Category: Toyota

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.

The 2017 Corolla is One of the Safest Budget Cars Available

May 10, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

The Toyota Corolla has long been one of the most popular family sedans in the United States, and the 2017 version of the vehicle rolls out enough new features for that trend to continue on into the future. While the latest Corolla doesn’t offer the exciting driving dynamics that you would find behind the wheel of a sportier vehicle, it does pack a whole lot of functionality and safety into a pretty affordable purchase. In fact, if you were to write down all the standard features that come in the 2017 Corolla, you would be hard-pressed to come up with any other vehicle in the price range that can compare in terms of safety or tech.

2017 toyota corolla

Top Level Safety

One of the best features of the 2017 Corolla is all the safety tech that comes packed inside. The sedan comes equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense system as standard, so you get a bunch of preventative safety tech tools without having to pay extra for them. What that means is you’ll enjoy auto high beams, adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking, a forward collision warning system and lane departure and lane keep assist. All these features will help ensure that you remain safe while out on the road and that most of the common causes of accidents are stopped before they can end up causing a problem at all.

New Enhancements

On the outside of the Corolla you’ll see that the front-end of the vehicle has been redesigned for an all-new look. The interior is also changed notably. There’s a remodeled instrument panel with a more modern look to it. The Corolla also comes with a new set of climate controls. Overall things aren’t too different, but most of the changes to the Corolla are enhancements.

A Comfortable Family Sedan

The Toyota Corolla prioritizes being a family vehicle over everything else. It offers more rear legroom than other sedans in the class, it offers more comfort features than most as well. There is an excellent amount of trunk space, making it easy to pack in important luggage for family trips or camping excursions.

A Real Budget Vehicle

The Toyota Corolla is the ideal vehicle to purchase when on a budget. With a starting price around $19,000 it’s hard to find another brand-new vehicle that’s outfitted as nicely in the price range. Even the top-end XLE that features a 7.0 inch Entune infotainment unit, heated front seats, a power sunroof and a smart key is available for just over $24,000. No matter what grade of Corolla you decide on, you’ll enjoy an affordable price tag on your purchase.

The 2017 Corolla isn’t for everyone. It isn’t a sports car, it doesn’t get fuel economy like the Prius, but it does offer top level safety features, a good set of tech features, and huge rear seating room, and it does all that on a budget.

Toyota Sets the Land Speed SUV Record with its Land Cruiser

May 9, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , ,

One of the last brands that you might expect achieved a top speed world record this year and they did it using a Toyota Land Cruiser. That’s right, an enhanced Land Cruiser managed to take the top SUV land speed record, by traveling well over 200 MPH down a nice flat runway. This was a pretty impressive feat, and should bring attention to Toyota SUVs, but what’s more impressive than getting the record is how well many of the stock Land Cruiser parts held up during this achievement. While Toyota did make some pretty serious modifications to the power train of the SUV, the actual chassis received less attention and it held together just fine for the test.

2000 HP Land Cruiser

Not Your Average Land Cruiser

Toyota didn’t achieve this impressive feat by using a stock Land Cruiser, so don’t head out to your local air strip hopping to do the same with the model sitting in your garage. Pretty extensive modifications were made to the SUV in order to allow it to top over 200 MPH and get that speed record. For starters Toyota beefed up the powertrain with the addition of two huge turbochargers as well as some other enhancements. This bolstered the vehicle’s power from 381 HP to a massive 2,000 HP. That’s the change that largely made it possible for the Land Cruiser to hit 230 MPH, but it wasn’t the only enhancement that needed to be made.

Toyota also dropped down the Land Cruiser, making it lower to the pavement to reduce air resistance. The SUV also received modifications making it possible to attach wider wheels for improved traction and enhanced acceleration. Other than those major changes the Land Cruiser relied on most of the same parts to do the job.

Achieving the Record

Toyota brought the modified Land Cruiser out to the Mojave Air strip in California to take advantage of the 2.5 mile runway. This is where NASCAR driver Carl Edwards broke the record. He climbed behind the wheel and managed to get up to 211 MPH on his first attempt. After that first attempt engineers enhanced the turbocharger further for added boost and Edwards managed the 230 MPH top speed that beat the world record, putting the Land Cruiser at the top.

Bentley Holds the Unmodified Record

Even though Toyota nabbed the record for the top SUV speed overall, it didn’t manage to take the unmodified record. Bentley holds that with its Bentayga that has a total top speed of 187 MPH.

While the Toyota Land Cruiser is a very capable machine that’s obviously durable, it doesn’t sell that well for Toyota. With less than 4,000 models being sold throughout the US in 2016, there are many drivers missing out on this beast of an SUV. That’s probably due in large part to the $84,000 price tag attached, but you get what you pay for, and you get quite a lot with the Land Cruiser.

Toyota is Considering Natural Gas Fuel Cells

April 25, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

By now most people have heard of hydrogen fuel cells being used in vehicles like the Toyota Mirai to move them around the road without utilizing fossil fuels to do the job. This technology is pretty cool, and it works surprisingly well, but so far it isn’t’ all that practical on a wide-scale. That’s because hydrogen isn’t widely available just yet, and it could be quite a while before there are enough hydrogen refueling facilities to keep cars running all over the world. That’s one of the reasons that Toyota has been toying with the idea of a natural gas fuel cell instead.

Natural Gas Fuel Cell

A Natural Gas Fuel Cell

Just like the hydrogen fuel cell, a natural gas fuel cell would be used to generate electricity to drive a vehicle down the road. The main difference is that it will use natural gas rather than pure hydrogen. The natural gas would be split into hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and both substances would be used to generate electricity for the vehicle. The fuel cell stack on its own will generate electricity at around 53 percent efficiency, but by putting a heat reclaimer in the system Toyota is able to reach efficiency levels around 65 percent, which is better than its current hydrogen fuel cell.

Not as Helpful to Climate change

One of the major criticisms of this new technology is that burning natural gas is not as good for the environment as hydrogen fuel could be if it was produced using renewable resources, and that’s absolutely true. AT the moment hydrogen isn’t being produced with renewable resources though, and it’s being created with fossil fuels. In other words, relying on a natural gas fuel cell over a hydrogen fuel cell could actually be better for the environment currently. That’s because natural gas contributes less to climate change than gas or diesel fuel does. Making the switch to another fossil fuel might not seem like the right move to help mitigate climate change, but at the moment it’s a step that actually makes quite a bit of sense.

Maybe Not for Vehicle Use

While Toyota is experimenting with this new technology, at the moment it only seems like it’s destined for businesses and residential use to generate power for local energy needs. It isn’t being tested for vehicle use just yet, and it’s possible that the tech will never be used in vehicles. Even still, it’s interesting to look at different technologies and ways of doing things.

The 2017 Toyota Prius is Named the World Green Car

April 13, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Most vehicles out on the road today aren’t considered environmentally friendly, but that’s all about to change with some help from Toyota. The automaker is hard at work developing vehicles that use less fuel and drive around while producing fewer pollutants, which is exactly why the automaker received the World Green Car title for the second year in a row. It’s a pretty major achievement, and something to be proud of.

The 2017 Toyota Prius

Choosing the Prius Prime

It wasn’t simple deciding on the Prius Prime, there were several quality options to consider when making the decision. A total of 12 different vehicles from around the world were considered. When making a decision, things like fuel consumption, tailpipe emissions and the level of technology in the engine were all considered. These considerations helped the reviewers decide which vehicle was most worth rewarding and it was a model from Toyota yet again.

During the review process, a set of 75 automotive journalists from 23 different countries were asked to come together and judge the different vehicles being considered. It was only after through research and deliberation that the Prius {rime was determined to be the most environmentally friendly production vehicle sold in 2017. It’s an exciting victory and something that Toyota is undoubtedly excited about. This is what Jack Hollis, group vice president of the Toyota division had to say about the award.

“It is a great honor to see the Prius Prime named the World Green Car,” “For global automakers like Toyota, this award is a testament to our focus on developing products that both stir the emotions and meet the mobility needs of our customers in all corners of the world. “

Two Years in a Row

In 2016 Toyota received the very same award for its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. That just goes to show that the automaker is interested in awards and achievements and in alternative energy vehicles. The cars are both well-known for being positive changes for the environment, and that could be exactly why they both qualified for the award.

Toyota Relies on AI To Find New Battery Technology

April 7, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

Toyota is on a quest to come up with the most effective materials for storing energy. It needs these materials for its electric vehicles, otherwise it could take decades to come up with new products for its batteries. Unlike many companies that go through massive rounds of trials and tests to come up with new materials relying heavily on scientists, Toyota is making use of artificial intelligence and computer simulations to speed up the process. Toyota isn’t going to do all that on its own though, it will involve several universities as well as British materials company llika to come up with the necessary resources to find new materials effectively.

2017 toyota prius

Making a Major Investment

Toyota believes strongly that new materials can unlock a lot of paths that the automaker wants to go down. That’s exactly why the company is investing $35 million into the team and the research that it’se conducting All that hard work could pay off nicely over time and give Toyota the technology that it needs to produce something particularly exciting.

The Next Step

In order to maximize the material options available as soon as possible, the team working with Toyota (made up of Toyota Research Institute, MIT, the University of Michigan, Stanford University as well as llika) will put together its data sources and collaborate in efforts of machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer modeling to come up with answers. Not only is the team looking for new materials to use for more effective energy storage for batteries, but it’s also looking for a new catalyst other than platinum for the Toyota hydrogen vehicles. This would make vehicles like the Mirai notably more affordable overall, and it will solve the issue of a platinum shortage that will be difficult to overcome when trying to mass-produce the Mirai.

While these efforts are still in their early stages, Toyota is hoping to use this partnership to forge new technologies over time, but it’s not expected to be a magic bullet that is going to solve all the automaker’s problems either. Computer simulation can’t solve every issue, but it can help bring together existing technologies in new ways to make exciting enhancements that the average person would have overlooked.