Toyota Reigns Supreme in 2012 Reliability Rankings

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Credit: Toyota

Japanese automakers have been known for years for producing vehicles exhibiting overall superior reliability and below-average cost to repair, and this year, Toyota, Scion, and Lexus have earned the top three spots among “Most Reliable Automakers.”  The highest ranked vehicle of all is the all-new Toyota Prius c.

This year’s report was compiled using data comprised of nearly 1.2 million surveys that show how many issues were reported among vehicles out of a scale of 0-100 per model.  The fewer issues per 100 vehicles-per-model in the survey, the higher the model’s reliability ranking – impacting the manufacturer’s score across an entire vehicle lineup.

Source – Autoblog

Next Toyota Corolla to Share Global Auris Styling?

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Last week, Toyota revealed their new 2013 Auris five-door hatchback aimed at global (read: not for the U.S.) markets and it’s quite a looker, not to mention all of the research and development time and money going into creating a new model.  That said, the styling of the JDM (Japan Domestic Market) Corolla Fielder/Axio is rather mute, bulbous, and places an emphasis on luxury, features, and overall interior volume rather than competitive styling.  It certainly wouldn’t work here in North America.  The Auris, on the other hand, would look great on our roads, except for one thing: It’s a hatchback.  Although there are more and more hatches returning to the land of the free, yanks have not completely warmed up to them enough to warrant Toyota executing a full profile change from sedan to hatchback on the Corolla we get here in the States.  Nevertheless, the Corolla we will see here in North America may end up looking very similar to the Auris in profile and overall styling, more or less from the vehicle’s B-pillar on forward.  How can we tell?  Pictures speak a thousand words.

Firstly, take a look at the front fascia.  Now, it’s not the spitting image of the Auris, but from what we can tell from the spy shots, we’re looking at foglights, possible HID headlamps, and a prominent nose with the proportions of the JDM Auris model.

Similarities in side profile are nearly spot-on as well, especially when you look at the mirrors.  Not only is the mirror shape identical, so are the aero fins (the same kind we’ve seen on many new Lexus models lately).  Proportionally, the front fenders seem to share the same overall shape and proportion on each side of the wheel well, and the similarities between both cars don’t seem to stop until you get behind the B-pillar.  Again, this is because the vehicle shown in the spy photos is a Corolla sedan, and with the departure of the Matrix in Toyota’s lineup, it would make sense for Toyota to bring back the Corolla five-door – possibly leaving the door wide open for Toyota to slap a Corolla badge on the back of an Auris and put it on a boat bound for Long Beach.  Although that whole situation is purely speculative, it makes perfect sense.

So, what do you think?  Would you like to see the new Auris (or something closely resembling it) in the United States soon?

Photo Credit: Autoblog

 

 

 

 

Toyota Developing Electric Sports Car With Manual Transmission [w/Video]

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Looks like all of those coins we’ve been throwing into the wishing well by the handful are starting to pay off.  Part of the commitment that Toyota has outlined as it “rebrands” itself as a car company that produces vehicles that are fun to drive means actually building and developing such cars – which Toyota is not only actually doing, but they’re pushing the envelope in terms of defining the sports car itself and what it takes to propel one.  With years of hybrid technology experience, Toyota has always found themselves on the leading edge of drivetrain technology.

As of late, car companies have been exploring ways to bring electric vehicles to market.  While the mass-market EV has become a reality, the one thing that today’s EVs lack is that raw, fun-to-drive factor.  Sure, you can throw an electric motor under the hood and bolt on a CVT, charge it up, and call it a day – but for Toyota’s development team, that’s less than ideal, and know that for driving enthusiasts, CVT transmissions provide a driving experience that is far less than satisfactory.

Thus, the only real solution to curing the lethargy induced by the CVT transmission is to do something radical – and something that is actually far more revolutionary than it may seem – and that’s introducing an electric sports car equipped with a real manual transmission – three pedals and all.  If it sounds impossible, it’s not.  This technology is currently under development by means of the 2000GT SEV (Solar Electric Vehicle), a skunkworks project by Toyota and GAZOO Racing that blends the old with the new.  The 2000GT is one of the most iconic Toyota sports cars, so what better platform to use to explore cutting edge technology?

Recently, a couple members of Toyota’s development team went on record to confirm that not only did they feel that a CVT would detract from the overall driving experience, but that an electric powertrain paired with a manual gearbox was not only under exploratory development, but that we can expect to find a manual transmission available in a Toyota hybrid or EV product within the next three years.

Below, you can watch a video released by Toyota that illustrates what the 2000GT SEV project is about. [Japanese]

Source – Autocar, YouTube

Automotive Summer Survival Guide

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Summer is in full swing, and if it’s one thing we know about Midwestern summers, it’s that they’re unpredictable!  Whether you find yourself under a scorching hot sun, or under a monsoon – here’s five things you can keep handy in your vehicle for when you’re ready to have fun in the sun!

Sunscreen:   With all the scientific evidence out there regarding sun damage and skin cancer, keeping a spare bottle of sunscreen in the glove box is an easy way to keep you and your family safe this summer.  Pay close attention that the lotion you’re using will protect you from harmful UV-A and UV-B rays.

Umbrella:  You never know when a storm might pop up, so you really can’t go wrong by keeping an umbrella inside the vehicle (and somewhere within reach).  Why not go the extra mile and keep a couple rain ponchos in the car, too?

Beach Towels:  These handy items just aren’t for poolside lounging – they’re actually great for a couple of different things.  Keeping a towel draped across your seats will not only protect you and your kids from the sting of a hot leather seat, but it will also help protect your upholstery from wet and muddy kids and pets.

Insect Repellent:  The mild winter we had means that insects have come back with a vengeance this summer.  Keep a can of insect repellent handy so that you don’t get eaten alive!

First-Aid Kit:  Not just for those of us with kids – keeping some bandages and antibiotic ointment on hand is a must, especially if you enjoy keeping active through running, hiking, biking, skateboarding, etc.

Is there anything else you would suggest keeping in your car this summer?  Tell us in the comment section below!

2012 Sienna – Because You Can’t Fit Five Kids In A Scion FR-S

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When Toyota began selling vans in the United States in 1983, it entered into one of the most competitive segments, and some may argue that it was Toyota that brought a pocket-knife to a gun fight.  The Toyota Van debuted in 1983 (as a 1984 model) and allowed Toyota to offer the same comfort, convenience, and utility to Americans that the company’s Japanese buyers had already been enjoying.  What’s more, there were no small vans in the U.S. during the time, as even the original Caravan was larger.  However, the Japanese had been making minivans for much longer, and the Toyota Van was sold globally with much success.

Although not all minivan makers have been successful over the years, Toyota is still a major player in America’s most taboo automotive segment.  Nowadays, it seems like people are all but abandoning minivans altogether, but the sales numbers suggest something different.  Although everyone you know might have said to you at some point “I wouldn’t be caught dead driving one of those,” there comes a time when most of us had been in a situation in which we wish we had a minivan available.  But seriously, who wants to drive a minivan every day?  Toyota knows how you feel, so they stepped up their game and not only brought us the sexiest minivan on the market, they went and gave the SE model a ‘tude.   Seriously, we’re not kidding.  Toyota makes one killer minivan. Killer, as in husbands will steal their wives’ minivans.

Not every van out there can claim that it has been positively referenced with the words “performance” and “handling” in the same sentence.  Fact of it is, when Motor Trend compared the Sienna against two of its rivals, the reviewers praised the Sienna for both its solid performance and sporty handling.  Not only that, but the Sienna looks good.  It’s bold, sporty lines are ones you’d never expect to see on a minivan, and the plush, quiet interior is second-to-none.  The overall fit and finish is the best offered in this segment and Toyota hit the ball out of the park by pairing the Sienna’s good looks with solid performance to match.  Offering up your choice of either a 187 hp 2.7 liter inline-four, or a 3.5 liter V6 with 266 hp, the Sienna’s standard six-speed transmission with manual mode is the best transmission available in the minivan segment.  Don’t forget about Toyota Care – the manufacturer has your back for the first 2 years/25,000 miles (whichever comes first).

Its sporty looks, surprising performance, uncompromising utility, and competitive price make the Sienna the perfect fit for any active family.  Stop by Mungenast Alton Toyota/Scion today and see why the Sienna (especially the SE model) is the driving enthusiast’s choice among minivans.

Source – Toyota

Image Credit – Toyota USA Newsroom

The 2012 Toyota Prius c Debuts In Detroit – Coming This March

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Credit: ToyotaWhile news and other information has been available on the Toyota Prius c in Japan (aka the Aqua), no official information had been released about the North American version – until today.  The Toyota Prius c will offer buyers shopping the subcompact segment a unique choice that offers them unparalleled fuel economy with a combined estimated 50 mpg and enough space for five adults and their stuff with a starting price that’s reported to be south of $19,000.  Sounds like a real winner, but the more you read about the Prius c, the sweeter it gets.

The Prius c is more than just a subcompact car – it’s packed with premium features, like a standard 3.5-inch TFT multi-information display, a USB port for iPod®/MP3 player connectivity, hands-free calling, and an available Display Audio system with Navigation and Toyota’s exclusive Entune™.  And it’s certainly a subcompact, with an overall length that’s approximately 19 inches shorter than the Prius, a height that’s about two inches shorter, and also two inches less in width than the regular Prius.  The biggest (and most pleasant) surprise is its weight, which tips the scales at only 2500 lbs. – over 500 lbs. less than the standard Prius, which certainly helps it be more efficient, but more importantly – more fun to drive.

However, with the reduced weight comes reduced horsepower.  We’re talking a combined output of 99 hp from the Prius c versus the larger Prius’ 134 hp.  35 hp can make a difference, but remember – it’s with a weight savings of nearly 20%, so the overall driving dynamic won’t suffer.

The Prius c will be coming to showrooms starting in March, and we certainly hope to have one by then.  For more information about the Prius family of vehicles, check out our other blog posts or visit our dealer website at www.altontoyota.com.

CREDIT:  Toyota USA Newsroom

IMAGE CREDIT:  Toyota USA Newsroom

2012 Toyota Prius V – That’s “V” For Versatility

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Come see the all-new Prius V at Mungenast Alton Toyota

Come see the all-new Prius V at Mungenast Alton Toyota

 

If you’ve ever looked at a Prius and said to yourself “I really want this, but I’m afraid it would be too small for me and my family”, then you might want to check out the new Prius V – it packs the same fuel-sipping technology that the standard Prius is renowned for, but it offers much more space and versatility (that’s our buzzword for the day).  The new Prius V still retains the sleek, aerodynamic shape and relative exterior dimensions that the original Prius sedan is known for, which is fantastic for buyers in this segment – they want a sedan, but need a CUV, but simply don’t want one – they want something in the middle, more of an MPV of sorts.

For the most part, the new Prius V has the same tricks up its sleeve – great fuel economy, silent starts in EV-Mode, lots of storage cubbies, and a smooth, quiet, and confident ride characteristic.  While the fuel economy is good, an estimated EPA rating of 44mpg city/40mpg highway/42 combined figure puts it slightly behind the more parsimonious Prius sedan’s numbers, but factor in that the Prius V offers more interior volume then about 80% of the SUVs out there.  Factor in that it gets better fuel economy than 100% of the SUVs on the market, and the Prius V proves to be a win-win for both the fuel-conscientious and family-oriented drivers out there.

Inside, the Prius V is packed full of available premium features, including leather seating, a Panoramic View Moonroof with power sliding sunshades, navigation with Entune™ with an integrated backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming capability, phone book access, advanced voice recognition,  and six speakers.  The available Entune™ includes apps like Bing™ and Pandora®, real-time updates on traffic, area fuel prices, sports, and stocks.  Available this spring will be more choices like iHeatRadio, MovieTickets.com, and OpenTable®.  Access to Entune™ will be offered to Toyota customers at no charge for the first three years of service.

The Prius V has turned out to be quite a popular vehicle with hybrid buyers, and for good reason.  For more information on the Prius V, or to schedule a test drive, please visit our website – altontoyota.com, or check out our blog at altontoyota.net.

SOURCE: Toyota USA

IMAGE CREDIT: Toyota Pressroom

Scion iQ – The Smarter Way to Tackle Your Commute

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If one thing’s for certain about the recession, it’s that people have been trying to save money and conserve resources anywhere they can, whether it’s at the supermarket or the gas pump.  In years past, small cars’ reputations had been smeared with all sorts of negative connotations (my personal favorite is the term “penalty box”) but with new innovative thinking brought forth from automakers, people’s opinions are beginning to change.  Not only are people taking to hybrids like the Prius and all new Prius V, but they’re also looking for something more fun, yet efficient – like the Scion vehicle lineup.

With more and more “micro cars” on the roads, people have been adopting what seems to be an automotive minimalistic approach to transportation.  They’re choosing “penalty boxes” over something slightly more comfortable.  What’s more, Scion recognizes that a market exists for micro cars, but choosing a micro car should be rewarding in other places besides the gas pump.

The new 2012 Scion iQ offers buyers a fun alternative with its unique combination of an attractive exterior and stylish interior (with room for up to four people) – and customers can also choose from a plethora of Scion and TRD accessories to customize their vehicle as they desire prior to final delivery through Scion’s unique buying experience.

Scion is rolling out the new iQ one region at a time over the course of this year.  It went on sale December 1st, 2011 on the West Coast, and no official release dates have been announced for the “northern” region (as defined by Scion – it includes states from Maine all the way down to Kansas and includes all of the Midwest).

Mungenast Alton Scion looks forward to bringing you more information about this fantastic little car as soon as we have one available, and you can stay informed with the latest news on the new iQ, and all of the other new vehicles in the and Scion vehicle lineup as well as dealership offers by following us on Twitter and joining us on Facebook.

 

SOURCE – Scion

IMAGE CREDIT – Toyota Pressroom