and Improved Toyota Tundra

June 9, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

The Toyota Tundra isn’t the most popular full-sized pickup truck in the country, but it does have a strong following of buyers that migrate from one model to the next as needed. There is a lot that the Tundra has to offer buyers, even though the last time it was completely overhauled was back in 2007. The truck is slated to receive some massive enhancements in the coming year, and should become even more popular thanks to these enhancements.

2016 toyota tundra

Enhancements

The 2016 Toyota Tundra is slated to receive a bunch of advancements that will make it even more desirable to purchase. Many models of the Tundra are going to receive a fuel tank upgrade to carry a total of 38 gallons of fuel at a time. The truck is also set to receive an enhanced infotainment system and a built-in trailer brake to help with major towing tasks. All of these improvements should help the truck to appeal to an even larger audience of buyers.

Known for Reliability

Tundra truck owners are more concerned about reliability than most other truck owners are. They believe strongly that reliability is the most important aspect of a vehicle, which is why they depend on the reliability of the Toyota brand, and for how solid Tundras are known to be. This is one of the main reasons that Tundras show up in the work force regularly, and that they are known for having fewer features than some of their competitors.

Powerful Towing Capacity

Tundras are known for their power and towing capacity. While they can’t offer the highest towing in the industry, they are known for towing just what they say they will and not relying on inflated numbers at all. Owners appreciate the reliable figures and the dependable towing power that the Tundra has to offer. It looks like the 2016 model is going to keep the same 10,500 lb. towing capacity, more than enough power to handle most towing tasks presented to it.

Produced in America

While many truck owners that avoid the Tundra do so because it’s not made by an American automaker, they aren’t thinking clearly. The Tundra is produced in Texas and relies on nearly 50 percent American Made parts. That ratio is higher than many of the supposedly “American Made” brands, and some of those brands build their trucks in other countries such as Mexico. The Toyota Tundra is a good option for buyers looking to get an American-Made vehicle, and there are few truck options that rely more on domestic parts and labor during production.

The 2016 Toyota Tundra is a nice step up from the 2015 model, but it still sticks to the same high levels of durability and rugged performance that Tundras are known for.

Toyota Plans Massive Solar Array for Plano Texas Office

June 8, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

Toyota is one of the more environmentally friendly automakers in the world, and is working hard to push toward alternative energy options such as hydrogen and solar power. The automaker demonstrates this by pushing out more hybrid vehicles than any other automaker, being the first to push hydrogen-powered vehicles out to the public, and by fighting for a carbon-emission-free workplace by 2050. That’s right, the company plans on eliminating all its carbon emissions, or offsetting them completely in one way or another by 2050. The latest Plano Texas headquarters are just one example of how the automaker is moving in that direction.

toyota solar panels plano texas

The Plano Headquarters

The latest Toyota headquarters are being put up in Plano Texas, a section of the world known for getting plenty of sunlight. The facility is going to be fitted with a monstrous 7.75-megawatt solar system to power the entire facility with approximately 25 percent of all the power needed for regular operations. This system will be the largest on any corporate building in the state of Texas that isn’t owned by a power company.

The Huge Array of Panels

The massive panel array is actually going to be put up in three different phases and won’t be completed until the end of 2017. Each of the three different phases covers up another parking structure on the campus with solar panels. Each of the sections will provide about 2.45 megawatts of panels, totaling to over 7 megawatts of power overall when complete. The panels will significantly help the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 7122 metric tons, which is the equivalent of the power used by 1,000 homes throughout the year.

This isn’t the first time that Toyota has installed a large solar array on one of its corporate buildings. A 2.3 megawatt system exists on a Toyota building in Ontario California that can be counted on to produce more than 56 percent of the power needed by that facility.

With such ambitious solar installations going up on Toyota buildings, and other environmental initiatives around the country, it’s not hard to imagine that Toyota will at least come close to becoming entirely emissions free by 2050. Sure the company has a long way to go to reach that point, but at least it’s headed in the right direction.

BrandZ Ranks Toyota as the Most Valuable Automotive Brand

June 7, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Each year BrandZ does a global company review to determine what the estimated value of different companies is around the world. Toyota remained on top as the most valuable of all the automakers in the world. This is good for the automaker in a number of ways, and it also means that you can feel secure when buying a Toyota vehicle.

toyota logo

More Money for Research and Development

Toyota, the most valuable automotive brand in the world, has plenty of money to complete research and to develop new products and technologies. That’s why the automaker was able to begin selling the Mirai to the general public and to help build out that hydrogen fuel infrastructure. The automaker can afford to lose millions of dollars on the new vehicle initially in hopes that it will take off and become a major technology in the future. That’s exactly what the company did with the Prius more than a decade ago, and signs are good that the same is happening with the Mirai as well, even though the vehicle is getting off to a somewhat slow start.

Improved research and development funding also helps lead to advanced features such as automated driving, and enhanced media systems. Toyota is in an excellent position to develop some of the latest and most helpful technologies for vehicle owners, and being ahead of other automakers in finances is largely why the company can afford

Excellent Resale Value

Holding the highest value of any car brand means that Toyota vehicles will hold their value for longer than most other car makes will. When you are ready to sell off your Toyota Corolla, Highlander, Camry or any other model that you happen to own, you can expect to get more money for the vehicle than you would if it was another brand. That’s a major benefit of buying into a Toyota vehicle, especially if you plan on reselling it a few years after making the purchase.

Improved Reliability

Toyota is known for its reliability and the automaker relies on a team of some of the most skilled engineers in the world to keep its vehicles running properly and to make them even more reliable over time. All the money that Toyota has available makes it much easier to keep vehicles reliable and to ensure that future vehicles become even more dependable.

Toyota is the most valuable automotive brand because of hard work and excellent decision making skills, but all the money that the automaker has obtained over the years only helps it stay out ahead of the competition through excellent innovation, and bringing brand new technologies to the mainstream. Sure Toyota wasn’t the first automaker to come up with a hybrid vehicle, or a vehicle that runs on hydrogen fuel, but it was the first automaker to bring those vehicles to the masses, and that’s something that Toyota will likely continue doing for years to come.

Toyota Sienna Ranked as Top 10 Family Car of the Year by Parents Magazine and Edmunds.com

June 5, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

The Toyota Sienna has recently received quite a bit of recognition as a leading family vehicle, but the latest accolades from Parents Magazine and Edmunds only reinforces that idea.

2016 Toyota Sienna

By now you’ve probably seen one of those ridiculous “Swagger Wagon” commercials for the Toyota Sienna, and surprisingly there may be a grain of truth to those commercials. According to both Edmunds and Parents Magazine the 2016 Sienna is one of the best family cars of the year, and that’s not based on an idea as vague as “Swagger” either, but a list of specific ranking qualities.

How the Sienna was Chosen

When making the decision a large range of considerations were made about the minivan. Things like ride quality and workmanship played a part in the decision, but so did interior space and kid-friendly features.

  • Fuel efficiency
  • Space
  • Workmanship
  • Comfort
  • Ride quality
  • Safety
  • Overall value
  • Kid friendly features

Overall there is a lot to like about the 2016 Toyota Sienna, especially if you like to take frequent road trips to places.

Notable Tech Enhancements

The minivan comes with an enhanced multimedia system that enables Siri Eyes Free Mode, and also enables smartphone-based GPS connectivity for more convenient navigation around town.

Family-Friendly Features

There’s room to spare inside the Sienna with up to 150 cubic feet of storage with the second row removed and the third row stowed away. The interior includes a collection of handy storage bins as well as many many cupholders throughout. Many of the minivans come equipped with a dual-screen entertainment system to give the children something to watch on a long ride. Overall there is a lot for family’s to love about the new Sienna, and that’s why it made the top 10 list.

The Sienna is a fun and family-friendly vehicle that’s ideal for taking long-distance trips or carrying a lot of cargo. It’s just the thing you need when looking for a versatile and family-friendly mode of transportation.

This Used Camry is Selling for 160,000

June 3, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

If you thought brand-new Camry’s were a good deal in the low 20,000 range, you’ll really love the $160,000 price tag on this special edition 2010 Camry. Wait, what?

That’s right, there’s a Toyota Camry that’s 6 years old and that’s selling for around the same price as a brand new Porsche 911 Turbo. It’s hard to imagine a Camry that would be worth the kind of money that a 911 Turbo is worth brand new, let alone a used model that’s been around for the past six years, but one does exist, and it’s a pretty impressive ride.

2010 SEMA Toyota Camry

The 160,000 Toyota Camry

Like the 6 Million Dollar Man, there’s more to the $160K Toyota Camry than meets the eye. For starters it’s fitted with a NASCAR V8 engine that will allow the car to perform in a very non-Camry way. It comes with 680 HP all straight to the rear wheels and it was built from scratch from the ground up. Just imagine how fast this performance-focused Camry travels down the road. You’ll be able to blaze past those sports cars with ease, and blitz around a track with childish delight.

SEMA toyota camry

This RK Motors SEMA Special

The car was built from scratch starting from a Toyota Solara shell and working its way up to a very nice looking body. The car was first spotted by Autoweek on Ebay, listed with a buy-it-now price of $159,900, and it’s hard not to imagine picking up this seemingly spruced up Camry and using it to scare the heck out of anyone out on the road alongside you. Imagine blasting off ahead of a sports car in this powerful Camry. Sure it’s hard to imagine ever spending that much money on a Camry, but one outfitted with such a cool custom setup certainly warrants consideration.

The project was built with such skill that this ground-up car looks like it went straight through a Toyota factory. Besides for the body enhancements and the improved wheels, the car will blend in nicely out on the road. That just makes it that much cooler to drive around, and really adds to the overall appeal of the vehicle.  If you’re a Toyota fan and interested in this one-of-a-kind construction, check out Ebay, it’s possible that it’s still listed up for sale. A car this rare and unique will likely take some time to sell off, but I’m sure the new owner is going to be awfully happy when he climbs behind the wheel for the first time.

The 2016 Prius is Most Efficient According to Consumer Reports

June 1, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

The all new Toyota Prius is now the most efficient vehicle to ever be tested for fuel efficiency at Consumer Reports. It beat out the 2000 Honda Insight hybrid vehicle, by getting a combined fuel efficiency of 52 MPG. While it seems a bit odd that it took until 2016 to best the Honda Insight, it’s important to realize that a lot of expensive extras were added to that particular vehicle to make it as efficient as it was. The Prius achieves superior fuel efficiency levels without the use of expensive extras. That’s what the true achievement here is, efficiency and practicality in one.

2016 Prius Two Eco
2016 Prius Two Eco

How the Prius Achieves this Efficiency

The 2016 Prius manages to be so efficient by relying on a 97 HP 1.8 liter gasoline engine and a 71 HP electric motor. Together the two engines produce around 121 HP. The main trick that allows the Prius to be so efficient is the same thing that allows any other hybrid to be efficient. The electric motor gets the vehicle up to speed before the gasoline engine has to do much of the work, so that it can perform in its most efficient power range.

The 2016 Prius just manages to do this job more efficiently than other vehicles do. Engine enhancements and a more aerodynamic footprint allow this car to move down the road in a highly efficient manner.

Surprisingly Efficient Highway Driver

Typically hybrid vehicles get better fuel efficiency in the city than on the highway, well not this Prius. The latest Prius manages around 59 MPG on the highway and 43 MPG in the city, giving it the 52 MPG combined efficiency rating. This is pretty darned hard to beat, and if you’re looking for the most efficient car to drive around, this is the one that you should think about getting. It’s important to note that these fuel efficiency figures were during an extended test period by Consumer Reports, but the EPA rates the vehicle at around 52 MPG combined as well, so the Prius actually performs about as well as the estimate in real life, pretty impressive for one of the most efficient cars available.

Of course the 2016 Prius comes with the latest tech features. You’ll get a media system with Bluetooth connectivity and USB and Aux-in plug for listening to most of your devices. The Prius is surprisingly spacious and seats four comfortably.

With the 2016 Toyota Prius being the most efficient hybrid currently on the market, there’s no doubt that it’s worth consideration if fuel efficiency matters to you, so take a good look at the car and consider your options.

Toyota Demonstrates Its Urban Teammate Solution

May 27, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

At the End of May Toyota showed off a new automated driving system the automaker has been working on. It’s known as Urban Teammate, and is the successor to the Highway Teammate concept. It’s an exciting achievement, but is only the first step of many that still have to come.

toyota urban teammate

What it Does

The concept is designed to automatically traverse ordinary everyday roads. The system will be able to spot people and animals moving up and down the road, and rely on a range of GPS and detailed map information in order to safely navigate around. Stored information and information collected in real time come together in this technology to make ti possible to stick to speed limits, avoid collisions and safely move around without help from a human driver.

Making a Safe Driving Environment

Currently driving is quite dangerous to do, because people just aren’t predictable. Anything can happen while out on the road. That is expected to change dramatically when most of the vehicles out on the road are operated by computers. They won’t be unpredictable any longer, and can be depended on to help you get where you’re going safely.

Releasing High Definition Maps

In order for the current technology to be viable for drivers around the country, Toyota, or other automakers would have to put together very high definition maps of the roads, and maintain those maps with any new changes that occur. If they could manage this they would be a lot closer to actually being able to create self-driving vehicles that can be relied upon.

A Driving Partnership

The current technologies showed off by Toyota don’t focus on taking the task of driving out of the hands of the driver entirely. Instead it focuses on a necessary partnership between humans and computer driving systems. Together the two can safely move around the road. Some automakers believe that drivers will always have to be involved with moving a car safely, at least to a small extent, and for the time being that’s exactly the technology that Toyota is promoting. The tech takes over driving responsibility most of the time, but may require input from a driver from time to time if it doesn’t have enough data or runs into an issue it isn’t prepared for.

Autonomous driving technology is coming along, and Toyota is working to stay at the forefront of that movement, but there is a long way to go before autonomous vehicles are available for purchase by the general public.

Comparing the 2016 Camry XLE and the 2016 Camry Hybrid

May 25, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

There’s really no reason to offer test drive info for the Camry itself, after all it’s the best-selling vehicle in the country and all the continual accolades more than speak for themselves. That being said, just because you know that a Camry is a good option if you’re looking for an efficient and reliable vehicle, doesn’t mean you know whether you should go with the gasoline or hybrid model. That’s why we took the time to take a look at the two, to help you figure out which one really makes sense given your requirements and wants.

2016 camry xle

Drive Excitement

After testing out both the gasoline and the hybrid Camry it was clear which one was the clear winner in terms of enjoyment. Though the hybrid performed smoothly, it wasn’t particularly exciting. Its acceleration was adequate and it never felt sluggish, but performance was a bit flat. The XLE has considerably more pep, it benefits from sharper braking and a better steering feel. Overall it’s just more exciting to drive around.

Efficiency

We shouldn’t even have to elaborate in this section. Of course the hybrid model is the hands-down winner when it comes to fuel efficiency. That’s because it manages 40 MPG in the city and 38 MPG out on the highway. Compared to the 31 and 21 that the XLE gets it isn’t even a contest.

Storage considerations

The hybrid model offers considerably less trunk space with just 13.1 cubic feet available, thanks to the added powertrain components that have to be stuffed into the vehicle. Not only that, but it also isn’t equipped with rear split folding seats like the XLE is. That means you can’t fold down those seats for added storage when carrying around something larger. These limitations make it more difficult to transport larger items with the hybrid model, but that’s only an issue if you use your current car for such reasons, or you expect that you will in the future.

Now that you know the major differences between the two vehicles, it’s time to take a moment and consider which is the better buy for you. Consider the price of each vehicle, with the basic Camry starting at around $23,000 and the Hybrid at almost $27,000 there’s a decent price difference to think about. If you’re most concerned about fuel efficiency and you aren’t worried about getting the most exciting vehicle, or a car with more storage capabilities then the hybrid is for you. However, you probably already know if those considerations are important to you.

The Million Mile Tundra

May 18, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Most people are happy to reach 200,000 miles with their vehicle before retiring it for something else. That wasn’t the case for Victor Sheppard, the previous owner of a 2007 Toyota Tundra with more than 1 million miles on the odometer. That’s right, you read that right. The truck had more than a million miles on the clock and still drove around perfectly fine.

Million Mile Tundra

That figure seems to defy all logic. Most people believe they are at least halfway through the life cycle of their vehicles when they roll over 100,000 miles, and are ready to pack it in at any point thereafter. Victor Sheppard made it very clear that you can go much farther than that if you really want to, and he didn’t do it with superhuman effort either, just regular maintenance and plenty of visits to his local service department.

Traveling for Business

It’s amazing to think that Sheppard was able to accumulate more than 1 million miles in the span of just 9 years, but travelling across country for work helped him accomplish such a figure. He put more than 125,000 miles on the vehicle during each year of use until it finally reached 999,999 on the odometer. After all this travelling around Sheppard states that his “…truck looks great, and, except for a few little dents, it’s almost like new,”

Regular Service

With so many miles on the truck Sheppard had to head in to the service department regularly. With 117 total visits to the local service center the truck was able to remain in excellent condition and even has many of the original parts that it left the factory with.

The 1 Million Mile Reward

After travelling for 1 million miles Sheppard was thrilled with the performance of his 15th Tundra, but what he didn’t know was that Toyota was prepared to trade him a brand new 2016 model for his 1 million mile truck. They offered a straight swap deal so that he could begin racking up miles all over again on his 16th Tundra, while they take a look at the vehicle that lasted for so long to try and learn as much as possible from it.

Toyota plans on stripping down the entire truck and examining every one of its components. While doing this they will learn about which parts are still original and which have been replaced, and they will likely learn how to engineer even more long-lasting trucks in the process. It’s clear that Tundra trucks are reliable, but most people probably never imagined that one could travel for over 1 million miles without issue.

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is No More

May 17, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

Well it’s official, the FJ Cruiser is no more from August onward. Of course the cruiser hasn’t been sold in the United States since the 2014 model year, but it has been sold in other places around the world such as Australia, where rugged vehicles get a closer following.

2014 toyota fj cruiser

Built for Impressive Performance

In a market that prefers mild-mannered vehicles the FJ Cruiser stands out starkly. It was produced after the FJ40 Land Cruiser and designed to tackle most rough terrain types capably. The vehicle has always been aimed at serious off-roaders, but it appears that there aren’t enough of those around to sustain the market needed to keep producing the vehicle. That’s why Toyota stopped shipping over the vehicles back in 2014, but sales continued in Australia giving the vehicle more time to shine. It even managed to win 4×4 Australia magazine’s 4×4 of the Year title this year thanks to its robust mechanical design that stands up to hard use where others do not.

The Last of a Dying Breed

The 2014 model year cruisers in the United States are the last of the models that you can get your hands on, and they’re worth serious consideration if you want a highly rugged SUV. Like Hummers, the Land Rover Defender and a host of other off-road vehicles before them, the FJ Cruiser just couldn’t be sustained. There’s nothing against the vehicle personally, people are just more interested in ride quality and tech features than they are in a vehicle’s overall off-road capabilities. Which makes sense since so many people rarely venture off roads here in the US.

Resale Value Stays Strong

It should come as no surprise that the FJ Cruiser resale values are holding strong. There is still a dedicated market for the vehicle, though smaller than what Toyota was hoping for when it first released the vehicle. That means that even though this rugged SUV isn’t going to be produced any longer, it’s still quite expensive to purchase, and something that you’ll have to work hard to buy in the future as less become available.

Though the FJ Cruiser isn’t going to be produced any longer, it doesn’t mean you can’t still own one for yourself. There are plenty of dealerships still selling the SUV and if you look around a bit you should be able to find one hanging out in a lot nearby. They’re truly exceptional vehicles, worthy of consideration by any real off-road enthusiast.