2012: Year Of The Mediocre Redesign

I recently rented a midsize sedan from Hertz. Hoping for a go in the latest Fusion, I was instead placed into a new Camry, though it may have been a 2007 Camry. Differences between the two are only discernible to Toyota engineers, though a new campaign gives dealers the ability to tell them apart using a VIN decoder and a magnifying glass.

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Hammer Time: Feeling Blandy

Sometimes there is no point in buying new.

Case in point? Well consider the folks who are the anti-enthusiasts. The ones who look at cars as rolling spreadsheets where the owner simply needs to divine the biggest bang for the buck.

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No More Vanilla! Toyota Promises Pistachio

Toyota has a new global styling chief that makes heads turn in Aichi and Bunkyo, even before he has shown a rough design: “Eeeh? Look at that shirt! And did you see the gold chain???” Or as Frau Schmitto-san, TTAC’s advisor in multicultural matters exclaimed: “Global styling? He needs to style his hair!” It takes a lot to shake up Toyota’s culture, and Akihiro “Dezi” Nagaya has what it takes.

Charged with putting an end to the long tradition of conservative design, Dezi Nagaya definitely looks the part. According to Automotive News [sub], he “dresses like he’s on his way to a trendy Shibuya nightclub rather than off to work at Toyota.”

Cornered at the Frankfurt Auto Show (even there he stood out), Toyota’s new head of styling promised:

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  • Inside Looking Out The next 4Runner will be BEV.
  • The Oracle This is a proper Italian red sauce turd.
  • Carson D This isn't a notice of a wait time for 4Runner fans. This is a deadline for the opportunity to buy one new before they're gone. Whatever comes next, there is no possible way that it will be as good at doing 4Runner things as what is available today.
  • Bkojote There's a lot "just right" with the current 4Runner, and having spent time in more contemporary equivalents for road trips, I completely understand why they sell a ton of these.Here's some topics that aren't super common among 4runner owners - excessive carbon buildup in the engine after 40,000 miles (Audi/VW), bent valves (Bronco) , failed oil coolers (Jeep), cracked engine blocks (Jeep), dead vehicles from OTA updates (Chevy Colorado), being stranded due to opening the door too many times (Defender), malfunctioning engine sensors (Defender, VW), dead batteries due to electrical system malfunctions (Jeep), unusable defoggers (Jeep), waiting for seat heaters to boot up (Subaru), randomly catching fire (Kia/Hyundai), crappy build quality (Ford, Tesla).The interior feels solid and rattle free, and everything feels substantial in the way a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Kia Telluride does not. 14 year run means accessories are plentiful and well sorted. The control inputs from the radio to heated seats to climate control work better than 99% of the cars you can buy new at this point and are dead simple and ergonomically satisfying. Even dynamically (I drove a model with the KDSS system to be fair) it is a surprisingly composed vehicle on mountain roads- it's far more civilized than a Bronco or Wrangler, and hell, it was far more pleasant than the past two peastant-grade Benz crapmobiles I've been in.So I get it- car journalist rags whine about how overly complicated and tech-heavy modern vehicles are while their substance is cost cut, but here's the literal definition of 'don't fix it if it aint broken.' . It's a trusty Ford Econoline in a world of craptastic Ram ProMasters.
  • Frank Sounds like they dont want to debut it at the same time as the new Land Cruiser, which is probably smart. The new 'runner is ready to go I am told, so there's a reason for this delay.