Tag - Toyota

Driven: 2014 Toyota Prius

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I’ve admitted on these pages before to not being the World’s Greatest Hybrid Fan. Yeah, I can see their purpose, and although their net impact on global sustainability remains questionable and hotly debated, I do at least understand that a reduced dependence on fossil fuels is a goal we should all be working toward. If in the near term we accomplish that by building vehicles with battery packs that greatly reduce fuel consumption, so be it. But that still hasn’t burnished a place in my heart for the Prius as a vehicle I would recommend to my friends when they ask me, the car guy in their lives, for advice.

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Driven: 2014 Toyota Avalon Limited

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Toyota’s midsize sedans recall the old German automaker mantra of “one sausage – three lengths” – in that the platform that underpins the Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES350 makes them all essentially the same underneath, but they wear vastly different sheetmetal and appeal to different buyers. You might think I’m stretching the metaphor a bit, but hear me out: all of these cars are remarkably similar under the skin, and yet they drive, feel and look completely different. So maybe it’s not a take on the German mantra, but a Japanese one – one sushi roll, three lengths.

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Road Tested: 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited

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Though it may seem like an also-ran in a segment packed with sales heavy hitters like the Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra, Toyota still moves plenty of metal with the Tundra – about 10,000 units a month, in fact. Mazda sold about as many smiley-face 3s this year, and I see plenty of those rolling around. With a fresh redesign under their belts, Toyota corporate is probably hoping those numbers improve towards the second generation’s peak in 2007 of almost 200,000 (Toyota would like to call this revised 2014 model a new generation, but I’m sticking to my guns in calling it a 2nd-gen, given it’s mostly a fascia-and-interior reskinning).

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Road Tested: 2014 Scion tC

IMG_3910The original Scion TC came to prominence in 2005 right around the time my youthful interest in front-wheel-drive sport compacts had started to wane, so I never really gave the little hatchback much attention. I had friends that purchased and loved them for many years, but I always brushed it off as an also-ran in a sea of competent small coupes. That sea has gradually turned into a puddle, with more and more two door compacts falling by the wayside in favor of boxy hatchback shapes or proper four doors. The Chevy Cobalt, Acura RSX and Mitsubishi Eclipse have all since been put out to pasture, leaving a compact coupe buyer just a handful of options – the two-door versions of the Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte. And, of course, the refreshed 2014 TC you see here.

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