Post Tagged with: "Toyota"
Electric cars are being hailed as the future. No, it’s not 1901, but 2011. Over a century ago, gas-powered cars fought for early adopters of horseless carriage technology against electric-powered cars. Yes, what’s old is new again. Except gas won last time. Now, it’s all a bit murky.
Half-upstart/half-vapourware shillers like Tesla and Fisker, as well as old guards like Morgan, are tripping over themselves to electrify your driveway. Despite compromises such as limited range, heavy batteries, and tortuous charge times, car makers (with a little nudge from government regulators) aspire to wean us off petroleum and reduce the carbon emissions from our tailpipes.
And it’s easy to see why. It’s where the money is. Governments are investing in the crucial infrastructure needed to charge the hobbled beasts by installing electric charging points and giving out massive loans to companies who promise to build electric cars in their country. The government has picked a side, which means that you will too.
But there are alternatives, and not just corn-based ethanol – that grotesque shell game that subsidizes American farmers so that they can grow fuel that would otherwise make perfectly good food – but Hydrogen. Yes, it’s a bit combustible (see Hindenburg) and it requires extremely high pressures to be kept stable, but it also allows for refuelling in 5 minutes, a lot less than the 5 hours an electric car currently needs. If Hydrogen received the same kind of government support, it could prove to be a more viable alternative to plug-in electric power. The only way to find out is to invest. Just like these companies are…+Continue Reading
by Lucas Elke
In 2008, when the Canadian and United States governments announced a $17.4 billion USD bailout plan for their respective auto sectors, many people were furious. Why would the government provide handouts to help save companies who simply produce cars? Then, when the governments responded to the criticism their answer was annoyingly simple: “These companies are too big and too important to lose”. Well, that simple response got me thinking (albeit three years late) – “Just how big and important are these auto manufacturers?” After a bit of research, I found out.
The answer: Absolutely huge!+Continue Reading
Ignore the blue squares. Look at the blue sky.
Once upon a time, (an opening line used with disparaging infrequency in car reviews) every manufacturer had their own unique methodology of controlling a vehicle’s functions. Some would have the gearshift located outboard, some would have a clutch to the right of the gas pedal, others would have a hand-controlled braking mechanism.
It’s been said before, but we take for granted the familiarity that’s present when we sink into the seat of a new car. We end up nitpicking more than our fair share because the foundations are so similar. Even if the pedals might be offset one way or another, the seat is perched up a little too much, or the armrests aren’t comfortably placed, the way that the driver directs the car to speed up, slow down, and turn side-to-side uses the same physical actions regardless of manufacturer or country of origin.
But that concrete was poured years ago, long before the advent of the Internet, which for many is as far as memory serves. Today, there are enough whozits and whatzits in your average car to make Ariel turn the colour of her underwater hair in utter bafflement.+Continue Reading
It’s been said, mostly by mothers, that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So I’ll keep this as brief as possible.
The Scion xD is a compact hatchback marketed at youngins like me, not unlike the Ford Fiesta I reviewed on these pages last fall. Scion is new to Canada for the 2012 model year, having briefly succeeded but recently languished in the American market, where it was introduced in 2002.
Scion, for the uninitiated, is Toyota’s “youf” brand aimed at hip young urbanites that are into vehicle customization and, apparently, marketing jazz. It’s Toyota’s answer to the Mini, the car that really jump started the small, funky, personalizable segment. The first generation xB 5-door hatchback, which you’ve probably seen in Canada as a grey-market import, was an endearingly boxy little runabout that exuded confidence and made the Nissan Cube look like it was trying too hard. The xB was everything that Toyota wanted Scion to be, and more. In the US, it was a smashing sales success. So much so that Toyota’s plans to refresh the vehicle every year to keep it plucky and crisp were back-burnered almost immediately. Instead, Toyota rode the wave of success before eventually messing with the formula in the worst way possible, resulting in this, the Scion xD: successor to the xB’s stablemate, the xA. Whereas the first generation xA and xB were immediately distinguishable, the new xB and xD can easily confuse even a discerning eye.
Previously only sold in the US, Canadians are now offered all three of Scion’s second-generation vehicles, including the xB hatchback and tC two-door coupe.+Continue Reading
Oh, and about $130,000.
Toyota left Formula 1 after the 2008 season, but it appears that still have an eye on the pinnacle of open cockpit racing. Although 3 years removed from the action, the 10-year investment Toyota made is only now bearing fruit. The Lexus LFA, which is just reaching customers, is the best example of their F1 expenditures to date. But F1 continues to inspire the number one automaker in the world with the FR-S.+Continue Reading
It couldn’t have been planned more perfectly. The seemingly preordained coordination of events resolved themselves better than the masses who flock to fitness centres in January. Just as dozens of centimetres of snow were tumbling their way down from grey skies, a Toyota with 4WD arrived at my doorstep. What better to tackle the unplowed residential roads of downtown Edmonton than a vehicle with true 4WD, not just AWD, from a notoriously reliable automaker? Clearly, Neptune had aligned with Orion’s Belt in the Third Sphere.+Continue Reading
In what seems to be a theme, Toyota is halting sales of the popular Lexus GX 460 due to what Consumer Reports deems a Don’t Buy: Safety Risk. This isn’t a rating they bestow lightly, or often.
Follow the jump for more.+Continue Reading