Tag: Toyota Prius v

How to Make a Safer Car Purchase

May 17, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

Most new car buyers focus on the features or the look of a vehicle far more than they do the safety features. When you think about this it seems a bit silly that so much focus is placed on the fun aspect of owning a vehicle and something so important like personal safety is often placed on the back burner. If you want to make sure you and possibly your family and friends are safe when riding in your vehicle, do yourself a favor and make sure that you spend a sufficient amount of time considering safety options before making the purchase.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Small Overlap Test
Toyota Prius Plug-in Small Overlap Test

Take a Look at Crash Ratings

One of the most important ways to verify the safety of vehicles is through crash test ratings. Both the NHTSA and the IIHS crash vehicles into specific barriers on a regular basis to check to see how durable they really are. There’s no better way to find out what a vehicle is made of than to look at the crash test ratings. Look for vehicles like the Prius V and the Toyota Highlander that scored highly on both crash tests, because they will hold together in the unfortunate event of a crash.

Count Airbags

Always look at the number of airbags that a vehicle comes with. The more airbags that it packs in the better, because this means you’ll be protected more effectively in the event of a crash. Many vehicles have at least six airbags today and an increasing number are getting knee bags and side-curtain bags even at the back of the vehicle. Keep track of the number of airbags before you buy.

Backup Cameras Make Sense

Many new vehicles are coming with backup cameras today, and that’s because they help avoid a lot of possible collisions. Co;nsider getting a vehicle that has a camera and if you have to choose between one that does and one that does not, you should get the vehicle with the camera. It will make you safer and make the vehicle more enjoyable to drive. While you’re at it, you should pay attention to how well you can see out all the windows of a vehicle and stick with one that offers a good level of visibility. If you’re having a hard time seeing out some of the windows or the pillars are too wide that can cause problems down the road.

Look for Active Safety Technology

While active safety technology such as adaptive cruise, blind spot monitors and even some autonomous driving systems are still pretty new to the market, they are good to have. They help keep you out of trouble when your mind wanders or when you simply don’t notice an impending problem. Active safety technology may be the most important safety feature that vehicles can have and getting a car loaded up with it is a good way to stay safer out on the road.

If you want a safer vehicle it’s a good idea to look out for all these features before you buy. They make a big difference and can create a much safer environment for you and your family.

 

Toyota Aims For North American Prius Production by 2015

May 4, 2012 lacarguy Green Auto Technology, HybridCars.com, Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

by: Zack McDonald – HybridCars.com

Toyota says it has plans to begin manufacturing the Prius in the United States for the first time. Last year, the carmaker recorded its 1 millionth Prius sale in the U.S., and despite supply shortfalls in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, sold more than 136,000 Prii here for the full year. By 2015, the company expects annual North American Prius sales to reach 200,000 units, with total North American hybrid sales projected to hit 400,000 vehicles by that time.

Toyota executive, Koei Saga, told Auto News this week that the carmaker is currently scouting potential North American suppliers. “We are targeting 2015,” said Saga. “Around then we will probably introduce the next-generation Prius, so we are trying our hardest to realize local production of hybrid units then.”

The shift will hopefully spell the end of the dreaded Prius waiting list for American customers, a phenomenon that has been present during all the more major recent oil spikes in the U.S. Being able to meet demand when it is at its highest is one of the main reasons that Toyota started talking about adding production flexibility to the Prius line last year. Another reason is an overall desire on the part of the company to avoid the major losses suffered across the Japanese auto industry as a result of last year’s earthquake, which caused the carmaker to report its first quarterly loss in more than two years, and sent executives searching for ways to diversify their supply chains.

It’s been a long time since the Prius was a niche vehicle spotted mainly in California’s more liberal enclaves, and Toyota can no longer afford to lose potential sales to competing hybrids during production shortfalls. With the expansion of the platform to include not only the standard Prius but also the larger Prius v, the compact Prius c, and the Prius Plug-in, Toyota plans to make the Prius the best-selling vehicle platform in the world in the coming years.

Saga also told Auto News that Toyota plans to stick with nickel metal hydride batteries for the next generation Prius, despite moves by competitors to switch their hybrids to lithium ion. Still, the company says it could begin lithium ion battery production here in the United States to supply the Prius Plug-in and eventually other plug-in vehicle offerings.

Ten Electric Cars Coming in 2012

January 3, 2012 lacarguy HybridCars.com Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

By HybridCars.com

The year 2011 was a landmark year for EVs. We witnessed regional launches of the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt. These two plug-in cars were the start of a new era for electrified personal transportation. The current American car auto fleet, however, is enormous—and two models alone cannot create change on a large scale.

During 2012, these two plug-in cars will have—depending how you look at it—either competition in the marketplace or help in the movement to electrify transportation

This coopetition includes the Ford Focus Electric, the much-anticipated Tesla Model S, and others. Pike Research predicts that more than 250,000 plug-in vehicles will be sold globally in 2012. Regardless of whether or not this prediction comes true, 2012 will bring more choices in vehicle style, brand, size, performance, and price, for cars with cords.

Here is HybridCars.com Top 10 countdown of plug-in cars to look forward to in 2012:

10. LEAF and Volt (Expanded Markets): First on my list is expanding availability of the two cars that kick-started the new era of plug-in vehicles. General Motors rolled out the Volt in four stages during 2011, making it available nationwide at the end of the year. Canada and the UK can expect to see Volts in 2012. The LEAF began shipping to the UK, Japan, and some US states in 2011. Nissan says the LEAF will be available in all 50 US states by March of 2012.

9. Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: Daimler reports that it will launch its third-generation Smart ForTwo Electric Drive to 30 markets around the world in September of 2012. This is a three-month delay for the two-seater initially planned for June 2012. Daimler claims the delay is due to quality control issues at the battery supplier Li-Tec.

8. Honda Fit EV: The Fit EV is scheduled for release in Oregon and parts of California next summer. Only a few hundred cars are expected to reach US shores during 2012, with 1,100 scheduled for production during the next three years.

7. Mitsubishi i: The updated Mitsubishi i-MiEV has been shipping in Japan and the UK for several months. The town of Normal Illinois received hundreds of i’s in 2011 as part of a test program and publicity campaign. The first regularly ordered i was delivered to an owner in Hawaii in December 2011. The national-wide US rollout is scheduled for July 2012. The i is a nice addition to the available EV portfolio because at $29,125 (before state and federal incentives) it is one of the most affordable highway-capable EVs.

6. Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid: With the “Prius Goes Plural” campaign, Toyota has added the Prius V, Prius C, and (relevant to this topic) the Plug-in Prius (PIP). The Prius has a loyal following among green drivers. PIP will be the Prius with the highest MPG rating in the Prius family. This will make it the car of choice for many Prius fans, even with its price premium over the standard model. PIP will be available in 15 states in spring 2012 with nationwide availability in 2013.

5. Ford Focus Electric: Ford initially announced that these were going to start shipping in December 2011. One or two may go out the door, but any real volume won’t happen until Spring 2012. I am looking forward to seeing the EPA rated range and price information. This is the first pure EV of this era from one of the Big 3. It will be a bellwether.

4. Fisker Karma: First promised in 2009, Karma reservation holders have been repeatedly delayed. And with each delay the price ratcheted up, from an initial $80,000 price tag now to $106,000 (as of Dec. 13, 2011). There were a few token deliveries in 2011, including handing key-fobs to Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore and Colin Powell. 2012 should be the year for mere mortals, although you will need six figures of cash to make it happen.

3. Toyota RAV 4 EV (Redux): This vehicle is a joint effort between Toyota and Tesla. The original RAV 4 EV was a favorite among the millennium era EVs. It is scheduled for sale in mid-2012. Initially sales will be limited to California.

2. Ford C-Max Energi: The Ford C-Max Energi is a plug-in hybrid version of the Ford C-Max wagon (or compact multi-purpose vehicle, or MPV, as it is referred to in the UK). The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is planned for launch in North America in 2012, and Europe in 2013.

1. Tesla Model S: This is the car I am most looking forward to driving. Tesla followed the tech development model with an alpha and beta phases in 2011 and production samples are now on the road. Tesla plans to build and sell 6,500 units in 2012. However, unless you are already a reservation holder, you are out of luck because 6,500 people have already put down $5,000 each to get a place in line to buy one. Deliveries are expected to start mid-2012.

There are other plug-in cars—from smaller and less proven companies—that could make it to market in 2012, most notably the Coda Electric Sedan. But Coda, as well as BYD, Zap, Zenn, and Wheego—are dark horses in the emerging market. Of course, the only thing that would be truly surprising in this tumultuous nascent industry would be a year with no surprises.

The Prius V Is Here, See It In Action

November 7, 2011 lacarguy Green Auto Technology, High MPG Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

We’ve talked about it for quite some time, and now it’s finally here, the first new model of the Prius line, it’s the Prius V. V is for Versatility! The Prius V has as much cargo capacity as most CUV’s on the market today, yet returns the superior fuel economy you would expect from a Prius. As you may remember we had a chance to drive a Prius V back in June and wrote about it here on the blog.

Now, the Prius V’s are here, and we have them available at both the Toyota Santa Monica and Toyota Hollywood stores! We showed the Prius V off at the AltCar Expo, and we also shot this test drive video for you, have a look.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqteH35POGI?rel=0&hd=1&w=853&h=480]

A Closer Look: Toyota’s 2012 Prius V

June 29, 2011 lacarguy Green Articles, Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

As you may know, Toyota is growing its Prius family line of vehicles in hopes that a few variations on our most successful battery-powered recipe will offer buyers solutions that the conventional Prius simply couldn’t match. Have you been considering a Prius but felt that the standard vehicle would not accommodate your growing family? Or do you lead a more active lifestyle and require something that will easily carry all your gear without you having to master the art of packing? Well, do we have the vehicle for you.

When it came to designing the Prius V, Toyota’s designers wanted to make sure that the newcomer would still be instantly recognized as a member of the Prius dynasty. Up front, the vehicle wears both stylized head lamps and a rounded front fascia that’s remarkably similar to the 2011 Prius. It also worth noting that the front fenders and hood are completely new sheetmetal. Also, the headlight housing has been altered to incorporate a new ridge that reduces wind turbulence around the side view mirrors. As a result, the small change has a huge impact on interior noise.

From the side, the wagon-like presence of the Prius V is inescapable with its long roof, similarly lengthy rear doors, and an extended cargo area. The rear offers a fairly sizable hatch that terminates in a unique rear spoiler which serves an aerodynamic purpose. Toyota designers and engineers made an effort to decrease the vehicle’s coefficient of drag as much as possible to increase fuel efficiency. Enhancements include touches like protrusions from the front and rear bumper, specially designed side skirts and extensive underbody cladding that help the Prius V return its .29 coefficient of drag.

Engineers essentially stretched the Prius floorplan to give the Prius V an extra three inches of wheelbase and six inches of overall length. Combined with a taller roof, additional glass and large rear hatch, this newcomer weighs 3,274 lb. Opting to skip throwing extra horsepower to all that weight, engineers simply changed the axle ratio from 3.268:1 to 3.704:1. As a result, the Prius V feels just as adequate on the road as the third-generation Prius. The new gear ratio means that acceleration is perfectly acceptable for matching wits with traffic in town or on the highway with 0-60 mph sprints taking an estimated 10.4 seconds. A total of four drive modes are accessible via buttons mounted on the center console, including EV, Eco, Power, and Normal modes.

Under the hood, the same 2ZR-FXE 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine found in the base Prius supplies power in conjunction with a pair of liquid-cooled motor generators. Engineers designed the transaxle case in the Prius V with integrated water jackets for the first time to keep the motors at a steady temperature, thereby increasing longevity and performance at the same time. Combined output sits at 134 hp at 5,200 rpm and 105 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The exhaust recirculation system was also redesigned to decrease the drivetrain’s warm-up period, as a result, the Prius V can reach optimum operating temperature up to a minute sooner than vehicles equipped with the old system.

As most other automakers are flocking to lithium-ion batteries, Toyota has decided that there is no need to pursue the added cost of the technology for the Prius V. Instead, the hybrid wagon uses a modified version of the same nickel-metal hydride battery pack found in the third-gen Prius. Total output has been boosted slightly to 650 volts, and the more compact battery configuration keeps from impeding on interior room. Additionally, the battery pack’s cooling duct now draws ambient air from a hidden location under the second-row seats.

If you’re looking toward a small SUV, a crossover, or a wagon, the Prius V has all the functionality of those vehicles with the fuel economy and panache that only the Prius name can offer. With improved functionality, the Prius V can be the vehicle to accommodate a growing family with an active lifestyle. Contact us to book your test drive today and we will notify you as soon as the vehicle hits our showroom. Follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook community to keep up with the latest updates.