We were very happy to hear that with the sunset of the Scion brand, Toyota was still committed to bringing the C-HR to our showrooms. We had the opportunity for a ride and drive last week in Austin, Texas of the new C-HR, and we think you are going to LOVE this new small crossover.
The C-HR (Coupé-High Riding) slots in just below the RAV4 in overall size and pricing, however, it is very roomy on the inside. The C-HR will be a front-drive only crossover, no all-wheel drive is available, it is offered with a 2.0-liter four cylinder producing 144 horsepower and 139 lb/ft of torque, and this is backed by a CVT transmission with seven simulated gears.
Perhaps in the past, you have experienced a CVT transmission where you put your foot down and the engine seems to rev to a point and never go beyond? With the CVT in the C-HR, that is mostly eliminated by the seven simulated gears. You get all the fuel efficiency of a CVT, yet it feels like a standard automatic transmission, it’s the best of both worlds.
In stop and go driving, and merging onto the highway, the C-HR has plenty of power so that you don’t have to worry about merging with oncoming traffic, nor getting away from stoplights.
On the road is where the C-HR really shines. Built off the same platform as the new Prius, it has a double wishbone rear suspension and SACHS dampers at all four corners. What this means to you is a very connected feeling to the road that is firm and well controlled while maintaining a pleasant ride quality.
On the inside, the quality of materials is much better that you would expect for the price point. There are plenty of soft-touch materials around, a rear vision camera integrated into the rearview mirror, a seven-inch touch screen display with Bluetooth and USB integration, dual zone climate controls on the XLE Premium trim, and a driver’s cockpit layout that will remind you of the Lexus IS!
Toyota is putting a premium on safety with the C-HR. Included as standard on all cars is:
- Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) – Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Electric Parking Brake (EPB)
- Star Safety SystemTM – includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology® (SST)
- 10 airbags — includes driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger and rear seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, front passenger seat cushion airbag, and front and rear side curtain airbags
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) includes lower anchors and tether anchors on
- outboard second-row seats
- Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) – XLE Premium only
- Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC)
- Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS). When the tire pressure drops to a critically low level, a light on the instrument panel alerts the driver.
- Child-protector rear door locks
The styling for the C-HR is a standout! It combines beautiful curves with diamond shaped angles. The more you walk around the car, the more interesting shapes you find, and they all flow together in a fun and sporty package.
In keeping with the Scion heritage, the C-HR does not have any options other than paint color. There will be two trim levels, XLE and XLE premium. Pricing for C-HR XLE will be $22,500 and for the XLE Premium $24,350, with $960 for destination and delivery on top.
Fuel economy for the C-HR is also very good for the crossover market, it is EPA-rated at 27 MPG City, 31 MPG Highway and 29 MPG Combined.
The C-HR will arrive in our showrooms in April, and we can’t wait for you to come in and take one for a drive.
In another effort to improve the planet and expand on its brand-new technology, Toyota just launched a fuel-cell bus. That’s right, the automaker put out a full-sized city bus that’s travelling around Tokyo picking people up and dropping them off. The bus is built out of components that are the same as the Mirai, it just relies on more of them to do the job. This is an exciting step for Toyota and for the planet. By getting hydrogen buses out there the company reduces fossil fuel emissions, proves that the technology is durable and reliable, and helps people become more familiar with hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Easy to Refuel
In order to demonstrate just how simple the bus is to refuel, Yuriko Koike, the Governor, showed up to put fuel into the bus. She had no issues doing so and it was ready to go after being fueled up.
Affordable to Ride
While you would have to pay around $57,000 to get your hands on the Mirai, you can get some experience with hydrogen fuel cell technology for just two Japanese dollars with this bus. That’s the fare to go for a ride on it, and you’ll get to experience one of the great future driving technologies.
Two of Everything
In order to make this beast of a machine move, Toyota had to install two of all the components into the bus, and the automaker put them into its ceiling. The fuel cell stacks, batteries and fuel tank are all mounted in the roof of the bus, leaving space down below for passengers to ride close to the ground. The two systems power two 113 kW electric motors that deliver about 310 HP together and get the bus moving around.
Already in Demand
Even though the bus was just released, there are already 100 orders pending for the buses to be used just in Tokyo. There are 60 additional orders for buses in other areas of Japan as well. That just shows the interest in hydrogen technology and it bodes well for the future of the tech as well.
The current bus is more expensive than a standard diesel bus, and it won’t last as long either. It’s expected to last about six years before requiring replacement parts which is quite a bit worse than the expected 20 years of most buses in use today. That’s something that Toyota is working on, and the automaker expects to get the cost and longevity in line with a standard diesel hybrid bus that’s in use today eventually.
There aren’t any orders from other parts of the world just yet, but Toyota looks forward to the day when it can expand hydrogen buses to other areas of the world and bring the technology to even more cities. It certainly won’t hurt the air quality efforts in other areas of the world.
Toyota is working really hard to make a name for itself for safety reasons. The automaker is already known for reliability and resale value, but a recent push toward active safety technology is making Toyota stand out for that as well. In 2018 the Toyota Tundra will be the first full-sized pickup on the market to come with automatic emergency braking as a standard feature. That means that every 2018 Tundra buyer can make use of that feature without paying any extra for it. That’s pretty darned cool.
Emergency automatic braking has been found to reduce the number of accidents around the road, according to the AEB. The tech looks out for obstacles on the road ahead and applies the brakes in order to slow the vehicle when something pops up ahead. The tech does two things. It alerts the driver that something is going on, and it starts the slow down process so the driver can safely come to a stop, or decelerate enough to avoid the obstacle.
That’s Not all There are Other Features!
The 2018 Tundra doesn’t just come with emergency automatic braking though, there are additional features too. It’s getting everything in what Toyota calls its Safety Sense-P package. This includes lane-keep assist, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise. If you decide to get the latest Tundra, you’ll enjoy all of those added safety features as well, making it one of the safest stock pickups soon to be on the market.
Toyota is extending this technology to many of its other models as well, and it’s something you’ll find on all the 2018 Sequoia models as well.
With cool added safety features becoming the standard, it will be easier and easier to pick up a good all-around vehicle from Toyota soon enough. Safety is one of the most important features that drivers look for when making a purchase, so it makes sense to build the best safety packages right into the base vehicle and stop making cost a factor when deciding whether to be safe or not.
In Japan the Prius Prime can now come with a solar roof that helps recharge the batteries every second the car is out in direct sunlight. That means while you’re driving down the road, sitting in a parking lot, or just waiting in traffic, the car is charging up and extending its electric range. This is an enhancement that makes the Prius Prime slightly more efficient and can help boost the overall electric range so that you don’t have to rely on fuel quite as much.
The Cool Solar Roof
This solar roof is produced by Panasonic, and it’s approximately three times more efficient than the older solar roof that came on some Prius vehicles. That probably sounds like a very nice improvement, and it is, but overall the roof isn’t going to give anywhere near the power to fully rely on just the solar roof to get around. It’s curved to match up with the look of the car, it’s designed to manage heat nicely and to stand up to everyday use attached to the top of the vehicle. It’s a pretty cool tech marvel in itself, and something that will hopefully begin showing up in more hybrid vehicles over time.
Will it Make a Difference?
This upgraded roof solar setup will make a slight difference on the total overall range that you get from the Prius, but overall the panel will likely only add about 3.7 miles to the total electric range of the car. That might not sound like much, but it’s added range every time that you go out driving, and the more the car sits in the sunlight, the more the battery will charge up. If nothing else, the solar panel will help keep the battery from dying while the vehicle sits, or for powering up accessories without draining down the battery unnecessarily.
Bringing it to the U.S.
At the moment, Panasonic isn’t able to bring its solar roof to the United States and use it on the Prius Prime. That’s because the panel isn’t yet capable of passing U.S. rollover tests. That’s an issue that the company is currently working on, but there is no timeline concerning when it could potentially offer that feature to customers.
Self driving vehicles are an important goal that most modern-day automakers are striving for, but there is one thing that’s standing in the way of many of these vehicle companies, strict laws to work around. Right now in the US there are different self-driving laws in each state of the country. These different laws make it very difficult for automakers to innovate, and Toyota, along with a few other companies are calling for more uniform laws. These companies understand that to have a chance to really innovate and create this new technology in a way that can be released to the public, laws have to cooperate a bit more.
States Keep Putting out Laws
More than 20 states have begun drafting, or already put out laws related to self-driving vehicles. States understand that the progress is coming, but they want to have a way to stay ahead of the technology and make sure that passengers and vehicle owners are all safe from these vehicles. It’s understandable that states want to regulate self-driving vehicles, but they have to be careful to avoid creating unnecessary barriers for automotive companies to try and get over. This is what’s happening currently because there are just too many different sets of rules that automakers have to follow. Companies like Toyota are making self-driving vehicles for the whole country, and it’s tough to do that when different states have different restrictions.
Both Political Parties are for Self Driving Vehicles
Both republicans and democrats recognize that self-driving vehicles have the potential to make driving a whole lot safer. There are currently more than 35,000 fatalities each year that are directly related to driving and it’s hard to turn down technology that could potentially change that figure. That’s why politicians express their support for the technology, they are just afraid that vehicles that aren’t actually safe will be released to the public.
Self-driving vehicles are expected to be the way of the future, and they’re exciting, but if lawmakers don’t take the time to change their laws, or try to come up with more uniform laws in between the states, it is going to be a long time before innovative companies like Toyota can release self-driving vehicles in the United States.
The Toyota Tundra was one of the most cutting edge, exciting and biggest full-sized pickups a decade ago. Over the years Toyota has stuck with the working formula and relied largely on an aging platform for it’s full-sized Tundra, while others have moved on. That means the Tundra isn’t as cutting edge today as it once was, but it’s still a capable machine, and it has reliability on its side where others do not.
Easy Low Speed Maneuvering
The 2017 Toyota Tundra CrewMax is equipped with a hydraulic power steering setup. This gives the wheel a light feel and makes it easy to maneuver overall at low speeds. Adjust the angle of the truck when hitching a trailer, taking sharp corners or backing out of a space are all pleasant experiences because of the steering setup that it relies on.
Simple and Pleasant Shifting
Many of the top modern-day trucks moving down the road today rely on advanced transmissions with as many as 9 or 10 gears. That’s not the case with the 2017 Tundra. It’s still rocking that 6-speed transmission, but that’s not a bad thing in this instance. While many of the newer trucks shift a little rough, or tend to get caught up in gears, this doesn’t happen with the rock-solid Tundra transmission. In fact, it shifts from gear to gear incredibly smoothly and still manages to direct just the right amount of power to the task at hand. So I guess Toyota said don’t fix what isn’t broken.
The Added Safety and Convenience Package
While the 2017 Tundra hasn’t picked up all the standard advanced safety features that Toyota is adding to its vehicles (that will come in the 2018 model year) there are several good quality safety features available if you are willing to invest in the $970 Safety and Convenience addon. This package adds rear parking assist, a front parking assist feature and cross traffic alerts.
Fully Roll Down Rear Window
Most trucks on the road today don’t even allow you to open the cab window, and the ones that do rely on a simple tilt feature that allows air to flow through, but not much else. The Tundra is pretty unique in this regard, because the window in the cab rolls down entirely. This not only improves air flow, but also allows you to put longer items through the window to extend the bed a bit if necessary.
While the Tundra might not be as up-to-date as some of the bigger names in the full-sized truck industry, it has something that many of the others do not. Lasting power. The Tundra is a rock solid truck that’s known for its reliability. It will keep rolling down the road long after many of the others are struggling or coming to their untimely deaths. That’s a major benefit of relying on the Tundra. You can rely on it to do all the work you throw at it without keeling over and croaking like some other vehicles might.
The 2017 Tundra looks a bit dated, it lacks some of the features offered by the other brands, but it’s a good value, it delivers in every area that’s important and it’s one of the most reliable of the bunch. If you need a good solid work truck to get the job done, there are few options that best the Tundra.
As of January 31 Toyota managed to sell more than 10 million hybrid cars to people around the world. That’s a major milestone that hasn’t been matched by any other automaker and we think that it’s a good sign for the future of the environment. The Toyota Prius didn’t start off as a popular vehicle and it took time to catch on, but now the name is almost synonymous with hybrid vehicles, and if you see a Prius rolling down the road you know that it’s an efficient ride. That’s something that Toyota is proud of and something that the automaker is trying to replicate with its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle as well.
An Early Start
The very first Toyota Prius came out nearly 20 years ago in 1997. Back then it was just an experimental vehicle and Toyota wasn’t sure if it was going to take off. Over the years the Prius has grown in popularity and it’s been the leading hybrid car all along.
The Benefits of Driving Toyota Hybrids
It’s estimated by Toyota that Toyota and Lexus hybrid owners have managed to keep 77 million tons of CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere by driving their cleaner and more efficient vehicles. Not only that, but the vehicles have saved about 8 million gallons of gas compared to driving around more average vehicles. That’s a pretty impressive feat, but it’s just a start to what Toyota, and many other automakers want to achieve now. Toyota will continue to roll out more efficient hybrid vehicles while it pushes ahead with new technological tools and features. It’s likely that we’ll eventually move past fossil fuels entirely, but until that time comes, the Prius will be an excellent option to consider when you want to use less fuel and drive around more efficiently.
It seems like all automakers are making the move from a V6 engine to a turbo-charged four-cylinder, well all but Toyota. The Toyota Camry is coming with a V6 engine as the high-power option, and that has a lot of people scratching their heads. After all, a turbo-charged engine offers the best combination of power and efficiency doesn’t it? Well according to Toyota, not always. The automaker has a few good reasons to stick with a V6 engine instead of switching over to a turbo. Even when switching to new engines entirely.
Appealing to American Customers
According to one rep from Toyota, the main reason that the 2018 Camry is still going to come with a V6 option is because that appeals to certain customers that shop for Camry’s. Dealerships are also fond of V6 engines because they help bring in more affluent customers than the standard four-cylinder engines do. That doesn’t explain why Toyota isn’t also offering a turbo four engine with a smaller displacement as well though. After all, the automaker is remaking its engine, why shouldn’t Toyota also offer up another option that buyers are interested in? According to Toyota it simply isn’t necessary.
The Standard Four is A Solid Option
Toyota claims that the improved four-cylinder engine that’s going in the 2018 Camry is edging up on the V6 engine and offers ample power. It’s highly efficient, with a solid displacement, excellent increased air-flow design and it’s nearly as good as an engine with turbo equipped. It just doesn’t make sense to make such a move, even if it is something that would make a few customers happy.
Building on a Winner
Another reason that Toyota is hesitant to go the route of the turbo four is because the automaker is making such excellent progress with standard four-cylinder engines. The latest Camry comes with a four-cylinder engine that achieves an excellent 40 percent thermal efficiency. That’s a figure that only diesel engines have been able to manage for a long time. The engine hits 41 percent thermal efficiency in the hybrid setup, and 40 percent in the standard setup.
Toyota hasn’t given all the specifics for the 2018 Camry vehicle yet, but there’s quite a bit of information out there already. The engine changes look promising, even if Toyota isn’t offering the standard turb0-charged 4 that we’ve come to expect.
The Toyota Yaris is a highly compact little car known for being efficient and low-cost, but never fast. It’s one of the slower vehicles out on the road today with around 106 HP as standard. That’s all about to change though with the introduction of a Yaris hot hatch. This little powerhouse will feature a very similar body style with nearly twice the power at 207 HP overall.
Shown at the Geneva Auto Show
Later this year Volkswagen will unveil the high powered Yaris model. It’s sure to have a high fit and finish and sporty accents that are present on all show cars, but what we’ll be most interested in is the overall mechanical setup of the vehicle and the major features that can’t change for the production model.
May Not Make it to the US
Toyota hasn’t released any plans about bringing the hot hatch to the United States, which means that we might never be able to get our hands on the improved version of the Yaris. If Toyota does decide to bring the car to the states, would you buy one? We know that a hot hatch appeals to plenty of buyers, but it’s tough to say how it will fare with some of the other options already sold throughout the US, such as the Volkswagen Golf R.
Technical Improvements to Full Yaris Lineup
This high-performance Yaris is based on the rallycross version of the vehicle, though it will be lower powered than the racing vehicle. Toyota claims that improvements to the Yaris won’t just go to the hot hatch variation though, and that sporty improvements will come to every model of the Yaris making the car more desirable to all buyers. The next generation Yaris is likely to come with both comfort and handling improvements as well as sporty accents that make the car stand out nicely. These are improvements that even buyers in the United States will enjoy, even if the high powered Yaris is never sold there.
If hot hatch vehicles appeal to you, the performance Yaris is one to watch out for. It’s bold and exciting and should be a pretty fun ride.
Buyers trying to figure out which fuel-efficient vehicle to pick up have a few different options to consider. They will have quite a few small car options to consider, but when going for a hybrid or electric option there are a few budget options that stand out more than the rest. The two major players are the Toyota Prius Prime and the Nissan Leaf when considering value and overall fuel efficiency. Both are capable vehicles but they are very different machines that serve different purposes. Below is an overview of the differences between the two to help you figure out which is right for you.
Long Distance Driving Winner
If you plan on traveling for long distances often, the Prius Prime is the obvious winner of the two. That’s mainly because the Nissan Leaf doesn’t have a gas engine at all. It can’t travel more than the 100 mile or so range that it offers. That means you will have to find a charging station and wait for the battery to charge up again before being able to continue on your trip if you want to go farther. The Prius Prime offers excellent efficiency, and can handle the long-distance trips that most people like to take in the US at one point or another.
Battery Power Champ
The Nissan Leaf is the clear winner if you want to rely on only battery power. It has a considerably farther range when on battery power alone. That means that you can probably take on your work commute every day with the leaf, while it might be a stretch with the Prius Prime if you want to use electric only power. The Prime has a range of about 25 miles, which is good for many people, but not enough for longer commutes.
While the Nissan Leaf looks like a really strong contender when you look at its range and power, it also comes at a considerably higher cost than the Prius Prime. The car will set you back about 9,000 more than the Prius Prime. For shoppers looking for an affordable driving solution, it’s hard to justify the added cost of the Nissan Leaf without a strong need or desire to only use the battery for driving. Instead many drivers will opt for the more affordable Prius when comparing vehicles. It’s important to look at local pricing though, as well as tax credits before deciding on the vehicle that you want to buy.
If you opt for one of the more powerful versions of the Prius Prime, it’s nearly a full second faster on acceleration from 0 to 60. That’s a pretty major difference and something worth considering if you merge onto highways often. The Prius Prime takes full advantage of that gasoline engine and uses it to boost highway merging speeds.
Both cars have a lot to offer but the option that’s right for you depends on what you are looking for. If you want the vehicle that’s going to offer the longest travel range on full-electric power, the Nissan Leaf is the clear winner. If you want something that’s going to travel more than 100 miles at a time, the Prius Prime is the winner. The Prime is also a lower cost vehicle and a bit faster at hitting highway speeds. The Leaf is a good solid option if you don’t need to travel more than 80 miles, and strong competitor if you don’t mind the increased cost.