Archive for April, 2009

Toyota Prius Hybrid Exterior and Interior Review

toyota review

The most important thing about the Toyota Prius to look at is the fact that driving this particular hybrid is a fashion statement all of its own. At least 57% of Prius owners seem to think that the fashion statement is a good one, and the exterior of the car only helps aid that argument. At first glance, the exterior lends the opinion that the Prius is a great car, and when you look closer, the Prius’s exterior characteristics are quite intricate and outstanding.

Reviewers and experts alike have given the Prius fantastic rankings and scores just based on the Prius’s exterior. Considering how sleek and stylish most hybrid cars look, being able to win them out for style has shown that the exterior must have some major kudos to turn that many heads.

First of all, the Toyota Prius is not at all a vehicle designed simply for one purpose. No, the Prius was definitely designed to impress its audience, as well as create its own fashion statement that is loud and visible. Like the Chevy Tahoe, another hybrid vehicle, the Prius’s body is designed to reduce wind resistance, allowing the car to move faster and smoother on the road. A particular design, the Kammback design, was developed to help reduce air resistance and the very shape of the car has a low coefficient drag and is functionally and aesthetically pleasing.

Oddly enough, the Toyota Prius has actually prompted its own jargon, such as the rise of “Prius politics,” wherein a driver often purchases a hybrid car so that they can show off. The car’s exterior is incredibly unique and innovative, and so the Prius is easily identifiable by the style and make of the vehicle, and not nearly as much for the fuel-efficiency that the vehicle boats. Granted, the Prius is still a green car, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so drivers who buy the Prius are not only making a fashion statement, but are also helping to make the country more eco-friendly.

In dealing with hybrids, tires are just as important as the rest of the vehicle, and in the case of the Prius, this is no different. The tires used on the Prius are much better at reducing friction while on the road, given a lower rolling resistance. Thankfully, not only are the tires better with resistance, but they also have a firmer grip on the road, making driving much safer and easier to handle.

Who is the Prius for? The Toyota Prius is for the driver interested in contributing to the reduction of environmental issues. Yet, for the majority of Prius drivers, this vehicle is still a fashion status, and the Prius can be seen as a badge of social ranking as well. In fact, most know that Prius’s are not cheap vehicles, but what sells the Prius even through the price tag is that the exterior just looks that good. If considering a Toyota Prius, the reasons you’re probably doing so are for picking fuel-efficient and a stylish vehicle.


The basic construction of the Prius utilizes very lightweight materials, and the actually driving experience and the seating arrangement for the passengers is a great compliment to the car. The design for the car is that of a D-segment which means the Prius has plenty of room for driving and riding comfortably. In fact, the interior makes for a very pleasant and cosy ride.

The rear seats can deal with a 60:40 split or completely fold flat, making storage much easier in what seems like a smaller vehicle. In this car, luggage storage won’t be problematic. The Prius’s front seats are based on being of hip-point height to reduce stressful body positioning, enabling a much more comfortable ride. This height makes getting in and out of the car much easier and much more comfortable. I don’t know about you, but I like being able to actually move around after I get into the car.

The Prius hybrid’s interior design is based on being able to utilize a higher position to drive by. This particular positioning is better for the driver by enhancing visibility and comfort. The instrumentation and control panel in the interior give easier control over many of the features. Buttons and controls are all centralized right at the driver’s fingertips around the steering wheel so that you don’t have to stretch across the car anymore just to change the radio station. Even some of the engine’s features are now controllable by the dashboard.

There is no mistaking that Toyota has given a great deal of time and consideration in order to create a comfortable and worthwhile control panel and interior. Many of the design features and technological benefits, such as being able to integrate the Bluetooth cell phone interface, make driving the Prius much safer, convenient and enjoyable experience.

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Archive for April, 2009

What does a snow flake outline mean on the display of a 2007 Prius?

My 2007 Prius has a type 3 display. In ENERGY MONITOR mode, the outside temperature is shown in the upper right corner in an oblong box. Sometimes this box is replaced by a snow flake shaped box for a second or two. It never stays on long enough for me to read it or understand why it changed. What purpose does the snow flake serve? Under what circumstances does it change or change back?

Archive for April, 2009

Toyota’s Reliability Takes a Hit

toyota tundra
When it comes to car buying, a lot of people consider the different attributes of a vehicle. Others are looking for a new vehicle with good performance while others put more value on comfort. Some buyers are after the exterior design of a vehicle while some are looking for vehicles loaded with features. There are also those whose choice of vehicle depends on its safety. But one thing that all consider is a vehicle’s reliability. And when it comes to reliability issues, Toyota is tops – that is, until this year.

Consumer Reports recently reported that Toyota’s vehicles’ reliability has declined. This comes after years of the Japanese automaker’s leadership in the industry when it comes to reliability. The Consumer Reports 2007 Annual Car Reliability Survey shows that consumers are now finding Toyota vehicles less reliable than their ancestors. In contrast, Ford’s vehicles have received good marks from consumers.

The most popular Toyota nameplate, the V6 variant of the Camry received a dismal and surprising below average rating in terms of predicted reliability. The Camry has been redesigned fore 2007 and it has always been Toyota’s best selling vehicle. It has been known through the years as a reliable car. The redesign though may have had negative effects on the reliability of the car.

Aside from the 2007 Camry, the redesigned and beefed-up Toyota Tundra also received a below average rating in reliability. The four-wheel drive V8 version of the full-size pickup truck received the dismal rating. Even Lexus’ all-wheel drive variant of the GS sedan received a below average rating. Since Consumer Reports does not recommend any vehicle with a below average rating, the three variants are no longer on the prestigious “Recommended list” of Consumer Reports.

Although reliability of aforementioned variants dropped below average, the automaker in general is still third in the overall reliability ranking. That includes Toyota’s luxury division Lexus and its youth brand Scion. The Japanese automaker ranked below fellow Japanese automakers. Honda is ranked as the producer of the most reliable automobiles. Subaru, the makers of the durable Subaru ignition coil, spark plugs, and spark plug wires is ranked second.

Toyota Motor Sales Executive Vice President Jim Lentz had this to say in response to the Consumer Reports announcement: “Over all, this survey reflects well on our products. However, we’re taking measures every day to continue to sharpen quality and enhance customer satisfaction.” Being on track to become the largest automaker in the world, Toyota has been stepping up its production output. It is only normal for automakers to have problems with quality control after a huge boost in production. Thus Toyota is expected to bounce back from this minor stumble.

In the past, redesigned Toyota vehicles have been recommended by Consumer Reports due to the automaker’s track record. The Auto Channel reported that even if Consumer Reports have insufficient reliability data for a new vehicle, it still recommends redesigned Toyota, Lexus, and Scion nameplates due to the aforementioned reason. But with the amount of Toyota recalls this year, Consumer Reports gave the redesigned Toyota vehicles below average reliability scores. If Toyota can bounce back to its trademark stance in terms of reliability, Consumer Reports may bring back its policy to recommend the automaker’s newly redesigned vehicles.

Archive for April, 2009

Toyota Camry Hybrid Review – the Pros and Cons

toyota review
It is said that as a hybrid the Toyota Camry hybrid does not have the same performance capabilities as the conventional sedan, but I would venture to say that as a moderate recreational driver, this car has all the performance capabilities one would need.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid is a more spacious, luxurious, comfortable version of Toyota’s popular Prius hybrid, with equally impressive fuel economy. The Camry hybrid lacks the aspects of the Prius that some buyers might find off-putting, such as the compact size. The Camry hybrid establishes a perfect balance of fuel economy, ‘green’ living, and a functional family sedan.

The electric qualities of the Toyota Camry hybrid are subtle compared to its counter parts. While driving the Toyota Prius, the driver can tell when the gas engine has shut off and the car’s power is coming from the battery. Likewise, one can also tell when the gas engine has kicked back on, and the car is needing more power than the battery can provide. This is not the case with the Toyota Camry Hybrid. This car offers a smooth, seamless ride. One has to be really paying attention to the engine to determine which source is powering the car.

With the 2008 model’s reduced retail price, and the high gas prices facing our nation, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is a breath of fresh air. As far as I’m concerned, nothing available right now can match the quietness, comfort, and fuel economy of the Toyota Camry hybrid.

Archive for April, 2009

Toyota and Scion of Northwest Arkansas, Committed to Excellence in Service

toyota review
Toyota and Scion of Northwest Arkansas is equipped with highly qualified and dynamic professionals whose constant endeavor has been to earn the goodwill of customers and usher in professional excellence in all spheres of an automotive franchise. Toyota NW Arkansas steers you into the world of technological wonders, where you can possess the comfort and power in style. Quality, reliability, transparency, convenience and enviable sales record are a few of the reasons why it makes sense to choose Toyota NW Arkansas. The quest for innovation is the foundation for Toyota and Scion of Northwest Arkansas.

Now, through the Toyota NW Arkansas sophisticated website, which is embedded with special, unique features, the dealership has made things more than easy for its customers. Just everything about Toyota and Scion cars is made available at the click of a mouse. You can buy genuine parts and accessories and even schedule a service appointment, online. Vehicle research, virtual brochure and reviews help you explore everything you want to know about your favorite cars. There are other attractive features like online specials, finance specials, new vehicles special, pre-owned specials and weekend specials which make online shopping experience more interesting and exciting. These innovative designs and features have bolstered the concept of online shopping.

Toyota and Scion of Northwest Arkansas presents to you a varied choice of new and pre-owned Toyota and Scion models. Collection of Toyota cars include Corolla, Camry, Avalon, Matrix, Prius, Camry Solara, Yaris, Tacoma, Tundra, 4Runner, Highlander, Land Cruiser, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna and FJ Cruiser. It also has an exquisite array of Scion vehicles such as xA, xB and tC.

Here is an overview of few of the Toyota and Scion models available with the dealership:

Toyota Corolla equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, pumps out 126 horsepower. The most popular model of Toyota, Corolla, is available in CE, LE and the sporty S versions. Its stylish, contemporary design speaks to your aesthetic sense. Its foundation of legendary quality, dependability and value speaks to your common sense.

The new 2007 Toyota Camry comes with a four-cylinder engine or a V6 engine. It also comes with an all-new hybrid drive train that delivers 192 horsepower. The Camry is available in three different models namely SE, XLE and Hybrid.

The 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser is an SUV that has the seating capacity of 8 passengers and offers just one trim level, the base model. Powering the 2007 Land Cruiser is the 4.7 liter V8 engine which provides 265 hp @5400 rpm and 310 lb.-ft torque @3400 rpm. Its transmission is a 5-speed automatic with overdrive

Scion xA, the least-expensive model in Toyota’s youth-oriented Scion line, is a 4-dr hatchback powered by 103-hp 4-cyl engine with manual or optional automatic transmission. Front side airbags and curtain side airbags are optional. Standard equipment includes ABS, air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, and a 60/40 split folding rear seat.

The 2007 tC, a 2-dr hatchback coupe comes from Toyota’s youth-oriented Scion division. It has a 160-hp 4-cyl and a 5-speed manual transmission or optional 4-speed automatic. Standard equipment includes ABS and a driver knee airbag among other features.

Archive for April, 2009

Toyota Hybrids Sale Hits 1 Million

Zeke Gervis asked:

A decade since the first Prius hit the market (in Japan) Toyota’s global sales of hybrid vehicles have now reached a landmark 1 million, highlighting the giant Japanese automaker’s lead in “green” technology that has changed the face of the auto industry.

In a statement released Thursday last week, Toyota says it has sold 577,311 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles in the USA from mid-2000, when it launched the Prius here, through May. Toyota’s worldwide sales of gas-and-electric-powered vehicles totaled 1.047 million as of the end of May. Nearly 345,000 of those were sold in Japan.

Sales of Toyota hybrids have climbed from 18,000 in 1998 to 312,500 last year, the company said.

Demand for hybrids, which deliver superior mileage by switching between a gasoline engine and electric motor, has soared amid higher fuel prices and greater consumer concern about pollution and global warming.

Toyota’s dominance in the category has caused Detroit’s automakers to follow with their own versions and to depend less on lower-mileage SUVs as the main engine for their profits.

The Prius is the hands-down leader in the category, with a total of 757,600 units sold since its 1997 introduction in Japan. Toyota began selling the Prius in North America, Europe and other places in 2000. Last year, the model made up an amazing more than 40 percent of hybrid sales in the U.S.

The Prius, which gets 55 miles a gallon on combined city and highway driving conditions, has been enormously popular as a mid-size sedan, a best-selling vehicle category.

Although most automakers are now working on hybrids, Toyota has the advantage of almost 10 years of experience in selling the technology, as well as in using feedback from drivers to make improvements, rather than relying on information from labs.

Toyota believes hybrid technology is the way of the future. It offers several other hybrid models, including the hybrid Camry and hybrid Lexus models.

“Hybrids will play a key role throughout our lineup,” Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said. “That means all vehicle categories.”

The company also started domestic sales of its most expensive hybrid, the 15 million yen — or about $124,000 at current exchange rates — Lexus LS 600h, which is also equipped with top of the line Lexus parts like the Lexus oxygen sensor. It will be exported over the summer, according to Toyota.

Not all hybrids however, enjoy the fortune like Toyota. Earlier this week, Honda Motor Co. said it will discontinue the hybrid version of its Accord sedans, which sold poorly because it didn’t fit the customer demand profile of the smallest, least expensive hybrids with the highest gas mileage.

Meanwhile, hybrid sport-utility vehicles have struggled in sales compared to the Prius, partly because an SUV doesn’t have a green image to start with, according to analysts.

Sales of Toyota’s RX400h hybrid SUV, sold as the Harrier in Japan, have reached 85,000 worldwide since it was introduced in 2005. Another hybrid SUV, the Highlander, or Kluger in Japan, has sold 67,000 over the same period.

The Prius, by contrast, has sold 478,800 units since the start of 2005.

Among American automakers, Ford Motor Co. offers the hybrid Escape sport-utility vehicle and General Motors Corp. sells the hybrid Saturn Vue Green Line sport-utility vehicle and hybrid trucks.

New hybrids are also reportedly in the works for GM this year – the automaker has promised four: two-mode gas-electric systems in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon large sport utility vehicles, and hybrid systems for the Saturn Aura and new Chevrolet Malibu sedans.

The next innovation in hybrids is expected to come from a new type of battery, called the lithium-ion battery, which will be smaller and lighter than the nickel-metal hydride batteries Toyota now uses for its hybrids.

A major breakthrough is needed to switch to lithium-ion batteries, now widely used in laptops, to make them power cars.

Mitsuo Kinoshita, a senior Toyota executive, has reportedly told reporters that the Japanese automaker was still working on developing a lithium-ion battery system for the next-generation Prius.

Archive for April, 2009

2008 Toyota Rav4 Review – a Review of the 2008 Toyota Rav4 Suv

toyota review
The 2008 Toyota RAV4 is both innovative and reliable, with several new features that offer safety as well as practicality. Impressive new features include the RAV4’s tire pressure monitoring, which alerts the driver when tire levels are critically low. There’s also a DVD rear entertainment system with headphones for passengers.

The 2008 RAV4 offers several standard safety features, including front and side curtain airbags, and a 3-point seatbelt system in all seating positions. Its novel cruise control with brake deceleration lets the drive slow down while without turning off the control feature. The RAV4, though sporty, is designed with the family in mind. It has child-protector rear door locks, and a restraint system with tether anchors.

Halogen headlamps, chrome or black grilles and black roof rails and cross bars add to the striking appearance of the RAV4, while high solar energy-absorbing glass make it an advanced model.

Interior comfort is provided by the RAV4’s air conditioning with filtration and driver and front passenger heated seats, along with 50/50 third row seats with fold-flat-into-floor capability for additional storage. The RAV4 comes standard with an AM/FM CD player, MP3/WMA playback capability, and six speakers. Other options include a 6-disc in-dash changer, WMA-MP3 playback capability and up to nine speakers. Bluetooth and satellite radio capabilities also are available.

Toyota includes in each RAV4 an amber-illuminated tri-dial Optitron display including speedometer, tachometer and fuel gauge meters. There’s also an LCD odometer with twin tripmeters and seatbelt disconnect, airbag, door-ajar, battery, oil pressure, brake, and Vehicle Stability Control, which is designed to aid the driver in controlling the vehicle in adverse road conditions. The RAV4 comes with a 166-horse power, 4-cylinder or 269-horse power, V6 engine.

Toyota’s 2008 RAV4 combines technology, safety and affordability, making it one of this year’s most appealing SUVs on the market.

Archive for April, 2009

Toyota Grabs Its First Pole Position in Nascar

For the first time this season, Toyota has earned its NASCAR Nextel Cup pole position, thanks to Dave Blaney, who drove his No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry and set the fastest lap time in the recent practice test that took place at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.

Blaney pushed his Toyota “Car of Tomorrow” Camry equipped with Toyota Sway Bar Link to reach a maximum speed of 129.437 mph, and clocked in at 29.426 leaving other drivers behind. Blaney’s achievement is a milestone for Toyota Racing team as this is the first time that a Toyota car obtained a pole finish. Dave Blaney will put his Toyota Camry in the number 1 starting position at the upcoming Lenox Industrial Tools 300 race this coming July.

Check out what Dave Blaney said after the qualifying race.

“It feels good to get the first pole for Toyota and hopefully this is the first step in many successful days of poles and wins. We’ve been good all day and been getting a lot of speed out of the car. All of the Toyotas have been real good lately and Brian Vickers has had some good runs lately too. The Toyota side is definitely working hard and I just can’t thank everyone at Bill Davis Racing enough. Especially Tommy Baldwin, Bill Davis, Mike Brown and everybody. We’ve had a trying year with problems and DNFs. It’s been tough being out of the top-35 because it’s hard to concentrate on the races when you have to concentrate on getting into them. This is a big confidence booster for the whole team and any day where you can build confidence in your entire team and driver makes for a good day.”

The press asked Blaney if he already had the feeling that he would grab the pole, and he said:

“I watched everybody early and I saw that some of their speeds were falling off some from practice. I wasn’t sure what we could run and I knew we didn’t really change anything from practice. But in my situation I have to focus on getting into the race more than going for the pole. I can’t make a mistake and risk not getting into the race. I was a little conservative on my first lap, but when I found out that it was fast enough to get into the show — I gave that second lap a little more and I was able to put it on top of the board. It’s a tough position to be in because you have to be cautious enough to get it, but aggressive enough to get in the race. But yeah – I thought we could get the pole.”

NASCAR fans will surely watch out for the upcoming race in Loudon and see if Dave Blaney can give his Toyota team its first NASCAR victory.

Archive for April, 2009

Toyota Trucks and Wheels

Quite simply because a vehicle cannot function without it, the wheel is considered as one of the most important parts of any automobile. Even used as the term to refer to the entire automobile unit, wheels are so basic that a vehicle cannot travel anywhere without it. Having direct contact with the road while the vehicle moves to different directions, the wheels are key to having a good ride. It is definitely among the things that should be considered by every Toyota truck owner who is serious in finding ways to improve the performance of his vehicle.

Different Toyota vehicles have different needs when it comes to its wheels. It is crucial that one chooses the right Toyota truck wheels that will fit the needs of his vehicle. Wheels need to have the right dimensions and the right material for it to be able to deliver the performance expected from it. Toyota trucks specifically require larger wheels. Moreover, as much as Toyota truck wheels are designed to make installation a breeze, one must see to it that the person to accomplish the task has the proper and adequate technical know-how. In order to ensure safety when driving one’s Toyota truck, proper installation of the Toyota truck wheels is one of the most crucial considerations.

Toyota service outlets do the job best and, of course, the company’s manufacturing facilities that install the wheels on every new Toyota truck gives the best guarantee on safety and reliability. It is for this renowned excellence that the Toyota Hilux pickup truck was awarded by Motor Trend Magazine as Truck of the Year in 1989. Every Hilux, also known as “the indestructible car,” is equipped with reliable Toyota truck wheels that power up the driving experience. As covered by the popular automotive show Top Gear, these wheels, working with a customized 2005 Hilux, were even the first to reach the magnetic North Pole. There is just no doubt that, with Toyota truck wheels, one is bound to reach places.

Archive for April, 2009

Cooling Things Down With the Toyota Radiator


Tagging Toyota as a reliable car manufacturer would be an understatement. A total performer would be an apt moniker. It has been tried and proven through generations of cars, SUV’s, mini-vans and trucks of various lines and models that have stood as strong testaments of Toyota’s unwavering passion of providing nothing but utmost driver and passenger satisfaction.

Toyota Motor Corporation started out as a division of the market-leading weaving machinery manufacturer Toyoda Automatic Loom in 1933. It achieved its sole operations in 1937 after successfully introducing two passenger car models and a truck model. However, Toyota only began producing cars commercially after the 2nd World War. Improvements followed afterwards as the Toyota Production System was established. As soon as the pillars had been established, innovations followed suit and a truly unique Toyota craftsmanship has been mastered. In result, top-of-the-class, high-quality vehicles were precision-engineered ever since. As there was a clamor for more vehicles, Toyota started localing their production. The move built an amicable relationship with the dealership and the employees, as well. To give back to the public, the auto giant started to conduct community activities form educational sponsorship to cultural programs.

Credit these accomplishments to the rousing performance of its parts and accessories that are are tough built, precision-engineered and scientifically-tested to meet and exceed the demands of the industry. The ignition system, brake assembly, clutch kit, drive train plus the equally important lighting system perform their respective function, upping the vehicle’s specs performance. While another component that plays a pivotal role is the cooling system, which maintains engine temperature while burning the power-inducing air-fuel mixture during combustion. This is done so by transferring heat to the air.

Comprising the cooling system are the water pump, automotive fan, thermostat, transmission cooling lines and the radiator hose. While the catalyst of them all is the Toyota Radiator. Tucked behind the grill of the Toyota, the car radiator does away hot water circulating along the veins of the cooling system. It enters through the premises of the top tank in the radiator and it is then filtered down and cooled through the Toyota Radiator fins. And then it goes back to the engine courtesy of the hose and the water pump. It also has the ability to hold large quantities of water through the radiator’s tubes or passages, which is designed to provide a large area in contact with the atmosphere. As the water is mixed with anti-freeze or coolant, it then goes through the engine. Outside the vehicle is the cool air passing through the grill, and it then cools the water returning to the engine.

With the Toyota Radiators running through rugged terrains and treading to long miles, it is inevitable that it may be worn out, or worse, deteriorate. Overheating caused by coolant may be prevented by tracing the source of leak. Better inspect the hoses, heater core, water pump, thermostat, plugs, gaskets or even the Toyota Radiator itself. Regular check-ups and maintenance is highly advisable to prevent such a scenario. If worse comes to worst, replacement is opted as auto parts dealerships and online auto parts sites are available to cater to these kinds of needs. What’s more is that there is an available Toyota Radiator for every year or model coupled with corresponding details and other specifications to thoroughly guide buyers regarding the product. Transacting through cyberspace would be more convenient, as secure and fast purchase is ensured in a jiffy.

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