Come meet SpongeBob Squarepants and see the all-new Highlander Hybrid at the LA Auto Show this weekend
Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid has always been a near-perfect combination of size, luxury, fuel efficiency and power, and for 2014 a dose of style can be added to its long list of positive attributes.
With the recent redesign of the gas-powered Highlander, the Highlander Hybrid benefits from fresh new looks. With an increase in length and width over the outgoing model, the new Highlander Hybrid has road presence like no Highlander before it.
Using the same powertrain as it predecessor, the V6-powered 2014 Highlander Hybrid should manage the same combined EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg.
The 2014 Highlander Hybrid will be available in two trims: Limited and Limited Platinum. Starting at $47,300, the Highlander Hybrid Limited comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen display with navigation and Toyota’s Entune system, eight airbags, and a backup camera among other things.
Moving up the Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum adds Safety Connect subscription emergency services, a radar-based cruise control with Toyota’s Pre-Collision safety system to help in avoiding accidents, a lane departure warning system, panoramic moonroof, and heated seats in the second row. The Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum will be priced at $49,790.
Meet SpongeBob Squarepants
If the passengers you’re hauling in your 2014 Toyota Highlander or Highlander Hybrid happen to be children, be sure to stop by the Los Angeles Auto Show this weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) to meet SpongeBob Squarepants and see the SpongeBob Squarepants Toyota Highlander.
Teaming up with Nickelodeon, Toyota will offer a build your own SpongeBob booth, airbrush tattoo artists, and a chance to win a surfboard by Santa Cruz Surfboards from the non-profit environmental group Heal the Bay.
On top of this, Toyota and Nickelodeon will work together to donate $5 to Heal the Bay for each individual who Tweets or Instagrams a picture of the SpongeBob Squarepants Highlander with #SpongeBobHighlander up to $10,000.
To learn more about the 2014 Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, or the SpongeBob Highlander keep following LAcarGUY News.
This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show served as the unveiling of the all-new Audi A3 for the North American market. Filling the spot of the A3 Sportback, the new A3 will shun the hatchback configuration for most models and will instead adopt more traditional sedan and convertible bodystyle.
If you’re a die-hard fan of the A3 Sportback, don’t lose hope yet, as Audi will continue to offer the hatchback body in the e-tron Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle model. As the name suggests, this model will be able to run on electricity alone for some miles before its gas engine kicks in.
For those of us interested in saving fuel at the pump, but not quite ready to make the transition to a plug-in hybrid car, the new A3 will be offered with Audi’s 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engines, producing 170 and 220-horsepower respectively. Audi will also offer a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine that will offer extended range and fuel efficiency over its gas-powered brethren.
If you’re a speed demon, you can also make your way up to the 290-horsepower S3 model. Expect a future RS3 model offering in excess of 300-horsepower.
But the A3 isn’t so much about horsepower, as it is about bringing Audi’s pursuit of luxury and technology to the masses. With a base price of $29,900, the all-new A3 gives customers the opportunity to own the first vehicle in its class with 4G LTE connectivity. This technology allows the all-new A3 to incorporate features such as Google Earth and Google Street View in its MMI infotainment system.
Operating in conjunction with a 7-inch screen that rises from the dash, MMI’s latest trick is the incorporation of a touchpad onto its rotary wheel. Teamed with the A3’s available 705-watt Bang & Olufsen Sound System, the compact Audi is turned into a miniature A8.
With available safety features such as active lane assist and adaptive cruise control, the Audi A3 incorporates a host of technologies to keep its passengers safe. Whether your new to the Audi brand, want to cut your emissions by investing in the A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV, or feel the need for speed that is the sporty S3, Audi’s latest compact model will leave you more than impressed with its available luxury and technology features.
Volkswagen continues to prove its commitment to green technology with the unveiling of the e-Golf at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. With a full array of diesel vehicles and the recent introduction of the gas-electric Jetta Hybrid, the e-Golf moves Volkswagen into the realm of all-electric vehicles.
Boasting a range of between 70 and 90 miles, the e-Golf is able to manipulate its electric motor’s power delivery to give drivers the option of more horsepower or greater range.
Three different driving modes are available: Normal, Eco, and Eco+. In Normal mode the e-Golf makes a full 115-horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, or enough power to take the e-Golf from 0-60 mph in a reasonable 10.4 seconds.
Stepping up to Eco mode improves the vehicles range, but also pulls back some of the e-Golf’s modest power. With 94-horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque available in Eco mode, the e-Golf scoots from 0-60 in 13.1 seconds.
For owners who really want to get the most range from their e-Golf, there’s Eco+ mode. With power pared down to 74-horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque, and the A/C shut off, Eco+ mode is ideal for city use.
In the event a Volkswagen e-Golf owner does find his or her car out of electricity, Volkswagen is offering an exclusive roadside assistance plan that will take an owner and his or her e-Golf to a charging station at no cost, provided that the owner is within 100 miles of his or her home.
Furthermore, if an owner does not want to wait with his or her e-Golf as it charges, Volkswagen will cover the cost of a cab ride home; though, such an event will likely be rare as the e-Golf’s battery can be recharged to 80-percent of its capacity in approximately 30 minutes when using a DC Fast Charging system.
Volkswagen designed the e-Golf to help owners cope with potential range anxiety. A range monitor provides the driver with general information, such as the impact auxiliary systems like the A/C will have on the e-Golf’s range. And regenerative braking will be offered in three different levels in order to allow e-Golf driver’s to recapture the most kinetic energy back if they so desire.
Unlike many modern electric vehicles, the e-Golf is unique in that its architecture was designed from the start to use electric propulsion. As such, the battery and electric motor don’t intrude into the passenger compartment.
Sporting the familiar styling of the all-new Golf, the e-Golf wears a unique fascia with “C-shaped” LED daytime running lamps that will become a signature cue of all electric Volkswagen’s. Volkswagen also added LED headlamps that use less energy than halogen or xenon units.
The e-Golf marks the beginning of a new electric age at Volkswagen and we at LAcarGUY News look forward to seeing the next steps the company takes on the road to electrification. LAcarGUY News will be at the Los Angeles Auto Show posting the latest news and images from the show on our Facebook pages. Be sure to “Like” Pacific Volkswagen and Volkswagen Santa Monica on Facebook to get the latest information from the show floor.
by Zach McDonald – HybridCars.com
Anyone who doubts the impact that cleaner vehicles can have on air quality would be wise to take heed of Los Angeles, where a new report from the University of Colorado’s Institute for Environmental Sciences has found pollution from smog-causing chemicals to be down 98 percent since 1960, thanks in part to the emergence of cleaner cars and trucks.
The transformation began in the late 1940s, when Los Angeles established the first air pollution control program in the nation’s history to combat a growing smog problem of unknown origins. After studying the issue, the Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control Program concluded that much of problem stemmed from the growing presence of automobiles in the area, and set out to find ways to make those cars and trucks cleaner.
Over the coming decades, those findings would lead to an array of clean air regulations, as well as technological developments ranging from the catalytic converter to the re-emergence of the electric vehicle. Modern plug-in cars like the Toyota RAV4 EV can in large part be credited to regulations passed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), whose legacy can be traced back to LA’s early efforts to combat smog.
Remarkably enough, LA’s success in curbing smog pollutants has come in the face of drastically increased overall fuel usage. As the county’s population and overall vehicle miles have skyrocketed since the 1960s, so too has the gasoline and diesel required to fuel the expansion. Nevertheless, by passing controls to make the fuels themselves cleaner as well as the engines that burn them, regulators have found ways to improve air quality even as fuel usage has almost tripled over that period.
For Los Angeles, despite the tremendous progress that has been made over the last half century, the battle to curb emissions is nearly as dire today as it was 50 years ago. The city’s air quality still ranks among the lowest of any major urban area in the country, with automobile transportation remaining just critical a part of life in LA as it’s ever been.
The challenge ahead lies in improving the overall efficiency of new vehicles in California. Overall fuel economy in the United States has risen by less than 5 miles per gallon since 1960, which is something CARB has been fighting hard to change. The growing popularity of hybrids like the Toyota Prius will be instrumental in improving air quality over the coming decades, and advocates hope that the next generation of plug-ins will follow in their footsteps.