Toyota reveals first ‘kei’ car for Japanese market

September 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota will make its first entry into Japan’s popular minicar or “kei” car segment with its new Pixi Space. The diminutive vehicle has been supplied Toyota’s Daihatsu subsidiary under an OEM agreement reached last year.

The Pixi Space will be offered in two trim levels, base model “L” and higher-spec “X” trims, and a sportier variants named the “Custom X”, “Custom G” and “Custom RS”.

The Pixi Space is powered by a 660cc petrol engine which adheres to Japan’s kei car regulations. The Custom RS sports model is offered with a 660cc turbocharged engine. All models use a CVT transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive.

Until now, Toyota was the only large domestic carmaker in the Japanese market to not have a kei car in its ranks. This had previously been left up to Daihatsu.

Under Japanese regulations, to belong in the “kei” car segment, a vehicle be must be powered by an engine with a displacement of less than 660cc and measure up to 3.4 meters long, 1.48 meters wide and 2 meters tall.

The advantages of owning a Kei car include lower taxes and insurance costs and also parking benefits.

Toyota shows new Prius range with weird commercial (+video)

September 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Prius family of vehicles has grown recently and what was once a single model now includes a plug-in hybrid model and the Prius V minivan. The new models are set to go on sale in the States from next month and Toyota has revealed a new ad campaign to sell the range. The only problem is that the first TV commercial is really bizzare.

Aptly named “People Person” this new campaign was created by ‘hit and miss’ advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi

The ad follows a bunch of people who are linked together to from a gigantic but correctly proportioned man. This people-man goes about his regular day like brushing his teeth and reading the newspaper. Then the giant leaves the house and uncovers four Prius models, including the regular Prius, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the Prius V and the upcoming compact Prius (still in concept form), all parked on his driveway. Then the people who make up this giant man begin to disengage from their formation and drive off in the cars. Continue reading “Toyota shows new Prius range with weird commercial (+video)” »

Facelifted 2012 Toyota Hilux on sale in NZ this month

September 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota NZ has revealed initial information of the facelifted 2012 Hilux which will be available in Toyota showrooms later this month.

Toyota NZ General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said “Hilux has built its reputation around being unbreakable. We’re taking the tough and reliable truck that so many New Zealanders love and making it even better with a fresh line-up, improved safety and bold new looks. These latest changes will substantially improve the value of Hilux for our customers and further strengthen Hilux’s position as New Zealand’s favourite truck.”

A new model has been added to the Hilux range – a standard grade 4WD extra cab ute with a 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine and a five-speed manual transmission.

Cosmetic changes include a completely new Landcruiser-inspired front end, this means new guards, headlights, bumper, bonnet and grille. At the rear, there’s new tailights and a replaced rear bumper. There’s also new mirrors and alloy wheel designs. Continue reading “Facelifted 2012 Toyota Hilux on sale in NZ this month” »

Toyota breaks electric vehicle lap record at the ‘Ring (+video)

August 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was only a few years ago that the electric vehicle lap record at the Nürburgring didn’t mean much to anyone, but the title is now hotly contested. The latest developer of electric propulsion to throw their hat into the ring, at the ‘Ring, is Toyota with its TMG EV P001.

The oddly named but beautifully curved electric Toyota set a new record recently with a run of seven minutes, 47.79 seconds. This new record has smashed the previous time, held by Peugeot’s EX1 by more than a minute. The EX1 clocked a lap time of 9.01:33 and prior to that the Mini E held the record with a time of 9 minutes 51 seconds. To achieve the feat the TMG EV P001 uses a 100% electric powertrain with a top speed of 260km/h and a huge 800Nm of torque.

Toyota’s electric racer record puts it in line with the lap times recorded by petrol-powered hero vehicles like the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Nissan GT-R. But what’s the point of it all? Turns out that Toyota wants to sell the powertrain used in the EV P001 from next year. Expect to see the components in passenger vehicles from 2012 which should mean a welcome improvement in performance of Toyota’s electric/hybrid offerings. Electric cars might just become exciting after all. Continue reading “Toyota breaks electric vehicle lap record at the ‘Ring (+video)” »

Toyota Prius Plug-in charging to Frankfurt debut

August 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Eco-warriors rejoice, the production version of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid will make its world debut at next month’s 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

It’s a huge launch for Toyota and the Japanese carmaker is claiming that the Prius Plug-in is the next “major milestone” in its 40-year quest for sustainable mobility. The production plug-in hybrid sedan has a freshly designed, compact lithium-ion battery that allows this latest Prius to reach a new low in minimal fuel consumption, sipping just 2.2 litres per 100 kilometers with CO2 emissions of just 49 grams per km.

The plug-in Prius isn’t a successor to the current model and Toyota will continue to focus on hybrid vehicles without a plug,. But Toyota says the Plug-in Prius is its new flagship that showcases the latest developments in hybrid-drive technology. It also says that the car’s value and incredible fuel consumption combine to make it the ultimate eco car. Continue reading “Toyota Prius Plug-in charging to Frankfurt debut” »

Toyota teases 2012 Camry before official reveal

August 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has revealed another teaser image of its upcoming 2012 Camry sedan. The new Camry is expected to be revealed, in its entirety, in the coming weeks.

For now, fans of the sensible sedan will have to make do with the new image showing a hook-shaped tailight and what will be a high rear boot line. The Camry isn’t well known for its dynamic looks and the new model is looking to change this with a more aggressive style.

The first teaser image put the headlight on show with a honeycomb grille and recessed fog lamp. It’s certainly promising, but we will reserve judgement until the Camry’s full sheetmetal is exposed. Continue reading “Toyota teases 2012 Camry before official reveal” »

Toyota shows off ‘Window to the World’ glass tech (+video)

July 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

As we head deeper in the 21st-century we are becoming more surrounded by ‘smart’ technology as it creeps into everyday items. Soon our refrigerators will have internet connections and our phones already have more processing power than a 1970’s super computer. Carmakers are on the cutting edge of this smart tech and Toyota has just released a video showing what might be possible in the future of automotive glass.

While glass may seem like a technology that’s already developed to its conclusion, there is much more to come. This new smart glass  named ‘Window to the World’ will provide information of the world outside and also be an interactive tool to view it. Engineers and designers from Toyota Motor Europe and the Copenhagen Instituted of Interaction Design worked in together to conceptualize this unique option for a cars rear windows. Continue reading “Toyota shows off ‘Window to the World’ glass tech (+video)” »

Toyota reveals facelifted 2012 Hilux ute

July 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has officially unveiled its facelifted 2012 Hilux ute. The 2012 Hilux has a number of styling updates and safety upgrades across the range.

Cosmetic changes include a completely new front end on the 2012 Hilux, this means new guards, headlights, bumper, bonnet and three-bar grille. At the rear, there’s new tailights and a replaced rear bumper. There’s also new mirrors and alloy wheel designs.

Inside, changes are subtle and centre around new seat and door trims, there’s also an available 6.1-inch touchscreen multimedia system. Toyota is also claiming that the 2012 Hilux will offer “greater colour consistency throughout the interior.”

Anti-lock braking has now been adopted across the Hilux range as a standard feature, previously it was only available as an option for models except the top-spec SR5. Continue reading “Toyota reveals facelifted 2012 Hilux ute” »

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