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2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:40:00 EST

Few vehicles can match the affordable fuel economy of the $19,000, 53-mile-per-gallon Toyota Prius C, and that fact isn't likely to change for 2015, as the Japanese company has issued a moderate refresh of its sub-compact hybrid.
As mid-cycle refreshes go, this is a pretty standard affair, with a larger grille and tweaked LED headlights at the front of the Prius C, and more expressive taillights at the back. Toyota made some minor changes in the cabin, updating materials throughout, but not fiddling too much with the overall level of equipment.
Aside from those modest changes, this is the same fuel-efficient five-door, retaining its 1.5-liter, 73-horsepower, 82-pound-foot four-cylinder, while an electric motor tosses in an extra 26 ponies, for a total system output of 99 horsepower. Along with the 53-mpg highway rating, the C will return 46 mpg in the city.

Sports 800 is a progenitor of Toyota performance

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 20:01:00 EST

There's an automotive axiom that claims it's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow. If that's the case, then pushing a Toyota Sports 800 around must be one of the most exhilarating experiences behind the wheel in the world. With just 800cc of displacement from a two-cylinder boxer engine, the focus is on finesse over outright speed. Still, it's a fantastic page in Toyota's performance history, and Petrolicious takes a ride with a man who owns a meticulously restored 1967 example in its latest video.
The Sports 800 used the classic cost-saving strategy in the auto industry of taking parts from a standard model in the lineup and modifying it into a sports car. In this case that meant borrowing the engine from the plebian Toyota Publica, beefing it up for more power and clothing the whole thing a in beautifully shaped, wind-tunnel-honed body.
The look of these lithe, targa roadsters is the exact opposite of the rather dull styling sometimes associated with Toyota today. Everywhere you look there are louvers, vents or curves to draw the eye. Check out the latest Petrolicious video for a detailed look at the history of this rare model that's largely unknown on this side of the Pacific.

Land Rover, Toyota big winners in ALG top resale value awards

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 11:33:00 EST



"Residual value is important for automakers and consumers because it's a complete indicator of the vehicle's future value." - Larry Dominique
Toyota and Land Rover took home the top brand honors in ALG's 2015 Residual Value Awards, which will be presented this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

BMW i5 could get Toyota-sourced hydrogen power

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 09:29:00 EST

It's starting to feel like the automotive landscape is right on the cusp of a boom in hydrogen-fueled vehicles. After all, the Toyota FCV is nearly ready, Volkswagen is readying a fuel cell concept for this week's Los Angeles Auto Show and Hyundai already sells its Tucson Fuel Cell. The next big name to add to that list might be BMW, as the company's co-development deal with Toyota starts to bear fruit.
According to Autocar, BMW may use a version of the fuel cell system from the Toyota FCV in the future i5. As part of its eco-oriented i sub-brand, the i5 is expected to be a stretched version of the i3 (pictured above) with extra rear legroom and cargo space. It's unclear at the moment whether a battery-powered pure electric powertrain will also be available. If accurate, then the rumor could give the Bavarian brand a counterattack against Mercedes-Benz' planned fuel cell vehicle in 2017.
BMW and Toyota first signed the memorandum of understanding to co-develop fuel cells, lightweight technology and a sports car back in 2012, and they made the arrangement official in late 2013. So far, few details on the progress of the work have been disclosed, but the performance model has been rumored to use a front-engine, all-wheel drive layout with supercapacitors.

Jay Leno goes offroading with the legendary Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 20:01:00 EST

Jay Leno takes a step outside of his cavernous garage for this latest video for a jaunt into the desert to get a little dirty. He meets up with off-road racing legend Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart, who has multiple Baja 500 and 1000 wins in his motorsports career, to play with a Toyota Tundra in the sand.
Unfortunately, Leno doesn't get to interview Stewart too deeply about his long history in racing, but Ironman does talk a little bit about reading the trail while speeding through the desert. In lieu of a great conversation, there is a ton of high-quality footage of the Toyota bounding through the desert.
This clip feels more like a marketing effort than the usual output from Jay Leno's Garage, but it's still great to see Stewart behind the wheel sliding a truck, just like old times. The two of them even take the truck on a somewhat humorous journey at the end of the video.

Will Toyota lose up to 70% of its workforce in TX relocation?

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:27:00 EST

Toyota's decision to move its US headquarters from its longtime home in Torrance, CA, to Plano, TX, was one of the biggest stories in the automotive industry this spring. With several months since the announcement, more details about the plan have leaked out. It seems that pulling up stakes could mean an even larger shakeup in the Toyota workforce than first thought.
According to Automotive News, Toyota intends to hang onto around 50 percent of its workforce in the move to the Lone Star State. However, even that figure might be optimistic. According to an unnamed insider speaking to AN, there is a fear the actual number could be closer to 30 percent. For comparison, Nissan retained about 42 percent of its workers in its move from California to Tennessee.
The actual percentage making the move is a mystery because Toyota is still rewriting its job descriptions under a single set of guidelines. The changes affect benefits, bonuses and the reporting structure, according to Automotive News, and employees' reactions could play a big role in who decides to go. According to an unnamed worker speaking to AN, the wait is hurting morale. Some people are even applying at the nearby Honda headquarters.

Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell coming to US Northeast in 2016

Sun, 16 Nov 2014 22:00:00 EST

Looks like someone was able to read the future back in July. That's when rumors first circulated that Toyota's upcoming fuel cell vehicle will be called the Mirai. Today, Toyota president Akio Toyoda confirmed the name alongside plans to build out a hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the US Northeast.
In Japanese, mirai (??) means "future," which is a fitting name for a car that Toyota believes represents the direction the auto industry will go in the coming years. In a promotional video announcing the name, Toyoda said, "For [Toyota], this isn't just another car. This is an opportunity - an opportunity to really make a difference. And making a difference is what Toyota is all about."
To help that future come into existence, Toyota CEO Jim Lentz also disclosed the vague outline of a fuel cell infrastructure investment that Toyota and partner Air Liquide will make in a five-state Northeastern corridor that consists of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The Mirai will be available there in 2015 and Toyota is going to build 12 stations in and around New York and Boston to support the launch. More details will be available later.

Manga stylized Toyota Aygo takes on Godzilla

Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:59:00 EST

Japan has given the world so much to enthuse over. We're not sure the Toyota Aygo is necessarily one of them as much as, say, the Scion FR-S or Lexus LFA (especially since it's actually made in Europe), but for many Nipponophiles, the centuries-old artistic discipline of Manga certainly is. And now the two have come together in this two-and-a-half-minute animated short.
In Toyota's own take on the classic narrative, an Aygo animated by celebrated artist Sonia Leong takes on Godzilla. As in, a giant lizard rampaging through a Japanese city, not the Nissan GT-R, against which the little Toyota would certainly stand even less of a chance by any metric other than affordability, fuel economy or ability to park in tight spots.
In any case, watch this Manga-fied video above, and feel free to read through the related press release below.

Scion reveals iM concept ahead of LA debut

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 09:11:00 EST

After dropping a teaser image on us a few weeks ago, Scion has revealed in full the new iM Concept it's bringing to the Los Angeles Auto Show next week. As expected, the concept is clearly a rebadged version of the Euro-market Toyota Auris, only with some "European Racing Circuit Styling" upgrades to make it look more aggressive.
Along with the Scion logos, the five-door hatch is treated to a deeper air dam flanked by angular vents with stacked fog lamps, beefed-up wheel arches linked by widened side sills and filled with 19-inch, anthracite-finish alloys on low-profile rubber. Vented brake discs and four-piston calipers join an adjustable suspension as show-worthy equipment upgrades.
The sporty treatment continues around back with a similarly aggressive rear bumper and roof spoiler. Even the wing mirrors are replaced with narrower units. Little wonder it's all done up in a shade Scion calls "incrediblue" that looks rather similar to what sister-brand Lexus would put on one of its F-branded performance models - or for that matter what corporate ally Subaru would put on an STI hot hatches like the WRX.

Toyota recalling select 2014 Camry and Avalon models

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 18:31:00 EST

Toyota has announced a rather small voluntary recall, affecting 5,650 Avalon and Camry sedans from model year 2014. Both gas and hybrid models are included in the action.
This recall focuses on the left front lower suspension arm, which may have a bad bolt connecting it to the ball joint. If the car hits a big enough pothole - a real concern as we head into winter - or suffers a major impact, the two components could separate, at which point steering control would more or less vanish.
According to Toyota, there have been no crashes, injuries or deaths due to this problem. Toyota is notifying owners, who will need to report to dealers for a free replacement lower suspension arm.