Riverton, West Virginia, United States
Toyota has pulled the curtain back on its 2014 Tundra, showing a truck that has gotten its most significant refresh since its launch as a 2007 model. For better or worse, however, the changes that Toyota has made to the fullsize pickup are mostly cosmetic, with the underpinnings of the vehicle staying unchanged.
The most obvious revision for 2014 is to the bluff front fascia of the truck. There's a new, taller squared-off grille decorating the Tundra's nose, along with a revised, three-part front bumper design. The optional black grille-frame strikes us as an acquired taste, to say the least, but other models, like the Limited above, is all clad in chrome. Fenders and wheel wells are more square than in the out-going truck, too. Perhaps most significant is the revised bed design, which Toyota calls "all-new," with new sheet metal on the sides, a revised tailgate and a very subtle integrated spoiler.
Inside, Toyota has given buyers some new seats and a new-look instrument panel. A backup camera (always handy on big trucks) is now standard equipment on all grades, as is Bluetooth connectivity. Blind spot monitoring is a new, optional feature as well. In all, as with the exterior mods, the changes in-cabin are far more evolutionary than revolutionary.
Toyota released a new Yaris in Europe and its Vitz clone in Japan a few months ago, so we knew it would only be a matter of time before it would launch the new hatchback here in North America. And that time has come.
The new, more distinctive 2015 Yaris features far more aggressive exterior styling, a look set apart by that large lower air dam and X-motif front end. It rides on a retuned suspension hooked up to an altogether more rigid chassis, and Toyota promises it will ride more quietly and comfortably than the model it replaces. Inside the new model has additional soft-touch materials in a more comfortable cabin equipped with everything from a 6.1-inch touchscreen display to nine airbags.
The 2015 Yaris comes in both three- and five-door bodystyles, and three trim levels that seek to eliminate the need for options packages. In fact the only option to speak of is a dealer-installed nav system. Power comes from a modest 1.5-liter four with variable valve timing, dual overhead cams and sixteen valves, sending 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
Toyota posted a media advisory yesterday saying that Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, and Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, would be making a production announcement tomorrow in New York City, and Automotive News reports that the automaker will be announcing a plan to domestically produce the Lexus ES. According to the report, numerous plants are competing to build the ES in North America, and the State of Kentucky has offered the automaker up to $146.5 million to build the luxury sedan at the Georgetown, KY assembly plant.
If Georgetown gets the ES, which has been built in Japan since its debut in 1989, it would be built alongside the Toyota Camry, which is somewhat ironic since in our review of the 2013 Lexus ES350, we wrote that this ES finally says "goodbye to its Camry roots." In order to get the whole amount offered, the article states that Toyota would have to invest $531.2 million and hire 570 full-time workers at the plant, which doesn't sound all that unreasonable since the plant would require an additional 50,000 units of annual production, not to mention the fact that the Georgetown facility is already at its capacity for building the Camry.