By on June 29, 2016

2012 Prius Plug In Hybrid, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Toyota will recall a total of 3.37 million vehicles to resolve two safety-related issues, one of which involves an environmental control that can quickly become very bad for the environment.

The largest of the two recalls concerns faulty side curtain airbags that could partially inflate without warning, according to the Associated Press. The issue isn’t related to the Takata airbag recall — rather, the problem stems from small cracks in some driver and passenger side airbag inflators, which can widen over time and lead to the partial inflation of the side curtain. (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2016

About the only plug-in action most Prius owners get. Picture courtesy Toyota.

Electrified transportation isn’t catching fire in the new vehicle market, but sales are positively scorching at used car lots.

The top three fastest-selling one- to three-year-old vehicles in the U.S. today aren’t pickups or SUVs, but a low-volume plug-in hybrid and two EVs, according to automotive data and research company iSeeCars.com. (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2016

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Front 3/4, Image: Toyota

In the nearly 20 years it’s been on the market, the Toyota Prius has become an icon of eco-friendly motoring. Now, Toyota wants to build on the legend with a new, more upmarket version called Prius Prime. It comes equipped with plug-in charging, but it should be much more than the previous-generation Prius Plug-In. While the Plug-In was basically nothing more than a basic Prius with a larger battery and electric plug, the Prime is supposed to add style and luxury.

(Read More…)

By on March 15, 2016

2016 Toyota Prius

Toyota is hoping to break the internet with an alluring butt shot of an upcoming Prius variant.

That, a new guy will turn around Lada (again), Buick says you’ll never drive an Avista, the second GM ignition trial begins, and Google’s got its eye out for buses … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on March 1, 2016

2012 Toyota Prius c reveal at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit January 10, 2012, Image: Joe Polimeni/Toyota

There must be something about being the world’s most powerful automaker that makes you just, you know, wanna spread some branding around like your showroom is a big slice of bread and your best-loved nameplates are just sweet, sweet chrome jelly. How else can you explain Toyota’s attempt to expand the “Prius” into a three-car lineup, in the same way that General Motors gave us a veritable squadron of Cutlasses in the early ’80s?

The original Prius, now in its fourth and most bizarre-looking iteration yet, is an unmitigated triumph that probably has more millionaire owners than the Bentley Flying Spur, but at the same time is often the car of choice for cost-conscious Midwestern families. The Prius V, on the other hand … well, let’s just say that it isn’t flying off showroom floors. The Prius C has been just as unpopular with buyers while also managing to become the subject of several negative reviews, including a one-out-of-five-star recap from Car and Driver.

“This is the perfect car for the person who doesn’t care about what, exactly, he’s driving,” quoth AutoWeek, but over the past year The Littlest Prius has become quite popular with a section of the American driving population that really cares about what they drive — because it’s how they are making a living.

(Read More…)

By on February 18, 2016

2013 Toyota Matrix, Image: Toyota

Ben writes:

Hey Bark,

I have a brother with a mechanically-healthy 2001 Toyota Camry LE four-cylinder automatic. I’m estimating it has about 180,000 miles now. He uses that car everyday — extensively on the job, and for visits to family members out of state. Mileage is piling up fast. He does have the car regularly maintained — mechanically — through a local independent technician who he trusts. Cosmetically, the car gets occasional self service, pressure-wand-and-foam-brush washes, but that’s it.

Here’s the problem: he’s a hoarder, and his car is suffering for it.

(Read More…)

By on December 9, 2015

2016ToyotaPrius_(7_of_10)

Toyota announced Wednesday it would lower its global sales goal for the 2016 Prius in light of low fuel prices curbing sales of fuel-efficent vehicles.

According to Reuters, Toyota’s new target is to move an annual average of 300,000 to 350,000 Prii out of the lot around the world, compared to the 300,000 to 400,000 annual sales average sought for the outgoing model. A company representative said a decline in global sales of the hybrid since 2013 was one of the reasons behind Toyota’s decision.

(Read More…)

By on December 9, 2015

2016ToyotaPrius_(6_of_10)

Seemingly overnight, the Toyota Prius became a victim of its own success. A frumpy, frugal automotive fringe player was suddenly a Hollywood starlet and a Conservative America villain, all at the same time.

Toyota got the message but ignored all the criticism. It didn’t matter that the seats were quasi-uncomfortable, the dash was the color of unroasted tofurkey (which I love, by the way) or that the Prius looked like a space egg on low-rolling resistance tires. An automotive icon needs less attention than a vehicle, apparently.

The last Prius came in 2009, which was timed worse than a teenage pregnancy. The world was looking at cheap gas and salivating at expensive trucks with equal amounts of cash burning through its pockets. The Prius kept pace with eco, budget buyers, but couldn’t sustain the car’s meteoric rise from the previous generation. The follow-up is the worst part. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2015

1

“Honey? I just got into an accident!” she said.

My body experienced an instant adrenaline rush as my mind wandered through the worst “what if?” possibility of that moment, something like the image above.

My wife… Hospital… Pain… Medical bills… The other driver…

“Is everyone okay?” I asked in reply.

(Read More…)

By on August 29, 2014

2012 Honda Insight greyMore than two years after American Honda last produced meaningful sales volume with its first Insight, a second Insight arrived to tackle the Toyota Prius head-on.

Only it didn’t, because it couldn’t.

The Insight’s death was reported here at the end of last month. There was no accompanying shock, surprise or horror.

Though it has competed with a much lower base MSRP than the core Prius model, the Insight is a 42 mpg car fighting against the hybrid, a 50 mpg Prius. (Read More…)

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