Mid-sized sedans are highly popular in the United States which means that competition in this segment is fierce. With vehicles such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima out on the market the Subaru Legacy is often overlooked. Subaru has made attempts to pick up market share in this area in the past and has succeeded with their vehicles like the Outback and the Forester. The 2015 Subaru Legacy is their attempt to grab some more mid-sized market share and the improvements they made just might do it for them.
New Styling Cues
Subaru didn’t do anything crazy with the styling of their vehicle when they redesigned the Legacy, but they did add some modern touches that help it fit in. It’s now equipped with nice LED lighting and clean lines that give it a more luxury feel. It still doesn’t stand out among other mid-sized cars, but at least it fits in.
A Comfortable Interior
The inside of the Legacy is seriously comfortable, with seats that provide plenty of lumbar support and cushioning in all the right places you won’t mind taking a multi-hour trip in this vehicle. Soft touch materials have been added throughout the interior giving it a more luxurious feel. There is now also a standard touchscreen display placed over the silver console that used to be in its place.
Although Subaru switched up the interior of its vehicle extensively, they left the engine completely unchanged. It still comes with the 175 HP 4 cylinder 2.5 liter powerhouse, but it’s now attached to a CVT (continuously variable transmission) and the standard option has evaporated. This engine doesn’t make the vehicle feel like a sports car by any means, but it does offer quick acceleration and enough power for it to feel light on its feet and to move through town very smoothly. With an EPA estimated city mileage of 26 MPG and 36 MPG on the highway the compact engine is a welcome inclusion to this vehicle. Those figures become even more impressive when you realize that this car comes with all-wheel drive, a feature not included on many of Subaru’s mid-sized competitors.
If the standard 4-cyl engine isn’t powerful enough for you there is an upgraded option that boosts it from 175 HP to a much more noticeable 256 HP with a change to a 6 cylinder engine. This upgrade will cost you around $8,000 more and lowers the fuel economy down to 20 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway, but it certainly gives this car a sportier feel.
In order to keep up with its competitors the 2015 Legacy is armed to the teeth with standard features. It comes with a rear backup camera, an infotainment system that supports apps like Pandora, and it now supports a Bluetooth connection for easy smartphone communication while driving. It even comes with a nav system that can be controlled with your voice. These features only help the Legacy keep up with competitors though and it is the safety features that put it ahead of the curve.
Subaru has an EyeSight system that offers features such as a lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision system that slows down the vehicle before an impact occurs to lessen damage. Subaru offers a brand-new feature that lets drivers know when other vehicles are pulling away from a red light as well. This is particularly handy if you don’t happen to be paying attention to the road when everyone starts to go.
All-in-all the 2015 Subaru Legacy is a vast improvement over previous iterations. This vehicle has been out for more than 25 years and has remained largely unnoticed by the majority of car buyers. Made this latest model will have enough to make people sit back and take notice. It has certainly been one of the better vehicles I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands on lately.
Subaru released the all-new 2015 Outback with a variety of upgrades and changes. They gave it a new look, improved the interior, made it more efficient and gave it more of a luxury appeal as well making it the best Outback to date.
The bold new Outback has an edgy look to go with its revamp. The angles are sharper, the grille larger, and the exterior is just more aggressive than before. The new hexagonal grille connects straight to the bumper giving the front end a large menacing look that’s a nice improvement.
Interior Looks and Gadgets
The new Outback has a revamped interior that’s roomier and more luxurious than previous editions. With approximately three cubic feet of additional space on the interior of the vehicle, rear passengers have more space to stretch out. Thicker armrests, an upgraded 10 way power driver seat and dual climate control all make for a higher ride quality. Additional sound proofing has also been added into the cabin making the ride noticeably quieter.
Additional features have been added into this Outback including Bluetooth integration, a rear vision camera and a high-quality 6.2 inch infotainment system that syncs with your smartphone providing connected apps.
While the new Outback did go up in power a bit, the focus of its latest revamp wasn’t centered around increasing power, but smoothing out its operation and making it more efficient. Both of these goals are achieved by a number of different modifications, one of the most important the CVT or continuously variable transmission that is now standard on all models. This little gem takes worrying about shifting out of the equation and smoothly operates your engine to keep it at the most efficient levels.
With the CVT you gain access to paddle shifters that can be used to exercise additional control over the vehicle while doing things like going down an incline. A grille shutter has been implemented that helps make the vehicle more aerodynamic while traveling down the road. All the improvements in efficiency allow this SUV to burn 25 MPG in the city and 33 MPG in the highway, which is right at the top of the range for a mid-sized SUV.
Tech and Safety
The new Outback is fitted with a rear vehicle detection system as well as a blind spot monitor that will let you know when you’re getting too close to someone in your blind spot. The lane change assist helps you safely check your blind spot in mere moments. It scans for vehicles in your blind spots and you’ll get an indicator that you can use to avoid changing lanes if the car detects a vehicle in the blind spot. The Eyesight driver assistance camera has also been updated for improved performance. This helps you avoid issues with traffic out in front of you by applying the brakes and sounding a warning if you get too close to vehicles ahead.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra has been redesigned for the evolved trucker. Use the new Tundra to help build not just things but also family, community, character and a legacy.
“The new Tundra has been engineered and crafted to deliver full-size pickup truck capability that empowers truck owners all across America to build anything,” said Jack Hollis, vice president of marketing for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
There are a number of commercial spots that will be aired over the next few weeks. One of the first is “Baseball” which shows how a dad is inspired to build a baseball field in his own backyard. Which one is your favorite?
The annual AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA) recognizes the cars that best meet their owner’s expectation and desires about their automotive purchases. Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) is proud to announce that three TMS vehicles each earned an AutoPacific IVA. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid was named the 2013 Top Hybrid/EV while the Lexus ES was named Ideal Luxury Mid-Size Car and the Lexus RX 450h was honored with Ideal Hybrid Crossover.
Launched in early 2013, the fourth-generation Avalon is the most American Avalon yet. It was designed and developed in the U.S. and assembled exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Kentucky. The Avalon Hybrid provides the best combination of elegant and athletic styling while providing distinct interior comfort and refinement. It also features Toyota’s legendary Hybrid Synergy Drive and is capable of generating 200 horsepower while delivering a city/highway combined 40 mpg.
The 2013 Lexus ES is the sixth generation iteration and that same model year also introduced the first-ever ES 300h with Lexus Hybrid Drive. The 2013 Lexus ES is a luxury sedan that features a progressive new design along with enhanced handling capabilities.
The 2013 Lexus RX 450h also receives a facelift featuring the signature Lexus spindle grille, an upgraded interior and an EPA fuel economy estimate of 30 mpg combined for front-wheel drive models.
The IVAs are based on a model-year survey of more than 2,000 vehicle owners across all manufacturers to reveal the vehicles that best meet the owner’s demands. The award survey covers 15 key attributes including: exterior styling, exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver’s seat comfort, driver’s seat visibility, info/entertainment technology, interior lighting, power and acceleration, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments, ride, handling, safety features and tires and wheels.
Unveiled at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Toyota hints at a newly redesigned Corolla with the 2013 Corolla Furia Concept. The concept represents an exterior styling study by Toyota designers, and it builds on the brand’s product development priority to develop more dramatic, expressively designed vehicles.
“The Corolla Furia Concept is an early indicator of where our compact car design may lead in the future”, commented Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division. “It blends a heightened emphasis on dramatic design and modern elements of high technology to generate curb appeal that will surprise a lot of people.”
Designed around the theme of ‘Iconic Dynamism,’ which centers around pure and simple elements to create a confident, decisive and recognizable appearance, the Furia will attract the consumer that is looking for a vehicle with a more dynamic and aggressive look. The concept includes LED head and tail lamps, carbon fiber accents and 19-inch wheels, and the wheels are pushed to the corners to maximize interior.
Compared to the specs of the current Corolla, the Furia is only about two inches longer and wider, but it also sits lower and has a wheelbase that is almost four inches longer. Scroll through the gallery below for a closer look.
The Audi S5 has earned a spot in Ward’s 19th annual 10 Best Engines competition which marks the fourth consecutive win for the 3.0 TFSI V6 engine. Among the competition were 39 other vehicles where WardsAuto editors scored each engine based on power, noise, vibration, drivability, packaging, fuel economy, technical relevance, and specifications. To be eligible for a Ward’s 10 Best Engines award, an engine must be all-new or significantly improved and be available in a production vehicle that will be on sale by the first quarter of the following year.
“Audi TFSI engines have been disproving the myth that bigger is automatically better in terms of engine performance since 2002,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “This distinction from Ward’s demonstrates how Audi continues to lead the industry with high performing engines that are powerful, yet fuel efficient.”
“It’s hard these days for engines to stay on our list for two or three years, but the Audi S5’s 3.0L supercharged V6 has managed four straight years, and it does so with stunning grace and power. This engine does everything well – it’s quiet at idle and potent when prodded – in a number of vehicle applications,” said Tom Murphy, Executive Editor, WardsAuto World. “The TFSI V6 has everything to do with Audi’s success in the U.S. In the S5, this first-rate engine and transmission go together with the chassis like a Vulcan mind meld.”
Winners will be honored at the awards ceremony that will be held during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in the new year.
There has been an overall trend in the downsizing of engines and the Audi S5 represents the rapid advancement of Audi’s powertrain development. By optimizing the partnership between the combined FSI direct injection and supercharging, the results create an impressive torque generated over a wide range of the torque curve, making full power usable at any speed. The combination can outperform V8 engines and are more fuel-efficient than four-cylinder engines. The all-aluminum engine outputs 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm while delivering fuel efficiency.
Including the Audi S5, the 3.0 TFSI V6 engine also powers seven other Audi vehicles: the A8 luxury sedan, A7 5-door coupe, A6, Q7 full-size luxury sport-utility vehicle, Q5 mid-size sport utility vehicle, and the S4 luxury-sport sedan.
Toyota retains the number one spot in the second annual Best Global Green Brand report, published by international brand consultancy, Interbrand, earlier this month. The report gauges the gap between consumer perception of brand’s environmental performance (based on surveys from the countries with the world’s 10 largest economies) and its actual environmental practices (across 82 different sustainability metrics).
Interbrand credits Toyota’s achievement to the fact it continues to make environmental sustainability a core priority, and it cites the expansion of the world’s first mass-produced full hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius, into a full family of models as a further success story for the company.
Toyota is aiming to reduce carbon emissions through the complete manufacturing and sales process. It is also working towards conserving natural resources through reuse and recycling of materials. “Toyota also achieved near zero-landfill status at all of its North American manufacturing plants, and continues its commitment to build LEED-certified buildings and dealerships,” according to Interbrand’s report.
“With long term goals around fuel efficiency, superior energy use, and the reduction of toxic emissions, the automotive industry has been able to turn such consideration points into areas of environmental leadership. The industry as a whole has launched a competitive range of high-profile alternative fuel vehicles—from electric models to hybrids—and even some with internal [combustion] engines.”
“Overall, the automotive brands’ investment in developing and marketing fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles is paying off—in terms of both performance and perception.”
The Toyota Venza crossover now offers enhanced exterior styling, added value through several new standard convenience features and updated option packages that include the Entune™ multi-media system for 2013 model year.
Venza’s aerodynamic shape has been tastefully modified with a new upper and lower grille, fog lamps and rear taillights. The updated styling is complemented by a new 19-inch wheel design and three new exterior colors: Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl, and Cosmic Gray Mica.
The 2013 Venza is available in LE, XLE and Limited grades. The LE and XLE models are available with all powertrain combinations: four-cylinder, V6, front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD); the Venza Limited is powered by the V6 engine only, in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations. Value has been enhanced and ordering simplified with the addition of many standard features in all three grades.
Venza was developed specifically for the North American market, appealing to customers who prioritize bold, innovative design, a luxurious and refined interior and excellent handling, but they still require roominess and versatility. Venza provides SUV flexibility with its fold-flat rear seats, spacious cargo area, elevated driver sightline, available AWD and up to 3,500-lbs. towing capacity.
The Venza design was the creation of Toyota’s Calty Design studios in Newport Beach, Calif. and Ann Arbor, Mich. Calty designers leaned toward a sleek crossover concept with a wide stance that featured a sporty exterior, but they also included important SUV attributes, such as cargo space, towing capability and available all-wheel drive performance.
Venza was primarily engineered at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. And It is assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK), in Georgetown, Ky. More than 70 percent of Venza’s components come from North American suppliers.
Performance and Efficiency
The 2013 Venza offers four-cylinder and V6 models in FWD and AWD versions. Venza’s 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 181 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 182 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. The four-cylinder Venza is EPA-rated at 21 MPG city/27 MPG highway for the FWD model and 20/25 for the AWD.
The 3.5-liter V6 produces 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 246 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. The V6 FWD model has EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 MPG city/26 MPG highway and 18/25 for the AWD. Both engines are teamed with a six-speed sequential-shift electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). The six-speed ECT-i provides an engaging driving experience and helps optimize fuel economy. Uphill/downhill shift logic selects the proper gear for driving conditions and helps provide moderate engine braking during downhill driving.
Venza’s Active Torque Control AWD System optimizes torque distribution between the front and rear wheels to help ensure stable acceleration and smooth cornering on all road surfaces. AWD offers enhanced traction and helps provide excellent overall handling in inclement weather.
An available Towing Prep Package on V6 models equips Venza with an engine oil cooler, larger radiator fan and heavy-duty alternator.
Handling and Ride
Venza was designed with a lower center of gravity than typical SUVs to help provide dynamic handling, which is further enhanced by the large wheels and tires. The four-cylinder models ride on standard 19-inch, 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. Distinctive 20-inch five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels are standard for the V6 model. Power-assisted, ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes are standard on all models.
Venza’s body structure relies on high tensile-strength steel, gussets and cross members for its strength, rigidity and optimized weight. Front suspension consists of a rigid L-arm-type MacPherson strut with a stabilizer bar, and the rear suspension is a dual-link MacPherson strut setup with stabilizer bar. Electric power steering (EPS), with its ideally weighted steering effort, contributes to the Venza’s spirited driving dynamics. EPS helps provide a more direct steering feel at both high and low speeds and delivers just-right assist when maneuvering the vehicle into tight parking spaces.
Toyota’s STAR Safety System is standard on all Toyota models and features enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC) Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist and the Smart Stop Technology (SST).
VSC automatically adjusts engine output and the vehicle’s braking force at each wheel to help control loss of traction during cornering. TRAC helps maintain traction during challenging driving conditions. Brake Assist is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking. If the driver has not stepped firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage ABS, Brake Assist supplements the applied braking power until the driver releases the pedal. Smart Stop offers an additional level of safety by automatically reducing engine power when a vehicle’s brake and accelerator pedals are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions, helping to bring the vehicle to a controlled stop. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), also standard on all Venza models, temporarily provides pressure to the brakes while the vehicle is stopped on an incline to help ensure easier starting with no rollback.
In addition, Venza provides seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, driver and front-passenger front-seat-mounted side airbags, and front and rear side-curtain airbags. Front seat-belt pretensioners retract the seat belt in a severe frontal collision, while the dual-stage force limiters help limit the seat-belt force applied to the driver’s and front passenger’s chests.
Driver and front-passenger seats employ active headrests. If the vehicle is struck from the rear, a cable-actuated mechanism will move the headrest upward and forward to help limit movement of the occupant’s head.
Comfort and Convenience
Venza’s generous utility includes several clever storage locations and lighting. The adjustable center console features a sliding cover and armrest, three iPod®/MP3 player holders with wire concealment features, and a large storage compartment.
The center-console compartment is also equipped with a USB port, auxiliary audio jack and 12-volt power outlet. The upper portion of the center console houses the gearshift lever for easy and comfortable driver reach. An on/off switch on the overhead console enables front-seat occupants to operate all four personal overhead interior lights.
Interior storage is further complemented by a total of 10 front and rear beverage holders (six bottle holders and four cup holders). These include dual-illuminated, sliding front cup-holders in the center console, two in the rear-seat armrest, and front- and back-door bottle holders.
Entune Multi-Media System
The 2013 Venza now offers the Toyota Entune multimedia system. This system leverages the mobile smartphone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated access to navigation, entertainment and information services.
Toyota Entune supports engaging mobile apps, such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com, along with accessing useful travel-related services, such as live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks, and sports. Toyota Entune has a large selection of music options available to a vehicle, including iHeartRadio’s 750+ stations, and Pandora’s personalized music service.
The audio systems combined with Entune feature a best-in-class, advanced conversational voice recognition system that helps the driver to stay focused by eliminating the need to memorize thousands of voice commands.
An Abundance of Standard Features
The Venza LE grade comes well equipped with new standard features that include a blind spot mirror and outer mirror turn signals with puddle lamps. Additional key standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter and second-row-seat vents; eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar; 3.5-inch LCD multi-information display; a tilt/telescopic adjustable steering wheel with integrated audio controls; an overhead console with map lights; rear-seat adjustable personal reading lamps and three 12-volt power outlets.
The LE also comes standard with the Display Audio system, which includes a 6.1-inch touch screen, AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod® connectivity and control, vehicle information, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology.
The available Convenience Package for the Venza LE adds a power liftgate and a rear back-up camera. The Preferred Package adds a panoramic glass roof with front power moonroof and Display Audio with Navigation and Entune.
The Venza XLE provides a major luxury and convenience upgrade to the vehicle and adds standard features such as leather-trimmed seating surfaces, steering wheel and shift knob; four-way power passenger seat; multi-stage heated front seats; driver seat memory; reverse tilt outer mirrors, Display Audio with Navigation and Entune; anti-theft system with alarm and engine immobilizer; Smart Key System with Push Button Start and illuminated entry; power rear liftgate and a back-up camera. Also standard on the XLE is a TFT multi-information display that can be customized to adjust the font size and content, and navigation voice instructions available in Spanish, French or English (XM Traffic is only available in English).
Aside from powertrain choices, the XLE offers one major option the Premium Package, which includes a panoramic glass roof with front power moonroof, and Display Audio with Navigation , Entune and JBL®, that includes 6.1-inch Touch Screen, AM/FM CD Player with MP3/WMA Playback Capability, 13 JBL® Synthesis Speakers including Subwoofer, SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio (Includes three-month trial subscription to XM Select Package), HD Radio™ withiTunes® Tagging, Auxiliary Audio Jack, USB Port with iPod® Connectivity and Control, Vehicle Information, Hands-Free Phone Capability, Phonebook Access, Advanced Voice Recognition, and Music Streaming Via Bluetooth® Wireless Technology.
The V6-only, top-of-line Venza Limited comes standard with the Premium HDD Navigation with Entune™ and JBL® multimedia system. The system features a seven-inch high resolution touch screen with split-screen capability, AM/FM CD Player with MP3/WMA Playback Capability, 13 JBL® Synthesis™ Speakers including Subwoofer, SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio capability (Includes three-month trial subscription to XM Select Package); HD Radio™ with iTunes® Tagging, Auxiliary Audio Jack, USB Port with iPod® Connectivity and Control, Vehicle Information, Hands-Free Phone Capability, Phonebook Access, Advanced Voice Recognition, and Music Streaming Via Bluetooth® Wireless Technology.
The Venza Limited combines the Premium HDD Navigation with Entune and JBL and the panoramic glass roof with front power moonroof, and it adds high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights with automatic high beams and LED Daytime Running Lights. The high-beam feature detects oncoming vehicles and automatically switches the headlamps from high- to low-beam.
Customers looking for a pet-friendly vehicle will find a wide range of pet utility accessories available at Toyota dealerships. Among the available choices are a rear liftgate pet ramp, booster seat with harness, pet buckles and rear seat zipline-style harnesses, pet carriers and bucket seat, bench seat and hammock style waterproof seat covers.
The Venza sports an aerodynamic shape with short overhangs, forward A-pillar, crisp character lines, and a low roofline. Continuous brushstroke lines run from the front grille to the D-pillar. A bold front end features a distinctive grille, headlights and fog lamps for a sporty yet refined appearance. Venza’s sophisticated and confident appearance is completed by an angled rear hatch, spoiler and wide wraparound taillights that interconnect with the hatch door. Tight tire-to-body gaps contribute to the sophisticated, refined appearance.
The Venza design is highly practical, with a rear load-in height that is almost as low as that of the Sienna minivan. The generously sized liftgate opening enhances the vehicle’s utility. An available power liftgate integrates jam protection that detects obstruction in the door’s path and reverses the motor. Venza provides a low step-over height for improved ergonomics, and because the closed doors cover the rocker panels, the driver and passengers are protected from accumulated road-dust while getting into and out of the vehicle.
The Venza interior is designed to enhance driving enjoyment and offer premium comfort. Venza is available in three interior colors: Ivory, Light Gray, and Black, which is new for 2013. Each color is offered in fabric on LE and leather on XLE and Limited.
The flow of the center console creates a unique “60/60” design that gives both the driver and front passenger the feeling that 60 percent of the space is accessible from their seating position. All grades have a standard Optitron® speedometer and tachometer. The XLE and Limited grades also include a TFT multi-color center instrument panel display. Dual-zone automatic climate system controls are centrally located on the upper console, providing easy access for both the driver and front passenger.
Personal space lends overall comfort to the vehicle’s interior with ample head room, shoulder room, hip room and couple distance. Cargo-area utility is enhanced with fold-down 60/40 rear seats, one-touch fold-down seat levers and a tonneau cover.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. Toyota dealers have complete details on the limited warranty.
The Venza will also come standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
LAcarGUY is proud to sponsor a Manhattan Beach Halloween tradition, The Manhattan Beach Halloween Pumpkin Race. Join us Sunday, October 26th from 1pm-6:30 at the Manhattan Beach Pier. For more information, registration rules and where to pick up your Pumpkin car race, go to www.manhattanbeachpumpkinrace.com