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Toyota Prius

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2012 Toyota Hi-Lux: More Fun, More Power

My girlfriend added that I should get a second-hand car. She just loves to travel, and yes I love travelling as well. Actually, I’m starting to save so that I can have my own second-hand car more like a Toyota or Honda vehicle- not too fancy, just right for city driving and for travel needs. But if and I’ll say this again, I have the means then I am strongly considering Toyota Hi-Lux. This is just a power player on and off the road, and this is tried and tested. I have seen how this worked when I was still connected with a construction company. This is the kind of vehicle that gets used in visiting unpaved roads and rough and rocky project sites, and the Toyota Hi-Lux delivers.

I know there are many fans of the Hi-Lux out there. And the good news is that the 2012 Toyota Hi-Lux is available, back with new designs and extra power. Based on multiple resources, the latest touch on the Hi-Lux features a new upper dashboard design with new, horizontal center instrument cluster. On the exterior, expect to find new bonnet, radiator grille, headlamps and front bumper. By the way, the 2012 Toyota Hi-Lux will come in four trims, the DLX, Hi-Lux DLX+, SR and Toyota Hi-Lux SR+. When it comes to body styles, choose from Single Cab, Extra and Double Cab. When it comes to power, expect 106 kW and 343 N m of torque and lower fuel consumption if compared with previous models.

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Toyota to Act on Prius

In a few days, it is expected that the Toyota management will act on the issues confounding the giant automaker. The decision will surely hit the automaker hard, and this will come after Toyota recalled more than 7 million vehicles over the sticky accelerator issue.

The decision over the Toyota Prius will be well-anticipated since the Prius is no ordinary vehicle. This is Toyota’s showcase over its technological prowess.

Will the Toyota Prius be Recalled?

Will the 2010 Toyota Prius in the United States join the other vehicles recalled by Toyota? If this will happen, then this could be a big blow to the automaker since the Toyota Prius is not your ordinary car- it’s their symbol for technological might and their bet for green ambitions. The problems on the Prius center primarily on the brakes. This issue has sent engineers from the automaker to also consider some checking on other Toyota flagship models and brands, like the Lexus and the Sai sedan. Will the Prius be recalled? We will know soon.

Ford Fusion as new alternative

We all know Toyota Prius- it’s the car that we usually associate with the words fuel-efficient and green vehicle. Well based on the latest Yahoo write-up, it seems that Toyoya Prius has some company and a better one at that. Enter Ford Fusion hybrid. According to USA Today, the 2010 Ford Fusion is the best gasoline-electric hybrid yet. This can be a sweeping statement that can knock Prius off its wheels. According to the paper, the Ford Fusion is known for its smooth ride and best-integrated gas-electric power system. The cost? Well, this car is pegged at $107,000 and according to the paper the Lexus LS 600h hybrid comes in next.

Detroit Auto Show starts without the usual glitz

And that’s according to news reports describing the preparation for the Detriot Auto Show. There are some noticeable absences for this year’s auto show in Detroit and this year’s show is dampened by the economic issues troubling the industry and the ill conditions of General Motors and Chrysler LLC which are under  government life support. The usual glitz and glamor that are trademarks of the shows of past will be off this year, probably because there no money to spend for these unnecessaary things. Some participants will be out for this year. A notable absence will be Nissan Motor Corporation. So what to expect at the show? The following is a listing of things to expect and see at this year’s auto show at Detroit:

  • Automakers are set to reveal 50 new models and this number is down for 59 which were showcased for 2008.
  • Toyota will introduce its own Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid
  • Honda will introduce its Honda Insight which is designed to directly compete with Toyota Prius
  • Chrysler will unveil a new technology for its electric vehicle prototypes
  • Ford will show off its electric vehilce strategy
  • General Motors will show some suprise too.

All will be scaled down a bit, and some reports added that some manufacturers spent less time in preparation for the Detroit Auto Show.

We Go Electric! A Peek A GM’s Chevy Volt

GM logo

By 2010, expect to see a hybrid coming from General Motors. The Volt was first introduced in 2007 in Detroit and this model from the company is General Motors’ hopes in countering whatever advantages Toyota has made courtesy of its Toyota Prius. The Volt will have a plug-in capability for recharging from household electrical currents and a small gasoline engine that can keep the car batteries charged on trips longer than 40 miles. I did a little research on the Chevy site, and these are the things that I’ve got.

The Chevy Volt features that revolutionary E-Flex Propulsion System is considered to be far different if compared with the previous electric vehicle because this model will take advantage of the lithium-ion battery with a variety of range-extending onboard power resources that includes gas and E85 ethanol to recharge the car’s battery when you drive the car. This car is a plug-in range -extended electric vehicle that also features an on-board gasoline generator. The car has a large battery that stores power from the home electric outlet which is then connected to an electric motor. This electric motor is the one that directly powers the car. This battery can run for the first 40 miles and after some time, the on-board gasoline/E85 generator has the role of powering it to keep the battery from running out. Though they are both hybrids, the Volt is different from Toyota’s Prius. The hybrids that are available in the market right now are called parallel hybrids. These parallel hybrids use a small electric motor for low speed driving and then switch to regular gas for acceleration and faster driving. That’s where ‘parallel hybrids’ labeling come from. The two engines work side by side or in a parallel. The Chevy Volt on the other hand is what you call a series vehicle; this means that only the electric motor will power the car. The gas engine inside will only act as a generator, making electric to keep the batteries charged every time. If charged overnight, the car is expected to be driven to at least 40 miles on pure electricity and after that, the gas engine will enter the picture and will allow the car to be driven up to 400 miles on a full tank- that’s 6 to 7 gallons of gas. It will be a four-seater car and it is expected that the car will be sold and priced competitively. It is the goal of GM to sell it at less than $30,000.00 but the first versions of the Chevy Volt might be near $40,000.00.

A prototype of the Chevy Volt has already been tested and GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz said that the car had reliably met the objectives. He added that the car had been hitting the 40 miles on electric power. The dynamometer tests have been successful even under various thermal conditions. Mr. Lutz went even further and said that the battery of the car is the least of their problems. He explained further that much of the engineering challenge ahead has to do with the software. The production Chevy Volt will be slightly different to the original showroom Volt that was introduced in 2007. Partial teasers and a camouflaged Volt has been released in the market, adding fuel to some excitement and speculations. It has been reported as well that the Volt will be seen in Paris in US production specification. The presentation of the car will take place at the Paris Motor Show that is scheduled for October 4-19. So this means that the Volt will be arriving in less than five months. If the Chevy Volt will be coming soon, then better start saving up.
Chevy Volt E-Flex Electric Hybrid Concept Car
Pictured is a Chevy Volt E-Flex Electric Hybrid Concept Car.

Toyota To Offer Own Plug-in Hybrid Car

Toyota logo

A Toyota executive said that he is pushing his company’s engineers to develop a plug-in hybrid-vehicle that is powered by a lithium-ion battery before 2010. This statement from Katsuaki Watanabe is sure to push the race between Toyota and General Motors in a higher level. It can be remembered that GM also plans to introduce its own version of a lithium-ion hybrid, which is known as the Chevrolet Volt and is expected to be delivered anywhere around 2010. Mr. Watanabe of Toyota welcomed the competition with General Motors and believed that the competition between the two companies would help reduce the negative aspects of automobiles and in the long run will help the environment. In a statement, Mr Watanabe thru an interpreter said that;

To compete against each other in such a battle is something to be congratulated. We don’t want to be the loser in that competition of course.

The best-selling hybrid of Toyota runs on nickel-metal hydride batteries. It is believed that the lithium-ion batteries that are used on a number of consumer electronics can potentially hold a longer charge than the nickel-metal hydride versions, but the draw back is that these batteries are expensive. The Volt from GM that is set to be introduced in 2010 is expected to run on lithium-ion batteries. And last fall, the company announced that it plans to build the Volt in an assembly plant in Detroit in 2010, although executives believe that production will start after that time. Plug-in vehicles are different from the current hybrid vehicles right now since they can be recharged externally from an ordinary power outlet. For the conventional hybrid like the current Prius, battery is charged from power generated by the wheels.

Can Hybrids Save Us?

In a time where oil prices seems to be rising every week, the need to have a fuel-efficient car becomes more and more imperative. Enter hybrid vehicles. These vehicles seem to offer decent to above average fuel efficiency that can make everyone smile. There are a number of hybrids out there in the market right now. Leading the pack is Toyota Prius. Prius is the number one selling hybrid car in the market right now, and because of the popularity of this model, its name is almost synonymous with the name ‘hybrid’. The Honda Civic hybrid is another one, joined by the Nissan Altima hybrid, the Toyota Camry hybrid, Ford Escape hybrid and a whole lot more. Since the performance of the hybrid can be measured in terms of fuel efficiency, lets take a look at some of the vehicle’s mpg figures.

  1. Toyota Prius                           46 MPG
  2. Honda Civic Hybrid                 42 MPG
  3. Nissan Altima Hybrid               34 MPG
  4. Toyota Camry Hybrid              33 MPG
  5. Ford Escape Hybrid                 32 MPG

If this measure is the sole basis in selecting cars, then these are the cars that should be used by people. But then the use of this measure may mislead consumers for a number of reasons, and one reason is that this measure may vary depending on unique individual situations, and driving environments.

Better Than Prius?

CNN reports that Prius may soon lose its title as the most fuel-efficient car in the country? Is it time to transfer the crown and put Prius back into the garage?

The vehicle is contention is Volkswagen’s entry, the VW Golf TDI Hybrid. On a test, it was revealed that this VW model gets 69 miles per gallon as compared to the 54 miles per gallon that was registered by the Prius on the same test. This will not yet affect the Prius since this just a concept, but in the long run and results will be validated and can be dupliated for mass production, then Prius crown as the most fuel efficient will soon changed hands.  America may soon welcome this efficient vehicle in the market in due time.

What makes the TDI 26 percent more efficient? The question may lie under the hood. Prius burns gasoline, while the Golf TDI features a diesel engine which is known as more efficient. But then its too early to say, plus another hurdle that the TDI will have to face is of course price and price as we know, is a thorny issue.

The Most Efficient Car of the Year?

Hybrid car to most may usually refer to the reknowned Prius of Toyota. Not so fast.  Though the introduction of Prius marks a great achievement when it comes to hybrid cars, but it should be noted that the Toyota Prius isn’t the first hybrid car in the market. Honda Insight took the initiative first. But back to Toyota Prius.

Prius

The Toyota Prius was first introduced in Japan in 1997 then introduced to the rest of the world in 2001. Though Insight was introduced first, it was this model that was mass produced first. Aside from the fact that the Prius is a hybrid car, what makes the Prius striking is the fact that this vehicle is a highly efficient vehicle- the most efficient among hybrids. To prove the point, the United States Environmental Protection Agency named the 2008 Prius as the most fuel efficient car that is sold in the US market. This citation is not only reserved in US, rather this citation was received by this vehicle in UK as well courtesy of the UK Department for Transport. The department named Prius as the second least CO2 emitting vehicle and Prius is tied with the diesel MINI Cooper D, just behind the Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDI. This says a lot about the Prius.

Other than these citations, Consumer Reports also cited Toyota Prius on its 2008 listing of the Top Ten Best List. The Prius was named as the ‘Greenest Car’ for 2008.

This model of Toyota incorporates a number of respectable features but its centerpiece is of course, fuel economy and efficiency. Consumer Reports rated the mileage of Prius 2008 at around 44 mpg. For EPA’s estimate on the other hand, the Prius submitted 46 mpg, making this model of Toyota the most efficient car of 2008. Now EPA and Consumer Reports qualified the statements and the ratings saying that the numbers submitted by them are just estimates and often individual differences, plus other factors may help vary the results from time to time.

Because hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius brings a lot of benefits to the drivers, some goverments around the world has offered incentives to encourage people to take notice and to buy hybrid cars such as the Prius. For example, Belgium offer  reductions in the purchase price of these vehicles and Canada offers rebate for those who chose to purchase hybrid cars.

Driving the Prius is not only doing good to the environment, so they say. It is also seen as a statement showing ‘political correctness’. Thanks to the support that it has been getting, Prius is a big seller for Toyota. As of November 2007, Toyota said that they already sold 510,325 Prius units in the US market alone.