2016 Is On Track To Be The Scion Brand's Best Year Since... Oh Wait A Second

Quick trivia: what’s the fastest-growing auto brand in America?

Jeep? Land Rover? GMC? Ram? Volvo?

Year-over-year, through the first four months of 2016, sales at Scion — Toyota’s 13-year-old youth-directed brand — are up 53 percent. It’s not just recovery after a poor start to 2015. Scion is on track for its best year since 2008.

Well, Scion would be on track for U.S. sales to rise to an eight-year high if, by the end of this year, Scion still existed.

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Toyota 86 Shooting Brake Lands Down Under, Probably Won't See Light of Dealer Lots

The main complaint levied against the Toyota GT86 (and Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins) is its supposed lack of power, even though it pumps out 200 horses. Coming in at a close second on the 2+2 hatchback coupe’s complaint list is its lack of usable space.

Toyota Australia has an answer to that second concern, and it’s in the form of a Shooting Brake that looks like a Honda CR-Z after hitting up some free weights.

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Nismo Hunter: Toyota Engineer Wants a Brawnier C-HR

Why should Nissan have all the stealthy sport crossover fun?

That’s the view of Toyota C-HR chief engineer Hiroyuki Koba, who is seeking approval for a hotter version of the upcoming crossover, Autocar reports.

First teased as a Scion concept, the 2017 C-HR bowed earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, adopting a new brand name after Toyota took its youth-oriented division behind the barn for a date with death.

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Toyota Previa All-Trac

Living in Colorado, I have become something of a connoisseur of low-sales volume, all/four-wheel-drive versions of otherwise commonplace vehicles. The rarest one so far has got to be this ’87 Ford Tempo AWD, but I also have managed to find some fairly unusual All-Trac-equipped Toyota vehicles.

There’s this ’90 Camry All-Trac, a car that’s a rarity even in this state and just about unheard of anywhere else, and a few examples of the Corolla All-Trac wagon. Now we have this gleaming gold Previa All-Trac.

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Ford F-150 SuperCab Earns 'Top Safety Pick' One Year After Crashgate, Wheel Blocks Competition

The folks in Dearborn are right chuffed about the F-150’s latest crash results — so much so that they sent out embargo materials to a number of outlets, including us (thank you!), to make sure we get the story straight.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the F-150 SuperCab — in addition to the SuperCrew tested last year — is now a Top Safety Pick, when equipped with optional forward collision alert. Ford is the only brand awarded as such in the segment.

The latest round of tests comes after Ford was caught with its pants down last year. Those tests found that not all F-150s were created equal when it came to withstanding the dreaded small overlap frontal crash test.

This year, it’s more of the same — but the trucks behaving badly aren’t Fords.

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Toyota Embraces Big Data (Science), Spins Off a Company

Your vehicle’s technology is enslaving you, and Toyota wants to help you break free.

Today, Toyota has become the latest automaker to create a subsidiary tasked with generating new technology and innovation for its parent company.

Called Toyota Connected Inc., the venture is a collaboration with Microsoft that will serve as a data science and mobile technology hob for the world’s largest automaker. The plan is to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to “humanize” the driving experience and make vehicles’ high-tech abilities less intrusive and more useful.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser has been around since the Sengoku Period (OK, since 1951), and all varieties of this truck tend to have plenty of obsessively devoted single-interest fanatics here in Colorado. You’ll see the occasional FJ60 Land Cruiser in junkyards here, and I’ve even seen a well-stripped FJ40 in a Denver yard. Today’s well-thrashed Junkyard Find is the first example of an FJ55 Land Cruiser I’ve found.

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Reader Ride Review: Toyota Matrix XR (Six-Speed Conversion)

It was the winter of my friend’s discontent. The unsupported bearing shaft in his five-speed Toyota Matrix had failed. It was a common problem, since the five-speed was a deliberate customer punishment with unintended consequences on Toyota’s part. The only difference between the five-speed and six-speed transmissions in those cars was the presence or absence of the actual sixth cog. If you got a five-speed Matrix, you got the shaft (instead of the cog). What was Chris to do?

He asked me (and all of you) that question back in November, receiving about a hundred different responses. What he chose to do in the end was to replace the failed five-speed with a junkyard six-speed from a Matrix XRS. Then he drove it to central Ohio so I could check it out.

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"THAT IS AWESOOOOOOOOOO…!!!"

There are longer minivan jumps you could watch, even some with explosions, but no flying family hauler can match the poise and grace of this 1980s Toyota Tarago.

Somewhere in rural Australia — possibly near a dingo — this sturdy conveyance not only survived its flight seemingly unscathed, it probably stopped off for a case of Fosters after the jump before driving a pack of blonde teens home.

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NYIAS: Fifty-Year-Old Toyota Corolla Gets New Nose

The eleventh generation Toyota Corolla has been refreshed with a new beak-like nose, and equipped with new safety features and options. Furthermore, as the Corolla is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, a special commemorative edition has been announced.

I’ll expect to see a few of these rolling across the blocks at the Barrett-Jackson auction in 2046.

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NYIAS: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime - Eco-Warrior Goes Posh

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.

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Toyota to Offer Pre-Owned Leasing; Sensible Dreamers Rejoice

A wave of older vehicles is poised to flood Toyota dealer lots, but the automaker is confident it has just the plan to deal with it — pre-owned leasing.

Toyota is certain that adding a leasing option to its certified pre-owned inventory would boost CPO sales and clear lots in the face of a growing compliment of three-year-old product, Automotive News reports.

The plan has already been quietly rolled out in the U.S. Northeast, but a national strategy should be in place by the end of April, dependent on training in each dealer region. The option would allow a reduced commitment for buyers who don’t want to finance the full cost of a pre-owned vehicle.

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U.S. Midsize Car Sales: Most Buyers Don't Make The Obvious Choice

If your neighbor tells you they’re thinking of buying or leasing a new midsize sedan, you wouldn’t be crazy to assume that they’ve likely visited the local Toyota, Honda, and Nissan dealers.

Yet the majority of U.S. midsize car buyers do not, in fact, choose the Camry, Accord, or Altima.

Diversity wins. The dominator isn’t all-conquering.

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2017 Toyota Highlander: Start-Stop For (Almost) All

Toyota unveiled a refreshed 2017 Highlander in advance of next week’s New York International Auto Show. The only external clues appear to be a wider, deeper grille, hiding a host of mechanical and interior upgrades. A new, direct-injected 3.5 liter V6 is paired to an equally-new eight-speed automatic.

The new V6 also features a fuel-saving start-stop system on all but the “only on the lot to advertise a low lease payment” LE model.

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Toyota 86s Scion FR-S in Name Only, Gets Power Bump

Scion’s slow-selling FR-S rear-wheel-drive coupe is about to become Toyota’s slow-selling rear-wheel-drive coupe, and it will be branded with the same moniker as in many other parts of the world.

That’s right: this is the Toyota 86, also known as what it should have been named here in the first place.

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Toyota's Best-Selling Subcompact Is A Scion-Badged Mazda, Naturally

The best-selling Toyota subcompact in America is a Mexican-built Mazda that’s sold as a Scion and will soon be sold as a Toyota. It’s a car that’s already called the Yaris R in Mexico and the Yaris Sedan in Canada.

Meanwhile, Toyota’s once hot-selling subcompact, the Toyota-branded Yaris, is a hatchback imported from France that scarcely attracts any attention at all.

In between, Toyota’s actual Japanese-built Prius C is increasingly unpopular.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Toyota Corona Liftback Sedan

I have an extensive formative history with the 1965-70 (third-generation) Toyota Corona, and so I photograph them whenever I find them in junkyards. So far in this series, prior to today, we’ve seen this ’66 sedan, this ’68 sedan, this ’70 sedan, and this ’70 coupe. Much harder to find in the United States is the 1979-83 Corona, which was replaced by the Camry in the U.S. market for the 1983 model year.

Here’s an extremely rare 1980 Corona liftback that I spotted in Denver last month.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Starlet

The Toyota Starlet was sold in the United States for the 1981 through 1984 model years, though not in large numbers. It was rock-and-stick simple, had rear-wheel drive and an unkillable pushrod engine, and it got a (claimed) 54 highway mpg. But it was tiny and cramped even by Miserable Econobox standards and had to compete with the Corolla Tercel on the very same showroom floors. Since the Tercel was cheaper, roomier, more powerful (everything is relative!), and generally more modern, American Starlets were rare to start with. They have become even more rare today, as generations of wild-eyed engine-swappers tripled Starlet horsepower and stuffed the handful of remaining examples (that didn’t succumb to rust) into concrete abutments and dragstrip K-barriers.

Here’s a Colorado ’82 that is as close to being completely used up as any vehicle I have ever seen in a wrecking yard.

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2016 Geneva Motor Show - Only the Best and Brightest

The Geneva Motor Show rolls out each year much like the Academy Awards — plenty of glitz and glamour, limited diversity, and most of the attendees are from the high end of the market.

This year’s show has seen a lot of range-topping models and an underlying theme of reinvention, which isn’t surprising given the current state of flux in the automobile industry. Utility-minded body styles are continuing to draw buyers away from traditional coupes and sedans, while electricity continues to grow as an alternate propulsion form.

Geneva also serves as a launching pad for vehicles bound for the New York International Auto Show, which takes place at the end of March.

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The Fragile Second Act Of The Prius C

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.

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2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review - The Crossover Unicorn

A few short weeks ago, I was inside a very purple 2016 RAV4 marveling that Toyota’s compact crossover nearly outsells the Mazda brand. My bottom line for that RAV4 read like this:

Why are the RAV4’s sales so high when there are more fun options out there? The reasons can be found in its strong value proposition, a soft ride about which journalists often complain, included scheduled maintenance and Toyota’s reputation for reliability.

The 2016 RAV4 isn’t going to light many souls on fire, but it gives the average CUV shopper more of what they obviously want.

Except fuel economy or performance.

That’s where the first full-hybrid compact crossover since Ford abandoned the Escape Hybrid five years ago comes in.

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Aloha, Corolla: A Reunion on Hawaii

Some fans of this website might call it an econobox. Others, who obviously don’t know better, might even call it a “penalty box.” But to Aliza McKeigue, 25, the humble 2001 Toyota Corolla is a beloved companion. She refers to the car affectionately in the third person singular, feminine.

So when Aliza left Boston, Massachusetts in January 2015, for what she thought was going to be six months of WWOOFing in Hawaii (that awkward acronym stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), she left the car at the old family home with her father and brother. But she soon found herself wanting to stay indefinitely, and began considering her longer term transportation options. Among other things, she had started recycling stuff — collectable and otherwise — at a local market, a business that she calls Funky Finds. She needed a vehicle. The more she looked at local used cars, the more she wanted her Corolla.

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2016 Toyota RAV4 Review – The Soft Soft-roader

Compact crossovers are big business and the Toyota RAV4 is one of the segment’s corporate all-stars.

In 2015, the RAV4 almost outsold Mazda. I’m not talking about the RAV4 outselling the Mazda CX-5, which it did handily by over 200,000 units. No, I’m talking about the RAV4 outselling Mazda in its entirely. Everything Mazda sells. All model sales put together. The RAV4 almost outsold MAZDA.

Toyota’s fourth-generation crossover has received a nip-tuck to keep it fresh after just three model years on the market. Its lineup is bolstered this year with the addition of the new RAV4 Hybrid, which we’ll be getting our hands on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, let’s take a deep dive into the second best-selling CUV in the USA in traditional gas-burner guise.

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Digestible Collectible: 1988 Toyota Corolla FX16 GTS

It was the summer of 1990, and my mom was getting tired of her old Sentra. With barely 70 horsepower, it was lethargic on any grade. To be fair, we live in Ohio, so steep hills are not frequently encountered, but the car was not meeting her needs. I encouraged her to start shopping, and we ended up at a Toyota dealer.

While I drooled over the Celica and Corolla GT-S, mom found a light blue Corolla sedan that she fell in love with. Save for an AM/FM-cassette, it was stripped — we even had to buy an aftermarket clock! — but it had more power and room than the old Nissan. Good thing, too, as that was the summer I went from five-foot-five to six-foot-two-inches tall.

She’s on Corolla number five or six now. It may not inspire enthusiasts, but the Corolla inspires loyalty.

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Super Bowl 50 Commercials: Morning After Edition

Some automakers decided that they would surprise viewers with their Super Bowl advertisements, rather than release them early and make my job easier.

Some other advertisers decreed that #SB50 would be the night of bowel issues, or of projectile obstetrics.

Let’s discuss the car ads I didn’t cover on Saturday … I’m sure there are other blogs for that other stuff. Eww.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Toyota Corolla Station Wagon

The fourth-generation Corolla was a gigantic sales success in California, but you won’t see many of these TE72 wagons even in rust-free regions these days; nearly all of them were driven into the ground and replaced by RAV4s or Priuses a decade or two back.

Since we had wagon Junkyard Finds on Monday and Wednesday, let’s make this a Junkyard Wagon Week with this third one!

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2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Review - Take Two!

Since the introduction of its fifth generation, the Toyota 4Runner has been sold in three flavors: the base SR5, the loaded Limited, and the off-road focused Trail. But Toyota has a history of making small batches of special edition models and, for 2015, the carmaker showed off the Trail-based TRD Pro.

The TRD Pro featured unique suspension with remote reservoir Bilstein shocks and taller springs, black TRD wheels wrapped in Nitto Terra Grappler A/T tires, unique skid-plates, grille, badges, interior trim, and one special red color.

For 2016, the TRD Pro is back, and this time it’s in everyone’s favorite color: Brown Quicksand!

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Scion Monospec Strategy Continuing for 2017, Trims May Arrive for 2018

Beyond the funky metal, there’s one element that set Scion apart from its Toyota mothership: monospec pricing.

By offering up only a single trim for each models and reducing options to paint colors, transmissions and accessories, Scion was able to market its vehicles to a different audience and offer a no-haggle sales approach.

For the 2017 model year, that monospec approach will continue, but Toyota is evaluating its future. Also, Scion’s no-haggle pricing model won’t be surviving the transition to Toyota.

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OFFICIAL: Scion Is Dead, Will 'Transition to Toyota' for 2017 Model Year

Toyota officially announced Wednesday morning that Scion will “transition to Toyota,” effectively killing off the youth brand started in 2002. Its first vehicles went on sale in California in 2003, and included the xA hatchback and xB wagon.

According to a release from Toyota, Scion “is now transitioning back to the Toyota brand” and most Scion models well be rebranded as Toyotas starting August 2016 for the 2017 model year, including the forthcoming C-HR. The Scion tC will be discontinued as of August 2016.

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The History of Scion's Sales Collapse

Is Toyota about to officially murder the company’s fledgling Scion marque? If so, it will be both the exact outcome analysts and observers and fans predicted for years and a surprising turn of events.

After thriving for half a decade prior to the economic collapse, Scion’s poor performance in recent years led us to assume that Toyota would tire of the brand’s inability to turn a corner. But then Toyota finally reinvested in the brand, launching a sports car, a conventional hatchback with the iM, and a new Mazda2-based best seller, the iA.

Only months into the tenure of the two newest Scions, the cars which accounted for six in ten Scion sales in January, Toyota apparently realizes that the potential of the iA, iM, and even a C-HR crossover is insufficient. Joining Geo, Eagle, and Merkur on the scrap heap of failed auto brands launched by large automakers, Scion is killed off just when we thought Toyota had decided not to kill off Scion.

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Digestible Collectible: 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo

Based on pageviews, you guys didn’t particularly love Wednesday’s Ferrari. So, let us consider something at twenty percent of the price, but with maybe 85 percent of the performance:

Toyota MR2 Turbo: 94.5 inch wheelbase, 2,700 lbs, 200 hp
Ferrari 308 GTSi QV: 92 inch wheelbase, 2,800 lbs, 240 hp

No, I’m not kidding. I don’t have proper instrumented test data at my fingertips, but the generally-close-enough accuracy of Wikipedia for both cars tells me that the performance probably isn’t too far apart.

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2002-2015: For 14 Years The Toyota Camry Has Reigned As America's Best-Selling Car

The streak began in 2002 and remains unbroken. Yes, 2002, which began with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl and ended after George W. Bush’s GOP was strengthened during the first mid-term elections of his presidency.

The Toyota Camry was America’s best-selling car. And the Camry has topped the best-selling cars leaderboard every year since.

In 2015, the Camry’s lead over the second-ranked car grew to 66,000 units from 40,000 in 2014. As U.S. passenger car volume declined in a record-setting year for the auto industry, the Toyota Camry’s sales did not. As midsize car sales slid 2 percent, U.S. Camry volume increased to the highest level seen of America’s most popular car in seven years.

Threats to the Camry’s supremacy in 2016? They stand shoulder to shoulder with the Camry inside Toyota’s own showrooms.

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Toyota Doesn't Seem to Be All That Interested in Self-driving Autonopods

Speaking to the Automotive News World Congress on Tuesday, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz said the automaker doesn’t plan on making fully autonomous vehicles any time soon.

“We don’t see a day coming soon when you’ll just hop in the back seat, open the newspaper and scan the headlines while the car drives you to work,” Lentz said. “Instead our focus is on building cars that can actually enhance a driver’s operation of the vehicle while helping to reduce or mitigate serious and fatal accidents.”

So, how does that “driver’s” Toyota Camry sound?

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2016 Toyota Prius First Drive - Better, and That's The Point

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.

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Toyota's Online Configurator Doesn't Work How You Think It Works

We try to fact-check as much as possible during our article editing process. Such was the case this morning with Alex Dykes’ review of the newest Toyota Tacoma, and specifically the portion where he said that all manual Tacomas are paired with four-wheel drive.

There are two ways we normally check such a claim: an automaker’s media site, which provides detailed vehicle information (though not necessarily in a user-friendly format), and an automaker’s consumer-facing website, which contains all those fancy marketing words, pretty pictures and the typical “Build and Price” tool employed by virtually every full-line automaker as a way for us gearheads to waste time at our desk jobs on Friday afternoons.

However, while I was fact checking Mr. Dykes’ manual = four-wheel drive claim, the configurator said I couldn’t have a manual transmission on the Tacoma — at all.

Say what, Toyota?

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2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Review - Off-road Taco Truck [Video]

Toyota’s small trucks have long been associated with bulletproof reliability ( and occasionally militant militias). Despite the Tacoma splitting from the legendary Toyota Hilux bloodline in 1995, the Taco (as some fans refer to their trucks) has continued Toyota’s rugged and reliable image. A big factor in the Tacoma’s long-term reliability is the Toyota’s philosophy to change: it should happen slowly and only when necessary.

Although the 2016 Tacoma is dubbed an “all-new third generation,” just like we see in the Camry, large portions of the design are carried over from last year’s model. This is excellent news for some, but may come as a disappointment for others. The changes are enough to keep brand loyalists happy, radical enough to be called a re-design, but sedate enough that folks eyeing a GMC Canyon may not be swayed by the lure of Toyota’s legendary reliability.

In a nutshell, Toyota swapped in a set of tried-and-true transmissions, fitted a Lexus V-6 under the hood, tweaked the frame with stronger steel and covered the truck in new sheetmetal. On the inside, we get a new dashboard, infotainment systems from the Toyota Highlander and a steering wheel from the larger Toyota Tundra. If you’re a Taco man, that’s all you need to know before you run out and buy one. For the rest of us, click past the jump.

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Toyota Ramping Up Tacoma/Tundra Production, and There's 'Flexibility' in the Lines

Toyota’s Senior Vice President for Operations Bob Carter has been quite the chatty cathy Thursday. According to Reuters, the automaker is planning to boost production of its Tundra and Tacoma to help meet demand for trucks next year, in part, because supplies of the trucks are so low today.

Toyota has roughly 20 days supply of its Tundra and only 10 days supply of its new Tacoma, which has sold like hell since it was introduced last month.

“If you were to ask any of our U.S. dealers what they want, I’d say every one of them would say ‘More trucks,'” Carter told Reuters. Or more Tacomas?

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Toyota: The Car Sales Party Will Go On For 2 More Years

Executives at Toyota say they expect extraordinary car sales to continue for two more years — although they may not be record-breaking years — before the industry finally slows from its current pace, Bloomberg reported (via Detroit News).

Low gas prices and a better economy will lead automakers to nearly 18 million car sales this year, which could surpass the previous record of 17.4 million set in 2000.

Next year may not be as good as this year, according to Bob Carter, senior vice president of operations for Toyota in the U.S., but it could be close. Even at 17.4 million sales for 2016, industry-wide, “you’re still going to see a smile on all of our faces,” he told Bloomberg.

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Toyota, PSA Team Up For Some Euro Van Action

Toyota and PSA announced Tuesday that they would continue to build a van for European markets for light commercial and passenger duty and unveiled their newest Toyota Proace/Peugeot Traveller/Citroen SpaceTourer eggs.

The three vans, which look virtually identical short of their shades and faces, are all produced at PSA’s factory in Valenciennes, France.

While the Toyota version looks like one of those samurai crabs, it’ll likely never set foot in the U.S. and that’s a shame — commercial vans are the new hot thing for automakers, you know?

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What Is This Performance BRZ/FR-S and Where Can We Get One?

Our friends over at AutoGuide have a juicy story about a patent filing from Toyota that details a decidedly BRZ STI-looking drawing that may signal a performance variant on its way.

According to AutoGuide, the patent, which was approved in Japan, was filed by Toyota, but named Subaru-parent company Fuji Heavy Industry as its owner. The patent was approved so let’s get them on the lots already.

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Toyota To Build Next-gen RAV4 in Ontario, Other Cars To Follow?

Toyota will build the next generation RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid on its new global platform in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada near the Lexus RX in 2019, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The plant, which recently lost production of the Corolla to Mexico, would receive a significant upgrade to the Toyota New Global Architecture line that could be used to produce other cars in the future. In a statement announcing the RAV4’s production, Toyota executives touted the Cambridge and Woodstock plants as the “North American hub for sport utility vehicles.”

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Doug Drives: How the Hell Does the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Not Have Any Competitors?

I was driving along the other day and I realized something: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is currently the most popular vehicle in North America.

Okay, this might be a slight exaggeration. For instance, I am told that the bicycle is quite popular. But on a list of today’s most popular vehicles, the Highlander Hybrid is right up there with the bicycle, and the wheelchair, and that Ford pickup that sells more units in an afternoon than Ferrari sells globally in an entire calendar year.

It is very obvious to see why the Highlander Hybrid is so popular. For one thing, it’s a normal family SUV with three-row seating, which is incredibly hot right now; so hot that I am quite certain it is not actually possible to rear children in today’s society without a three-row SUV. If you showed up at a child’s birthday party in a Toyota Camry, and you had forgotten to dress your child, and you had brought the wrong child, and your child was vomiting all over everything in sight, people would not call attention to your child-related issues. They would ask: Why don’t you have a three-row SUV?

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Toyota Launches AI Efforts With $1 Billion Investment

Toyota will open a new artificial and robotics R&D company to be called Toyota Research Institute, Inc. (TRI) with an initial investment of $1 billion to open two locations in the United States, the automaker announced Friday.

TRI, which will make its headquarters in Palo Alto, California and establish another office in Cambridge, Massachusetts near MIT, will be led by Dr. Gill Pratt, a former academic in the field of engineering and program manager at DARPA.

“The investment is in addition to the $50 million investment over the next five years with MIT and Stanford to establish joint fundamental artificial intelligence research centers at each university,” said the automaker in a release.

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Ask Jack: Should This Matrix Owner Take The Blue Pill Instead?

Welcome back for another installment of “Ask Jack”, the place for you, the man on the street, to ask me, the man on the Internet, any question you like on any topic that makes its way into your mind.

Today’s question seems like a simple one: do you stay in the Matrix or not? In this case, the Matrix is a Toyota Matrix, with the all-too-common manual-transmission failure. But to properly answer the question, we’ll need to consider everything from solo ocean journeys to bad seeds in a magic bus.

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2015 Toyota Sienna AWD Drive - Three Mans And A Van

* A cautionary tale.

Traversing the [s]great[/s] state of Wyoming with hundreds of pounds of men, gear (including a Chairman Mao stencil) and snacks needs no fewer than 14 cupholders.

(Two cupholders were used for drinks, the rest were used for toy cars and various empty wrappers.)

Building a family car isn’t a trick. Rather, it’s a compromise between size and economy, comfort and capability, familiar and futuristic. Anyone can build a battleship, but moving it down the road at 25 miles per gallon requires some finesse.

This isn’t a story about the Littoral combat ship. Instead, it’s a story about three overweight men, eight hours to wonder aloud in a van in Wyoming about Nixon, road noise and absolutely no legal marijuana from Colorado crossing interstate lines. (Sorry to get your hopes up.)

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Toyota Drops New 'Back To The Future' Tacoma, We All Say 'Check Out That 4×4'

Toyota unleashed Wednesday its version of Marty McFly’s dream truck based on a 2016 Toyota Tacoma for one day only. The truck added a special paint scheme and … wait, one day only?

The trucks went on display Oct. 21 in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas before presumably bursting into flames.

At least Toyota detailed how it built the 1985-esque truck for the one day we’ll ever get to see the truck.

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Lexus Teases Coming 'Progressive Luxury' Concept Car

Lexus released Wednesday a hint of what’s to come from the automaker’s 2015 Tokyo Motor Show display. According to the automaker, Lexus will be showing their “vision of progressive luxury” — which is vague-booking at its finest.

Although many believe the concept will be the automaker’s next-generation LS — which is certainly plausible considering Mercedes-Benz S Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, et al. — it could be something different; Lexus has the Mirai and new Prius (aka CT) to play with from Toyota.

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TTAC on The Trading Floor: Ferrari Good, Tesla Bad*

According to The Truth About Cars’ stock exchange bureau chief, Ferrari is good and Tesla is bad today.*

Tesla shares have dropped 10 percent on news today that Consumer Reports would pull its “Recommended” rating from the Model S because of concerns about the car’s reliability. That’s bad.

Also, initial shares of supercar-maker Ferrari may be going for more than expected due to the stock’s appeal on office walls and potential value people may find in owning another Ferrari-branded item beyond overpriced shirts.

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Toyota to Show Production C-HR in Geneva, Will Scion Show Theirs in New York?

If history is any indication, North American consumers may get their first look at the Scion C-HR at the New York Auto Show in April 2016.

Autoblog confirmed Tuesday that Toyota would show off its production-ready cute ‘ute next March at the Geneva Auto Show. Last month, Scion teased a concept it would be showing in Los Angeles next month, widely considered to be the C-HR in Scion clothes. Both announcements may mean that the C-HR is following a pattern started by the Scion iM.

In 2014, Scion showed off an “iM Concept” in Los Angeles before taking the wraps off the production version in April 2015 at the New York Auto Show.

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Toyota, Honda Dominate List of Cars Kept for More Than 10 Years

Nearly 30 percent of buyers who purchase a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Prius car will keep that car for more than 10 years, according to data from iSeeCars.com.

Data from 400,000 car purchases was analyzed for the poll, according to the study group. The industry average for owners keeping their cars 10 years or longer was 13.5 percent.

Of those top 15 vehicles whose buyers keep them longer than a decade, nine of them were Toyotas; 5 were made by Honda. The Honda CR-V was tops at 28.6 percent of buyers who kept that car for 10 years or more.

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Toyota Banks on Hydrogen - Not EV - For Future Power

Toyota officials insisted Wednesday that its hydrogen-powered cars, such as the Mirai, will comprise up to 30,000 sales by 2020, and will help the automaker eventually reduce emissions from cars it produces by 90 percent by 2050.

The Associated Press ( via Detroit News) reported that the automaker said it would work with investors and governments to deliver on its promise of producing only a small number of gasoline-powered cars for small countries in 35 years.

“You may think 35 years is a long time. But for an automaker to envision all combustion engines as gone is pretty extraordinary,” Senior Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise said, according to the AP.

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Why Is The Most Popular Truck in the Middle East Used by Terrorists?

(Probably because it’s the most popular truck.)

Automotive News reported that Toyota is cooperating with U.S. authorities in uncovering why members of the terrorist group ISIS seem to be so fond of Toyota Hiluxes and Land Cruisers, which consistently rank among the top 5 best-selling vehicles for many Middle Eastern countries, prompted by an investigation* by ABC News.

The automaker said the company forbids directly selling cars to paramilitary or terrorist organizations because of course it does. The company said it would be impossible to control indirect or illegal sales to terrorist organizations because of course it is.

ABC News hasn’t reached out to Ford to see how it controls sales of F-150 trucks to American drug cartels.

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Is This Scion's First Crossover?

Scion, Toyota’s “youth” brand, released the above teaser image Tuesday morning along with a brief press release stating their third all-new vehicle will be displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show this November.

Is this the Toyota CH-R in Scion drag? It very much looks to be.

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2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro - Mix to Match

2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

4-liter, DOHC V-6 with variable-valve timing (236 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm; 266 pound-feet @ 4,000 rpm)

5-speed ECT-i automatic

16 mpg city/21 mpg highway (EPA Rating, MPG)

17 mpg combined (observed, 40 percent highway/20 percent city/40 percent off road/100 percent totally bruh!)

Tested Options: TRD Performance Air Filter $90; Bed Mat $120; Paint Protection Film $395; Security System $469; Front Skid Plate $205.

Base Price:
$38,300*
As Tested Price:
$39,579*

* Prices include $885 destination and handling fee.

Forgive me for getting all emotional here.

The 2015 Toyota Tacoma represents to me the end of the road for the truck I knew so well, complete with a growl more familiar to me than my own father’s voice. Like many mountain-state millennials, the Tacoma seemed for me to be just the right size for a party in the mountains, a last-minute move (or eviction, perhaps), a camping trip or hauling an over-welded pig smoker and cherry picker to a friend’s backyard.

I expected the 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro to be a greatest hits album, replaying the most successful tunes from my young adulthood through its chunky tires and searing orange paint package.

It turned out to be more of a remix.

When I had the chance to drive the all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma and the 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro back-to-back, I presumed that I’d get misty-eyed and nostalgic for one; geezerly and cynical for another.

In a way, I am. The TRD Pro feels like a rough-and-tumble truck, the kind of burnt orange brick to throttle through your neighbor’s window if they call the cops too many times for loud music. The 2016 Tacoma has a 3.5-liter engine like a Camry for chrissakes.

I just didn’t count on the fact that I grew up.

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Attention Californians: Here's Your 2016 Toyota Prius

The next-generation Toyota Prius, set to be revealed on September 8 in Las Vegas, has been caught without camouflage as it sits in what looks to be an aircraft hold.

The undisputed hybrid sales leader picks up numerous design cues from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, including its swept-back headlights and triangular fog light pods.

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Toyota Wants $500 From Canadian Owners To Fix Odometers (Video)

Owners of some Toyota cars in Canada say that the Japanese automaker is asking them to foot the bill for replacement odometers due to a glitch that won’t allow the gauges to roll over after 299,999 kilometers, CTV is reporting ( via AutoFocus).

The glitchy odometers are found in 2003-2008 Toyota Matrix and Corolla models, and some 2004 and 2005 Toyota Prius models.

There are a few videos on YouTube of people expecting to hit 300,000, but they never do.

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Toyota Asking Dealers To Stop Advertising Below Invoice, World Not Over Yet

At an upcoming dealer meeting in Las Vegas next month, Toyota will ask its dealers to stop advertising cars below invoice in an attempt to help keep residual values higher and keep dealers from competing in a “race to the bottom,” Automotive News is reporting.

If accepted, Toyota would join Honda in penalizing dealers who advertise cars below invoice. According to the report, after three reported violations in one year, Honda could withhold marketing money from a dealer — which could be $400 per vehicle. It’s unclear how Toyota may penalize its dealers who don’t comply with the proposed new rule.

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New Prius Will Be Shown Next Month in Las Vegas

Toyota’s next-generation Prius, which will be the first use of the automaker’s new global platform, will be shown to media in Las Vegas next month, Bloomberg is reporting (via Autoblog).

The report doesn’t specify when the automaker would build the next-gen Prius, or why it chose southern Nevada in the summertime for its reveal (Tesla speculation starts now).

Sales of the Prius have declined since 2007 and 2008 when average gas prices in the U.S. hovered around $4 per gallon. Toyota hasn’t fully updated the Prius since 2009, with a mild refresh gracing the hybrid in 2011.

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Toyota Confirms New Land Cruiser for US

Toyota’s facelifted Land Cruiser will reach American shores, the automaker confirmed Tuesday. Toyota lifted the cover off the SUV yesterday in Japan and we reported that Toyota would tell us the same today.

(Oi. We should have stretched before patting ourselves on the back like that.)

The updated Land Cruiser will still sport a 5.7-liter V-8 that produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The engine will now be married to Toyota’s eight-speed automatic (the first Toyota-branded vehicle on our shores to use the gearbox) but oddly, mileage doesn’t improve beyond 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway/15 mpg combined, which were the numbers for this year’s six-speed box.

Toyota’s announcement also includes one of the best lines in press release history:

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Chart Of The Day: Honda Odyssey Puts An End To Toyota Sienna's Best Seller Streak

Not since January of last year had the Honda Odyssey finished a month as America’s top-selling minivan. Indeed, not since October of last year had the Toyota Sienna not been America’s best-selling minivan.

But in July 2015, Odyssey sales jumped 18 percent, year-over-year, enough to overtake the Sienna on a monthly basis.

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  • Chris P Bacon It would be really nice if car sites like TTAC helped people find way to avoid these prices. It seems like stories like these just say "suck it up and pay the markup". No. In many cases, you don't have to. I just ordered a Wrangler 4xe and got Chrysler Affiliates price. That 1% under invoice. I know this is the price I got because I sat at the computer in the dealer's showroom and build the Jeep. i got Chrysler Affiliate pricing through my employer. Your employer doesn't offer it? Join treadlightly.org. For $100 membership, guess what? You get Chrysler Affiliate pricing! Want a Ford, but think you can't get X-Plan? Think again! Join EAA.org. X-Plan is included with their membership. A dealer in my area is offering Costco members a $1500 incentive. I'm guessing that has something to do with Costco's car buying service, so there must be some value to be found in that program.Will all dealers honor these discount plans? No. Then that's not the dealer you want to work with anyway. Find another place to shop. It would be nice if TTAC (or any car site) did a little leg work to show readers how to actually save on a car purchase.
  • KOKing I car-sat an A32 while its owner was out of the country, and the then whiz-bang VQ motor was great, but the rest of it wasn't any better than a XV10 or XV20. Definitely the start of its downward slide, unfortunately.
  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.