Toyota – rpmGo.com

Despite a long and agonizing recall campaign, the Japanese automaker Toyota has managed to regain its position as the most valuable auto brand in the world, jumping 11% to $24.2 billion in the BrandZ Top 100 annual ranking, overtaking BMW, last year’s number one brand. These results have been compiled by the Millward Brown research company. From 2006 to 2009, Toyota was the most valuable auto brand in the world.

Mercedes-Benz managed to grab the 3rd spot this year, with a 12% increase, overtaking Honda, which was followed by Porsche. Nissan achieved a 17% increase, mostly by its highly-acclaimed Leaf model, finishing the top on the 6th place.

Millward Brown measures brand equity, based on interviewing more than one million consumers globally and analyzing business and finance performance of each automaker by using data from Bloomberg and Datamonitor.

Here is the top 10 of the world’s most valuable car brands in $ billion; rank in top 100; % change

1. Toyota $24.2 — 27 –11% 2. BMW $22.4 — 30 — 3% 3. Mercedes $15.3 — 50 — 12% 4. Honda $14.2 — 56 — -1% 5. Porsche $12.4 –66 — -3% 6. Nissan $10.1 — 88 — 17% 7 VW $7.4 — * — 6% 8. Ford $7.4 — * –5% 9. Audi $3.8 — * — 5%

10. Lexus $3.7 — * –new

* Did not qualify for the top 100

This year’s top 100 ranking is led by Apple, with a brand value of $153 billion, followed by last year’s Google, with $111 billion.

Source: Millward Brown via AutoNews

Post tags: Tags: brandz top 100, Toyota

General Motors will most likely regain the number one spot as far as production figures are concerned, taking into consideration the problems that Toyota has these days. As a quick reminder, GM held the throne for the largest car manufacturer in the world as far as sales are concerned from 1932 until 2008. The Detroit-based company had a lot of financial problems after 2008 when they had to file for bankruptcy.

These problems allowed Toyota to gain the first position, but they will probably have to give it back to General Motors this year due to their production problems in homeland Japan, caused by the earthquake / tsunami that affected the country last month. What this means is that Toyota will probably not be able to manufacture enough cars in order to maintain their number one ranking.

Aside from supply issues, the Japanese automaker is also facing a lot of recalls which have affected the sales over the last few years, having a negative impact on the company’s image of reliability and quality. Over these last few years, Toyota was forced to recall about 14 million cars.

As far as General Motors is concerned, they got back into shape very fast after solving their bankruptcy problems. In 2010, it was a very close race between Toyota and GM, the latter managing to sell only 30,000 units less than the Japanese company. Taking into consideration that the Detroit-based automaker is getting more and more involved in China, selling three times more cars than Toyota, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if at the end of this year they will regain leadership.

Source: Detroit Free Press via WCF

Post tags: Tags: General Motors, production, Toyota

Another innovative alliance between car and software technology has come to light: Toyota and Microsoft have collaborated to bring clouds to the automotive industry. The $12 million venture offers a series of new benefits and possibilities to drivers, such as stream music, information services connections, GPS and multimedia options and even management of the batteries of their EV.

The general great objective: to generate a global network from the Windows Azure cloud-computing platform. Meanwhile, this will be used first in the electric and pug-in hybrids to be launched in 2012 by the Japanese car manufacturer. Microsoft’s and Toyota’s work together will provide

At the teleconference, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp has declared

“Together, utilizing Windows Azure and Microsoft’s vast information infrastructure, we will boost the value of automobiles by making them information terminals, moving beyond today’s GPS navigation and wireless safety communications, while at the same time enhancing driver and traffic safety.”

This is how it supposes to work: by using cloud, the vehicles are connected to servers around the world, which reduces considerably the need for hardware and software in the car and makes the access to services much easier.

“Our cars will play a big role in the global expansion of what we call ’smart centers’ on-board systems capable of better managing overall energy consumption of cars, driving trips and homes”.

(Toyota)

So, all that both work at right now is to create this and to develop new applications and features based on this technology. What do you thing: it would be a totally success?

[Source: Wired, Photo: Facebook Toyota]

Post tags: Tags: Cloud, microsoft, Toyota

The Japanese automaker Toyota has revealed this week that it has teamed up with Microsoft for developing the next generation of telecommunication and information technology for cars. By using the Windows Azure platform, Toyota and Microsoft will develop a range of systems that we will most likely see as soon as 2012.

However, the ultimate objective of this partnership is to create a cloud platform from which Toyota buyers can use telematics services around the world. For reaching this ambitious goal, the companies are going to invest about $12 million in the joint venture.

Source: Toyota via Autoblog | Photo: nextcars.net

Post tags: Tags: microsoft, telematics, Toyota

The list of recalls doesn’t seem to end for Toyota as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced recalls for yet another 22,000 trucks and SUVs due to improperly calibrated tire pressure monitoring systems. The cars in question are certain 2008-2011 FJ Cruiser, Tundra, Tacoma, Land Cruiser and Sequoia models that have been fitted with TPMS units that were not properly calibrated.

Due to this issue, the dashboard warning light may fail to illuminate in the event of a deflated tire, which according to NHTSA, might lead to accidents. The Japanese automaker will recalibrate the tire pressure warning systems without charging the owners. No word about when the recalling procedure will begin.

Source: NHTSA

Post tags: Tags: Recalls, Toyota

Although the Japanese automaker may be off the hook as far as the suspicions of unwanted sudden acceleration due to the software-driven throttles after the investigations conducted by NHTSA-NASA, Toyota is once again on the first page of the newspapers because they’ve announced that they are safety recalling about 2.12 million cars in the US to address accelerator pedals that may become entrapped in the floor mats or jammed in the carpeting.

To be more specific, they are recalling about 20,000 Lexus GS 300 and GS350 AWD units manufactured between 2006 and 2007 in order to modify the shape of the plastic pad embedded in the driver’s side floor carpet. According to the automaker, if the aforementioned floor carpet is not properly installed in the suitable position after service operation, it is very well possible that the plastic embedded into the floor carpet could jam against the accelerator pedal and keep it from returning to the idle position.

Toyota is also recalling about 372,000 Lexus RX 330 / 350 / 400h units that were manufactured between 2004 and early 2007, plus another 397,000 Toyota Highlanders from the 2004-2006MY in order to replace the floor carpet cover from the driver’s side. The automaker affirmed that if the cover is not installed properly, it might lean toward the accelerator pedal and block it in a partially depressed position.

By now you are probably wondering when these recalls will stop.  Despite all of these problems, Toyota remained in 2010 the largest automaker and I for one don’t think that this situation will change in the next 5-10 years.

Post tags: Tags: Recalls, Toyota

According to Chicago Sun-Times, three men were arrested for causing $30,000 worth of damage to seven Toyota cars at the Chicago Auto Show. When they were asked about their actions, they said that they were angry due to the fact that more and more American Toyota jobs have been relocated overseas.

All of them were charged with one felony count of criminal damage to property, after slashing the seats and ripping out the interior of a Prius, a Land Cruiser, two Tundra pickups, a RAV4 and a Lexus ES 350.

The authorities caught the bad guys Wednesday night as they used screwdrivers and razor knives to damage the speaker panels and the dashboard of a Toyota Camry.

A Toyota spokesman replied that not all of the cars that were vandalized were built overseas.

Source: Automotive News via egmCarTech

Post tags: Tags: chicago-auto-show, Toyota, vandalize


In the past year and a half, Toyota has discovered how the effects of a hostile media might prejudice its brand image on a high level. When all the situation with the last year recall appeared to be solved by the Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statement that there wasn’t a software issue that led to the company’s unintended acceleration woes, Toyota is now involved into another rumors: it appears that a couple of blogger moms were offered payment to spread positive news about the Japanese automaker.

Why Toyota is in a critical situation
Apparently, a network of blogging mothers, MommyNetworks.org, has sent some emails to its members, offering each of them a $10 Amazon gift card to write a positive story about Toyota’s recent exoneration by the U.S. government and promote similar pieces, with links to a few articles, on social networking sites and “thumbs up” votes for YouTube videos.

Toyota’s answer
After that, a series of complaints began to appear about Toyota’s inappropriate behavior. To all this, Toyota’s response was that it had nothing to do with the plan, adding that the company “adheres to the highest standards when working with media, journalists and blogger and we find any sort of payment for editorials or blogs unethical and illegal according to FCC guidelines.” On the other side, the network that has sent the emails has posted it was only their idea and not a Toyota sponsored initiative.

Despite all those statement, rumors about this case still remain valid once that some of the bloggers declare they were contacted by both Mommy Networks and Toyota, both of which claim no affiliation with each other.

Whether it’s a true or a false implication, effects of this rumor will certainly become visible in the consumers’ confidence in Toyota brand, which might influence its future on the international automotive market.

What do you think: Did Toyota really pay off blogger moms or are they innocent?

[Sources: Autoblog, Jalopnik.com, MommyNetworks.org, Image: Toyota]

Post tags: Tags: Toyota, Toyota rumors

Welcome back to the third and final part of our extensive article about the most important cars that will delight us at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Let’s start with Land Rover and their Range Rover Evoque.

2012 Land Rover Evoque

The car will be available in 2-door and 4-door variants, both of them featuring the same engine, which will be a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged that outputs 240 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Evoque will come with an all-wheel drive system as well as the company’s new Terrain Response System.

2011 Lexus CT 200h

One of my personal favorites, Lexus, will bring the CT 200h which is a 4-door / 5-passenger hybrid hatchback, featuring a conventional 4-cylinder 1.8-liter gasoline engine and a battery-powered electric motor, both of them offering a combined power of 134 hp. The new C200h will use a CVT – Continuously Variable Transmission and can run on one or both of the power sources (without having to charge it).

2012 Mercedes SLK

Mercedes will be heading out to Chicago where they will have three new production models: the beautiful 2012 SLK, the 2012 CLS and the 2012 C-Class. We’ve talked about the SLK on rpmGO.com before; it will be available in two variants: the SLK250 and the SLK350. The entry-level model will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter that outputs 201 hp, linked to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The SLK350 is going to have a more powerful V6 3.5-liter engine, good for 302 hp. This model will be available with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

The CLS will be available in two models: CLS550 and the AMG CLS63. The first one has a V8 4.7-liter turbocharged engine that outputs 402 hp while the other comes with a V8 5.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 518 hp. The CLS550 has a 7-speed automatic gearbox while the CLS630 AMG will get a 7-speed automated manual gearbox.

The 2012 C250 will be offered in two trim levels: Luxury and Sport, both of them featuring a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter unit that churns 201 hp. The C300 will have the same trim levels, but it will be equipped with a V6 3.0-liter engine, good for 228 hp. The C350 will have the same engine, but this time it will output 302 hp. The high-end model will be the AMG version C63 which will most likely come with a V8 6.2-liter that outputs 451 hp.

2011 Mini Countryman

Mini will be bringing their 2011 Countryman, which will be the first four full-sized doors Mini model sold in the United States. The car will be available in two trim levels: Base and S. The entry-level will get a 4-cylinder 1.6-engine that churns 120 hp while the high-end variant will feature a 4-cylinder 1.6-liter that produces 180 hp. Both of the models will get front-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi will show us their Outlander Sport model which will be available in two trim levels: ES and SE. Both of the versions will pack a front-wheel drive system and a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that outputs 148 hp. The ES will come with a 5-speed manual gearbox while the SE will get a CVT transmission and steering-wheel paddles for manual changing.

2011 Nissan Juke

Another Japanese automaker that will be heading out to Chicago this year will be Nissan with three models: the award-winning Leaf, the funky Juke and the sporty 2012 GT-R. We talked about the Leaf thousands of times, but here is a small presentation. The car will be available with two trims levels – SV and SL. Both of them will have the same lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor that outputs 107 hp. It can be charged at either a 110-volt or a 220-volt outlet. For the first type it will need 20 hours while for the second type it will need only 8 hours.

Porsche Cayman R

The guys over at Porsche will be bringing their 2012 Cayman R. This two-seater sports coupe will come with the third and newest trim, dubbed “R”. Unlike the entry-level trim or the S mode, the R has a 6-cylinder 3.4-liter power unit that outputs 330 hp, linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard. It is also available with an optional 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

2011 Scion iQ

If you can’t afford the Aston Martin Cygnet, the next best thing is the Scion iQ. Featuring a 4-cylinder 1.3-liter engine that outputs 90 hp, this certainly won’t be the most powerful car at the Chicago Auto Show.

Scion will also be bringing the 2011 tC 2-door hatchback coupe which will be fitted with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder power unit that cranks up 180 hp, mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Toyota Prius v

Scion will not be going to Chicago without its parent company Toyota. Despite the fact that the Japanese automaker is the largest manufacturer in the world, they will be bringing only one model here (one that they already took to Detroit) – 2012 Prius v. The heart of the car will be a conventional 1.8-liter gasoline engine which will be paired with a battery-powered electric motor. The combined power will be 134 hp.

2012 Volkswagen Passat

The German automaker Volkswagen will be heading out to Chicago with the recently-launched 2012 Passat and the 2012 Eos. Presented first at Detroit, the Passat will be available in three different trim levels: S, SE and SEL. Engine options include the 4-cylinder 2.0-liter unit with 140 hp, 5-cylinder 2.5-liter with 170 hp and the high-end V6 3.6-liter with 280 ponies. The diesels will be available with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox. The 5-cylinder 2.5-liter will get either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The V6 engine will be fitted with a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

The EOS will come with a power-retractable hardtop with an integrated sunroof. Under the hood it will feature a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that produces 200 hp, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission.

2011 Volvo S60

Sweden will be represented at Chicago by Volvo with their sexy 2011 S60 model. This premium-midsize car will benefit from a 6-cylinder 3.0-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 300 hp and will be mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. At first, the car will be available in one single trim level, the T6. Later on this year, the Swedish automaker will be introducing the T6 R-Design which should be a real looker.

These are the most important cars that will be presented at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Some of them you might have already seen while others are a premiere (not many unfortunately).  From February 9th to February 20th, the automotive capital of the world will be Chicago. Next month we will have another important auto show to review at Geneva. Stay tuned for a comprehensive coverage.

PS: Part 1 and 2 of the article are here and here. Enjoy the reading.

Post tags: Tags: auto-show, Land Rover, Lexus, mercedes, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, scion, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

Veilside 1993 Toyota Supra 4509 GTR

Veilside is a Japanese tuning company that in its history came up with some great cars based on some legendary domestic models. This year they went to the Tokyo Auto Salon and presented their latest project, dubbed 4509 GTR Supra.

The car you see in these pictures is based on the 4th generation of the legendary Toyota Supra that was the king of the streets back in the 90s. As you can see, this car doesn’t look very much like the original model due to the many changes brought by Veilside. It has a very interesting look, despite the fact that it has some traces that resemble with a couple of European cars. The guys didn’t bring only exterior changes to the car, they also upgraded the engine, and we’ll talk about them a little bit later.

Veilside 1993 Toyota Supra 4509 GTR

This Toyota Supra used by the tuners at Veilside was manufactured back in ’93, but it has been completely reworked. Some of the most important upgrades brought to it include the use of fiberglass and carbon fiber on some panels and a specially built grille that was made out of polyurethane and Croissone emblems.

The car now rides on 20-inch black alloys in the front and 22-inch rims in the back. The wheels are covered in Bridgestone Potenza tires that measure 255/30R20 in the front and 295/25R22 out in the back.

Veilside 1993 Toyota Supra 4509 GTR

Inside the cabin, the Veilside 1993 Toyota Supra 4509 GTR got some new sports seats that have been upholstered in leather and diamond quilted Alcantara. The original speed meter was replaced with a unit made by the tuning company. The car also got an upgraded instrument panel and a new sports steering wheel.

Veilside 1993 Toyota Supra 4509 GTR

Under the hood, the engine received some important modifications. We are talking about a twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder power unit that now features an HKS turbo kit along with an intercooler. These modifications allow the engine to output 680 hp @ 6,250 rpm and 594.5 lb-ft of torque. In addition, the car now features a new racing clutch, a sports suspension, new braking system and a custom-made sports exhaust system.

Post tags: Tags: Supra, Toyota, Tuning, veilside

Toyota FT-86 II Concept Teaser

Teasers are becoming more and more popular in the automotive world and Toyota decided to come up with their own teaser for the upcoming FT-86 II Concept car which will be officially unveiled in March at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show.

Except for this teaser image, we don’t know anything about the car but we do find interesting that given the delays in bringing this car to a production model, the automaker is still referring to it as a concept and has named it the second iteration of the original FT-86 by adding the “II” numeral.

The original FT-86 is the result of the collaboration between Toyota and Subaru. The latter will have its own variant of the car pretty soon which will come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 260 hp (194 kW). However, it won’t be an all-wheel drive car as you might have expected from Subaru, only RWD, as will be the Japanese version too.

Toyota plans to sell the FT-86 in the US under the young-oriented Scion brand in order to attract more buyers from this segment.

The Japanese automaker will start producing the FT-86 in November this year at a yet undisclosed price.

Post tags: Tags: concept, ft-86, Toyota

Toyota was the world’s biggest car manufacturer in 2010, for the third year in a row, as a recovery in global car demand outweighed a decline US sales. Toyota managed to sell 8% more cars in 2010, reaching 8.42 million units (including Lexus and deliveries from affiliates Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor). General Motors grabbed the second place, reaching 8.39 million units, 12% more in comparison to 2009.

Toyota sold 0.4% less cars in the United States in 2010, managing to deliver 1.76 million units. They did better in China where sales boosted by 19% but General Motors managed to sell 29% more cars in that same period.

Rounding up the top three is Volkswagen AG who managed to sell 7.14 million cars last year which is 14% more than 2009 and according to sale chief Christian Klinger, sells will grow in 2011 by 5%.

On December 21, Toyota officials stated that they expect to sell approximately 8.6 million cars this year. Without the Daihatsu and Hino units, Toyota managed to sell 7.53 million cars last year which is an 8% increase over 2009. Daihatsu’s sales rose by 4% to 783,000 units last year while Hino, which makes trucks, sold 107,000 units, 35% more than in 2009, according to Toyota.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Post tags: Tags: General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen

Toyota iQ GRMN Racing Concept

Yesterday at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota launched the iQ GRMN Racing Concept, based on the 2009 version of the iQ GRMN which was built in a limited edition of only 100 units that were sold within a week. The racing version was jointly made by Gazoo Racing and MN tuning. We can’t tell you very much about it, except for the fact that it has a massive spoiler, a rear diffuser, a wide-body kit as well as a dual exhaust system. The inside of the car features heavily bolstered sports seats, new instrumentation, alloy pedals and a full roll cage.

Under the hood, the car packs an unspecified supercharged power unit, but although nothing is official at the moment, it most likely will be a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder unit that will offer about 119 hp (89 kW / 121 PS) and a torque of 117 lb-ft (158 Nm).

Toyota iQ GRMN Racing Concept

The car has a very interesting design and I for one am really curious about the performances of the engine. If it is the above mentioned one, it won’t be very impressive, at least in my opinion. Also I want to know the curb weight of the car which should be low.

Once Toyota offers more information about the iQ GRMN Racing Concept, we will do a follow-up article.

Post tags: Tags: iq grmn racing concept, Toyota

2011 Mercedes-Benz B-class F-Cell

The government from Japan along with a consortium of automakers and hydrogen suppliers has made plans for a coordinated action in introducing new fuel cell cars. A couple of days ago, Nissan and Toyota along with ten hydrogen suppliers (including Tokyo Gas and Idemitsu) issued a joint statement at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry where they took the responsibility of introducing mass production FCV – fuel cell vehicles into “four major urban areas”, starting with 2015.

These automakers have said that these FCVs will be more affordable which will most likely increase car sales starting with 2015 onward. The penetration of fuel cell vehicles should underpin the creation of one hundred hydrogen fuel stations in the country in the next five years.

The economics ministry of Japan affirmed that the country’s government will “support the mass introduction of FCVs in 2015 and more penetration beyond it and will take the necessary actions.”

A similar situation occurred two years ago in Germany where a number of private firms along with the country’s government announced plans for creating a complex hydrogen network by 2015. The transport minister signed collaboration with eight very important industrial companies, including Shell, Total, Daimler and Linde. The network should start with stations installed in the major urban regions, prior to extending along the motorway corridors.

According to some sources, the chemical industry in Germany is capable of producing enough hydrogen to power about 150,000 cars per year.

Post tags: Tags: Hydrogen, Nissan, Toyota

2011 Toyota Highlander

The last decade was probably the best in Toyota’s history but last year was a total disaster for the company because of the embarrassing recalls and hundreds of lawsuits. Things start to look better for the company but Toyota is still facing an aging product lineup which needs to be updated as soon as possible. Although the Corolla and the Camry are still a hit in sales, updated versions are long overdue. The first one did receive a very mild update for the 2011 version but the competition is breathing down its neck. The same situation is available for Toyota’s SUV and truck portfolio where the Tundra, RAV4, FJ Cruiser and the Tacoma are quite outdated models.

The Highlander has always been a successful model from Toyota and the question is will it remain to be successful in the future with this new version. Last year, Toyota managed to sell 92,000 units of the Highlander, making it the third most successful CUV, behind the Chevrolet Traverse (107,000 units) and the Honda Pilot (102,000 units). To keep these numbers or even improve them, the Japanese automaker offers the new version as standard with three-row seating and bolder projector-style headlamps.

The limited-spec models start at $36,575 for the front-wheel drive configuration and $37,375 for the all-wheel drive models. All the trim levels pack USB, Bluetooth, satellite radio and power liftgate. The Limited models also feature as standard a no-charge power moonroof and heated front seats. For $4,630, clients can get the infotainment package that includes a 9-inch navigation screen, premium JBL sound system and rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Tri-zone climate control, 10-way power driver’s seat and 19-inch wheels are standard on the Limited models.

Although these features are a nice addition to the Highlander, the visual upgrades can really make the difference. On that note, the car now features a lower air dam, along with cool fog lamps, an updated stamped hood and convex headlamps covers, similar to the ones that you saw on the 2010 4Runner, but this time they look better. In the back, nothing has really changed, except for the headlamps which have been slightly reworked.

2011 Toyota Highlander

Moving inside the vehicle, besides the aforementioned standard features, the car’s cabin is largely carryover. The good part is that the front seats are still reasonably bolstered and quite comfortable. The ergonomics and controls are still well thought-out and the leather-wrapped steering wheel is still quite nice to grip. The down side is that the soft-touch materials are quite rare in the cabin and the center armrest of the Highlander it is not the plus cowhide you will find in other similar-priced crossovers (the Ford Flex Limited comes to our mind).

Both the second and third row accommodations of the 2011 Highlander are a little bit impressive. If you decide to fold both of them completely, you will obtain 95 cubic feet of cargo space which is a solid 30 more in comparison to the Dodge Journey which is a similar-sized crossover and much more in comparison with the above mentioned Flex model from Ford. The engineers over at Toyota came up with an interesting removable middle seat that can be stored into the storage bin located below the center armrest. If you decide to use the third row, you will have only 10 cubic feet to storage some of your personal belongings. 10 cubic feet means that you will have enough space to store four small bags of groceries which should be enough, but if you decide to go on a trip, the car’s passengers will have to get used to having luggage at their feet. The Honda Pilot offers 18 cubic feet while the similarly-priced Chevrolet Traverse offers 24 cubic feet of storage, but the car is significantly larger than the Highlander.

Tech-wise, the rear entertainment system is quite cool and the optional yet expensive JBL sound system will rock the cabin. As far as the navigation system is concerned, it is quite impressive visually speaking, but it can be a little bit tricky to go through the menus as you must apply a firm pressure on the screen in order to get a response.

2011 Toyota Highlander

The 2011 Toyota Highlander is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 power unit that is able to output 270 hp @ 6,200 rpm and 248 pound-feet of torque @ 4,700 rpm. The engine is linked to a 5-speed automatic transmission and if you want the 6-speed automatic, you need downgrade to the 2.7-liter engine. Although the standard transmission is not something revolutionary, it will do the job quite nicely as the gear shifts are very smooth. In addition, the suspension and the chassis will do a very good job, offering proper handling that will soak up most of the bumps we come across to in our roads. For those of you that want a more athletic driving feel, choose the Sport model.

The 4WD model is pretty good but if you want something better, get the full-time AWD version which although will cost you a little bit more, it is worth every extra penny. The Limited 4WD model will do 17 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, according to EPA ratings. If this isn’t enough for you, there is always the Hybrid version that will do 28 mpg combined, at a starting price of $37,490.

The biggest disadvantages of the car can be found inside the cabin where things haven’t changed that much in comparison to the previous generation. The car is not truly capable of offering enough space for seven passengers and the disappearing second row seat is simply too small to be somewhat comfortable on longer trips. The similar thing can be said about the third row and if both are in use, the available cargo space is not that generous as you might have expected from a vehicle of this size. Despite its flaws, the Highlander still is a very interesting crossover with plenty to offer.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Post tags: Tags: crossover, highlander, Toyota