Toyota – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Tue, 28 Mar 2017 01:05:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 Toyota Mirai Billboard Cleans the Air http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2180887/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2180887/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:55:12 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1139578 With the Toyota Mirai’s sole emission being water vapor, Toyota is using new “eco-billboard technology” to advertise its fuel cell vehicle in select California markets. The eco-billboard technology was developed by PURETi Group, LLC and “uses a titanium dioxide coated vinyl to purify the surrounding air.” Nitrogen dioxide is converted to nitrate and removed from...

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With the Toyota Mirai’s sole emission being water vapor, Toyota is using new “eco-billboard technology” to advertise its fuel cell vehicle in select California markets.

The eco-billboard technology was developed by PURETi Group, LLC and “uses a titanium dioxide coated vinyl to purify the surrounding air.” Nitrogen dioxide is converted to nitrate and removed from the air when oxygen reacts to this energized titanium dioxide catalyst. The purification system only requires light, humidity, and airflow over the titanium dioxide coating to work.

“Toyota consistently searches for new environmental technologies across all operations. When Clear Channel Outdoor Americas brought us the opportunity, we saw it as a perfect match,” said Mark Angelacos, advanced technology general manager for Toyota Motor North America, in a release. “This new campaign delivers Toyota Mirai’s ‘vehicle of change’ message on a medium that lives up to that promise.”

The Toyota Mirai eco-billboard campaign will feature 37 billboards in the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets and will run from April 3 to May 28 in conjunction with Clear Channel Outdoor Americas. Toyota says the billboards will create a total of 24,960 sq.-ft. of surface that can reverse the NOx equivalency of 5,285 vehicles over the course of a month. NOx contributes to acid rain and smog.

“We are pleased to offer our environmentally-conscious clients, like Toyota, an even more eco-friendly printed vinyl option for their Out-of-Home (OOH) media campaigns,” said Gene Leehan, executive vice president and senior regional president of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas. “This campaign marks a U.S. first for the use of this technology on OOH, and we look forward to making it available to other like-minded advertisers.”

Toyota Mirai eco billboard technology 2

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2018 Toyota Sienna Receives a Fresh Look http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-toyota-sienna-gets-makeover/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-toyota-sienna-gets-makeover/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:40:22 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1138554 One year after introducing a more powerful engine to the Sienna, Toyota is making further updates to the best-selling minivan in the U.S. The 2018 Toyota Sienna heads to the New York auto show next month with new technologies and an updated exterior design. The Sienna’s new face is reminiscent of other Toyota products. With a...

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One year after introducing a more powerful engine to the Sienna, Toyota is making further updates to the best-selling minivan in the U.S. The 2018 Toyota Sienna heads to the New York auto show next month with new technologies and an updated exterior design.

The Sienna’s new face is reminiscent of other Toyota products. With a larger, lower grille, the Sienna looks a bit more athletic than before. Toyota also added larger fog lights and side lower rockers on every model. Three new colors are available: Toasted Walnut Pearl, Alumina Jade Metallic, and Parisian Night Pearl.

2018 Toyota Sienna SE front three quarters
2018 Toyota Sienna SE

Other upgrades can be found inside the cabin, such as a new Toyota Entune 3.0 unit for all models. The infotainment system comes with standard Connected Navigation Scout GPS link with Moving Maps, a turn-by-turn nav app. LE, SE, and XLE grades receive Entune Audio Plus, which includes Safety Connect emergency assistance and Wi-Fi Connect with 4G LTE. The Entune 3.0 Premium JBL Audio system, standard on the top-trim Limited model and available on the SE and XLE, features a premium sound system as well as Dynamic Navigation, which provides wireless updates over the air for improved map accuracy.

Toyota has added Android streaming capability to the rear seat entertainment system. There are five USB ports throughout the cabin allowing passengers in all three rows to hook up their devices. To reduce noise, vibration, and harshness, the automaker introduced a laminated front windshield to the mid-level SE model and new acoustic front-row side glass on the top Limited trim.

2018 Toyota Sienna SE rear view

More standard safety features are also in store. All new Siennas come standard with a pre-collision system and pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams.

Given that Honda revealed an all-new Odyssey for 2018 and Chrysler continues to shake up the minivan segment with its Pacifica, it’s interesting that Toyota has chosen to refresh its current-gen Sienna, which has been around for seven model years already. Will it be competitive with this new crop of people-movers? We’ll find out when the 2018 Toyota Sienna goes on sale in the U.S. this fall.

2018 Toyota Sienna SE rear three quarter 2018 Toyota Sienna SE front view 2018 Toyota Sienna SE front three quarter 2018 Toyota Sienna Limited rear view 2018 Toyota Sienna Limited rear three quarter 2018 Toyota Sienna Limited front view

2018 Toyota Sienna SE center stack

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Watch Little Remote-Controlled Cars Tow a Toyota Hilux Pickup http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-little-remote-controlled-cars-tow-toyota-hilux-wvideo/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-little-remote-controlled-cars-tow-toyota-hilux-wvideo/#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 16:20:13 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1137641 Toyota has made a short video demonstrating that, yes, 15 miniature toy cars can tow a real-life pickup truck. Taking inspiration from a similar stunt performed in the 1980s, Toyota strapped up its Hilux pickup to a group of Tamiya Bruiser remote-controlled trucks. With a gross vehicle weight of more than 7,000 pounds, the Hilux...

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Toyota has made a short video demonstrating that, yes, 15 miniature toy cars can tow a real-life pickup truck.

Taking inspiration from a similar stunt performed in the 1980s, Toyota strapped up its Hilux pickup to a group of Tamiya Bruiser remote-controlled trucks. With a gross vehicle weight of more than 7,000 pounds, the Hilux has become heavier over the years, making the towing challenge even more difficult for the little cars this time around. Fortunately, each Bruiser can create 4.4 pounds of pulling force, which proved enough to get the Toyota truck moving. The Tamiya Bruiser is a 1:10 scale model based on an earlier design of the Hilux and weighs just 7 pounds, but its 4×4 capability proved size is no obstacle for tough tasks.

Toyota Hilux with Tamiya Bruisers 04

For added traction, testers placed a small weight behind the cab section of each Bruiser. A special towing bar with 15 separate eyelets was bolted to the Hilux’s standard front tow points, allowing the truck to connect with the model vehicles. Once hooked up, the Hilux engine was shut off and the transmission was placed in neutral.

Toyota says it didn’t resort to any special tricks and that the tow shows off the true capabilities of the Hilux and Bruiser. The only difference is the Bruisers, of course, were operated by radio-control model experts that synchronized the movement of the cars and ensured optimal power delivery for the tow.

Watch the video below to see the tiny Tamiyas tow a Hilux pickup. And check out the Toyota UK YouTube channel where you’ll see the Hilux and its miniature companions tackling other tasks such as mud and water.

Toyota-Hilux-with-Tamiya-Bruisers-05-1 Toyota-Hilux-with-Tamiya-Bruisers-03-1 Toyota-Hilux-with-Tamiya-Bruisers-07-1 Toyota Hilux with Tamiya Bruisers 04 1

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First Drive: 2017 Toyota 86 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/first-drive-2017-toyota-86/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/first-drive-2017-toyota-86/#respond Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:00:39 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1135830 SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany – Add a comma and call it the Toyota 86,860 Special Edition. “I like that,” a Toyota Motor North America exec says of my suggestion. Toyota just unveiled a special edition version of its 86, the drift-artist formerly known as Scion FR-S. The 860 Special Edition is designed to move the 86...

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SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany – Add a comma and call it the Toyota 86,860 Special Edition.

“I like that,” a Toyota Motor North America exec says of my suggestion.

Toyota just unveiled a special edition version of its 86, the drift-artist formerly known as Scion FR-S. The 860 Special Edition is designed to move the 86 slightly upmarket and see whether the low-volume sports car can appeal to an, ahem, more mature and slightly more well off consumer, stereotypically described as having a mid-life crisis.

Good news is that for all the changes besetting the Toyota/Subaru joint-venture sports car, those of us who have always been drawn to sufficiently powered, lightweight sports cars won’t like the 86 any less than before. Toyota figures the base model 86 will appeal to young, single buyers, while the 86 860 Special Edition is for the “empty nester.”

The point is that the 2017 Toyota 86, like its Subaru BRZ sibling, belongs to a sub-segment consisting of just two other competitors, the inevitable Mazda MX-5 Miata, and the Fiat 124 Spider. Small, tight, simple, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive, and designed to carve up a twisty road rather than take on Camaros and Mustangs between Woodward Avenue stoplights. What could Toyota possibly do to mess up its four-year-old take on this formula?

2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear three quarter

Toyota brought us to Switzerland and Germany to sample a mixed bag of new 86s following the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. The 860 Special Edition on display (but not driven) was a one-off right-hand-drive prototype, though this S.E. will be sold only in the U.S. I drove several European-spec models, each with various elements of the ’17 model year update.

Cosmetically, the facelifted ’17 model consists of a new front fascia and rear lower fascia, those plastic body parts that don’t require a huge tear-up prior to a complete redesign. The new front fascia, which extends from the hoodline to the underbody, now has an air dam on the lower edge for better aerodynamics. There are subtle aero elements added to the profile, which consist of convex notches in the front and rear side-marker lights, and the body-colored horizontal piece running through the side-vent designs in the front fenders.

There’s a smaller-diameter steering wheel, upgraded seat materials and Grand Lux simulated suede added to the passenger-side dash panel. The Alcantara competitor already supplies the material for the top of the door panels and the instrument cluster shroud. A new 4.2-inch Thin Film Transistor center dash screen is upgraded with a g-meter, torque curve display and stopwatch. Controls remain too small and finicky for the midlife crisis crowd. The Scion FR-S’s “snow” mode has been replaced with a second ABS mode.

2017 Toyota 86 seats 2017 Toyota 86 cabin 01 2017 Toyota 86 shifter 01 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition climate controls

Under the sheetmetal, redesigned intake runners add 5 horsepower to the old Scion FR-S’s 200, but the increase is for North American manual models only. The rear end ratio has been lowered from 4.1:1 to 4.3:1 and the rear structure of the car has additional braces to make the chassis stiffer, allowing Toyota ZR/Toyota Gazoo Racing (which campaigns 86s in sports car and rally racing in Europe) chief engineer Tetsuya Tada to stiffen the front suspension while softening the rear suspension and adding a larger rear anti-roll bar.

The changes “make the new 86 closer to the new Subaru BRZ,” Tada-san says. Whereas the old Scion FR-S was tuned to compete in drift events with little or no aftermarket modification, the new Toyota 86 is more planted, a quality that drifters can tune out with a few non-stock parts.

This time of year, the test cars had to wear various brands’ winter tires while being driven through Northwest Europe, though they didn’t feel as squirmy as, say, Bridgestone Blizzaks feel on a Mazda Miata.

“I didn’t want different tires to affect the handling,” Tada says in broken English (which is far better than my Japanese). The 86’s summer tire spec is the same, in fact, as on the Toyota Prius, though Tada concedes that winter tires on this sports car are not ideal.

2017 Toyota 86 rear view in motion

Slaloming right, then left, around numerous Swiss and German roundabouts (we also drove, briefly, through Austria and Lichtenstein) the 86’s rear wheels complied and took a set to offer good seat-of-the-pants feedback. The steering is quick, communicative and fabulous, and while the suspension is still stiff enough to transmit every road imperfection, the car doesn’t skate over bumps.

The 2.0-liter horizontally opposed Subaru four’s 205 horsepower feels like, well, 205 horsepower, but to repeat, if you’re as inclined toward this sort of sports car, it’s plenty. The 86 can quickly find its way out of a corner, so long as you’re in the right gear. The 86’s six-speed, enhanced with a new set of synchros, begs for constant rowing, anyway.

Tada-san bristles at the suggestion of adding a turbocharger – say, for example, the Subaru WRX’s 268-hp boxer engine, which would negatively affect the linearity of the power band. Unfortunately, the throttle and brake pedals are just a bit too far apart for easy heel-and-toe downshifts — a result, Tada says, of the fallout from Toyota’s unintended acceleration debacle earlier this decade.

The updates add just 17.6 pounds to the new model, Tada says. Toyota and Subaru engineered this chassis to accommodate a convertible version without the need for heavy bracing, but that won’t happen with this generation model. Tada would like a convertible from the get-go for a second-generation model, but he hinted that Toyota has yet to sign off on an 86 Mark II.

2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 02

The Toyota 86 is fun and responsive on any road, in any traffic, so long as you’re inclined to this sort of thing as much as we are. You shouldn’t need a Special Edition to convince you, whatever your age, though there’s nothing wrong with spending a few thousand dollars more on the 860. It’s really a 1,720, because 860 will be offered in Supernova Orange and 860 will be offered in Halo White, either with black vertical stripes running nose through top to tail, bisecting a European-spec rear spoiler painted both gloss- and flat-black. There are black-chrome 18-inch alloys, black-capped, heated sideview mirrors, a black underpan and lower rear fascia. Inside you’ll find black leather seats with orange trim, plus orange trim on the steering wheel, handbrake and gearshift boots, keyless pushbutton start and dual-zone climate control.

Toyota will use the Special Edition to gauge whether it should offer an upmarket 86 for 2018 and beyond, and there’s no reasonable argument against it. Even with the special kit, the 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition lists for $30,040 for the six-speed manual (the six-speed automatic is another $720), which is $2,900 more than a standard 86, and $2,100 more than a 2017 Subaru BRZ Limited when equipped with optional 17-inch STI black alloy wheels. Hurry, if you want your 860 properly equipped: boatloads with all 1,520 Toyota 86 860 Special Editions are approaching U.S. ports as we speak, and brand manager Paul Czaplicki expects about 60 percent of them, like the standard 86, will be manuals. That’s just 1,032 cars. Perhaps they should be called the Toyota 86 516 Special Edition.

2017 Toyota 86 Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $27,140/$30,050 (base/as-tested)
ENGINE 2.0L DOHC 16-valve H-4/205 hp @ 7000 rpm, 156 lb-ft @ 6400 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
EPA MILEAGE 21/28 mpg (city/highway)
L X W X H 166.7 x 69.9 x 50.6 in
WHEELBASE 101.2 in
WEIGHT 2,774 lbs
0-60 MPH 6.4 sec (est)
TOP SPEED 144 mph (est)
2017 Toyota 86 rear three quarter 02 2017 Toyota 86 rear three quarter 03 2017 Toyota 86 tail lamp 2017 Toyota 86 rear three quarter 01 2017 Toyota 86 rear end 2017 Toyota 86 rims 2017 Toyota 86 rims detail 2017 Toyota 86 paddle shifter 2017 Toyota 86 interior badge 2017 Toyota 86 instrument panel 2017 Toyota 86 steering wheel and center stack 2017 Toyota 86 side profile in motion 2017 Toyota 86 shifter 02 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front three quarter in motion 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front three quarter 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear taillights 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear wing 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition side mirror 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front end 1 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear three quarter in motion 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear taillights 1 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition interior seats 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition gear knob 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front wheels 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front three quarter 1 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear three quarter 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear wing 1 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition seat warmers 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition side mirror 1 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition steering wheel 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition stitching 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition track mode 2017 Toyota 86 infotainment 01 2017 Toyota 86 headlamp 01 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 09 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 06 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 08 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter 05 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 01 2017 Toyota 86 engine 01 2017 Toyota 86 headlamp 02 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 10 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 11 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 12 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 13 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 07 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter 07 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter 06 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter 04 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter 03

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Toyota Supra Poses for the Camera http://www.automobilemag.com/news/toyota-supra-spied-up-close-at-gas-station/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/toyota-supra-spied-up-close-at-gas-station/#respond Fri, 17 Mar 2017 23:45:52 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1135904 Our spy photographers caught the Toyota Supra once again wearing design elements borrowed from the FT-1 concept. This time around, the Supra was parked by itself in front of a gas station, providing the perfect opportunity to take some close-up shots. For the first time, we get a good look at the car’s front end including...

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Our spy photographers caught the Toyota Supra once again wearing design elements borrowed from the FT-1 concept. This time around, the Supra was parked by itself in front of a gas station, providing the perfect opportunity to take some close-up shots.

For the first time, we get a good look at the car’s front end including its large air vents and protruding nose, which could be hiding the same beak we saw on the FT-1 back in 2014. It’s still hard to distinguish the shape of the headlights, as this is one of the many elements Toyota is trying its hardest to hide. Looking at the back of the Supra, we can more clearly see the shape of the double bubble roof and the rear window. Somehow, the ducktail spoiler doesn’t look quite as large in this set of photos.

Toyota Supra prototype front

The Toyota Supra will share a platform with the BMW Z5, which appears to be heading in a different design direction. Both rear-wheel-drive vehicles will be produced by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria.

Powertrain options for the Toyota Supra remain unknown. It could source turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines from BMW, or it could use Toyota’s new twin-turbo V-6. A hybrid version could arrive later down the line.

Check out the gallery for more photos of the upcoming Toyota Supra.

Toyota Supra mule rear three quarter Toyota Supra mule rear view Toyota Supra mule rear Toyota Supra mule taillight Toyota Supra Prototype front three quarters Toyota Supra Prototype front wheel Toyota Supra prototype rear three quarters view

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2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition Offers Enthusiasts Who Do Not Drift Something to Like http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-toyota-860-special-edition/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-toyota-860-special-edition/#respond Mon, 13 Mar 2017 08:00:20 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1131078 SCHLOSS EMAU, Germany – Toyota is looking to move upmarket its 86 sports car, acquired last year from its old Scion sub-brand, in order to appeal to a wider range of buyers, including “empty nesters,” with its 860 Special Edition for 2017. A special edition 2017 Toyota 86 called the “860”? Yeah, we’ve already suggested...

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SCHLOSS EMAU, Germany – Toyota is looking to move upmarket its 86 sports car, acquired last year from its old Scion sub-brand, in order to appeal to a wider range of buyers, including “empty nesters,” with its 860 Special Edition for 2017.

A special edition 2017 Toyota 86 called the “860”? Yeah, we’ve already suggested to Toyota Motor North America management they could call it the Toyota 86,860, and a couple of them liked the idea.

Toyota will sell 1720 of them in the U.S.; 860 painted the Supernova Orange color you see here, and the other half painted Halo White. Both come with a black racing stripe running through the middle of the body.

Upgrades over the standard Toyota 86, itself updated for 2017, include dual-zone air conditioning, pushbutton keyless start, heated, black-capped power sideview mirrors, black chrome alloy 18-inch wheels, European-version specification rear spoiler in two-tone matte black and gloss black paint, black exhaust pipe lower fascia finisher, black underpan that improves aerodynamics, orange stitched trim around the shifter boot, handbrake and on interior trim, and black leather seats with the orange trim, and heated in front. There are no performance nor handling upgrades to the 860 Special Edition.

2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear three quarter

So why consider one? If you want to dress up what is often considered a drift car, into a more sophisticated looking, mature sports car. It is, after all, one of the most pure sports cars on the market. And the 860 Special Edition adds less than three large to the 2017 Toyota 86’s bottom line.

Price is $30,050 with the six-speed manual, and $30,770, if you insist, with the six-speed automatic. Speaking of which, Toyota expects about 60 percent will be the manuals, which comes to 1,032 stick-shifts in either Supernova Orange or Halo White. So hurry to get the proper manual. The 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition goes on sale in the U.S. in a couple of weeks, because if you don’t have your eye on an orange manual, we do.

If Toyota determines its target market will scoop up this car, you can expect to see more options, or probably a higher trim level in the future. It will appeal, Toyota hopes, to empty-nesters tired of their SUVs and minivans, and other customers with a bit of money, though not Porsche money. Yes, we know the close sibling, Subaru BRZ already offers two trim levels, with the current “base” Toyota 86 splitting the price difference.

2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front three quarter

Enhancements to the ’17 model base Toyota 86 help make the case for the 860 Special Edition. Toyota beefed up the architecture’s structure, adding more brace attachments to the rear quarter panels and a thicker under hood strut tower brace, while thickening the rear anti-sway bar and softening the springs. The ’17 86 also gets a 5-hp bump to 205 horsepower for the manual only, upgraded seats and added imitation suede accents on the dash, plus a new, smaller-diameter steering wheel, a new front and rear fascia, and small aerodynamic enhancements on the body’s side.

Price of this base model is $27,140 for the manual and $27,860 for the automatic.

2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front three quarter in motion 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front three quarter 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear three quarter 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front end 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear wing 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition side mirror 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear taillights 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition climate controls 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front three quarter 1 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition front wheels 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition gear knob 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition interior seats 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition seat warmers 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition steering wheel 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition stitching 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition track mode 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition rear three quarter in motion

 

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2017 All-Stars Contender: Toyota Prius Prime http://www.automobilemag.com/news/toyota-prius-prime-2017-all-stars-contender/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/toyota-prius-prime-2017-all-stars-contender/#respond Fri, 10 Mar 2017 11:00:31 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1129095 A Toyota Prius? In an AUTOMOBILE All-Stars competition? It’s more likely than you think. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is the plug-in variant of the fourth-generation hybrid. It is capable of operating as an electric vehicle for up to 25 miles on a full charge using its 91 horsepower. Once the juice runs out, the...

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A Toyota Prius? In an AUTOMOBILE All-Stars competition? It’s more likely than you think.

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is the plug-in variant of the fourth-generation hybrid. It is capable of operating as an electric vehicle for up to 25 miles on a full charge using its 91 horsepower. Once the juice runs out, the 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle inline-four, which is good for 95 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque, kicks on and the Prius Prime becomes a regular hybrid Prius — except this one is eligible for a California HOV lane sticker.

Fitting of its badge, the Prius Prime is frugal at the pump, achieving 55/53 mpg city/highway when in hybrid mode. But since All-Stars is not a fuel economy competition, the Prius Prime needed to show competence in many other areas to be named a winner.

Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender front three quarters

One such area is value. The $30,060 Prius Prime Premium that joined our competition came standard with key features that cost thousands on some of the other contenders, including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist, and a navigation system with an 11.6-inch screen.

Did our judges find any others? Well, yes.

Design editor Robert Cumberford found the car “quiet, smooth, and well able to stay with traffic. Detroit bureau chief Todd Lassa said it “transitions seamlessly between full EV and gas engine,” while contributor Marc Noordeloos felt this was “a Prius where it feels like Toyota actually tried in regards to the chassis.”

Will a good standard equipment package, good fuel economy, and few positive attributes get the Prime over the line? Come back on March 11 to find out.

2017 Toyot5a Prius Prime Premium Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $29,665/$30,060 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 1.8L DOHC 16-valve Atkinson cycle I-4/95 hp @ 5,200 rpm, 105 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm;
permanent magnet AC synchronous motor/91 hp; total system output 121 hp
TRANSMISSION Continuously variable
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback
EPA MILEAGE 55/53 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 182.9 x 69.3 x 57.9 in
WHEELBASE 106.3 in
WEIGHT 3,375 lb
0-60 MPH 11.0 sec (est)
TOP SPEED N/A
Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender side profile in motion Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender front end in motion 03 Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender rear three quarters Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender side profile Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender fornt end in motion 02 Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender rear three quarter in motion Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender rear three quarter in motion 02 Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender rear end in motion Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender front three quarter in motion Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender front end in motion Toyota Prius Prime 2017 all stars contender front end in motion 04

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Toyota I-TRIL Concept for Geneva Leans Into Turns, Seats Three http://www.automobilemag.com/news/toyota-tril-concept-geneva-leans-turns-seats-three/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/toyota-tril-concept-geneva-leans-turns-seats-three/#respond Thu, 09 Mar 2017 10:00:46 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1127732 Toyota’s proposed alternative to traditional compact cars, EVs, public transport, and motorcycles is a small three-seater EV with no pedals. Called the Toyota i-TRIL concept, the automaker’s vision of urban mobility debuted at the Geneva auto show. According to Toyota, European studies have shown that the continent will experience more growth in its small- to...

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Toyota’s proposed alternative to traditional compact cars, EVs, public transport, and motorcycles is a small three-seater EV with no pedals. Called the Toyota i-TRIL concept, the automaker’s vision of urban mobility debuted at the Geneva auto show.

According to Toyota, European studies have shown that the continent will experience more growth in its small- to medium-sized towns (SMESTOs) than in existing large metropolitan areas such as Paris or London. The automaker developed the i-TRIL for a specific and new type of customer: a sophisticated, single, 30-50-year-old female with two children and an active lifestyle that lives and travels extensively in a future medium-density suburban area.

Toyota-i-TRIL-front-end-02-1

Developed by Toyota Motors Europe and the automaker’s design studio in Nice, the i-TRIL is powered by an electric motor, weighs only 1,300 pounds, is roughly 9 feet long, less than 5 feet high, and has a front track width of only 4 feet (rear track is 2 feet). With the front wheels and fenders separated from the body and a hinge between the rear axle and cabin, the i-TRIL shows off the automaker’s Active Lean Technology, a feature that first debuted on the i-Road concept. Toyota claims this technology enhances stability and grip while providing greater driving pleasure and less risk of passenger car sickness.

Toyota’s “Relaxed Engagement” driving position was chosen by a focus group of target customers and is slightly higher and more laid-back than normal. Toyota says this gives the driver good steering “module” engagement. With no pedals to worry about, the driver can stretch their legs and wear any style of footwear. Steering, acceleration, and braking are conducted via drive-by-wire technology using left- and right-hand control modes which extend toward the driver’s hands.

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Traditional controls, buttons, knobs, and the instrument panel are replaced by a head-up display and a new Human Machine Interface (HMI) system that focuses on voice activation technology, allowing the driver to communicate to the vehicle’s Artificial Intelligence in order to control the multimedia and infotainment systems.

The interior is built around the driver while the one-plus-two seating configuration brings the rear passengers closer to the driver without intruding on personal space. The arrangement also allows for impressive legroom – enough room for three adults, according to Toyota. Toyota expects the EV’s driving range to be about 125 miles, and much of that distance can be driven autonomously thanks to self-driving technology.

Along with the i-TRIL, Toyota also revealed the significantly refreshed Yaris and Yaris hot hatch concept in Geneva.

Toyota-i-TRIL-front-end-02-1 2017-teaserbeeld-i-tril-70317 Toyota-i-TRIL-front-end-03-1 Toyota-i-TRIL-front-end-1 Toyota-i-TRIL-rear-three-quarter-1 2017-toyota-concept-i-tril-exteriordet-01 2017-toyota-concept-i-tril-exteriordet-04 2017 toyota concept i tril static 05 660x438

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First Drive: 2018 Toyota C-HR http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-toyota-c-hr-first-drive-review/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-toyota-c-hr-first-drive-review/#respond Wed, 08 Mar 2017 09:00:39 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1126379 AUSTIN, Texas — Great, now the gang’s all here. Subcompact crossovers are popular in a very, very big way, and we’ve been waiting for quite a while to see what Toyota had in store for the segment. It’s still a land rush at this point, but the competition is fierce, with offerings from Honda, Mazda,...

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AUSTIN, Texas — Great, now the gang’s all here. Subcompact crossovers are popular in a very, very big way, and we’ve been waiting for quite a while to see what Toyota had in store for the segment. It’s still a land rush at this point, but the competition is fierce, with offerings from Honda, Mazda, and Kia already commanding a large chunk of the market. When the offer to drive the new 2018 Toyota C-HR came in, we jumped at the chance to discover what it has to offer in the blossoming segment.

If the funky design of the C-HR seems a bit at odds with Toyota’s contemporary ethos, there’s a good reason for the angularity. Initially, the C-HR was developed for Scion as a much needed boost for the flagging nameplate. Too little, too late, it seems; the decision to pull the plug was made before the crossover materialized and the C-HR was absorbed into Toyota like the Scion FR-S, iA, and iM. Of course, it wasn’t too hard to scrape the Scion badges off – the car still would’ve worn Toyota badges in every market outside the U.S.

In person, the odd bodylines work. C-HR stands for Coupe-High Rider, and if you squint hard enough from a distance, it hides the rear doors fairly well. The Scion DNA is definitely still there, but this is a segment with fairly young buyers, so standing out from the rest of Toyota’s SUV offerings might not be so bad.

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Size-wise, the C-HR rides the line between segments and a wheelbase just 0.8-inches shorter than that of its RAV4 sibling. Aimed at yanking sales away from B-Segment mainstays like the aforementioned Honda HR-V, the C-HR is underpinned by the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that made its debut with the fourth-generation Prius and boasts slightly larger proportions inside and out than its rivals.

U.S. buyers will be offered just one powertrain available at launch, Toyota’s 2.0-liter 3ZR-FAE four-cylinder. In the C-HR, it makes 144 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque, which is routed to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. This is adequate for puttering around town and reaching highway speeds, but you won’t be breaking the tires free even if you punch it on a backroad. Power is on par with the base engines found in most segment siblings, but short of the competition’s premium engine options, some of which produce 20 – 60 more hp than the Toyota.

If you’re wondering where the all-wheel-drive variant is, keep dreaming. According to Toyota, to keep weight down, a decision was made to make the U.S.-spec C-HR front-wheel-drive only. Other markets have an AWD C-HR variant available, alongside an alluring hybrid model.

This sluggishness isn’t lost on Toyota and, to compensate, the engineering team worked tirelessly fine-tuning the chassis. The chief engineer of the C-HR program was rightfully proud of how much chassis development was done on and around the Nurburgring, and how confident he was in the car. On paper, it’s all there – the C-HR has a MacPherson front and double wishbone rear suspension along with relatively thick anti-roll bars. Toyota says this all adds up to make the C-HR the best handling entry in the segment – a title most often lost on Toyota’s other cars.

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Out on the surprisingly twisty backroads of Texas Hill Country, the time invested on the ‘Ring shines through the fog from the lazy powertrain. It’s stable, forgiving, and genuinely enjoyable to huck around. The electric-boosted steering errs on the light side, but you’re never left wondering what the front wheels are doing. We’re not sure it beats out the Mazda CX-3 for smiles, but the C-HR is at least a convincing runner-up.

Inside, Scion’s revenant still lingers. Quirky trim pieces and interesting dash design match the eye-catching exterior while the mixture of cloth, leather, and plastic is what you would find throughout the Toyota lineup. In keeping with the Scion bloodline, the C-HR is available in only two trims: XLE and XLE Premium. Standard kit is fair, including leather-wrapped steering wheel, backup camera, and two-zone climate control. Step up to the XLE Premium and heated front seats, power driver’s seat, and keyless entry with pushbutton start are added.

Things get wonky when you arrive at pricing. The C-HR XLE starts at $23,460, hopping up to $25,310 for the XLE Premium. The average base price of the compact crossover segment comes out to just over $18,700, a $4,700 deficit compared to the C-HR. It’s true, the C-HR arrives with a chunk of standard features, but that gives competitors a fair bit of breathing room for options.

Despite this, the C-HR still makes a great deal of sense for Toyota. The C-HR will fit the bill for buyers looking for storage and utility, but want something between the Toyota Corolla iM hatchback and the RAV4 SUV. On the other side, for those who require the increased space but desire the driving dynamics of a car, the spunky C-HR is ready to serve.

In the end, we’re glad to see market gaps being filled. The 2017 Toyota C-HR is an enjoyable entry in a burgeoning segment — and is a necessary model for the brand. Despite a handful of remediable drawbacks, the C-HR is still one of the best-driving and sharpest-looking offerings from Toyota.

2018 Toyota C-HR Specifications

ON SALE April 2017
PRICE $23,460 (base)
ENGINE 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/144 hp @ 6,100 rpm, 139 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
TRANSMISSION Continuously variable
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE 27/31 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 171.2 x 70.7 x 61.6 in
WHEELBASE 103.9 in
WEIGHT 3,300 lb
0-60 MPH N/A
TOP SPEED N/A
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Toyota Sequoia and Tundra TRD Sport, RAV4 Adventure Join Lineup for 2018 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/toyota-sequoia-tundra-trd-sport-rav4-adventure-join-lineup-2018/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/toyota-sequoia-tundra-trd-sport-rav4-adventure-join-lineup-2018/#respond Thu, 09 Feb 2017 15:40:45 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1107350 Toyota is applying its TRD Sport treatment to its three-row Sequoia utility for the first time ever while adding an Adventure package to the RAV4 compact crossover/utility to give it more “attitude.” The 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport and RAV4 Adventure make their first public appearances Thursday at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, along with...

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Toyota is applying its TRD Sport treatment to its three-row Sequoia utility for the first time ever while adding an Adventure package to the RAV4 compact crossover/utility to give it more “attitude.” The 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport and RAV4 Adventure make their first public appearances Thursday at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, along with an updated TRD Sport package for an equally updated Tundra pickup truck.

The Tundra and Sequoia are in for a styling update for the 2018 model year and get Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) features standard across their model lineups. While the ’18 RAV4 isn’t in for a facelift, next year’s model gets standard Trailer Sway Control, Hill-Start Assist Control, and TSS-P.

On the Tundra and Sequoia, Toyota Racing Development adds Sport Tuned Bilstein shocks and TRD-branded front and rear anti-sway bars. The 2018 Toyota Sequoia and Tundra TRD Sport models also come with the 381-horsepower 5.7-liter i-Force V-8 engine, and a choice of rear- or four-wheel-drive. The TRD Sport package is available on both the CrewMax and DoubleCab Tundra bodies.

The 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport gets a new grille and front bumper and adds gloss-black mirror caps, 20-inch alloy black sport wheels, smoked taillamp lenses, black satin TRD Sport and Sequoia badging, black fabric seating for seven (with optional black leather captains chairs, part of the Premium Package), and TRD shift knob and sill protectors and TRD Sport floormats.

Appearance enhancements to the 2018 Toyota Tundra TRD Sport include a mesh grille with a body-color surround, color-keyed mirrors, front and rear bumpers, and hood scoop, 20-inch silver alloy wheels with black accents, LED headlamps with black bezels and daytime running lamps and a TRD Sport bedside graphic. Inside, there’s a TRD shift knob and TRD Sport floormats.

Paint colors are Super White, Magnetic Gray, Midnight Black Pearl, Blazing Blue Pearl, and Barcelona Red Metallic.

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure gets a Tow Prep Package with upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers and a raised suspension.

Butching up the RAV4 Adventure’s exterior styling are large overfender flares, 18-inch, 235/55R-18 tires on five-spoke black alloy wheels, lower body guards, black headlamp bezels, black foglamp surround, roof racks, and Adventure badging. Inside, you’ll find a leather-wrapped shift knob, a 120-volt, 100-watt power outlet in the cargo space, Adventure door-sill protectors, and Adventure floor and cargo mats. Alas, no early bird deals on the special 2018 Toyota Sequoia, Tundra or RAV4. They’re due in showrooms this September.

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