Category: Toyota

What’s New for Toyota in 2018

October 11, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

We’re fast approaching the end of a model year for Toyota and a new launch of exciting vehicles from the automaker. With 2018 models coming out already, and more still to come, let’s go over what’s new in the 2018 model Toyotas and what buyers have to look forward to when they make the switch to the next version of their favorite model.

2018 Camry

The Mirai

The Mirai was launched as an option to only those living in specific areas of California, but the model is also becoming available in many eastern parts of the United States for the 2018 model year. Buyers in New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts will be able to purchase the vehicle as well thanks to a better refueling infrastructure. The car is going to come with an improved infotainment system as well which is a nice touch.

The C-HR

Toyota is releasing the C-HR, a brand-new subcompact crossover. It’s equipped with a 144 HP 2.0 liter engine, and it’s a four door vehicle capable of toting around your average family. It’s nice looking and a cool addition to the lineup.

Sequoia

The latest Sequoia model SUVs will get the Toyota P safety tech, including a bunch of autonomous safety features like forward-collision warning and pedestrian detection. The vehicle will also be offered wit the TRD Sport variant, making available retuned anti-roll bars, large black 20-inch wheels, Bilstein dampers and a cool grille in black.

Camry

One of the biggest changes to the 2018 model year is the brand-new Toyota Camry. It’s a full remodel and comes with a bunch of new features. The model gets 3.5 liter V6 engine, a hybrid engine and a couple in-line four-cylinder engines. It also comes with an all-new eight-speed transmission. The car is built on the new TNGA architecture and comes with enhances styling as well to really stand out.

RAV-4

The Rav-4 only gets minor changes for the 2018 model year. It has a slightly thicker body, a 0.4 inch ride height enhancement, and it’s available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive depending on what you prefer.

Tundra

For 2018 Toyota is doing away with the regular cab version of the truck and changing the TRD Pro to the TRD sport. Other than that the truck is staying about the same overall.

Sienna

The 2018 Toyota Sienna receives a slight exterior overhaul while also getting some tech goodies. The front end has a meaner look and the vehicle comes with flared side sills. On the inside the vehicle comes with an Entune 3.0 system with more USB ports, Wi-Fi connectivity and the entertainment system can stream from Android devices. The Sienna also comes standard with all the new Toyota safety goodness for safer driving for everyone without the added cost.

Toyota Unleashes Commercial Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks

October 10, 2017 lacarguy Toyota, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

While other automakers are moving on from the idea of hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles, Toyota is ramping up production and unleashing a fleet of hydrogen-fuel cell trucks on LA and Long Beach. The trucks are a part of a test program by Toyota verifying whether or not the trucks are rugged enough and cut out to the performance tasks required of a commercial truck that’s put through hard use on a daily basis.

hydrogen fuel cell truck

Serious Performance Machines

These commercial-grade trucks from Toyota are designed to stand up to the toughest tasks, and they’re engineered for serious hauling. They each come packed with 670 HP thanks to two Mirai fuel stacks. The trucks utilize a 12 kWh battery as well as an impressive set of motors to generate a whopping 1,325 lbs.-ft. of torque giving them a gross weight capacity of up to 80,000 lbs. for serious hauling.

Why Commercial Vehicles May Benefit more from Hydrogen

Vehicles like the Mirai haven’t taken off in a huge way yet because there is a lack of refueling stations and it’s tough keeping up with the supply necessary to keep the vehicles fueled up. That’s not as much of an issue for commercial vehicles though. Most commercial vehicles have a larger driving range, and they can rely on centralized refueling stations. Commercial vehicles that follow specific routes regularly can keep fueled much more easily even though the stations are limited.

This is good news for Mirai owners and hydrogen-fuel cell proponents, because if Toyota can create good long-term commercial hydrogen-electric trucks, the automaker will refine the technology over time and all those enhancements will be passed onto future versions of the Mirai and other consumer-level hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles as well.

Toyota is starting small with its commercial truck fleet, with lots of short start and stop trips, but the automaker plans to expand its range and take vehicles further and further away over time to really test the long-hauling capabilities of its commercial fleet.

New technologies like electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are quickly becoming more and more advanced and they’re sure to take on a whole new role in the economy in the coming years. Consumers are pushing for these vehicles and governments are making alternative fuel options a priority that makes switching away from fossil fuels an important move for everyone.

Toyota Pushing for Solid State Batteries that Could Result in EVs

August 21, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Toyota has long avoided the urge to toss its hat in the ring and go against the likes of Nissan for its Leaf or Golf for the eGolf EV, but those days seem to becoming to a close. Toyota has announced tentative plans to release a full long-range EV in the future, the only difference is the automaker plans on using solid state batteries to do it.

Solid State Batteries

What are Solid State Batteries?

Solid state batteries are still seen as an experimental technology, but they essentially replace the liquid chemicals in a battery with solid crystalline versions instead. They are thought to have a much higher capacity and to be more capable than the liquid-based options like Ni-Cad or Lithium-iON, but nobody has figured out how to create stable batteries that can be relied upon just yet.

Toyota Works for Solid State Battery Development

Toyota recently announced that it would try to create commercially viable solid state batteries for release by 2020. With the release of those batteries the automaker would have the tech to create some pretty substantial EVs that could rival most other products made by automakers then, or at least that’s the belief. While Toyota has only stated it’s going to push for development of solid state batteries by the early 2020’s, the automaker doesn’t actually state that it’s going to release any products based on that battery technology once the tech comes out.

Tesla has directly questioned whether or not Toyota is as close to creating commercially viable multi-cell solid-state batteries, but the automaker says that they are interested and support the endeavor. If Toyota is able to create such a product that’s fit for release, the automaker will have the upper-hand and could create a very competitive electric vehicle. Whether or not Toyota will pursue this action depends on what the automaker decides is the most profitable way forward, but we think it’s pretty likely. Toyota is well-known for being a pioneer of new technologies, and continues to release tech to the masses before other automakers dare. This breakthrough would be something Toyota could seriously benefit from, and the best way to do that is by releasing a powerful EV of its own.

The Top Features and Benefits of the 2017 Sienna

August 16, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

The 2017 Toyota Sienna is a good solid vehicle, but is it better than the other minivans on the market today? Read on to find out exactly what you can expect from the Sienna and why it’s a good solid option to move around your family of 5, 6, 7 or even 8 people.

2017 sienna

Available with All Wheel Drive

One of the biggest advantages that the Toyota Sienna has on its side is that it comes in all-wheel drive if you want to get around with a bit more reliability. This is an option that isn’t available on the Odyssey or many other minivans on the market. Getting the Sienna with all-wheel drive gives you a bit more security in rain or snow, but it will cost you a bit more to do.

It’s Smooth and Speedy

The 2017 Toyota Sienna comes packed with a V6 engine, rather than those turbocharged four-cylinder engines, meaning that it placks plenty of raw power that you simply can’t get with a lot of other vehicles today. It’s not going to win any races, but when you stamp on the pedal you’ll enjoy quick speed up and smooth performance from 0-60 and beyond. That’s a nice benefit of driving around in the 2017 Sienna.

Ample Storage Space

Fold down the seats of your Sienna and you’ll have around 40 cubic feet of space for all your hauling purposes. This is excellent for hauling around furniture and makes getting couches, washer and dryer sets, drum sets or just about anything else that you can think of around from one location to another. Sure a Sienna isn’t a pickup truck, but you’ll find yourself using it like one all the time after you have it around the house, and that’s a good thing.

Seats up to Eight

Another cool feature of the Sienna is that it can function as a 7-seater or an 8-seater depending on how you want to travel. If you decide that you want easier access to the rear set of seats, you can remove the center one in the second row. If you need the added seating, pop it back in and you can carry around 8 people without too much discomfort. It’s flexible and more useful than the minivans that are locked to one capacity or another. Not to mention that you have decent seating space for adults in the first and second rows, meaning that you can carry around four or five adults comfortably along with three children.

Reliable

In terms of all the different minivans available today, the Sienna is one of the most reliable still. That’s why it’s a good solid investment if you want something for the long term that is still going to have some resale value when you’re ready to upgrade to something new.

The 2017 Toyota Sienna is one of the best minivans on the market today. It’s a top option for you to consider and is worth the investment because of all the perks that it has to offer.

Toyota Could Create See Through Pillars for Upcoming Vehicles

August 15, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

Toyota recently took out a patent to create see through pillars, and the automaker does so using a very practical setup that is much more affordable than the camera and screen setups some luxury automakers used in the past. Instead of cameras and screens, Toyota plans to use a series of mirrors to create the illusion of a set of see-through pillars at the front of the vehicle.

toyota see through pillars

How the New Tech Works

It’s not clear exactly how the technology works, but apparently a series of special mirrors create a see-through pillar experience at the front of the vehicle. Since mirrors are utilized for the illusion, it shouldn’t be very expensive to implement the technology. If Toyota can find a way to make the tech work well enough, it’s likely that it will show up on all of the Toyota vehicles in the future, as well as Lexus models and maybe other vehicles from other manufacturers as well.

Enjoy Safer Driving

If you’ve ever been driving and missed someone out of your blind spot at the front of the vehicle due to the pillars, you already understand how see-through pillars could benefit drivers. While small, there are decent blind spots at the front of most vehicles today due to the structural pillars used. They’re necessary, but they can create some dangerous driving situations as well. With a set of see-through pillars, it’s possible to remove that danger almost entirely and create substantially safer driving conditions overall.

While most automakers are looking to make major technology advancements through artificial intelligence, computers and expensive technology, Toyota shows that you can improve vehicles notably with simple enhancements as well. Something as basic as a set of mirrors can make a world of difference when utilized properly, and that’s pretty cool.

It’s likely that we’ll see this technology show up on Toyota vehicles in the future, but for now we’ll have to speculate about how it all works and wonder exactly how those pillars are going to look when they finally make it onto a production model vehicle from Toyota. It’s likely that we’ll see the technology make its debut at an auto show first, before it finally makes it onto vehicles for sale.

Changes in the 2018 Toyota Tundra

June 14, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

There are few fans around more hardcore than those that like the Toyota Tundra, which means that truck owners are impatiently waiting the next release of Toyota’s full-sized truck to find out just what features are being added into the mix. Well, wait no more! The 2018 Tundra is out and you can find out exactly what it’s adding and taking away. Which should help you decide if it’s the truck you want to buy or not.

2018 toyota tundra

Safety Features

One of the biggest changes that’s coming with the 2018 Tundra is a change that’s affecting most of Toyota’s lineup, and that’s the addition of the Toyota Safety Sense P package. That means more active safety features than before, like a rear view camera, adaptive cruise. Blind spot monitoring, active braking and more to keep you out of trouble. This is particularly valuable on a large vehicle like the Tundra and should help many drivers stay safer while out on the road.

TRD Sport Trim

While much of the 2018 Tundra is going to stay the same, the new TRD Sport Trim will bring some much-needed changes into the mix. This trim level is between the SR5 and the Limited trims and brings with it a new grille design, and updated headlights. The trim level also gets a new gauge cluster and a better infotainment setup.

Goodbye TRD Pro

Another change to the 2018 Tundra is the removal of the TRD Pro trim. It will be gone for the next few years most likely, along with the options that it brought to Tundra owners.

Other than these mostly aesthetic changes, the Tundra is going to stay about the same for the 2018 model year release. Fuel capacity and MPG will remain the same, as will the engine and transmission configurations. If you opt for the new trim package you’ll get some new enhancements, and the safety package is an obvious improvement, but if you don’t care about those things you’ll probably be just as happy in the 2017 model of the Tundra.

Toyota Restyles 2018 Camry to Appeal to Two Different Markets

June 13, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

The sedan market is slow today, and it doesn’t seem to be speeding up anytime soon. That doesn’t change the fact that some people still need full-sized cars to transport their families around though. That’s why Toyota is working hard to create one of the most compelling sedans on the market today, and it’s going to try to capture that title with its Camry, one of the most successful sedans in the United States today. In order to really bring out the cool factor in its sedan Toyota tasked designers to figure out ways to really differentiate the different trim levels from one another. The end result was two very different looking trim levels of the same Camry, making it into almost two different vehicles entirely, the LE or XLE and the XSE

The Camry XLE
The Camry XLE

How are they Different?

The difference between the traditional LE or XLE and the more wild XSE is stark. The body of the XSE is more heavily defined and has a sporty modern look to it. The LE and XLE vehicles are less sculpted, use more mute colors and are obviously less sporty overall. The look distinction between the two vehicles was a smart one for Toyota to make because it helps differentiate the two trim levels and help the Camry to appeal to two different groups of people. Drivers looking for a conservative look can go for the XLE or the LE and get a nice traditional look that probably won’t turn too many heads but that will look nice. Those looking for a more wild car can go for the XSE and really stand out.

The Camry XSE
The Camry XSE

Wild or Mute Interior

The traditional Camry has a pretty mute interior with blacks, grays and browns as the colors found throughout. The XSE comes with brighter and bolder colors that really stand out as a more edgy look.

Similar Options

Another smart move made by Toyota was making the top luxury options available to both segment types. As an owner of the XLE or the XSE you can pretty much get all the nice features added on without missing out on anything. That means you can get the car that meets your look requirements, while also having the features that you want and you won’t have to compromise on much.

Toyota understands that one car can’t possible apply to everyone, which is exactly why the automaker is making strides toward producing multiple Camry vehicles that will appeal to different groups of people. Toyota wants the Camry to stay on top, and creating a wide range of vehicles is the best way for that to happen.

What Stands out about the 2018 Toyota Highlander

June 6, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

The 2018 Toyota Highlander is one of its first vehicles in the large family mid-sized SUV segment, and it’s absolutely killing it in that spot. The SUV isn’t giant, but it does pack in enough seating space for eight people to sit somewhat comfortably. As long as some of those passengers are children you’ll have a lot of very happy campers traveling down the road. The 2018 Highlander isn’t a notable vehicle just because it has lots of seating space though, it packs a interior that reeks of versatility, it comes with a quality engine option and it’s one of the safest SUVs that you can pick up today. These are all things that families are going to be looking for, which is exactly what Toyota is banking on.

2018 toyota highlander

Industry Leading SUV Safety

There aren’t many SUVs on the market today that come standard with anywhere near the tech features that the 2018 Highlander can boast of. It comes packed with things like auto emergency braking and pedestrian detection to keep drivers out of trouble in a range of conditions. The car is fitted with adaptive cruise, lane control systems and auto high beams. All in all it was able to earn a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS and a five star safety rating from the FHTSA, making it one of the safest SUVs that you can buy today without spending a bunch on additional safety packages that aren’t included.

Large and Well Made Interior

The inside of the 2018 Highlander is well-suited to carrying around a bunch of kids from place to place. It packs plenty of cargo space in, there are ample cupholders, there’s a shelf for smartphones, there are hidden USB ports all over the place and the Highlander offers adjustable seating positions for the folks in the back. Overall it’s nice looking and very functional inside the 2018 Highlander. It boasts features like faux wood and a clean dash and console layout, but it’s not going to confuse too many people into believing they’re riding in a Cayenne or other upscale luxury SUVs.

Solid Performance

As long as you don’t make the mistake of getting the base four-cylinder engine, which isn’t strong enough to offer compelling performance when fully loaded up, you’ll enjoy the smooth and reliable drive of the 2018 Highlander. The V6 engine offers 295 HP and handles everyday tasks with ease. Thanks to the top-level 8-speed automatic transmission the SUV has no trouble speeding up, slowing down and taking on everyday driving tasks. It won’t feel sluggish and will actually be pretty satisfying to drive, but you have to pay to make the upgrade or you’ll suffer with the four-cylinder engine.

The 2018 Highlander has a lot going for it and it’s not too bad looking either. It’s not perfect though and serious off-roaders won’t want to push the vehicle too far, just like buyers after the sexiest looking SUV out there probably won’t be too satisfied either. Overall it’s worth a buy and it’s perfect for families looking for the space that it provides.

Toyota Vehicles are Some of the Longest Kept in 2017

May 25, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

Toyota is well known as being one of the most reliable brands out on the road, as well as a brand that holds its value exceptionally well, and both of those reasons probably have a lot to do with Toyota vehicles being some of the most longest-owned vehicles out on the road today. AutoGuide put together a list of the top 10 vehicles held by owners the longest, and Toyota managed to take 4 of those top 10 positions, which is really impressive if you stop and think about it. Among that list was the 4Runner, the Avalon, the Sequoia and the Land Cruiser with the Camry coming close to hitting the list but not quite making it. So why is it that Toyota vehicles are being held so long, and what about those top four is so special?

2017 Land Cruiser

Excellent Reliability

One of the main reasons that people replace their vehicles is because of mechanical problems and frequent maintenance. Toyota vehicles are known for being exceptionally reliable, which means that owners have fewer reasons to trade them in for something else. With Toyota vehicles holding on for longer than other models, buyers can continue enjoying their investments for longer without thinking about a costly upgrade.

The Four Toyota’s

  • 4Runner – The Toyota 4Runner is known for its reliability and it’s one of the most common SUVs that Toyota owners purchase. The vehicle doesn’t evolve too rapidly and owners aren’t as worried about the new tech features that come out.
  • Avalon – the Avalon was the only sedan to make the list of longest held vehicles with 8.8 years of ownership on average. It’s known for being the most upscale vehicle offered in the Toyota lineup and it offers a good mix of value, performance and reliability.
  • Sequoia – The Sequoia was kept by owners for an average of 8.9 years. It’s highly reliable, but there’s another reason owners held the vehicle so long, it hasn’t received a major update for nearly a decade and most owners don’t have a good reason to upgrade just yet.
  • Land Cruiser – The Land Cruiser topped the list with 10.6 years of average ownership among buyers. It has one of the richest histories of any Toyota vehicle and has been around in one form or another since the 50’s. Like a few of the other models on this list, it hasn’t received a major upgrade just yet, which is probably influencing the lengthy ownership figure.

If length of ownership says anything about the quality of vehicles, and we believe that it does, Toyota has some of the best vehicles out there on offer today. It’s known for being reliable, and we see that reliability coming into play with owners keeping their Toyota’s for longer than owners of other brands.

Toyota to Use Block Chain Tech for Vehicle Communication

May 24, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

The same technology that allows Bitcoin to be a viable currency around the world, could be just what Toyota needs to make self-driving vehicles a reality. At least that’s what the automaker and partner MIT now firmly believe.

Toyota Connected

Gathering the Necessary Data Quickly

Chris Ballinger, the director of mobility services and chief officer of finances at the Toyota research institute said it could take hundreds of billions of miles worth of human driving data in order to come up with a self-driving vehicle model that’s actually capable of handling all the common scenarios that you would encounter while out on the road. The main problem with that is actually gathering all that data without it taking an eternity to do so. One way to get hold of as much data as possible is through blockchain technology. The same tech that’s used to operate Bitcoin today. The massive dynamic ledger system could be used to gather driving data from all sorts of vehicles out on the road if implemented properly.

Using the Technology Immediately

Before Toyota begins using all the data collected from the blockchain tech for self-driving purposes, the automaker is going to utilize it in other ways as well. Toyota plans to use the technology to help create more effective insurance policies and insurance discount programs. Toyota also wants to use the technology to make ride-sharing more effective and to share trip data between vehicles within a fleet.

Involving other Automakers to Speed the Process

It’s important to note that Toyota does not want to keep the blockchain system of information gathering private, and instead wants to get other automakers involved as well. More user-data means more information for everyone involved. The more drivers are connected and sharing their data, the more quickly self-driving cars will become possible. That’s why Toyota is hoping to get other automakers connected into the blockchain network as well in the future.

Blockchain technology isn’t new, but it’s highly efficient for collecting data on a widespread scale, and it could be just the thing needed to make self-driving vehicles a reality.