Displaying items by tag: Toyota

Thursday, 07 October 2021 08:17

Toyota Corolla Nürburgring Edition

While we patiently wait for Toyota to finally launch the GR Corolla, the popular C-segment model has been given the Nürburgring edition in Thailand.

The reason behind this decision is to "refine" the Corolla Altis, as this model is called locally, since the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Thailand won in its class at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring in 2021, for the second time in a row, write Vrele Gume .

The production model launched on the basis of runners has a slightly modified body with accessories on the bumper and a unique radiator grille, similar to that of the Corolla, which triumphed in the Super Production 3 (SP3) class in the endurance race on the cult German track. Toyota has also added more pronounced side sills and a spoiler on the boot lid. There is also the inevitable fake diffuser, integrated into a slightly more aggressive rear bumper.

This model is also visually recognizable by the "Corolla Altis Nürburgring 24" markings on the front wings, with the proverbial lowered suspension after the installation of stiff springs. Toyota says that it has implemented a "gas control box" in this model, which improves the response on the pedal, but unfortunately there is no "gain" in force. This means that the 1.8-liter engine still delivers 140 hp, or 123 in the hybrid version. Regardless of the drivetrain, the transmission is a CVT, which sends power to the front wheels.

The Toyota Corolla Nürburgring Edition is not the only sports derivative on offer in Thailand, as the GR Sport version has been present for some time, with a similar starting price below $ 30,000.


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Versus the competition: There are more exciting competitors, better performing ones, some with nicer interiors, those with better ergonomics and ones with better multimedia systems — but the Corolla Cross’ combination of basic safety, value pricing and reputation for reliability will immediately make it a strong contender.

Until now, if you wanted a small SUV and you went to your local Toyota showroom, your choices were twofold: the RAV4 compact, which has grown to nearly mid-size proportions over the years, or the cramped and quirky C-HR, which features neither significant room inside nor optional all-wheel drive. Nothing hit that “sweet spot” between the two, nothing sized “just right” for people on a budget who still wanted the high seating, additional cargo space and all-weather capability of an SUV.

Well, Toyota has rectified that gap in its lineup with this, the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. It uses the Corolla name because it uses a lot of Corolla parts: It sits on the same platform as the compact sedan, uses the same engine and transmission, and shares a lot of common interior bits. And while it’s easy to take shots at the Corolla sedan (its reputation is not one of excitement), that car is known instead as a safe, steady, reliable choice. Owning one won’t light your heart on fire, but it may set your mind at ease knowing that your car is very unlikely to ever let you down, drain your wallet or leave you stranded. Toyota is hoping that this same sentiment will transfer over to this new subcompact SUV — and there’s every reason to think that they’re right.

It’s Certainly Toyota-Shaped

From the outside, it’s not difficult to imagine the new Corolla Cross fitting into the Toyota lineup. The family resemblance is strong, with a front and rear end that look like a three-quarter-scale Highlander right down to the horseshoe grille and separated horizontal taillights. The only distinctive feature might be the more sculpted fenders along the sides, but Toyota’s efforts to make the Corolla Cross more mainstream-appealing than the quirky C-HR are clearly the styling priority. A high point: LED headlights are standard across the range of trim levels, something that’s starting to become more common. Overall, however, the styling previews the experience you’re going to have with a Corolla Cross: It’s safe and anonymous, none too exciting but pleasant enough.

Stepping into the Corolla Cross’ cabin puts you in an immediately familiar environment — the Corolla compact is the bestselling vehicle in the world, with Toyota announcing recently that 50 million of them have been sold over the decades. So the look of the dash, gauges, controls, electronics — all of the bits and pieces of the Corolla Cross — look similar to the successful design of the Corolla. Again, Toyota’s not breaking any new ground with this interior, but it’s not trying to, either — it’s trying to build on the successful formula that’s made the Corolla a global hit. It’s easy to look at, relatively simple to use and uncomplicated in what it provides.

The seats are comfortable front and rear, and there’s sufficient legroom in any position for four people, though five might be tight with three across in the backseat. There’s plenty of headroom for all occupants even with an optional moonroof, and outward visibility is top-notch, with no significant blind spots. It feels like sitting in a new Corolla sedan, only taller, with a more upright seating position and a better view over surrounding traffic. That boost in interior volume is notable, creating something more than simply a Corolla wagon — the cargo space is significantly more usable than a C-HR’s, and every Corolla Cross comes with a standard 60/40-split, folding backseat to boost capacity even more when necessary. Given the popularity of SUVs versus their mainstream sedan counterparts these days, it’s not hard to imagine the Corolla Cross becoming a more popular variant than the sedan or hatchback with the boost to user-friendly passenger and cargo flexibility.

The standard gauges are analog dials with a small digital display, or you can spec a larger digital display in the XLE trim that looks snazzy if a bit busy. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but you’ll have to plug your phone in — despite the top XLE getting Qi wireless charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available on any trim.


Definitely Not Built to Thrill

Toyota’s marketing strategy for the Corolla Cross portrays it as “just right,” with just the right amount of space, comfort, tech and efficiency. It’s hard to argue that point; it does have plenty of all the above. What it doesn’t offer the right amount of is grunt: Using the powertrain from the Corolla sedan, the Corolla Cross comes saddled with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder non-turbocharged engine making a tepid 169 horsepower and 150 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that features an actual 1st gear before the pulleys take over, but it doesn’t help much. The transmission does an admirable job of keeping the engine in its power band, it’s just that there isn’t much power there to be had.

Simply put, acceleration is dog slow. Foot to the floor at a stoplight with just one person in the car elicits more noise than movement, and the Corolla Cross’ performance on the highway on-ramps and steeper hills around Austin, Texas, proved that it truly could use either a turbocharger to wring some more useful low-end torque out of the engine or a larger engine entirely. The Corolla Cross comes with a 1,500-pound tow rating, but I can’t imagine towing anything with this — even the idea of putting five people and luggage in the thing would make me question the safety of its underpowered engine.

toyota-corolla-cross-xle-2022-08-angle-exterior-gray-rear2022 Toyota 

Thankfully, the rest of the Corolla Cross’ dynamic behavior makes up somewhat for that lack of guts. Handling is neutral, the ride is well damped for a vehicle with such a short wheelbase, and body motions are controlled and taut. The brakes are strong, firm and confidence-inspiring, and while there is a bit of road noise depending on pavement conditions, the overall experience is one of a calm and quiet cruiser. How well the Corolla Cross works with a full load of occupants and gear onboard, however, remains to be seen.

Add Price to the List of “Pros”

So the latest crossover from Toyota is nicely sized, handles well, is comfortable and features a good deal of standard safety equipment. It might not be able to get out of its own way if you give it some gas, and we’ve yet to see how a full load of people affects its drivability. It can be accused of being underpowered, but it won’t be accused of being overpriced. The new 2022 Corolla Cross FWD starts at $23,410 (all prices include destination) for an entry-level L trim, climbs to $25,760 for an LE and $27,540 for a top XLE trim. Adding AWD will tack on another $1,300 regardless of trim level. A fully loaded XLE AWD won’t top $30,000, making it quite a nice package given its considerable equipment.

It stacks up well against a number of competitors, too, being larger than a Honda HR-V, Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Kona. A Chevrolet Trailblazer would be an excellent choice to stack up against the Corolla Cross, featuring a choice of turbocharged engines, more engaging handling and a very similar pricing structure. There’s no shortage of small SUVs in the $20,000 range for the Toyota Corolla Cross to go up against, but it would seem that Toyota has done its homework in crafting something that’s likely to steal some sales from all of them.


Published in Toyota
Sunday, 12 September 2021 09:35

Toyota lowered its estimate of annual production

Japanese car giant Toyota Motor has announced that it will produce 300,000 fewer vehicles this year than planned due to downtime in factories in Vietnam and Malaysia related to the expansion of the covid 19 and a shortage of semiconductors.

"(The reason) is a combination of coronavirus and car chips, although at the moment it is primarily coronavirus," said the executive director of the world's largest car manufacturer, Kazunari Kumakura.

Toyota now expects to produce nine million vehicles in the fiscal year ending in March next year. So far, they have predicted that they will produce 9.3 million.

After already reducing production by 360,000 vehicles worldwide this month, the company announced on Friday that it would reduce it by an additional 70,000, and by 330,000 in October.

Unlike other major car companies, Toyota has so far not been forced to cut production as it strengthened its supply chain after the terrible 2011 earthquake, which included the supply of spare parts.

Toyota also has problems relying on parts production in Southeast Asia, which is currently experiencing a sharp rise in the number of covid-infected 19.


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We all know that the Toyota Land Cruiser is one of those models that everyone loves, but rarely does anyone buy. There are many reasons for this, and the bulky dimensions and high consumption are most often mentioned, which makes it not very practical in most countries around the world, while the majority of those who need space for daily driving from place A to place B choose some of Toyota's crossovers.

Then we all know that the price of this SUV is not very small, and in the US market is as much as 85,665 US dollars, as required for the base model, which makes the Land Cruiser not only the most expensive Toyota, but it requires more money than on most Lexus.

Knowing all that, no one is surprised that global sales rarely exceed the number of 50 thousand units in twelve months, and last year the happiest markets for this model were those in Japan (26,296) and Australia (15,078). Ahead of us is a completely new generation for 2021, codenamed J300, and as things stand, the Japanese giant is completely unprepared for the great growth in popularity.

The Land Cruiser is produced in the city under the same name as the parent company Toyota, and was built in central Japan, and according to colleagues from Cars Guide, the current waiting list for the new model shows that the longing lasts as long as four years.

About 20 thousand units have been ordered so far, which is a significantly higher number than originally expected, but of course it is not the only problem. Toyota has faced a shortage of computer chips in a relatively good position with a large stock, but recently announced that it is also "rapidly consuming components from stock" and will soon be in the same problem as the rest of the automotive industry.

The icing on the cake called Problem is also one that shows that most Japanese customers choose richly equipped configurations, such as the ZX and GR Sport trim, which are generally the longest to wait for as many parts are assembled by hand.
Toyota has previously stated that it has sufficient stock of parts to meet demand for the first twelve months and this applies mainly to the Japanese market. Even Australia, where this SUV is selling extremely well, will not get its copies until the end of 2022.

Although the Land Cruiser has made Toyota famous in the US market, the new model will not be sold "across the pond" but the orientation will be directed towards the more luxurious and more expensive Lexus LX.


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Wednesday, 08 September 2021 07:45

Toyota Prius Plug-In review

Though it's been around a while, PHEV Prius still returns impressive numbers


  • Potential low running costs
  • Generous standard equipment
  • Quiet and relaxed at a cruise


  • Extremely shallow boot
  • Not as good to drive as more modern rivals
  • Underwhelming performance

Is the Toyota Prius Plug-in any good?

The Toyota Prius is the archetypal hybrid car, and its plug-in sibling aims to expand the range’s appeal by offering a meaningful amount of all-electric miles that mean drivers can cover their commute or local trips without ever resorting to the petrol engine.

The engine, meanwhile, stays in reserve for longer trips, meaning the Toyota Prius Plug-in can still cross continents without needing to stop and charge like a fully electric car would.

When the Prius Plug-in launched it didn’t have too many rivals – five years on, that’s no longer the case. To make the most of generous company car tax breaks for plug-in hybrids, there’s a smorgasbord of PHEVs to choose from in 2021, from sporty hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf GTE to large family SUVs like the Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV.

Toyota Prius Plug-in - side profile
The Prius’ age also counts against it in a few key areas – how it drives, how it’s packaged, and some of the tech inside. Yet despite this, it remains one of the more efficient plug-in hybrid cars you can buy. So if low running costs matter to you more than anything else, the Prius Plug-in could still be in with a chance of getting your approval.

What’s it like inside?

The interior of the Prius Plug-in looks pretty high tech, with its striking use of different coloured plastics and unconventional instruments. Instead of traditional gauges, you get a pair of 4.2-inch screens closer to the centre of the dashboard that deal with all your driving data.

This is an arrangement that harks back to the first Prius, and it does work quite well – the screens are clear and easy to read and you can keep a look at your speed through the corner of your eye instead of having to move your head totally. However, it does look a little basic in comparison to some of the digital dashboards we’ve seen in rival models.

Even if the gauge cluster is a bit too far to look, there’s a head-up display that projects important information directly into your eyeline. There’s also an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, but this feels particularly slow and unresponsive, especially compared to rivals. For a long time it wasn’t even available with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, though this has happily been remedied for the latest models.

Toyota Prius Plug-in - interior
Some might complain about the driving position. There’s plenty of adjustability in the seat, but the steering wheel despite moving for both rake and reach doesn’t have a great range of motion. Another oddity is the foot-operated parking brake, which is a real throwback in the age of electronic alternatives.

Quality is at least a strong point – while some of the plastics are rather hard and unyielding, everything is put together solidly with the quality feel you’d expect from a Toyota. It is, however, rather dark inside on most models – optionally available for Business Edition cars is a lighter trim package that really brightens things up.

What’s it like to drive?

The Prius Plug-in uses a 1.8-litre petrol engine, just like the standard hybrid – but it has an extra boost in power from twin electric motors. That doesn’t manifest itself in particularly sparkling performance – 0-62mph takes more than 11 seconds, but more pertinent is that the electric boost gives it strong acceleration around town, and the extra grunt makes it better than its sibling at overtaking or joining faster-moving traffic.

Compare the Prius to a more modern hybrid, though, even one of its siblings such as the RAV4 SUV, and it’s not as impressive. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) has a habit of sending the engine revs spiralling at the merest flex of your right foot, which is noisy and unpleasant. It also suffers from rubber-banding, which is the rather nasty sensation where the engine speed seems unrelated to the speed of the vehicle.

Cars such as the Skoda Octavia iV, with its six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, feel more natural to drive, while even PHEVs that retain CVTs such as the Ford Kuga PHEV have engineered out most of this dynamic weakness.

Toyota Prius Plug-in - front driving
It’s not all bad – the Prius’ slippery shape and narrow tyres mean once the engine’s settled down, there’s very little wind or road noise to worry about, and the ride on the motorway is comfortable.

Thanks to standard-fit 15-inch alloy wheels (which are tiny by today’s standards) there’s plenty of tyre sidewall to absorb potholes, too. However, the soft suspension and additional weight of the batteries mean the Prius Plug-in rolls about a lot in corners and doesn’t grip particularly well.

As for driving on pure electric mode, a careful driver will be able to eke out around 30 miles of range from a full charge – the official figure is 34 miles. That’s not bad at all, and plenty for a commute. Top speed in EV mode is 84mph, and engine noise obviously disappears improving refinement further.

Charging up will take around four hours from a three-pin socket, or 2.5 from a domestic wallbox.

How much space is there?

Space in the passenger cabin is good – there’s a reason Uber taxi drivers love the Prius so much, and you’ll find space for four six-foot adults in a relatively compact space. You can find more room in a PHEV, but the Prius cabin is well judged, with good legroom in the back if slightly limited headroom.

Storage space is an issue, though. The boot is officially only 191 litres in capacity – there are convertibles on the market with more space than that. That’s due to the very high floor, as Toyota’s placed the larger battery pack under there.  It makes the boot extremely shallow under the parcel shelf, though if you don’t mind reducing the already-rubbish rear visibility you could potentially load up higher.

Toyota Prius Plug-in - boot
It is useful, though, that there’s a dedicated underfloor storage area for the charging cables, which keeps things tidy.

Fold the back seats down and you’ll see the space increase to 1,204 litres, which is better but still less than even a supermini can muster. Certainly, the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV or Skoda Octavia iV provide much more space in the boot.

What models and trims are available?

It’s easy to pick a Prius Plug-in – there are only two trim levels and a minimal options list, and of course both have an identical powertrain.

The entry-level model is known as the Business Edition and comes well-enough equipped that most should be satisfied. Keyless go, a wireless phone charger, touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a reversing camera, blind-spot monitor, heated front seats and head-up display is an excellent standard equipment list.

Toyota Prius Plug-in - infotainment
Stepping up to Excel grade gives you all-round parking sensors, a 10-speaker JBL sound system, navigation for the infotainment, automatic parking assist and, perhaps crucially if you’re looking to use the Prius Plug-in as a taxi, leather upholstery that’s more hardwearing and wipe-clean than fabric.

How much does it cost to run?

As with any plug-in hybrid, charging habits and journey type are key. The Prius Plug-in will respond best to a majority of short journeys with a fully-charged battery. Plug in at home and get used to setting off well-charged and you might find your own fuel economy figures approach the official 217mpg that the Prius Plug-in achieved during WLTP testing.

Toyota Prius Plug-in - charging
No matter how you drive the Prius Plug-in, you’ll benefit from its low official CO2 figures of just 28g/km. That means a low first year VED bill and super-low company car tax.

Other running costs should be minimal. Toyota’s reliability record is excellent, and the firm recently introduced a warranty policy that offers up to 10 years of cover if serviced at Toyota garages. That’s the longest warranty in the business and shows serious confidence in both the brand’s cars and its service centres.

Should you buy a Toyota Prius Plug-in?

There are more modern plug-in hybrids, there are more practical ones, and there are certainly better ones to drive – the Prius Plug-in has been around for quite a while and in several key areas it’s been surpassed by its competition.

For company car users, cars like the Skoda Octavia iV or BMW 330e aren’t as fuel efficient but are far better to drive and more spacious. As an alternative, several fully-electric models can be had for a similar price to the Prius Plug-in – such as the Skoda Enyaq iV or Kia e-Niro.

In isolation, though, the Prius Plug-in’s low running costs and strong reliability record could still be enough to sway some into going for it.


Published in Toyota
Monday, 06 September 2021 09:49

2022 Toyota Tundra in new images

New images of the new Toyota Tundra model year 2022 have appeared in public.

Sales are expected to start in the fourth quarter of this year, and in the US, the base 2022 Tundra will cost around $ 36,000 (the TRD Pro version should be priced at just over $ 50,000).

In addition to the standard version, there is also the Tundra TRD Pro which comes with black elements (front grille, sills, fender extensions, glass frames, markings), LED lights, black wheels and new suspension.

The Tundra TRD Pro will be offered with a CrewMax cabin and most likely with a new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine (the new Land Cruiser has 415HP and 650 Nm).

In addition, the 2022 Tundra could later get a hybrid version.

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Those eagerly awaiting news from Toyota on the subject of hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines are just getting their dose of luck. Namely, the Japanese manufacturer will launch two hydrogen four-wheelers by 2023, and they will be part of the range of basic models, namely the Corolla and Prius.

Toyota, as a company that pioneered electrification thanks to the Prius, lost momentum in the process and crystallized from the flagship of electromobility as one of the brakes. It is true that the Japanese brand still does not have a single battery model on the market that will stop being supplied to cars powered by internal combustion engines by 2035. The concept unveiled by Toyota, the bZ4X crossover will debut in series form as an electric car only next year, and this explains why the Japanese are trying to extend the life of the internal combustion engine as much as possible.


Remaining in the same context, it is no surprise that Toyota continues to play the oil lobby game and announces the promotion of new models that use hydrogen as an energy source, as well as a powertrain that includes an SUS engine. These are not electric cars, such as those with hydrogen fuel cells (like Mirai for example), but those that burn hydrogen in a very similar way to that seen with thermal engines. In the future, we will see the Corolla and Prius, which will rely on hydrogen as an energy source, in internal combustion engines, as well as in a hybrid powertrain.

We have already explained why hydrogen has no chance as a fuel in the automotive industry, and on that occasion we have listed all the relevant facts. We will briefly repeat the basic reasons: cars from the FCEV segment are drastically more expensive than those from the BEV category; hydrogen propulsion systems are significantly more complex (which also served as the title motif of this article); hydrogen propulsion systems are very inefficient, so energy losses often exceed 50% (in the BEV segment they are up to 20%); hydrogen transport and distribution are extremely complex; and probably the most important is that the production of hydrogen is very energy demanding, so the benefits of obtaining a certain amount of hydrogen are not large enough to compensate for the production costs themselves, not to mention the rest (distribution costs, transport…).

We can add to the list of reasons we have presented that the combustion of hydrogen is not completely clean, since the main component of air is nitrogen, so by using hydrogen in the SUS engine, the result is the evaporation of the infamous nitrogen oxides. Pride, although the most widespread chemical element in nature, is for some reason produced by methane extraction, which again generates harmful emissions, with a huge consumption of electricity.

The original Toyota Prius, as the first serial hybrid car, was introduced at the end of the last century and reached its first customers in 1997, and today the same model is offered in several editions, starting from a regular hybrid to a rechargeable one. For the next generation of this model, which is expected to be promoted during the winter, Toyota will also offer a hydrogen powertrain, which will be the first time that someone combines two technologies: hydrogen and hybrid.


We have written about Toyota's plans with hydrogen SUS powertrains before, so it was also about the participation of the hydrogen-powered Corolla in the endurance race in Japan, which lasts 24 hours. Now, industrial sources have confirmed that Asians are planning to offer a serial model of this type, starting in 2023. Clearly, there will be no hydrogen fuel cells, but hydrogen will burn in the thermal engine.

In 2019, Toyota explained why it favors hybrid over battery technology, citing the “fact” that hybrid vehicles cause better environmental effects than battery-powered ones. That is why the Japanese planned to produce less than 30,000 electric cars and more than 1.5 million hybrids.

In the end, it is difficult not to recall the fates of Kodak and Nokia, which also ignored market trends, relying on their size and dominant position in the market. Regardless of the future of hydrogen, Toyota seems to have entered that same spiral of sadness.

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