Barcelona Red with light gray interior. Equiped with alloy wheels and auliary plug for bluetooth. Car is clean inside and out with ice cold air condtioning.
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Auto blogWed, 06 Mar 2013 06:30:00 EST
The Toyota Prius V has a lot to recommend it, but adventurous and sporty styling is not in its repertoire. That's why this new Auris Touring Sports has our attention. Claimed to be the "first full hybrid estate car" in the compact class, this two-box Auris has genuine visual panache to go with its load-lugging capability and parsimonious fuel economy. In the metal, we think its v-shaped grille and headlamp treatment acquits itself better than it does on the new RAV4, a model that shares its new design language.
Built by Toyota UK, the Auris Touring Sports hybrid is powered by a familiar-sounding 1.8-liter gas engine paired with an electric motor, with total system output quoted at 134 horsepower. The model will also be available in a variety of gas or diesel trims if you prefer your vehicle sans electrification (a non-hybrid model is shown). It goes on sale later this year in Europe, but don't hold your breath to see one in North America. Still interested? Scroll below to see a couple of videos and to read the official press release.
A number of automakers are working on developing fully autonomous cars, but it looks like the groundwork for such technologies will likely show up first as semi-autonomous systems for both safety and convenience. Following recent announcements from Nissan and Ford in this area, Toyota has now released information for some of its advanced semi-autonomous technologies that could be offered in production cars over the next few years.
On the safety front, Toyota's new pre-collision system with pedestrian-avoidance steering assist is aimed at protecting the folks who aren't in the car. This system combines visual and audible alerts with automatic brake assist and automatic steering. If warnings don't get the driver to slow down, the brake assist kicks in if a collision is very likely, but if that is still not able to avoid the impending collision (and if there is enough room to do so), the car can automatically steer itself around the pedestrian. This sounds most beneficial for last-second dangers such as a person accidently stepping out into the road in front of a car. Toyota hopes to have this technology available to customers by 2015.
The Japanese automaker is also testing a suite of technologies called Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA). The key part of this is a new adaptive cruise control system that uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications rather than a radar-based system. This cooperative-adaptive cruise control allows vehicles to communicate their acceleration and deceleration data with other cars, which Toyota says this helps to improve fuel efficiency and traffic flow. Also a part of AHDA is the Lane Trace Control feature, which sounds like a next-gen lane keep assist. This system uses cameras, radar and a computer to keep the vehicle in a "smooth driving line" by being able to change steering angle, engine torque and braking force. Toyota says this technology could be in place by the "mid-2010s."
With considerable manufacturing capacity here in the United States and even a NASCAR program, it'd be all too easy to categorize Toyota as an American automaker. Only it's not. It's Japanese, of course. And back in the Japanese Domestic Market, it offers a whole range of models we'll never see in North America. Models like the Crown sedan, Noah minivan and this, the new Passo hatchback.
Sold in various markets as the Daihatsu Boon, Daihatsu Sirion, Perodua Myvi and (for a time) the Subaru Justy, the Toyota Passo is a compact hatchback that slots in size-wise between the Yaris sold in America and the Aygo offered in Europe (except the Passo is taller than either).
Power comes from a 1.0-liter engine with 69 horsepower that can be had in front- or all-wheel drive, or a 1.3 driving 95 horses to the front wheels alone. A continuously variable transmission is on duty regardless of engine choice. Front-drive models get a stop/start system, but even all-wheel-drive versions are eligible for government tax credits. That's because, though the new Passo only appears to be mildly updated, the engines have been thoroughly reworked to deliver 30-percent better fuel economy than the previous model, coming in 20-percent better than the standards being enacted by the Japanese government for next year.