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.
The Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in the industry for 12 years running and Toyota continues to build on that name each and every year. The latest iteration of their vehicle is a complete remodel that comes with some exciting and necessary changes. The Camry is well-known for being a reliable vehicle. Parents are happy to stick their kids in one of these sedans, and most motorists agree that the vehicles a good investment. That being said, many critics have argued that the Camry needs a bit more style. The 2015 Camry addresses some of those concerns with a restyling, while building on the reliability and quality it’s known for.
A Luxurious Interior
Toyota answered the concerns about an interior that was a bit bland with more luxurious styling. They added in a variety of soft-touch materials throughout the cabin, and upgraded the instrument panel to give it a modern look. The top-flight electronic design helps avoid distraction while driving and diminished driver stress as well for a better experience. Not only is the interior of the latest Camry roomier than ever before, it’s also quieter. Toyota engineers improved seals while adding insulation in the carpet and around the vehicle to make it whisper quiet while rolling down the road.
Improving on a Solid Frame
Toyota took the time to improve the frame of the new Camry by adding a series of spot welds and retuning the suspension. The end result is a more rigid vehicle that drives more smoothly and feels more responsive overall.
The latest Camry features an all-new exterior that gives it a sportier look. The car is longer, has a widened track and has a much more pronounced body line. These slight changes all come together to give the car a more imposing look than before. The car also features a larger more muscular bumper with a more pronounced trapezoidal grille that makes it look lower to the ground. This car will be available in 10 different colors. The car now features LED low and high-beams and stylish integrated turn signals. The tail lights have a distinctive sweeping form that makes them look more dynamic.
The Camry is a well-known family car and safety is of paramount importance. That’s why the Camry’s been updated with the latest safety features. Each model is equipped with the STAR safety system as well as an array of accident prevention measures. Adaptive Cruise Control helps regulate highway speeds and a blind spot monitor with a cross traffic alert makes changing lanes safer. Auto high beams alleviate the need to dim your lights while driving down the road and are extremely convenient to use at night. By taking care of little chores like that, the Camry is enabling drivers to focus on the more important tasks at hand.
Whether you’re looking for reliability, style or comfort the Toyota Camry has quite a lot to offer. Sure it’s not a racecar, but it’s still a vehicle that can be pretty enjoyable to drive around. All the new changes only serve to make it even more obvious that the Camry is a good investment, and we think that even the most critical of the Camry should give the 2015 model a chance.
Nine nonprofits ready to serve their communities will gather today to celebrate the 2013 100 Cars for Good philanthropy program. The charities will use their nine vehicles (seven Siennas and two Tundras) won through the program’s public voting to transport people, food and even musical instruments. Those same instruments will help veterans and at-risk youth find confidence and friendship through music education and performances, thanks to The Rock Club and Rock for Vets.
“These individuals are all struggling, but when you put them together, it’s something amazing,” said Frank McIlquham, founder and director of The Rock Club and Rock for Vets. “To win the Sienna is an honor and a one-in-a-million opportunity. We can move equipment, reach more people and perform further away – we can’t wait to get started.”
The nine organizations at Toyota’s headquarters today will showcase a slice of the many diverse causes selected by online voters every day between Oct. 1 and Nov. 19.
- A New Way of Life (Los Angeles): A re-entry program for formerly incarcerated women in South Central LA to support successful transitions back to the community (Sienna).
- Green Vets Los Angeles (Calabasas, Calif.): A vocational rehabilitation program that provides job training for veterans (Sienna).
- Honoring Our Fallen (Cypress, Calif.): An organization that provides direct support to families of fallen military members (Sienna).
- House of Ruth (Pomona, Calif.) A group that assists families victimized by domestic violence (Sienna).
- Mojave Desert Animal Rescue (Apple Valley, Calif.): A pet food bank and resource center for homeless pet owners (Tundra).
- New Directions for Veterans (Los Angeles): A resource organization for veterans and their families (Sienna).
- Operation Gratitude (Van Nuys, Calif.): A group that sends care packages to military members, their families, veterans, caregivers and first responders (Tundra).
- Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging (Santa Clarita, Calif.): A senior center that provides meals, transportation and other assistance (Sienna).
- The Rock Club and Rock For Vets (Signal Hill, Calif.): A musical education group for at-risk kids and veterans (Sienna).
Winning nonprofits chose among the Toyota Highlander, Prius, Sienna, Sienna Mobility or Tundra, which come with a six-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty from Toyota Financial Services. To see the full list of winners, visit http://www.100carsforgood.com.
For Los Angeles-based A New Way of Life, passengers in the new Sienna will include women recently released from prison headed to a safe home, appointments and interviews to build new, productive lives.
“On behalf of A New Way of Life Reentry Project and the women we serve, I am so pleased to receive a Sienna to transport our women and children comfortably and safely,” said Susan Burton, founder and director. “Toyota 100 Cars for Good, thank you for making this possible, and thank you to all those who were inspired enough by our mission to vote for us.”
Hundreds of Toyota associates will attend today’s event, along with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) CEO and President Kazuo Ohara. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and learn about the local charities and are encouraged to get involved with causes that move them.
“Meeting these inspiring organizations brings to life the real impact these Toyota vehicles will have in communities right in our own backyard,” said Michael Rouse, vice president of diversity, philanthropy and community affairs for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “We are proud that 100 Cars for Good will help these community leaders and the other 91 winning nonprofits around the country reach new heights. There’s no better way to finish off the third year of this successful philanthropy program.”
Since 100 Cars for Good began in 2011, Toyota has provided 300 vehicles to voter-selected organizations and nearly $1 million to the 950 organizations who were runners-up. To learn more about 100 Cars for Good, visit www.100carsforgood.com.
Toyota Motor Corporation announces the start of consumer trials of the “i-Road” personal mobility vehicle in the Greater Tokyo Area. The limited trials, which aim to gauge the effectiveness of the electric vehicle in everyday situations in urban areas, will run from March 24 through early June.
The i-Road offers a novel riding experience, combining the convenience of a motorcycle with the comfort and stability of a car. The i-Road to be used in the consumer trial in Tokyo is based on the model shown as a concept at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013, but is now available in five colors and features improved visibility, ease-of-use and maneuverability.
Toyota will provide ten vehicles to approximately 20 test participants, ranging from members of the general public to trend and industry experts. Feedback will be collected concerning driving feel, user satisfaction, ease-of-use in urban areas, and impact on destination choices.