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.
There's a new season of motor racing upon us, and while that doesn't always mean a new crop of cars in every series, in the case of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, that's exactly what it means. Porsche recently revealed its new 919 Hybrid and Audi its revised R18 E-Tron Quattro. Now it's Toyota's turn.
Revealed today at the Paul Ricard test track in the South of France, the new TS040 Hybrid is based on the TS030 Hybrid it replaces, redesigned to meet the latest regulations established by the FIA and ACO for the World Endurance Championship and its flagship race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In accordance with said regulations, the TS040 is two inches narrower than the TS030 and also incorporates a new hybrid powertrain.
The previous 3.4-liter V8 has been replaced by a 3.7-liter V8 developing 513 horsepower, and the new engine is coupled to an Aisin AW electric motor at the front, a Denso electric motor at the rear and a Nisshinbo super-capacitor that combine to kick out an extra 473 hp, giving the system a combined output of nearly 1,000 horsepower while consuming 25 percent less fuel than last year's car. It also gives the TS040 all-wheel drive to help channel all that power to the road.
Nine Japanese suppliers have pleaded guilty in US court over charges of price fixing in the automotive parts industry, resulting in the Department of Justice doling out a total of $740 million of fines, according to a report from Bloomberg. The scandal, which has resulted in General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler spending up to $5 billion on inflated parts and driving up prices on 25 million vehicles has sent the DoJ hustling into investigations. "The conduct this investigation uncovered involved more than a dozen separate conspiracies aimed at the U.S. economy," Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured above) said during yesterday's press conference.
As the investigation stands, the DoJ has issued $1.6 billion in fines against 20 companies and 21 individual executives, with 17 of the execs headed to prison. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Hammond said, "The breadth of the conspiracies brought to light today are as egregious as they are pervasive. They involve more than a dozen separate conspiracies operating independently but all sharing in common that they targeted US automotive manufacturers."
Big-name suppliers indicted in the investigation include Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hitachi Automotive and Mitsuba Corporation. A list of fines and other corporations named in the investigation is available at Bloomberg.