Posts Tagged ‘car news’

2016 Honda Civic Type-R Detailed, Hot Variant Possible

Posted by Stephen On Friday, June 5th, 2015

2016 Honda Civic Type R on the track

The “most extreme and high-performing Type R ever built” is finally here. Or rather, it’s getting extremely close. The 2016 Honda Civic type R is set to make its worldwide debut in July 2015, less than one month away. Now that we are officially into June, Honda is really starting to heat up the hype.

For example, this weekend we finally got an official, production-ready rundown of the new hot Hatch’s stats. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine that can rev up to 7,000 rpm and outputs a hefty 306 hp at 6500 rpm.

2015 Honda Civic Type R

The car has excellent mid-range torque of 295 lb-ft from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm, but the car was really made to excel at all ends of the rotational spectrum. The VTEC and VTC valve timing technologies work in tandem to optimize low-end torque response without taking away from up-to-the-redline acceleration, and the car is offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

This mighty pound-for-pound powertrain was powerful enough to take a near-identical prototype of the civic type R around the Nürburgring in just 7 minutes and 50.63 seconds – a new lap record for commercial cars in this class. For those of you interested, the 2016 Civic Type R can blast from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.7 seconds and returns a surprisingly conservative 32.2 mpg.

2016 Honda Civic Type R interior

We’d already seen inside the cabin, but these pictures confirm that Honda has done a superb job with the hatchback’s interior. The cabin is exactly what we’d want from a track-ready hot hatch like the Type R. The red-and-black bucket seats and the sleek dashboard are our favorite parts.

Perhaps most exciting of all, though… There is now a fairly credible rumor going around that Honda is planning to launch an extra-hot version of the Civic Type R sometime in the next couple years. According to an interview between Motor Trend and the Type R’s project leader, Hisayuki Yagi, “At the start of development we set the target to be the fastest front-drive hatchback around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. And we are. If someone takes our record, we will take it back.”

In other words, there’s room to grow, and they are willing to modify the car to do it (provided there’s a record-related or marketing-related need for it, of course).

What would a hot Civic Type R look like?

2015 Honda Civic Type R

Turns out, it’s not so much what it would look like, but what it would feel like. According to MT’s interview, the engine could be tuned up by about 20 horsepower and the car could shed something in the realm of 120 lbs.

We’re happy to hear that Honda is throwing down the gauntlet with their new Civic Type R, and we hope someone takes them up on it. That way we can see the Honda Civic Type R’s true power! Bwahahaha!


Toyota is World’s Most Valuable Auto Brand in 2015

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

toyota logo

Every year, Brandz publishes their Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study. This year, Japanese automaker Toyota remains king of the hill as the undisputed most valuable automotive brand. According to the report, Toyota boasts a brand value of $28.9 billion, which puts them at the 30th most valuable brand overall.

The news honestly doesn’t come as too much of a surprise for Toyota. Just earlier this month, they published their May sales reports, which specifically highlighted the success of their light trucks. The press release stated, “Strong May results boosted the industry to the best sales pace since last summer. Toyota Division light trucks reported a best ever May, helping Toyota to over 200,000 units for the month.”

The sales report goes on to specify that May sales are up 13.4% for light trucks, which is a May record. Narrowing down even further, they say that Tacoma and Tundra pickup sales exceeded 29,000 units, which is a 15.4% increase over the year before. The Highlander managed to do even better, with an enormous 25.2% sales growth compared to the previous year… Probably due to the significant decrease in gas prices.

Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, is also doing exceptionally well this time of year, particularly their new utility vehicles. Lexus’ VP and general manager report that demand for Lexus’ premium utility vehicles has grown to 48% of total sales volume, up from 43% during the same time last year. He attributes the growth to “the momentum provided by […] growing consumer awareness of our newer models, such as the NX crossover and RC coupe.”

Going back to the Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2015 report, it appears that the automotive industry is ruled by three powerhouses. Toyota sits at the top with a $28.9 billion valuation, BMW is number two at $26.3 billion, and Mercedes-Benz pulls up third with an estimated value of $21.7 billion. Then, there is a significant jump down to spot number four which is held by the $13.3 billion Honda. Ford ekes in at fifth with $13.1 billion, Nissan takes sixth with $11.4 billion, then Audi at $10.1 billion (a 41% increase from last year!), VW at $9.2 billion, Land Rover at $4.9 billion and Lexus at $4.3 billion.

Yes, that means that Toyota is the number one automotive brand WITHOUT counting the value of their luxury arm.

Even though the automotive industry’s value grew 3% as a whole from 2014 to 2015, that’s a significant decrease from the 17% value increase that took place from 2013 to 2014. The Brandz study noted that carmakers in 2015 and onward “face a paradoxical dilemma: their product quality is better than ever, but their brands are increasingly difficult to differentiate.” With that in mind, it’s no wonder that Toyota sits on top since they have arguably the most consumer trust… As long as the biggest perceived difference between automakers is reliability, not features, then there’s no doubt Toyota will remain on top.


The 2016 Mazda Miata is Finally Here

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

driving matters

Today’s the day. The fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is finally here. Across the web, a flood of “first drive reviews” have been published within the last 24 hours. And, Mazda’s given us an intriguing promotional video to kick off the roadster’s career…

Lots of automakers claim that their sports car offers drivers a 50/50 weight distribution between the front and back, but few of them actually go to the trouble to prove it. How do you prove a 50/50 weight distribution, you ask? Easy – you put it on a perfectly balanced fulcrum scale to see if it stays level. And that’s exactly what Mazda did:

Wow – not only is the new Miata perfectly balanced, it’s also the lightest-weight version of the car we’ve had since the original 1990 version with a curb weight of just 2,332 lbs.

Okay, so the 2016 Mazda MX-5 is a piece of sheer engineering genius. Got that. The question is, does that mechanical prowess translate into on-road performance? Does the new generation of the most iconic sports car of the past quarter-century live up to the hype?

Short answer, yes.

Here are a few of the “first drive” reviews across the web:

Jalopnik says that “even though it has 12 fewer horsepower than the last [Miata], it’s faster. And more nimble. And more comfortable. And better. Better in every conceivable way. This is easily the best performance car you can buy for less than $30,000.”

High praises, but that’s just the beginning.

2016 Mazda MX-5 manufactured

For their part, Car and Driver were most impressed with the car’s similarity to the 1990 version of the Miata… Not just in size and weight, but in the euphoric driving experience the car offers. Throughout their review, they echo the sentiment of Jalopnik… Everything is better, from the cockpit to the engine to the design to the drive.

Yahoo Autos was the first to identify a ‘con’ in the 2016 Miata. Yep, they rightly pointed out that the car makes “all the sacrifices necessary to make it a pure driver’s machine.” But then again, Yahoo’s biggest pro for the car is that it’s “a pure driver’s machine, at a blue-collar price,” so this ‘con’ is tongue-in-cheek at best. Our favorite part of Yahoo’s review is where they list the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and “the death of fun” as the car’s biggest competitors.

Are you starting to get the picture? According to all major sources, the 2016 Mazda Miata absolutely lives up to the hype… And then some.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2010 Fiat 500

2010 Fiat 500

Although the Fiat 500 isn’t technically a roadster in the same way that the Miata is, it’s still one of the sports car’s biggest competitors currently on the road.

2010 Fiat 500 rear

It isn’t so much that the cars are in the same segment, but that they attract the same niche of drivers… Drivers who want something fun and emotional to drive, unique to look at, and budget-friendly.

2010 Fiat 500 interior

This is a 2010 model year, which would make it the third model year after the car’s 2007 revival. It’s actually in superb condition for being five years-old with an auction rating of 4.5, a total of four minor blemishes on the exterior, and an A-grade interior to boot. You can get more details from the auction sheet translation below:

2010 Fiat 500 auction sheet

“Interior A, first registered February 2010, 1.4 16V Lounge model, AT, AAC, original AWs, power steering, power windows, leather, airbag, one owner, service book, HDD navigation system with digital TV and DVD playback, reversing camera, AM 16 inch AWs, half-leather seats, electrical opening, chrome mirror covers, 2 x keyless keys, spare key, first time in auction, some service history (5 pages), official dealer RHD import, interior trim has minor scratches, wheels scratched, marks as per map”


2015 Toyota Aygo X-Cite Version Has Us Excited

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, May 30th, 2015

2015 Toyota Aygo X-Cite

Toyota is offering a new X-Cite version of their Aygo subcompact hatchback for the 2015 model year.

As you can see, arguably the most noticeable new feature in the Aygo X-Cite is the addition of the new Cyan Splash exterior color. That striking blue is accented with a Piano Black grille, Bold Black side mirror covers, and Glossy Black five-spoke 15” alloy wheels. Yeah, that’s a lot of different kinds of black. Of course, the wheels also get some fancy Cyan Splash center caps to complete the look.

Apparently, the X-Cite will also be available with a blacked out roof in some select European markets (pictured below).

2015 Toyota Aygo X-Cite Bicolor

The Cyan Splash color-scheme splashed its way into the interior as well, and we have to admit, we like it. The bright blue accents around the seats, doors, floor mats and air vents are vibrant, but not overbearing… They really seem to breathe life into the cabin. The extra color makes the car feel youthful and fun, despite a relatively minimalistic design.

2015 Toyota Aygo X-Cite interior

However, even though the cabin looks minimalistic, it will be available with more features than ever for the 2015 model year. For example, the Toyota Aygo is now available with Toyota’s trademark Safety Sense suite of active safety technologies, including Pre-Collision System, which monitors vehicles in front of the car and automatically brakes if collision is imminent, and Lane Departure Alert, which you probably don’t need an explanation for.

2015 Toyota Aygo X-Cite rear

Altruistically, Toyota recognizes that “it is only when such advanced safety systems are in widespread use that they can have a real impact on the reduction of traffic accidents and fatalities.” So, to contribute to the cause they’re going to make sure the Toyota Safety Sense add-on is available at a “highly competitive price”.

Thanks Toyota!

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Toyota Auris

2014 Toyota Auris

Unfortunately, there are none of the new-generation Toyota Aygo models up for auction at the time of this writing. But, there are several of the hatchback’s big brother available – meet this 2014 Toyota Auris.

2014 Toyota Auris rear

The Toyota Auris probably doesn’t need too much explanation. It’s Toyota’s primary hatchback offering, and as a 2014 model year, this would’ve been just two years after the generational overhaul. This particular model is a JDM Toyota Auris 150X S Package, which means it runs on a 1.5L petrol that outputs 104hp and 100 lb-ft of torque… Just enough for fuel efficient city driving.

2014 Toyota Auris interior

Want more information on this Toyota Auris? Get a full rundown via the auction sheet translation below:

2014 Toyota Auris auction sheet

“Interior A, exterior B, first registered July 2014, 150X S Package model, FAT, AAC, HID headlights, pushbutton starter and keyless entry, aftermarket navigation and digital TV, fog lamp, power steering, power windows, original alloy wheels, ABS, airbag, AFS, traction control, spare key, indicator door mirrors, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map”


2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Facelift Leaked

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 29th, 2015

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

This just in: Toyota’s flagship SUV, the 200 Series Land Cruiser, looks like it’s getting a major overhaul next year. The news comes from a set of the leaked images that originated from a Japanese automotive magazine. Along with the images came the photo you see at the top of this post, which depicts the allegedly next-generation Land Cruiser.

That being said, this main image appears to be a semi-digitized rendering. Those with a keen eye for Photoshop will notice that the depth of field right on the corner where the right-side headlamp wraps above the wheel is a little too two-dimensional. In fact, most of the grille and bumper looks tampered with, and those alloys definitely look copy+pasted into place. So we’re skeptical that this is an actual product photo leak for the next-gen Land Cruiser.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 3

But, even if the image at the top of this post is more rendering than spy shot, the other photos seen here, which were posted by a Twitter user with handle @Hamad1two, appear to be real. In the other photos, we see what looks like a dealership training manual highlighting the differences between the current Land Cruiser and the upcoming model.

Thus, from these images, we can see that even if the primary photo shown at the top of this post is a rendering, it at least portrays the gist of the upgrade.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 4

The biggest update to the Land Cruiser’s design seems to be the front-end, which appears to get a completely overhauled design. It looks like the SUV will get a set of new dual-projector lights and restyled LED DRL’s, plus a new grille design and similarly restyled taillights and bumper in the back. It also looks like the crossover will be getting some new treads too, although they may not be quite like what we see in the image above.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 2

Inside, these spy shots depict a revised interior trim, with new chrome accents and an updated instrument cluster. It also looks like they’ve added in some new entertainment options via rear-seat TV screens.

Finally, if you could read Japanese, you’d see that these leaks claim that the new Land Cruiser will run on a 2.7 L turbo diesel with 174 horsepower paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. That would mean that SUV would probably get the same engine recently revealed for the new Toyota HiLux.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 1

Either way, we will likely see the facelifted Land Cruiser before the end of 2015, so stay tuned for the next round of auto shows this fall for more details.


The Nissan Maxima is No More… Almost

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

2016 Nissan Maxima

If you walked up to the average US resident and asked them which name sounded more familiar, “Nissan” or “Maxima”, most of them would pick the latter. That’s according to Pierre Loing, vice president of Nissan NA product planning, from an interview between him and Automotive News.

And yet, even though the Maxima is a Nissans all the longest-selling nameplate in the US and more recognized than the brand name itself, just four years ago, Nissan almost axed the car from their lineup completely.

2016 Nissan Maxima rear

With the next-generation Nissan Maxima set to go on sale in the US in barely a week’s time on June 2, we’re certainly glad that Nissan decided to keep the family size sedan in their lineup. You’ve probably already seen the Maxima several times this year… It first debuted in a Super Bowl ad, then made its in-the-metal premiere at the 2015 New York Motor Show back in April.

What will be the eighth-generation of Nissan’s “4 Door Sports Car” is substantially sportier than the car you’ll find it Nissan dealerships today. It’s got Nissan’s new V-motion front-end design, complete with a lower, more aggressive roofline, a curvier body and an all-around better powertrain. The next-gen Maxima runs on a new 3.5L V6 that outputs 300 horsepower, which is a noticeable boost in performance over the current model year. In a classic “have your cake and eat it too,” Nissan has somehow managed to eke 15% more fuel-efficiency out of the upgraded engine, made possible by stripping and replacing a full 60% of the old engine’s parts.

2016 Nissan Maxima side

Inside, the new Maxima is even better. It boasts a truly plush interior with quilted leather, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a modern, premium-feeling design. Takeshi Yamaguchi, the VP for vehicle engineering and program management for the Maxima project, says, “When I look at this car, I’m proudest of the fact that it’s here at all.” Yeah, us too Yamaguchi. “And on top of that, I’m proud of the fact that we took the Maxima beyond where it was, instead of taking it backward.”

… Apparently that was the other option on the table. Nissan was thinking about gutting the sedan to make it cheaper to both manufacture and sell. Instead they went the opposite direction, and what they came up with is perhaps the best, most refined execution of a non-premium sedan we’ve seen in the past 10 years.

So, in a month as you start seeing those sleek new 2016 Nissan Maximas on the road, be thankful for the sight… It almost didn’t happen!


What?! Here’s Why the 2016 Mazda2 Won’t Be Sold in the US

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

2016 Mazda2

Get this – the new Mazda2 subcompact that’s gotten so much attention this past year will NOT be sold in the US in 2016. Even though Mazda is manufacturing the new Mazda2 just south of the border in their brand-new factory in Salamanca, Mexico, top US executives apparently “decided it wasn’t a priority,” at least according to an interview between Robert Davis, Senior VP of US Operations, and Automotive News.

Here’s why: it turns out that a Mazda doesn’t have the production capacity in their new plant to make enough Mazda2 hatchbacks for every single market. So, last year when the global office was allocating units of their new subcompact, executives from the US politely bowed out of the conversation. Davis says, “We could have had it, but we would have had a number that didn’t make much sense with 600 dealers and with the marketing it takes to launch a new car.”

In other words, Mazda US would’ve had to either A) only send Mazda2s to a select few of their dealerships, which doesn’t make sense, or B) go through the trouble of marketing a new car on a national level only to have a small number of models available per dealership, which also doesn’t make sense. Plus, Mazda only sold 13.5k units of the 2014 Mazda2 last year, which may be a 14% increase year-over-year, but not enough to make it worth the trouble, especially when Americans are trending towards crossovers.

“I wanted to allocate resources to those products that make us and our dealers considerably more profit than a Mazda2 does,” Davis said. “It’ll always be there if we need it.” Apparently, Davis doesn’t see the US branch of the brand needing a fuel-sipping subcompact anytime soon when the crossover segment is exploding and gas prices remain low.

2016 Scion iA sedan

Fortunately, the awesome new Mazda2 will still make it into the US, but not under the Mazda name. Remember the partnership between Mazda and Toyota? Well, Toyota will adopt the subcompact into their lineup as the new Scion iA sedan for the 2016 model year, which is built on the same platform and manufactured at the same Salamanca plant as the Mazda2.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Mazda Demio (aka. Mazda2)

2014 Mazda Demio

Although you won’t be able to buy the 2016 Mazda2 through any US dealerships, if past trends are any indication, the new car will do just fine in Japan. Anytime you have an extremely popular car, it always finds its way into auction houses, so come back this time next year and you’ll probably be able to get a near-new Mazda2 of your very own.

2014 Mazda Demio rear

In the meantime, this 2014MY is in excellent shape with an overall auction rating of 5, and a near immaculate exterior. This would’ve been the last year that the old pre-SkyActiv Mazda2 was available, but it was still a perfectly good car. Edmunds said the 2014MY was a good buy for its surprisingly sporty handling and simple-to-operate controls, plus an affordable price-tag (made even more so by being up for auction).

Want more details? Get a full translation of the auction sheet below:

2014 Mazda Demio auction sheet

“Interior B, exterior condition A, first registered October 2014, 13S model, FAT, AAC, first time in auction, MazdaSpeed front under skirt and rear roof spoiler and side skirts, rear view reversing camera, original navigation system, ABS, airbag, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, minor interior grime, scratches under bumpers, marks as per map”


Nissan Officially Kills Our IDx Dream

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Nissan IDx Concepts

It’s a sad day.

Remember the Nissan IDx concepts we originally saw a couple years ago at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show?

At the time, Nissan told us that they were definitely going to make the cars as long as enough fans got behind the design. They didn’t specify a production date or anything like that, but they did make two different iterations of the concept – the Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept and the IDx NISMO Concept.

Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept

After the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the automotive blogosphere went wild. Everyone loved these two retro sports car concepts. Just as Nissan intended, they “exemplified Nissan’s fresh approach to contemplating car design and kindled a fire in the hearts of people fond of the good old days of high-performance cars.” Nissan didn’t even try to build hype for the cars; there was no pre-show teasers or press campaigns or anything like that. The two concepts literally showed up in Tokyo out of nowhere and charmed the world.

Then, two months after the cars were shown in Tokyo, Nissan officials came out saying that they’d heard the loud praises of their fan base… They virtually promised that there would be a production model coming from the two concept cars. In our coverage, we optimistically hoped to see some sort of prototype in the first half of 2014.

And yet, here we are.

Nissan IDx NISMO Concept

At the beginning of this year, Nissan told us they still had the IDx cars on the table, but that they were “shifting priorities” to volume cars. Now, we’re almost halfway through 2015, and Nissan has finally come out and admitted that they will NOT be developing production models from the IDx Concepts.

The news comes from an interview between The Truth About Cars and Nissan NA’s VP of Product Planning, Pierre Loing. In the interview, he lamented, “The IDx is an interesting project; a show car that received good reception. But, to go from concept to production, the reality always kicks in.”

Indeed it does, Nissan. Indeed it does.

Apparently, the problem is that both IDx Concepts were designed and developed for a compact rear-wheel drive platform… Something that neither Nissan nor their sister company, Renault, currently have available in any of their production models. Or at least, not in a size small enough for a low-displacement coupe. They have several front-wheel drive platforms available, and the much larger platform they use for the 370Z, but that would require a total redevelopment of the IDx models.

That means that the only way the IDx can happen is if Nissan devotes substantial resources to developing and manufacturing an all-new platform for a car that, sure, the public loves, but ultimately wouldn’t sell in any real volume. Just look at the likes of the Scion FR-S… It’s a great little sports car that had great reception, but three years after its launch, sales are already starting to wane.

Be sure to pour one out for the officially axed IDx sports car this weekend.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2009 Nissan Fairlady Z NISMO

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z

If we can’t have a new IDx retro car, we can at the very least celebrate the sports cars that Nissan does have available. Although the GT-R is probably the first Nissan sports car that pops into most folks’ minds, the Fairlady Z has been a long-time favorite as well.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z rear

As you can see, the Fairlady Z (aka. the 370Z) certainly isn’t a retro-styled car, but it still looks great and drives great too.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z interior

This particular find is for a 2009 MY and has been tuned up by NISMO. It’s also in pretty good shape with an overall rating of 4. You can get more details from the auction sheet translation below.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z auction sheet

Interior B, exterior B, Nismo Version, first registered October 2009, six-speed manual gearbox, AAC, one owner, Carwings compatible navigation system and digital TV, half-leather seats, original 19 inch alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, intelligent key, pushbutton starter, original CD, reversing rearview camera, seats scratched, wheels scratched, door mirrors scratched, front windshield scratched, interior grime and scratches, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map


2016 Toyota HiLux is Better in Every Way

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 22nd, 2015

2016 Toyota Hilux blue

After a whole bunch of spyshots and some very revealing unofficial spoilers (plus an accident involving a trailer carrying two brand-new 2016 models for debut), Toyota has finally unveiled the official all-new 2016 Toyota HiLux – the eight-generation model for the 47 year-old pickup.

2016 Toyota Hilux

If you’re reading this in the US, chances are that you’ve never heard of the Toyota HiLux pickup truck… That’s because it’s not sold in the States. But, it’s one of Toyota’s most well-known and beloved models in other markets, like Australia and Thailand.

The old Toyota HiLux has been on the market in its current form for at least a decade. The new model is better in literally every way. It’s bigger, it looks better, it’s more fun to drive, it can hold and tow a lot more weight, it’s more efficient, it’s got a larger cabin and it even holds more gas with a massive 80L fuel tank.

2016 Toyota Hilux rear

Under the hood, Toyota says that they’ve expanded the model’s “legendary prowess” with a substantially stronger frame, two new high-torque turbocharged diesel engines (expanding the powertrain options to four) and improved body rigidity for better on-Road toughness and improved steering response. Toyota has used high-tensile steel to keep the truck agile without sacrificing strength and toughness.

2016 Toyota Hilux interior

As for those two new engines, Toyota says that the turbo-diesels are “notable for their low-end punch and develop substantially more torque than the current model’s 3.0L unit”. This is especially impressive since both new engines are of a smaller displacement than the outgoing model. One is a 2.4L outputting 400 Nm, the other is a 2.8L outputting 450 Nm of torque, while both plants have about 10% improved fuel economy. Depending on which engine and trim you go with, Toyota says the new HiLux’s towing capacity has increased up to 3.5 tonnes (~7,700 lbs) and 1,240 kg (~2,700 lbs).

2016 Toyota Hilux interior dash

Inside the cabin, Toyota’s goal was to make the new HiLux feel more like an SUV than a pickup without sacrificing the model’s rugged, simple cabin appeal. You’ll find that the larger eighth-gen model has allowed Toyota to create a much more spacious and comfortable cab, with more room for all occupants, luxury seating, and better quality materials used throughout. They’ve also updated the interior to match the conventional tech. amenities found in today’s most popular SUVs, including a crisp audio system and a massive, vibrant multi-touch control screen.

Toyota says that we can expect the 2016 HiLux model in showrooms in early October. You can read the full press release here for more information.


The Toyota GT86 Is Getting a Little Brother

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

2014 Toyota GT86

Last week, we got our first look at the facelifted 2016 Toyota GT86 sports coupe. This weekend, we learned that this isn’t the only piece of GT86/FR-S related news Toyota’s been hiding… Apparently, Toyota is currently developing a compact sports car that would slot below their joint venture coupe.

The news comes from Australian automotive blog Motoring, who apparently first heard the news from “a source close to Toyota”. They say that the new compact sports car will be a two-door rear-wheel-drive coupe that will have a starting price of about $20,000. It will run on a 132 horsepower 1.5L petrol engine and come in under 1,000 kg.

Toyota Sports 800

Motoring also says that the car will compete with the new Mazda MX-5, but let’s be real… Given Toyota and Mazda’s recently expanded partnership, we all know that this is going to be a Miata-based vehicle. In fact, we’d say there’s a decent chance it will be built on the same platform and use a SkyActiv-inspired engine too. The rumor right now is that the engine will be a modified direct-injection version of the 1.5L four-cylinder Toyota uses in some international Corolla models (2NR-FKE), but we’re not convinced.

Even if the new sub-GT86 coupe is largely built on Mazda components, the car will still be inspired by an old Toyota model. Toyota’s source said, “The new coupe’s exterior look was inspired by the Toyota Sports 800 (pictured above) of 1965, but reinterpreted for the 21st Century.” The source also said that the new coupe is codenamed 69DZ, if that tells you anything. Aesthetically, it’ll be based on the Toyota 86 Cb Concept from the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (below).

2013 Toyota 86 Cb Concept

The new baby coupe will serve as an entry-level offer to Toyota sports car lineup. Other rumors say that Toyota plans to develop another larger coupe that will slot above the GT86/FR-S, which would give them three solid sports car offers. As the cheapest of the bunch, the 69DZ will have a heavy emphasis on fun, agile driving, and not as much on interior quality. We hope that Toyota opts for a simple two-seat coupe for the superior cabin space, but empirical evidence points to a cramped 2+2 seating arrangement.

That being said, Toyota is taking extreme measures to make sure the mini-86 kicks butt on the road… Apparently they’ve enlisted the help of World Rally Championship racer Tommi Makinen to test and develop the new sports coupe. With that kind of real on-track experience behind the project, we sincerely hope that this new sports car will go from prototype to production before the end of the year. It’s certainly possible; Motoring’s source said, “Designers have a final prototype that could very well go into production as is.”

Here’s to hoping!