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?
Drivers are more than happy with the comfort and the dependability of their Camry vehicles, but the one area that they complain about most frequently is performance. While the cars aren’t exactly sluggish, they aren’t light on their feet either and their fuel economy could also be improved.
Toyota is well-known for having industry-leading hybrid vehicles, but their vehicles that rely on plain old gasoline engines just don’t have the oomph or efficiency that some of their competitors do. This is all about to change according to a report that was released from Automotive News. In this report Koei Saga, the senior managing officer of power train development stated that the next generation of the Toyota Camry could be equipped with a turbocharged four cylinder engine instead of the standard V-6 that it’s currently using.
The New Engine
The new four-cylinder turbo charged engine will feature direct-injection and provide just as much power if not a bit more, while also being more affordable and more efficient. This is the same type of engine that is used in some competitor’s vehicles such as the Fusion, and the Hyundai Sonata, and it is one of the only edges that they have over the vehicle currently. By improving this small deficiency the Camry can become the most reliable vehicle on the market while also being one of the most efficient, enjoyable to drive and even more affordable than before.
The new engine will bring a variety of new enhancements to the table. It offers an improved high compression ratio for enhanced power and efficiency, variable valve timing systems and to make it possible for non-hybrid vehicles to run on the Atkinson cycle for enhanced fuel efficiency as well.
The engine that they are considering is the one that recently debuted in the 2015 Lexus NX 200t crossover. That same engine is being considered for the Camry, the Lexus IS 250 and maybe even the Toyota RAV4.
Fears of Customer Rejection
Saga state’s that Toyota is a bit concerned about how customers will react to the change from a standard V-6 to a more advanced turbo four cylinder engine, and Toyota may make both engines available in the beginning to figure out which customers prefer. They will be feeling out customers and gauging their reactions before making a firm decision about this engine change, but it seems like an excellent idea, and a good way to take care of the few deficiencies that the rock solid Camry currently has.
All together Toyota plans on releasing 14 different power trains in the coming year, and these new engines are just the start. Toyota is developing a whole new platform for their vehicles known as Toyota New Global Architecture or TNGA for short, and will be using this enhanced architecture to develop many of their vehicles in the future.
Toyota has finally announced more information about their eagerly awaited hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. In Tokyo City less than a week ago they showed off what the exterior of the new sedan will look like and also gave a price and an expected release date for the vehicle. The only catch, all of this information only pertains to the Japanese model of the car. Toyota spoke briefly about a tentative release date of a similar vehicle in Europe and the United States, but it’s not as firm as the Japanese model.
Hydrogen fuel cell is one of the newest and most exciting ways to power a vehicle, and now the people of Japan have a deadline for when they can start buying Toyota’s first commercially-available hydrogen-powered vehicle. They expect to release the car before April of 2015, and it is expected to be priced at 7 million Yen, that’s approximately $69,000 by today’s exchange rates.
A Long Time Coming
Even though many people have only heard of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in the last few years Toyota has been working on the concept heavily for the past 20 years, trying to develop the vehicle that they will be releasing soon. All of the time and effort put into this research put the automotive giant ahead of most automakers with this technology, allowing them to pioneer it much the same way that the Prius did for hybrid cars.
Improvements and Performance Expectations
Initially the fuel cell technology Toyota was relying on was not advanced enough to offer performance levels similar to a gasoline powered vehicle. Today Toyota says that’s not the case. Their current vehicle can travel up to 700 km (435 miles) on a single set of cells. Not only that but the refueling time for this vehicle is a mere three minutes, which is very comparable to gasoline vehicles as well. Now the only real hurdles left to overcome are getting up all of the necessary refueling stations to make travel with this vehicle convenient, and figuring out how to make these vehicles even more affordable. As long as fuel cell technology takes off as well as many people expect it to, these other issues will sort themselves out with time.
The Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Fuel cells are much more environmentally friendly than gasoline is because they don’t emit any pollutants during operation, and can be made using clean energy sources such as wind and solar power. They are also expected to be more sustainable than fossil-fuel-reliant gasoline is making them a great source of power for future generations. If you live in Europe or the US you’ll have to wait until sometime in the summer before getting a chance to own one of these beauties, and pricing information hasn’t been made available yet.
Toyota is doing a little extra for military personnel to show their support for the nation’s troops, and if you’re a soldier it might mean that it makes sense to shop on a Toyota or Lexus lot for this reason. Toyota is offering a $500 rebate for any of their new or certified pre-owned vehicles, to qualifying military personnel and recent vets. Lexus is offering a $750 rebate on any of their new vehicles or certified pre-owned models. According to Karen Ideno, the Vice President of Product and Marketing at Toyota Financial Services, this is just a way for Toyota to give back and thank their troops for all they do for the country.
More about the Program
The program has been in place since April of 2007, but at its inception it only covered active soldiers currently serving in the armed forces. Now it has been modified to also cover recent Veterans. As long as you have received an honorable discharge within the last year, you can qualify for the rebate making it a little easier to get the vehicle you want. Household members of the soldier also qualify for the rebate program as long as the soldier does, and are urged to take advantage of it as well.
“Toyota Financial Services is incredibly grateful to our troops, and strongly supports the Armed Forces,” says Karen Ideno. “An important part of that is to also support the loved ones who stand behind those service members deployed overseas. We hope this program makes life a little easier for them, and helps them get the vehicle of their choice.”
Take Advantage of the Rebate
In order to have this rebate applied to your purchase you have to provide a verifiable source of proof of military status, receive a qualifying salary for the vehicle and also be approved by Toyota or Lexus Financial Services for the purchase of the vehicle. As long as you can go through each of these steps it’s quick and easy to get the military discount.
If you or a loved one is currently involved with a branch of the Armed Forces, or were recently discharged Honorably, you should look into the program. This simple rebate is easy to get and makes a real difference on the price of the vehicle.
It’s good to see companies like Toyota giving back to the soldiers that protect this country, and this is a great example of that.
Throughout the past ten years or so Toyota has improved their partnership with Yellowstone National Park by making regular vehicle donations to them to help improve park conditions. It isn’t uncommon to see a park ranger hop out of a Toyota Prius, and it turns out that the vehicles are pretty idea l for the park conditions.
Dealing with Bear Jams
Traffic is often stopped up in Yellowstone due to bears blocking the road. When this happens visitors often become frightened and just sit still until they can begin driving again. With a Prius, a Ranger can drive up to visitors and help them out while leaving the vehicle idling. Not only does idling in a Prius not release harmful emissions that would be bad for the animals, but it also doesn’t burn gasoline, meaning that the Ranger can idle for a long period without worry.
A Variety of Donated Hybrids
Yellowstone now has a whole fleet of donated hybrid vehicles that they rely on. In 2004 they received four Prius to help out in the park, in 2007 they received a Camry hybrid, as well as a Highlander Hybrid. A year later the Toyota USA Foundation’s Leadership in Environmental Awareness for the Future (also known as LEAF) set aside a grant for Yellowstone providing a Highlander Hybrid, another two more Prius, two Tundra, as well as an additional $800,000 for child-based environmental programs. In 2014 Toyota added a Rav4 as well as a $50,000 donation to help with the Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
Lending a Helping Hand in Other Ways
Toyota didn’t just stop with vehicle donations or youth programs for the park though, their engineers also got their hands dirty by helping with the construction of the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. They helped the center get LEED certified, and even donated 1$ million to help with the construction of the center that opened in 2010.
Toyota is clearly concerned about the environment, and their many donations are helping Yellowstone thrive as one of the most notable national parks in the country. The three million visitors that attend the park on an annual basis, will be able to get up close and personal with some of the most impressive marvels of nature, and they may even see a bear or two during their trek around the park. Either way, they are sure to see Toyota’s presence in one form or another during their visit.
Toyota recently celebrated the 10 millionth vehicle produced at their Kentucky plant marking a major milestone over 26 years in the making. This plant is one of the major production centers for Toyota in North America and offers a great source of job security to the people of Kentucky.
During the ceremony the very first Camry to come off that Kentucky line was placed next to the 10 millionth vehicle which also happens to be a Camry. This is what Wil James, factory president had to say during his ceremony speech. Standing next to the first and 10 millionth Camry James states “Obviously, these two vehicles are worlds apart in many ways, but, at the same time, identical in others – particularly when it comes to craftsmanship and the care and love that went into their production.”
Toyota is proud of the team work and craftsmanship that goes into creating their products and they attribute their success to all of the hard work that goes into creating reliable vehicles at their factories. James remarks that the factory “is all about family, working together to make the best product for the customer.”
Perhaps that’s why Toyota vehicles have a reputation for reliability. Victoria Walker, a team member at the plant, owns a Sienna produced at her facility with over 300,000 miles on it. It says something special about the vehicles produced there when the workers responsible for them are willing to buy them and hold them for such an extended period.
What Happens to the 10 Millionth Camry
The very first Camry that rolled off the line in Kentucky was preserved to show team members what they could accomplish and to help them remember the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into each and every vehicle made. The 10 millionth vehicle, a white Camry hybrid, is not going to share the same fate. Instead a single team member from the company has the opportunity to win the vehicle through a blind drawing. One lucky member of the company is going to have this milestone vehicle and hopefully take great care of it. The blind drawing won’t occur until late into the summer.
About the Plant
This Kentucky plant has been open for more than 26 years now and during that time has produced a variety of vehicles. Today it is used to make the standard Camry as well as the hybrid version. IT also produces the Venza, the Avalon and pretty soon will be the only plant in the United States to produce a Lexus vehicle with the ES 350.
Today it provides jobs for over 7,000 team members currently and the plant will expand adding another 750 jobs when Lexus production begins.
During the 2014 Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles Toyota took the time to educate investors and interested parties about the challenges, the costs and the potential rewards for investing in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology. Toyota realizes all the challenges that come along with this technology and they still believe it is the automotive technology of the future that will be able to take gasoline’s place.
The Promise of Fuel Cell Technology
According to Toyota fuel cell technology should be able to replace gasoline technology without being any more inconvenient. After efficiency is improved and costs are reduced, people will be able to operate their vehicles relying solely on hydrogen fuel cells rather than gasoline or diesel. This technology should offer similar levels of power, a convenient refueling ability and benefits that many people are so used to with gas.
Motivating the Rest of the World
Toyota has already made a strong commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology and they are set to release a zero-emission fuel cell sedan by 2015, unfortunately for their endeavor to be an overall success they aren’t the only ones who need to be committed to the cause. This is the main reason that Toyota setup their panel at the 2014 Milken Institute Global Conference. By taking the time to explain the potential benefits as well as the challenges to the rest of the world, or at least everyone interested enough to listen, Toyota hopes to drum up some interest and get projects rolling for potential refueling stations and improvements in fuel cell technology in general. After all what good is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle if there is no place to refuel it?
The Milken Institute Global Conference
The Milken Institute Global Conference is an event planned to get the world’s greatest thinkers together to solve some of the most important problems that we as humans face. The conference has never been funded by an automotive company in its 17 year history until now, and that shows Toyota’s commitment to this technology and its success. Air pollution and dwindling fossil fuel reserves are both real issues that humanity faces, and that’s why Toyota’s topic was so fitting for the occasion.
The conference was moderated by Yossie Hollander, the chairman as well as co-founder of the Fuel Freedom Foundation, Joel Kurtzman, the executive director of the senior fellows program at the institute, James Cameron, the chairman of Climate Change Capital and finally Andrew Littlefair, the president of the Clean Energy Fuels Corporation. Between each of these esteemed moderators some great questions were asked and a lot of important information was distributed.
Toyota is responsible for getting over 6 million hybrid vehicles out on the road so far, and if anyone can make a new technology succeed it’s this automotive giant. Consumers should be on the lookout for hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2015 and wait to hear any additional announcements from the company.
For an overview of this report view the video above which shows Toyota’s talk at the Milken Institute Global Conference in its entirety.