Tag: Toyota Corolla

3 Vehicles that Might Improve from the Mazda Partnership

May 24, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , , ,

The new Mazda-Toyota partnership has some people completely perplexed. After all Toyota is much larger and more powerful than Mazda, what could Mazda possibly bring to the table? As it turns out Mazda has a lot to offer Toyota, despite the company’s compact size. Mazda excels at making fun-to-drive and efficient compact cars, something Toyota could learn a thing or two about still. Here’s a list of three different Toyota cars that are likely to improve in the future with help from Mazda.

Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda (L) and Mazda Motor Corp President and CEO Masamichi Kogai shake hands during their joint news conference in Tokyo May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda (L) and Mazda Motor Corp President and CEO Masamichi Kogai shake hands during their joint news conference in Tokyo May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The Corolla

The highly popular Toyota Corolla is built like a tank and holds value better than most, but it lacks the personality had by the Mazda3. By adapting some of the performance qualities and fun styling cues of the 3 the Corolla could be even more exceptional. As long as Toyota figures out a way to add to the Corolla without taking away it will become even more popular while growing a larger fan-base than it already has.

The Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the most reliable appliances on the market today. It’s not particularly exciting but it has impressive resale values and consumers expect this vehicle to stand the test of time. The Mazda 6, though while not nearly as reliable takes a similar price point as the Camry and injects it with upscale styling and improved handling mechanics making it feel higher quality. These are elements that Toyota could bring to the Camry to make it an even stronger offering.

The Yaris

In recent years the iconic Yaris has been taking over the roadways. It’s tiny, it’s cute and it’s an exceptional value. Unfortunately the Yaris feels a bit underpowered and Spartan on the interior. The Mazda2 is another vehicle that may not offer as much in the way of reliability or value as the Yaris, but offers superior handling and styling while residing in the same price range. It’s exciting to think about what Toyota and Mazda can do together and Mazda is already working with the automaker to help them develop a more lively compact.

With a bit of guidance from Mazda Toyota can take each of these three highly reliable vehicles and make them even more enjoyable to drive around. Toyota owners confidently pick up new models each year for reliability and safety reasons, but in the future perhaps they will pick them up for entertainment as well.


Buying at Many Dealerships versus Sticking with One You Trust

May 6, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

New or used car buyers have a real dilemma that they face each time they go to pick up a new vehicle. Whether you’re shopping for a brand new Camry or you’re picking up a nice used Corolla you have to decide whether you will shop at the same dealership you’re familiar with and trust, or if you’ll venture out and compare prices at many different dealerships before making your decision. Both options have their benefits and it can be tough deciding which approach to go with when selecting your next vehicle.

used toyota corolla

Get Lower Prices by Shopping Around

With the power of the Internet it is easier than ever before to find the best deals out there by looking at many different dealerships all at the same time. There are apps that allow you to compare many different prices with one another to figure out who is asking a good rate for their vehicles and who is charging too much. With it being so easy to compare prices it makes a lot of sense to look to see who is offering the best deals. To get these deals you might have to drive a little farther and even work with a dealership that you don’t trust, but that often makes sense to bargain hunters looking to save a bit more on their next purchase.

Enjoying Quality Assurance and Familiar Faces

It’s tough to buy a car, especially a used one, from someone you don’t trust or know very well. If you’ve been buying cars for a while there is probably someone that you know and trust already. You might have a good relationship established with one dealership and that’s a good reason to keep going back to them. You’ll know what to expect from the buying experience and can even rest assured that you are going to get a quality product if that was your experience in the past. You may even get to deal with the same people when you buy another car, which is nice. There is something nice about dealing with the same familiar people when you are making important decisions, and that’s why you should strongly consider heading back to the same dealership every time you buy a vehicle, even if you don’t get the best prices out there. Many times security is worth the extra cost, especially if you are saving money already by buying used.

Getting the Best of Both Worlds

It’s nice to see familiar faces when you go to pick up a car, especially when it is a used one that isn’t guaranteed to run as nicely as one right off the assembly line. That being said, it’s also nice to avoid overpaying for a vehicle by picking from some of the most affordable options available today. Now that you know the benefits of each type of car shopping it’s time to try and enjoy benefits from both ends of the spectrum. You can often get better prices at your local dealership that you’re used to by printing off prices from other local dealerships to compare to. Bring those printouts with you when you go and shop for a vehicle and you may be able to negotiate a better deal. Even if you don’t get the price as low as that other unfamiliar dealership, you should be able to get a more affordable rate while going with the team that you know and trust. This allows you to get the most out of your car buying experience without feeling like you are sacrificing.

The Toyota Corolla is Named one of the Best Budget Tech Vehicles of 2014

August 21, 2014 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

The rate of vehicle technology advancement continues to accelerate and features that you never would have dreamt of just a few years  back are now available in vehicles sold at affordable rates. As top level technology is developed it debuts in expensive luxury cars and then quickly moves on to the general public. Kelley Blue book took the time to put together a list of the top ten best hi-tech cars of 2014 that can be had for less than $20,000. On the list of these vehicles was the Toyota Corolla, helping it move away from just a comfortable family sedan to a high-tech vehicle.

2014 toyota corolla

The Technology Packed in the Corolla

The Toyota Corolla made the list of best vehicles mostly because of the very advanced Entune Infotainment system that it comes with. This system is equipped with more apps than any other stock system on the market today and it’s pretty straightforward to use.

When you rely on the Entune system you can check HD weather and traffic information for free and you can switch between FM and Satellite radio seamlessly. You can even program the same set of presets on the system to go to different stations on both of the different radio types.

Checking your email, text messages or social networks is a breeze with the system, and you’ll never suffer from a shortage of music as long as you have a data connection available. This media system can even read back your texts out loud and you can program it to respond to different vocal commands while driving.

Fun Family Commuting

The Corolla is known for providing a comfortable ride that families enjoy but it’s also great for families from a technology standpoint as well. Not only the driver can take advantage of the media system installed in the Corolla. This vehicle is also highly efficient and achieves 28 MPG in the city and 37 on the highway. It’s spacious interior coupled with the efficient engine and advanced tech features make the 2014 Toyota Corolla an ideal vehicle to take trips in.

Holding its Value

Advanced features such as the media system in the Corolla will only serve to help it hold its value over time. Many times buyers get new vehicles because they are looking for those advanced tech features. Since the Corolla is so far ahead of the curve, even used models will often have the desired features that buyers are looking for making them more valuable.

As one of the top hi-tech budget vehicles on the market today, the Toyota Corolla is an excellent option for technology enthusiasts, or buyers just looking to get the most value from their purchase.

First Look At The 2014 Toyota Corolla

October 21, 2013 lacarguy High MPG Vehicles, Toyota, Toyota of Hollywood, Toyota Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

With the 2014 Corolla, Toyota brings to market a completely updated version of its bread and butter car.  Besides the Camry, the Corolla is the highest selling vehicle in the Toyota lineup with approximately 300,000 units sold per year.  Since entering the market in 1968, Toyota has sold 10 million Corolla’s worldwide. Meanwhile, Corolla is responsible for 38% of the company’s overall U.S. sales.
The appeal of the Corolla crosses demographic lines. While its modest price makes it a desirable buy among younger shoppers, the Corolla’s inherent value has made the car a favorite among older buyers, as well as Hispanic and African American buyers, who have made the Corolla the #1 vehicle sold to both communities.

With the 2014 model, Toyota has done a 180 with the Corolla, turning the car into a purchase made out of passion and not just necessity.  This starts with an exterior design that is more dramatic than the 2013 model. It certainly makes a statement, as the Corolla will no longer blend in to the background of mall parking lots. Different trim lines are accompanied by different appearance packages.  The S model has a unique shape to the grill, grill inserts and fog lamps.  The LE Eco model offers a rear spoiler, low rolling resistance tires, and a smoothed out under tray to lessen aerodynamic drag.  LED headlights are standard across all models – a first for the compact segment.

The S model, with it’s blacked-out trim and grill, makes for a very striking vehicle, particularly in silver or blue.  Other trim lines are more conservative in their style, but still maintain a handsome look.

The wheelbase of the 2014 Corolla has been stretched 3.9 inches, which leads to an additional 5 inches of rear legroom, giving the 2014 Corolla more legroom than some midsize sedans.  This added space means two adults will be able to fit very comfortably in the back, with enough headroom for a 6-foot tall person.

The dash area is all-new as well, with a horizontal design and a significant upgrade in materials.  While hard plastics are used throughout  most of the cabin, each piece has a solid look and feel to it.  The steering wheel has a nice thick design that’s very comfortable to grip, meanwhile S models come with a leather-wrapped wheel that gives a more premium feel compared to the standard steering wheel.

Seat materials are also well done. The standard cloth seats offer a nice thickness that leads one to believe the material will stand up to the test of time.  Higher-end models use Toyota’s Tex Leather that also has a solid look and feel to it.

Bluetooth is standard on all models, as well as eight airbags, power windows, and the aforementioned first-in-class LED headlights.  LE trimmed Corolla’s add Entune audio with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, as well as a backup camera with dynamic glide slope guidance.  For 2014 Entune has been upgraded with a simpler user interface, an improved voice recognition system, and additional apps. Unlike in previous years, Entune is now a subscription-free service, allowing all 2014 Corolla owners to enjoy the service.
There are three transmissions available on the 2014 Corolla.  Base L model’s come with a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic transmission.  LE and LE Eco models come only with a CVT that is available on the sportier S model with integrated paddle shifters. A six-speed manual is standard fare on Corolla S models.

The CVT transmission is a Toyota designed and built unit that is programed to simulate a seven-speed gearbox.  Most of the “shifting” is felt only under heavy throttle settings, otherwise the transmission provides the seamless drive and feel associated with CVTs.

From behind the wheel, the Corolla offers a rather firm but very comfortable ride that soaks up bumps and potholes well at normal city speeds.  As you approach highway speeds, the suspension transmits more road imperfections into the cabin. It’s not jarring, but it is noticeable.
One item that drivers will immediately take note of is that the Corolla gives you the feeling of going much slower than the speed you are actually traveling at.  Going 70 mph, gives you have the perception that you are actually going 50-55 mph.  This speaks to the quality of the Corolla’s chassis and sound deadening materials.

This also translates to the feeling of acceleration in the 2014 Corolla. Between the quiet cabin and the dynamics of the CVT, the perception is that the Corolla is accelerating rather slow; however while not quick, Corolla’s available power is more than adequate for all driving situations.

The LE Eco is unique over other Corolla models in that it employs Toyota’s Valvetronic system.  While the standard VVT system adjust the opening and closing of the valves for maximum efficiency, Valvetronic goes one step further in adjusting valve lift and allows Toyota to maximize the engine’s efficiency. The net result is a Corolla with 8 extra horsepower and an EPA-rated 42 mpg on the highway.

The 2014 Corolla will come with two additional airbags over the outgoing model, raising the number to eight.  Toyota has also increased side impact resistance by incorporating a new support beam for additional safety protection.

Available in four trim levels, the 2014 Corolla L has a base price of $16,800, while the LE stickers at $18,300, the LE Eco at $18,700, and the S at $19,000.  Option packages have been simplified into two categories: Plus and Premium. Toyota made the decision to simplify the Corolla’s option packages from customer feedback and observed buying dynamics.

Toyota knows its customers very well, and the latest Corolla will appeal strongly to them.  The core essentials that have made the Corolla so popular are still the cornerstones of the 2014 model; however the car’s dramatic new styling and modern interior that challenges that of the Sentra, Civic, and Forte, give the car a newfound glory.  The Corolla continues to fall short of being an all-out “driver’s car” but it is a very competent compact car. With the Corolla entering dealership lots, Toyota’s challenge is to see if the 2014 model can increase the car’s customer base, as Toyota wants to increase Corolla sales by 10%.

Toyota, Lexus and Scion Dominate J.D. Power 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study

February 16, 2012 lacarguy Lexus, Scion, Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Eight Lexus, Toyota, and Scion models captured segment awards in the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study, a performance equal to all other vehicle brands combined and more than twice as many as the runner-up nameplate.

The study also found:
  • Lexus is the number one nameplate improving by 23 fewer problems/100;
  • Toyota is the highest ranked non-premium nameplate and tied for third place overall, improving by 18 fewer problems/100; and
  • Scion achieves its highest ever position at fifth place, jumping up 17 positions and improving by 55 fewer problems/100.
“We are extremely pleased that not only did we win awards in eight of the 14 model segments, but that in two segments we finished one-two and made the podium in 12 segments overall”, said Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
2012 Vehicle Dependability Study performers by segment
Sub-Compact Car
Toyota Yaris
Scion xD
Compact Car
Toyota Prius
Toyota Corolla
Compact Crossover SUV
Toyota RAV4
Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle
Scion xB
Compact Sporty Car
Scion tC
Entry Premium Car
Lexus ES350
Midsize Car
Toyota Camry
Midsize Crossover SUV
Toyota Highlander
Midsize Van
Toyota Sienna
Midsize Premium Crossover SUV
Lexus RX350
Large Premium Car*
Lexus LS460
Large Car
Toyota Avalon
Large Pick Up
Toyota Tundra
Lexus Nameplate
Toyota Nameplate
3 (tie)
Premium Brands Industry Average
Non-Premium Brands Industry Average

Additional examples of Toyota’s commitment to the highest standards for quality, safety, reliability and retained value include:

2012 Scion iQ: Small Package, Big Ideas

October 20, 2011 lacarguy Scion, Scion of Hollywood, Scion Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

How much car do you really need? That is what Toyota’s Scion brand is asking with the iQ it’s bringing to the market beginning in December. Available in Japan and Europe for several years now this micro-compact is being targeted at Gen-Y buyers who live in very condensed urban environments.

At just 10 feet long the Scion iQ is the shortest car being sold in North America save the SMART FourTwo, and the less said about the SMART car the better. While in theory the iQ and the FourTwo are priced similarly and are targeting a similar demographic, the Scion iQ is so far and above the SMART as to make the FourTwo look as sophisticated as the Wright Brothers Flyer in the world of the 787 Dreamliner.

Priced at $15,995, which includes destination charges, the iQ is not the cheapest car on the market, but it is very well equipped and very well built. Standard features include vehicle stability control, electric power steering, keyless entry and Bluetooth connectivity. While there are no soft touch surfaces in the iQ, one wouldn’t expect them at this price point either. That said, the quality of the materials along with the fit and finish of the interior are certainly better than in larger and more expensive B and C segment cars we’ve driven in the past year. “It’s a real car,” Scion Vice President Jack Hollis said. “It drives and feels like a Corolla, but it’s in this tiny package.”

The iQ will not have any factory options available, however, like all Scions there were be a plethora of accessories for the iQ available at Dealers to customize and personalize the iQ. There will be one option, which is a lowering kit for the iQ, along with larger 18” wheels which Jack Hollis said looks “amazing on this car”.

In North America where bigger is always better, and in cars and trucks perceived as safer, the iQ comes will 11 airbags, and is expected to achieve an IIHS Top Safety Pick when it’s results are released. There are are the usual airbags for driver and passenger knees, side bolster and side curtains, but two innovative airbags in the iQ are ones in the seat bottom that lift the knees up to prevent the driver from submarining under the steering wheel and a rear curtain airbag that covers the rear glass area to protect rear seat passengers from a rear end crash.

While technically the iQ is a four seat car, it is really a 3+1 as only the smallest of people will be able to sit behind the driver. The rear seat room behind the passenger is acceptable for anyone under six feet tall.

The packaging of the iQ is very clever. The two front seats are offset (the passenger sits farther forward) to create rear seat leg room. The fuel tank is located under the passenger floor, the engine and transmission have been engineered to push the front wheels as far forward as possible to create more cabin space by eliminating wheel well intrusion into the cabin. It allows to iQ to be very short, 10 feet in length, but, the iQ is very wide for such a short car. In fact, the cabin width is as wide, if not wider than a Toyota Corolla! You would think that driver and passenger shoulders would be touching in the iQ but it feels very much like a C segment car from the front seats.

Driving the iQ as we did, mostly in an urban setting, is quite enjoyable. Given how short the wheelbase of the car is, the ride is not overly choppy or harsh. The ride is firm, but acceptably so. The steering in fairly direct, maybe not go kart sharp, but still very good. The only transmission offered in the iQ for North America is the Toyota CVT. We have to say that the CVT in the iQ may be the best we’ve ever driven! It was for the most part a non factor, and that may be the highest praise we can give that style of transmission. When asked about the availability of a manual transmission for the car, Jack Hollis said that while he, and many others at Scion North America would like to see that as an option, the fact that 95% of Gen Y’ers don’t know how to drive a manual, is an issue, plus the fact that the car is targeted at the urban environment, a CVT was a better choice.

What is astonishing about driving the iQ is just how tight the turning radius is. It’s not a joke to say that the iQ can “turn on a dime and give you eight cents change”. The actual turning radius of the car is 12.9 feet!! The iQ can almost turn within it’s own length! Parking the iQ is very easy as well. While you can’t see the nose of the car while seated behind the wheel, the nose of the car isn’t much past your feet being on the peddles. Rear visibility is good as well, and again the rear bumper is four inches past the rear glass, so distance is easy to judge.

The engine powering the iQ is Toyota’s 1.3 liter inline four cylinder, and with the CVT transmission it returns fuel economy in the iQ is 36mpg city, 37 highway and 37 combined. Acceleration feels good in urban environments. While the actual 0-60 numbers are around 10 seconds, the iQ feels much zippier than that. On the freeway the iQ wasn’t buffeted around by large semis. While our highway segment was short with the car, it was enough to get a good take away. We wouldn’t want to take a four hour drive on the highway all the time with the iQ, but if your commute includes highway time, this Scion will do just fine. Wind noise at speed is also very low, in part due the aero sculpting of the the car in the wind tunnel. It’s had to believe, but the iQ had a drag coefficient of just .31!

The Scion iQ will be available in dealers on the West Coast beginning in early December, and roll out across the rest of the country in stages through March. Scion are looking to sell about 2,000 iQ’s per month once the car is released across the country, and they do expect sales to be concentrated in areas like L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, New York and Chicago, areas where the iQ would fit well into tight urban environments.

Going in we didn’t know what to expect with the iQ, really all we’d ever really seen of it were segments from Fifth Gear and Top Gear. It will make a great commuter car, a great car for college students, or a car for people who live in cities who need cars for things like going to the grocery store, or running a number of errands where a Zip car service or public transportation wouldn’t work out. We have to say walking away from our drive, that the iQ is a very impressive little car.