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Toyota is Killing The FJ Cruiser Three Years After It Leaves U.S.

Toyota is Killing The FJ Cruiser Three Years After It Leaves U.S.

Did you know the FJ Cruiser was still in production?

Toyota is ending production of the FJ Cruiser more than a decade after the retro-styled SUV hit U.S. shores. But, if you’re like most, you thought the FJ Cruiser was dead since 2014 when it stopped sitting in Toyota showrooms here in the U.S. However, that’s not the case as the 4Runner-based SUV has been on-sale in Toyota’s home market of Japan. Toyota isn’t giving the FJ Cruiser a loveless ending, though. The automaker is releasing a special edition of the FJ Cruiser appropriately dubbed the “Final Edition.”

The FJ Cruiser Final Edition is a Japan-only model and comes in a single color option: Beige. The spartan interior also gets the beige treatment with beige center sections on the cloth seats and beige trim on the dashboard. Other changes include 20-inch alloy wheels, black side steps, and that cool JDM mirror on the front fender. Toyota isn’t changing anything with the drivetrain – and why would it? The FJ Cruiser has soldiered on for a decade with that tired 4.0-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission. 4WD is most likely standard, but at the very least, is an option. Of course, the FJ Crusier’s most endearing quality is its ruggedness afforded by its body-on-frame construction, solid rear axle, independent front suspension, and its part-time 4WD system. An honest SUV was hidden under that retro bodywork and awkward interior. It was the FJ’s weirdness that both gained it a loyal following and ultimately brought its demise. Sales exceeding 55,000 in 2006 and 2007 quickly nosedived during the recession of 2008 and never recovered. Toyota only managed to sell 14,718 in 2014, making the bean counters’ decision to axe the SUV within the U.S. an easy one. Compare that to the 4Runner’s U.S. sales in 2014 of nearly 77,000 and its sales in 2016 of 112,000. It’s clear which body-on-frame SUV Toyota customers wanted.

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2017 Toyota Hilux 'Invincible 50'

2017 Toyota Hilux ’Invincible 50’

A celebratory one-off Hilux for work and play

Toyota has now been building the Hilux pickup for 50 years. That’s a half-century of history made and a reputation built. Of course, most know the Hilux as an indestructible mid-size pickup that sells in nearly every country around the world – 190 countries, to be exact. Well, to celebrate the Hilux’s golden anniversary, Toyota has put together a one-off show truck called the Hilux “Invincible 50.” The automaker then chose the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show to display its self-congratulating concept.

Toyota started with a Double Cab Hilux and added several Toyota-branded aftermarket parts customers can typically find at a Toyota dealership. There is also a custom wrap designed to grab the attention of show-goers at Frankfurt, too. The truck is designed to be at home both on the job site and doing fun weekend-style activities. Toyota’s marketing hype says it’s “ideally suited to a broad range of both professional and leisure activities.” Perhaps that means the cargo box holds hammers just as well as camping gear. Either way, Toyota certainly has the right to celebrate the Hilux’s 50 years in production.

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2018 Toyota Land Cruiser

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser

An old favorite gets some modern updates

The Toyota Land Cruiser is about as iconic as vehicles come, so it’s a big deal when something changes. For 2018 in global markets, the Land Cruiser is getting a few appearance upgrades and a redesigned dashboard – both in an effort to keep this go-anywhere, three-row SUV flying off showroom floors. Toyota debuted its updated Land Cruiser at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show ahead of its on-sale date later this year.

The Land Cruiser’s reputation is rooted in reliability and its rugged dependability in off-road situations, often far from civilization. It makes sense, then, that Toyota boasts about the SUV being “easy to maintain and repair” right in its press materials. You won’t find that in a Land Rover’s press kit. While easy trail repairs isn’t the Land Cruiser’s best selling point in North America where customers view it as a status symbol, many of the 190 countries place an extreme value on making a round trip when leaving the house. Of course, the 2018 Land Cruiser is more than just reliable transportation. It offers plenty of luxury and creature comforts, too. Let’s check out what changes Toyota has made for 2018. Perhaps some of these will even make it to the U.S.-spec Land Cruiser, as well.

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Toyota “Invincible 50” Celebrates 50 Years Of Hilux

Toyota “Invincible 50” Celebrates 50 Years Of Hilux

Mildly modified show queen is a Toyota’s own pat-on-the-back

Hey, did you know the Toyota Hilux is a capable pickup that’s sold basically everywhere besides North America and is apparently indestructible against the best Jeremy Clarkson can throw its way? Of course, you know that since it’s practically common knowledge and rumored to be on driving tests in at least 95 countries. What you might not realize is Toyota has been selling the thing for half a century. Yep, 2018 marks the 50th birthday of the iconic Hilux pickup. Naturally, Toyota can’t let such an occasion pass without building some tribute, so here it is, the 2018 Hilux “Invincible 50.”

This Double Cab Hilux has several Toyota dealership parts bolted on, along with a custom wrap, all designed to grab attention at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Toyota says the truck is “ideally suited to a broad range of both professional and leisure activities,” or basically, that a so-configured Hilux is at home on the job site and doing fun stuff on the weekend. Sounds like the automotive equivalent of a mullet hairstyle, right? Unlike the mullet, the Hilux’s popularity didn’t die in the 1990s. In fact, the truck is expected to sell more than 40,600 examples in Europe for 2017, besting its previous record of 40,104 sold in 2007. That’s pretty impressive, especially in a place where pickups aren’t the “it” vehicle to drive. Perhaps Toyota’s expectation rides on folks falling in love with the Hilux “invincible 50” and its customized flair. Probably not, but let’s have a close look at this one-off show truck.

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Toyota Gives the 2018 Land Cruiser A Modern Flair for Frankfurt

Toyota Gives the 2018 Land Cruiser A Modern Flair for Frankfurt

It’s still the same, old-school SUV underneath

When’s the last time you’ve heard an automaker claim its latest vehicle is “easy to maintain and repair?” That’s exactly what Toyota said about its revised 2018 Land Cruiser, which makes its debut at the 2017 Frankfort Motor Show. It makes sense, after all, since the Land Cruiser is one of the most prolific vehicles in the world today. It’s sold in 190 countries worldwide and has a reputation of reliability and go-anywhere capability. Here in the U.S., the Land Cruiser is more of a status symbol, regulated to a few thousand sales a year with a fat asking price. Elsewhere, the Land Cruiser is viewed as a utilitarian beast that doesn’t mind trekking through foreboding countryside.

The Land Cruiser’s updates are mostly cosmetic. The front clip is new, the rear end is reworked, and the dashboard has been rearranged for better functionality. Toyota kept utility and functionality at the forefront, too, with impressive approach, breakover, and departure angles, along with 8.4-inches of ground clearance. Even the headlights were redesigned to make them more impervious to trail damage. Inside, the 4WD controls are placed on the center stack within easy reach of the driver. The greasy bits carry over unchanged, including the turbodiesel and two gasoline options. Toyota is dropping the gasoline option for Australia, however. Nevertheless, let’s take a dive into what’s new for the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser. Keep in mind, this isn’t the U.S.-spec version with its 5.7-liter V-8. We expect that to come later in the year with these same visual updates.

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Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Is the Ultimate Hipster Car

Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Is the Ultimate Hipster Car

Previews higher performance hybrid drivetrain

Launched in 2016, the Toyota C-HR is becoming one of the company’s most popular crossover. It has to do with its affordable sticker, compact size, and fuel-efficient engines, but the C-HR also stands out thanks to its outlandish and youthful design. However, a team of designers from ED2, Toyota’s European design studio, thinks that the crossover isn’t wild enough. As a result, it created C-HR HyPower Concept with added features inside and out and a more powerful hybrid drivetrain.

Unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the HyPower Concept is pretty much a customized C-HR. The goal was to create an even more impactful and emotional styling for the already wild-looking crossover, but there’s no official word on whether this project will spawn a higher performance version or a customization program. Still, the C-HR HyPower Concept is an interesting take on the tiny crossover and the design is more than doable in case Toyota votes in favor of a bespoke program.

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Toyota's Getting Serious About Launching A Family Of Sports Cars

Toyota’s Getting Serious About Launching A Family Of Sports Cars

A major announcement pertaining to this new family of sports cars is expected to happen in September

It’s not a rarity in today’s automotive landscape to see automakers shift their long-standing ideologies. Chinese automakers have stepped out of the shadow of mediocrity and become players in the business. Meanwhile, premium brands like Lamborghini, Bentley, and Rolls-Royce have jumped into the SUV craze. From what it looks like now, Toyota is also gearing up for some big changes with those “changes” coming in the form of a new family of sports cars.

Now, this isn’t exactly groundbreaking news since Toyota’s wide-range of automotive offerings already includes a few sports cars. Arguably the most famous of them is the GT86, the 200-horsepower, entry-level stalwart that has spearheaded the Japanese automaker’s performance car offerings. Outside of the GT86, there’s the Yaris GRMN, a limited-run hot hatch that was first introduced at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Then there’s the upcoming Toyota Supra, a reborn version of one of Toyota’s most iconic performance car nameplates. Once the Supra is released in 2019 as it’s been reported, the automaker’s sports car lineup will be three models strong. Don’t think Toyota will settle for just these three models though. It still has some old sports car nameplates to dust-off, not to mention recent concepts that could still be used at some point in the future. The good news is that we won’t have to wait too long to know about Toyota’s sports car plans as an announcement is expected to happen sometime in September. For now, all we can do is speculate on what other models could find their way into the brand’s sports car lineup.

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Toyota's Recent Patents Have All The Makings Of Science Fiction

Toyota’s Recent Patents Have All The Makings Of Science Fiction

Does the thought of an invisible cloak for your car excite or scare you?

Remember when news broke a few weeks ago that Toyota had filed a patent application for an under seat capture device? It was, for all intents and purposes, one of the most exciting patent applications we’ve seen in recent years. Above all else, it’s a practical device that should have been already been invented. But don’t mistake Toyota a being a purveyor of useful patents, because if recent history is any indication, the Japanese automaker has been known from time to time to apply for patents on technologies that really go beyond the realm of today’s possibilities. Take the “shape morphing fuselage” of an aerocar it filed patents for last year. That’s as good an example as some of the more recent patents that Toyota has filed, specifically a see-through A-pillar and, believe it or not, a cloaking device that makes parts of the car invincible.

It’s hard to tell if Toyota is a genius for thinking completely out of the box with these patents or it just has far too much free time on its hands. Either way, it’s hard to blame the Japanese for thinking of ways to revolutionize the auto industry, no matter how preposterous these ideas get. The under seat capture device is one thing because the potential for modern-day application is already there. But a cloaking device that makes parts of the car invincible? There’s a strangeness to it that’s actually a little endearing because, really, who doesn’t want to play around with this kind of technology. Safe to say then that Toyota’s R&D division has become a playground for the imagination. Who really knows what it might come up next. A shape-shifting car, perhaps? Oh, wait…

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Is The Toyota Supra Really Getting 400 Horsepower?

Is The Toyota Supra Really Getting 400 Horsepower?

A Toyota insider says so

You have to admire Toyota for really taking its time to develop the returning Toyota Supra. If it were me, I’d probably be doing the same thing too. That’s how important the Supra is to me and I sure as heck will leave no stone unturned to make sure that the car lives up to not just its hype, but it’s legacy as well. Doing so takes time and a lot of patience. As a result, people will start getting anxious about the sports car, and the longer the wait is, the more anxious people get. Good thing that we’re at a point where details are slowly coming in. The latest one from a Toyota insider indicates that the sports car will indeed have in excess of 400 horsepower on tap.

Now, this isn’t exactly breaking news because we’ve heard this narrative before. This time, though, the information comes from the IH8MUD forum, specifically one member who spoke to an insider from Toyota, who is apparently more plugged-in on the wheelings and dealings inside Toyota than most other so-called sources. Part of that discussion centered around the status of the Supra and in addition to saying that the sports car will indeed get north of 400 horsepower, the insider also indicated that the sports car will have its own 3.5-liter V-6 turbo engine that Toyota jointly developed with BMW, and not the latter’s tried-and-tested 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine. Don’t expect the production Supra though to hit the scene until 2019, even though it is expected that we’re going to see a near-production concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in October.

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New Sports Cars Could Take The Tokyo Motor Show By Storm

New Sports Cars Could Take The Tokyo Motor Show By Storm

Brace yourselves as Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda appear to be headed to the Tokyo Motor Show

Just as news is coming out that nine major automakers are skipping the Frankfurt Motor Show, there appears to be growing rumblings that the Tokyo Motor Show will play to not one, not two, but three sports car debuts. It’s already been rumored that the return of the Toyota Supra will take place in Tokyo, but according to Autobild, the Supra will also be joined by the Mazda RX-9 and the Nissan 390Z.

Obviously, this is pretty big news seeing three separate automakers launch three separate performance cars. They may be different in presentation, but the fact that all three automakers – major ones at that – are going to present sports cars that could turn into rivals of the others is making the Tokyo Motor Show a must-see event. To be clear, though, neither Mazda nor Nissan have confirmed their plans for their local auto show. Likewise, we’ve heard very little about the RX-9 at this point and even less about the Nissan 390Z. If these two cars do show up in Tokyo, it’s going to catch a lot of people off-guard. Even Toyota hasn’t confirmed its plans for Tokyo, even though all signs point to its next sports car making its world debut at the event. It might be best to taper off the excitement for the time being, or at least until we know something more concrete. That said, it is tempting to get a little excited about the possibility of three Japanese sports cars all showing up and debuting in the same event. And they said those days were gone.

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Toyota's Patent For An Under-Seat Capture Device Is The Answer To Our Prayers

Toyota’s Patent For An Under-Seat Capture Device Is The Answer To Our Prayers

For the sake of humanity, Toyota. Make it happen

Raise your hands if you’ve ever dropped any items or knick knacks that sliver of space between the front seats and the center console. It’s a frustrating thing to have to deal with, especially when you’re running late and you drop your keys there or you’re paying toll on a busy turnpike and a few nickels and dimes slip out of your hands and gets sucked into that abyss just as you’re about to fork them over to the self-service machine. The experience can shoot blood pressure levels through the roof but from the looks of things, Toyota seems to have come at just the right time to relieve us of one of our worst nightmares with a patent for a device it calls the “Under-Seat Capture Device.”

This isn’t a joke, folks. Toyota filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for such a device, which can help car owners easily retrieve small objects when they’re dropped into that veritable black hole. According to one version of the new tech – or “embodiment” as the patent describes it – a small chute located in the dark space catches items that fall in and funnels them to a platform located just beneath the seat. This platform is then connected to an actuator that, when actuated, moves the platform to a location where the driver can easily retrieve his items. Seems straightforward enough, right? More than that, it’s the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that we need more of in the industry today. It’s hard to imagine anybody not having gone through the pain and frustration of dropping items in that small crack. Hopefully, Toyota’s patent application bears fruit one day. We’ve waited long enough for salvation, Toyota.

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Next Toyota Supra Engines Leaked; No Manual Transmission

Next Toyota Supra Engines Leaked; No Manual Transmission

Will get BMW four- and six-cylinder units

The highly-anticipated, next-generation Toyota Supra is still a few months away from breaking cover, but a leaked, internal BMW document just revealed what engines it will use. Posted by the folks over at the Supramkv forums, the document confirms that the Supra will get the same three engines as the upcoming Z4. The lineup will consist of a four-cylinder unit with two power ratings and a more powerful six-cylinder mill for the range-topping model. These engines carry the familiar x0i nomenclature seen on BMW models. Specifically, the four-cylinders are dubbed 20i and 30i, while the six-cylinder is codenamed the 40i.

The document also confirms that the Supra will go on sale in both Europe and the United States. In Europe, it will get all three engines, while the U.S. model will cross the pond with the six-cylinder and only the more powerful version of the four-banger. Another interesting detail that comes with the leak is that, apparently, the Supra won’t get a manual transmission. This wouldn’t be surprising here in North America, but as it turns out, European models are automatic too, no matter the engine.

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