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Posts Tagged ‘Toyota’

Are There Any Bad Cars Left? Kia tops J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

June 28th, 2016

2017 Kia Sportage EX EX

If there’s one piece of advice I find myself sanctimoniously preaching to prospective car shoppers, it’s this: There’s no such thing as a bad car anymore.

Long, long ago, in the early 1990s, Kia Motors expanded to the United States, bringing with it little economical runabouts like the Sephia sedan and the Sportage crossover. There was just one problem: These cars weren’t exactly what we’d describe as “good.” Sub-100-hp engines, crude transmissions, and interiors featuring more plastics than Mean Girls. The little Sephia couldn’t even deliver great fuel economy, barely eking out 27 mpg highway with its automatic transmission. A ‘94 Ford Escort could manage 5 mpg better with nearly identical power specs.

But oh, how times have changed. Despite a poor first impression, Kia has emerged as a shining example of the fact that there really are no more “bad” cars. Every year, J.D. Power conducts its Initial Quality Study, wherein car owners are surveyed to determine which vehicles deliver the best experience within the first 90 days. By placing first on J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study, Kia earned the honor of being the first non-premium brand in 27 years to take home Gold.

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Buyers Want Used Cars That Will Last a Decade

June 2nd, 2016

1970_ford_bronco-pic-52750-640x480There’s an interesting quirk happening in used car buying that could affect new car sales for years to come. Almost half of all buyers want the car they buy to last at least 10 years.

The survey from AutoMD.com showed the majority of buyers are thinking pre-owned, or what we mortals would call used cars, crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. Price was the most important factor, but so was making sure the car would last a decade.

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The Intersection of Technology and Design Isn’t Boring

May 19th, 2016
Toyota's FCV Plus concept

Toyota’s FCV Plus concept

On May 26, the New England Motor Press Association, of which some of us here at CarGurus are members, will host a conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the theme Technology Intersecting Design. It may sound like a boring topic, but as you’ll see, it’s a compelling one.

The NEMPA conference will include prominent industry figures like Timothy Anness, head of advance design, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – North America; Mary Gustanski, vice president of engineering, Delphi; Michelle Tolini Finamore, curator of fashion arts at the (Boston) Museum of Fine Arts; Dr. Gill Pratt – CEO, Toyota Research Institute; and John J. Leonard, professor of mechanical and ocean engineering at MIT.

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More Than Just a Refresh: Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma Impressions

November 6th, 2015

2016 Toyota Tacoma 2662350292231816912-640x480

The return to availability of GM’s Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon last year gave the midsize pickup market a shot in the arm. Long a staple in what’s now one of the fastest-growing segments in the auto business, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma suddenly looked outdated. For 2016, it had to be more efficient, more comfortable, and more refined.

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Toyota Goes Back to the Future for New Concept

October 26th, 2015

2016-Toyota-Tacoma-Back-to-the-Future-front

I realize that everyone is probably worn out on the whole Back to the Future thing. This, though, merits a mention because it’s arguably a major reason why a popular truck became so successful.

The infamous day when Marty McFly and Doc Brown flew into 2015 and wreaked havoc on the past happened last week. Bloggers and Facebookers everywhere spent the day bemoaning the lack of hoverboards, while actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd made the rounds on the talk show circuit.

One of my fondest memories from the trilogy was Marty’s black 1985 Toyota 4×4 truck, which led to my eventual purchase of a similar truck. Last week Toyota announced a modern take on the classic truck, but does is it hold up to the original?

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Here Comes Tesla’s Competition

March 28th, 2014

Commuter Cars Tango and George Clooney

When you think of electric cars, the first maker to come to mind is probably Tesla. The company has done an amazing job branding itself as the leader in vehicles powered by electrons. With sexy car designs, lots of media coverage and a personable-yet-eccentric CEO, Tesla has become the gold standard in electric vehicles.

That doesn’t mean Tesla is alone, though.

Other carmakers build and sell vehicles that use alternative fuels, and there’s no way the legacy automakers are going to sit down and watch Tesla silently drive into the sunset with all the cash.

From the big boys to some small guys with big ideas, it seems EVs are here to stay. Keep reading for some interesting competitors Tesla may face.

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The Toyota Models That Should Go

December 27th, 2013

2014-Scion FR-S

Toyota makes some weird cars.

In an effort to dominate the world, the automaker has covered just about every segment with the exception of supercars. Come to think of it, it’s entered those exclusive ranks as well with the Lexus LFA.

From entry-level basic transportation to 4-wheel-drive off-roaders to luxury cruisers and everything in between, Toyota has a vehicle to meet the needs and wants of every human on Earth.

For now, at least.

According an article at WardsAuto, Toyota will streamline its product offerings and discontinue some models.

Keep reading for the list of cars Toyota should axe.

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New Car Shortage! Real or Imagined?

September 5th, 2013

2014 Honda Accord

Remember when Twinkies went extinct? There was a mass panic, and stores sold out immediately when news broke that the spongy yellow cake was about to be gone forever.

Fast forward to last weekend and I’m at a convenience store somewhere in the middle of Oregon, and there’s a stack of Twinkies at the cash register, with a label on the packaging that said something like, “Best comeback story ever.”

Right. Anyone else think the Twinkie panic was nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell more Twinkies?

I feel something similar might be happening in the auto industry at this very moment.

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No More Made-In-Japan Toyota Vehicles in the United States?

January 22nd, 2013
Toyota Corolla Furia concept

Toyota Furia concept

“Made in Japan” is a stamp of honor worn by many Toyota vehicles in the United States. For decades, vehicles built in the Land of the Rising Sun were synonymous with quality and known for exceptional build quality. That’s still true today, but a future is in sight when all Toyota cars sold here in the U.S. will have also been built in North America.

What would that mean for the definition of a “domestic car”? Would Toyota’s reputation for quality remain as strong?

This is nowhere near a done deal, but considering the vast majority of Toyotas sold here are already built here, it’s a possibility that should be taken seriously.

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Cars Coming Soon: A Silent But Raging Return for Toyota Performance

November 15th, 2012
Toyota Supra

The next Toyota Supra?

You might want to begin thanking everyone who bought a new Scion FR-S.

Because of the success of Toyota’s new little sports car, the company is considering bringing back the vaunted MR2 and Supra names. Yes, these rumors have been floated before, but now that Toyota has confirmed the public’s thirst for its performance offerings, there will probably be more on the way.

This possibility was mentioned in yesterday’s Car of the Year post, but since then a little more info has surfaced. Not all of it good.

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