In Japan the Prius Prime can now come with a solar roof that helps recharge the batteries every second the car is out in direct sunlight. That means while you’re driving down the road, sitting in a parking lot, or just waiting in traffic, the car is charging up and extending its electric range. This is an enhancement that makes the Prius Prime slightly more efficient and can help boost the overall electric range so that you don’t have to rely on fuel quite as much.
The Cool Solar Roof
This solar roof is produced by Panasonic, and it’s approximately three times more efficient than the older solar roof that came on some Prius vehicles. That probably sounds like a very nice improvement, and it is, but overall the roof isn’t going to give anywhere near the power to fully rely on just the solar roof to get around. It’s curved to match up with the look of the car, it’s designed to manage heat nicely and to stand up to everyday use attached to the top of the vehicle. It’s a pretty cool tech marvel in itself, and something that will hopefully begin showing up in more hybrid vehicles over time.
Will it Make a Difference?
This upgraded roof solar setup will make a slight difference on the total overall range that you get from the Prius, but overall the panel will likely only add about 3.7 miles to the total electric range of the car. That might not sound like much, but it’s added range every time that you go out driving, and the more the car sits in the sunlight, the more the battery will charge up. If nothing else, the solar panel will help keep the battery from dying while the vehicle sits, or for powering up accessories without draining down the battery unnecessarily.
Bringing it to the U.S.
At the moment, Panasonic isn’t able to bring its solar roof to the United States and use it on the Prius Prime. That’s because the panel isn’t yet capable of passing U.S. rollover tests. That’s an issue that the company is currently working on, but there is no timeline concerning when it could potentially offer that feature to customers.
Self driving vehicles are an important goal that most modern-day automakers are striving for, but there is one thing that’s standing in the way of many of these vehicle companies, strict laws to work around. Right now in the US there are different self-driving laws in each state of the country. These different laws make it very difficult for automakers to innovate, and Toyota, along with a few other companies are calling for more uniform laws. These companies understand that to have a chance to really innovate and create this new technology in a way that can be released to the public, laws have to cooperate a bit more.
States Keep Putting out Laws
More than 20 states have begun drafting, or already put out laws related to self-driving vehicles. States understand that the progress is coming, but they want to have a way to stay ahead of the technology and make sure that passengers and vehicle owners are all safe from these vehicles. It’s understandable that states want to regulate self-driving vehicles, but they have to be careful to avoid creating unnecessary barriers for automotive companies to try and get over. This is what’s happening currently because there are just too many different sets of rules that automakers have to follow. Companies like Toyota are making self-driving vehicles for the whole country, and it’s tough to do that when different states have different restrictions.
Both Political Parties are for Self Driving Vehicles
Both republicans and democrats recognize that self-driving vehicles have the potential to make driving a whole lot safer. There are currently more than 35,000 fatalities each year that are directly related to driving and it’s hard to turn down technology that could potentially change that figure. That’s why politicians express their support for the technology, they are just afraid that vehicles that aren’t actually safe will be released to the public.
Self-driving vehicles are expected to be the way of the future, and they’re exciting, but if lawmakers don’t take the time to change their laws, or try to come up with more uniform laws in between the states, it is going to be a long time before innovative companies like Toyota can release self-driving vehicles in the United States.
The Toyota Tundra was one of the most cutting edge, exciting and biggest full-sized pickups a decade ago. Over the years Toyota has stuck with the working formula and relied largely on an aging platform for it’s full-sized Tundra, while others have moved on. That means the Tundra isn’t as cutting edge today as it once was, but it’s still a capable machine, and it has reliability on its side where others do not.
Easy Low Speed Maneuvering
The 2017 Toyota Tundra CrewMax is equipped with a hydraulic power steering setup. This gives the wheel a light feel and makes it easy to maneuver overall at low speeds. Adjust the angle of the truck when hitching a trailer, taking sharp corners or backing out of a space are all pleasant experiences because of the steering setup that it relies on.
Simple and Pleasant Shifting
Many of the top modern-day trucks moving down the road today rely on advanced transmissions with as many as 9 or 10 gears. That’s not the case with the 2017 Tundra. It’s still rocking that 6-speed transmission, but that’s not a bad thing in this instance. While many of the newer trucks shift a little rough, or tend to get caught up in gears, this doesn’t happen with the rock-solid Tundra transmission. In fact, it shifts from gear to gear incredibly smoothly and still manages to direct just the right amount of power to the task at hand. So I guess Toyota said don’t fix what isn’t broken.
The Added Safety and Convenience Package
While the 2017 Tundra hasn’t picked up all the standard advanced safety features that Toyota is adding to its vehicles (that will come in the 2018 model year) there are several good quality safety features available if you are willing to invest in the $970 Safety and Convenience addon. This package adds rear parking assist, a front parking assist feature and cross traffic alerts.
Fully Roll Down Rear Window
Most trucks on the road today don’t even allow you to open the cab window, and the ones that do rely on a simple tilt feature that allows air to flow through, but not much else. The Tundra is pretty unique in this regard, because the window in the cab rolls down entirely. This not only improves air flow, but also allows you to put longer items through the window to extend the bed a bit if necessary.
While the Tundra might not be as up-to-date as some of the bigger names in the full-sized truck industry, it has something that many of the others do not. Lasting power. The Tundra is a rock solid truck that’s known for its reliability. It will keep rolling down the road long after many of the others are struggling or coming to their untimely deaths. That’s a major benefit of relying on the Tundra. You can rely on it to do all the work you throw at it without keeling over and croaking like some other vehicles might.
The 2017 Tundra looks a bit dated, it lacks some of the features offered by the other brands, but it’s a good value, it delivers in every area that’s important and it’s one of the most reliable of the bunch. If you need a good solid work truck to get the job done, there are few options that best the Tundra.
As of January 31 Toyota managed to sell more than 10 million hybrid cars to people around the world. That’s a major milestone that hasn’t been matched by any other automaker and we think that it’s a good sign for the future of the environment. The Toyota Prius didn’t start off as a popular vehicle and it took time to catch on, but now the name is almost synonymous with hybrid vehicles, and if you see a Prius rolling down the road you know that it’s an efficient ride. That’s something that Toyota is proud of and something that the automaker is trying to replicate with its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle as well.
An Early Start
The very first Toyota Prius came out nearly 20 years ago in 1997. Back then it was just an experimental vehicle and Toyota wasn’t sure if it was going to take off. Over the years the Prius has grown in popularity and it’s been the leading hybrid car all along.
The Benefits of Driving Toyota Hybrids
It’s estimated by Toyota that Toyota and Lexus hybrid owners have managed to keep 77 million tons of CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere by driving their cleaner and more efficient vehicles. Not only that, but the vehicles have saved about 8 million gallons of gas compared to driving around more average vehicles. That’s a pretty impressive feat, but it’s just a start to what Toyota, and many other automakers want to achieve now. Toyota will continue to roll out more efficient hybrid vehicles while it pushes ahead with new technological tools and features. It’s likely that we’ll eventually move past fossil fuels entirely, but until that time comes, the Prius will be an excellent option to consider when you want to use less fuel and drive around more efficiently.
It seems like all automakers are making the move from a V6 engine to a turbo-charged four-cylinder, well all but Toyota. The Toyota Camry is coming with a V6 engine as the high-power option, and that has a lot of people scratching their heads. After all, a turbo-charged engine offers the best combination of power and efficiency doesn’t it? Well according to Toyota, not always. The automaker has a few good reasons to stick with a V6 engine instead of switching over to a turbo. Even when switching to new engines entirely.
Appealing to American Customers
According to one rep from Toyota, the main reason that the 2018 Camry is still going to come with a V6 option is because that appeals to certain customers that shop for Camry’s. Dealerships are also fond of V6 engines because they help bring in more affluent customers than the standard four-cylinder engines do. That doesn’t explain why Toyota isn’t also offering a turbo four engine with a smaller displacement as well though. After all, the automaker is remaking its engine, why shouldn’t Toyota also offer up another option that buyers are interested in? According to Toyota it simply isn’t necessary.
The Standard Four is A Solid Option
Toyota claims that the improved four-cylinder engine that’s going in the 2018 Camry is edging up on the V6 engine and offers ample power. It’s highly efficient, with a solid displacement, excellent increased air-flow design and it’s nearly as good as an engine with turbo equipped. It just doesn’t make sense to make such a move, even if it is something that would make a few customers happy.
Building on a Winner
Another reason that Toyota is hesitant to go the route of the turbo four is because the automaker is making such excellent progress with standard four-cylinder engines. The latest Camry comes with a four-cylinder engine that achieves an excellent 40 percent thermal efficiency. That’s a figure that only diesel engines have been able to manage for a long time. The engine hits 41 percent thermal efficiency in the hybrid setup, and 40 percent in the standard setup.
Toyota hasn’t given all the specifics for the 2018 Camry vehicle yet, but there’s quite a bit of information out there already. The engine changes look promising, even if Toyota isn’t offering the standard turb0-charged 4 that we’ve come to expect.
The Toyota Yaris is a highly compact little car known for being efficient and low-cost, but never fast. It’s one of the slower vehicles out on the road today with around 106 HP as standard. That’s all about to change though with the introduction of a Yaris hot hatch. This little powerhouse will feature a very similar body style with nearly twice the power at 207 HP overall.
Shown at the Geneva Auto Show
Later this year Volkswagen will unveil the high powered Yaris model. It’s sure to have a high fit and finish and sporty accents that are present on all show cars, but what we’ll be most interested in is the overall mechanical setup of the vehicle and the major features that can’t change for the production model.
May Not Make it to the US
Toyota hasn’t released any plans about bringing the hot hatch to the United States, which means that we might never be able to get our hands on the improved version of the Yaris. If Toyota does decide to bring the car to the states, would you buy one? We know that a hot hatch appeals to plenty of buyers, but it’s tough to say how it will fare with some of the other options already sold throughout the US, such as the Volkswagen Golf R.
Technical Improvements to Full Yaris Lineup
This high-performance Yaris is based on the rallycross version of the vehicle, though it will be lower powered than the racing vehicle. Toyota claims that improvements to the Yaris won’t just go to the hot hatch variation though, and that sporty improvements will come to every model of the Yaris making the car more desirable to all buyers. The next generation Yaris is likely to come with both comfort and handling improvements as well as sporty accents that make the car stand out nicely. These are improvements that even buyers in the United States will enjoy, even if the high powered Yaris is never sold there.
If hot hatch vehicles appeal to you, the performance Yaris is one to watch out for. It’s bold and exciting and should be a pretty fun ride.
Buyers trying to figure out which fuel-efficient vehicle to pick up have a few different options to consider. They will have quite a few small car options to consider, but when going for a hybrid or electric option there are a few budget options that stand out more than the rest. The two major players are the Toyota Prius Prime and the Nissan Leaf when considering value and overall fuel efficiency. Both are capable vehicles but they are very different machines that serve different purposes. Below is an overview of the differences between the two to help you figure out which is right for you.
Long Distance Driving Winner
If you plan on traveling for long distances often, the Prius Prime is the obvious winner of the two. That’s mainly because the Nissan Leaf doesn’t have a gas engine at all. It can’t travel more than the 100 mile or so range that it offers. That means you will have to find a charging station and wait for the battery to charge up again before being able to continue on your trip if you want to go farther. The Prius Prime offers excellent efficiency, and can handle the long-distance trips that most people like to take in the US at one point or another.
Battery Power Champ
The Nissan Leaf is the clear winner if you want to rely on only battery power. It has a considerably farther range when on battery power alone. That means that you can probably take on your work commute every day with the leaf, while it might be a stretch with the Prius Prime if you want to use electric only power. The Prime has a range of about 25 miles, which is good for many people, but not enough for longer commutes.
While the Nissan Leaf looks like a really strong contender when you look at its range and power, it also comes at a considerably higher cost than the Prius Prime. The car will set you back about 9,000 more than the Prius Prime. For shoppers looking for an affordable driving solution, it’s hard to justify the added cost of the Nissan Leaf without a strong need or desire to only use the battery for driving. Instead many drivers will opt for the more affordable Prius when comparing vehicles. It’s important to look at local pricing though, as well as tax credits before deciding on the vehicle that you want to buy.
If you opt for one of the more powerful versions of the Prius Prime, it’s nearly a full second faster on acceleration from 0 to 60. That’s a pretty major difference and something worth considering if you merge onto highways often. The Prius Prime takes full advantage of that gasoline engine and uses it to boost highway merging speeds.
Both cars have a lot to offer but the option that’s right for you depends on what you are looking for. If you want the vehicle that’s going to offer the longest travel range on full-electric power, the Nissan Leaf is the clear winner. If you want something that’s going to travel more than 100 miles at a time, the Prius Prime is the winner. The Prime is also a lower cost vehicle and a bit faster at hitting highway speeds. The Leaf is a good solid option if you don’t need to travel more than 80 miles, and strong competitor if you don’t mind the increased cost.
For so many car buyers safety is king. It’s not usually the first thing that buyers think about, or even the thing that stands out most when making a purchase, but safety really is the most important factor when it comes to deciding on a vehicle. That’s why it’s so important that the newest Prius C is coming stocked with enhanced safety features. It offers the same good value for a hybrid, but with more to look forward to when it comes to safety. Overall it will be safer and more reliable to drive around, but let’s take a look at what safety features you get to see why that is.
Safety Sense C
All Prius C models in 2017 will come with the Toyota Safety Sense C package. This comes with a selection of active and passive safety technologies that work together to help keep you safe while driving out on the road. These systems are much more comprehensive than most of the standard safety features you’ll find on vehicles today.
The Passive Features
Within the Prius C there are some pretty impressive passive safety features that you’ll benefit from each time you take it out onto the road. A total of 9 airbags help pad any collisions that you might have while driving. There’s also a stability control system that helps you maintain control while driving and makes handling the vehicle in poor situations a bit easier as well.
The Active Features
The active features are the most impressive part of the Toyota safety package. The car comes with tech designed to help you avoid most accidents with ease. There’s automatic braking that reacts to obstacles in the road. There is a lane departure system with cameras that pick up yellow and white lines to help the vehicle stay within the designated driving area. There’s also automatic high beams that turn on and off at night, depending on traffic conditions on the surrounding roads. Overall, the active features create more reliable driving conditions and help you stay on the road even when you become distracted while driving.
The latest Prius C model will be safer and more reliable overall than many other compact vehicles on the road, and you don’t even have to pay extra in order to enjoy those benefits.
The Toyota Camry has long been the best-selling vehicle in America, but it’s beginning to lose a bit of market share. Sure it’s still going strong, and it’s only second to a few pickup trucks, but Toyota doesn’t like to see numbers dipping down, which is why the automaker went for a dramatic redesign of the product.
The 2018 Toyota Camry has a set of readjusted dimensions that give it a sportier look. Toyota dropped the hood 1.6 inches lower to the ground. The automaker also increased the wheelbase by two inches, creating more interior space, while dropping the roof down a full inch, to give the interior a more streamlined look.
The dimensional changes are meant to create the sleek appearance of a sports car. It’s important to create this differentiation from crossovers and SUVs so that the Camry will appeal to all those drivers out there that don’t want a big and bulky vehicle.
New Powertrain Options
On top of the sleeker and longer looks, Toyota is adding in some additional powertrain options to the 2018 Camry as well. There are going to be three new options for buyers to pick and choose from. The first is a 6-cylinder 3.5 liter engine. The second is a four-cylinder 2.5 liter engine and the final is a hybrid engine. The gasoline options are paired with a nice smooth eight-speed automatic transmission that Toyota fans will really enjoy.
Top Level Fuel Economy
The 2018 Camry is supposed to offer top-level fuel economy, but Toyota doesn’t say how it plans to accomplish that goal. Instead the automaker simply promises to lead the way when it comes to fuel economy, which means you should expect figures in the high 30’s or low 40’s when the 2018 model is released.
Just like with most other new Toyota vehicles, the 2018 Camry is going to come with excellent safety features as standard. It will come with 10 air bags, a lane-departure system, auto headlights that switch between high and low, adaptive cruise control and a steering assist system that works with the lane departure to keep the vehicle within the lines.
Overall the newest Camry comes with plenty of welcome enhancements, but it’s tough to say whether they will be enough to prevent the loss of market share or not.
Smartphones and computers have personal assistants, so Toyota says why not cars as well? The automaker put together a very futuristic looking concept vehicle for CES called Concept-I, and it comes with its very own personal assistant Yui. It’s not just any personal assistant though, this is an artificially intelligent entity that grows more intelligent as you spend time with it. It’s supposed to feel like a member of the family almost, or a friend that you are riding around with.
It’s Like a Living Breathing Creature
Toyota went all out trying to make Yui feel like a living thing. The car can greet you as you walk up to it and can put visuals on the side panels, making it possible for it to communicate with you even when you are not in the vehicle. It will take directions from you and help you manipulate the systems in the vehicle. Yui will also communicate to other drivers at the rear of the vehicle about upcoming hazards or problems. At the front of the vehicle you’ll see Yui blinking through the headlights, and there is also an indicator letting drivers know whether you are in manual or autonomous driving mode.
Space Age Design
It’s obvious from the first glance that the Concept-I vehicle is not a standard model. It shows off highly futuristic styling, and features that you won’t find on any other vehicles. The car is light and airy on the inside, but it features holographic displays and neon lights all over the place. It’s like climbing into an alien space ship. The doors even swivel up and out on their own, much like the cockpit of a jet.
While driving the Concept-I around, directions are displayed right up on the windshield itself. That means you’ll see arrows on the roads ahead of you showing you where to make your turns.
The car also covers autonomous driving, and is designed to shift in and out of autonomous driving mode depending on what the user is interested in at the time. It will allow drivers to have control only when they want to, and to give it up to the onboard computer when they do not.
The Toyota Concept-I shows how a futuristic vehicle should be. It’s exciting, ultra-modern and displays impressive artificial intelligence that likely won’t be matched by many other vehicles.