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Auto blogSun, 21 Sep 2014 11:04:00 EST
The Toyota Tacoma may be getting on in age, but that isn't stopping the Japanese manufacturer from ramping up production at the pickup's Baja California factory. The Mexican plant will soon be home to another 300 jobs as it increases total capacity by 41 percent. The increase is slated for April 2015.
The move is a curious one, considering the Tacoma's age and the fact that General Motors is preparing what, on the surface, appear to be two very competent challengers. The factory increase could be in preparation for the 2016 Taco (spy photos shown above), which is expected to represent a significant overhaul of the long-serving truck.
Toyota's decision to increase capacity could also be due to the factory building freeze implemented by President Akio Toyoda, according to Automotive News. Toyoda put a hold on new factories until 2016, asking executives to squeeze as much production as possible out of remaining factories before bringing any additional facilities online.
The Toyota GT86, in all of its forms, is one of the best-handling cars money can buy, a trait that can put a smile on the faces of all but the most jaded car enthusiasts. But if good handling isn't what they're looking for, then what is? Our first guess would have to be more power, something the 200-horsepower Toyota would benefit from. Autocar tries out that theory by driving two turbocharged GT86s on track, then pitting the more powerful one against the 616-hp McLaren MP4-12C in a track battle.
The first GT86 turbo Autocar's Steve Sutcliffe drives makes around 255 rear-wheel horsepower and a bucket-load more torque than the stock car. That's plenty of power to either have a lot of fun or get into a lot of trouble. But the GT86 that Sutcliffe tails in the McLaren is race-prepped, stripped to the bone and wears slicks to harness a heavy-hitting 335 hp at the wheel. Weighing in at under 2,500 pounds, the Toyota can't overcome the MP4-12C's power-to-weight ratio of 5.3 pounds per horsepower, but it comes pretty close.
Enjoy a lot of chasing and drifting fun in the video below!
The list of finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year has been announced, and in a genuinely bizarre twist, there's only one hybrid and no electric vehicles among the five contestants, despite the arrival of cars like the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S. Taking the place of the EVs are a pair of diesels, repping a technology that last won a Green Car of the Year award in 2009, when the Audi A3 TDI took the title. No diesel was in the running for last year's award.
Naturally, both of the diesel finalists are fielded by the Germans - with BMW's 328d and Audi's A6 TDI getting the nod. In the case of the 3 Series, BMW installed a 2.0-liter, turbodiesel, capable of delivering 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, while returning 45 miles per gallon on the highway. Audi and its larger, 3.0-liter, V6 turbodiesel produce quite a bit more grunt, with 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of grunt, but net a very impressive 38 mpg on the highway in the A6.
Finalists for this year's awards include two diesels, three gas-powered cars and a plug-in hybrid.