For Sale By:Private Seller
Interior Color: Black
Model: Land Cruiser
Number of Cylinders: 6
Drive Type: 4 wheel DR
Exterior Color: Blue
Block Island, Rhode Island, United States
Midsize crossovers like the Toyota Highlander tend to play a thankless role in the life of today's modern family.
That's really too bad. With the ability to hold several hyperactive kids and tons of cargo while keeping everyone safe and comfortable in all kinds of climate conditions day in and day out, they're true heroes in the lives of hundreds of thousands of families across the country. Yet their car-apathetic owners often immediately forget about them as soon as their work is done. And nearly all midsize crossovers are thoroughly ignored by enthusiasts whose eyes begin to glaze over at first mention of the phrase "third row."
Toyota is looking to soften the blow somewhat by giving its midsize crossover, the Highlander, a big redesign for the 2014 model year. With a bold new look, updated suspension and a refreshed interior focused on comfort and convenience, Toyota aims to make the Highlander sportier to drive and more striking in appearance, because, as the marketing team explains, "families are going places and they want to get there in style."
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."
Hybrids have come quite a long way from their roots as dull, slow, boring ecomobiles. Today, Porsche sells three hybrid models, one of which is the amazing 918 Spyder. BMW will soon sell four, including a low-slung, two-seat sports car. Even Ferrari and McLaren, full-fledged hypercar manufacturers, are embracing the tech. And all of these cars are sold alongside the same sort of boring cars that popularized hybrids in the first place. According to Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, though, we should see an even bigger increase in the number of hybrid vehicles in the coming years.
"I foresee hybrid models pretty soon reaching 20 percent of global sales from about 13 percent to 14 percent now," Uchiyamada-san told Automotive News. Uchiyamada is the man behind the original Prius, which gives him some degree of authority on making predictions about hybrid adoption.
What's remarkable, though, is that the 20-percent figure doesn't include plug-in hybrids, just gas- and diesel-electric models. "Suppliers need higher volumes to slash costs of components specific to plug-in models, including batteries that should be bigger and more capable than the ones used in traditional hybrids," Uchiyamada told AN.