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Toyota tops Kelley Blue Book's Resale Value Awards

Tue, 27 Nov 2012 18:30:00 EST

Kelley Blue Book announced its annual Best Resale Value Award winners, and we weren't too surprised to see the list dominated by Japanese automakers - mainly Toyota and Honda. KBB hands out the awards based on the projected residual value of mostly all 2013 model year vehicles, and Toyota skated home with a number of awards including 10 of the 22 overall categories and having five of its products in the top 10 for models with best resale value. KBB's Best Resale Value Awards were announced in the same week as the ALG Residual Value Awards, and there were many similarities between both lists, especially when it came to Toyota.
To come up with its winners, KBB measures depreciation over the first five years of ownership, and looks for the cars it expects to hold its value the best after this time; on average, the report says the 2013 model year vehicles will lose 61.8 percent of its value in five years. Of the 22 categories, 15 slots were filled by Toyota, Honda and Nissan products, while the Camaro and Porsche (Cayenne and Panamera) each took home a pair of awards. If Toyota has anything to be upset about in this list of cars, it's that categories for Hybrid/Alternative Energy Car and Electric Vehicle went to the Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Volt, respectively.
The overall top 10 models for the best resale value in 2013 are, in alphabetical order:

Toyota GT86 convertible could debut in March

Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:58:00 EST

The dates are lining up, now we wait to see how the badges align. Just before the Toyota GT 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ line-up was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, there was a report that Subaru was considering a convertible while Toyota wouldn't even comment on it. That got swapped around when earlier this year the chief engineer on Toyota's side said a convertible was coming, and then a Scion FR-S droptop was confirmed for early 2014.
Autocar now reports that the Toyota GT 86 convertible will make its first appearance at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in March. In a car whose specs like weight, packaging, horsepower and center of gravity were all tightly controlled to get the most from the least, the changes necessitated by chopping the roof could make this a very different car. It's said to employ a fabric roof to keep a "small" weight gain check, and the suspension will be softened to work more harmoniously with the decreased body stiffness. And somewhere in all that the back seat and trunk space will need to take a hit.
In other news, Autocar says the hi-po GT 86 with some kind of capacitor system instead of batteries is being worked on for 2015.

EVO "2012 Car of the Year: The Track Battles" is a sports car salmagundi

Sun, 25 Nov 2012 17:30:00 EST

EVO has come out with another gotta-watch-it video, throwing its 2012 Car of the Year contestants around the UK's 1.5-mile Blyton Park track. It's actually a 15-minute teaser for the full-length DVD detailing the magazine's Car of the Year selection, but the tease is worth every penny free second.
Tiff Needell and sports car racer Richard Meaden handle the wheel duties, the two driving five pairs of sports cars: Lotus Exige S vs. Porsche Boxster S, Morgan Three-Wheeler vs. Toyota GT86, BMW M135i vs. Porsche 911, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series vs. Alpina B3 GT3, the marquee event pits the McLaren MP4-12C vs. the Pagani Huayra. After a head-to-head lap with commentary during drifts, Meaden takes each car out to set a representative lap time.
You'll find the verdicts, lots of tire smoke, and lines like "Anything you can do sideways I can do sideways" in the video below.

Buy a Toyota GT86 and your wife will hate you

Wed, 14 Nov 2012 19:29:00 EST

Marketing can be a very strange business. Convincing a man or woman (or child, really) that they absolutely cannot live without the latest, greatest new bit of technology oftentimes takes a unique approach. In the "online film promoting the Toyota GT86" you'll see below, created by agency Happiness Brussels, men are reverse-psychologied into thinking a new sports coupe will make them more masculine by getting their loved ones to hate them. Or something like that. We think.
In any case, we suggest you watch the video below to see how much fun men can have with a GT86 - or Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ, presumably - at the expense of their significant others. Fair warning: There's a potential Not Safe For Work moment in the ad: beware of a brief male butt shot about 44 seconds in.
Marketing. Gotta love it. Unless you're married to a man. Or something like that. We think. Whatever, just watch.

Hi-po Toyota GT86 to get KERS?

Fri, 09 Nov 2012 14:16:00 EST

We happen to like the Toyota GT86 - and, it of course goes without saying that the same applies to the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, as well - just the way it is. Yes, that includes the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine and its 200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm.
That said, a little extra power never hurt anybody, right?
The most obvious way to add some punch to the GT86 would be with a turbocharger, and that has indeed long been rumored for an STI version of the BRZ. Will Toyota follow suit? According to Top Gear, the answer is no. Says GT86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, "I think 300bhp with a turbo and 200g/km of CO2 would be tasteless in this day and age. And a turbo would mean the loss of the GT86's uniqueness." Perhaps a bit harsh, but there you go.

Toyota recalling 11,200 Scion iQ models over faulty passenger sensors

Wed, 07 Nov 2012 15:31:00 EST

Toyota has announced a voluntary recall of 11,200 Scion iQ models from the 2012 and 2013 model years. According to the manufacturer, the problem with these pint-sized hatchbacks concerns the front passenger Occupant Classification System (OCS) weight sensor cables.
The OCS sensors in the front passenger seat control the operation of things like the airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioner. In these affected models, the cables for these sensors located in the seat track can become damaged as the passenger seat slides forward and backward. And if the cables are damaged, the airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioner may not function properly.
No injuries or crashes have been reported in conjunction with this issue.

Scion FR-S may be getting supercharger kit from TRD

Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:33:00 EST

The Scion FR-S was just named the Hottest Sport Compact at the 2012 SEMA Show, and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is apparently looking to make this car a little hotter. According to Car and Driver, TRD is close to coming up with a supercharger to fit to the car's 2.0-liter flat-four engine in order to squeeze out a little more performance. Currently, the FR-S produces 200 horsepower, but there's no guessing how much a supercharger could improve this figure.
With Subaru seemingly hard at work on a new turbo engine for the BRZ and even possibly a BRZ STI model, it is only logical for a force-fed FR-S to be in the works as well. Surprisingly, though, the report says that supercharger would be unique to the FR-S, but since the Scion and Subaru BRZ are mechanically identical, it isn't clear how this would be accomplished. TRD already offers plenty of upgrades for the FR-S such as exhaust, brake and suspension kits, and it offers a handful of superchargers for other models including the 5.7-liter V8 used in the Toyota Tundra and the 4.0-liter V6 used in the Tacoma.

Pics Aplenty: Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ show up en masse at SEMA

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 20:31:00 EST

Scion made a huge investment in the 2012 SEMA show, and its spanking new FR-S coupe, by putting hundreds of cars in the hands of tuners. The result on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center is unmissable, as just about everywhere we turn we find another FR-S peeking out at us.
We tried to capture a large quantity of the coupes we saw on display, to represent just how thick on the ground they actually are. In the attached gallery you'll find a healthy percentage of the alleged 150-plus cars that made it to SEMA this year. You'll also find a smattering of Subaru BRZ models, too. Fair is fair.

Scion FR-S SCCA World Challenge racecar, ready for the track

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 16:38:00 EST

Of all the many Scion FR-S models here on the SEMA floor in Las Vegas - and there are a great many of them, have no doubt - the very purpose-built car from Stout Racing is one that we may hear about again in the future.
The Stout Racing team will be campaigning the racy FR-S in the SCCA World Challenge series in the upcoming season, and is currently building some buzz on the Scion SEMA show stand. The car makes use of a supercharger that was jointly developed by Stout and TRD, as well as a front splitter, doors and rear wing - all by Vertex.
Driver Robert Stout will run the FR-S in the GTS class next year, with a debut slated for the Streets of St. Petersburg event, scheduled to go off in March of 2013.

SEMA crowns Mustang, FR-S as this year's hottest cars in the building

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 17:40:00 EST

After wrapping up the first day of the 2012 SEMA Show, organizers handed out awards for some of the trendiest vehicles on display. Since the whole point of SEMA is to show off new products available in the aftermarket world for use in cars, trucks and SUVs, each year, the show distinguishes the most popular vehicle in various segments. Not surprisingly, this year's Hottest Car and Hottest Sport Compact are the Ford Mustang and Scion FR-S, respectively, while the Ford F-Series brought home the Hottest Truck and the Jeep Wrangler was named the Hottest 4x4-SUV.
More than 2,000 companies are at this year's show, and the display booths represents a "vote" for each car to determing the trendiest vehicles in each of the four categories. It isn't clear if these awards also take cars brought by OEMs into account, but the Mustang and FR-S were definitely well represented by both OEM and aftermarket show versions.
As usual, the OEMs showed up in force at the this year's SEMA Show exhibiting a variety of cars ranging from production-intent cars like the beastly Ford Mustang Cobra Jet to much flashier rides like Scion's Carbon Stealth FR-S.