June, 2010

...now browsing by month

 

2011 TOYOTA TACOMA RECEIVES FACELIFT CHANGES

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

The Toyota Tacoma, the best-selling midsize pickup truck in the U.S., receives a few minor changes to its model lineup and a modest price hike for 2011.tacoma grille

The most notable update is a bolder cosmetically revised grille design that’s expected to change the current two-bar grille to a single bar.

All regular cab Tacomas will include air conditioning as standard equipment, and 15-inch styled steel wheels will be standard on two-wheel-drive regular cab trucks. Models with the available six-disc CD changer will also come with integrated Sirius-XM satellite radio. A new Convenience Extra Value Package for double cab models adds cruise control, a sliding rear window with privacy glass, remote keyless entry and steering-wheel audio controls. All exterior colors from last year carry over except for Black Sand Pearl, which has been changed to  Black.

Toyota has discontinued three low-volume manual transmission models and added five four-cylinder, four-speed automatic models. The new models are the Access Cab 4×2 PreRunner, Double Cab 4×2, Double Cab 4×2 PreRunner, Regular Cab 4×4 and Access Cab 4×4.

The entry-level regular cab 2011 Toyota Tacoma with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission will start at $16,365 before a $810 destination charge. That’s a $1,020 price increase over the 2010 Tacoma. A fully equipped double cab V-6 five-speed automatic Tacoma with four-wheel drive and a long bed will start at $27,525, up $275 from 2010, before $810 destination.

Toyota offers two engines for the Tacoma. The base 2.7-liter double-overhead-camshaft four-cylinder produces 159 horsepower and 180 pounds-feet of torque, and the powerful 4.0-liter DOHC V-6  makes 236 hp and 266 pounds-feet of torque. Certain V-6-equipped models can tow up to 6,500 pounds.

Production of the 2011 Tacoma is expected to start July 6 at the Tacoma’s new home in San Antonio, at the same factory that builds the full-size Toyota Tundra.

The first 2011 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks should arrive at dealers by the end of July, first of August.

TOYOTA|COROLLA|TOYOTA FOCUSES ON SMALLER VEHICLES, BUILD COROLLA IN MISSISSIPPI

Monday, June 28th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Toyota’s decision to build the Corolla in Mississippi is a smart move, especially as competition looks to heat up in the smaller-vehicle market, analysts say.corolla-5million_500x375

Toyota announced last week it will build the Corolla, the compact segment’s top-selling vehicle, starting next fall at its plant under construction in Blue Springs, Ms.

With automotive sales showing signs of recovery, Toyota is wise to focus its newest U.S. production facility on a staple of its lineup. “Given Corolla’s importance in the Toyota world, it’s important for them to increase capacity,” analysts say.

The Corolla follows only the Camry in U.S. sales for the world’s largest automaker and is the number 1 selling car in the world.

Corolla production was shipped to Japan when the company shuttered a California plant last year.

Toyota officials said Thursday that the Blue Springs plant gives them the best opportunity to quickly restart production domestically. Toyota will be ramping up Corolla production at a time when other automakers are taking bolder steps into the smaller-vehicle market.

In addition to regular competitors such as the Honda Civic, a new version of the Hyundai Elantra is coming this year, while the Ford Fiesta and Focus and the Chevrolet Cruze also will be major players among smaller cars. Toyota is challenged in that they’re introducing an older vehicle (among) a lot of flashy new vehicles. They are also in a vulnerable position because you have the domestics, Ford and General Motors that are feeling strong right now with Hyundai, Kia and VW in Chattanooga trying to nip at their heels.

Toyota keeps redesign schedules close to the vest, but it is estimated that a totally new Corolla to be released in 2013. There are reports that say the Corolla produced next fall in Blue Springs will likely have a new front and other design updates.

From January to May, 110,132 Corollas were sold in the United States, besting the competition. Honda was a close second with 109,643 Civics sold in the same period. Honda will launch a new generation Civic next year.

Corolla is the third vehicle planned for Blue Springs. Originally, the plant was to build the Highlander SUV then the Prius hybrid. But the small-vehicle sector has greater growth potential than the hybrid sector, in large part because of increased competition. Between now and 2014, those sales should grow by about 5 million units. The hybrid market’s fortunes are linked to the cost of gas.

When fuel prices climbed above $4 two summers ago, hybrid vehicles got long looks from car buyers and Toyota Dealers werre stacked up with sales orders. With prices below $2.50 in Mississippi and elsewhere, though, emotions have cooled and they’ve lost some luster.

Toyota officials said Thursday that Prius production will remain centered in Japan.

The automaker also will have to successfully market its 44-year-old Corolla brand to a younger breed of car buyer who isn’t as loyal to a particular make and model as boomer-age buyers. The Corolla, does sell well among younger buyers. But could it be seen as representing “their parents’ brand” as those buyers look for the most quality and up-to-date features at the lowest price?

Toyota Camry In-Dash Navigation Unit Repair Source

Sunday, June 27th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

This is an article of interest about a young lady who bought a 2007 Toyota Camry with Gen 5 in-dash navigation 3 years ago from the Toyota Dealership and experienced trouble with the navigation unit as soon as the warranty expired.toyota nav dash

She was excited about adding the In-Dash Gen 5  navigation package which included an upgraded stereo, satellite radio, and GPS touchscreen navigation. This Navigation upgrade  by Denso is very nice and added $2,000 to the price of the vehicle at the time. The touchscreen for this unit works great and the built-in navigation is extremely convenient to always have in the car (versus putting up and taking down a hand-held GPS each time you get into the car).

Unfortunately a few months after the 3 year warranty expired on the car, the touchscreen display went out. All the functionality appeared to work, but the display was so dim that you could only tell it was on by shining a flashlight at it. So to the dealer it went for a repair estimate. The Toyota dealer after assessing the unit announced that it could not be repaired and should be replaced. Cost to replace a radio unit that cost $2,000 3 years ago…..$3,000 dollars. So apparently in 3 years, the price of this technology went up 50%. The dealer was supposed to charge labor for looking at it but the Dealer rep was so shocked himself by the price that he waived the fee. Good Customer Relations move by the dealer.

It was hard to  stomach this recommendation since it seemed that everything worked on the device except for the display. Pity to toss all those fancy electronics because of a failing LCD screen. After copious searching on the internet for others with similar problems who might have suggestions for repair, a recommendation from a forum suggested a company out of California that repairs these units.

The company is Hi-Tech Electronic Services out of Van Nuys, CA. Through E-mail contact with the company they said that they could fix it and would give a free official estimate once they received the unit (though a rough estimate was given via e-mail). After removing the radio (one of the easiest cars for removing a radio), and $30 of UPS shipping later they had it at their shop.

They examined the unit, repaired the 3 parts that had gone bad, and shipped it back all within a week for $585 total including return shipping. So a new replacement unit is $3,000 from Toyota, repair of existing unit, $585…  A much, much better deal. They only offer a 90 day warranty on their repairs, but that is to be expected with electronic repairs in general. Overall a wonderful experience is reported. The unit was reinstalled into the car and it has been working great ever since.

You may want to check into this company Hi-Tech Electronic Services if you experience any kind of in-dash navigation unit trouble that requires repair.

TACOMA DOUBLE CAB DRIVE IMPRESSIONS

Saturday, June 26th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

The Tacoma Double Cab with TRD Sport Package might be on every guy’s wish list. But lets face it, there are times when everyone of us could use a pickup truck to move some of our stuff. It reminds me of that classic George Carlin routine about always having to much stuff. Anyway, if you have a pickup sitting around during those times you’re glad you have it. If you don’t have one, you wish you did and dread having to borrow one or get a rental. Toyota-Tacoma-Double-Cab-V6-4x4-2010

For the small businessman, contractor, outdoorsman, or week-end gardener, the mid-size Toyota Tacoma may be just the right fit. Tacoma has long been known for its high build quality, reliability, longevity, and resale value;…and with it’s high popularity as a customizable personalized vehicle, Tacoma owns a 37 Percent share of the mid-size truck market.

The second generation Tacoma, like the one pictured, was introduced in 2005 and hasn’t changed much since then, except for a minor styling update in 2009. Engine options are a 2.7-litre, DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder with VVT-i that generates 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and a 4.0-litre DOHC 24 valve V6 engine with VVT-i good for 236 hp and 266 lb-ft. Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) is advanced technology that pumps maximum power from minimal fuel.  Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic with the four-cylinder engine, and six-speed manual and five-speed auto with the V6.

Tacoma is available in Single Cab, Access Cab and Double Cab models, Access with two small, rear-hinged rear doors, and the Double Cab with four, full-size, front-hinged doors. There are two bed lengths, too: a six-footer that is standard on most models, and a five-foot bed that is only offered on Double Cab models. The four-cylinder engine is standard in the Single Cab and available  in PreRunner Access Cab models. The V6 is an option and is standard in Double Cab models. The backbone support for the Tacoma is forged massive one-piece frame rails, eight equally strong cross members and a fully boxed front sub-frame.

In this article lets take a look at a 2010 Tacoma 4×4 Double Cab V6 model ($31,845) with the TRD Sport Package ($5,110).  The Sport Package adds conveniences like steering wheel audio controls, sliding rear window, cruise control, keyless entry and variable intermittent wipers,17″ wheels and tires and Bilstein shocks. More importantly, perhaps, are functional additions that include transmission and engine oil coolers, upgraded alternator, trailer wiring harness, and Class IV hitch all boosting the Tacoma’s towing capacity from 5,000 pounds  to 6,500 pounds. There is also a 400-watt cargo bed power outlet and a backup camera that shows up in the rear-view mirror with the transmission in reverse.

Unencumbered, the V6 motor is strong, bringing brisk, if not fast, acceleration. The five-speed automatic does its job well, though its shifts are rougher than what you’re treated to in a typical family sedan or crossover. We can thank the gearbox’s heavier-duty nature for that. It responds with prompt downshifts when the gas pedal is prodded, though the engine generates enough torque in its low- and mid-range that a downshift is rarely required for moderate acceleration.

The 4×4 system is a driver-selectable part-time setup with low-range gearing, operated electronically via a knob on the dash. Unlike many full-size pickups, the Tacoma’s system doesn’t have an automatic mode that allows the truck to remain in four-wheel drive all the time. There’s no centre differential, so the truck must be driven in two-wheel drive mode on paved surfaces. Access Cab V6 models can be had with a locking rear differential and skid plates for the transfer case and fuel tank as part of the TRD Sport Package, but these items aren’t included on the Double Cab model. All Tacomas however, get an automatic (electronic) limited slip rear differential and come standard with the Star Safety System that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC),Traction Control (TRAC), that helps reduce wheelspin and prevent traction loss while cornering, Anti-lock Brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution(EBD) and Brake Assist.

You don’t equip a truck with all of the gear above if the worst it’s going to see are speed bumps and shopping carts. You expect that it’s going to be put to the test in all kinds of go-for-broke situations where the roads look like the surface of perhaps Mars with everything in the path ahead filled with sand, mud, or snow that will have to be out muscled or out maneuvered. the Tacoma ride is firm and the truck is maneuverable with a quick turn diameter of 40.7 ft. The Tacoma is

  • Built To Beat The Heat – Bilstein Shocks keep their cool for consistent performance under pressurre as do the ventilated front disc brakes.
  • Powerful And Strong – the Tacoma V6 engine puts the spark plugs in the center of the combustion chamber. the pentroof combustion creates a cleaner, more efficient burn and increases both performance and efficiency.
  • Built With Backbone – the trucks frame is the source of its strength. Tacoma is built on a rugged frame strengthened with 8″ cross members, beefed-up center side rails, and rear inner channel reinforcements with a rear suspension geared toward handling the truck’s (1,150 lb) payload.

Besides hunters and recreational enthusiasts who else might buy a Tacoma? How about small contractors or week-end project warriors. What can you do with this truck on say a home improvement adventure? A Tacoma like we’re talking about recently hauled a pre-fab toolshed home from the store and handled a loaded down bed of weighty lawn sod and garden compost. 

Only the weighty compost proved much of a challenge for the drivetrain, which worked noticeably harder to get the truck up to speed when loaded down at or a  little over payload capacity. The transmission’s shifts were a little harsher, especially in downshifting, and the rear end wallowed a little over large bumps, but the cabin provided a comfortable drive during the transport. Tacoma proved to be just enough truck for all the tasks. Payload-wise, in order to carry any more than we did, you’d most likely have to move up to a full-size truck.

Despite the Tacoma’s firm ride when not loaded, it proved otherwise to be a very comfortable vehicle to be in. The front seats are very supportive and comfortable, and very little wind or road noise gets into the cabin at highway speeds.

The Tacoma’s cabin puts function before fancy. The gauges are large and easy to read, and the controls simple, but there’s not much here in the way of luxury items. Headroom is generous, but the door openings are short, so getting in requires a slightly awkward manoeuvre involving stepping up to the high floor while simultaneously ducking down to avoid hitting your head on the door frame. The rear seat offers similar headroom, with adequate legroom.

The Tacoma comes with a composite cargo bed that eliminates the need for a bedliner and the oxidation that can occur between the bedliner and a metal bed, four tie-down cleats that live in tracks running the perimeter of the bed and  small cubbies in the sides of the bed for stashing small items. The 400-watt, 115-volt power outlet mounted in the bed is an option on most models (in the SR5 Power Package in the 4×2 Access Cab and with the TRD Sport Package in V6 models).

The vehicle’s shortcomings are only that you could buy the wrong one for your needs. Tacoma proves it’s decent at hauling both people and stuff within it’s specifications. 

If there’s any wisdom to be taken away with this article , it’s that one should shop carefully when buying a pickup. The Tacoma’s options, drive-train and body configurations are relatively staightforward, but larger trucks are available with a dizzying array of combinations of engine, drive-train, cab and box choices that make it very easy for a casual truck buyer to wind up with too much or not enough truck for what they want to use it for.

TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID:SHOULD YOU BUY ONE?

Monday, June 21st, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid just like its gas-engine counterpart, has good performance, a comfortable cockpit, and a reasonably roomy third seating row without the bulk of a Tahoe or Expedition plus much better fuel economy. HYBRID HYLANDER

What does Hybrid really mean in this version of the Highlander?  First, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid uses a V6 gasoline engine that drives the front wheels. There is one electric motor that provides hybrid power to the front wheels. A second electric motor provides rear traction, when needed, and makes this Highlander an all-wheel-drive SUV, sort of, but mainly for traction on wet or snowy road surfaces, not true off-road travel.

So what can one expect from a Toyota Highlander Hybrid? Better Fuel economy, of course. The Highlander Hybrid is rated at 27 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and can get almost 28 mpg in mostly highway driving. For better mileage, you can press the ECON button on the dash which recalibrates the Highlander for modestly slower acceleration, which you won’t notice around town. If there’s battery power available, pressing the EV (electric vehicle-only) button lets you creep into or out of the driveway if you’re leaving early, or coming home way too late.  For comparison, the V6 non-hybrid is rated at 18/24. The base Highlander with 187-hp four-cylinder engine gets 20/27, but with 3,845 pounds to move around, you might be asking a lot of the engine unless you’re driving mostly highway miles.

There is a price premium to be paid for the Hybrid Highlander version as you may have guessed. The non-hybrid Highlander versions are four- and six-cylinder with front-drive or all-wheel-drive, and they start at $27,800 while the cheaper of two Hybrid models is around $37,500. The upscale Hybrid Limited is $45,000 plus vs. $38,500 for the comparably equipped AWD Highland Limited gasoline model. A nicely equipped Hybrid Highlander runs close to$50,000.

On the inside the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is flows uncluttered and the maple center console trim feels upscale. The vehicle measures 188 inches long, about the same as a midsize sedan, yet it’s pretty big inside and offers a third row bench seat that isn’t bad for children although you wouldn’t ask your mother-in-law to sit back there. When the second row and third row are folded flat, you’ve got a big, let’s haul some stuff cargo bay. highlander cargo

Not bad for a vehicle based on the chassis of the Toyota Camry and Toyota Avalon.

The navigation system is the Generation 6 Navigation and is reasonable to operate. It’s touchscreen with voice input assistance. Toyota navigation systems always make it easy to put up a moving map if that’s all you need, without lots of button presses or layered menus. The navigation package includes upgraded audio, and Bluetooth.

Here’s the Question…Should You Buy Hybrid? or Gasoline? If you’re in the market for a midsize SUV or crossover with people-and-stuff hauling capabilities, the Toyota Highlander is an excellent choice in a market full of them, including the GM triplets Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia; Hyundai Veracruz; Mazda CX-9 and Mazda CX-7; and the longer Ford Flex. many well satisfied owners find the Highlander appealing. Reliability is very solid.

The bigger issue is whether to go with the hybrid edition of the Highlander.  If it’s a dollars and sense decision, it could take a bit over 20 years to make back the hybrid premium. If you average 26 mpg combined in the hybrid and 21 mpg in the V6 non-hybrid, you’ll save $330 a year on gasoline at $3 a gallon. That’s right on top of a 20 year payback. Only if gasoline reached $5 a gallon and if you increased the mpg margin over the gasoline Highlander from 26 mpg vs. 21 mpg to 28 mpg vs. 21 mpg would you fall under 10 years for payback. In other words, it would be better to look at the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as something you’re doing for the environment and for the future rather than for your pocketbook and R.O.I..

If cost is an issue, the 2008-2010 Toyota Highlanders are essentially similar, and good deals can be had on used Toyota Highlanders with upgrade warranties. The 2001-2007 Highlanders are the first generation and are good solid vehicles to pick up as well.

Here’s The Borrom Line…The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Provides Good Mileage, Road Manners, And Carrying Capacity. You’ll Need Two Decades To Earn Back The Hybrid Premium. Could Be Worth It To Some Though…

TOYOTA STAR SAFETY SYSTEM, WHAT IS IT?

Friday, June 18th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner
You may have seen the Toyota TV Spots proudly touting the merits of the Toyota Star Safety System standard on all Toyota vehicles. But what is the Star Safety System exactly?

Toyota’s Star Safety System is a combination of five different carefully engineered features that keep the driver in control of the vehicle and out of trouble.

Here’s a brief description of each of the five engineered safety technologies of The Star Safety System and how they go into action for the driver.

VEHICLE STABILITY CONTROL (VSC)

VSC helps prevent wheelslip and loss of traction by reducing engine power and applying brake force to the wheels that need it. (Figure 1) Rear wheelslip can occur when the rear wheels lose traction and cause the vehicle to slide around.(Figure 2) Front wheelslip can occur when the front wheels lose traction during cornering and begin to drift toward the outside of the turn. Toyota’s VSC monitors your steering angle and the direction your vehicle is actually traveling and senses when your front or rear wheels begin to slip. When it senses this loss of traction or slip, VSC reduces engine power and applies braking to the individual wheels that need it to help correct the slip and keep the vehicle in the intended path.vsc

TRACTION CONTROL (TRAC)

Traction Control helps maintain traction on wet, icy, loose or uneven surfaces by applying brake force to the spinning wheel(s). Let’s say you’re driving and come upon a snowy or icy patch on an uneven road. (Figure 2) If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, wheelspin occurs, and you come to a stop. (Figure 1) Toyota’s Traction Control sensors are activated when one of the wheels starts to slip. TRAC limits engine output and applies the brakes to the spinning wheel. This transfers power to the wheels that still have traction to help you go safely on your way.traction-control

ANTI-LOCK BRAKES (ABS)

ABS helps prevent brakes from locking up by “pulsing” brake pressure to each wheel to help you stay in control in emergency braking situations. When something unexpected appears in your path, you may instinctively swerve to avoid it and jam on the brakes. However, without ABS, the brakes can lock up, the vehicle starts to skid, and you struggle to stay in control. Toyota’s ABS sensors detect which wheels are locking up and prevent the lockup by “pulsing” the brakes at each wheel independently. Pulsing releases brake pressure repeatedly for fractions of a second — a reaction time not possible for humans.This means the wheels never stop rotating and that helps the car to avoid going into a skid, helping you stay in control. ABS
 
BRAKE ASSIST
 
1. Inexperienced or panicking driver applies brakes quickly but without enough pressure. 2. Driver sometimes eases up on the brake pedal too soon. 3. The Brake Assist system increases braking force, even when the brake pedal isn’t pushed hard enough. 4. When the driver intentionally eases up on the brake pedal, the Brake Assist system reduces the amount of assistance applied. Note: To activate the Brake Assist system, keep pressing the brake pedal. When braking assistance is no longer required, ease up on the brake pedal.brake assist
  
ELECTRONIC BRAKE-FORCE DISTRIBUTION (EBD) 

Toyota’s ABS technology has Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) to help keep the vehicle more stable and balanced when braking. If you have to stop abruptly, momentum causes the vehicle to tilt forward and reduces the brake force of the rear tires. But in a Toyota, EBD responds to sudden stops by redistributing brake force. Wheels with more braking effectiveness receive more brake force; wheels with less effectiveness receive less brake force. This helps prevent brake lockup. EBD is especially helpful when carrying cargo. Sensors recognize the extra load the cargo puts on the rear axle, so brake pressure on the rear wheels is increased because the extra weight improves braking effectiveness. ebd

PLUG-IN PRIUS PLUGGING FORWARD

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Toyota Motor Sales presented A Silicon Valley California Leadership Group three plug-in Prius hybrid cars on June 15, 2010.Plug-in_Prius

Toyota will ultimately loan 150 of the cars to organizations nationwide for the next 18 months to see how they perform on the road. The results will help Toyota spot any kinks in the plug-in Prius before it goes on sale in 2012. The leadership group, a public policy organization representing more than 300 of the valley’s top companies, got the first three.

An advanced technology manager for Toyota stated that the education and feedback will be invaluable to Toyota as the Company readies the  vehicle for market introduction.

The president of the leadership group, will drive one of the  three cars. It’s reported the gentleman commutes to work by bicycle, but will drive the Prius to business meetings and put his Volvo up for sale on Craigslist. He plans to drive the loaner for the next 18 months and then buy a plug-in Prius when they hit the market.

Like the regular Prius, the plug-in still uses gasoline. But it comes with a more powerful, lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged at home or at work. With a full charge, the car will drive exclusively on electricity for 13 miles before the gasoline motor kicks in. The regular Prius will go exclusively on electricity for a half mile.

Toyota has had an off-and-on history with plug-in cars.

The company made an electric version of the Rav4 from 1997 to 2003. But for most of the past decade, its executives argued that hybrids were better suited to the mass market, having a greater range over  higher priced all-electric cars.

That attitude appears to be changing as Toyota’s Chairman announces more exciting cars with higher efficiencies. Toyota’s competitors are rushing forward with plug-in hybrids, such as General Motors’ Chevy Volt, and all-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf.

As reported last month, Toyota announced a surprise deal with Tesla Motors of Palo Alto, which makes luxury electric sports cars. Sometime in the next two years, the two companies plan to create an electric car that Tesla’s chief executive described as a Toyota vehicle with a Tesla power train.

FJ Cruiser Trail Package,Don’t Leave The Home Trail Without It

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner
The Toyota FJ Cruiser has a fun new Trail package that appeals to the off-road enthusiast crowd. fj-trail-teams-2009
 
The FJ Trail Teams Special Edition ($6695 Option Package), consists of rugged exterior features with unique Sandstorm paint, blacked-out hood, sideview mirrors, grille, black beadlock-look wheels with beefy BFGoodrich all-terrain rubber.
 
It really stands apart from other FJs. The package also comes with a locking rear differential, backup camera integrated into the rearview mirror, and Bilstein shock absorbers.You may not have access to a worthy rock trail to truly test the prowess of this Trail Teams package, but there’s no denying the option group changes the visual character of the FJ from a cute retro-character to a down to business crawler. Those beadlock-look rims are pretty neat looking, as are the powder-coated rock rails, the blacked-out grille trim and hood, and the absence of the love- it or hate -it white roof.

Production of the Trail Teams model is limited, but if Toyota sells out of this batch, there’s some good news for FJ enthusiasts: apart from the cosmetic touches, you’re still able to build a clone. Simply order an FJ Cruiser with the off-road package, and you instantly have the Trail Team’s locking rear diff, A-TRAC traction control, and enhanced suspension thrown into the mix. Dive into the TRD parts catalog, and you can find similar wheels, rock rails, and myriad other off-road goodies.

It would be fun to see something more spicy under the hood other than the 4.0-liter V-6. If nothing else, at least a cold-air intake and free-flow exhaust system included in the Trail Teams package would transform this FJ into a real player when the pavement ends.

I’d caution against adding those features if you plan on spending more time on-road than off, though. The increased ride height and larger tires are great for four-wheeling, but the extra road noise and body roll aren’t enjoyable if you’re just touring in the  FJ Cruiser to the nearest Sonic…

How Many Priuses Would Offset the Gulf Oil Spill?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

So how much oil is escaping each day from the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico? According to estimates late last week, that could be One Million Gallons a day. That’s a lot of Oil, Brother…priuses

Whats an altruistic way to maybe compensate for the problem?  How about, how many  Toyota Prius Hybrids would need to be sold in order to offset the oil loss?

  • Looks like there would have to be almost 1 million Priuses sold globally to conserve enough gasoline to offset the amount wasted as the escaping oil pours into the oceans and damages our beautiful beaches.

Here’s what the Math is based on to calculate what it would take to compensate just for the lost gasoline related to the daily oil loss.

  • Anonymous oil-industry experts suggest one gallon of unrefined light crude, the kind the Deepwater Horizon produced, provides half a gallon of gasoline, or perhaps a little more.
  • So that’s 500,000 gallons a day we need to save.
  • If the average U.S. car drives 10,000 miles a year at 25 miles per gallon (to make the math easy), then the 50-MPG  Prius saves 200 gallons of gasoline per year. Or 0.55 gallons per day.
  • So you’d have to sell 912,500 Priuses, each of them saving a little over half a gallon of gasoline a day, to offset the loss of half a million gallons every day.

But Toyota doesn’t make anything close to that number of Prius Cars right now. In fact, in 2009, the Company sold 139,682 Priuses in the United States, out of a total of approximately195,000. 

Until the end of this year, the total annual  production is capped at 500,000 by constraints in the supply of nickel-metal-hydride battery packs used by the cars to store energy.

This is too bad. After all,…  we wouldn’t want Obama’s enemy from a few months back to be the source that saves his new found enemy today, now would we?

Used Car:Toyota Corolla With 603,500 Miles In Five Years! Yours Could Too!

Monday, June 14th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

If you are looking for a used car or used cars for sale instead of a new car, look no further for an example than this Toyota Corolla!

2005-toyota-corolla-s-pic-63146

A Florida Man’s common commuter car, common that is if you discount the fact that his Toyota Corolla S has racked up 603,500 miles in the past five years commuting about 230 miles each work day to and from his job, is certainly noteworthy…The truth though, is that most Toyotas new cars or used cars for sale are capable of very high mileage and low maintenance.

In a year when Toyota has gotten some bad press for brake and throttle problems and subsequent recalls, the fact that Toyota Connections magazine is doing an article on this gentleman’s Corolla and his marathon commute for a September issue is “great” according to its daily driver. He intends to hang on to it, for a number of reasons.

“It’s so dependable, and quite honestly, I will probably go and hang on to it,,, I want to break a million on it, or pass it down to the children.” said Mr. Ose, an aircraft certification inspector at Gulfstream Aerospace.

The world record for high mileage on a car has been handed to retired New York teacher Irv Gordon’s 1966 Volvo P1800 Coupe, with 2.5 million miles on its original engine.

So Mr. Ose’s Toyota Corolla isn’t fancy. The compact 4-door has a 130-hp four-banger, cost about $14,000 when new, and can manage 30 mpg or more.

Mr. Ose said he bought it while living in Jacksonville, because he needed something cheap and thrifty for those daily commutes to Savannah. He endured the commute for his youngest daughter, Zoe, who has cystic fibrosis and needed to be near a care center at Nemours Children’s Clinic in San Marco.

He works at Gulfstream Aerospace because no job locally has the pay and medical benefits his seniority brings him there. His only concession – moving about a year ago to St. Marys, 45 minutes closer to work, to save some gas and shorten a commute that still starts at 2 or 3 a.m.

So far the Corolla has only needed some rear axle work and “a lot of tire maintenance,” and doesn’t burn any oil.

“Inside’s great. The outside looks great, but it’s a bit scraped from highway miles,” he said. 

Mr. Ose says high mileage runs in the family… He has a minivan with 145,000 miles on it.

CHECKING OUT THE TUNDRA 4.6 LITER V8 ENGINE PERFORMANCE

Saturday, June 12th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Truck Market Studies Confirm That Customers Like Mid-Level V8 Engines.tundra 4.6 engine

Why Are Customers drawn to mid-level engines?

  • Because They Want V8 engine performance but don’t need brute power for heavy workloads
  • They Prefer A lower price and lower operating costs with better fuel economy

The Tundra’s 4.6-liter V8 has advanced engineering features that give it more horsepower and better fuel economy than competitors mid displacement V8 engines.

Check Out The New 4.6-liter V8 available in Tundra for 2010

  • 4.6 motor with 310 horsepower with 327 lb-ft peak torque
  • That’s 15 more horsepower than the 4.8-liter V8 in 2010 Chevy and GMC trucks
  • 18 more horsepower than 2010 Ford 4.6-liter 3-valve V8
  • The Tundra’s V8 pumps out more torque than Ford and GM
  • The Tundra is equal in horsepower to the bigger 4.7-liter V8 in the 2010 Ram 1500
  • More power improves towing performance and drivability

The Tundra 4.6L i-Force V8 is one of the most technologically advanced truck engines

  • The All aluminum construction is lighter and dissipates heat faster
  • There are 4-valves per cylinder that  flow air more efficiently than the competition’s 2- and 3-valve designs
  • Dual overhead cams (DOHC) a Toyota trademark allows the engine to run at lower revolutions/minute and lower temperatures than the competition’s single overhead cam (SOHC) or cam-in-block pushrod designs
  • Dual Independent Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual Independent VVT-i) provides more precise and flexible cam adjustments than the competition’s single-timing design

So What Can You Say To Your Neighbor Or Work Buddies About The Tundra 4.6-liter V8 ?

  • It’s mated to a new 6-speed automatic transmission; Ford offers 6-speed but Dodge has 5-speed and GM provides just a 4-speed with similar-sized V8s
  • The EPA estimated fuel economy1 of 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway (2010 4×2 models)is state of the art; Ford is equal but GM and Dodge are lower
  • Tundra has ease of maintenance: Toyota engine coolant designed to last 100,000 miles, Toyota spark plugs designed to last 120,000 miles, and Toyota World Standard automatic transmission fluid designed to last 100,000 miles under normal operating condition

FJ CRUISER PARTY,TAILGATE,PICNIC FUN

Saturday, June 12th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

This could be part of the ultimate FJ Cruiser experience! Have your Plasma or LCD Flat Screen TV installed on the wall of the FJ Cruiser tailgate.fj cruiser flat screen

You could also link this up with your favorite Game Player and Wireless Internet for more Techno Fun!

It might also be possible to have a swing out Freedom Grill Hitched to the rear swung out one way and the tailgate open the opposite with the TV in View While You Grill!

TOYOTA NAVIGATION GENERATION 6 SCREEN DISPLAY TUTORIAL

Friday, June 11th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

A neighbor who recently bought a new 2011 Sienna Van with Generation 6 Navigation expressed frustration a few days ago that she couldn’t continually display a single screen, in her case the audio screen, for more than 20 seconds without it flipping over to the set-up screen. She was beginning to long for the past with her tomtom navigation.toyota nav

This issue will come up many times for owners with navigation. Here is how to fix it:

  • Press the Info Button
  • On the Info Screen, press Screen Settings
  • On the Screen Settings display click Automatic Screen Change “OFF”

This will stop screen changes every 20 seconds on the display.

These Toyota Models Have The New Generation 6 Navigation:

2011 Camry, Generation 6 Navigation

2010Tundra Limited and Platinum grades, Generation 6 Navigation

2010 Venza, Generation 6 Navigation

2010 Prius, Generation 6 Navigation

2010 4Runner, Generation 6 Navigation

2011 Sienna, Generation 6 Navigation 

2011 Avalon, Generation 6 Navigation

TOYOTA SIENNA SALES UP, ODYSSEY’S SALES DROP

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Sales of Honda’s Alabama-built Odyssey mini-van dropped 20 percent in May 2010…thats a pretty significant tumble and it came as competitors scored double-digit gains.

One of those scoring factors is that the 2011 Toyota Sienna is coming on strong with its new redesign, safety accolades, and a Thorough Marketing Campaign!

The campaign includes a hip YouTube video that’s gone viral. Called, “Swagger Wagon”, it features a suburban Mom and Dad rapping the praises of their Sienna. Toyota is working magic to make the minivan Cool and it’s paying some dividends. Maybe they should put Sienna Miller in this…

YouTube Preview Image

The 2011 Sienna is the most cross-shopped model for Odyssey, meaning that people who are considering the Odyssey also are looking at the Sienna and vice versa.

Last month, May 2010, Sienna topped Odyssey with 10,666 in sales, a 50 percent surge from the year-ago period.

TAKE A PLANT TOUR OF TOYOTA GEORGETOWN KENTUCKY

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Toyota’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant outside of Japan is located in Georgetown, Kentucky, the state’s Bluegrass Region. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK), covers 7.5 million square feet of floor space, the equivalent of 156 football fields…don’t worry about your legs getting tired on the plant tour though, because you’ll be riding comfortably in one of their trams.toyota assembly

TMMK employs about 7,000 team members who build nearly 2,000 quality vehicles each day. A “takt time” of 55 seconds on both of the vehicle assembly lines means that two new Toyota vehicles are built in Georgetown every 55 seconds!

TMMK began production in 1988 with the popular Toyota Camry sedan. The Avalon sedan was added in 1994, while the Sienna minivan was produced from 1997 to 2002.

As you tour TMMK, your guide points out the foundations of the world-renowned Toyota Production System. These will include examples of kaizen, or continuous improvement; just-in-time parts delivery; and the andon system, where team members can stop the line at any time to address quality concerns or any problems.

In the TMMK Visitor Center, you will see current models of the vehicles and engines built in Georgetown, plus the very first Camry produced by team members in May 1988. The Visitor Center also includes interactive video displays and exhibits on Quality, Teamwork, the Toyota Production System, and hybrid technology.

What is the Cost?  Its  Free
Freebies:
Toyota vehicle (in the form of a refrigerator magnet!).
Video Shown: 10-minute video provides a brief plant overview, including sections not included on the tour.
Reservations Needed: Yes, but walk-ins will be accommodated as space permits. Phone Numbers:

 (502) 868-3027   (800) 866-4485
Days and Hours:
Plant tour: Mon–Fri 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 2:00 pm, Thur also 6:00 pm. Closed holidays.
Visitor Center: Mon–Fri 9:00 am–4:00 pm, Thur until 7:00 pm. Toyota reserves the right to cancel or reschedule tours at any time.
Plan to Stay: 1.5–2 hours for plant tour, video, and exhibits.
Minimum Age: Plant tour: 1st grade for public tours and 4th grade for school tours. Visitor Center: no minimum age.
Disabled Access: Yes
Group Requirements: Maximum group size is 64 adults. Large groups must call several months in advance.
Special Information: Photographs and video and mechanical recordings are allowed in the Visitor Center but not during the plant tour.
Gift Shop: Sells logoed golf shirts, T-shirts, caps, etc. Open same hours as Visitor Center.
Directions: From Lexington, take I-75 North to Exit 126 (Georgetown/Cynthiana). Turn right onto U.S. 62 (Cherry Blossom Way). Drive exactly 2.5 miles and turn left at Visitor Entrance sign.
Nearby Attractions: Three Chimneys horse farm, Rebecca-Ruth Candies, Buffalo Trace Distillery, and Old Kentucky Candies tours (see pages 252, 251, 240–241, and 250); Kentucky Horse Park; Keeneland Racecourse; Calumet horse farm; Georgetown College.