Category Archives: Toyota

Toyota Reveals GR Super Sport Concept At Tokyo Auto Salon

The unveiling of the Mercedes Project ONE hybrid hypercar and the Aston Martin Valkyrie has shown that automakers are willing to push the boundaries of green technology beyond using it merely as a way of increasing fuel economy. The one automaker that has been strangely absent is one of the pioneers of modern hybrid tech, Toyota. The Japanese auto giant is keen on jumping into the act, and has unveiled the GR Super Sport concept at the prestigious Tokyo Auto Salon.

The latest in a recent string of concept and production vehicles to wear the GR (Gazoo Racing) badge, the Super Sport is perhaps the wildest and most spectacular concept that we have seen yet. The concept draws much of its styling inspiration from Toyota’s past LMP1 entries, with the look having a strong resemblance to its most recent entry, the TS050. This family link also shows in its performance hardware, with power coming from a 2.7 liter biturbo V6 that’s capable of pumping out 986 horsepower, and is part of a potent hybrid system. 18-inch wheels shod in massive 330/710 R18 tires help keep the GR Super Sport composed on the track, while the rear mounted exhaust produces an authoritative soundtrack.
Aerodynamic efficiency is also at the forefront of the GR Sport’s mission in life, and this is achieved with a massive front splitter as well as an equally potent rear diffuser, which also enhances the GR Super Sports aesthetic appeal to a high degree. A rear wing generates much needed downforce, and the absence of the rear window and side mirrors forced engineers to utilize a novel camera system, with two mounted rearwards, and the remaining pair located on the front fenders, which look like they are floating in the air from certain angles.

The real question here is whether the GR Super Sport will make the same leap to production that the Valkyrie and Project ONE achieved? Or if it will remain a one off fantasy. Toyota’s vagueness on the subject certainly doesn’t shed any insight with the company only claiming that “It will be some time before you all have the opportunity to get behind the wheel.” However, concept cars like this do typically preview the next generation of performance models for a company, so there could be a slim chance of a production version appearing in some shape or form in the near future.

BMW Teases Next Generation Z Roadster

BMW has been hard at work on the upcoming replacement to the dearly departed Z4 for a while now. While various heavily camoflauged prototypes have been spotted, the German auto giant has released a compelling sneak peek of the new two seater ahead of its eventual debut.

Released on the company’s Facebook page, the lone teaser image is obscured and darkened, but there are still a few details that peek out from beneath the covers. Sharper headlights as well as a more aggresive profile help it stand out from the decidedly more elegant predecessor it is replacing. This will be good news for BMW, which is hoping that the car can put up a more targeted resistance to the segment benchmark, the Porsche 718 Boxster.

The new Z will be underpinned by an all new rear drive platform that is being co-developed with Toyota engineers, and could also herald the revival of the Supra nameplate for a new generation of young Toyota buyers. Look for BMW’s turbocharged four and six cylinder engines to carryover in both models, but a Toyota designed hybrid system could make its way into the mix to increase fuel efficency  if rumors on the subject turn out to be true.

How Toyota’s FT-4X Concept Could Revamp Future Of SUVs

Toyota’s FT-4X concept SUV certainly made waves when it was unveiled in New York yesterday, but the pint sized utility also hints at what could be in store for Toyota’s CUV lineup.

Currently Toyota has a very diverse lineup of CUVs, but a notable void exists in the compact CUV segment. Granted the C-HR is a commendable attempt at filling the gap, but its odd styling does detract from its overall mission somewhat.

This is where the FT-4X finds its niche, building on a rugged looking canvas that hints at crossing the beaten path. However, Toyota claims that the FT-4X’s suit of clothes actually highlight its “Rugged Charm” (whatever that means) and that it was designed to appeal to “casual core” consumers. The flat panel roof houses power outlets, which allows buyers to power campsite electronics directly from the exterior.

The interior was also designed to reflect the needs of city dwellers with Toyota claiming that it is a “rolling gearbox” with the cabin offering commendable levels of storage in a deceptively open layout. A key feature is the dual temperature controlled storage boxes in the tailgate that can keep food hot or cold while still moonlighting as a handy place to store your gear.

Curiously, Toyota chose to not add a formal infotainment system, and instead constructed a unit that allows occupants to mount their phone to it in a nod towards Generation Y’s varied uses for smartphones (including navigation.)

Toyota has not formally commented on whether the FT-4X will eventually spawn a production model or not. But buyers clamoring for a reborn FJ Cruiser will most likely be disappointed. Instead, the production version would most likely be a compact CUV that would give Toyota an entry against the Jeep Renegade as well as the Kia Soul and Honda HR-V.

Toyota Teases 2018 Camry Ahead of Detroit Debut

The Toyota Camry has always been known for two key attributes its ability to bring strong sales to the Japanese auto giant’s coffers, and its equally bland styling elements. However if a lone teaser image is to be believed, 2017 will bring big changes to the venerable four door.

While a lone shot of the tailight may not be too revealing at first glance, a closer look reveals that a substantial redesign is in store for the 2018 Camry. The LED taillight design is quite handsome, but what has our attention is the vent that runs from the bumper into the tailight. While it is most likely non-functional, it adds a dash of boldness and, intergrates nicely into the design.

Lastly the intresting crease in the C-pillar has us wondering how the trunk and rear window will mesh since it resembles a five door hatchback-esque layout versus the traditional four door sedan approach. The one aspect we aren’t fans of is the obvious traits that it borrows from rivals especially the Ford Fusion and the Kia Optima.

This is a minor complaint of course, and we look forward to seeing what else is in store for the 2018 Toyota Camry when it maked its debut in Detroit. Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for the latest on the 2018 Toyota Camry, as well as our live coverage from the 2017 North American International Auto Show.

Lotus Begins Work On Next Generation Elise, Will Be Headed To U.S.

Lotus has revealed that it has begun development of the next generation Elise sports car which will return to the U.S market after several years.

Overall, sources are revealing that this upcoming Elise will be more of an evolutionary effort versus a straight up revolution. While it will still be an all new car from the ground up, it will also not waver from its role as an ultra lightweight sports coupe that makes no compromises for comfort or luxury.

However some of its compact design will be sacrificed with the new Elise being slightly wider to accommodate new side airbags which are mandated by U.S. law. It’ll also be slightly longer than before, but it will still weigh in at a featherweight 1,984 lbs.

As before, Toyota will supply Lotus with both engines and transmissions with Lotus offering a new automatic option to buyers for the first time ever. Rear wheel drive is standard fare which is fine with us since all-wheel drive would have added unnecessary amounts of flab.

The current generation Elise as well as its hardcore brother the Exige have not been street legal here in the U.S. for several years. But the new model is said to be designed with U.S. regulations in mind, which explains why the company is pushing the automatic variant to buyers that might be adverse to the idea of shifting their own gears. Lotus even claims that the U.S. market will eventually be its biggest market after the Elise is reintroduced.

That’s a bold claim, and at first glance it appears a bit over ambitious with current sales of the Evora 400 barely registering as a threat against more exotic competition. However, the revamped Elise will not only add volume to the brand’s sales, but also allow the small British company to lure younger buyers with a lower pricing ladder.

Buyers looking to eventually add one to their garage will have plenty of time to save money since the model is very early in the development phase. If things proceed as planned, look for the Elise to make its U.S. return in 2020, with sales kicking off shortly afterward.



BMW Z4 Production To End Next Month?

With a replacement model currently being developed in a collaboration with Toyota, it’s no secret that the current generation Z4’s days in the BMW lineup are numbered. However a new report suggests that production could end as early as next month.

That’s according to a new report that was revealed by the BMW fan site BMW Blog which tentatively hints at this scheduled departure. If it is indeed true, the Z4’s abrupt exit would leave BMW with a sizable gap in its lineup due to its successor not being ready for full scale production.

The replacement (dubbed the Z5) is being developed in a collaboration with Toyota, and is expected to also share its platform with the reborn Toyota Supra. Prior reports claim that the Z5 will be much more focused on sporty dynamics than the current generation Z4, and put a renewed emphasis on targeting performance minded enthusiasts. BMW and Toyota have so far been tight-lipped on the finer aspects of this car, but spy photos revealed that the car will ditch the current model’s bulky hard top in lieu of a more traditional and lighter soft top. Look for this soft too to also reduce costs of maintenence for owners.

Despite the high level of secrecy surrounding the Z5, eager buyers will not have to wait very long to find out more information, with the car slated to make its auto show debut in the near future, possibly at the Geneva Motor Show. As for the Supra, look for that model to make its debut later with the Toyota badged version appearing exclusively as a coupe. When it appears, it will share the stage on dealer lots with the budget minded 86 sport coupe, and give the Japanese carmaker a formidable one two punch in the sporty coupe segment.

Toyota Unveils Newly Renamed 2017 86

With the death of Scion and the subsequent rebranding of its two surviving stablemates Toyota revealed that the Scion FR-S will live to see another day and be reborn as the 2017 Toyota 86.

The rebranding allows the performance coupe to fall in line with Toyota’s global naming scheme and also shed its connection with the now deceased Scion brand. Prior to this latest name change, the FR-S was known as the GT86 or simply 86 in world markets since 2012 when the model was first introduced.

“When we announced the transition of the Scion models to Toyota we hadn’t planned on changing the names of the cars. But by popular demand for our sports car we decided to adopt the global name of 86” stated Toyota VP Bill Fay.

In addition to the new name, the 86 also receives several upgrades to help it embrace its new lease on life. The exterior styling for example has received several improvements and 2017_Toyota_86_002_D12251168D759247F6395FC10C00EC8045C0407Fnow features new LED headlights and turn signals as well as a revised front bumper that incorporates a new grille assembly that is much more pronounced than before. The rear end has also been reworked and now features a new rear bumper and revised LED tailights that are much sportier than before. Rounding out the list of changes are a new set of alloy wheels that now feature a twisted spoke design to help make the profile look sharper than before.  Toyota also upgraded the interior, and while it retains its driver focused layout, it now incorporates new “Grandlux” material that makes its way to the instrument panel and door panels as well as new seating material that now features silver contrast stitching to help brighten up the otherwise Teutonic styled interior.

The main change here is under the hood with the 86 making slightly more power than before. While it is not the turbocharger or supercharger that some enthusiasts have clamored for, the still naturally aspirated 2.0 liter four cylinder now makes 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque when paired with the standard six speed manual transmission. This 2017_Toyota_86_003_491F19B7422021FF05C19D601901C497CE93DDB0is a gain of five horsepower and is roughly the same gain in torque. The transmission also gains new gear ratios to help it bring this extra oomph to the rear wheels more efficiently. Toyota engineers left no stone unturned and even upgraded the car’s handling manners thanks to slightly retuned shocks and equally tweaked spring rates.

Look for the 2017 86 to make its formal debut at the New York Auto Show next week in what will be a key event for Toyota with the Japanese firm unveiling the 2017 Highlander as well as a new Prius variant, and the rebranded iA and iM.

Toyota Announces Finalized Lineup Of Rebranded Scion Vehicles

In an announcement released earlier today Toyota revealed its finalized lineup for all the Scion vehicles that were displaced following the shutdown of the brand a few months ago due to flagging sales.

When the brand was chopped in February, it was known that the iA, iM, CHR, and the FR-S would live on, but it was unclear where they would fit in Toyota’s diverse model lineup. Today’s announcement clarifies this, and should please Scion loyalists. While we will be covering the updated 86 sports car in a separate report, the budget minded iA will become the Toyota Yaris iA. A bit awkward sounding perhaps, but look for the newly minted member of the Yaris family to add some life to sales of the subcompact thanks to its Mazda roots, as well as its budget minded sticker price.

Meanwhile the iM hatchback will be spun into the Corolla lineup, and be known as the Toyota Corolla iM. Like its smaller iA brand cousin, the new name is a bit of a mouthful, but it does make sense when it comes to the topic of overseas alignment. In many other parts of the world the iM is either simply known as the Corolla hatchback or the Auris depending on which market you happen to be in. Plus, the hatchback would allow the Corolla to be a contender in the small but hotly contested hatchback segment.

As for the mediocre and outdated tC coupe, that model will join the Scion brand in the automotive graveyard, but not before the all new “Release Series 10.0” makes its way to showrooms. Like past Release Series models, this one will feature exclusive paint as well as several minor revisions in a bid to give the two door a proper farewell.

Look for marketing support to gradually wind down during the summer, with Toyota finally pulling the plug sometime in fall though it may take some dealers a bit longer than that to formally remove all the various Scion logos from their buildings.


Toyota Teases Mysterious Prius Variant

Calling it ‘The next mechanical marvel’ in the Prius family, Toyota has released a lone teaser image of the mystery Prius variant that it plans to unveil at the 2016 New York Auto Show later this month.

The cryptic teaser image the company released does not reveal too much about the unknown offering, but it does focus on the all new taillights which span the entire width of the car. The LED bar is much thinner here, and is vertically shorter than the units on the current generation Prius. This suggests that the mystery model could either be a more practical four door sedan, or a two door coupe. Personally I suspect that the four door is the more realistic possibility of the two since the coupe would only appeal to a limited niche market, and would look out of place in a family of cars that is better known for being green than being fast.

It’s also unknown whether it is a direct successor to the Prius Plug-in Hybrid or an offshoot like the Prius c and the bigger Prius v were for the old Prius. However, it could be linked to a recent patent filing by Toyota that trademarked the term “Prius Prime” suggesting that a potential rebranding of the car could occur during the next few years. Regardless, look for the new model to retain the standard car’s eco friendly hardware as well as its basic interior layout which would help Toyota reduce both development and production costs.

Expect additional information to emerge closer to Toyota’s press confrence in New York where the new offering will also share the stage with the 2017 Highlander. Hopefully Toyota will share more details about the “Prius Prime” trademark and whether more models will be joining the Prius model lineup in the near future.

Toyota Confirms 2017 Highlander For New York

A refreshed Highlander is on the way, and the world will get its first glimpse of the revamped CUV at the 2016 New York Auto Show.

The exterior styling of the 2017 Highlander has been tweaked, and while it is still not that exciting to look at, it still retains its function over form motif which should please young families. The front grille for example features2017_Toyota_Highlander_06_4BD0FD340C9B243DB5D0BE29473F93A7E3498963 new finishes that vary depending on the model selected. Naturally, the up-level Limited and Platinum models get the fanciest trim but expect the other models to still look good. The rear fascia features slightly tweaked taillamps that will be sleeker than before, but will otherwise retain the current generation’s styling language.

Enthusiasts looking for some form of fun from the Highlander will be content with the all new SE model (pictured). The SE brings model exclusive 19-inch wheels, a sport tuned suspension, and dark trim for the front grille and 2017_Toyota_Highlander_02_C2CD51CEB2617181843201E010A59B64BF057B06headlights. While it will not fare well in dogfights with more performance oriented entries from SRT, AMG, or M, it should help make the trek to soccer practice less mundane, while also adding a bit of style at the same time.

As for the interior, three row functionality has always been a strong selling point for the Highlander, and the 2017 model continues this trend by offering buyers the choice of either seven or eight passenger configurations. This is awesome, but with only five USB ports in the entire vehicle, expect three of 2017_Toyota_Highlander_07_AE9F112DE0EE84CA69299C743471207C78320B57the passengers to be forced to fend for themselves. Otherwise expect the cabin to largely retain the basic layout that is already seen in the current generation Highlander albeit with minor tweaks to distinguish between trim levels.

Performance for the 2017 Highlander comes from a pair of engines with the base 2.7 liter four cylinder engine being carried over from the previous generation with the older six speed automatic also carrying over but only on the front wheel drive LE model. Higher grade models receive an all new 3.52017_Toyota_Highlander_03_254DA1461FD69F3E01EB0B5C02A90B0BFC0C171B liter V6, but the big news here is that it is hooked up to an all new eight speed automatic transmission. As for the Highlander Hybrid, that model will continue to live on, and still offer its Continuously Variable Transmission and all-wheel drive capability as standard equipment. Toyota did not release formal performance figures, but expect that information to be revealed closer to its official debut.

With the CUV segment as a whole greatly expanding due to a spike in sales, the Highlander also arrives with a new suite of safety technology which is a key factor for a majority of buyers when they are trying to decide which CUV to put in their driveway.  In the case of the Highlander, automatic braking, lane departure warning, Pedestrian Pre Collision, radar powered adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beams all arrive standard as part of Toyota’s Safety Sense package. Highlander Platinum models up the safety factor even further and add a 360 degree Birds Eye View Camera to help with parking in tight spaces especially when parallel parking the vehicle.

After it makes its debut in New York, Look for the 2017 Toyota Highlander to make its way to dealer showrooms sometime in late April.