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2018 Toyota Prius TRD

2018 Toyota Prius TRD

Haters gonna hate

We here at TopSpeed don’t shy away from exploring the weirder and wilder side of performance vehicles. In fact, we relish in it. Any chance we come across to break away from convention and blow your mind is worth it, especially if it gets the unruly mobs up in arms. And that’s exactly the sort of reaction we’re expecting with this – a performance-oriented Toyota Prius TRD. Here’s the formula – ditch the eco tires, slap on some real rubber, boost the engine, stiffen the suspension, add the proper cabin gear, and voila – the perfect solution to a dearth of jimmy rustlin’.

But here’s the thing – we’re actually totally serious. This isn’t some April Fool’s joke. We legitimately think there’s a real case to made for a performance Prius. Don’t believe us? Then read on. We dare you.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Prius TRD.

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2018 Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR

C-HR should stand for C-segment Hot Rod

Toyota has made a huge splash at the 2016 L.A, Auto Show with its 2018 C-HR crossover debut. This C-segment, coupe-like crossover wears very aggressive styling, especially for Toyota, and offers a peppy drivetrain combined with an advanced suspension system and an honest rack-and-pinion steering system. The C-HR name stands for Coupe High-Rider and is nearly a carbon copy of the Scion C-HR concept that debuted at the 2015 L.A. Auto Show.

The C-HR will come in two trim levels: XLE and XLE Premium. Both are well equipped with all the modern gadgets and amenities, but the XLE Premium comes standard with a slew of active safety systems. Regardless of trim, the C-HR will have 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, front bucket seats, a seven-inch audio display, and Toyota Safety Sense P.

Toyota pushed to make the C-HR handle better than its competition, too. Believe it or not, the C-HR was developed on the Nürburgring in Germany and uses some high-end suspension components to achieve a sporty yet comfortable ride. Interestingly though, Toyota decided to include a Continuously Variable Transmission rather than a conventional, six-speed gearbox or the six-speed manual gearbox found in the C-HR concept.

Despite this C-HR not being a true hot-hatch competitor, this crossover will certainly be one of the most stylish and bold entries in the C-segment class. Not even the Nissan Juke can out-style this Toyota. Naysayers are condemning the C-HR for looking like the Honda HR-V, but we don’t see that many similarities beyond the coupe-like roofline and funky rear doors.

Anyway, let’s have a good look at the 2018 Toyota C-HR.

Continue reading for the full review.

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The Grand Tour Isn't Too Fond Of The Toyota Prius

The Grand Tour Isn’t Too Fond Of The Toyota Prius

Latest branding ploy features a pair of destroyed Priuses

Yes, those are three Toyota Priuses, or at least they were Priuses before they became the unwitting victims of The Grand Tour’s latest promotional stunt. It’s widely known that Jeremy Clarkson isn’t a big fan of the Toyota hybrid and, apparently, his disdain for the car has been turned into a marketing and branding ploy to raise even more awareness of The Grand Tour’s impending debut, as if it needed any more hype to begin it.

One of the three Prius models can be found in London while the other one, or what’s left of it, is in Berlin, Germany. A third one popped up much later and guess where it’s located? America! The one in London just in front of King’s Cross station looks to have survived its crash far better than its counterpart, but the front section of the second-guess Prius is in pretty bad shape as the hood has been crumpled up and the bumper and fenders have been completely dislodged. Still, it fared much better than the third-generation Prius found in Berlin’s Hackescher market and Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, just beside some of stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The one in Berlin, for one reason or another, appears to have burst from the floor before getting stuck halfway through its apparent escape. Then there’s the one in LA, which looks to have made a beeline straight through the floor, before getting stuck in its own right as well.

Obviously, these three setups are nothing more than gratuitous branding for The Grand Tour. It’s the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. If for nothing else, these setups were excellently executed because we’re talking about them today, just as we’ll do when the show premieres on November 18.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Prius Prime Gets 11.6-Inch Touchscreen; Cue More Upscale Hybrids?

Prius Prime Gets 11.6-Inch Touchscreen; Cue More Upscale Hybrids?

The larger screen could see use in future Prius models

Last Tuesday, we reported that the new Toyota Prius Prime came equipped with loads of fancy new interior tech, including a new 11.6-inch HD multimedia screen mounted in the center console. We said it looked surprisingly similar to what Tesla was doing with its cabin space, and apparently, the screen might see use on future Prius models. But the real question is this – what’s driving this more premium approach from Toyota, and what will be the end result?

At a recent Prius Prime driving event in Ojai, California, Chief Engineer Koji Toyoshima addressed a question about the screen’s utilization elsewhere in the Toyota line. “We will consider perhaps to share [the larger screen] within the Prius lineup, but we haven’t thought about yet on utilizing it towards other Toyota models,” said Toyoshima-san, speaking through a translator.

Basically, it boils down to this – Toyota is testing the waters with the new Prime. If customers opt into the larger 11.6-inch screen (a 7.0-inch unit comes as standard), I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it elsewhere in the lineup – including non-Prius models. It’s a trend that could expand very quickly.

The Prime is a perfect test bed for an upscale electrified passenger car from the Japanese automaker. Equipped with better materials and a more comfortable cabin space, this is the model to get if you want to be coddled in a Prius. And of course, there’s that available plus-sized screen.

So what’s driving this upscale approach, and where is it headed? Read on for our take.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 Prius Prime Offers Fancy Interior Tech And Lots Of Miles

2017 Prius Prime Offers Fancy Interior Tech And Lots Of Miles

Toyota’s ever-popular hybrid goes for the brass ring

Over the course of its lengthy production run, the Toyota Prius has more or less set the standard in the world of hybrid transportation. Four generations have come and gone since the nameplate’s release in 1997, and now, the popular Japanese fuel-sipper is getting the top-shelf treatment with what Toyota calls “the most technologically advanced, best-equipped Toyota Prius in the model’s nearly two-decade global history.”

Dubbed the Prius Prime, the new model comes equipped with a healthy dollop of technology, both in the interior, and under skin.

Climb into the cabin, and you’ll find an available 11.6-inch HD multimedia touchscreen, which is mounted centrally on the dash. Operated via tablet-like inputs, the display gives off a definite Tesla-esque vibe.

Complementing the large screen is an available color heads-up display and a Qi wireless phone charging system. There are also tons of active safety and convenience features thanks to Toyota Safety Sense (automatic braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, etc.).

Optimizing the car’s inherent efficiency is available predictive software, which analyzes where you go and how you drive, offering tips on when to apply the throttle and brake pedal for max mileage.

Speaking of efficiency, Toyota foresees official estimates at 124 MPGe. That’s a 26-percent improvement compared to the preceding plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, making for the highest MPGe rating of any PHEV on the market. You’ll also get 25 miles of zero-emissions motoring at speeds up to 84 mph while in EV mode, plus 640 miles of range with a tank full of gas and a battery full of electricity.

The 2017 Prius Prime will go on sale across the country later this year, starting at $27,100. But the question is – do you want one?

Continue reading for the full story, including my driving impression.

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2016 Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius

New design, more power, improved fuel economy

Toyota unveiled the Prius hybrid back in 1997, and since then the model has been through three generational changes. When Toyota released the Prius, it quickly became known as the face of hybrid vehicles and prompted many automakers to look for ways to integrate electrification into their lineups. With competition having become fiercer in recent years, Toyota needs to keep improving the Prius to keep it in the No. 1 slot in the hybrid market. And it’s exactly what it did with the fourth-generation model.

Unveiled in Las Vegas in 2015, the redesigned Prius not only adopted a new look, but also the company’s New Global Architecture platform, which makes it lighter and cheaper to build. The Prius was actually the first Toyota model to implement the carmaker’s effort to cut development costs by 20 percent through sharing platforms, parts and powertrains. The revised bodywork gives the Prius a sportier look than the current model, much like the difference between the last-generation Corolla and the current model. But let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the fourth-generation Toyota Prius.

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Latest spy shots:

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

More miles, more gear, and a new look

With more than 30 gas-electric models on the market, including the Prius (aka the first-ever mass-produced hybrid vehicle), Toyota is justified when it claims to be the “world’s hybrid leader.” But in order to maintain its battery-assisted superiority, the Japanese automaker must continually produce the bleeding edge of green technology and set the trend when it comes eco-oriented transportation. These days, that means the inclusion of a plug-in model. The previous Prius plug-in ended production in June of 2015, but now, it’s back, offering more MPGe, more standard features, and a new look, making for what Toyota calls “one of the most technologically advanced, best-equipped Prius in the model’s history.”

It’s called the Prime, and first things first – it offers upwards of 120 MPGe, which, according to the manufacturer, is expected to be the highest MPGe of any plug-in hybrid on the market. That in itself is a significant statement in the world of max-miler passenger vehicles, but this frugal fuel consumption is also backed by more all-electric range, with up to 22 miles of emission-free driving off battery power alone, effectively double the EV range of the previous model.

So then – the Prime sounds like it’s got the goods, but with gas prices remaining so low, is it enough to spark the interest of consumers?

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime.

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2016 Toyota Prius Stars In "Heck on Wheels" Super Bowl Commercial: Video

2016 Toyota Prius Stars In "Heck on Wheels" Super Bowl Commercial: Video

The Toyota Prius makes some bold maneuvers and gets its own theme song in Toyota’s Superbowl commerical

Super Bowl 50 is right around the corner, and it seems like every automaker is pre-releasing commercials before the big game. We’ve seen the Keven Hart Commercial from Hyundai, Kia’s somewhat creepy Christopher Walken commercial, and Audi’s “The Commander” commercial, to name a few. Now, the video you’re about to watch comes from Toyota. It doesn’t star a big celebrity, well unless you consider the 2016 Toyota Prius a celebrity.

I’m not one who generally spills the beans on a video before you have a chance to watch it, but I can’t help but talk about the commercial a little. Basically, the commercial is a music video, with a short, bearded fellow singing about his Prius and how it makes him feel. The commercial itself is kind of funny to an extent, but some of the things you see the Prius doing are just unrealistic. Maybe that’s part of what makes the commercial funny. It might seem stereotypical, but the actor driving the Prius really seems to fit in with it well.

I can’t really knock Toyota too much, and I have to give credit where credit is due. The company did invent the hybrid segment and really did set the bar for fuel economy. With the update for the 2016 model year, the Prius looks better than ever. With that said, take a look at the commercial and keep an open mind. I don’t necessarily agree with our little, bearded friend – the Prius isn’t exactly badass as he seems to think – but the commercial is good for a few laughs, anyway.

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2016 Toyota RAV4 – Driving Impression And Review

2016 Toyota RAV4 – Driving Impression And Review

The U.S. simply can’t get enough crossovers. It’s the industry’s largest segment, and automakers are responding to demand with new and updated products at an increasingly feverish pace. Such is the case for Toyota and its hugely popular compact SUV, the RAV4. Currently in its fourth generation, the RAV4 receives a mid-cycle update for the 2016 model year, and per the new normal, the changes are far from minor. Styling tweaks, renewed infotainment equipment, the latest suite of safety technology, and a new sporty SE trim level are all on the menu, but the biggest news by far is the addition of a hybrid drivetrain.

Perpetual development between generations is critical for a model like the RAV4. Competition is at an all-time high, and fresh ideas are needed to stay at the forefront. Of course, the basics remain the same – the 2016 non-hybrid RAV4 gets the same engine, horsepower, torque, transmission, suspension layout, brakes, mpg figures, interior volume, and cargo space as the outgoing model.

Rather than messing with what already works, Toyota seems focused on broadening the RAV4’s appeal, a strategy echoed by the 2016 Prius. Does this bestseller have what it takes to rope in ever more buyers? I went to southern California to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota RAV4.

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2016 Toyota Prius – Driving Impression And Review

2016 Toyota Prius – Driving Impression And Review

If you gotta blow your nose, you’ll probably ask for a Kleenex. If you need a cotton swab, you’ll look for a Q-Tip. If it’s hybrid transportation you’re after, the Prius is the standard. Rightfully so – the Prius was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, selling 3.5 million models worldwide since its introduction in 1997. But unlike hygiene products, hybrid technology has come a long way in the last two decades, and Toyota’s green icon is under pressure to evolve. Enter the fourth generation, which brings a new design, a new platform, tons of tech, and a compelling effort to broaden the appeal of this eco-conscious torchbearer. I was invited to southern California to try it out.

Los Angeles is a great place for a test like this. The Prius is hugely popular amongst the local population, especially celebrities, offering easy driving in crowded freeway traffic jams, and low emissions to curb air pollution. And in a town where you need a car to get anywhere, the high mpg doesn’t hurt either.

But Toyota says hybrids aren’t just about fuel efficiency anymore, and customers will no longer compromise to skip a trip to the pump. Conversely, the fourth-generation Prius aims to transform from something you should drive to something you want to drive. How does it stack up? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota Prius.

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Toyota Barista Commercial Highlights Why Hybrid Is Better

Toyota Barista Commercial Highlights Why Hybrid Is Better

The law of conservation of energy states energy cannot be created or destroyed. This law is the basis of how regenerative braking systems on vehicles like the Toyota Prius and F1 cars work. Instead of letting that energy go to waste, the heat created by braking is then transferred back into electrical energy and stored in a battery pack – later used to power electrical accessories or electric motors. This recent video released by Toyota shows just how much energy a race car stores from regenerative braking after one lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe.

The TS040 normally uses the energy saved from regenerative braking to power its electrical motor, but in this video, that energy is used to generate the heat needed to make breakfast for 171 people – that’s one cup of coffee, a half slice of toast and one-third of an egg. Pretty amazing when you consider Kazuki Nakajima – the first Japanese racer to take pole position in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – only made one simulated lap around the 8.469-mile track. It is an interesting video that really puts things into perspective as far as energy loss goes. The video isn’t quite as interesting as some, but it’s certainly worth a look. Enjoy.

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2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II

2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II

Toyota will launch a small SUV aimed directly at the 2015 Nissan Juke. The 2016 Toyota C-HR concept that was shown at last year’s Paris Motor Show was supposed to be a preview of the upcoming car, although there were clearly a lot of non-production touches in that design. And though it still isn’t the official production version of the car, Toyota has just debuted a new C-HR concept for Frankfurt that is obviously much more practical than the Paris version. The design is still quite bold though, and Toyota says that it was made to gauge reactions from key demographics, i.e. European twentysomethings.

Enough of the elements form the Paris concept carry over that it seems Toyota really is serious about taking some real chances with this crossover. But that plan has been working pretty well for Nissan so far, so the segment is clearly one where customers are looking for something that really sticks out. The plan is for this to be a global vehicle, but Toyota has been very obvious about concentrating on Europe. Toyota’s stated reason for this is that Europe is the most demanding market for these kinds of vehicles, so if the C-HR can work there, it can work anywhere.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota C-HR Concept.

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Latest Toyota RAV4: