Toyota recalling 550,000 vehicles worldwide – 990 in NZ

November 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has announced that it will be recalling around 550,000 vehicles globally for a potentially faulty crank shaft pulley.

Toyota NZ has advised that just under 1,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles are affected by the precautionary engine component recall.

Toyota New Zealand General Manager Customer Services, Spencer Morris, says the affected part is the crankshaft pulley used on the 3 litre V6 1MZ-FE engine and 3.3 litre V6 3MZ-FE engine used in some 2004/2005 Toyota Camry, Highlander, Harrier, and Estima models. This engine was also used in the Lexus RX range during the same years.

The pulley drives the belt which operates the power steering, alternator and air conditioner. In rare cases, the inner and outer pulley parts may start to separate. If left unchecked, the pulley may eventually stop driving the belt, leading to an increase in steering effort.

Drivers may first notice an unusual noise, or the illumination of the red battery charge warning light. Continue reading “Toyota recalling 550,000 vehicles worldwide – 990 in NZ” »

Toyota Highlander 2011 Review

January 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

“There can be only one” is the tagline from the cult classic Highlander movies of the 1980s and 1990s. Unfortunately for Toyota’s SUV which shares the same name, there are many more than just one in the market segment it occupies. In fact, the mid-size car-based SUV battleground is one of the hardest fought in the current automotive climate and it’s only getting fiercer. After a recent mid-life update the Toyota Highlander is going back to war, fresh-faced and with some new moves. But will it be enough to slash away rivals to become NZ’s SUV champion? Car and SUV mounted up with the Toyota Highlander to find out more.

The visual changes to this weekend warrior are fairly subtle. There’s a more defined nose with frowning headlights and a new chrome grille. At the rear restyled tail lamps flank replaced bumper trim. The rest of the Highlander’s sheetmetal remains unchanged. Our tested Limited model had some high-spec extras like rear privacy glass, front fog lamps, integrated roof rails and striking 19-inch five-spoke alloys. Overall, the upgraded Highlander is a sharp looker, it’s well proportioned with a safe, neutral design that avoids being either too rounded or too boxy.

Step inside the Highlander and you’re greeted by a spacious environment with three rows of seating ready to accommodate seven occupants. Even the third row will fit smaller adults comfortably and there are plenty of small storage areas and cupholders throughout the cabin. The centre row of seating is versatile and can be slid forward and back, it also splits 40:20:40 allowing the middle seat to be removed creating a luxury feel for six people. Luggage room is useful in five-seat mode with 580-litres on offer. There isn’t much cargo space left with all seven seats required but no less than other vehicles with three seating rows. Continue reading “Toyota Highlander 2011 Review” »

Toyota recalling another 1.5 million vehicles globally

October 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Wounded automaker Toyota has taken another knock with the announcement of another massive recall. The voluntary safety recall affects 1.53 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles globally, with the U.S. making up around 740,000 of that total and about 600,000 vehicles affected in the company’s home market of Japan.

The models covered under the recall may have a faulty master cylinder seal in the braking system that could leak fluid, triggering a warning lamp and/or potentially resulting in reduced braking performance. In the States the Toyota models included in the recall include the 2005-2006 Avalon and 2004-2006 Highlander (non-hybrid only), while Lexus models affected are the 2006 model year GS, IS and RX cars and crossovers.

So far it’s unknown if any New Zealand spec Toyotas are affected by the recall.

2011 Toyota Highlander SUV launched into NZ market

October 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota New Zealand has just launched the latest iteration of its mid-sized SUV – the 2011 Highlander.

The new 2011 Highlander arrives with the choice of two drive trains and two equipment grades. There are 2WD and 4WD entry level models, plus the flagship 4WD Limited.

Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said, “As well as all of the attributes New Zealander’s expect in an SUV, such as powerful performance, 4WD capability, utility, and ground clearance, the 2011 Highlander is the most versatile vehicle in our entire model line-up. It has something to offer for everyone.”

The 2011 Highlander is powered by a 3.5 litre dual VVT-i petrol engine with an electronically controlled automatic transmission. The Highlander’s 3.5 litre quad cam V6 petrol engine delivers 201kW of power and 337Nm of torque via a five-speed automatic transmission with a sequential manual-style gear selection.

All models offer driver and passenger front, driver’s knee, front side and three-row curtain shield airbags. An Anti-lock System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) is standard, as is steering assisted Vehicle Stability Control Plus (VSC+) and Traction Control (TRC).

Standard equipment also includes seating for seven passengers, air conditioning, reversing camera, electronic power-assisted steering, cruise control, alloy wheels, steering wheel audio and multi-information display controls, MP3 compatible CD tuner with audio input and Bluetooth handsfree telephone and audio streaming capability, split-fold second row seats with stowable centre seat, glass hatch in the tailgate, glass-mounted radio antenna and Optitron instruments.

Continue reading “2011 Toyota Highlander SUV launched into NZ market” »

Refreshed 2011 Toyota Higlander unveiled at Moscow show

August 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota’s reworked 2011 Highlander crossover has just made its world premiere and the Moscow International Motor Show. Though Toyota isn’t releasing much in the way of launch details global buyers should be able to snap up the new Highlander towards the end of the year.

The refreshed crossover wears a new, more defined nose and headlights, along with restyled tail lamps and replaced bumper trim at the rear. The rest of the car’s sheetmetal is largely unchanged from its predecessor.

If you’re a Russian or Ukrainian buyer, the Highlander is only available with a single engine option, the 3.5-litre V6 gasoline unit that pushes out 273HP and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Here in NZ, powertrains and accessories should carry over from the 2010 model year, which means choosing the 3.5-litre V6 engine in either 2WD or 4WD versions.