Not to beat a dead horse, but I get a kick out of this. I wish that the strange screenshot above were unique, but it’s just one part of Toyota’s recent string of marketing chin-scratchers.
From watching this colourful commercial (embedded below) you just get the sense that a 38-year-old marketing exec spent an entire work week on just this one doodle; working it, reworking it, and ultimately settling on a portrait that only Bob Villa’s sweet tooth could love.
To borrow liberally from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s philosophical children’s book, Le Petit Prince,
“Quand on veut un turbo, c’est la preuve qu’on exist.”
As enthusiasts, turbos are proof positive that we exist. We need little more than a glimpse at a Ferrari F40 to be reminded of this. But is a turbo enough to separate the 2012 Ford Explorer EcoBoost from the 2012 Scion iQ?
One of epistemologist Karl Popper’s (above) most valuable contributions to the philosophy of science was the notion that a theory can never actually be proven true – only false – and that this quality, what he termed falsifiability, is the single defining mark of any theory.
Popper, a former Professor at the London School of Economics, believed that one of the fundamental issues with the scientific method is the confirmation bias: that more evidence in favour of a statement or theory may increase our confidence in it, but does not prove it in any meaningful way. In other words, no matter how many times a theory is supported, one piece of contrary evidence is sufficient, as well as necessary, to unravel the whole idea; that is, to falsify it. Take the statement “All swans are white”, for example. Observing more white swans increases our confidence that the statement is true, but the observation of a single black swan, such as those seen in Australia, falsifies the statement.
This is a powerful idea and one of the most important notions of 20th century philosophy. Essentially, what we all learned in elementary school science class, that we develop a hypothesis and then conduct an experiment to either confirm or contradict the hypothesis is erroneous. We can never fully prove a hypothesis of the observable world, but we can most certainly falsify it.
Which brings us to both of today’s test vehicles. In one corner we have the stalwart of “reliability”, from the brand that practically coined the term in the modern era, the Toyota Tacoma. In the other corner we have the fresh-faced Kia Rio5, one of many in a recent string of thoroughly revamped products from the emergent manufacturer, one with little history of “reliability” to speak of.
It’s simply overwhelming. There’s too much. How can one person possible stay on top of it all the awesome car videos??
Relax. It’s ok. Just close your eyes for a moment and take a deep breath. We’ve done the work for you so pop some corn, grab a beer, and enjoy the eight must-see videos for this week. Don’t have the time right now? No worries, you’ve got all week. Bookmark it and come back when you’re ready to bask in the glory of the automobile. Enjoy!
1. Sebastian Thrun on Google’s Driverless Car:
He’s passionate, he’s persuasive, and he’s showing us a glimpse of the future. As long as there are still closed race tracks, count us in!
Faster, hairier, and louder cars are after the jump!
We created a bit of a stir on Twitter yesterday when we took a whispered guess, impolitically converted currencies, and claimed it as a fact. I mean, what’s all the fuss about? But since you’re such an educated bunch, we’re going to see if you can do better AND give you the opportunity to win some free car-related swag.
So, do you want to win a Nissan GT-R 1GB memory stick/key fob, Garant SnoFlex, or a Garant winter hat? Fuck YA you do!
All you have to do is be the closest to guess the TOTAL MSRP (that includes freight and PDI) for the Scion FR-S (NOT the Subaru BRZ, which will also be sold here), also known as the Toyota FT-86, IN CANADA and IN CANADIAN DOLLARS. We can’t emphasize the last point enough. For our international readers who are unfamiliar with the Great White North, a VW GTI starts at USD$24,465 in the States and a frankly ludicrous CDN$30,740 in Canada. No joke.
So how do you enter?
Entries can be submitted in the comment section below or by Twitter mention to @carenvy.
The contest closes when Toyota Canada sends out a press release stating the official price. The winner, the person with the closest guess, will be e-mailed for a mailing address and their choice of prize. The next closest guesser will be e-mailed and asked for their choice, and so on and so forth. Winners will have one week to reply, or the next closest guesser will be contacted.
Hopes for Toyota’s return to the sports car segment couldn’t be higher, nor the anticipation more palpable. The enthusiast community has been promised a car with a rear-wheel drive, low price, good looks, a Subaru-derived flat-four engine, low weight, and an even lower centre of gravity. Now all Toyota has to do is deliver on this insanely optimistic outlook. Thanks to the dogged determination of Toyata’s CEO and test driver Akio Toyoda, it now appears to have accomplished everything it set out to and more. Oh, except for that “low price” thing.
Dubbed the Toyota GT 86 (based on the FT-86 Concept), Toyota’s most exciting car in a generation is finally here. And the numbers are amazing:
Weight: 2,662 lbs.
Torque: 151 lb-ft
Centre of gravity: 475mm
Price tag: £28,000, or roughly $35,000 (according to autocar.co.uk), some 25% higher than anticipated!
Let’s put our special hats on – y’know, the ones with the ostrich feathers and Swarovksi sparkles all dipped in yellow gold – and play “what if”.
Car enthusiasts play this game with alarming frequency, but rarely in public. The internal machinations usually happen in the wee hours of a weekend evening, on eBay and Kijiji and after a half-glass of scotch, as we rationalize, justify, and otherwise attempt to coerce ourselves and our significant others into successively wilder purchases. But cower in darkness no more! For it’s high time that we openly share our most bizarre (and reasonable) replacements for our current transports! Ok, as you’ve probably gleaned from the title, our imaginations haven’t led us too far astray, but that’s because these are cars we’d actually buy, not just ones we’d plunk down for if we accidentally inherited the Daryl Katz fortune. And it’s not like we’re in brow-furrowing contemplation between the Corolla and the Matrix here, the 500 and CR-Z are genuinely appealing cars, at least for hatchback-loving urbanites like us.
Regardless of budget (and in fantasyland, the budgets can get pretty wacky), we all have priorities that lean us one way or another, as well as allegiances to certain brands that inadvertently blind us to huge swathes of the marketplace. Personally, we’re proponents of buying used cars so that the most aggressive years of depreciation are allowed to pass harmlessly by. That new car smell? Doesn’t smell as good as saved money smell. Since we’re looking at the used market, it’s also worth mentioning that we’re staunch advocates of mechanical and electrical reliability. No one likes unnecessary trips to the stealer dealer less than we do, so we avoid it at all costs. As such, we personally like to steer away from German cars (an air-cooled 911 is the only car with any chance of breaking that rule of thumb), most American cars, and steer towards Japanese cars. Granted, the newer domestics, particularly Fords, have come a long way in terms of quality and reliability, but none of their current offering quite have the sparkle we’d put in our garage for good. Maybe the Focus ST will change that. The Germans, on the other hand, have almost no hope of changing our perceptions at this point. There is literally nothing scarier than a 5-year-old BMW without warranty.
Since there’s not much out there in the desirable 4-5 year old bracket (unless you’ve got one?) that meets our exacting criteria for fun, reliability, fuel economy, and attractive design, we’re going to have to make do with looking a few years down the road to replace our aging Mazda Protege5. So let’s take a look at what’s on sale today that we’ll want to pick up a good deal on in a couple years.
This series of hurdles pretty much leaves us with the Fiat 500, the adorable Mexican-built city car with character in picche (that’s “spades” in Italian), and the Honda CR-Z, the sportiest hybrid around. Both of these choices are perfectly sized for urban use, fun(ish) to drive, sip fuel like a Starbucks latte, and should prove more reliable than average. But which one should we choose?