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Posts Tagged ‘Toyota’

Video Review: 2014 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum

January 11th, 2015 No comments

Toyota wants to move the latest Highlander onto more buyers’ radar and they’re doing that by toughening up the style to attract more men and refining the family friendly features to keep it’s female fan base from straying to the competition. We like what they’ve done inside with smart designs like the massive center console, useful full-width dash shelf and teen-friendly second row captain’s chairs. Toyota has given us less to get excited about under the skin with carryover engine and a 6-speed automatic that doesn’t push any envelopes. Do we recommend the total package or suggest a pass? Our latest video review has that answer.

Video Review: 2014 Toyota Corolla S

May 21st, 2014 No comments

For as long as we can remember the Corolla has been forgettable. Of course, that abstract truth hasn’t stopped Toyota from selling millions of them over the model’s long life. Still, we’d argue it’s more a testament to their ability to build a reliable car at a low price and take care of their customers better than just about anyone than some burning desire American’s have to make 60 monthly payments on a new beige Corolla. However, for 2014 Toyota is looking to inject a bit of desire into the Corolla lineup with trims like the sporty S we recently had in the AT Garage. Did we like what we found? You’ll have to find the play button to find out.

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Video Review: 2014 Toyota Tundra

April 10th, 2014 No comments

Toyota deserves some credit just for continuing to duke it out in the full-size pickup market. That’s no easy task when the market is dominated by offerings from Ford, Chevy and Ram and all of the competition seems to roll out annual upgrades to stay ahead in a fiercely competitive segment. Toyota let us have a go in their redesigned-for-2014 Tundra and there’s a lot to like, starting with the stout V8, slick 6-speed auto and an interior that should all but erase memories of the cramped pickup cabs we endured in the ’90s. Not everything catches the class average though, like an EPA combined rating of 15 mpg and some interior materials that leave a bit to be desired in something designated Platinum Edition. For our full opinion you’ll need to tune into our video review above.

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First Drive: 2014 Toyota Highlander

February 24th, 2014 No comments

Exploring the Lowlands in the new Highlander

Ironically, Toyota invited us to the lowlands of Charleston, S.C. to test its new Highlander and while bounding through sprawling plantations and zipping around historic downtown streets something became clear: the all-new Highlander is very good. That can only help sales accelerate considering 2013 was the final year of the outgoing model and unit growth was still increasing to the tune of more than 120k last year. With a focus on providing smart and functional details for family use, Toyota wants to cement the Highlander’s reputation as a first-class family hauler for moms and attract some new dads to Toyota showrooms with bolder styling and improved performance. Read more…

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2014 NAIAS: Toyota FT-1 Concept

January 14th, 2014 No comments

 

      There aren’t many surprises in the world of auto shows these days but Toyota managed to keep the FT-1 sports car concept off the radar better than most. Drawing heavily on F1 design, the FT-1 (for Future Toyota, we were tantalizingly informed) aims to inject some passion back into a lineup that current boss Mr. Toyoda has deemed too vanilla. Although the concept isn’t a runner and the engine sitting under the windowed hood is just a styling piece, we can imagine a great Supra reincarnated with the 5.0-liter V8 serving in the Lexus IS F.  In person the concept is an absolute stunner with classic proportions but completely modern surface detailing and an interior that is all business. We haven’t been this excited about a future Toyota in a long time and we were reminded today how sometimes surprises can be worth the wait.

First Drive: 2013 Toyota RAV4

March 5th, 2013 No comments

The Crossover that Created the Segment Enters 2013 Better than Ever

If you’re not a fan of the crossovers that today fill every soccer field parking lot and school unloading zone, you can direct your displeasure squarely at Toyota. The company created the segment back in the mid-90’s when the car-based RAV4 burst onto the scene with a spare tire hanging off the back and a promise to ride and drive more civilized than any other SUV of the time. Since then, the little people mover has expanded to dealerships in more than 150 countries and found more than 171,000 buyers in the US last year. But competition in the segment is relentless with major players releasing all-new or significantly improved offerings in the last year, including the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V. While developing its all-new 2013 model Toyota is also taking the opportunity to bring this 4th Generation RAV4 back to its roots after watching the model expand away from its core to offer a third row of seats and a V6 engine option that clearly trespassed on the Highlander’s turf. We recently flew to Arizona to drive the new RAV4 and came away impressed with the value Toyota is offering in the crossover that started it all.

Read more…

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Video Review: 2013 Scion FR-S

March 4th, 2013 No comments

      It isn’t everyday that we use the latest out of Toyota to provide a benchmark for a vehicle class, but we’re going to go ahead and say it’s safe to declare that is exactly what we’re doing with the Scion FR-S. The Subaru and Toyota tie-up has yielded a car that far exceeds all expectations. Greater than the sum of its parts you might say, the Scion FR-S (and its sister cars: the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 [not sold in the US]) has stolen the torch away from Mazda and its Miata as the bar to which affordable driving fun is measured. Read more…

2013 NAIAS: Toyota Corolla Furia Concept

January 15th, 2013 No comments

      The Toyota Corolla typically has been known as an automotive appliance. Certainly the Corolla has rarely been a masculine nameplate since the word ‘corolla’ loosely translated means ‘flower petals.’ Even so, Toyota management emphasized at the NAIAS unveiling of the Corolla Furia concept, that over 38% of the 24 million cars the brand has sold since 1968 have been Corollas. Even though the car has sold in large volumes Toyota management admitted that the Corolla has an image problem. Probably happy to allow customer s to remain ignorant about the meaning of the compact’s name, it was obvious with the reveal of the Corolla Furia that Toyota designers and engineers are working hard to change the car’s image. The Furia concept is far more aggressive in appearance than any production Corolla but it was a non-functioning mock-up without a powertrain or interior. No matter, it is refreshing to see that Toyota is working to improve the Corolla’s staid image. Read more…

First Drive: 2013 Toyota Avalon

December 10th, 2012 No comments

 

Going Places

      I think we can all agree that the last iteration of the Toyota Avalon was in need of a double dose of espresso. So when I was invited recently to drive the all-new 2013 Avalon, my first thought was to caffeine up before I settled behind the wheel. What I expected to be little more than weak coffee turned out to be more like a caffe vanilla Frappuccino. Let me explain. Read more…

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2013 Toyota Avalon Design Critique

November 19th, 2012 No comments

  

      The Toyota Avalon has been with us for much longer than seems possible. When it debuted as a 1995 model, it was credited with being ‘Toyota’s Buick.’ Whether that was intended as an insult or a compliment depends on how you felt about Buicks at the time, but we’ll speculate those making the assessment weren’t referring to the LT1 V8-powered Roadmaster, but rather the somewhat smaller LeSabre or even the 13-year old Century. In any case, the Avalon has continued to be a plusher, larger, softer variation of the Camry. Like the Camry, the Avalon has remained fairly anonymous. Indeed, its styling was likely created with the intent of being used as a template for the ‘anycars’ used in various automotive supply advertisements.  Read more…

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