Toyota Research Institute Rolls-out P4 Automated Driving Test Vehicle at CES

Next week, the bright lights of Las Vegas will once again shine on the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) when it introduces the TRI-P4 automated driving test vehicle on Jan. 7 at CES®. The P4 is based on the all-new fifth-generation Lexus LS flagship sedan and will be used in TRI’s two-track Guardian and Chauffeur automated driving system development.

“Our Chauffeur development is focused on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation, either completely in all environments, or within a restricted driving domain,” said Ryan Eustice, senior vice president of automated driving at TRI. “Guardian, on the other hand, is being designed to amplify human performance behind the wheel, not replace it. The introduction of the new P4 platform will help us accelerate the development of both tracks when it joins our fleet this spring.”

The P4 benefits from Lexus’ new generation of chassis and steering control technology, which provides greater agility and allows for more responsive and smoother maneuvers during automated driving.

P4 adds two additional cameras to improve situational awareness on the sides and two new imaging sensors―one facing forward and one pointed to the rear―specifically designed for autonomous vehicles. The imaging sensors feature new chip technology with high dynamic range. The radar system has been optimized to improve the field of view, especially for close range detection around the vehicle perimeter. The LIDAR sensing system with eight scanning heads carries over from the previous test model, Platform 3.0, and morphs into the new vehicle design.

P4 is a much smarter research vehicle than its predecessor. With greater computing power, its systems can operate more machine learning algorithms in parallel for faster learning. It can process sensor inputs faster and react more quickly to the surrounding environment. All computing system power is now drawn from the vehicle’s hybrid battery with the 12v battery now serving only as a backup.

The compute box in the trunk, which serves as the “brain” of the automated driving system, has been reimagined. It is now tucked vertically against the rear seat transom, folding down to access the circuitry. This frees up the entire floor of the trunk for hauling cargo.

TRI once again tapped CALTY Design Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. to handle styling.

“We took a holistic approach to integrating autonomous componentry into the design of the new LS,” said Scott Roller, senior lead designer at CALTY Design Research. “The result is a fluid surface embracing advanced technology loosely inspired by science fiction in the graphic separations between form and function.”

TMNA R&D’s Prototype Development Center in York Twp., Mich. will begin fabricating P4 vehicles from stock models this spring.

P4 will make its public debut during Toyota’s CES press conference at 1:00 p.m. PT on Jan. 7. As part of the event, TRI CEO Dr. Gill Pratt will present recent technological advances in its Guardian automated driving.

Media can also see P4 on display in the Lexus exhibit at Detroit’s Cobo Center during media preview days of the North American International Auto Show on Jan. 14 and 15.

Original article here:

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

California lets self-driving startup Zoox offer autonomous rides


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Self-driving car startup Zoox Inc has become the first company to receive approval from California regulators to operate an autonomous ride service for public passengers, state regulators said on Friday.

The California Public Utilities Commission said Silicon Valley-based Zoox is the first company to join a state pilot program in which self-driving cars will transport members of the public, marking a step forward in the development of fully autonomous urban transportation options.

The ability to test cars with members of the public allows self-driving companies to refine their technology and begin to smooth out rides so they are more enjoyable for public consumption. Many autonomous cars drive slowly, making jerking movements and hesitating.

Many companies, including Zoox, have been testing their self-driving cars with employees and family members.

“This is a really, really significant milestone as we head towards commercial launch, which we have stated is toward the end of 2020,” said Bert Kaufman, head of corporate and regulatory affairs at Zoox.

However, the robot cars will not be unleashed without human oversight. Regulators are requiring that a backup test driver remain in the driver’s seat to take over if necessary. Zoox is also not allowed to charge passengers, keeping the prospect of a profitable business model elusive.

Zoox is one of 62 companies with a permit to test self-driving cars in California, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, although most operate in the shadow of Alphabet Inc’s business unit Waymo, which began work on the technology a decade ago.

Waymo this month launched an autonomous ride-hailing service in Arizona, where regulations are far more lax. Waymo is charging customers there, although it also keeps a backup driver in the front seat.

Waymo in October became the first company to receive a permit from the state of California to test driverless vehicles without a backup driver in the front seat, and the company has also submitted an application to the CPUC to transport passengers, like Zoox. A spokeswoman for the regulator said last month that Waymo’s application is under review.

Zoox has remained secretive about its progress until recently. This week, the company published its first safety assessment, providing details about its sensors, hardware and testing.

The company was thrown into turmoil in August when CEO and co-founder Tim Kentley-Klay was abruptly fired by the board of directors. Carl Bass, who joined as interim director last year, has filled the role on an interim basis, as the search for a new CEO continues.

Original article here:

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

The 7 Cars People Regret Buying Most

Buick Regal

Selling a brand new car after less than a year of ownership is definitely not very common. 

A report from says that 2.7 percent of new cars are sold on the used market after only a single year of ownership, though some individual models carry a much higher rate of quick resale.

The study analyzed 5 million new cars sold between September 2013 and March 2014, then looked back at the group one year later to see which models were already on the used market. Seven different models stood out from the group, with 2.6 to 4 times the amount of used sales compared to the average.

What’s the most common car to be resold after a year? The Buick Regal, with 10.7 percent of 2014 Regals hitting the used market in just a year.

Second is the Chevy Sonic, 8.9 percent of which wind up being sold after just one year, followed by the BMW X1, with 7.8 percent sold off after a year.

The Dodge Charger is fourth on the list with 7.7 percent sold after a year of ownership, followed by the Mercedes C-Class, sitting at 7.4 percent.

Finally, the Chevy Cruze and Nissan Frontier close out the list, with 7.2 percent of Cruzes and 6.9 percent of Frontiers going bye bye after just one year.

All seven of these cars were ranked as average or worse in the 2014 JD Power Initial Quality Study, suggesting that owners whose quality expectations aren’t met are quick to rid themselves of their new car. “Because purchasing a new car is expensive and something most people tend to spend a lot of time on, it stands to reason they would make a change shortly afterward if they felt the quality was lacking,” said Phong Ly, CEO of

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

Original article here:

Autonomous Toyota Prius drives 3,000 miles across the US with no driver intervention

An autonomous car engineer has released a time-lapse video of a Toyota Prius driving itself over 3,000 miles with no driver involvement.

Anthony Levandowski, a former Uber and Waymo engineer, released the video as a demonstration of the autonomous system developed by his own firm, Pronto AI. It shows the car covering the 3,099-mile trip from San Francisco to New York City without prompting the driver to take over once.

Levandowski surprisingly didn’t label this as a fully-autonomous Level 4 system either – simply calling it a ‘highly-capable Level 2 system’. Full details of the modifications to the car weren’t mentioned, but it’s believed that the car navigated using only video cameras, computers and digital mapping software.

In a post on Medium, Levandowski expressed frustration with car manufacturers attempting to leap directly to Level 4 autonomy. “Road safety is not something that is well-suited to sound bytes and short attention spans,” he wrote. “It involves trade-offs and important, nuanced discussions. I am disappointed in how shallow the discourse on this front has been and continues to be.”

He also noted several trends in the industry – saying that no vehicle today is truly autonomous and calling them ‘increasingly complex and expensive demonstrations’. “Today’s software is not good enough to predict the future,” he wrote. “It’s still nowhere close to matching the instincts of human drivers.

“Traditional self-driving stacks attempt to compensate for their software’s predictive shortcomings through increasingly complex hardware. Put simply, the self-driving industry has gotten two key things wrong: it’s been focused on achieving the dream of fully autonomous driving straight from manual vehicle operation, and it has chased this false dream with crutch technologies.”

Pronto AI also announced its first product based off this technology – an advanced driver assistance system built specifically for large trucks. It will roll out to the US market in early 2019.

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

Original article here:

These 10 used cars retain their value the best

1. Toyota Corolla

2015 Toyota Corolla – $5,600 median discount

Taking top honors is the trusty Toyota Corolla.Up until recently we’ve been living in a world with nothing but boring Corollas for the past couple decades, but the new hatchback is changing all of that. Additionally, the redesigned sedan was just revealed to plenty of fanfare, because it too promises to be more engaging to drive. The RAV4 sells more than the Corolla does nowadays, but it looks like the Corolla still edges it out in retention of value. It’s sitting at 72 percent of its original value retained for 2015.

2. Honda Civic

2015 Honda Civic – $6,100 median discount

The venerable Civic was bound to show up on this list eventually, and it almost takes the top spot.This 2015 model came before the massive 2016 redesign.Honda greatly improved the Civic for 2016, but it doesn’t appear to have demolished values of the 2015, which manages to retain 69 percent of its original value.

3. Nissan Sentra

2015 Nissan Sentra – $6,200 median discount

Nissan only has one vehicle on this list: the Sentra. We’re a bit surprised the Sentra retains its value so well, because Nissan’s reliability reputation isn’t quite up to snuff when compared to Honda and Toyota.The Sentra has gotten better since the 2015 model year though, with the addition of the Nismo. Its proportion of original value retained is a respectable 69 percent.

4. Ford Focus

2015 Ford Focus – $6,800 median discount

Moving further along the list, we get to the second and last domestic market car. Sorry GM and FCA. The Focus has a good reputation amongst the general car buying public as being cheap and reliable. That and it being the premiere American compact car probably contribute to it being on this list. Ford had themselves a pretty solid Focus for 2015 too — it retains 65 percent of its value since new.

5. Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 – $7,100 median discount

The Ford F-150 is the only truck on this top 10, and it places extremely high, too. Still the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., people definitely want them badly on the used market. Unfortunately, truck buyers won’t get much of a discount when waiting a few years for the prices to go down.Since F-150s tend to be pricey from the start, this minimal drop in price means it still retains 84 percent of its value when new, which is the highest percentage of any vehicle on this list. That’s a shocking statistic to see three years post-purchase when compared to the rest of the field.

6. Hyundai Sonata

2015 Hyundai Sonata – $7,500 median discount

Hyundai took the Sonata down a sales free fall following the the car’s 2015 redesign, but the model year still does well on the used market clearly. The Sonata took off in the early 2010 s with its most comprehensive redesign ever, and Hyundai is still trying to recapture that magic. It clearly isn’t easy in the world of crossovers we live in now, but the newest Sonata is a pretty nice car. The 2015 models are retaining about 65 percent of their original value as of now.

7. Honda CR-V LX

2015 Honda CR-V LX – $7,500 median discount

The first CR-V included on this list was the more luxurious EX trim, whereas this one is the rather pedestrian LX. Seeing the more expensive version of a car on this list ranked worse than the cheaper one is actually a microcosm of the market as a whole. Most cars with higher starting price points depreciate faster, which is depicted in a very small way by the two slightly different CR-Vs shown here.

8. Toyota RAV4

2015 Toyota RAV4 -$7,700 median discount

The Toyota RAV4 is the Honda CR-V’s natural competitor, and they fall right next to each other on this list too. Tons of people cross shop these two, but we’re partial to the CR-V’s more engaging driving experience. This one retains 71 percent of its original value. We’ll begetting a thoroughly updated RAV4 so on though, so buyers might want to wait to drive that one.

9. Honda CR-V EX

2015 Honda CR-V EX -$7,700 median discount

We specify the trim on the CR-V, because Carvana actually narrowed it down to the trim level for its list and put the CR-V on here twice. The EX comes in at ninth place as the second Honda on the list. For 2015, Honda went through and completely reworked the CR-V. It got new styling and an updated engine and transmission, making it an appealing choice for those looking to buy used but still get a “newer” car.The CR-V is only one of two crossovers on this list, which is surprising considering the demand for them these days. The CR-V retains 72 percent of its original value.

10. Honda Accord

2015 Honda Accord -$7,700 median discount

Honda is a no-brainer for this list, with several of its cars making it. The 2015 Accord isn’t as amazing as the redesigned 2018model we have now, but it was still a super respectable sedan to ride around in. The 2015 Honda Accord retains 66 percent of its original value. We definitely aren’t surprised to see it kicking the top 10 off.

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

Original article here:

2019 Prius is Most Capable Yet Thanks to Available New AWD-e System

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e

Winter is coming, and thanks to the 2019 Prius, with available new AWD-e system, there’s no need to fear it. Go further and explore more with confidence and control, no matter what the weather and road conditions are. Designed to provide more confidence and control when weather and road conditions are less than ideal, the electric all-wheel drive system further expands where the Prius can take drivers.

The new Prius AWD-e system will certainly deliver added traction and confidence for drivers but, in true Prius fashion, the 2019 AWD-e will lay claim to being one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive-equipped passenger cars available in Canada thanks to manufacturer-projected fuel consumptions of 4.5 / 4.9 / 4.7 L/100 km (city/highway/combined). Toyota estimates that the AWD-e model could account for as much as 65 percent of annual Canadian Prius sales.

Toyota’s AWD-e system is ideal for Prius. The automatic on-demand system does not require a centre differential or other torque-apportioning device, nor does it need a front-to-rear driveshaft. Instead, the “e” in AWD-e stands for electric. The Prius AWD-e uses an independent electric, magnet-less rear motor (a Toyota first) to power the rear wheels from 0 to 10 km/h, then when needed, up to 70 km/h. This system provides the power to the rear wheels to pull away from a stop, yet the on-demand system recognizes when all-wheel-drive performance is not needed to provide great fuel economy.

The addition of the available AWD-e system is only part of the wider revision to the 2019 Prius, which debuts newly refined front and rear exterior styling, along with additional interior updates. Let’s not forget that the front-wheel-drive (FWD) Prius will still offer the impressive fuel economy for which it is known, with manufacturer-projected fuel consumptions of 4.4 / 4.6 / 4.4 L/100 km (city/highway/combined).

The 2019 Prius FWD will be available with Base and Technology grades, while the AWD-e model will be offered in Base, Technology and Technology with Advanced package grades. Prius will also sport two new colours for 2019, Supersonic Red and Electric Storm Blue.

The AWD-e models use a newly developed compact Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery that is designed to provide excellent performance in cold-weather conditions. The AWD-e battery fits under the rear seat area and does not impact the luggage capacity. The FWD models will tout a Lithium Ion battery.

The Prius AWD-e models offer the same 1,855 L of carrying space with the standard 60:40 split rear seatbacks lowered as other Prius models. That’s more than in some small SUVs and larger than most full-size sedans. Expanding carrying options, the Prius AWD-e will offer available Genuine Toyota Accessory cargo crossbars for roof rack attachments, such as for carrying bikes, kayaks, snowboards, or a cargo carrier. The Prius AWD-e Technology features upgraded SofTex-trimmed, heated front seats with 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

The SofTex-trimmed heated tilt/telescopic steering wheel on Technology grades features surface temperature-regulating properties to help make it feel more comfortable in hot or cold weather. The steering wheel also integrates switches for the audio system, Multi-Information Display, and Bluetooth hands-free phone controls.

The Prius comes standard with heated front seats, driver’s door Smart Key System, Push Button Start and remote illuminated entry. The Technology grades include Standard Smart Key System on three doors (driver, passenger and hatch). An Adaptive Front Lighting System is standard on the Technology with Advanced package grade.

Standard Toyota Safety Sense

All 2019 Prius models, including the Prius AWD-e versions, come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). Using millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera sensor to help detect a pedestrian, a vehicle, and lane markers and headlights in the surrounding area, TSS-P provides a comprehensive bundle of active safety features including: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/ PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

Because all Prius models, under certain circumstances, can operate in battery mode alone, during which they make little to no noise, they incorporate a Vehicle Proximity Notification System (VPNS) to help alert pedestrians and cyclists.

High Tech Galore

All Prius models share interior features including the familiar central screen interface. The 4.2″ colour Dual Multi-Information Display with customizable screens adds an AWD-e system indicator to the menu of displays, which also includes Energy Monitor, Hybrid System Indicator and Eco Score, Eco Savings Record, Drive Monitor, Eco Wallet, Eco Diary, Climate Control, driver support systems, audio system content, and navigation system content. For the ultimate in high-tech information, the available (in the Advanced package) Colour Head-Up Display (HUD) shows the speedometer, navigation, and Hybrid System Indicator in the driver’s line of sight.

The standard audio system for AWD-e models includes a 6.1 in. touch-screen display, AM/FM CD player, 6 speakers, auxiliary audio jack, one USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and two 2.1-amp USB charge ports, advanced voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming, Siri Eyes Free, and an integrated backup camera display. The Technology with Advanced Package grade comes standard with a large 11.6” HD multimedia display.

2019 Prius Mechanical Features

The Prius AWD-e shares the Hybrid Synergy Drive system with other Prius models. The system combines the output of a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine and two motor/generators through an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Electronically Controlled Brake System coordinates control between the regenerative braking and the vehicle’s hydraulic brake force to provide optimal brake performance and feel.

The 2ZR-FXE 1.8-litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine is itself a paragon of high efficiency. Thanks to ultra-low internal friction and efficient combustion, it exceeds 40 percent thermal efficiency, which is among the highest in the world for a gasoline engine.

The Prius gets a good share of its fuel efficiency by cheating the wind with an ultra-low 0.24 coefficient of drag (Cd), which is among the lowest of current production passenger cars. An automatic grille shutter reduces drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed. Even the air conditioning system, which uses a quiet electric compressor, works intelligently to maximize energy efficiency. The Smart-flow (S-FLOW) mode directs airflow only to seated occupants to conserve energy and maximize comfort.

Standard Bi-LED headlamps and LED rear combination lamps reduce energy consumption compared to halogens, while giving better light and having a longer service life. A backup camera comes standard on all grades, and a full-width glass panel beneath the rear spoiler aids rearward visibility while also serving as a distinctive design feature.

Toyota New Global Architecture

The fourth-generation Prius is built around the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). The platform introduced a new high-strength body structure, multi-link rear suspension and a lower centre of gravity. The result for the Prius is a highly engaging driving experience combined with exemplary ride smoothness and a quiet cabin.

Hot-stamped and high tensile steels, which allow for intricate forms that are both lightweight and strong, are used extensively throughout the body. Aluminum components, including the hood and rear doorframes and brake calipers, help keep vehicle weight low. Innovative fastening methods, including laser screw welding and advanced adhesives, contribute to structural strength.

The 2019 Prius will go on sale in Canada in the Spring of 2019.

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

5 major reasons you should buy a Toyota

It’s a fact: Toyota is the largest auto manufacturer in the world and the pioneer for manufacturing quality standards, it’s production systems being studied in all the top business programs on the planet.

That’s why Toyota makes some of the most iconic and best selling cars of all time, such as Corolla, Camry, RAV4 and Tacoma, becoming the reference models in their class or even creating and defining a new class of their own.

I’ve compiled a list of 5 main reasons you should consider a Toyota vehicle as your first choice (and save time and money by not going to other manufacturers)

  1. Best value for money 
    There must be a solid motivation for so many customers to buy Toyota models: Corolla sold over 45 million units making it the best selling car of all time, Camry is one of the first choices for mid-size sedans, RAV4 created and is leading the compact SUV segment in many markets and Tacoma is a standard for dependable small trucks. Facts speak for the value you get when buying a Toyota.
  2. Durability and reliability
    A Toyota vehicle stands for durability for a very long time. In fact, over 80% of the cars they made in the last 20 years are still on road. Furthermore, there many documented Toyota cars that carried on for more than 1 million miles. They just don’t break down and refuse to die. 
  3. Best retained/resale value 
    In 2018 Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) has once again won an industry-leading 16 awards for residual / retained value: 11 Canadian Black Book (CBB) Best Retained Value Awards and five ALG Residual Value Awards – more than any other auto manufacturer for the ninth straight year.  Toyota was also named the Top Overall Brand for retained value (cars, and trucks/crossovers/SUVs) by CBB. This being said, you have a peace of mind that you’ll get the most resale value when you decide to upgrade to a new Toyota vehicle.
  4. Lowest cost of ownership Ask your mechanic or any mechanic about the cost of repairing and maintenance and Toyota will probably be the first choice. Being the largest car manufacturer in world and having the most efficient production systems helps keep the cost of parts very low so you save more than with any other brands.
  5. Top safety systems Toyota Safety Sense is one of the most advanced safety features package and it comes standard on most present models: Pre-collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beams. The 2.0 version available now on 2019 Corolla Hatchback and 2019 RAV4 adds Lane Tracing Assist, Low-light Pedestrian Detection, Daytime Cyclist Detection and Road Edge Detection.

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

SAVE BIG by buying 2018 Corolla and RAV4, with 0% interest rates for leasing and financing and special BONUSES for Tacoma trucks!

Toyota Corolla hybrid will join Prius next year

2020 Toyota Corolla

The redesigned 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan will soon spawn a hybrid variant, the first gasoline-electric version of the automaker’s popular compact car.

Toyota made the announcement Thursday as it unveiled the Corolla sedan at simultaneous events in California and China, underscoring the model’s global appeal. Toyota was mum on additional details, such as pricing or an on-sale date, about the upcoming Corolla hybrid. More information will come at the Los Angeles auto show later this month, Toyota said.

The Corolla hybrid should complement the automaker’s Prius and may take the place of the discontinued Prius C. And could prove to be a more effective counterpoint to the new Honda Insight hybrid sedan. 

Instead, the automaker detailed gas-fueled versions of the Corolla. The 1.8-liter inline-4 with Toyota’s Valvematic variable valve timing system that was previously offered only on the LE Eco trim level now becomes the standard engine in Corolla L, LE, and XLE trims (as opposed to sportier SE and XSE trims, which get a 169-hp, 2.0-liter inline-4.

For 2020, Toyota said the Valvematic engine is rated at 139 horsepower and pairs exclusively to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Toyota said that the engine will best the 34 mpg combined rating for the 2019 Corolla LE Eco.

Underneath the redesigned Corolla’s sharper body sits a version of the automaker’s modular architecture, termed TNGA, also seen in the Prius, RAV4, and Camry. The new chassis dictates a multi-link rear suspension in place of last year’s simpler twist-beam unit, which should provide the Corolla sedan with better handling and a more composed ride.

Inside, the Corolla’s new dashboard falls in line with the larger Camry and features either 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreens for infotainment with Apple CarPlay compatibility. Android Auto is not yet available. An extensive suite of active safety tech such as automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control come standard.

Will going hybrid give the Corolla a sales boost? Toyota said that the redesigned Corolla will go on sale next spring.

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

Original article here:

2019 Toyota RAV4 Review: Why It Will Hit 500,000 Sales Per Year in No Time

2019 Toyota RAV4

Toyota drove the boring out of the 2019 RAV4. The sales leader among compact SUVs is likely to soar past a half-million sales by 2020 and extend its dominance as the best-selling vehicle in America that isn’t designed for a gun rack. It’s that good. The 2019 RAV4 looks better outside and feels better inside. Toyota has a nearly complete driver assist/safety system standard on all trim lines. A hybrid RAV4 is just $800 more than its gasoline counterpart. The Adventure RAV4 will make Subaru Forester owners sit up and take notice.

The RAV4’s faults are few: The four-cylinder engine gets buzzy when pushed, there’s no turbo for added oomph, and the V6 RAV4 remains gone and will not be coming back. Instead, for performance, Toyota points you to the hybrid trim lines that use the electric motor as a turbo to make the RAV4 hit 60 mph quickly and then settle down to return 40 mpg at steady highway cruising speed.

Drive the new RAV4 and you’ll be taken immediately by the big step up in cockpit quality, noise control, and — yes — driving enjoyment. Back seat passengers are comfortable even on medium-long trips, although tall rear-seat passengers make take issue with Toyota’s lowering the roofline (and the roof rack above) by an inch for a sleeker look.

I was impressed by how well all the all-wheel-drive RAV4s handled unpaved roads and undulating terrain, even the hybrids with gas-engine power in front and electric drive in back. The non-hybrids have mechanical torque vectoring to distribute power the wheels that need it. On the higher trim lines, the driveshaft decouples to reduce friction. Toyota estimates fuel economy will range from 41 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, 39 mpg combined for all hybrid RAV4s down to 24/32/27 for the Adventure and Limited AWD grades. All other models should get about 29 mpg combined.

The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite has a measure of self-driving on highways between adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and what Toyota calls lane tracing assist, which essentially steers the vehicle toward the center of the lane. It’s useful on road trips and in dense commuter traffic. TSS 2.0 also includes a pre-collision warning and braking system, automatic high beams, and road sign recognition. TSS lacks blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert (and braking), but it’s standard on all but the entry trim line, where it’s a $500 option. Toyota (and Honda) are taking the lead in providing key safety features standard or near-standard, and embarrassing premium automakers.

Toyota also has embedded telematics, which includes the ability to track your car from your smartphone, or to query battery state of charge or gasoline levels from Amazon Alexa, but only on Android phones. Conversely, Toyota offers Apple CarPlay but not Android Auto. Toyota believes Android needs more robust security.

Toyota RAV4 sales doubled in five years and were up l6 percent in 2017. Only three cars in the top 50 had bigger 2017 gains than the RAV4 and all were new models. Note: The Nissan Rogue entry is a conflation of sales reported for the regular Nissan Rogue, comparable to the RAV4, and the subcompact Rogue Sport.

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 may well be the best compact mainstream SUV overall without being best in any one category other than predicted reliability and predicted hybrid reliability. The Mazda CX-5 is better at handling and providing a class-above cockpit. The Subaru Forester has been (in the past, at least) a more capable light-duty off-roader and snow-country vehicle. The Honda CR-V and the Kia Sportage/Hyundai Tucson are desirable all-around vehicles; the CR-V in the past has been seen as sportier than the RAV4 until now. Nissan Rogue is one of the price leaders and offers ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving.

In the past, the RAV4 gave you appliance-like reliability and good fuel economy. Toyota stepped up the game with generation five: a sportier feel, much-improved interior, better ride and handling, onboard telematics, and the safety suite. If you want performance, there’s no turbo-four, but the hybrid’s electric motor does the same thing and you’ll likely top 40 mpg on the highway.

If you’re comparison shopping in the compact SUV market, the RAV4 is a must-drive. Which one? If you’re a bargain-hunter and look at the entry LE, make sure you get one with the $590 blind spot detection option; every other trim line has it standard. But you probably should start with the XLE for $1,800 more. The RAV4 Adventure is a reasonable off-roader — here, off-roading doesn’t mean rock-crawling — that competes with the Subaru Forester and Jeep Cherokee (as well as the less-regarded Jeep Compass). Among US-flagged automakers, the Ford Escape and Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain are worth looking at. If you’re looking at a performance RAV4, that would be the XSE.

Toyota was the pioneer in the compact SUV market 22 years ago, back in 1996. It took 10 years to hit 100,000 sales per year, eight more to get to 200,000, and just five more (to 2017) to double sales to almost 408,000 last year. Now, the RAV4 is poised to be the first vehicle in a long time to sell more than 500,000 units a year, other than the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Suburban, and (formerly Dodge) RAM pickups. The RAV4 is riding the wave from sedans to crossovers/SUVs, downsizing from large to medium, and even more so from medium (usually a sedan) to compact.

Original article here:

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

2019 Toyota RAV4 Takes Spotlight As Japanese Automaker’s Top Seller And New Show Horse In U.S.

2019 Toyota RAV4

Toyota Motor Corp.’s has bet a tall pile of chips on the new fifth-generation RAV4 compact SUV, making it the most important single Toyota model in the U.S. since anyone can remember.

Twenty-two years ago, while Bill Clinton was still president, Toyota Motor Corp. brought a new small SUV to the U.S., a fusion of car and truck with the odd acronym, RAV4. The look was a bit odd, too, and its role in the product lineup was rather minor compared to Toyota’s stars, the Corolla and Camry sedans or the fast-growing Lexus luxury franchise.

RAV4 unexpectedly evolved into quite a popular model because – with the benefit of hindsight – 1) it came from Toyota, an automaker with a solid and growing reputation for quality and reliability; and 2) it was a light, useful, affordable, fuel efficient and fun-to-drive SUV at a moment when the SUV trend was just taking off.

Fast forward to today. SUVs and crossovers have grown to dominate the non-pickup truck vehicle market in the U.S. while the popularity of sedans is falling. RAV4, to the astonishment of many, has turned into Toyota’s number-one model, selling more copies than either Camry or Corolla, the two top-selling sedans. Indeed, sales of the fourth-generation RAV4 doubled in 2017 from four years earlier to 407,594.

To double down with the GenV RAV4, Toyota has created a number of different powertrain, appearance, option and convenience packages designed to reinforce its hold and widen the lead as the number-one compact SUV in front of other strong sellers such as Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape.

RAV4 (Recreation Activity Vehicle – 4WD) will come in thirteen variations of three body styles, gas versions powered by a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic and a gas-electric hybrid with a continuously variable transmission.

In a test drive through Carmel Valley near Monterey and along the Pacific Coast Highway, as well as a dedicated off-road course with several different terrains and obstacles, the new RAV4 performed well, delivering a quiet, competent ride on a variety of surfaces. Power was adequate, though if power is important, the gas-electric hybrid version did better than the gas engines.

In some configurations, such as the Adventure model designed for off-road performance, RAV4 will feature dynamic torque vectoring, which directs more power away from a wheel that is slipping toward one or more wheels that have traction for better grip in snow, mud, sand or gravel. Built on Toyota’s TNGA global platform that underpins Prius, Camry and Corolla, the new model will offer Safety Sense 2.0, a series of safety features such as Lane Departure Alert and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control on all models.

Toyota’s expressive and angular styling themes make RAV4 extremely distinctive and recognizable – a somewhat polarizing design language that definitely has its fans as well as foes.  (Personally, I like it a lot.)

Toyota’s Entune Audio system, with a 7-inch touchscreen and six speakers, is standard on all models, includes Apple Car Play and is Alexa and Bluetooth capable. An enhanced Entune 3.0 Audio plus is available is an option several configurations that has an 8-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM and other features.  A premium JBL system and dynamic navigation is also an available option on some models. Wireless charging for capable smartphones also is available on some models.

The hybrid version is rated at 39 mpg combined, while the gas versions will deliver up to 29 mpg.

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text