Just Car Blog
|Could Honda’s EV-STER Concept Become A Tesla For The Masses?||
One of the highlights of this week’s Tokyo Motor Show is the debut of the Honda EV-STER electric roadster concept. Bold styling sets the EV-STER apart from the rest of the Honda lineup, and it may be an indication that Honda is listening to critics who find its current product line boring and uninspired.
Honda isn’t saying that the EV-STER will definitely be built, but it would keep with the company’s goal of being a “green” automaker. According to the details published by Honda, the EV-STER is rear drive (and, presumably, rear-motor), uses carbon materials to reduce weight and has a maximum range of nearly 100 miles on a charge. Honda claims the EV-STER will hit 37 miles per hour (60 km/h) in five seconds, before topping out at a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour. The 10 kW lithium-ion batteries can be recharged in less than 6 hours on household current, or less than 3 hours on 240V.
While the performance may not be enough to attract those who favor speed over saving the planet, it’s a starting point. If the EV-STER is built, tuners will find a way to add more powerful motors, hack the controller to send more voltage to the motors and even find ways to add additional batteries for more power or increased range. Tuning is tuning, regardless of whether you’re talking about an electric motor or an internal combustion engine.
If Honda builds the EV-STER, it has to be priced attractively (say, below $30k) and it has to handle like a true sports car. The CR-Z “sports hybrid” proved that very few buyers want a car that’s neither fast enough to be entertaining nor fuel-efficient enough to be green, and Honda can’t afford to make the same mistake twice.
|2012 Kia Forte Koup SX Review & Test Drive||
‘A PERFECT BLEND OF COMFORT, PERFORMANCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY FEATURES’
The 2011 Kia Forte Koup SX is a seamless blend of world-class design, fun-to-drive performance, fuel efficiency and a long list of standard safety and technology features.
The Forte Koup surrounds the driver and front passenger with the latest in must-have technology with Bluetooth wireless connectivity and steering wheel-mounted controls that enable voice-activated hands-free operation for compatible cell phones. For listening convenience, USB and auxiliary input jacks offer full iPod and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit or the standard steering wheel-mounted audio controls. A six-speaker AM-FM-CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with Sirius XM satellite radio capability also comes standard, while speaker lights that can either pulse to the best of the music or simply add mood lighting enhance the personal-lounge feeling of the interior.
Forte Koup’s SX fluid lines and balanced proportions offer a refined and athletic stance with wrap-around headlamps, front lip spoiler, aggressive air intakes, gloss-black front fascia accents at the lower air-intake, foglamps and the signature Kia grille, and a low, sleek profile with swept-back A-pillars, fender stuffing grey-colored 17X7.5 inch alloy wheels wrapped with Goodyear 215/45R17 inch LS performance tires, low side extensions, power heated side mirrors, and chrome pull-out door handles.
Koup offers a muscular yet sophisticated design, and even from the rear, the two-door coupe exudes attitude with slim, LED wrapped taillamps, chrome dual exhaust tips gathered together and a working rear diffuser in a black shroud. No other compact coupe on the road looks like this sporty model.
Riding on the same 104.3 inch wheelbase as its sedan and hatchback siblings, Forte Koup provides comfortable seating for up to five passengers with an overall length of 176.4 inches, an overall width of 69.5 inches and an overall height of just 55.1 inches, making it 2.4 inches lower, 2 inches shorter and 0.4 inches narrower than the sedan. With a front lip spoiler, under floor airflow deflectors ahead of all four wheels, an engine bay cover and a lowered stance the Koup cuts through the air with a highly competitive coefficient of drag of just 0.31 and an aerodynamic lift coefficient of just 0.21, enhancing stability and providing a smoother ride at higher speeds.
The two door’s high torsional stiffness gives Forte Koup responsive handling, a smoother ride and improved refinement over the competition. The Koup SX that I tested is built on a lightweight, steel hydro-formed subframe featuring a sport-tuned front MacPherson independent suspension including coil springs, monotube shocks and a stabilizer bar. The rear torsion-beam setup includes coil springs, monotube shocks and a stabilizer bar to provide a firmer ride with reduced body roll and improved handling when cornering.
An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack & pinion steering system and smart front suspension design add the finishing touches to the robust, finely tuned steering and suspension package while providing a highly competitive turning circle of just 33.9 feet.
Additional refinements are utilized throughout the vehicle to help ensure a comfortable ride while significantly reducing noise, vibration and harshness. Additionally, all-new noise-inhibiting materials are used in the engine bay bulkhead and rear parcel shelf, including the injection of sound-dampening foam into hollow sections of the bodyshell at strategic noise-transference points, as well as improved door and window seals. The Koup SX is fun and easy to drive whether you are just taking care of personal errands, long strips or when exercising the car on the back roads.
Powering the front wheels on the Koup SX is a 2.4 liter all-aluminum four-cylinder engine with CVVT that pumps out a healthy 173hp at 6,000rpm and 168hp at 4,000rpm. Two transmissions are available for the Koup, an efficient standard six-speed manual transmission that is silky smooth, or an optional electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shifting via the stick or through the steering column mounted paddle shifters. The Koup SX blasts out to 60mph from a standstill in just 7.0 seconds while returning an excellent EPA mileage spec of 23mpg/city and 31mpg/highway.
Big, four-wheel power assisted steel disc brakes help slow the Koup SX down from speed. Up front are 11.8 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers while 10.3 inch solid discs are clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear. Keeping you in control during severe braking or when braking on wet or slick pavement are standard ABS, BA, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control.
Inside, Koup SX provides a spacious 90.7 cu.ft. of interior volume, a surprisingly roomy interior for a two-door coupe. Driver and front passenger have an impressive 38.7 inches of headroom and 43.6 inches of legroom and 35.3 inches of headroom and 33.9 inches of legroom in the rear seats. With 12.6 cu.ft. of cargo space daily trips and weekend getaways area breeze. The 60/40 split folding rear seats that fold nearly flat, extend the available amount of cargo space even further to 53.4 cu.ft.
Standard equipment inside the SX includes supportive, nicely appointed sport bucket seat up front with extra side bolstering and seatback, A/C power windows, door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted buttons, a driver’s seat height adjuster, adjustable rear seat headrests, a tilt/telescoping leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, rear defroster, center console with dual cupholders and storage area, dual map lights with ceiling-mounted drop-down sunglass holder, variable intermittent wipers/washers, paddle shifters, auto headlamps, red stitching on seats, metal foot pedals, and metallic finish trim on the dashboard, shifter bezel and doors.
The SX gauge cluster is a Supervision style with trip computer, a red-hued glow and message display shown at the bottom of the cluster. The display includes information such as outside temperature, distance to empty, engine coolant temperature, elapsed time, door-open alert, fuel consumption, average and instantaneous miles-per-gallon readings.
Key options include a leather package for the seats with heated buckets up front, a navigation system, automatic climate control, push button start with smart key and power sunroof.
Forte Koup SX standard safety features include front active headrests, dual advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, side impact door beams, front and rear crumple zones, 3-point safety belts for all seating positions with front pretensioners/load limiters, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The 2012 Kia Forte SX is one of the best compact, two-door coupes on the market with unique good looks, excellent performance, comfortable and roomy interior with the latest in creature comforts, personal infotainment and safety systems.
- Price: Base Kia Forte Koup SX $18,600
- Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4 cylinder 173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm / 168 ft-lbs. torque @ 4000 rpm
- Headroom: f/r-38.7in/35.3in
- Legroom: f/r-43.6in/33.9in
- Track: f/r-61.4/61.6in.
- Ground clearance: 5.5in.
- EPA mileage est.: 22mpg city / 32mpg highway
- Fuel tank: 13.7 gallons
- Turning circle: 35.4 ft.
- Curb weight: 2,891lbs.
- 0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
|New Subaru BRZ In-Motion Video||
So far one of the many highlights at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show remains to be Toyota and Subaru taking the wraps off of the long-awaited GT 86 (FT-86) and the Subaru BRZ sibling. Lately, an onslaught of new photos and videos has been released showcasing these two new rear-wheel-drive boxer engine lightweight hotties. One video that shows more details of the Subaru BRZ has been released by Subaru giving us a glance at many new angles and interior shots while the BRZ is rolling down the road and on track. Hit up the jump below to check it out.
|2012 Buick Enclave Review & Test Drive||
It has been said many times as of late by automotive journalists that Buick is no longer your grandparent’s car. That sentiment holds true across the full line of Buick cars and their one and only luxury crossover, the 2012 Buick Enclave. The new Buick Enclave, first introduced in 2008, continues to lead its segment for having exceptional attention to detail and class-leading interior space all for a competitive price.
For 2012 the all-new Buick Enclave received only minor updates remaining mostly unchanged. The luxury crossover segment has found its way into the hearts of many families under the scrutiny of providing exceptional fuel economy, comfort, and ease of drivability. These qualities shine bright in the new 2012 Buick Enclave. The new Enclave has been refined to give all passengers the serenity of a quiet cabin and several standard luxury amenities.
The 3.6-liter V6 engine with variable valve timing is an efficient powermill pumping out 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. As standard equipment, power is directed through a smooth-shifting V6 engine to the front wheels. An optional all-wheel-drive package, as found on my test vehicle, can be had with a trailering package giving the Enclave the ability to tow up to 4,500 pounds. Over-all, the new Enclave is just as easy to drive as a mid-sized sedan.
Power delivery becomes very predictable after spending a few minutes behind the wheel of the new 2012 Enclave. Steering weight and response is somewhat numb becoming light to the touch at times but proves to be manageable even when traveling at highway speeds. The suspension is well dampened but is inclined to be a little soft for the common automotive enthusiasts’ taste. Although, Buick has still attempted to keep a far distance from “the grandparents vehicle” nomenclature by keeping general ride disciplined when performance is demanded. The large 20-inch wheels equipped on my test vehicle help compensate for the Enclaves lack of lateral enthusiasm. All other trim levels of the Enclave come standard with 19-inch wheels. Surprisingly the ride quality is not compromised by the larger 20-inch wheels and tires. As a whole, the ride quality is good and not overly “floaty”.
Exterior styling of the Enclave heads in a different direction than its close Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia siblings of which the Enclave shares the same chassis. If anything, the exterior can be described as contemporary and sophisticated through clever design. In Buicks case, the clever design aesthetic is mostly obtained through years of GM’s experience in building SUV vehicles that all share virtually identical chassis.
The 2012 Enclave is available in three trim groups, Base, Convenience Group, Leather Group and the top-of-the-line Premium Group. My Premium Group test vehicle was loaded up with several options including GPS navigation, 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, power sunroof, and rear-seat DVD entertainment system. One feature that was missing from the equation was keyless entry and push-button start.
The new 2012 Buick Enclave has a spacious interior. For a crossover vehicle, the new Enclave leads the pack with interior space offering 7-passenger or 8-passenger configurations. My Enclave tester was configured as a 7-seater with the second-row captain’s chairs and third-row bench seat. An optional second-row bench seat is available at no extra charge increasing seating to eight.
Up front the driver and passenger have plenty of shoulder space and legroom. The second-row captain chairs are fully adjustable forward and to the rear giving virtually any sized adult more than enough room to stretch out on long hauls. The third-row is somewhat easy to access even if you enter through the middle of the second-row’s captain chairs otherwise expect to flip the spring-loaded 2nd row seat forward for entry. Dashboard controls are somewhat simplistic without an overwhelming abundance of buttons. Fit and finish representation looks to be average with several wood accents across the dashboard and door trim. My Enclave test vehicle also receives a power tilt/telescoping leather and wood heated steering wheel with integrated controls.
To keep things safe, the new 2012 Enclave comes standard with stability control with rollover mitigation, rollover capable head curtain side airbags, traction control and anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes. Braking times for the Enclave are somewhat long for the crossover segment coming in a 139 feet from 60mph to 0mph.
In all, the new 2012 Buick Enclave is an excellent alternative to a large 7 to 8 passenger SUV or even a minivan. Not to mention, EPA gas mileage figures for the FWD Enclave are good coming in at 17mpg city and 24mpg highway. My all-wheel-drive model receives 16mph city and 22 mpg highway. My observed highway mileage came to an even 21mpg over-all.
If you are looking for that contemporary alternative to a minivan or large SUV without compromising space and luxury comfort, then the all-new Buick Enclave should be on your list of vehicles to consider.
Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: Base Enclave $36,600 As-Tested Enclave Premium Group $51,570
- Engine: 3.6-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 288 horsepower @ 6300 rpm / 270 ft-lbs. torque @ 3400 rpm
- Wheelbase: 118.9in.
- Total length: 201.8in.
- Total width: 79.0in.
- Total height: 72.5in.
- Track: f/r-67.3/67.1in.
- Fuel tank: 22 gallons
- Turning circle: 40.4ft.
- Headroom: f/m-40.4in./39.0
- Legroom: f/m-41.3/36.9in.
- Max towing when properly equipped: 4,500lbs.
- Curb weight: 4,780lbs.
- EPA mileage: 16mpg/city, 22mpg/highway (AWD)
|Around The World With Ken Block: Video||
Love him or hate him, Ken Block is a marketing genius who, like King Midas, turns everything he touches into gold. Take the sport of Gymkhana for example: shredding tires in a parking lot used to be good for a ticket or two, but now it’s a multi-media extravaganza, complete with crowds, explosions, jumping motocross riders and scantily-clad umbrella girls. When it comes to event promotion, even Bernie Ecclestone could learn a thing or two from Ken Block.
Despite a less-than-stellar performance in World Rally competition, Block had a good year in 2011. The video below gives highlights of his three Gymkhana tour stops (in Vienna, Austria, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia), and promises even more events for 2012. If you’ve got a “Hooning Is Not A Crime” bumper sticker on your car, that’s probably a good thing. If you’d like to see an American driver make a serious attempt at competing at the highest levels of WRC, it probably isn’t.
|Mazda Takeri Concept Revealed||
Since the first images of the concept were revealed back in October, Mazda has officially unveiled its new Takeri concept at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show in the Big Sight expo hall.
Built to preview the next generation Mazda6, The Takeri is the “most-evolved Form of Mazda’s New ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ Design Theme and Breakthrough Skyactiv Technology”. The Takeri is a four-door coupe with a strong and prominent hexagonal-shaped grille, 20 inch alloy wheels and measures 4, 850mm in length, 1, 870mm in width and has a height of 1, 430mm.
The clean interior showcases elegant leather seats, metallic trim and a fully equipped infotainment centre.
Power comes from a 2.2-litre Skyactive diesel engine that is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. The start/stop technology with i-ELOOP regenerative braking system, allows the vehicle to travel about 1, 500km before having to refill the tank, improving performance and fuel economy.
Watch the Takeri promotional video below:
|Cloud AV 2012 Makes for a Cloud Day on your PC – How To Remove Cloud AV 2012||
Cloud AV 2012 is yet another bogus anti-virus program that targets PC users. The makers of Cloud AV 2012 are in the business of taking advantage of gullible PC users and their inability to decipher whether they need to purchase Cloud AV 2012 in order to remove so-called detected threats from their system. Cloud AV 2012 basically will “cloud” your mind to the point that you believe that your PC is infected with all types of malware and you must use Cloud AV 2012 to clean those parasites off. In reality Cloud AV 2012 has fabricated all of its pop-up alert messages and system scan results which are used as a scare tactic.
Cloud AV 2012 has been a pest lately causing issues on thousands of PCs around the world. Not only has it caused computer users serious headaches, but it has damaged PCs to the point that they are not able to perform normally by limiting internet access and performing poorly. Many computer users have attempted to remove Cloud AV 2012 but with no luck. This is mainly due to Cloud AV 2012 not allowing a user to simply un-install it from the typical add/remove programs action in Windows. Instead, computer users have taken to updated antispyware programs to help rid their system of Cloud AV 2012.
How Can You Remove Cloud AV 2012?
Cloud AV 2012 can be very difficult to manually remove if you are an inexperienced computer user. Not to mention, Cloud AV 2012 has been known to populate the Windows Registry with many different entries and removing the wrong entries could render a PC damaged or useless. The use of a reputable antispyware or antivirus tool is recommended to safely remove Cloud AV 2012 from your Windows computer.
To easily remove Cloud AV 2012, find the following process and end them in the task manager. After that is done, delete each related Cloud AV 2012 file from your hard drive. In additional to locating the following processes, it is recommended that you delete the Cloud AV 2012 registry entries listed below as well. It is also a good idea to uninstall the Cloud AV 2012 application via your add/remove programs function found in the Windows Control Panel if your system recognizes Cloud AV 2012 has an installed program.
Cloud AV 2012 files (and folders) to remove:
- %Documents and Settings%\[USERNAME]\Application Data\[RANDOM CHARACTERS]\
- %Programs%\Cloud AV 2012\Cloud AV 2012.lnk
- %DesktopDir%\Cloud AV 2012.lnk
- %Documents and Settings%\[USERNAME]\Local Settings\Temp\[random].tmp
- %Documents and Settings%\[USERNAME]\Desktop\Cloud AV 2012.lnk
- %AppData%\[RANDOM CHARACTERS]\Cloud AV 2012.ico
- %Documents and Settings%\[USERNAME]\Start Menu\Programs\Cloud AV 2012\
- %AppData%\LUUJ1wscH0aTNzF\Cloud AV 2012.ico
- %Desktop%\Cloud AV 2012.lnk
- %Windows%\system32\[RANDOM CHARACTERS].exe
- %SystemDir%\Cloud AV 2012v121.exe
- %SYSTEM%\Cloud AV 2012v121.exe
- %Documents and Settings%\[USERNAME]\Application Data\svhostu.exe
Cloud AV 2012 registry entries to remove:
- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\software\microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run “[RANDOM CHARACTERS]“
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cloud AV 2012
|GM Counters Chevy Volt Fire Fears By Offering Loaner Cars||
There’s been a significant amount of coverage in the news lately about post-crash fires in Chevy Volt extended-range EV’s, likely as a result of an NHTSA investigation into the car. While there have been no documented cases of an undamaged Chevy Volt causing a fire, GM is erring on the side of caution and offering free loaner vehicles to any Volt owner who has concerns about the fire risk posed by the car.
The president of GM North America, Mark Reuss, stressed the company’s emphasis on safety in a recent press release, saying, “Even though no customer has experienced in the real world what was identified in this latest testing of post-crash situations, we’re taking critical steps to ensure customer satisfaction and safety.”
Those critical steps include arranging loaner cars for Volt owners concerned about safety, and Reuss commented, “A vehicle loan program of this nature is well beyond the norm for a preliminary investigation, and it underlines our commitment to the vehicle and its owners. These steps are the right ones to take regardless of any immediate impact on our operations.”
GM is also working on the issue of how to deal with Volt battery packs following a severe crash. This issue applies not only to the Volt, but to any other electric car or plug-in hybrid on the market, since all could potentially pose a fire risk following severe damage to the battery packs. GM is working with the Society of Automotive Engineers to develop post-crash protocols on draining battery packs to prevent future incidents.
|Subaru Reveals The Production BRZ||
Toyota jumped the gun a few days back, leaking images and video of the FT-86 (called the GT 86 in Japan) sports coupe. You knew Subaru had to follow, so here are the images of the production Subaru BRZ, which will be officially unveiled at this week’s Tokyo Motor Show.
The Subaru may look a bit plain compared to the Toyota, but the Toyota GT 86 shown was likely a higher-trim model with an included body kit. If more aggressive looks are your style, we’re pretty sure that Subaru will be happy to sell you air dams, spoilers, side skirts and splitters to improve airflow and appearance.
Like the Toyota, the Subaru will get by with modest power and light weight. Despite rumors of additional horsepower in Subaru models, base BRZs will come with the same 200 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque that the Toyota GT 86 produces. If that’s the bad news, here’s the good news: the BRZ weighs in at less than 2,700 pounds, and features a low center of gravity for superior handling. On paper at least, the BRZ looks like it will stack up well against Mazda’s MX-5, long the king of bang-for-the-buck handling.
Both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic gearboxes are available, and the automatic transmission features both “Sport” and “Manual” modes. As you’d expect from a sport-oriented automatic, paddle shifters are included and the transmission will match revs while downshifting. Like Volkswagen’s DSG-equipped GTI, we suspect the automatic transmission BRZ may be slightly quicker around a racetrack than the manual.
There’s still no word on U.S. pricing or availability, but we’ll update you as soon as we get the information.
|Toyota Fun-Vii Concept Revealed||
Ahead of its official debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota has unveiled its new Fun-Vii concept car. The skin of the bullet shaped car for the “not too distant future” serves as a massive display that can change its colour and display graphics, images, and custom messages for other drivers and bystanders. The skin can be changed using a specialised app and have its interior adjusted as well – the three-seat cabin has a continuous display which spans from the dashboard to the floor. Overall the vehicle measures 4,020mm long, 1,745mm wide and 1,415mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,750mm.
Intervehicle connectivity can detect potentially hazardous situations like making the driver aware of a car in its blind spot or one that is about to break suddenly. The system can also link with surrounding vehicles to locate friends.
As if this isn’t enough, Toyota also envisions that the car will be connected to the internet which has the advantage of bringing information to the driver and providing entertainment content to the driver and the passengers on board.
|Dodge Journey and Fiat 500 recalled for safety issues||
Chrysler has decided to recall a total number of 340 vehicles consisting of Dodge Journeys and Fiat 500s built between the 24 and 26 October of this year. The recall is as a result of contaminated brake fluid that was put in during the vehicles’ assembly. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these vehicles “may experience a degradation of the sealing components within the brake system.” The consequences of this incident could lead to the loss of breaking ability and result in a crash.
To resolve the problem, Chrysler will be replacing, free of charge of course, any vehicle components that would have come in contact with the contaminated hydraulic fluid. The official safety recall is expected to begin in December.
|Video: Lenco BearCat LAPD SWAT Vehicle in Jay Leno’s Garage||
The folks at Lenco, known for outfitting military, SWAT and other law enforcement armored vehicles, send Jay Leno a Lenco BearCat LAPD SWAT vehicle to check out. This armored mammoth-of-a-vehicle sits on a Ford F550 chassis, is powered by a twin-turbo 6.7-liter diesel engine, weighs almost 9,000 pounds and has opening portholes big enough for your weapon of choice, or your favorite bear claw donut at the drive through.
Hit up the video below as LAPD SWAT office Mark Nee takes Jay Leno for a full tour and test-drive in the Lenco BearCat Armored SWAT vehicle.
Source: Jay Leno’s Garage
|Old Versus New Cadillac Crash Test Video||
Americans tend to associate the size of vehicles with safety, which (partially) explains our love for big SUVs and pickup trucks. There is some logic behind this, since physics tells us a larger, heavier object will do more damage in an impact than a smaller and lighter one. Still, mass alone isn’t enough to keep occupants safe, as this video from Speed TV’s Stuntbusters illustrates rather well.
In 1962, automotive crash science was in its infancy. Most cars were years away from coming with seat belts, padded dashboards and collapsible steering columns as standard features, and things like crumple zones, high strength steel passenger compartments and airbags were the stuff of science fiction. When a crash occurred, the force of the impact was transmitted back into the vehicle, usually with devastating results to those inside.
As you watch the video, found on Autoblog, keep in mind that cars have gotten even safer in the decade since the 2002 Cadillac in the video was built. The ultimate goal of automakers is to eliminate crash fatalities, which may not be achievable as long as drivers shun seat belts and turn off features like stability control. If you spent any time on the highway over the Thanksgiving weekend, you know that the roads aren’t getting safer; lucky for us, then, that the cars driving on them are.
|2012 Toyota Tacoma V6 Double Cab TRD Off-Road Review & Test Drive||
‘RESTYLED INSIDE AND OUT WITH TOYOTA’S NEW ENTUNE’
The Toyota Tacoma mid-size pickup truck is still the best selling brand in theU.S.by a wide margin and this year offers a restyled exterior, a restyled and upgraded interior for added comfort, usability and Toyota’s new Entune audio/infotainment system.
For 2012 the Tacoma shows a fresh face with a redesigned hood, grille, headlamps and front bumper. Inside, customers will find a new instrument panel design with a revised gauge cluster, along with a new steering wheel. A redesigned center stack adds new A/C/heater controls and power point locations.
The 2012 Tacoma interior also gets a new look with a black high-contrast center console, switch plate covers, dash and upper door trim. The double cab features new heavy-duty all-weather flooring.
This all adds up to more comfort and function with the addition of a larger, higher-resolution display for the optional back-up camera (3.3 X 2.4 inches), a new temperature gauge, optional rearview mirror with compass and Homelink, vanity lamps added to sun visors, an additional overhead storage compartment and two front-deck ‘D’ rings for added versatility.
The double-cab V6 models offer a more advanced display audio system with today’s most in-demand connectivity features. These include navigation, Toyota’s new Entune services, Sirius XM satellite radio, HD radio with iTunes tagging and text/e-mail-to-voice. This premium infotainment system plays through a JBL GreenEdge audio system with seven speakers. GreenEdge technology helps reduce fuel consumption by lowering the electric power demand on the vehicle.
The Toyota Entune system is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services, with three years of complimentary access. Once a smart phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth wireless technology or a USB cable, Entune features are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune includes ‘Bing’ and Pandora; iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com and OpenTable, as well as real-time info including traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.
The 2012 Tacoma lines offers two engines: a 2.7 liter DOHC four-cylinder that produces 159hp and 180lb.ft. of torque, and a 4.0 liter DOHC V6 that provides 236hp and 266lb.ft. of torque. In both engines variable valve timing wit intelligence (VVT-i) provides strong low-end and mid-range torque to successfully carry large loads in the cargo box and to bust through tough trails off-road.
And electronic throttle control system with intelligence helps optimize performance and fuel economy. The V6 can be teamed with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. Four-cylinder models offer a choice between a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic.
The TRD Off-Road package that I had provides a carefully tuned balance of off-road performance and on-road handling. Chassis modifications include an electronic locking rear differential, progressive-rate front coil springs, specially tuned Bilstein shocks front and back, a 28mm front stabilizer bar, and 265/70R17 inch BF Goodrich Rugged Trail tires wrapped around custom 17X8 inch alloy wheels. The cargo box features a 400Watt/ 115 Volt power-point. Inside are sport bucket seats with adjustable lumbar support and unique stain proof/water resistant fabric, an overhead console with compass and outside temperature readout, a back-up monitor, metallic tone instrument panel, leather trimmed/tilt/telescoping steering wheel/shifter, remote keyless entry, cruise control, variable speed wipers/washers, auto-dimming reaview mirror, dual map lamps, grab handles at each A-pillar, and thick cut-pile carpeting. On the outside are foglamps, engine skid plate, chrome grille surround and rear bumper, overfenders and TRD Off-Road graphics.
Slowing the new Tacoma V6 double cab 4X4 TRD down from speed are 12.5 inch vented disc clamped with big dual pistons calipers up front and 10 inch drum brakes in the rear. Keeping you in control during braking are standard ABS, EBD, BA, TRAC, and VSC. You guide the new 2012 Tacoma via a power-assisted rack & pinion steering system that gives great feedback from the road and quick response to your inputs. Ground clearance is an excellent 9.1 inches.
The TRD Off-Road package with the automatic transmission comes standard with both Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC). HAC operates by independently controlling the brakes at each wheel as needed to help prevent the vehicle from rolling backward or slipping sideways during a transition from a stopped position to climbing a grade. An automatic limited-slip differential (auto-LSD), which uses brake intervention to help reduce tire slippage at the rear wheels, is standard on all Tacoma’s.
DAC uses engine braking to regulate downhill speed and independently control the brakes at each wheel to help improve directional control. DAC automatically de-activates if you depress the brake or throttle pedals, press the DAC button, or shifts into neutral. TRD Off-Road packages feature a locking rear differential that can be activated by a switch in the cab.
Standard safety features include driver/front passenger airbags, seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts for all seating positions with front pretensioners/load limiters, front/rear crumple zones, steel beam in each door, tire pressure monitor system, and driver/front passenger active head restraints.
Competition is fierce in the mid-size pickup truck segment and with the new look inside and outside, the proven Toyota off-road credentials; the Tacoma should keep ahead of the pack.
- Price: Base Tacoma Double Cab V6 $26,455 As-Tested $35,105.00 including destination
- Engine: 4.0-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 236 horsepower @ 5200 rpm / 266 ft-lbs. torque @ 4000 rpm
- Wheelbase: 127.4in.
- Total length: 298.1in.
- Total width: 74.6in.
- Total height: 70.1in.
- Track: f/r-63/63.4in.
- Approach angle: 35
- Departure angle: 25
- Breakover angle: 20
- Fuel tank: 21.1 gallons
- Turning circle: 40.6ft.
- Headroom: f/r-40.2/38.4in.
- Legroom: f/r-41.7/32.7in.
- Max towing when properly equipped: 6,500lbs.
- Curb weight: 4,185lbs.
- EPA mileage: 16mpg/city, 21mpg/highway
|Report: Mercedes-Benz To Drop Maybach Brand||
In the “we’ve seen this coming for some time” department, Mercedes-Benz has reportedly decided to axe its under-performing Maybach premium brand. Launched to much fanfare in 2002, the brand never produced the 800 unit per year global sales that Mercedes-Benz needed to be profitable. Long-overdue for a refresh, the lack of a pending redesign seemed to be proof that Mercedes was intent on pulling the plug, even before a formal decision was made.
Autoweek cites unnamed but high-ranking sources in Mercedes-Benz, who have confirmed that the brand will be pulled from the market in 2013. To fill the void, Mercedes will expand the S-Class product line to include three wheelbase variations, multiple engine choices and even a range-topping S600 Pullman edition, which should give buyers a similar level of luxury to the Maybach sedans. Given the current state of the global economy, expanding a base product line makes more financial sense to Mercedes than maintaining an ultra-premium product line with declining sales.
Since the new S-Class models won’t hit the market until 2013, you still have a little over a year to buy a Maybach if you can raise the price of admission. The “entry-level” Maybach 57 starts at $372,500, the mid-line Maybach 62 is priced from $423,500 and the range-topping Maybach Landaulet Cabriolet stickers at a mind-numbing $1,380,000, excluding taxes, title and licensing, of course.