Toyota recently announced the pricing and a more details about their TRD package for the 2015 Toyota Tundra as well as their other performance vehicles (the Tacoma and the 4Runner) for all you off-roaders out there. The package provides a range of performance and aesthetic enhancements that make this rugged truck a whole lot more fun to take out on trails and into the woods. This rugged pack was designed by the expert engineers who work at Toyota Racing Development and it’s built using the same technology that goes into many of the tough off-roading race cars the team competes with regularly.
Getting the Package
If you decide that you want this off-roading package you need to purchase the four-wheel drive version of the Tundra and have it added on. The package will also be available with the Tacoma and the 4Runner later on. Getting this package is essentially the same as getting one of the specialty trim packages of the Tundra and you have to special request it at the time of ordering.
What All the Vehicles Get
Each of the TRD performance vehicles in the Toyota lineup will receive advanced Bilstein shocks, TRD-tuned front springs, a unique TOYOTA badged front grill, special TRD floor mats, TRD shift knobs and black TRD alloy wheels. The Bilstein shocks come equipped with a remote reservoir allowing them to hold more oil which increases the total suspension travel possible making the vehicles more effective in very rough conditions.
Exclusive Tundra Features
Although each of the TRD models come with many beefed up features some of the nicest features are exclusive to the Tundra model. The vehicle is equipped with a TRD badged front skid plate to help protect against rocks and debris. It also comes with specially tuned springs that provide two inches of lift to the front of the vehicle for added clearance. The all-black wheels come with Michelin off-road tires designed specifically for the Tundra making them highly effective while off-roading.
On top of all the performance enhancements this special Tundra also comes with some aesthetic upgrades to enjoy. It’s equipped with PRO stamping on the bed of the truck, a special interior seat color and a TRD Pro custom instrument panel. This truck has halogen headlights fitted with black sport bezels, and it comes with a TRD dual exhaust system making the truck more audible and aggressive sounding.
The Tundra TRD pricing was announced as starting at $41,285 at the double cab level and $43,900 if you decide you want the CrewMax cab instead. It isn’t available at the lower cab levels.
If you decide that you want a more rugged version of the Tundra the TRD package offers a lot of performance value for the price. Sure you could pay for an aftermarket kit to enhance your truck yourself, but it makes sense to leave it in the hands of the company that created the original vehicle to enhance it as well. The resulting vehicle is more rugged, more capable and more fun to drive around.
Consumer Reports recently did a comparison of the top SUVs out on the market today to determine the best models based on weight class and size. The Toyota Highlander came out on top for the mid-sized SUV class thanks to a long list of features and impressive performance figures cited by the company. Read on to learn what Consumer Reports found so enchanting about the 2014 Highlander, and why it might be a good SUV to take a look at some time in the future.
One of the main reasons that the Highlander received the vote form the editors at Consumer Reports was because of its impressive level of performance. The hybrid version of the vehicle achieved a very high level of fuel efficiency at 25 MPG while still maintaining power and being able to pull up to 3,500 lbs. behind it. Even the standard V6 version of the vehicle managed to get 20 MPG helping it beat out plenty of the competitors.
Smooth Handling and Enjoyable Features
Compared to many of the other test subjects that Consumer Reports looked at the Highlander had better handling. It felt like a steadier ride while dealing with several different terrain types and experienced less body roll around corners. This made the Highlander feel like a more solid and stable option than most of the competitors.
On top of the impressive handling, the critics were also impressed with the infotainment system because of its ease-of-use. Most brands focus on cramming in as many features as they can into a vehicle without worrying about how difficult they will be to access, but this isn’t the case with the Highlander. It comes with plenty of useful features, but they are all very easy to access and make use of. The system also sports reliable voice controls making it easier for drivers to get the information they need safely while driving.
Beating out the Competitors
The Toyota Highlander was up against some very tough competitors and still managed to come out on top. It was tested against the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban as well as the Ford C-Max. Each of these SUVs was rated as “Very Good” by Consumer Reports but the Highlander still managed to beat them all out thanks to its unique blend of quality features.
After going through all the perks that Consumer Reports lists off there is no question of why they chose the 2014 Toyota Highlander as the best mid-sized SUV out of all their test subjects. It just combines the best set of features together to create an extremely enticing package overall. If you’re interested in picking up a new SUV the Highlander is a good model to check out. Not only does it have the enjoyable features listed above, but it’s known for its high resale value and its reliability.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra has been getting a lot of positive feedback since it was released, and after taking a look at the vehicle up close it’s easy to see why that is. This massive vehicle is designed for convenient hauling and comes with additions that most truck owners would kill for.
The cargo bed
It’s clear that Toyota put a lot of work and thought into the cargo area of their mammoth truck. It comes equipped with a series of tie down loops and cleats that will make holding a variety of cargo items secure simple. It also has a unique area designed to accommodate 2×4 boards to create a nice shelf for additional storage. The tailgate slowly lowers once released from the upward position until it is gently resting at the bottom. The cargo area is even lit for nighttime loading and unloading projects.
The Toyota Tundra comes in a variety of cabin types, the SR is a work vehicle, the SR5 can be either work vehicle with the Crew Cab or a family/work hybrid with the double cab, and the platinum and limited editions can go up to a CrewMax which provides even more interior space. The Double cab is a nice in-between option that provides plenty of space for hauling, but enough room for four adults or two adults and four children to sit comfortably.
The Inside of the SR5 Double cab is utilitarian with ample plastic and vinyl throughout, but it’s comfortable and still has a classy look about it. The two tone styling makes it a bit more appealing to look at. The center seat up front can be folded down providing a massive storage space for driver and passenger convenience. This space is big enough to hold two full sized cups and a variety of electronics and accessories.
The rear bench seat is designed to fold up vertically, providing a high amount of storage space for whatever you want to keep out of the elements. The rear window opens manually, providing an area for laying extra-long boards into the bed of the truck without dangling them off the back. It also provides a nice breeze while driving. The seating layout of this double cab is designed with tall people in mind and will accommodate four adults over six feet comfortably.
Tech Savvy Interior
The simple work trucks of yesterday are nearly gone for good, and this Tundra comes packed with useful tech features. Not only does it have a touchscreen display with Bluetooth connectivity, but it also has built in navigation and a smartphone connectivity with additional apps for listening to internet radio or setting reservations. It also comes with a convenient backup camera
The Tundra comes with at three different engine options with a 4.0 l V6, a 4.6 L V8 and a 5.7 L V8. Each is suitable for everyday driving but I’d recommend the 5.7 liter for any towing needs you have. beefy 5.7 liter V8 engine providing 361 HP. It’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly from gear to gear without complaint. The springs make this truck bounce a bit over bumps but that’s to provide enough lift for a heavy load to glide smoothly down the road. The Tundra is built for work, and it only gets 13 MPG in the city and 17 on the highway for a combined rating of 15 MPG. The Tundra is capable of towing up to 6,800 lbs. standard, which is enough for most people, but the Limited trim levels and up can be upgraded with a towing package enabling up to 10,000 lbs. of pure towing force.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra is a powerful workhorse designed for hauling heavy lumber, but it will accommodate several passengers comfortably as well. Just don’t expect this vehicle to get good gas mileage, but who expects that from a full-sized truck anyway?
The Toyota Venza is an interesting blend between a sedan and a crossover making it both a highly capable driver and an all-around excellent vehicle from a utility standpoint. The 2015 Venza adds in a variety of new changes that will both excite and intrigue prospective buyers, but with all the new changes the vehicle just offers more of the same high utility fun.
The latest Venza comes in four cylinder and six cylinder models and offer 182 or 268 HP prospectively. Each of the vehicles relies on a smooth six-speed automatic transmission that offers acceptable shifting speeds. The vehicle isn’t overly powerful, but its fitted with an all-wheel drive system that makes it very capable on both wet and dry surfaces, and it’s capable of towing up to 3,500 lbs. making it an ideal vehicle for family trips. The Venza gets acceptable fuel efficiency levels with 22 MPG combined in the lower power version and 21 combines in the V6.
The inside of a Venza has a nice modern appearance, but it’s not overly flashy. This understated vehicle goes for a classy look and relies on neutral upholstery with black, chrome, and wooden accents for a nice look. The one major benefit of riding around in the Venza is that there is ample room for up to five adults to sit comfortably. The higher-up positioning of the Venza also improves road vision while making it easier to get in and out of than your standard sedan would be. In the rear of the Venza you get a massive storage space for grocieries, camping gear, or anything else you might want to carry along with you. If you need even more space you can fold the back row of seats into the floor. Even though the Venza is a great utility vehicle it lacks many of the soft touch accents that would make it feel like a luxury model. Hard plastic is used regularly and it feels more utilitarian than luxurious, even though it looks quite nice.
Driving the Venza is like driving a more capable sedan. It grips roads tightly and goes around corners smoothly. It doesn’t have a lot of power, and the steering is a bit soft, but rides are very comfortable and drivers will feel quite confident driving in most conditions thanks to the quality all-wheel drive system employed.
The 2015 Venza comes with a memory system that allows stored seat position profiles for multiple drivers. It supports Bluetooth technology and comes tandard with an auxillary port for listening to mobile devices. It also comes with a radio with an LCD display that is upgradeable to the advanced Entune app and navigation system. Each of these vehicles comes standard with a rearview camera, and blind spot mirrors help add to the safety as well.
The 2015 Toyota Venza isn’t the sexiest vehicle on the road but its one of the most capable. It offers plenty of space, provides acceptable fuel efficiency levels and comes with all the features that most drivers need to travel comfortably. It’s a good value vehicle and might be a good option for someone who wants a vehicle larger than a sedan but smaller than an SUV.
If you thought the Guinness World Record for the longest drift of 51.3 miles set by a driver in a BMW was impressive, you’re about to be astounded by the latest record set while driving a Scion FR-S, also known as the Toyota GT86 in Turkey the country the record was set.
Over the course of 2 hours 25 minutes and 18 seconds Harald Muller skidded around his tiny .15 mile track for a total of 89.55 miles. In order to achieve this astounding record Muller had to squeal around the track for a total of 612 laps showing a true level of endurance and the reliability of a Scion FR-S. The record was set in Samsun Turkey on a course that was wet down by a significant amount of water to keep the tire traction low.
Smashing the Old BMW Record
The BMW record was set at the BMW Performance Driving School in South Carolina using an M5. To achieve their record a specialized skid pad was set up on the course in order to bring the record back to the USA. Now it seems that the record has left the states once again and it’s going to be a tough feat to beat.
Why the Scion FR-S?
The Scion FR-S is an obvious choice of vehicle to try to set the drifting record with for a number of reasons. First it is rear wheel drive and packs enough power to burnout without a problem. It is also a well-balanced vehicle and designed to be easily tune-able. Finally this car relies on a limited slip differential making it possible to get the car set exactly how you want it for effective drifting.
All of these useful elements came together and allowed Muller to set a new record that will probably hold for quite a while.
Sure drifting is still pretty new and there are bound to be more records set in the future, but drifting around a track for over two hours is impressive no matter how you look at it. In the video the Scion FR-S shows its true colors as a reliable and powerful vehicle, that just happens to be really good at drifting as well.
Toyota is planning on releasing an all-new Yaris in a few years from now, but up until that point drivers will be rewarded with a major facelift of the current model. Toyota has taken its time going over the model and improving upon the little things in an effort to make the already enjoyable driving experience even more so.
One of the major changes that Toyota made with the latest Yaris lineup is enhancing the vehicle’s comfort level on the inside. The seats were revamped for added comfort making the vehicle more ideal for longer drives. Although the interior retains a very familiar layout soft-touch materials have been added throughout for a more luxurious and enjoyable experience.
The New Aesthetic Appeal
Toyota states that they’ve injected the latest Yaris with a distinct “European Flavor” and it’s no wonder that they took this route since the Japanese Automaker sells more Yaris models in Europe than anything else. The vehicle has a more distinct look than before with a large black grille with upper chrome accents. It comes with redesigned alloy wheels, and a variety of styling cues taken from the Auris and the Rav4 to give the vehicle sharper edges.
Toyota decided to retain the current Yaris engine so it still puts out 106 HP, but they did make changes to the suspension as well as the soundproofing in the cabin. The new Yaris is designed with a retuned suspension and a more rigid body overall. The enhanced rigidity should improve the ride quality of the vehicle while making it more responsive and fun to drive. Toyota also added more insulation on the interior to help with outside noise. This should make the cabin more enjoyable to ride in and patch up one of the few complaints that customers have with the Yaris.
The latest Yaris will retain its fuel economy levels and is expected to get about 32 MPG in automatic models and 33 MPG combined in manual models. Much of the rest of the Yaris remains the same, but a new set of options are available that weren’t there before giving drivers the ability to customize the vehicle more. One of those options is a dealer-installed navigation system, which would likely have a nicer fit and finish than many after-market products offered.
While Yaris fans looking for a complete overhaul will have to patiently await the new Yaris models a few years down the road, the latest changes should offer a better Yaris than ever before. After all the vehicle is designed to be more comfortable, better looking, more responsive and more customizable than ever before. What’s not to like about that?
Drivers are more than happy with the comfort and the dependability of their Camry vehicles, but the one area that they complain about most frequently is performance. While the cars aren’t exactly sluggish, they aren’t light on their feet either and their fuel economy could also be improved.
Toyota is well-known for having industry-leading hybrid vehicles, but their vehicles that rely on plain old gasoline engines just don’t have the oomph or efficiency that some of their competitors do. This is all about to change according to a report that was released from Automotive News. In this report Koei Saga, the senior managing officer of power train development stated that the next generation of the Toyota Camry could be equipped with a turbocharged four cylinder engine instead of the standard V-6 that it’s currently using.
The New Engine
The new four-cylinder turbo charged engine will feature direct-injection and provide just as much power if not a bit more, while also being more affordable and more efficient. This is the same type of engine that is used in some competitor’s vehicles such as the Fusion, and the Hyundai Sonata, and it is one of the only edges that they have over the vehicle currently. By improving this small deficiency the Camry can become the most reliable vehicle on the market while also being one of the most efficient, enjoyable to drive and even more affordable than before.
The new engine will bring a variety of new enhancements to the table. It offers an improved high compression ratio for enhanced power and efficiency, variable valve timing systems and to make it possible for non-hybrid vehicles to run on the Atkinson cycle for enhanced fuel efficiency as well.
The engine that they are considering is the one that recently debuted in the 2015 Lexus NX 200t crossover. That same engine is being considered for the Camry, the Lexus IS 250 and maybe even the Toyota RAV4.
Fears of Customer Rejection
Saga state’s that Toyota is a bit concerned about how customers will react to the change from a standard V-6 to a more advanced turbo four cylinder engine, and Toyota may make both engines available in the beginning to figure out which customers prefer. They will be feeling out customers and gauging their reactions before making a firm decision about this engine change, but it seems like an excellent idea, and a good way to take care of the few deficiencies that the rock solid Camry currently has.
All together Toyota plans on releasing 14 different power trains in the coming year, and these new engines are just the start. Toyota is developing a whole new platform for their vehicles known as Toyota New Global Architecture or TNGA for short, and will be using this enhanced architecture to develop many of their vehicles in the future.
Toyota has finally announced more information about their eagerly awaited hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. In Tokyo City less than a week ago they showed off what the exterior of the new sedan will look like and also gave a price and an expected release date for the vehicle. The only catch, all of this information only pertains to the Japanese model of the car. Toyota spoke briefly about a tentative release date of a similar vehicle in Europe and the United States, but it’s not as firm as the Japanese model.
Hydrogen fuel cell is one of the newest and most exciting ways to power a vehicle, and now the people of Japan have a deadline for when they can start buying Toyota’s first commercially-available hydrogen-powered vehicle. They expect to release the car before April of 2015, and it is expected to be priced at 7 million Yen, that’s approximately $69,000 by today’s exchange rates.
A Long Time Coming
Even though many people have only heard of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in the last few years Toyota has been working on the concept heavily for the past 20 years, trying to develop the vehicle that they will be releasing soon. All of the time and effort put into this research put the automotive giant ahead of most automakers with this technology, allowing them to pioneer it much the same way that the Prius did for hybrid cars.
Improvements and Performance Expectations
Initially the fuel cell technology Toyota was relying on was not advanced enough to offer performance levels similar to a gasoline powered vehicle. Today Toyota says that’s not the case. Their current vehicle can travel up to 700 km (435 miles) on a single set of cells. Not only that but the refueling time for this vehicle is a mere three minutes, which is very comparable to gasoline vehicles as well. Now the only real hurdles left to overcome are getting up all of the necessary refueling stations to make travel with this vehicle convenient, and figuring out how to make these vehicles even more affordable. As long as fuel cell technology takes off as well as many people expect it to, these other issues will sort themselves out with time.
The Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Fuel cells are much more environmentally friendly than gasoline is because they don’t emit any pollutants during operation, and can be made using clean energy sources such as wind and solar power. They are also expected to be more sustainable than fossil-fuel-reliant gasoline is making them a great source of power for future generations. If you live in Europe or the US you’ll have to wait until sometime in the summer before getting a chance to own one of these beauties, and pricing information hasn’t been made available yet.
Toyota is doing a little extra for military personnel to show their support for the nation’s troops, and if you’re a soldier it might mean that it makes sense to shop on a Toyota or Lexus lot for this reason. Toyota is offering a $500 rebate for any of their new or certified pre-owned vehicles, to qualifying military personnel and recent vets. Lexus is offering a $750 rebate on any of their new vehicles or certified pre-owned models. According to Karen Ideno, the Vice President of Product and Marketing at Toyota Financial Services, this is just a way for Toyota to give back and thank their troops for all they do for the country.
More about the Program
The program has been in place since April of 2007, but at its inception it only covered active soldiers currently serving in the armed forces. Now it has been modified to also cover recent Veterans. As long as you have received an honorable discharge within the last year, you can qualify for the rebate making it a little easier to get the vehicle you want. Household members of the soldier also qualify for the rebate program as long as the soldier does, and are urged to take advantage of it as well.
“Toyota Financial Services is incredibly grateful to our troops, and strongly supports the Armed Forces,” says Karen Ideno. “An important part of that is to also support the loved ones who stand behind those service members deployed overseas. We hope this program makes life a little easier for them, and helps them get the vehicle of their choice.”
Take Advantage of the Rebate
In order to have this rebate applied to your purchase you have to provide a verifiable source of proof of military status, receive a qualifying salary for the vehicle and also be approved by Toyota or Lexus Financial Services for the purchase of the vehicle. As long as you can go through each of these steps it’s quick and easy to get the military discount.
If you or a loved one is currently involved with a branch of the Armed Forces, or were recently discharged Honorably, you should look into the program. This simple rebate is easy to get and makes a real difference on the price of the vehicle.
It’s good to see companies like Toyota giving back to the soldiers that protect this country, and this is a great example of that.
Throughout the past ten years or so Toyota has improved their partnership with Yellowstone National Park by making regular vehicle donations to them to help improve park conditions. It isn’t uncommon to see a park ranger hop out of a Toyota Prius, and it turns out that the vehicles are pretty idea l for the park conditions.
Dealing with Bear Jams
Traffic is often stopped up in Yellowstone due to bears blocking the road. When this happens visitors often become frightened and just sit still until they can begin driving again. With a Prius, a Ranger can drive up to visitors and help them out while leaving the vehicle idling. Not only does idling in a Prius not release harmful emissions that would be bad for the animals, but it also doesn’t burn gasoline, meaning that the Ranger can idle for a long period without worry.
A Variety of Donated Hybrids
Yellowstone now has a whole fleet of donated hybrid vehicles that they rely on. In 2004 they received four Prius to help out in the park, in 2007 they received a Camry hybrid, as well as a Highlander Hybrid. A year later the Toyota USA Foundation’s Leadership in Environmental Awareness for the Future (also known as LEAF) set aside a grant for Yellowstone providing a Highlander Hybrid, another two more Prius, two Tundra, as well as an additional $800,000 for child-based environmental programs. In 2014 Toyota added a Rav4 as well as a $50,000 donation to help with the Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
Lending a Helping Hand in Other Ways
Toyota didn’t just stop with vehicle donations or youth programs for the park though, their engineers also got their hands dirty by helping with the construction of the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. They helped the center get LEED certified, and even donated 1$ million to help with the construction of the center that opened in 2010.
Toyota is clearly concerned about the environment, and their many donations are helping Yellowstone thrive as one of the most notable national parks in the country. The three million visitors that attend the park on an annual basis, will be able to get up close and personal with some of the most impressive marvels of nature, and they may even see a bear or two during their trek around the park. Either way, they are sure to see Toyota’s presence in one form or another during their visit.