Toyota Midsize Cars

Super Bowl XLIX: Toyota Reveals "How Great I Am" Inspiring Commercial

Super Bowl XLIX: Toyota Reveals "How Great I Am" Inspiring Commercial

As usual, this year’s Super Bowl Sunday will be packed with commercials in what is traditionally the biggest event of the year in American television. With each 30-second ad selling for a whopping $4.5 million on average, you can guess that Toyota paid a hefty amount for the inclusion of the above 60-second spot, which will apparently be accompanied by another one during the big game on Sunday.

Part of the "One Bold Choice Leads to Another" campaign for the 2015 Camry, the Toyota ad above features Paralympic medalist and Dancing with the Stars finalist Amy Purdy taking part in a lot of courageous feats for someone who has no legs. If that wasn’t inspiring enough for a well-made Super Bowl commercial, the entire footage of Purdy is set to Muhammad Ali’s infamous "How Great I Am" speech. As some of you know, the uplifting speech was made right before the "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing event in 1974, which Ali won by knockout against the then-undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman.

"We’re very proud of the message our commercial sends about not only making bold choices, but living a bold life, and Amy Purdy represents that in everything she does. Amy inspires us, and to have her make her Super Bowl commercial debut with Toyota is something we’re thrilled about," said Jack Hollis, group vice president of marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. The ad will probably strike a chord with those who feel put down by life, but I’m not entirely sure that it will put the rather boring Camry in a more adventurous light. A Lexus or a sportier Toyota would have made a better subject, in my opinion.

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2014 Toyota Prius V - Driven

2014 Toyota Prius V - Driven

The Prius has certainly made a name for itself in the nearly 15 years it’s been around. Toyota has sold tons of them all across the globe. As the market started wanting more, Toyota came out with this: the Prius V, which according to Toyota, stands for “versatility.” That truly is the case, seeing as the Prius V has a large SUV-like rear cargo area with seats that fold flat. Starting in 2012, the big-boy Prius made a solid case against the need for large, gas-guzzling SUVs – at least with respect to interior volume. The cavernous interior actually boasts 67.3 cubic feet of cargo room with the second-row seats folded down. That’s four cubic feet more than a Chevrolet Equinox.

Besides the ability to haul five adults and their junk around, the Prius V does it while getting some respectable mpg numbers. The EPA rates the wagon at 44/40/42 mpg on its city, highway, and combined test loop. Add to that its 1.8-liter four-cylinder runs on regular gasoline, and you’ve got a money-saving, junk-hauling, passenger-pleasing green machine.

But how well does it execute its mission? I spent a week with a 2014 model to find out. My driving was mixed between city and highway roads, along with both gentle and aggressive driving styles. I did everything from hauling my two-year-old in a car seat to hauling a large bookcase for friends. Keep reading for the outcome.

Click past the jump for the full review

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2016 Toyota Officially Reveals the Tacoma with a New V-6

2016 Toyota Officially Reveals the Tacoma with a New V-6

The Toyota Tacoma hasn’t changed all that much since 2004, but it hasn’t had to. The market for small and midsize trucks has been in a steady decline since the early 2000s, so it didn’t take much for the Tacoma to hold its position as the top-selling truck in its class. That changed when GM announced it would be bringing its latest version of the global Colorado to the U.S., and Toyota got to work to ensure it didn’t lose any ground. Enter the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, which was officially unveiled today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Toyota reengineered every aspect of the Tacoma to make it tougher and more capable than ever, starting with a stronger frame, a more versatile suspension tuning and new powertrain options. A 2.7-liter four-cylinder is still the base engine, but the 2016 Toyota Tacoma will now be able to upgrade to a 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine to maximize fuel economy. No power figures are available, but Toyota promises that the new Tacoma will be more powerful and more efficient than the current model.

Customers can get either engine with Toyota’s new six-speed automatic transmission, but, in a rare move these days, the V-6 engine will also be available with a six-speed manual gearbox. For comparison, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon only offer a manual transmission with the four-cylinder engine, and availability is limited even further to just the lowest trim levels of these trucks in two-wheel drive only. Off-road enthusiasts will appreciate the addition of Toyota’s Crawl Control that makes it easy to drive up and over just about any terrain.

Exterior styling is on par with what we’ve come to expect from Toyota trucks and SUVs with a wide, blocky stance and polarizing looks. This starts at the front end where the new grille looks like it was inspired by a hungry robot monster, while the rear end design was inspired by the current Tundra with “TACOMA” lettering stamped into the tailgate.

A total of five trim levels will be offered from the base SR to the go-anywhere TRD Off-Road and finally the luxury-themed Limited. Regardless of which trim is chosen, all 2016 Toyota Tacoma models will come standard with a GoPro mount that can be found near the rearview mirror. The new Tacoma will be offered with options that include push-button start, leather seats, and wireless smartphone charging.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Toyota Tacoma .

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2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma has technically been around since 1995, though Toyota has been building a pint-sized truck since the mid 1950s. The classic Hilux truck that is usually associated with Toyota made its North American debut in 1968. The design morphed into that iconic square-body shape by its fourth generation, hitting streets in 1983. The fifth-generation Hilux, or as it was simply called in the U.S., the Toyota Pickup, saw upgrades to interior quality and power. Toyota’s U.S. truck business really kicked off with the 1995 Tacoma. An all-new design with a Camry-like interior, a stout pair of engines, and a robust four-wheel-drive system brought huge sales numbers to Toyota.

Finally getting a major upgrade for 2016, the third-generation Tacoma will compete against the still-fresh 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the upcoming refreshed Nissan Frontier, and the possible renaissance of the Ford Ranger. Baring those trucks that aren’t at dealerships, the Tacoma already has a fight on its hands with the GM twins. Will the new Taco be enough to dethrone the award-winning Chevy and GMC? Keep on reading to find out.

UPDATED 01/12/2015: Toyota has released the preliminary details on the upcoming 2016 Tacoma. The truck is getting a new V-6 and transmission, along with updated suspension tuning and a completely restyled interior.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

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2015 Toyota Camry - Driven

2015 Toyota Camry - Driven

It hadn’t been long since my first drive experience with the revised 2015 Toyota Camry. I spent a couple days along the northeastern edge of Florida’s sunny coastline driving every trim level the Camry had to offer. But recently a Camry showed up at my door, ready for a weeklong stint. Remembering back to my first drive experience, I knew the week would be full of pleasant, uneventful driving. This would especially be the case since the week’s loaner was fitted with the swanky XLE trim with near-Lexus levels of luxury.

The car also came loaded with options, including the 3.5-liter V-6, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, the Entune infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen, the Technology Package, illuminated door sills, and the rear spoiler.

The Camry proved to be a great fit for the week’s activities that including tooling around town, hauling kids in car seats, and taking a short two-hour road trip for a wedding. So how’d it do? Click past the jump for the rundown.

Click past the jump for more on the 2015 Toyota Camry

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2015 Toyota Camry - Driven

2015 Toyota Camry - Driven

The Toyota Camry has been in the U.S. since its humble beginnings in 1983. Humility didn’t linger around, however, as Camry sales grew to 128,000 units by 1985. By 1988, Toyota was building Camry sedans in its new factory in Kentucky. Ten years later, the Camry was already in its fourth generation. Now 32 years and eight generations after the original, the 2015 Camry is still experiencing sales growth and gaining popularity, but there is always room from improvement.

I spent two days getting a sneak peek at the redesigned 2015 Camry to see what Toyota has planned for this four-door family stalwart. Talking first hand with the designers reveals more attention to flashy styling and sportier looks. The engineering team mentions things about a more rigid body thanks to extra spot welds and a powertrain that continues without changes.

In general, the Camry is now aimed at a younger audience, somewhere in the mid-40 range. That’s not to say those on either side of the median age won’t find appeal in the car. That is especially true with the Camry’s new, sporty trim level: the XSE. A unique grille, bespoke 18-inch wheels, and upgraded interior materials separate it from LE, SE, and XLE trims. The hybrid version is still available with its Atkinson Cycle, 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder. For those looking for some extra punch, the venerable 3.5-liter V-6 returns as well.

Click past the jump for the full review

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2015 Toyota Camry

2015 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the hottest sedans out there, leading the sales category for sedans for the last 12 years. Being around since 1979, the Camry has been through a total of 10 generational changes with the most recent taking place in 2011. A refresh came just a couple years later, but for 2015, Toyota put the Camry through a redesign that is worthy of being the next generation. All told, the new Camry is more exciting to drive, has a quieter cabin, and is far more appealing to look at. Highlights include new fascias, new body panels all the way around, a newly designed grille, and new exterior lighting. Inside, the car got better materials and an inductive charger dock for properly equipped smartphones. Changes were limited to the interior and exterior, with the same drivetrain components carried over from the 2011 generational shift. That isn’t necessarily bad, though – all three engines perform well for what they are and offer pretty impressive fuel economy as well.

Needless to say, the Camry doesn’t exactly set any records on the race track. But, for what it is, it’s rather luxurious inside and offers upscale passenger comfort and predictable technology. Stepping into the sales discussion, Toyota has sold a total of 1,235,351 Camrys in the U.S., Canada, and Australia between the 2011 and 2013 model years. That’s pretty impressive, right? So will the heavily refreshed Camry ready to continue on where the 2014 model left off as one of the best-selling sedans in the world? Well take a look at our full review of the 2015 – 2016 Camry below to decide for yourself – it certainly won’t disappoint.

Updated 09/02/2014: Toyota announced prices for the 2015 Camry set to be put on sale in late September. Prices will range from $22,970 for the LE trim and up to $29,980 for the Hybrid XLE version. Details after the jump.

Click past the jump for the low down on the 2015 Toyota Camry

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2014 Toyota CamRally by Parker Kligerman

2014 Toyota CamRally by Parker Kligerman

As the defending champions of the Toyota Dream Build Challenge, Kyle Busch Motorsports certainly has to live up to if it wants the title to stay in its garage. This year, Busch is taking a step down to let one of his NASCAR drivers pick up the mantle.

And so it is, Parker Kligerman takes the reigns from Busch and with the help of KBM, he worked on the 2013 Toyota Camry and plunged headfirst into giving it a rally look.

The car itself is billed as the CamRally, and true enough, Kligerman turned it into a true rally racer, complete with Toyota’s vintage red, orange and yellow racing color combination to go with a host of rally-oriented performance enhancements. HID driving lights from Lightforce were also installed on the sedan, while a unique window sheet material comes courtesy of 5-Star Racing Windows. And for that distinctive look, the CamRally sports a special logo designed exclusively for this model with Kligerman’s racing number 77 prominently featured on the logo.

Inside, the racing seats are rally-spec, as are closed racing windows, the standard roll cage, and heat protection, all of which adds functionality to the CamRally’s rally identity.

Performance upgrades were also part of the CamRally’s equation with Kligerman and KBM putting extra emphasis on giving the Camry a variety of engine modifications. Turbochargers have been added from Turbonetics with an intercooler system coming from Spearco. Intakes and an air filter are also new from Custom DSE and K&N, rounding out what’s looking like another winning program from Parker Kligerman and the folks from Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Click past the jump to read more about Parker Kligerman’s Toyota CamRally

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Toyota Lets You Try Before You Buy With its Rental Program

We have seen nearly every gimmick under the sun with various automakers, from Saturn and its "No Haggle" pricing — see where that got it — to Volkswagen with its "Sign Then Drive Event." One gimmick that we’ve been waiting for is for when dealerships start renting out their cars for extended test drives or just a weekend trip.

Well, the wait is now over, as Toyota has done just that. From the looks of things, about 85 percent of Toyota and Scion dealers across the U.S. participate in this program and Toyota claims that its rental rates are competitive with local car-rental companies. According to the Toyota Rent a Car website, you can rent cars, trucks, SUVs, Hybrids and even the 2013 RAV4 EV for a day, week or even months. Unfortunately, the 2013 Scion FR-S isn’t on the list of available models, but the almost-as-cool Scion tC is on the list.

So, we can now check brand-new rent-a-buckets off of our wish list, now we are just waiting for all of the dealers to morph into rental showrooms and Internet-based car buying — now that is "no haggle pricing!" Those two will likely never happen, but at the rate that Tesla is changing the car-buying experience, you just never know what will happen.

Your move, Elon Musk...

Click past the jump to read about some of the coolest models that Toyota is renting out under this program

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2013 Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition by Kyle Busch

2013 Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition by Kyle Busch

Anytime you can add the word "rowdy" to the special edition tag of a car, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it.

That’s exactly what Kyle Busch and Detroit Speed & Engineering did to the Toyota Camry SE. Named after Busch’s "Rowdy" handle on the NASCAR circuit, the Rowdy Edition Camry was made to exude an abundance of style and substance.

There’s no denying that this Camry doesn’t look the part of a regular model, something Busch wanted to do to make the car stand out. Together with DSE, the Nascar driver decided to give the Camry SE a slew of body modifications, including the official "Rowdy" colors — red, white, and black — to go with a hand-formed, custom widebody kit; custom front and rear belly pans; DSE-designed and fabricated front air splitter and rear air diffuser; a custom, true dual exhaust system; and a new set of 18-inch Formula 43 RAD14 wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2 tires.

Inside, Busch and DSE made use of red and black leather Lexus IS F bucket seats while also adding an Advent Otocam3 DVD with rear-seat Michael Neighbors monitors.

Needless to say, Busch appears to be impressed with his body of work, calling the car something that "we should run at Daytona and Talladega.”

“Our approach to the build was to make a car with the stance, attitude and handling of a road-race car while retaining the functionality of a production Camry,” Busch adds.

The Rowdy Edition Camry will be going to the 2012 SEMA Auto Show as part of the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge. Together with its three other competitors — Clint Bowyer’s Tekked-Out Prius, Alexis DeJoria’s converted Tundra, and Antron Brown’s modified Sequoia — the car will vie for the title and the $50,000 check from Toyota that will go to the driver’s chosen charity, which, in the case of Busch, will be the Kyle Busch Foundation.

UPDATE 11/09/12: Big congratulations to Kyle Busch’s Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition for winning the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge at the 2012 SEMA Auto Show!

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2013 Toyota Avalon by DUB Magazine

2013 Toyota Avalon by DUB Magazine

It looks like the new generation Toyota Avalon is enjoying plenty of attention from tuning firms at the 2012 SEMA Show. Next to the Avalon TRD Concept, the guys over at DUB Magazine have developed a pretty impressive package for the sedan that transforms it into the perfect urban ride.

The package starts off with a custom mesh grille and a well-integrated custom lower body kit and continues with a new set of 22" wheels with a matte black finish wrapped in ultra-low-profile Pirelli tires. It has been painted in a Brilliant Black finish with the mysterious look accentuated by tinted windows and taillights.

For the interior, the tuner applied suede accents on the console, door panels, and headliner. The seats combine black leather with plush diamond-pattern suede inserts and feature DUB logos on the seatbacks.

Since this is a DUB project, a new JBL sound system was to be expected to see and houses three massive subwoofers and an impressive array of amplifiers.

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2013 Toyota Avalon HV Edition

2013 Toyota Avalon HV Edition

TRD (Toyota Racing Development) isn’t just heading to the 2012 SEMA Auto with the Avalon TRD Edition, but with an Avalon HV Edition as well. This Avalon tuning firm is a concept based on the Avalon Hybrid that highlights the potential of the new car.

The new Avalon HV Edition will feature a Bright white paint finish combined with electric blue accent colors on the hybrid-blue headlights, tail-lights and turn signals, and the color-keyed custom grille. The HV sits on a new set of 19" custom wheel design with a three-stage paint finish.

The same color theme continues on the interior where the tuner opted for blue-silver metallic leather and white perforated leather seat inserts, as well as crisp blue stitching and dashboard accents. Just like the other concept headed to SEMA, the HV Edition features a 15-speaker JBL GreenEdgeTM surround-sound audio system.

We are not sure if any changes have been made in terms of power, but there are some changes in tow for the car’s suspensions and brakes. TRD installed cold-rolled steel coil springs that lower the vehicle approximately one inch at the front and rear.

Full details will be revealed during the 2012 SEMA Auto Show, so stay tuned!

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