Few people can deny that Toyota's early adoption of hybrid technology has been a stroke of PR genius, giving the world's largest car maker and the producer of such Leviathans as the Sequoia and the Tundra plenty of positive press as well as a green image wherever it goes. (Last year, I even heard Bob Lutz, GM's chairman and product development guru, pay grudging homage to the strategy.)
Wired News points out how the EPA's new fuel economy testing will decrease the value proposition of hybrid cars. Its article, "Hybrid Cars' Fantasy Mileage Ratings Drive Into the Sunset," publishes estimated fuel economy numbers from Edmunds.com that show the Toyota Prius going from a combined city and highway 55mpg down to 46mpg. Similarly, it shows the Honda Civic Hybrid going from a combined 50mpg to 42mpg. The estimations also show the standard gas engine Civic going from a combined 33mpg to 29mpg, as all cars, not just hybrids, are subject to the new testing procedures. … Read more
Nissan is following in the green-car footsteps of Toyota and Honda with the launch of its Altima Hybrid. Rather than developing its own hybrid system for the Altima's power train, Nissan is licensing Toyota's dual-mode Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which works in conjunction with the car's 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine. (Nissan apparently is working on its own hybrid technology, but that's not scheduled to go into production for at least a few years.)
We got a brief chance to drive the Altima Hybrid this week around the Hollister Hills in Northern California. Like many hybrids, … Read more
Last week, the editors of CNET Car Tech attended a mini car show where we not only got to look at the cars, we got to drive them. Beyond a sedate on-road loop, we also took some of the cars over serious off-road terrain and raced others around the track at Laguna Seca. On the first day of the Western Automotive Journalists Media Days, we drove a Subaru Forester and a Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI along a light off-road course, then a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon over a very technical course.
Volkswagen, Honda, and Toyota picked up the laurels at this morning's IAG Automotive Advertising Awards at the kickoff event for the 2007 New York International Auto Show. Commercials for the Volkswagen Passat Wagon, the Honda Pilot, and the Toyota Yaris won the awards for most-liked ad; best nameplate launch, and best new nameplate launch, respectively.
We're going to be wrestling the crowds at the Javits Convention Center here in Manhattan to bring you the scoop on the latest models as they are unveiled.
To celebrate the launch of its all-new Auris at the 2007 Geneva auto show, Toyota built a show version with a chrome body. The chrome Auris certainly stands out on the show floor, but Toyota makes no attempt to suggest any metaphor between the show car and the launch in its marketing materials. The new Auris is a C-segment hatchback for Europe, coming in three- and five-door versions. Toyota emphasizes that it's the tallest car in its class. It's available with either a 1.4-liter or 1.6-liter four-cylinder gas engine, or a range of three diesel engines. … Read more
Toyota showed off a new concept, the Hybrid X, at the 2007 Geneva auto show, which looks like a new incarnation of the Prius. Toyota isn't even suggesting that Hybrid X is the design direction for Prius, but the company says the new concept "proposes creative solutions that will themselves potentially become the signature points of a specific hybrid identity." The Prius is also uniquely a hybrid, with no conventional engined counterpart.
The Hybrid X shows off a few fun concept technologies, such as rear suicide doors that open electronically, as well as LED headlights that mount … Read more
We're starting to get hyped for the Geneva auto show, and Toyota has helped us out with a little preshow tease about its Hybrid X concept car. Unfortunately, it's only a tease, with very little information. According to Green Car Congress, Toyota will use the show to reaffirm its commitment to building more environmentally-friendly cars. The Hybrid X is supposed to display a new design language for hybrids and showcase new technology. Toyota's development of the Hybrid X suggests the company is looking beyond the Prius for future uniquely hybrid cars.
From the picture released by Toyota, … Read more
Toyota used the Chicago Auto Show to launch the new generation of its Highlander Hybrid SUV. The new 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is bigger than the previous generation and is based on the Camry and Avalon platform. Although the new Highlander Hybrid's engine remains the same, Toyota engineers refined the hybrid system and tuned the engine to increase horsepower by 55, up to a net 270 horsepower for the engine and electric motors combined. But that increase hasn't changed the fuel economy, with the Toyota claiming to have kept the Highlander at 31 mpg city and 27 mpg … Read more
Old Toyota: reliable and practical cars with decent gas mileage for the commuting set.
New Toyota: the Prius, the FJ Cruiser, hybrid Camry, hybrid Highlander and soon...a hybrid sports car.
The FT-HS concept car is meant to be a sample of mid-priced hybrid sports car with ultra-low emissions and fuel efficiency, according to Toyota.
The front-engine rear-drive car would have a V6 3.5-liter engine, putting out approximately 400 horsepower when coupled with the hybrid system, and be able to do zero-to-sixty in four seconds.
Not sure of the look? Well those "aero-corners" on the body that … Read more