Posts Tagged ‘prius’

Toyota Prius: The Car That Started A Revolution

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

With the Toyota Prius now being reborn in its 4th incarnation, it’s a great time to look back at the original Prius – the car that started the hybrid revolution. Now hybrids are so common that we have forgotten just how revolutionary this powertrain was when it was launched back in 1997. I remember my first ride in an early model on some hilly roads in Japan, and how it was such a different experience to what I had been used to up to that point.

Throughout history, cars have traditionally been damaging to the environment through the release of greenhouse gases that come about through the burning of fossil fuels (such as gasoline). The rise of “gas guzzlers” and their huge engines that came with the primarily US car culture of the 1960s and 1970s saw carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and other nasties spewed into the air, causing the global climate damage leading to adverse health effects in large cities where pollution was rampant.

As time went on, however, more and more people began to realize that this was a serious problem – and thus, as global awareness of climate change and the dangers of pollution rose, car companies began to consider alternatives to the traditional gas-fueled vehicle.

Enter the hybrid car: a solid compromise between the gasoline-hungry polluter and the (as yet impossible to produce) all-electric car. Although the concept of hybrid cars has been around for a while – almost since the start of motoring itself, in fact – one car really set the trend for others to follow in the automobile industry, and became a favorite with consumers and critics alike: the Toyota Prius.

The first generation model was launched in Japan in 1997 and went on sale worldwide in 2000. Manufactured by the Japanese auto maker Toyota, this mid-size hatchback is currently sold in over 90 markets, of which Japan and the United States are the largest. In 2008, the Prius reached the global cumulative sales milestone of 1 million vehicles; from there, it grew exponentially, selling 2 million cars by September 2010 and 3 million mark by June 2013.

There is a reason that the car is so popular: its environmentally-friendly nature is appealing to many people who feel that they have an obligation to pollute as little as possible, but don’t have the means to purchase an all-electric car (or to not drive at all). Currently the United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board rank the Prius among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States based on the quantity of emissions it releases. In 2016, the new Prius Eco has become the all-time most fuel efficient gasoline-powered car available in the US without plug-in capability – making it not only environmentally conscious, but accessible for many everyday working-class citizens.

The first-generation Toyta Prius, however, had not yet achieved such lofty heights. When it debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, no one was quite sure how well the Prius would sell or whether it was even ready for the market; several more years of research and development went into the car before it could be sold in Japan. However, the car’s designers did have some inkling of what this vehicle could mean for the world; that’s why they named it the Prius, after the Latin word for “before.” According to the Boston Globe, a Toyota spokesperson stated that “Toyota chose this name because the Prius vehicle is the predecessor of cars to come.” Now, that name Prius is almost synonymous with tree-hugging – an eco-brand in its own right – loved by Greenpeace, hated by Jeremy Clarkson.

When it launched, the first generation Prius became the world’s first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car. Its acclaim among critics was almost instantaneous: it won the Car of the Year Japan Award in 1997, and the Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference Car of the Year award in Japan in 1998. Since then, the sales figures have spoken for themselves, as have each subsequent model’s new hybrid features and increasing move towards alternative, rather than gasoline-powered, energy.

The Prius, more than anything, prides itself on fuel efficiency – and it has achieved many of its goals in this regard. While the current fourth generation Prius is expected to achieve ratings of up to 116 MPG, the first generation vehicle already stood at an impressive 52 MPG, and thus was revolutionary for both the fuel economy and environmental benefits that it offered. Although it was not the first mass-produced hybrid in the U.S. – the Honda Insight came first – it was by far the most popular.

While there are still questions asked about just how environmentally friendly it actually is, considering all the exotic metals and materials that go into it, there is no doubt that the Toyota Prius is an iconic Japanese car.

Early Prius are very hard to find. I was not able to find any 1997s at auction or at dealers, and only 2 1998 models for sale by dealers. So instead I decided to go to the other end of the spectrum and check out the very latest model, of which you can already find many examples for sale in the Japanese car auctions. Here is the auction sheet translation:

“Grade S, interior A, exterior A, first registered April 2016, first time in auction, S Navigation Ready Package model, 3KM, in-dash AT, AAC, moo roof, maker option LED fog lamp, LED headlights, smart key, reversing rearview camera, steering wheel switches, vehicle proximity warning system, original alloy wheels, sunroof, airbag, power steering, power windows, hole where there is no stereo fitted, marks as per map”

2016 Toyota Prius at Japanese car auction -- inside

2016 Toyota Prius at Japanese car auction -- rear seat

2016 Toyota Prius at Japanese car auction -- rear

2016 Toyota Prius at Japanese car auction -- front

2016 Toyota Prius in Japanese car auction -- auction sheet


The Toyota Prius Finally Looks Cool

Posted by Stephen On Friday, January 8th, 2016

The Prius is finally making an impression this year. In the past, it kind of looked like a dork on the road; the rear was too high, the front was too squished and the entire thing looked like a potato. Sorry Toyota, but it just didn’t look as good as it could have.
This year, it looks far better. It looks more like a real car. Not only that, it looks like a cool, futuristic car. To top it all off, it stays true to its gas-saving roots and earth-friendly image.

Available in six different trims, the lowest trim starts at $24,200 USD in the US. Toyota was able to reach that price because it carries a different battery pack than the rest of the lineup. While all the other models carry lithium-ion batteries, the Prius Two Echo trim package sports a nickel metal hybrid battery. In an age where gas is finally more affordable than it has been in the past decade, the Prius still has to compete with other cars that pack gas power.

The new car sports a double-wishbone suspension system which makes it feel a lot less rumbly at high speeds. Without adding too much weight to the new vehicle, it feels as if the car is heavier and hugs the road better. The 2016 Toyota Prius will weigh in at 3010 pounds for the bare-bones, Prius Two Echo trim package and will top off at 3080 pounds with all the extra goodies added.

The seats are incredibly comfortable and you’ll find the familiar left-of-center dashboard that is found in other Toyota-made vehicles, such as a Scion XB. The Prius’ dashboard has always been left of center, so this isn’t anything new.

In previous years, the Prius really did look like a compact potato. The new look will certainly put the 2016 Prius on the shopping list this year. New car shoppers will be pleased to discover that the Prius has far more cargo room than one might expect – and that’s with the split-folding rear seats in place. Put them down and you can get even more cargo space.

Amazingly, these are already appearing in the auctions in Japan. Check out this one at auction on January 9th, 2016. It only has 2 KM on the clock, and is classified as a grade S (new) car. First registered in 2016, it has barely had any time since it was registered for the road before it was sent off to be sold at auction.

2016 Toyota Prius ZVW50

Next-Generation Toyota Prius Design ‘Not Good Enough’

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

2015 Toyota Prius Design Rejected

Today we learned just how determined Toyota is to integrate a more powerful and emotional design language into their lineup. The next-generation Toyota Prius, which was originally due out in early 2015, will be the first car to showcase that new style.

Unfortunately, we’ve learned today that the original design for the Japanese automaker’s iconic hybrid hatchback didn’t meet the cut, and so the launch of the next-generation Prius has been delayed by almost a year. If everything goes smoothly from here on out, we’ll have the new Prius by this time next year, but nothing is guaranteed just yet.

The news comes from an interview between Automotive News and Toyota’s executive VP, Mitsuhisa Kato, plus a couple other unnamed execs cited throughout the article. According to insiders, this is how the decision to delay the new Prius was made:

The chief engineer in charge of developing the next Toyota Prius brought the original design for the hybrid hatchback to an executive meeting late last year. That’s when Kato, backed by the opinion of Mr. Akio Toyoda himself, rejected the design for not meeting the cut. The report indicates that there were several other issues with the original car’s design outside of pure aesthetic appeal, but at the same time that there was no way they’d release a new Prius that didn’t have a feeling like a “fresh breeze”.

2014 Toyota C-HR Concept

Toyota originally planned to promote the next-generation previous throughout 2014. However, it was only in April of this year that the design was approved at a corporate level. That’s why we’ve only seen one single concept that heralds the Prius, and even that was an indirect application. We’re talking about, of course, the Toyota C-HR Concept pictured above, which we saw earlier this year at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. We know that the C-HR previewed a hybrid crossover (the Prius will remain a hatchback; don’t worry), but the “diamond architecture” of the concept will carry over to the new Prius.

We certainly don’t blame Toyota for taking their time with this one – not only is the Prius one of their best-selling models with over 1 million units sold in 2013 (for the second year in a row), it’s also the first production model that to utilize Toyota’s new “diamond architecture” design language, which we’re assuming will permeate the rest of the lineup over the next five-ish years. A successful launch for the new Prius would mean that Toyota is succeeding in expanding their appeal to the hipper, more emotionally-driven drivers of today.


LA Auto Show – 2015 Prius C, V and Scion iM Concept

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

2016 Toyota Mirai

There’s no two ways about it – the new Toyota Mirai (above) was the spotlight premiere for the brand’s LA Auto Show booth. However, while the automaker’s production-ready fuel-cell car certainly stole the show, Toyota’s other noteworthy green vehicle showcased several new changes for the 2015MY. And of course, there’s also the Scion iM Concept we’d previewed a couple weeks ago.

2015 Toyota Prius C

2015 Toyota Prius C

First up, Toyota’s entry-level subcompact hybrid hatch continues to set the bar for non-electric vehicle mpg. You’ll get 53 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway for a 50 mpg combined. That’s thanks to an all-around lightweight design, including a small-size engine and battery pack specifically tailored for the C.

Of course, you’re only going to get 99 hp out of the compact hybrid system (73 hp with just the engine), but we’re guessing that most Prius drivers aren’t prioritizing 0 to 60 speeds anyways.

Outside, you’ll notice that next year’s Toyota Prius C is getting a minor facelift. The grille is a bit larger and can be fitted with a classy piano black finish depending on the trim. 16-inch alloy wheels are also available in the Prius c Four trim. Inside, the cabin has seen some minor updates, with improved materials as you move up the trim levels. Most notably is the updated Entune Media system, which includes a 3.5 inch TFT screen.

For more detailed information, you can get the full press release here.

2015 Toyota Prius V

2015 Toyota Prius V

The larger 2015 Toyota Prius V gets similar updates to its smaller brother, which means a minor facelift and improved amenities. Toyota has added several new color options to help personalize the car for each driver – Attitude Black Metallic, Absolutely Red and an intriguing Toasted Walnut Pearl. They’ve re-sculpted the front bumper, expanded the grille, integrated new fog lights, and built-in new LED projector headlights.

Inside, the Prius V also gets an updated interior with the same Entune Media system that’s in the C. The driver in particular will enjoy increased comfort and convenience thanks to a new “8-way power driver’s seat” with customizable lumbar support, which means you’ll be able to drive both economically and ergonomically!

The Prius V is a bigger vehicle, so fuel economy losses should be expected. However, the V still sets a high standard with 42 MPG combined, and you’ll enjoy 60% more cargo space than you’d get in the Prius C. Here’s the press release, if you’re interested.

Scion iM Concept

2014 Scion iM Concept

Finally, Toyota topped off their booth with the all-new Scion iM Concept, which previews a new compact hatchback from the automaker’s youth-targeted sub-brand. We’d already seen a pretty revealing preview of the iM Concept, but we got a much better look at the 2014 LA Auto Show.

We were anxious to learn more about Scion’s first lineup addition in recent memory. Fortunately, Toyota satisfied our cravings by telling us to expect not one, but THREE new Scions to hit the road in the next three years, with the production Scion iM to make its debut at the 2015 New York Motor Show and go on sale next summer. You can read more about Scion’s new product plans here.


Toyota Officially Names Their Upcoming FCV the Mirai

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

2016 Toyota Mirai

As of today, we finally have a name to refer to when talking about Toyota’s upcoming hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. No longer is it simply the “Fuel-Cell Vehicle Concept”; now it’s the Toyota Mirai. Interestingly enough, “Mirai” actually means “future” in Japanese – a fitting name for a car that Toyota believes holds the key for the future of environmentally conscious driving.

If you’d like to see the news straight from source, check out Mr. Akio Toyoda introducing the Mirai in the video below:

As you can see, Mr. Toyoda has given us a full rundown of what we can expect from Toyota’s first-ever commercial hydrogen FCV. Heavily based on the FCV Concept, this modern-looking four-door sedan will be both fuel conscious and fun to drive. It’ll be able to travel 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, refill in about 3 minutes, and the only emissions coming out the tail pipe are two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen… In other words, water.

You don’t have to be an expert to see the implications of a car like the Toyota Mirai. If hydrogen fuel-cell cars take off the way that Akio Toyoda envisions, this could be the first step towards a world without automotive pollution. In both form and function, the Mirai will feel nearly identical to a conventional petrol car. However, instead of relying on limited fossil fuels, hydrogen can be made from almost anything – even garbage, as Toyoda excitedly points out in the video.

The official naming of Toyota’s FCV is only part of the news, however. In addition, NA Toyota CEO, Jim Lentz, informed us in a press release that Toyota has made a new commitment in the Northeastern Corridor – Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts & Connecticut – to build a viable hydrogen refueling infrastructure by 2016.

The new Northeastern infrastructure will come via a partnership with Air Liquide. There will be at least 12 state-of-the-art hydrogen stations available by the time Toyota launches the Mirai in 2016. In combination with the 19 hydrogen fueling stations that will be available in California alone, Toyota is pretty well setup to start closing in from both borders as the rest of the US inevitably adopts the technology over the coming decade.

This is a timely announcement for Toyota, as their new Mirai is set to make its global debut later this week at the 2014 LA Auto Show. Sales of the Mirai are expected to start in California by summer of 2015.

Auction Find – 2013 Toyota Prius G

2013 Toyota Prius auction find

The Mirai isn’t the first time that Toyota has led the way in the automotive industry with breakthrough, environmentally friendly technology. For over a decade now, the Toyota Prius has defined the hybrid market, and continues to lead the way in both sales and influence. By May of this year, the Prius had already sold 70,000 more units than the second best-selling hybrid in the US, which was the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

This particular find is a 2013 model year in fresh-off-the-floor condition. By now, you probably already know exactly what to expect from a Toyota Prius, so we won’t spend a ton of time telling you all the awesome perks of the model. Instead, if you’d like to learn more about this specific Japanese car auction find, just read below the auction sheet for a full translation:

2013 Toyota Prius auction sheet

“Interior B, first registered February 2013, G model, DAA emissions code, AT, AC, power steering, power windows, original TV and navigation system, first time in auction, rear view reversing camera, AT, AC, service book, console scratches, dashboard scratches, door mirrors scratched, scraped under front bumper, light scratches under rear bumper, marks as per map”


New Toyota C-HR Concept Hits the Stage in Paris

Posted by Stephen On Friday, October 3rd, 2014

2014 Toyota C-HR Concept

Today the brand-new Toyota C-HR Concept made its world debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. What we have here is an innovative new crossover that Toyota says, “Combines a new, dynamic design language with an agile and engaging drive.” While we can’t speak to the car’s drivability, there’s no doubt that this is definitely something new from Toyota’s design department.

2014 Toyota C-HR Concept Profile

You may remember that Toyota had already teased the C-HR Concept not once, but twice, so we already knew a fair bit about the concept. However, seeing it in-the-metal instead of as a digital rendering makes an enormous difference in how the crossover comes off. In the preview images it almost looked like a cartoon; on stage it looks like something we’d actually want to drive.

In particular, the diamond-cut line work of their new design language comes off much cleaner on the showroom floor. For example, we can now see that the floating roof has a subtle faceted pattern that creates a “lively play of light in the cabin,” like having a sun-catcher built into the car. That’s a design feature we’ve never seen before, but desperately hope to see again!

Another thing that’s even clearer now is just how small this compact crossover really is. It’s almost more coupe then SUV, and you can see in the image below that it only comes about shoulder-height. Still, there’s no denying that this sporty concept looks like it’d be a blast on the road.

2014 Toyota C-HR Concept Size Comparison

One more thing that we didn’t necessarily realize before the C-HR Concept debuted in Paris is that it was actually developed specifically for the European market. It makes sense since Europe is still the most demanding market for small and mid-size vehicles, and Toyota said as much in their press release. They go on to say that, “Toyota Motor Europe has become the companies of skill Center for diesel engines, perceived quality and vehicle dynamics.”

Finally, while Toyota didn’t give us any specific technical details about the C-HR crossover’s hybrid powertrain, they did build more hype around it. Apparently, it’s “a new, advanced full hybrid powertrain that delivers an engaging driving experience, deal with 21st century traffic conditions and deliver outstanding efficiency.”

If we had to guess, we’d say that the C-HR will probably get the powertrain from the next-gen Prius. The press release talks a lot about “hybrid heritage” and Toyota’s contribution to “the widespread acceptance of hybrids,” as well as the wild success of their Prius models.

2014 Toyota C-HR Concept rear view

All in all, we have to admit that we’re more than a little jealous of our European readers. While we still don’t know exactly what this C-HR concept will become, it’s clear that it will definitely become something. That goes against our previous guess that the C-HR Concept was more design study than pre-production concept.

If you’d like to learn more about the Toyota C-HR Concept, just watch the video below. Otherwise, thanks for reading and stay tuned tomorrow for more cool Japanese cars from the 2014 Paris Motor Show.


Japanese Car Auction Find – 2008 Toyota Prius S 10th Anniversary

Posted by Stephen On Friday, July 18th, 2014

This week’s Japanese car auction find is a stunning 2008 Toyota Prius S 10th Anniversary Edition. With the first details now emerging of the next generation of Toyota’s flagship hybrid hatchback, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at how far we’ve come.

2008 Toyota Prius

As a 2008MY, this Prius falls right at the end of the car’s second generation, which spanned from the car’s US-launch in 2003 to the introduction of the third generation in 2009. In other words, this is the hatchback that America fell in love with during the half-decade leading up to the auto industry’s global recession. This is the model range that moved the Prius from an on-the-side enthusiast offering to a front-and-center flagship vehicle for the world’s largest Japanese automaker.

2008 Toyota Prius rear view

As we mentioned at the beginning, this particular Toyota Prius is an S 10th Anniversary special edition model. As you can imagine, Toyota went all out for their anniversary model and packed lots of juicy tech. goodies into a clean and eco-friendly package. It helped that Prius sales were starting to slip at the time, which incentivized Toyota to go the extra mile on this model.

You’ll find the following features in this 2008 Toyota Prius S 10th Anniversary model:

  • 1.5L hybrid powertrain with 107hp and 46mpg combined EPA rating
  • Auto-leveling HID headlights
  • Hard drive-based on-board navigation system
  • intelligent parking assist
  • SKS (Smart Key System) with original key
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic air conditioning
  • Power steering & windows
  • Toyota’s improved S-VSC (Vehicle Stability Control)
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with unique beige interior
  • Cruise control
  • Hands-free phone connection

As a fun trivia fact, Toyota actually released two 10th anniversary models. Today’s Japanese car auction find is one of the original 2008MY S 10th Anniversary models, but the UK released their own limited edition “Prius 10” in 2010.

2008 Toyota Prius interior

Briefly looking over the auction sheet and at the pictures included in this post, you can quickly see that this is a really good find. The overall quality of the car has been rated as 4.5, which means the car is in very good condition. The auction sheet shows a total of three minor blemishes across the entire paint job, which explains its high rating. The interior also received a top-notch A grade, which tells us that it’s above-average considering the age and mileage.

If you’d like to delve even deeper into this 2008 Toyota Prius’ auction sheet, continue reading below. And remember, you can always follow along or research any of the other hundreds of Prii up for auction when you sign up for our free two-week trial access period.

2008 Toyota Prius auction sheet

Here’s the translation:

“Interior A, first registered Feb 2010, AT, AAC, original AWs, power steering, power windows, original TV, original navigation system, airbag, rear view reversing camera, push button starter, 2 x smart keys, seats have covers fitted, mig, rust underneath, DAA emissions code, scratches and dents, marks as per map.”


First Details for the 2016 Toyota Prius Emerge

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, July 17th, 2014

2014 Toyota Prius

We still have over a year until the next generation of Toyota Prius makes its official debut. It was originally set to premiere early in 2015, but Toyota moved that date back to allow plenty of time for an out-of-the-park launch. However, even though we still have a while to wait, Toyota is already starting to drop some serious hints about what we can expect in the next-gen hybrid.

High-Density Lithium Ion Battery

The first major addition to the 2016 Toyota Prius will be a second battery option. Toyota will still offer the affordable nickel-metal hydride battery that’s in their current model, but they’ll also offer an upgraded lithium ion battery pack.

This rumor was confirmed by Toyota’s chief managing officer of powertrain development, Koei Saga, in an interview with Automotive News. While he didn’t give us any specifics, we can assume that the high-tech lithium ion battery’s higher density will allow the Prius to more efficiently store and use energy, allowing for improved fuel economy and longer electric-only range. The downside is a higher manufacturing price, which in turn necessitates a higher MSRP for any Prius with that technology.

Toyota New Global Architecture w/ AWD

To help Toyota achieve their stated goal of an 8% improvement in fuel economy and 40% thermal efficiency, the next-gen Prius will ride on Toyota’s New Global Architecture. This new modular chassis will offer up to 20% weight reduction over their current underpinnings, which in and of itself makes for significant efficiency improvements. And, while it’s not written in stone, it may even feature an all-wheel drive layout in addition to the front-wheel drive available in today’s model.

This actually makes a lot of sense for Toyota. The whole point of their New Global Architecture is to increase sharing of parts and technologies between different vehicles in order to save on manufacturing and development costs. If they can build an AWD hybrid drivetrain for the Prius, then it’ll be easy to port that same setup over to any of their other vehicles that eventually use the new platform. In fact, Saga even hinted at the possibility of new “unprecedented” concepts for large hybrid vehicles built on their NGA.

All in all, it’s already clear that the next-gen Toyota Prius will be just as groundbreaking as the original model all the way back in 1997. Saga agreed, finishing his interview with Automotive News by saying, “The batteries will be renewed. Everything will be revised. And I think we will come up with a fuel economy that will surprise everyone.”

And that will be surprising, after all the current Prius has just lapped the Nurburgring at 698 MPG. (That’s MPG, not MPH!). Of course, that’s a bit of a cheat, given that for most of the course it was using electrical power, and that power had to come from somewhere. After all, you could put an all-electric Tesla Model S on the same track and claim that it’s MPG for the circuit was infinte because it did not use any gas at all.

In any case, it’s an impressive feat, which shows what hybrid tech + renewable electricity generation can do in partnership. And it whet’s our appetite for the next Prius.

See the current one lap the Nurburgring slightly slower than fellow hybrid, the Porsche 918, in the video below:


Used Japanese Cars Officially Offer the Best Bang for Your Buck

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 21st, 2014

Used Japanese Cars

Every year, Consumer Reports puts together a very helpful report of the best and worst used cars at a variety of price ranges. Last year, we saw a fair number of Japanese cars make their way into the top list, but this year the showing is even more impressive. Out of 28 total cars listed, 22 of them are Japanese-made. Of the six remaining, three of them are Korean-made and three of them are American-made.

Conversely, 15 of the 21 vehicles on Consumer Reports’ worst used cars list for 2014 are American-made, with the remaining being European-made. Not a single Japanese car made it onto the ‘Worst’ list.

Remember, these are their words, not ours. There’s no bias here whatsoever; we’re just reporting what they said. So, if there were any doubt in anyone’s mind that Japan makes the best cars – the cars with the most longevity and value – this should effectively change your mind. At least for this year.

Of course, it’s probably no surprise that among the Best Used Cars list, most of them were Toyota’s. 11 of the 21 were Toyota/Lexus, six were Honda/Acura, and the rest were split between Mitsubishi, Mazda, Infiniti and Subaru.

Although you will have to check out the full report for yourself if you’d like to see a detailed breakdown in each category, we’ve provided a bird’s eye view of the best cars below:

Best Used Cars & SUVs <$10k

Small Cars: ‘04-07 Toyota Prius
Sedans: ‘07-08 Hyundai Sonata
SUVs: ‘04 Toyota Highlander V6

Best Used Cars & SUVs $10k – $15k

Small Cars: ‘11-13 Honda Fit
Sedans: ‘09-12 Mazda3
SUVs: ’04-06 Acura MDX

Best Used Cars & SUVs $15k – $20k

Small Cars: ‘12-13 Hyundai Elantra
Sedans: ‘11-12 Toyota Camry
SUVs: ’06-07 Lexus RX

Best Used Cars & SUVs $20k – $25k

Sedans: ‘11 Toyota Avalon
SUVs: ’08-09 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

As you can see, quite a few Toyotas top the charts there. From the older, now-cheap Toyota Prius to the 2011 Toyota Avalon, Toyota has consistently maintained itself as a top contender for both new and used car reliability.

Just to give you a bit more background, Consumer Reports compiled this list based on tests that they’ve done on each of these vehicles over the years. They stated that every car had “above-average reliability for the model years shown,” even when the car was several years old. The other key metric that Consumer Reports required for a car to be listed on their best list was electronic stability control, a feature that they feel is required in order to safely recommend a car to family or friends.

As for the worst list, every car on it demonstrated exactly the opposite – worse than average reliability – except that instead of being unreliable for just one or two model years, that lack of reliability was consistently present every year from 2004 through 2013.

All in all, the dominance of Japanese cars isn’t all that surprising to us. It’s why you really can’t go wrong when you buy Japanese, and now it’s not just us saying that, it’s the most respected consumer reviewers in the industry.

(Of course, a great place to source Japanese used cars is the used car auctions in Japan. Integrity Exports can help you do this.)


Toyota Prius Named Best New-Car Value by Consumer Reports

Posted by Stephen On Friday, December 20th, 2013

In a not-so-shocking turn of events, the Toyota Prius hatchback has been named Consumer Reports “Best New-Car Value” for the second year in a row.

Every year, Consumer Reports does a full rundown of the entire automotive industry in an effort to offer consumers a comprehensive list of the best- and worst-value cars on the market. As it did in 2012, the 2013 Toyota Prius took the overall prize for Best New-Car Value.

While you’re probably well-aware of what makes the Toyota Prius such a timeless trophy, let’s quickly review:

First, the obvious one: fuel economy. The  2013 Toyota Prius hybrid offers an astounding 44 miles per gallon overall, and the 2014 Prius gets even better with 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway.

The second reason the Prius tops the list is less obvious: very low depreciation. In other words, a Prius maintains its value much longer than just about any other car on the market. Rik Paul, CR’s auto editor stated, “Though it’s not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius’ depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP.” New York Daily News cited that the Prius’ estimated cost of ownership falls below 47 cents per mile during the first five years; insanely cheap!

If you’re wondering about the other cars listed in Consumer Reports Best New-Car Value list (as well as their Worst New-Car Value counterparts), just take a look below:

–  Compact /Subcompact Cars: Best, Toyota Prius Four; Worst, Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L

–  Midsized Cars: Best, Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium; Worst, Nissan Altima 3.5 SL

–  Large Cars: Best, Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited; Worst, Ford Taurus Limited

–  Luxury Cars: Best, Lexus ES 300h; Worst, BMW 750Li

–  Sports Cars/Convertibles: Best: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring; Worst, Chevrolet Camaro convertible 2SS (V8)

–  Wagons/Minivans: Best, Mazda5 Grand Touring; Worst, Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L

–  Small SUVs: Best, Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium; Worst, Ford Escape SE (1.6T)

–  Midsized SUVs: Best, Nissan Murano SL; Worst, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

–  Luxury/Large SUVs: Best, BMW X1 xDrive28i; Worst, Nissan Armada Platinum

–  Pickups: Best, Honda Ridgeline RTS; Worst, Ford F-250 Lariat (6.7L V8)

As you can see, Toyota, Subaru and Mazda all got multiple cars awarded with the best new-car value in their respective classes. Surprisingly, Nissan had two cars make it onto Consumer Reports’ Worst New-Car Value List, with the Nissan Armada Platinum take the Worst Car prize with its terrible 13 mpg.

Of course, we probably won’t see Carlos Ghosn shedding any tears over a couple of his SUVs making it onto Consumer Reports unfavorable list. None the less, consumers everywhere now know that Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and Honda truly take the cake when it comes to reliable value.

And it is highly significant that the best value vehicles in all but one of the categories are Japanese car brands. The dominance is really quite staggering.