Category: Toyota

The Toyota Parking Lot Sonar Technology Really Works

December 26, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Toyota is regularly coming out with new tech improvements to its vehicles, but one of the most beloved by customers recently is the parking sonar system. This system detects objects around the Prius as it moves through a parking lot. It’s proven to be highly successful at prevent collisions and helps drivers remain safe while out on the road.

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Major Safety Improvements

According to a survey performed in Japan between the months of January of 2015 and June of 2016, the Toyota parking lot sonar system, also known as Intelligent Clearance Sonar, help reduce parking-lot accidents by about 70 percent. That’s a huge safety boost and makes the feature something that everyone with a Prius should consider picking up.

What Does the Feature do?

The system makes use of two different sensors that both look out for obstacles at the rear and front of the vehicle. These sensors communicate with the smart system built into the car to let it know that there is an issue nearby. Once the Prius knows about the issue, it immediately engages the brakes to help prevent an accident, or at the very least reduce the severity of it. The system works at up to 9 MPH, and is pretty effective at helping drivers avoid most obstacles in parking lots.

Backing into Spots Has Never Been Easier

The sonar system makes it easy to back into parking spots that would have been difficult to navigate before. The system will pick up nearby obstacles while you back up, slowing the car if you are heading toward a curb, a nearby parked car or another obstacle like a wall. That means you can easily back up without fear of hitting an obstacle. The system also works with parallel parking, and there is an advanced parking assist feature that offers automatic parallel parking support so that you don’t have to deal with the task on your own.

Toyota is continually working on parking technology and should release new features and updates to the current ones as new technology comes out. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to realize just how effective the system is though, so give it a try before buying your next Prius.

The 2017 Toyota Prius is as Fun as it is Efficient

December 20, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

The Toyota Prius is recognized as an efficient vehicle, but efficiency isn’t the same thing as fun, fast or enjoyable. For that reason, for years only the most practical have picked up the Prius, but is all that about to change? According to recent reviewers, the 2017 Toyota Prius is quite a bit different than its predecessors. Not only is it highly efficient and practical, but it’s also a blast to drive around, or at least that’s becoming the common consensus. This car isn’t a high-performance sports vehicle by any means, but it’s not the sluggish econobox that it once was either. It’s a good blend of the two, and it’s something that’s growing on a lot of reviewers.

2017-toyota-prius

The Numbers

You probably already know, but I’m going to go over a few of the most important numbers for the 2017 Prius before talking about how it drives. It comes with a four-cylinder 1.8 liter engine and two motors to create a total of 121 HP to drive the vehicle forward effectively. All the power produced by the system is held in a 3.6 amp Li-ion battery pack, that offers acceleration at lower speeds when it’s most efficient. The car is rated at 54 MPG in the city, 50 on the highway and a blended MPG of 52 MPG, which is of course impressive. Okay, now the numbers are out of the way and we can get to how it drives.

The Driving Experience

I’m not going to dwell on the actual features of the vehicle for long, because most people already know that it’s efficient, or that it relies on a hybrid power setup to go from standing still to moving around. That’s not the story I’m interested in telling. Instead I’ll focus on how this little beauty handles, because that’s the exciting part.

The Prius relies on its electric motors to whir it into motion. These motors are highly efficient at low speeds and dramatically increase fuel efficiency by handling early acceleration, but they also offer plenty of torque. You’ll be amazed at how fast this little car takes off, and it does so nice and smoothly.

Sure it loses steam as you get into the higher range, but it’s not sluggish by any means. The Prius is a smooth rider that provides an almost tranquil driving experience as you glide along down the road. It blends regenerative braking with hydraulic disc brakes to create smooth stopping power that’s highly effective. The 2017 Prius is also remarkably light on its feet, this is largely because it’s a very lightweight vehicle at around 3,000 lbs.

The car offers exceptional viewing and decent maneuvering power thanks to well-positioned mirrors that give a nice full view of what’s behind you. This car is more than capable of dicing through rush hour traffic and you won’t have a second thought about speeding past some of the slower drivers that get in your way.

Sure the Prius isn’t the fastest car out on the road, but it’s far from the slowest either. It’s capable, comfortable and pretty fun to drive around, and it’s a worthy option for anyone that likes fuel efficiency and straightforward driving.

 

 

 

Toyota Plans to Give Hybrid Secrets Away

December 15, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , ,

Toyota is well known for having one of the best hybrid power trains on the market and for being the leader of hybrid vehicles overall. That’s all thanks to the long line of Prius vehicles sold by the automaker. While that accomplishment on its own is pretty impressive, it’s very cool to see what the automaker is trying to do with all research and development that went into the Prius drive train. Rather than holding it hostage at just the Toyota company, the automaker is actually planning on opening up the platform to other automakers as well. That probably sounds pretty crazy at first, but it’s actually a pretty smart move for the automaker.

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It’s a Solid Business Decision

Toyota already has the Prius brand backing its company and it’s not going to stop selling vehicles anytime soon. With such a large following, the automaker likely doesn’t need exclusive access to its hybrid powertrain in order to successfully earn profits and continue selling vehicles in the future. That’s exactly why the automaker is planning on opening up the powertrain to competitors. Because it could save Toyota huge costs in the future.

Make Production More Affordable

Toyota would continue to handle the research and development that goes into make a truly excellent power-train, but it would then share its findings with other automakers in the industry. By sharing specific details around its power-train, Toyota is generating additional customers for the parts suppliers that create the power-train components for Toyota. This could help lower costs over time.

Right now Toyota is the only company that makes use of these highly specific powertrains and the automaker is the only business that is buying from these parts suppliers. By being the exclusive purchaser of parts from the company, the company has to charge Toyota high prices. As soon as additional buyers come to the part supplier, they will be able to lower part prices substantially. Higher purchase volumes and more interest should make a big difference for overall parts prices, which will drive costs for Toyota down significantly.

It might still sound like a crazy idea to share its industry secrets, but Toyota is confident in its brand and the products that it has to offer. It’s this confidence that will enable Toyota to give away such valuable information and help out the entire industry in the process.

More Advanced Hybrids and EVs in the Future

By giving away all the secrets behind the Prius power train, Toyota is also furthering its own research. Automakers will likely build on the current technology and help speed along research and development. All that work and effort should help create an even more effective vehicle for the automaker and lower research, development and production costs substantially.

The 2017 Toyota Sienna is Faster and Smoother

December 13, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , ,

Most people that are considering a minivan have at least thought about picking up the Toyota Sienna. Its’ one of the biggest names out in the minivan marketplace, and it is known for value. Well now the Sienna just got even better, and there’s an even longer line for the 2017 model year version of this powerful minivan than there was before.

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More Power

The Sienna is known for being one of the most convenient and efficient minivans on wheels today, but it isn’t known for being one of the most powerful. All that is about to change with the addition of a more powerful engine into many of the 2017 model Siennas sold by Toyota. That’s because the 2017 Sienna is being equipped with a 3.5 liter V6 engine that produces a whopping 300 HP. By adding that powerhouse to the 3,500 lb. minivan, Toyota made it a whole lot lighter on its feet, and should have pushed it up near the top of the sector as well.

While the more powerful engine probably won’t appeal to owners that are looking for the highest efficiency levels overall, it is sure to appeal to drivers that want a bit more oomph out of their vehicles, or owners that want to be able to haul a bit more with that minivan. Minivans can be used to pull trailers around, and with this power increase the 2017 Sienna should be able to do an even better job at handling the task.

Best Transmission Yet

One of the major improvements that comes to the 2017 Toyota Sienna is the 8-speed automatic transmission. Toyota vehicles have long been criticized for having old-school transmissions with too-few gears. The older Sienna wasn’t quite as efficient or as smooth as the 2017 model, and part of that has to do with the transmission. This new and improved version should make the Sienna more enjoyable to drive around, and really add to its appeal overall for buyers that are looking for a top performer.

Top Reliability

Not only is the Sienna now more powerful and smoother during acceleration, but it’s still the same highly reliable minivan that buyers have come to depend on. While some competitors might have a few more features, 0r a bit more utility in some areas, the Sienna is king when it comes to maintenance costs and continuing to travel down the road again and again. That’s why so many people opt for this minivan even when there are cheaper alternatives on the market. If you are looking for a minivan that is going to hold up over time. The Sienna is a good bet that is worth considering.

Overall the 2017 Sienna offers much of the same value and bonuses that it always did, but now it’s a more powerful, more efficient and smoother operating vehicle than ever before That says a lot about the vehicle and makes it a good solid pick for future minivan owners looking for one of the best options available.

Toyota To Unveil New CES Car

December 12, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Toyota has big plans for CES in January 2017. Not only will the automaker unveil a brand new concept vehicle that should really show off the automaker’s plans for future autonomous vehicles and styling cues in general, but it will also be showing off a new framework designed to connect vehicles to telematics in a new way.

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The Concept Car

Toyota wasn’t willing to say much about the new concept vehicle, and the automaker certainly wasn’t showing off any new photos, but it did say that the concept car is focused around the idea of creating more pleasant UX displays for automated vehicles and robots. In other words, the concept is going to show off user interfaces for vehicles that drive themselves. You should expect to see some additional comfort features in such a vehicle, and it will be interesting to see what other features and design accents Toyota believes should be in a vehicle that is made to drive itself around.

Long Distance Data Transmission

It’s no secret that Toyota wants to collect data from its vehicles about driving. That’s the one way that the automaker believes self-driving vehicles could be possible in the future. That’s why Toyota is going to show off a new type of interface, or a new way to interface with vehicles and collect data over long distances. These features could be just the thing to ensure that Toyota vehicles bring in plenty of information for the auto owners, and they could also be just the thing that’s needed to make sure that self-driving vehicles are a reality.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, you can tune into the big event on January 4 in 2017. It is likely to be an exciting show, and one that is worth watching out for. Keep an eye on the big unveiling next month for a first look at Toyota’s new design concepts as well as this telematics system.

The 2017 Toyota Corolla iM is surprisingly Enjoyable to Drive

November 29, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

To anyone that says Toyota doesn’t know how to produce a fun vehicle, you probably haven’t tried out the 2017 Corolla iM yet. It’s lightweight, attractively styled, packed with cool features, and most importantly it’s quite enjoyable to drive around. This is the Toyota that you pick up when you want a positive experience, and it’s well worth the investment.

2017-toyota-im

Fun Driving Dynamics

For a vehicle that’s only packing a 1.8 liter engine, the 2017 Toyota iM is a whole lot of fun to drive around. This lightweight hatchback relies on a firm suspension, good steering mechanics and a very responsive stick shift manual transmission to make it enjoyable to drive around. It’s light on its feet and corners like a champ. You’ll find yourself wanting to spend increasingly long times behind the wheel of this little hatch, which is exactly what Toyota was going for during the design process.

It’s Practical

With seating for five, a pretty spacious rear hatch and tough cloth-covered seats, it’s hard to argue against this vehicle being practical. It will meet most needs of the average family, and it does so without costing too much money in the process. That’s pretty exciting for anyone shopping around for an enjoyable hatch to drive.

Well-Equipped

With a price tag of about $19,000 brand new, the Toyota iM comes packed with a surprising number of features. If you want to pick up a modern vehicle that doesn’t skimp on the special features, the iM is the option for you. It comes with a key-less ignition system as well as dual-zone automatic climate control. This little hatch also has a rear-view camera, leather wrapped steering wheel and a 7-inch touchscreen media display that accepts USB devices. Overall it’s a capable little vehicle that feels very modern and updated, without the high price tag that normally comes with tech features like these.

Safety is a High Priority

This vehicle also includes the new Toyota Safety Sense package as standard. This adds in exciting safety features like adaptive cruise and crash mitigation systems that look for issues on the road and apply brakes or rely on alarms to help keep you safe out on the road. This little Toyota is designed to maximize safety without costing you a fortune to do so.

Sure the iM isn’t for everyoune, it’s a bit more cramped than a standard sedan, and probably not the best vehicle for a larger family, but it’s a whole lot of fun and really a good value for what you get. How many other hatchbacks can you say that about?

Toyota Makes a Shift Toward SUVs and Away from Sedans

November 28, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

In the US Toyota is making a manufacturing shift in favor of small SUVs in favor of its sedans and hatchbacks. This change follows the American people and their desire for more truck-like vehicles instead of cars. It’s a simple strategic move to follow current trends and avoid producing too many vehicles that may not sell.

The Toyota C-HR
The Toyota C-HR

How Big of a Shift is Coming?

While production levels are currently around 50/50 levels for SUVs and sedans, that’s about to change pretty significantly. Toyota plans to produce around 60 percent SUVs and 40 percent sedans in the future years. That’s a pretty major shift for an automaker that puts out about 10 million vehicles each and every year. That means there will be thousands more SUVs and fewer sedans overall.

Why Not More Tacomas and Tundras?

It’s been all over the news that both the Tacoma and the Tundra are selling extremely well. So why would Toyota not ramp up production of these vehicles as much as possible? The answer to that question is that Toyota is already producing as many of both of those vehicles as the automaker possibly can. In fact, Toyota actually expects there to be a bit of a shortage of both the trucks in the coming year, because an upgrade to the factory that handles the vehicles can’t happen until late in 2017 at the earliest. That means, if you are interested in picking up a new Tundra or a new Tacoma, you might want to act quickly before they are all snapped up.

It’s tough to say if this trend is going to continue on in the future, but for the time being it’s the direction that Toyota is going to go in. When the Tundra and Tacoma factory receives a production upgrade the two vehicles should be able to meet demands more effectively and it will be interesting to see if Toyota can gain some market share through the increase in vehicles in 2018 and beyond.

Toyota works hard to keep up with industry trends, especially in markets like the United States, which is why it’s also investing in electronic vehicles for the future. Many customers are interested in buying quality electronic vehicles, and Toyota wants to be able to offer some of its own as well. It’s currently working hard to develop a few good quality models that run solely on electricity, and the automaker plans on reducing some by 2020.

The 2017 Prius Prime Might Be the Most Relaxing Hybrid Around

November 23, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

To some people there’s nothing better than the raspy roar of a powerful engine thrusting a car down the road at breakneck speeds. For others, power doesn’t matter so much, and the real winner is quiet. To all those people that just want a nice quiet and smooth ride it’s tough to find a better option than the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. This upper-class hybrid takes soundproofing, and reduced engine noise to a whole new level and it’s a truly relaxing experience to drive around in one.

2017-prius-prime

Driving without Engine Noise

It would be a mistake to say that the Prius Prime is always completely silent, because for much of it’s operation you’ll hear the slight hum of the 1.8 liter Atkins cycle engine chugging along in the background. There is the opportunity for almost complete silence though, and it’s available to you each time that you start driving the vehicle after a charge. Whether you’re trying to sneak away in the middle of the night, or you simply want to enjoy the savings that come with gas-free driving, there is a short-range full EV mode on this Prius, that makes it possible to drive around on battery power alone. It’s a cool feature, and while it’s activated you’ll find yourself wanting to check if the vehicle is even on as you sail down the road.

Excellent Soundproofing

Not only is the engine muffled nicely, but all exterior road noise is blocked out effectively as well. Even at highway speeds you’ll notice that the car is pretty quiet and you’ll be able to hear that song, that audiobook or have a quiet conversation with ease.

Comfort Materials

The seats are plush, the interior comes with soft-touch materials and there is plenty of sitting space for everyone within, especially the two people up front. The Prius Prime is designed for comfort, and if you value your comfort you’ll definitely enjoy riding around in this machine.

An Improved Hybrid

Not only is this one of the quietest vehicles that Toyota has ever developed, which is probably enough to sell it to many people. It’s also one of the best hybrids to date. This car is highly efficient, it has a battery that’s twice the size of its predecessor and it charges up in between 2 and 5 hours, depending on the cord that you use to do the job. Overall this little hybrid machine is a clear upgrade from the models that came before it, though the unique styling is something that might take some getting used to.

Whether you’re looking for a place to nap or you just want a way to save some cash while you block out the road noises around you, the 2017 Prius Prime is an excellent Toyota option and something that’s worth real consideration for anyone that wants a peaceful driving experience.

 

The 2017 Toyota Sienna Receives Major Changes

November 18, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

When you hop into the 2017 Toyota Sienna, you’ll enjoy a whole slew of positive changes that you might not have been expecting. It’s more efficient, more flexible, and offers convenience features that you wouldn’t have found on older versions of the minivan. We’ll take a few minutes to delve into each of these improvements, to give you an idea of exactly why you should consider the latest Sienna offering from Toyota.

2017-toyota-sienna

Overview of the 2017 Sienna

It’s still true that minivans aren’t very sexy, but that’s not really the point. The 2017 Sienna is a highly functional machine that does everything that larger families need it to. It drives comfortably and handles more like a car than a full-sized minivan. This vehicle comes with ample room for up to seven people to sit comfortably, and it has flexible seats that make carrying all your cargo a snap. Whether you’re taking a trip to the movies, heading over to the grocery store, or bringing your children camping, this minivan gives you the space and the features to get it all done comfortably.

Quicker and More Efficient

The latest Sienna is faster than before with improved acceleration, making those highway ramps just a bit more enjoyable than they already were. It’s also more fuel efficient, so you can take long-distance road trips and save some money along the way. Fuel economy figures are up to 19 MPG in the city and 27 on the highway. Pretty impressive figures for a minivan.

Improved Seating

The Toyota Sienna makes hauling cargo around easier than ever before. The middle row seats slide forward and fold down to create enhanced storage space. The rear seats fold down and out of the way. This gives you ample room for storage without the need to remove the middle seats at all.

Power Features

The Sienna also comes with a range of power features that make doing things like opening doors and adjusting seats simple and quick. The two slider doors open and close all on their own, making loading children in and letting them out easy. The lift gate at the rear of the van also opens automatically, which is another handy feature when carrying groceries or when your hands are full for another reason. Finally, the Sienna makes it easy to unlock doors. Simply hold the smart key up to any of the doors and it automatically unlocks for easy entry without having to push the button.

Overall the 2017 Toyota Sienna is a really capable vehicle. Sure it might not have the swagger that a sports car has, but it’s got all the utility that a family needs.

Toyota has Big Plans for EVs After All

November 11, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

Toyota has long been the champion of hydrogen fuel technology, and that doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon, but the automaker does seem to be sliding in a new direction when it comes to full electric vehicles. While it was once all about hybrids and hydrogen power, Toyota is now considering releasing full electric vehicles as well. It’s hard to say exactly why the automaker is having a change of heart, but it clearly is.

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The EV Plan

Toyota recently announced that it was planning on developing a few long-range EV vehicles for 2020 in a report put together by Japan’s Nikkei business paper. This is something that Toyota of a year or two ago wouldn’t have even considered, and yet today it’s something that the company is actively planning for. There are a few possible reasons why this is the case, and each one could tell us more about Toyota’s future.

Battery Advancements

One of the main reasons that Toyota was not behind EVs to begin with is because batteries simply weren’t ready for the technology. They weren’t reliable enough, they were not long-lasting enough and they certainly weren’t cheap enough. Some of those things have changed though, particularly reliability. Toyota recently announced that its engineers conquered lithium-ion batteries and figured out a way to make them safe and reliable. This is a tech that the automaker hasn’t used up until now, for fear of volatility. Now that Toyota is comfortable with the energy-dense tech, it’s possible to create long-range vehicles that otherwise wouldn’t have been feasible.

Hydrogen isn’t Taking off Fast Enough

Another possible reason that Toyota is pursuing EVs so readily could be that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles simply aren’t growing and expanding as fast as the company would like. Mirais have been selling from dealerships in California readily, but it’s still taking more time than expected to put together a hydrogen refueling infrastructure. If Toyota expects this infrastructure to take too long, it could be relying on full electric vehicles to bridge the gap, and to grab some added market share until hydrogen fuel cell vehicles reach full maturity.

Toyota has the Research

Some people might argue that Toyota is behind other companies such as Volkswagen, Tesla and Porsche, but that’s not necessarily true. Sure Toyota hasn’t released a full electric vehicle to the public, but the automaker has been incorporating electric drivetrain components into its vehicles for years. The Prius is a good example of plenty of research into electric vehicles, and the Mirai, is pretty much a full electric vehicle, it just relies on a hydrogen fuel cell stack, rather than a battery for its power. All this cumulative research comes together to create a pretty good pool of knowledge that Toyota can rely on to create something special for 2020.

Assembling the Team

Now that Toyota has decided to pursue electric vehicles, it’s putting together a task force to get to work on the project. As early as the beginning of 2017, Toyota is building a team that’s going to focus all its time on developing electric vehicles.

While Toyota was originally very against electric vehicles, it appears that we can look forward to some full EVs from the world’s biggest automaker in just a few year’s time.