Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Toyota Turns Compost Into Cars

Toyota’s Georgetown Plant Contributes to Global Environmental Goal

Landfill Gas Generator to Produce One Million Watts for Vehicle Production

The company recently announced its intent to virtually eliminate CO2 emissions from its factories and vehicles, and it’s about to flip the switch on a very tangible example of this effort. Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky., manufacturing plant will begin generating electricity from methane, a byproduct of trash decomposition at the nearby Central Kentucky Landfill on Nov. 23, 2015. 

“We will generate one megawatt (1 million watts) per hour at the site,” said Toyota’s environmental strategies manager Dave Absher. “That’s enough annual energy generation to produce approximately 10,000 vehicles. The system can eventually be scaled up to 10 megawatts per hour.”

Toyota’s global headquarters recently announced a very aggressive goal of largely eliminating CO2 emissions from its vehicles and manufacturing plants by 2050. The launch of the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle this year; making its fuel cell patents available to other automakers; and developing manufacturing technologies that use hydrogen as a power source are specific initiatives mentioned within the plan. Alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and locally produced renewable energy also will be required to achieve the goal.

“The landfill gas generator represents the kind of thinking that our company is asking us to do to reduce our carbon footprint over the next 35 years,” said Kevin Butt, Toyota’s general manager for environment strategies. “It’s a small step, but a significant one. These types of changes to our manufacturing operations coupled with other global initiatives will help us reach this very aggressive goal.”

The project is a collaboration between Toyota’s Georgetown manufacturing plant and the Central Kentucky Landfill owned and operated by Waste Services of the Bluegrass. Landfills are required to monitor methane levels and report these levels to the EPA. Capturing and burning the methane has been determined by the EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Toyota Georgetown’s project began in 2010 when the two companies met to discuss the potential. Last fall, Waste Services began installing a methane collection system and Toyota began installing the generator at the site. An underground electric transmission line runs from the landfill approximately 6.5 miles to deliver the electricity to the plant. 

“This project was a true collaboration between the two companies,” said Absher. “There was also a tremendous amount of support from the local community, public utilities and elected officials to get the project off the ground.”

More information about Toyota’s environmental initiatives is available in the North American Environmental Report http://www.toyota.com/usa/environmentreport2015/ which was released this week.

About Johnstons Toyota in New Hampton, NY

Johnstons Toyota & Scion. Located in New Hampton, N.Y., we are proud to serve the entire Middletown area. We are a full service Toyota & Scion dealership offering new and pre-owned vehicles as well as service. As one of the largest New York area dealerships, you're sure to find the Toyota or Scion of your dreams. What sets us apart from other dealerships is our commitment to providing the 'Ultimate Experience' to all of our customers whether it's in the showroom, Service Department, or in the community. The 'Ultimate Experience' includes:
- A Toyota Presidents Award store for outstanding customer service
- Ultimate selection of new and pre-owned vehicles
- Competitive pricing
- One of the largest Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles inventories in the area
- Some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the area
- A large Service Center 20+ bay service department
- Factory trained ASE and Toyota Certified Master Technicians
- Commitment to community involvement

We have a strong and committed sales staff with many years of experience satisfying our customers' needs. Feel free to browse our inventory online, request more information about vehicles, set up a test drive or inquire about financing!

Johnstons Toyota & Scion is located in New Hampton, New York. Our Toyota & Scion dealership has a great selection of new and used Toyota & Scion vehicles. If you're searching for a new car, browse our inventory for the Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Yaris, Prius, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, Sequoia, Rav4, Highlander, Tacoma or Tundra. If you would like to test drive any of these models, come down to 5015 Route 17M in New Hampton, New York. We also have a large selection of Certified Used Toyota and Scion vehicles as well as a vast selection of used vehicles from other top manufacturers to find the right car for you.

At Johnstons Toyota & Scion we don't just sell cars, we provide a complete car buying experience. Our service to you does not stop at sales, we provide our customers with everything from car repair services, auto parts sales to car loan and lease financing. Come visit us today at 5015 Route 17m in New Hampton, NY and let show you how easy the car buying experience can be at Johnstons Toyota & Scion

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Electrifying Development: Refreshed 2016 RAV4 Line Offers Toyota's Eighth Hybrid

- New 2016 RAV4 Offers Eighth Hybrid in Toyota Lineup
- Hybrid is Most Powerful and Fuel-Efficient RAV4
- Refreshed Exterior Styling and Updated Interior Across the RAV4 Lineup
- New SE Grade Provides Sport-Tuned Suspension and Sportier Styling

Looking at the expansive crossover landscape today, Toyota can proudly point to the first RAV4 as the pioneering model two decades ago. The RAV4 was a new kind of vehicle that combined SUV versatility with car-like handling, ride comfort and fuel economy. What began as a niche exploded into a category, with the RAV4 remaining one of its leaders. That leadership shows once again for 2016 with the introduction of the first RAV4 Hybrid as part of a refreshed RAV4 line that also includes a sporty new SE grade.

A few years after the first RAV4 arrived, Toyota began offering what would become the world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle, the Prius. The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid brings the number of Toyota hybrid models to eight (plus six more in the Lexus luxury division). The RAV4 Hybrid is a no compromise vehicle aimed at active young couples who put high fuel economy at the top of a priority list that also includes utility, style, versatility and capability. The fuel economy estimates are expected to be high, as Toyota anticipates to receive EPA ratings of 34 mpg city / 31 mpg highway / 33 mpg combined for both 2016 RAV4 Hybrid models. The RAV4 Hybrid comes in two premium grades: XLE and Limited. The RAV4 gas version comes in four grades: LE, XLE, Limited and the new SE.

Drives Great, Less Fill-Ups
Whoever chooses a 2016 RAV4 Hybrid -- couples, singles or small families -- will be enjoying a more powerful and quicker-accelerating RAV4. The all-weather capability is there, too, as both Hybrid grades come equipped with an Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System with intelligence (AWD-i) as standard. A second, independent electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction.

Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive has long been the platinum standard for seamless hybrid performance, high efficiency and exemplary dependability. Drivers love the way it works, because they cannot feel it working, and that’s the point. The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid combines output from a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and a small high-torque electric motor through its unique transaxle. The RAV4 Hybrid delivers a jolt of performance from a combined 194 system horsepower. The system varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both as needed, all seamlessly.

The versatile RAV4 Hybrid will zoom from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds (nearly one second quicker than its gas counterparts), yet what feels most impressive is the response from 206 lb.-ft. of total system torque in everyday driving. Regenerative braking changes the electric motor to a generator that captures the kinetic energy of the still-turning wheels when the brake is applied, storing it in the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery pack.

The RAV4 Hybrid driver can play an active role in conserving fuel by selecting one of the several operating modes. Choosing ECO mode (on Hybrid and Gas models) optimizes throttle response and air conditioning output to help prioritize fuel economy. In EV mode, the RAV4 Hybrid, under certain conditions, will run solely on the electric motor for up to 0.6 miles at lower speeds (below approximately 25 mph). A Hybrid System Indicator and fuel consumption indicator, located in a 4.2-inch TFT screen, helps coach the driver to operate the vehicle as economically as possible.

New Look Outside
The 2016 RAV4 line ushers in refreshed exterior styling that lends the vehicle a sleeker, more dynamic stance. A bolder looking front fascia seems to come alive when equipped with the available LED combo of headlights, daytime running lights and Hi-Lo Headlights. The new rocker panels sharpen the sides and tie in restyled front and rear bumpers for a more flowing profile. Available LED taillights add a premium touch.

New front and rear silver skid plate garnishes on most models, new wheel designs and a standard shark fin antenna on all grades further accent the freshened look of the 2016 RAV4. Capping the restyle in high style are three additions to the color palette: Silver Sky Metallic, Black Currant Metallic and Electric Storm Blue.

On some grades, the revised gauge cluster contains an available 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display, and a 7-inch touch-sensitive display audio touch screen is also available. Among new conveniences are LED illumination on the lower center console, a 12V power outlet added to the rear area, and a revised cup holder design to hold tall mugs with handles. There’s also a new holder for sunglasses.

New Safety Tech Everywhere
The 2016 RAV4 will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS, which is standard on 2016 RAV4 Limited grades (gas and Hybrid) and available on XLE (gas and Hybrid) and SE grades, bundles cutting edge safety technologies including Pre-Collision System (with Forward Collision Warning and automatic emergency brake), Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, Pedestrian Pre-Collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. In addition to TSS, RAV4 LE gas and XLE gas and hybrid models will feature a standard Blind Spot Mirror and the SE gas and Limited gas and hybrid grades have a standard Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The 2016 RAV4 debuts new technologies to bolster convenience, entertainment and information. Smart Key, standard on SE and Limited (gas and Hybrid) grades, and a Homelink® garage door opener (standard on Limited gas and Hybrid grades), add convenience and security. Available front and rear parking sonar helps make parking easy and safe, and now the RAV4 offers the ultimate technology for that purpose, a new Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan. This Toyota-first technology employs four cameras that are mounted on the front, the side mirrors and rear of the vehicle to project a panoramic view of the vehicle’s surroundings on the central seven-inch touch display. The system offers drivers assistance when parallel parking, and when pulling in and out of parking spaces. The Bird’s Eye View Monitor system also debuts a Toyota-first feature called Perimeter Scan, which provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle, helping the driver to see potential obstacles.

For 2016, the RAV4 XLE and SE feature the standard Scout® GPS Link cell phone-based navigation system (available on LE). And for entertainment, RAV4 XLE, SE and Limited models come equipped with SiriusXM All-Access Radio with a 3-month complimentary trial subscription.

RAV4 SE: Sporty New Look and Attitude
Gaining the versatility of a crossover shouldn't have to mean giving up on sporty driving. The refreshed 2016 Toyota RAV4 line adds an athletic new member to the family, the SE, featuring sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and paddle shifters for the six-speed automatic transmission. While providing a more dynamic and responsive driving experience, the RAV4 SE shows off its sporty attitude with LED headlights and taillights and exclusive bumper and lower grill design. Its most distinctive exterior feature is the S-Code paint design, which combines one of three available upper colors (Super White, Black Sand Pearl and Electric Storm Blue) over Classic Silver Metallic on the vehicle’s lower trim.

The SE continues the sporty, upscale theme inside with SofTex®-trimmed seats featuring a power driver’s seat (also on Limited) and contrast stitching, and a choice of two interior colors (Black and Black/Cinnamon), along with a Black headliner, Black A&B-pillar covers, sport floor mats and door sill protectors and Gunmetal Gray trim.

The SE instrument panel features twin dials with red illumination and red pointers, along with a standard 4.2-inch color TFT multi-information display.

Where Practicality Meets Fun
The RAV4 gets down the road with authority from a 2.5-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine that smoothly delivers 176 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm. It’s teamed to a standard six-speed automatic transmission, and the combination yields EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg city / 31 mpg highway/26 mpg combined. With Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive, the EPA estimates are 22/29/25 mpg.

As seen on premium vehicles, the Toyota RAV4 comes with driver-selectable operating modes. Select Eco mode and the RAV4 optimizes powertrain operation to maximize fuel economy. Switch to Sport mode, and you’ll experience sharpened shift timing, throttle response and steering feel. Downshifting will “blip” the throttle, as the driver in a stick-shift vehicle would do to maintain driving smoothness. On RAV4 models with Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive, Sport mode also alters torque distribution to enhance agility.

Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
With standard front-drive, the RAV4 gas model has a special traction helper called Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD). Essentially a second layer of computer logic in the Traction Control system, Auto LSD can be engaged at speeds below 25 mph to provide the function of a mechanical limited-slip differential. Unlike Traction Control, it doesn’t cut into engine power. This helps give the driver control and distributes power where it’s most effective. On all RAV4 gas models, standard Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backward when starting off on an incline when the brake pedal is released. All RAV4 models (except SE) are equipped with standard Trailer Sway Control. A function of Vehicle Stability Control, Trailer Sway Control helps counteract handling forces that can cause trailer sway during towing by applying brakes to individual wheels.

For maximum traction capability in all conditions, the RAV4 gas models offer the sophisticated Dynamic Torque Control AWD system that’s also offered on the larger Highlander model. Taking input from various sensors (vehicle speed, steering speed and angle, throttle angle and yaw rate), Dynamic Torque Control continuously monitors and actively governs torque distribution to the rear wheels, as needed, via an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in the rear differential. Front to rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive automatically engaged under normal driving conditions to help reduce fuel consumption.

When accelerating, Dynamic Torque Control automatically shifts to AWD to help prevent front wheel slippage, or when sensors detect wheel slippage. New for 2016, torque transfer to the rear wheels starts from the moment the steering wheel is turned to reduce the load on the front tires in all Drive Modes (previously only in Sport Mode on 2015 AWD RAV4s). If wheel slip occurs, the system transfers up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels to reduce front tire loading, thereby enhancing lateral grip. Pushing an AWD Lock button fixes torque distribution at 50:50 at speeds up to about 25 mph to help maximize grip for off-pavement driving or slippery conditions. Above that speed, the system reverts to Auto mode.

Inner Strength
A body structure that makes extensive use of high-strength steel provides a robust and stiff, yet light platform and is the foundation for the RAV4’s smooth ride, handling agility and cabin quietness. The rear suspension member has increased spots welds and support mounts to help enhance rigidity and reduce vibration transfer to the vehicle occupants. The MacPherson strut front suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension let the RAV4 absorb bumps, ruts and railroad crossings with composure. A strut tower bar links the tops of the front strut towers to the main bulkhead, helping to increase torsional rigidity.

Front and rear shock absorbers and coils have been retuned in all RAV4 grades to help enhance stability and increase comfort. The SE grade receives unique sport-tuned shock absorbers and coils for enhanced sport driving composure.

Vehicle-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion electric power steering provides precision feel and quick response, and it has no messy hydraulic fluid to be checked or changed. The RAV4 LE rolls on standard 17-inch steel wheels with wheel covers and P225/65R17 all-season tires. The XLE Hybrid upgrades to unique 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels with 225/65R17 tires and XLE gas rides on 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels with 235/55R18 tires, while the Limited and SE grades get 18-inch alloy wheels with P235/55R18 all-season tires.

Cavernous Cabin
The easy-to-maneuver, easy-to-park RAV4 takes up little space outside but offers cavernous space inside. There’s ample room for five adults, including competitive 37.2 inches of rear legroom and, behind the rear seat, 38.4 cu. ft. of cargo capacity (35.6 cu. ft. for Hybrid). With the 60/40 split rear seats folded, that space expands to 73.4 cu. ft. (70.6 cu. ft. for Hybrid). The rear seatbacks recline several degrees for added passenger comfort, and rear privacy glass is standard on all RAV4 models.

The RAV4 Limited brings in the luxury SofTex-trimmed seats, dash and door panels. The driver gets an eight-way power seat with memory and lumbar adjustment, and the front seats are two-stage heated. Added conveniences include the Smart Key system with push button start, remote power liftgate, a frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink® and SofTex-covered sliding center armrest with a console storage compartment.

Special attention was directed towards improving cabin quietness with the addition of sound insulation materials in the rear cargo area, floor pan, and side and rear doors to help reduce road noise and create a premium feel.

Tune in With Entune™
There’s no shortage of music and information choices in the 2016 RAV4, thanks to a line of four available Entune™ audio systems. In the RAV4 LE, the standard Entune Audio system features a 6.1-in. touchscreen, AM/FM/CD, Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod® connectivity and control, USB 2.0, AUX mini-jack, Advanced Voice Recognition, and six speakers. Siri® Eyes Free is also new for 2016. The Entune touchscreen, which also serves as the display for the standard backup camera, allows the driver and front passenger to operate the audio system, and more.

Standard on XLE grade, Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App adds high-resolution to the 6.1-inch touch screen, HD Radio® with iTunes® tagging, SiriusXM® Satellite (with 3-month complimentary All Access Trial), HD Radio® Traffic/Weather (metro areas only), Connected Navigation via Scout® GPS Link app (includes cell-phone driven navigation, voice activated search, traffic-based commute information, and more) operated through a 6.1-inch high resolution touch screen with Customizable Home Screen. In the RAV4 Limited (and optional for the XLE), Entune Premium Audio adds a 7.0-inch high resolution touchscreen with Customizable Home Screen, Integrated Navigation and the subscription-free Entune® App Suite. Entune Premium Audio adds AM/FM Cache Radio pairs with the user’s mobile smartphone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated access to navigation, music and information services. Mobile apps include Destination Search, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Yelp, Facebook Places, Slacker Radio, and Pandora®, plus real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks. Customers can also download available Entune updates.

Reserved as an option for the Limited and SE, the Entune Premium JBL® Audio with Navigation system brings your music to life with 576 watts (maximum) pumped through 11 JBL®GreenEdge™ Technology speakers in seven locations, including a subwoofer and JBL amplifier. The eight-channel amplifier and Green Edge speakers reduce electrical draw on the vehicle compared to other systems of comparable output.

Star Safety
Like every 2016 Toyota, RAV4 is equipped with the Star Safety System™ that includes: Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Brake Assist (BA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Smart Stop Technology (SST). Eight standard airbags include dual stage advanced driver and front passenger airbags; front seat-mounted airbags; first and second row side curtain airbags; driver knee airbag and a front passenger seat cushion airbag. Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats are designed to help support the driver’s and front passenger’s heads during certain types of rear-end collisions.

Value Pricing
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2016 RAV4 gas models will range from $24,350 for the LE 2WD to $32,910 for the AWD Limited.

The MSRP for the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid will be $28,370 for the AWD XLE and $33,610 for the AWD Limited.

The MSRP for all RAV4 models does not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $900. The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

Limited Warranty
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation.

The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles. In applicable states hybrid-related component coverage is 15 years/150,000 miles with the exception of the hybrid battery, which is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles.

The 2016 RAV4 also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

2016 RAV4 Pricing
Model # Model Drive Transmission Grade MSRP
4430 RAV4 2WD A/T LE $24,350
4440 RAV4 2WD A/T XLE $26,270
4470 RAV4 2WD A/T SE $29,265
4450 RAV4 2WD A/T LTD $31,510
4432 RAV4 AWD A/T LE $25,750
4442 RAV4 AWD A/T XLE $27,670
4472 RAV4 AWD A/T SE $30,665
4452 RAV4 AWD A/T LTD $32,910

Model # Model Drive Transmission Grade MSRP
4444 RAV4 AWD CVT XLE $28,370
4454 RAV4 AWD CVT LTD $33,610
All prices listed above exclude the Delivery, Processing, and Handling (DPH) fee. Fleet models excluded.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

2017 Toyota Tundra – What to Expect

 | Nov 19, 2015

Note to the readers: you are going to see Chief Engineer Mike Sweers mentioned quite a bit in this article. Why? He is chief engineer and provides the direction for the truck as well as approves/turns down any ideas his team comes up with. In the past, some readers have said I refer to Sweers too much. Those readers don’t understand how much Sweers controls the direction of the Tundra. In order to understand the future of the Tundra, one must understand how Sweers thinks. I believe, after spending quite a bit of time with him, I have a fairly good idea. Again, a “fairly” good idea.

With the start of auto show “season” kicking off in LA this week, it is a good time to turn our attention to what Toyota has in store. This year, it is highly likely changes to the Toyota Tundra are coming at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. What could those changes be? Here are my best guesses.

What improvements can you expect in the 2017 Toyota Tundra? Here are my best guesses.

Before I get to what I think will happen, I’d like to take a moment and thank you – the readers. When I started writing here 4 years ago, I had no idea really what I was getting myself into. My early work probably reflected this with article topics on all sorts of things and wild assumptions galore (definitely wild now looking back). Along the way, I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at covering the topics Tundra owners care about and I’ve also gotten better at understanding the marketplace. Again, thank you for reading, commenting and emailing me. I appreciate it.
Powertrain Changes Lead to Better Fuel Economy

If you were to step back and take a critical look at the Toyota Tundra’s strengths and weaknesses, fuel economy is at the top of the list. When the 5.7L engine debuted nearly 10 years ago, it was at the top of the list for its design and performance. Even though, Toyota Tundra Chief Engineer Mike Sweers says it is still pretty advanced in certain ways, the reality is competition has now caught up from a consumer point of view. Consumers simply don’t care that much how many valves an engine has or how after all of these years it is still on top from an engineering point of view, it is about performance and fuel economy.

These two areas are where the Tundra MUST improve. If it doesn’t, the truck could be regulated as the Honda Ridgeline of the marketplace – an odd duckling with continual diminishing sales.

How does Toyota do it? Put in a new engine completely? A diesel? Nope. Toyota will focus on bringing improvements used on other products and adding them to their existing products. They have historically done this throughout their lineup and you can see this in the Sequoia, Land Cruiser, Tundra and even the Lexus LX 570 sharing technology. For the 2017 Toyota Tundra, they will first implement the “easy” improvements from the Tacoma. These easy improvements will likely include:

Atkinson Cycle – This engine cycle works with the Otto cycle to provide fuel efficiency. Essentially, the truck will use the Otto cycle when towing and hauling. It will automatically switch to Atkinson for day-to-day driving and highway use.

After driving the Tacoma, I can tell you the switch between combustion cycles is hard to distinguish and feels natural. Really, nothing to feel or notice. This change will likely be ignored or minimized by automotive journalists as nothing sexy, however, by improving the engine’s combustion cycle without adding any special equipment like turbochargers or messing with the engine’s operation via cylinder deactivation, is a pretty big deal for long-term reliability.

Improved Transmission – the current sexy trend is to add multi-speed transmissions into all large vehicles in hopes of returning better highway fuel economy performance. We have seen this trend throughout full-size trucks with many consumers now thinking an 8-speed transmission is the new minimum and 6-speed transmissions are outdated. This isn’t quite accurate.

When Toyota launched the new Tacoma, they improved the 6-speed transmission quite a bit via light-weighting and its operation. These improvements helped smooth out the ride quality, yet didn’t really touch the fuel economy.

This same type of improvement could play out with the Tundra. Toyota is really faced with two choices here: improve the current 6-speed by implementing the same improvements on the Tacoma or add the 8-speed found in the Land Cruiser. While the 8-speed is the hands-down favorite for journalists looking for something “new,” it could be just that “new.” Interestingly, I drove the new Land Cruiser in Texas and guess what. The new 8-speed transmission didn’t improve fuel economy at all. Instead, engineers set it up to improve shifting patterns when hauling and driving. This was a bit of an eye-opener for me and it should be for Toyota fans as well. Just because a new Tundra could get more transmission speeds doesn’t mean it will have better fuel economy. It is all in how the engineers setup the transmission. They could improve fuel economy OR they could improve ride comfort. I think Toyota will go with the latter for the 2017 Tundra.

Light-Weighting via High-Strength Steel – one area that will likely see improvements is the use of high-strength steel throughout the cabin and possibly in the frame. All automakers are looking to drop weight and they are largely doing this by adding in more high-strength steel. This reduction in weight improves ride quality and can slightly improve fuel economy.

Slew of Other Items – there will be a slew of other changes like adding optional safety equipment throughout the trim levels, slight improvements to the Entune system and possibly a Qi wireless charging platform.
What Not to Expect

While it is fun to speculate what will be changed in this mid-cycle refresh, let’s talk about what won’t be changed which is likely more accurate:

No Interior Improvements – with this refresh, I don’t see Toyota adding back in the storage they took out from the 2nd generation nor do I see them changing back to the slide and recline seats. Why? The timing isn’t right for one and the slide and recline rear seat change was Sweers’ idea. I don’t see him changing his mind.

No Diesel – sorry guys, not going to happen. I’m not a believer that Sweers is really sold on the diesel engine in the half-ton and without a massive investment from Toyota (also unlikely), I don’t see where they could build it.

No Significant Fuel Economy Jump – With the improvements above, I could see the Tundra improving fuel economy by 1-2 MPG. Toyota still feels they are competitive when it comes to fuel economy and they don’t see the benefit in adding a bunch of expensive equipment to chase a few MPGs.

What does all of this add up to? Another “calculated” improvement for the Tundra. While I would love to see them really “go all in,” past history and time spent with Sweers, tells me otherwise.

Stay tuned for coverage of the 2016 Chicago Auto Show in early February. This show is where Toyota will reveal changes to the Tundra.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Return of the Disrupter: All-New 2016 Toyota Prius Rewrites the Hybrid Rule Book It Created

  • Striking exterior design ushers in new hybrid era
  • New hybrid system with notable fuel economy boost
  • New platform with double wishbone rear suspension dials up driving dynamics
  • First vehicle based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture
  • Available Toyota Safety Sense system with automatic pre-collision braking

2016 Toyota Prius Product Information

Nearly two decades before “disrupting” became a good thing to do, Toyota did it to the auto industry by launching the world’s first mass production gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle, the Prius. After selling more than 3.5 million worldwide and helping steer the industry toward hybridization, Toyota is introducing another disruptor -- the all-new fourth-generation 2016 Prius liftback. The new version of this global green icon takes the hybrid concept farther than ever with striking design, with expected higher fuel economy ratings, and greater ride comfort. New levels of driving satisfaction and refinement will reward the Prius faithful and surprise those new to the movement.

First Drive:

The Prius is the first to use one of a series of new global vehicle architectures Toyota is developing to become more efficient and reduce costs. The compact architecture underlying the Prius will also show up on the next generation of the Corolla compact.

The car’s shape is wedgy, with a rising beltline and small, angular lights. The 2016 Prius is lower and wider than its predecessor, but remains recognizably a Prius, the fourth generation of the world’s best-selling hybrid.

It’s the first Prius to offer a lithium-ion battery in addition to Toyota’s traditional nickel-metal hydride battery. The base model gets NiMH. All other Priuses come with Li-ion, which reduces weight about 30 pounds. There’s no difference in performance or fuel economy between the two batteries.

The 2016 Prius has less power than the outgoing model, 121 hp compared to 134. Toyota says the decrease is due to a new way it measures the combined gasoline and electric power of its hybrids, but declined to say how much power a 2015 Prius had using the new measurement.

The engine’s auto-stop function, which turns it off when idling, is the smoothest yet from Toyota. It’s virtually imperceptible.

Despite Toyota’s attempt to make the Prius more sporty, most customers are likely to be drawn by its high fuel economy.

The car was easy to drive on sweeping curves, highways and suburban sprawl. It had adequate power, but won’t be a threat to sporty compacts, its wedgy shape notwithstanding.
The steering is direct and predictable. The suspension — which features a new independent rear double-wishbone layout — kept the Prius smooth and steady from construction zones to country roads and crowded highways. Toyota added sound insulation for a noticeably quiet interior. The practical hatchback layout provides plenty of passenger and cargo space. Toyota improved the cargo compartment by moving the battery under the rear seat.

I got 44.8 m.p.g. during a test drive that covered about 50 miles ranging from highways to stop-and-go surface streets.

The Prius will offer a range of new features, including lane departure alert and assist, forward collision alert, automatic braking and parking and adaptive cruise control.

The car was easy to drive on sweeping curves, highways and suburban sprawl. It had adequate power, but won’t be a threat to sporty compacts, its wedgy shape notwithstanding.
“Modern.” “Dramatic.” “Emotional.” Take your pick of adjectives to describe the new Prius’ design. The shape may be familiar, but the new Prius is longer, lower and wider than its esteemed predecessors, to offer more interior room and provide a more planted stance for handling agility. Aerodynamic goals inspired the shape to help Prius score an increase in fuel economy ratings over the previous model.

The display provides a multitude of readouts for hybrid energy information and much more, but best of all, the driver can choose how much information to receive by selecting either Simple or Segmented display modes.

Simple mode shows a large vehicle speed display, remaining fuel, drive mode indicator, outside temperature, odometer functions and cruising range. The Segmented display presents more detail about hybrid operation, including instantaneous fuel economy, hybrid battery state of charge and a suite of ECO functions to encourage efficient driving habits. An ECO Score function grades the driver’s efficiency performance; ECO Wallet displays the total gasoline cost and gasoline cost savings for a single trip, and by month; ECO Diary records and displays driving history, and ECO Accelerator Guidance helps coach the driver to drive in a more fuel-efficient manner.

A driving support display shows the status of features such as radar cruise control, Lane Departure Alert and other systems. The driver can cycle through the Multi-Information Display content using steering wheel-mounted switches. After the vehicle is turned off, the display will remain on for 30 seconds to show elapsed time, distance traveled, average fuel economy, Eco Score result, and driving advice to help enhance fuel economy.

Noise Controlled
The most critical element of the new Prius interior becomes apparent only once underway: quietness. With a lighter, more efficient hybrid system and greater usage of high-strength, light-weight body materials, Toyota was able to significantly increase noise control measures without hurting the vehicle’s fuel economy or performance.

New noise-control features and materials throughout the body, engine compartment and cabin combine to give the 2016 Prius a serene passenger cabin. A sound-insulating laminated windshield glass and numerous new sound absorbers in the dash structure reduce noise intrusion. Higher-grade models feature sound-insulating laminated front door glass, as well.

Below the carpeting lies a significantly thicker floor silencer pad. Above the occupants, a urethane-based headliner, along with the ribbed structure of the front pillar trim, helps absorb sound. No detail was too small to escape attention. For example, labyrinth-style clips in the door drain holes prevent sound from intruding yet still facilitate drainage. Above the occupants, a urethane-based headliner and the ribbed structure of the front pillar trim helps absorb sound.

Attention to the outer body surfaces reduces wind noise at the sources, such as adding rain gutter moldings next to the windshield and improving the transition between the windshield glass and front pillar.

Cocoon of Comfort
The 2016 Toyota Prius may be the most comfortable way to conserve fuel. Amenities abound in this roomier, quieter model, with comfort and convenience manifesting in many details. Take the tilt and telescoping steering wheel, for example. Depending on model grade, it comes wrapped in urethane or SofTex® synthetic leather. The synthetic leather features surface temperature-regulating properties to make it feel more comfortable in hot or cold weather.

The air conditioning system uses a new, quieter electric compressor, and the Smart-flow (S-FLOW) mode focuses airflow only to areas where occupants are seated in order to help maximize fuel economy and comfort. The system’s slim climate control panel conveys a luxurious feel with piano black finish for the switches and chrome accents. Each control is arranged directly underneath its corresponding display, for intuitive operation.

A pollen-eliminating cabin air filter comes standard. In the Prius Eco grade, heat-insulating IR-cut windshield glass substantially reduces transmission of infrared rays to help ensure a comfortable cabin, especially in the summer. It also reduces the air conditioning system workload, which helps to save fuel. In cold weather, a positive temperature coefficient ceramic heater warms the cabin quickly without relying on the engine coolant to come up to operating temperature.

In Tune With Entune®
The Prius comes ready to connect with your world through its Entune Audio systems. The Entune Audio system standard on Prius Two and Prius Two Eco grades includes the Entune Multimedia Bundle (6.1 in. touch-screen display, AM/FM CD player, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod® connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology), plus Siri® Eyes Free mode and an integrated backup camera display.

On all other grades, the standard Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation system and Entune App Suite® includes all of those features plus a seven-inch high resolution touch-screen with split screen display, Entune App Suite, HD radio, HD predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, SiriusXM All Access Radio with 3-month complimentary trial and Gracenote album cover art.

As part of a package, the Prius Four grade exclusively offers the Entune Premium JBL® Audio system with Integrated Navigation and App Suite. To all features of the base and middle systems, it adds 10 JBL GreenEdge™ speakers in eight locations.

The Entune® App Suite - includes Destination Search, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Pandora®, Facebook Places, Yelp™ and Slacker Radio plus real-time info including traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks. Access to Entune® services is subscription free.

If you’ve got Qi-compatible devices (regardless of model or manufacturer), leave the charging cords at home, because the 2016 Prius offers a wireless charging system. Simply place a compatible device on the console pad to initiate charging.

New Toyota Safety Sense
The high-strength Prius cabin is enhanced for occupant protection in a collision, while inside, a full array of supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags includes multi-stage driver and front passenger SRS dual-stage front airbags; driver and front passenger SRS side airbags; full-length SRS curtain airbags; a driver SRS knee airbag, and a front passenger SRS seat cushion airbag.

The 2016 Prius is one of the first Toyota models to offer Toyota Safety Sense P, an innovative package of driver assist technologies that, under certain conditions, can detect obstacles and automatically apply braking if necessary to help avoid collisions. The system employs new millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera sensor to detect pedestrians, vehicles, and lane markers in the surrounding area.

Toyota Safety Sense includes the following functions to support collision avoidance or driving operations:
Pre-collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection (PD)
Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist (SA)
Automatic High-beam (AHB
Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC); works in stop and go traffic down to a full stop.More Tech, Greater Peace of Mind
Parking doesn’t get much easier than with available Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA), another technology making its debut outside of Japan. A simple system design using only ultrasonic wave sensors, IPA is activated by the driver to offer automatic steering into parallel parking spaces, or reversing into perpendicular spaces. The system also offers automatic steering to exit a parallel space.

An additional function of the sonar-based Park Assist system, the Toyota-first Intelligent Clearance Sonar provides visible and audible warnings if the driver gets too close to obstacles on the vehicle’s sides. An indicator on the Multi-information Display shows the obstacle’s location, and a warning is issued only when the system judges that there is a possibility of contact with the obstacle.

Value Pricing
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2016 Prius will range from $24,200 for the Prius Two model to $30,000 for the Prius Four Touring.

The MSRP for all Prius models does not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $835. The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

Peace of Mind Warranty Protection
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation. The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles. In applicable states hybrid-related component coverage is 15 years/150,000 miles with the exception of the hybrid battery, which is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles.

The Prius also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. And, exclusive for Prius, three years (over the normal two) of 24-hour roadside assistance.

The 2016 Prius is anticipating fuel economy ratings of 54 MPG city / 50 MPG highway / 52 MPG combined (Final EPA figures pending.). That’s better than any mass-produced passenger vehicle available without a plug. And, as before, the Prius sips regular-grade gasoline. A new Eco grade model is expecting ratings of 58 MPG city / 53 MPG highway / 56 MPG combined thanks to lighter weight and further optimized aerodynamics.

The new Prius’ premium interior debuts advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and also delight the eyes. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and enhanced visibility combine to make the new Prius a highly engaging automobile. The new Prius interior is much quieter than the previous model, creating an ideal environment in which to enjoy Toyota Entune® multimedia and connectivity.

Safety is important, of course, and the 2016 Prius will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS (P)), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automatic pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams.

“This Prius will invite new drivers into the category by delivering an impressive look and feel, built on the foundation of safety and eco-consciousness that define the vehicle’s heritage,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division.

Making the Grade
The new Prius comes in six grades, catering to a wide variety of tastes and needs. The new grade strategy includes:
The well-equipped entry level Prius Two for hybrid buyers on a budget.
The Prius Two Eco for buyers looking for even greater fuel efficiency and an added dose of technology.
The Prius Three adds more convenience and technology features,
The Prius Three Touring grade for buyers looking for a more dynamic driving experience
The top-of-the-line Prius Four
And the Prius Four Touring for drivers who want it all. Standard features exclusive to the sporty Touring grades include 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with P215/45R17 tires, integrated fog lights, LED clearance lamps, and a unique rear bumper treatment.

New Hybrid Powertrain, New Efficiency Breakthrough
As in the third-generation Prius, Hybrid Synergy Drive combines the output of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and two motor/generators through an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 2016 Prius uses smaller, lighter hybrid components, including a new lithium-ion hybrid battery that replaces the nickel-metal hydride battery (excluding the Prius Two non-Eco grade) in most models. The new battery’s smaller size and flatter shape allow it to be packaged under the rear seat, rather than beneath the luggage area, yielding more cargo space.

The new hybrid system operates more efficiently and more quietly and offers a higher level of driving performance than in the previous model. The smaller transaxle and power control unit allow for the auxiliary battery to be installed in the engine compartment. New shift-by-wire technology uses electric signals to transmit shift operations and offers light, fingertip operation from the dash-mounted shifter. A “P” position switch provides one-touch engagement of the parking gear.
The Prius driver can choose between new selectable Normal and Power driving modes. Normal balances both fuel economy and acceleration feel; Power prioritizes acceleration feel.

The new hybrid transaxle and motor use a multi-shaft layout with higher motor speed range and a reduction gear mounted on a parallel shaft to reduce parasitic losses by 20 percent compared to the previous model. An enhanced DC-DC boost converter contributes to enhanced fuel economy by reducing output current in low-load situations.

Engine of Change
Often in the discussion of hybrids, the internal combustion engine gets lost in the mix. But the technical razzle-dazzle isn’t solely the domain of the electrical side. The retuned 2ZR-FXE 1.8-liter gasoline engine in the 2016 Prius achieves groundbreaking 40 percent-plus thermal efficiency, thanks to reduced friction of the rotating assembly and internal parts and improved combustion. On top of that, both the intake and exhaust systems are quieter than before.

Among new features is the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system with a cooler, which operates even at the engine’s maximum output to enable an ideal stoichiometric air/fuel ratio across the entire powerband. A smaller, lighter and quieter hybrid system water pump also does its part to reduce energy consumption.

Getting the engine up to operating temperature quickly is critical to conserving fuel at start-up. In the 2016 Prius, an exhaust heat recirculation system uses the heat of exhaust gases to speed engine coolant warm-up. That in turn allows the hybrid system to stop the engine earlier and more often in the driving cycle when it’s not needed, for example in low-power-demand city driving conditions.
Because the Prius, under certain situations, can operate in battery mode alone, it incorporates a Vehicle Proximity Notification System to help alert pedestrians and cyclists. A small in-vehicle speaker emits a low but noticeable warning tone when traveling below approximately 15 mph, and the sound changes with vehicle speed.

Going With The Wind
Though shaped by the wind tunnel, the Prius’s design is as much about emotion as brains. Designers imbued the new model with a greater sense of excitement. Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks, the sporty design conveys a feeling of forward motion.

The “Triangle Silhouette” that defined the second and third-generation Prius models has been reimagined. In profile, it is longer and sleeker with the overall outline evoking an athletic shape. The hood is lower, and in fact the name badge on the front is at the same height as on the Scion FR-S sports car.

The distinctive roof peak has been moved forward by 6.7 inches (170mm) to further reduce drag while still ensuring ample rear-seat headroom. Edgy character lines run along the side from the front fenders. One is just above the sill that sweeps up towards the rear fender, while the upper crease morphs into the rear spoiler. The rocker panel features a distinctive light-catching upward-facing surface that begins at the lowest part of the vehicle to highlight its stable low stance.

New standard Bi-LED headlamps dominate the Prius’ front fascia and give it an unforgettable face. Automatic headlamp leveling keeps the beam focused on the road and helps prevent blinding drivers in oncoming vehicles.

The unique and striking rear combination lamps express the distinctive lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides and leave one of the most evocative nighttime signatures on the road today.

A palette of seven exterior colors includes an all-new Toyota hue, Hypersonic Red. A newly developed treatment process yields a deep and vibrant luster highlighting the external forms. Perhaps red will be the new green!

Looks Great, Less Wind Resistance
While turning heads, the new Prius design slices through the air with a 0.24 coefficient of drag (Cd), among the lowest of current production passenger cars. The sleek shape is aided by myriad details to keep the wind going on its way. An automatic grille shutter reduces drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed. It remains closed after a cold start to allow the engine to reach optimal operating temperature quickly, helping to save fuel.

Aero stabilizing fins on the underfloor covers, front quarter window garnish and tail lamps likewise keep air moving in a smooth pattern. Front spats and covers on either side of the fuel tank help prevent airflow from being agitated by the tires and suspension.

High Visibility Position
The new Prius design, while sleeker than before, does not compromise driver visibility. Quite the contrary, the view to the front and sides is better than ever, starting with a lower cowl. A new pillar position and structure and larger quarter glass widen the view.

The view to the rear gets better, as well, thanks to larger rear door glass and larger fixed rear quarter windows, the latter now positioned on the rear doors. As on the previous model, a full-width glass panel beneath the rear spoiler aids rearward visibility. A backup camera comes standard on all grades. The interior rear view mirror is larger, and the exterior folding side mirrors offer a larger field of view thanks to reduced curvature. Their new shape and location also help reduce wind noise.

When “Longer, Lower, Wider” is a Good Thing
Beneath the new Prius’ dramatically styled skin lies the solid foundation of Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), an innovative and integrated approach to developing new platforms and powertrains for Toyota. In the case of the 2016 Prius, the platform introduces a new high-strength body structure, new double-wishbone independent rear suspension and low center of gravity to yield a considerably more engaging driving experience while also providing a markedly smoother and quieter ride than the previous model.

Engineered from the ground up, the new Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the model it replaces (on the same 106.3-in. wheelbase), providing a planted on-road presence while delivering more occupant and cargo room. The gasoline engine, electric motor and seating positions have been lowered to increase front and rear head room while at the same time achieving an aerodynamic, low stance.

A lower center of gravity and a more responsive suspension system, hallmarks of TNGA, dial up the driving pleasure in the 2016 Prius. That’s especially true for the Touring grade, which equips the Prius with 17-inch wheels and 215/45R17 tires and special suspension tuning. The new 17-inch wheels are 1.5 pounds lighter than those on the previous model. The light alloy 15-inch wheels on other grades are a half-inch wider than before (now 6.5 in.) and stronger, which helps reduce road noise. Aerodynamic wheel covers enhance the sporty look while catching less air. All Prius models roll on super low rolling resistance tires that are also optimized for grip.

Make a Double Wish
The promise of greater agility and sporty driving character in the 2016 Prius comes backed by a feature that defines the best sport sedans: double wishbone rear suspension. Replacing the previous torsion beam type suspension used on previous models, this new trailing-arm design greatly enhances handling, control and ride comfort and also allows increased luggage space. Soft trailing-arm bushings are tuned specifically to reduce road shock, and bushings on all arm joints reduce friction.

A Source of Strength and Calm
The more rigid structural framework of the TNGA platform also greatly contributes to the high level of handling responsiveness, steering feel and ride quality. Hot-stamped and high tensile steel, which allows for intricate forms that are both lightweight and strong, is used extensively throughout the new Prius body. More extensive use of aluminum components, including the hood and rear doorframes, keeps vehicle weight in check and also helps to reduce the center of gravity. Innovative fastening methods such as laser screw welding and advanced body adhesives help create a rigid structure.

The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. The hood and cowl structure have been optimized for pedestrian protection in certain low speed collisions.

Brakes That Help Save Fuel
Even when it’s slowing down, the Prius conserves energy. The regenerative brake system switches the motor into a generator to recover kinetic energy of the still-turning wheels as electrical power, which is then stored in the hybrid battery.

The Electronically Controlled Brake System uses sensors to detect how much the driver is pressing the brake pedal and determines how much brake force is required from the new active hydraulic brake booster. The system coordinates control between the hybrid system’s regenerative braking and the hydraulic brake force. Brake calipers are aluminum, like on exotic sports cars.

Form and Function, Looking Good
The Toyota Prius brought not only a futuristic trend to exterior design, but also to interior configuration, delivering mid-size room in a compact package. The 2016 Prius continues the trend and is now more premium in design and feel.

The intuitive concept of former Prius generations continues, anchored by a centrally mounted gauge panel. The information displays and the center display wrap around the instrument panel, showing a layered structure. A seamless flow from the instrument panel into the door trim creates an open, airy ambience.

The soft instrument panel and trim surfaces convey a smooth, warm feel. High-contrast interior colors available include Moonstone Gray, Harvest Beige and Black. Accents on the side air vents and seat stitching, available in three colors depending on model grade, heighten the more emotive feel of the cabin. Features that drivers use on a regular basis, including a new electric fuel lid release, are placed close to hand for intuitive operation. The look may seem futuristic, but the driver does not need an advanced degree to use the controls.

Information Central
In the 2016 Prius, the electronic information cluster appears to float through a carefully carved, almost invisible rear surface. The new panel features dual 4.2-inch full-color TFT (Thin Film Transistor) multi-information displays, and their content can be changed using steering wheel controls. To suit the mood, the display background color changes depending on selected driving mode. Choose Power mode, and the background becomes racy red. Select Normal mode for a soothing blue glow.

Prius prices will run from $24,200 to $30,000, before options, when it goes on sale in mid-January.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Check Out These Tire Myths!

People may know a lot about cars but when it comes to tires, it's a big zero. Today we will be busting some myths about tires.

  • Myth: Tires should be inflated according to the pressure indicated on the tire sidewall. 
  • Fact: Indication on the sidewall is the tire's maximum inflation pressure, not the recommended pressure. Follow inflation pressure recommendations in the Car owner's manual or written on the door post.
  • Myth: A tread pattern is required for great traction on dry roads. 
  • Fact: A tire without any tread provides the best results dry traction due to the maximum amount of rubber touching the road. A tread pattern, with its groove voids, actually lessens this traction on dry roads. The role of tread is to act as a squeegee in wet conditions and removes water from under the tire and channels it through the grooves for improved wet traction. 
  • Myth: Performance tires wear out faster because of the sticky compounds. 
  • Fact: Partly true but tread rubber polymers aren't the reason. In fact, advancements like new polymers and ultra-tensile steel constructions make performance tires last longer now. Performance tires average about 45,000 miles in tread life, comparable to the figures for family-car passenger tires. Fast wear is usually due to high speeds and aggressive driving. 
  • Myth: Wide tires provide better traction under all weather conditions. Installing oversize snow tires on a car delivers better snow traction. 
  • Fact: Completely wrong. Wide tires have a tendency float on deep snow, and the tread lugs are unable to dig through to the road surface and gain traction. Narrow tires provide better traction in snow conditions. Narrow tire cut through the snow easier and provides traction. 
  • Myth: All-season tires sufficient for even winter season. 
  • Fact: Can be true for certain regions but in places where snow remains on the roads for days winter tires are the best. 
  • Myth: Tires should not be rotated from side to side, only front to back. 
  • Fact: Radial tires can be crossed from side to side in the rotation pattern unlike the bias ply tires. Regular tire rotation every 6000 to 8000 miles ensures uniform wear for all tires on a vehicle. 
  • Myth: New tires should be put on the drive-wheel position to get the most traction. 
  • Fact: True only on a rear-drive vehicle. Always, install new tires on the rear axle. Most tire buyers purchase new tires for the drive-wheel position to get the most traction. However, by doing so they transfer most of their traction capabilities from the rear. The vehicle is more prone to over steer. 
  • Myth: The government tests tires for traction, temperature resistance, and treadwear and assigns grades molded onto the sidewall. 
  • Fact: Uniform Tire Quality Grading is a federal law that makes it mandatory for tire manufacturers to grade their own tires for tread wear, traction, and temperature resistance. Tire manufacturers test tires and assign their own grades and not some government authority. 
  • Myth: An undulation on a tire sidewall is supposed to be a weak spot and can lead to tire failure. 
  • Fact: An undulation is created where materials overlap each other in the tire carcass, and it actually is the strongest part of the tire.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October is Car Care Month

October is Fall Car Care Month, and the Car Care Council reminds motorists that checking their vehicles before the temperatures drop is a sensible way to avoid being stranded out in the cold and the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.

“The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather. Winter magnifies existing problems like hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Whether you perform the check or maintenance yourself or go to the repair shop, it’s a small investment of time and money to ensure peace of mind, and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown during severe weather.”

The Car Care Council recommends the following Fall Car Care Month checklist to make sure your vehicle is ready for cold winter weather ahead.

Heating, Wipers & Lights
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly.
  • Consider winter wiper blades and use cold-weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • Check to see that all exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

Tires & Brakes
  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure of all tires, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.
  • During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  • Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.

Gas, Oil & Filters
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the cold weather to prevent moisture from forming in gas lines and possibly freezing.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate.
  • Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

System Checks – Charging, Cooling & Exhaust
  • Have the battery and charging system checked, as cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

Pack the Essentials
  • Make sure that your ice scraper and snow brush are accessible and ready to use.
  • Stock an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, extra clothes, bottled water, nonperishable food and a first aid kit with any needed medication.

Source - carcare.org

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring is Almost Here!!!

We are excited for the warm weather to be coming back. Spring has always been the metaphor for rebirth or new beginnings. This holds true at Johnstons Toyota. You will start seeing a lot of changes here and for the better. 2015 will bring some great physical changes to our New Hampton Location. Our Service Department will be getting more lifts to help get more customers in for service when they need it and we will be getting a brand new showroom, bigger and better than before.

There will be some web changes also to help you navigate and find things easier. Starting with our service department page: http://johnstonstoyota.com/ServiceDepartment/
Keep an eye out for these changes. We are excited to bring them to you and don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter and don't forget to rate us on dealerrater.com. Click on the icons below.


Johnstons Toyota has always been in support of the local community. Keep your eyes out for events, charities and organizations we will be sponsoring like the Brittany Miller Foundation with our 2015 Golf Outing at West Hills Country Club.

Or our 4th Annual Car meet on the First Sunday in June.