Self-driving cars have been a popular topic lately. Google’s autonomous cars have been cruising around for a while now, and Chevy just announced plans to integrate a fleet of fully autonomous 2017 Chevy Volts into its Warren Technical Center Campus. Now, in a recent press release, Toyota revealed that it has been testing an self-driving Lexus GS on Tokyo’s Shuto Expressway.
The Lexus GS has been fitted with special sensors and the latest artificial intelligence programming that allows it to recognize hazards, make decisions, and take action. Once a driver enters the highway or passes through a toll booth, automated driving can be turned on, and the vehicle will maneuver through traffic without input from the driver. Say hello to Highway Teammate.
The special GS is the newest example of Toyota’s push to evolve the driver-car relationship and its development of advanced safety systems. Toyota will continue to develop the technology and hopes to make it so that mobility means safety, efficiency and freedom for everyone. Toyota plans to put vehicles like the Highway Teamate into production and release them into the market sometime around 2020.
Continue reading for the full story.
Although the current-generation Avalon is only two years old, Toyota is doing its best to keep the full-size sedan fresh and attractive to American customers. With a mid-cycle refresh set to arrive sometime in 2016, Toyota is introducing numerous convenience and safety features across the lineup for 2015, as well as new exterior colors and visual options. Additionally, the Japanese are also launching the XLE Touring Sport Edition, an Avalon exclusive to the 2015 model year.
Based on the highly equipped XLE Touring grade, the Sport Edition enhances the Avalon’s attractive styling and spirited driving dynamics through additional standard features that range from HID headlamps and perforated leather-wrapped seats to unique badges and interior trims. All, of course, for a small premium over the Touring grade. Production of the Sport Edition will last for only six months and it won’t be offered outside the 2015 model year. Read on to find out what this special edition model is all about.
Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota Avalon Touring Sport Edition.
The Avalon has long been the king of the Toyota lineup. It was the largest and most luxurious thing car you could buy from the company without having a Lexus badge on the nose. Now moving into its fourth generation with an all-new design and platform shared with the Lexus ES, Toyota promises best-ever levels of comfort and refinement from the 2014 Avalon. With the freshly available hybrid drivetrain option, the Avalon is also one of the most fuel efficient models in its class as well.
With a price of more than $40k, the new Avalon is also one of the most expensive sedans Toyota has ever created. With the redesign and hybrid powerplant, does this new Avalon still have what it takes to compete in the land of large luxury land barges? Does the new higher price tag put it too close to Lexus territory to justify a purchase? After a few days and several hundred miles, I think I have an answer. Head past the jump to find out what I thought.
Continue reading for our full review of the 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
Toyota introduced the Avalon to the U.S. market way back in 1995 as its more upscale, full-size sedan slotted between the Camry and more luxurious Lexus brand. It originally rode on a stretched version of the Camry’s platform and even shared its 3.0-liter, V-6 engine. Generational changes in 2000, 2005, and again in 2013 have kept the Avalon fresh with revised looks, interior appointments, and updated drivetrains.
I recently spent a week getting to know a 2014 Avalon in its most well-appointed form. My Limited tester came coated in a really beautiful dark-blue color Toyota calls Parisian Night Pearl. Its interior came awashed in soft-touch, tan leather seats with contrasting Parisian Night Pearl stitching and accent pieces. Equipped with the Technology Package, my Avalon came fitted with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beams, and the Pre Collision System. Also present was Toyota’s innovative Qi Wireless Charging system (pronounced "Chee") that works with like-enabled electronic devices.
Though those were the only two main extra-cost options, the Limited trim package took care of checking the other option boxes in one fell swoop, netting nearly every conceivable amenity desired on modern sedans. Heated and cooled leather seats with 10-way adjustments, moonroof, navigation, HID headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a laundry list of standard safety equipment.
Speaking of safety, the Avalon comes rated with five stars across the board from the NHTSA, except for the driver-side frontal crash, which earned a still-respectable four stars. Its other government ratings aren’t bad either. The EPA rates the Avalon at 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.
The Avalon might not be the most exciting product Toyota builds these days, but it fulfills its intended purpose of passenger comfort very well. Out of all the cars I’ve piloted lately, the Avalon would be my pick for a long-haul roadtrip with the family.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Toyota Avalon
One of the many advantages of being in Toyota’s home country of Japan are the number of models the automaker builds exclusively to their homeland. The Toyota Mark X, which we first saw in concept guise a few years ago, is one of them.
Unlike any model Toyota produces for the international market, the Mark X is exclusive to the Japanese market. More importantly, the 2013 model of the car gets a facelift, making it even more distinguishable than its past incarnations.
For one, the front grille of the car is probably the only one amongst Toyota’s many models to have a huge "X" adorning it. In addition, the car also gets LED infused headlights, bulging fenders, a trunk-mounted rear spoiler, and wraparound taillights that resemble the Toyota Camry. Inside, the Mark X also gets plenty of new equipment and features, particularly the higher trim Premium and 350 G’s models that both have leather upholstery, heated front seats, stainless steel door sill plates, and a comprehensive infotainment system that includes GPS navigation, a TV tuner, and 12 speakers.
As far as performance goes, the Mark X comes with two powertrain options with the first being a 2.5-liter V6 engine that produces 200 horsepower and 179 lb/ft of torque. Meanwhile, a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine is also being offered with 314 horsepower and 280 lb/ft of torque.
In case you’re interested - and you live in Japan - the 2013 Mark X retails for 2.4 million yen, which is around $30,500 based on current exchange rates.
Toyota Avalon has been firstly unveiled in 1994 and until know we have seen three different generation. Today, at the New York Auto Show Toyota has unveiled the fourth generation Avalon, a model that comes with a progressive and emotionally styled exterior design, improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior.
The model has been designed to attract younger buyers and features a sleek and expressive profile with a longer, sloping roofline, flared front fenders, and reduced front and rear overhangs. The car’s interior combines comfort, convenience and technology. Toyota opted to combined premium materials with smoked chrome-metallic accents. The new Avalon has been crafted with innovative technologies such as advanced capacitive touch switches, a three color display screens that support the multi-information display, the audio/navigation interface, and the climate control panel.
Toyota did not offered any details on the car’s engine just yet, but we expect to see the same 3.5-liter V6 engine maybe with improved output and fuel economy.
Updated 04/05/2012: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.
With the calendar turning over a new page to 2012, the very first major auto show is set to open its doors in Detroit when the North American International Auto Show welcomes automakers - both local and foreign - to the Motor City.
This year, American brands are coming to Detroit in full force where they will be joined by a number of international automakers in presenting a steady diet of concept cars, production debuts, and just about everything else in between.
Among the notable debuts set to take place include the brand-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL, as well as the 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8. German automaker Porsche has also penciled in the 911 Cabriolet for the festivities, while Lexus will be on-hand to display the intriguing and mysterious LF-LC 2+2 sports coupe concept.
As for the local contingent, Ford is leading the way with the premiere of the Fusion global mid-size sedan while Dodge is set to introduce their Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based compact sedan, the Dart.
There’s plenty of action headed to Detroit when the 2012 NAIAS opens its doors on January 14th. Head over after the jump to check out a preview of all the cars scheduled to be part of all the festivities.
It’s amazing, as even though the Toyota unintended acceleration issue was some time ago, some stories keep popping up at least once a month. This time, there are accusations against the Japanese automaker that they forced people to keep quiet about the issue. Part of this deal was that Toyota would buy-back these problematic vehicles, but in order to get them to do that, owners had to sign a confidentially statement that stated they couldn’t talk to anyone about it.
The suit also points to Toyota documents that stated engineers and technicians were able to recreate the issue. This entire thing aside, the suit is basically saying that Toyota knew about the issue, but failed to act for years.
Toyota has stated that all owners who sold their vehicles back were asked to sign a liability waiver and there was no confidentiality statement in this waiver. Frankly, while they might have failed to act, this story seems a bit to mafia-like for a car company.
The Japanese automaker Toyota has just launched an all new rear wheel drive luxury sedan for its home market called the Mark X. Built on the same platform as the Lexus GS, the new four door is powered by a choice of two engines, the first being a 2.5 Liter V6 that delivers a maximum output of 203 HP and is 15% more efficient than government regulations require as well as a powerful 3.5 Liter V6 that puts down a total of 318 HP. No matter which power plant you choose, both engines can be mated to Toyota’s gas sipping ECT six speed automatic transmission complete with sporty paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. The Mark X is good for a 0 to 60 MPH sprint of about 8.3 seconds and will return an average of 49.2 MPG.
For 2010, the Toyota Mark X features a widened front bumper opening, a sporty mesh grill, wraparound taillights and very thick C pillar giving the car a very muscular appearance. Keeping with the Mark X’s luxurious theme, the upscale sedan offers a spacious interior for up to five passengers and driver amenities like an ergonomic leather wrapped steering wheel and motorized lumbar support that combine quality and precision evoking a feeling of pure driving pleasure.
The Mark X is also loaded with high tech gadgets like an adaptive radar based cruise control system, equipped with a brake-control function that can maintain a fixed distance from the car in front, adaptive front lighting system, hill start assist control, HDD navigation system with map on demand and a digital T.V. tuner as well as the automaker’s intelligent parking assist system.
Press release after the jump.
After reporting that the Japanese automaker Toyota is planning to build a hybrid version of the Yaris compact city car yesterday, today it is time to move our attention to something even more environmentally conscious, the even smaller Toyota iQ. That is because Toyota plans to produce their first production EV when the BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) variant of the iQ for 2010.
According to iQ’s chief engineer, Hiroki Nakajima, the all-electric iQ will feature in-wheel motors: "In every wheel we had to be able to fit an electric motor." It will also be the first Toyota mass-production model to use lithium ion batteries and will take about 8 hours to fully charge. “Our target is for customers to be able to charge it completely during the night,” and will have a range of 93 miles, more than enough for commuting or around town driving.
In an attempt to dispel the new car buying public’s belief that small means low cost, Nakajima said: “We wanted to position the iQ as premium,” so the BEV version will receive distinct bodywork from the standard iQ and "will get a much better interior” according to the chief engineer. Toyota is a company known for building a well built reliable product so perhaps they can convert a few electric skeptics as well.
The Toyota Avalon has become the standard bearer for full-size sedans by combining outstanding room and comfort with sport sedan performance and admirable fuel efficiency – including an EPA-estimated highway mileage rating of 31 mpg.
The Avalon is offered in four grades, the standard XL, the sporty Touring, the extremely well-equipped XLS and the top-of-the-line Limited, which compares well to near-luxury models for comfort and amenities. For 2007, the Touring trim level offers an optional (...)