2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD SUV

The Toyota RAV4 was driven to Pirate Radio (104.7 FM) for a review by the DJ’s – George Gray and Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello:

Blizzard Pearl White metallic – Heated gray/cinnamon leather buckets and heated steering wheel – Navigation system with 7” touchscreen – Radar, or adaptive cruise control – LED headlights and taillamps – Power moonroof – JBL 9 speaker stereo – 176 horsepower 2.5 liter 4 with dual overhead cams – 6 Speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive – Blind spot monitor, backup/around view camera, foot operated power tailgate, and lane watch – Forward emergency braking and 18” alloy wheels – $39,666.00 – 28 highway-22 city-24 combined  MPG – Made in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

2017 Toyota Camry XSE FWD 4-Door Sedan

The Toyota Camry XSE was driven to Pirate Radio (104.7 FM) to get an analysis by the DJ’s – George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Blue Streak metallic – Charcoal gray leather-trimmed ultra suede heated buckets – 5 passenger seating – 7” touchscreen with navigation – Radar cruise control – Keyless entry and backup camera – LED daytime running lights, LED taillights – Power moonroof and remote engine start – JBL premium sound stereo w/ 10 speakers – Blind spot monitor and lane departure warning system – 268 horsepower 3.5 liter V-6 – 248 lb. ft. of torque – 6 speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters, and front-wheel drive –  $35,903.00 – EPA rating is 21 MPG city , 24 MPG combined rating and 30 MPG highway

2017 Toyota Prius Four Hybrid Touring Sedan

The blue Prius Four (top of the line) was taken to Pirate Radio FM 104.7 for analysis by DJ’s George Gray and Matt Arguello:

I drove this Prius to Denver twice to attend the Denver Auto Show, and was impressed by the handling and maneuverability of this unit in congested, mid-day downtown traffic and congestion.  I can’t imagine another vehicle doing a superior job.

Blue Crush metallic – Gray Softex heated buckets – 5 passenger – 7” touchscreen – Radar cruise control – Keyless entry/blindspot monitor – Halogen headlights, Daytime running lights, LED taillights – JBL 6 speaker Greenedge sound stereo – Backup camera and navigation – 95 horsepower 1.8 liter cylinder gas and electric drive train – CVT Automatic transmission and front-wheel drive –  $34,181.00 – 54 MPG city , 52 MPG combined 50 MPG highway –  Weighs 3,080 lbs./27.4 cubic ft. of cargo space – 17” Five spoke wheels with LRR P215/45R17 tires

2017 Toyota Corolla 5-Door Hatchback iM

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The Toyota Corolla that I was recently able to test came in a pleasing Electric Blue Storm metallic color and featured gray fabric seating surfaces.  I enjoyed the Corolla iM (Toyota’s version of the now-defunct Scion iM); it provided spirited acceleration, and gas mileage came in at nearly 33 mpg in all city driving.  The way that Greeley has grown, it seems you are always poking around looking for parking space, so with a car that’s 170 inches long and 69″ wide, it is not too difficult with Toyota’s Corolla iM five-door hatchback.

The Toyota Corolla, the best-selling nameplate of all time, has moved over 40 million cars onto driveways around the world (well, mostly driveways).  The car is in its eleventh generation configuration, and has been around since 1966.  The 2017 iM sits on a 102.4″ wheelbase, is 69.3″ wide, 55.3″ high, and weighs 2,943 lbs., putting it on an even keel with Chevy’s new Cruze hatchback.  I’ve always been a fan of Corolla styling, and this 2017 iM has not taken a step backwards in that department.  LED lighting was front and rear, including front daytime running lights, and fog lights were installed.  Silver and gray ten-spoke alloy wheels were fitted with P225/45R17 all-season radials on the car.

I mentioned acceleration – it was acceptable for a 36 mpg car, and other driving dynamics were good, as well.  They use, among other things, electric power steering to effect that highway gas mileage rating, as well as Valvematic technology on the 1.8 liter, 4 cylinder engine.  It puts out 137 horsepower at 6,100 rpm as well as 126 lb. ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm.  The front-wheel drive car gets 28 mpg in the city and 31 mpg, combined, and for me the reading was 30+, all week long (14 gallon tank).  Toyota’s choice for a transmission is the continuously variable (CVT) automatic with shift mode.

The interior of the iM was comfortable for Ruth and I, and the seating was supportive and looked good.  The car had Toyota iM Display audio, backup camera, 7″ touchscreen, cruise control, power windows/locks/mirrors, AM/FM radio, tilt/telescope, and keyless entry.  The rear legroom is suitable for a car of this size, at 32.7″, and the hatchback has 20.8 cubic feet of luggage space behind the back seat.

M.S.R.P for my test Corolla came in at $22,498.00, including freight.  Options included a floor/cargo mat set for $185.00, paint protection film for $395.00, rear wind deflector for $399.00, computer tablet holder for $99.00, and wheel locks for $65.00, all added to the base price of $19,490.00.

The Corolla did a super job for me and during the test in Northern Colorado.  The slick styling caught a lot of eyes, the car kept pace at the stoplights, and I spent a nominal amount of money on gas.  I’d say it is a good value.

2017 Toyota Yaris iA FWD Sedan

20170212_154811    The most recent car brought to me for review earlier this month was the 2017 Toyota Yaris.  The model was the 4-door iA sedan in Pulse red paint.   The interior of the car included black and gray fabric with sport front buckets and a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat.

The odd name of this car is derived from the word Charis, the Greek goddess of elegance and beauty.  And the German expression of affirmation, “ya” is tacked onto the front of the name.  It could just as surely refer to the target market of this car, Young Adults.  On balance, it is a suitable name, and the Toyota people probably don’t mind that the word looks like the cultural epicenter of Europe, that being Paris.

Ruth and I jumped into the Yaris and buzzed over through Loveland for a ride towards the Village Inn.  Getting in the car wasn’t particularly difficult, and the highway manners were fine for a subcompact that had a wheelbase of 101.2″ and overall length of 171.7″  With the base price of $15,950.00, adding freight of $865.00 brought the M.S.R.P. to a reasonable $16,850.00, F.O.B. Denver.  That last initialism stands for “freight on board,” or in street parlance, “where delivered to.”  Standard equipment on the Yaris included 6-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive, real hand brake, electric power steering/windows/locks, color-keyed power mirrors with turn signals, cruise control, anti-lock braking system, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, CD/stereo with USB and aux. jack, tire pressure monitor, and tilt/telescope wheel.  Trunk capacity is ample at 13.49 cubic feet.  I was pleased with, and I received compliments on, the styling of the Yaris.

Yaris power is provided by a 1.5 liter, 4-cylinder, 106 hp engine with variable valve timing.  Torque is 103 lb. ft., and acceleration is OK (zero to 60 in perhaps a touch under ten seconds.)  Gas mileage ratings are 30 in town, 39 on the highway, and 34 combined.  I observed a reading of 32.5 overall.  The styling of the Yaris is fine, with attractive paint and 16″ ten-spoke silver alloy wheels fitted with 185/60R16 all-season radials.

On this day the eggs at the restaurant were a little runny, but the ride back was a pleasure and I was proud to be seen in the Yaris.  I guess I looked a little old, but Ruth didn’t.  Would I let one of our three daughters drive, buy, ride in, lease, or borrow a Yaris?  You bet.

2016 Toyota RAV-4 Limited AWD Compact SUV

20161118_162250_hdrThe Toyota RAV-4 was taken to Pirate Radio for a look-see during The Morning Show with George Gray and Matt Arguello:

My latest test car from the Rocky Mountain Redline people was a 2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD SUV that was painted Black Currant metallic and featured a black Softex (leather-like) five passenger interior.  The RAV4 is classified as a compact SUV, and is currently in its fourth generation of production, having been sold in America since 1996.

My test car carried an M.S.R.P. of $37,365.00, including freight and options, and was the Limited all-wheel drive model.  The RAV4 can be purchased with front-wheel drive, although part of its name, RAV4, denotes four-wheel drive.  RAV stands for recreational activity vehicle, by the way, and it’s a big seller – 30,000 units per month on several occasions.  Options on the RAV4 included a technology package for $1,435.00 and a number of items with the largest in cost being a remote starter for $499.00.  The Limited had standard items such as proximity keyless operation with pushbutton start, power liftgate, moon roof, remote start, backup camera, twin heated power buckets, Bluetooth/USB connections, roof rails, and tilt/telescope/leather steering wheel.  The technology items were satellite radio, 11-speaker JBL stereo, and a navigation system.

Power for the RAV4 is supplied by a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder DOHC engine (176 hp/172 lb. ft.) coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission.  Zero to 60 mph acceleration time is reportedly 8.4 seconds, and fuel economy ratings are 22 city/29 highway, 25 overall.  Weight of the RAV4 is 3,425 lbs., wheelbase is 104.7”, overall length is 179.9”, width is 72.6”, height is 65.4”, and the fuel tank holds 15.9 gallons.

Ruth and I took the Toyota to Denver twice, and in typical Toyota fashion, the car almost drove itself.  It rides, guides and passes other vehicles in OK fashion, and holds five adults comfortably.  With the back seat folded down, the cargo capacity is 73.6 cubic feet.20161118_162838

RAV4 Wheel

The RAV-4 is a treat to test, probably would be the same to own, and I give it a “thumbs up” for my week in its company.

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro V6 SUV

20161029_160204The Toyota 4Runner, brought out 32 years ago as basically a compact pickup/topper, is now in its fifth generation configuration and has morphed into a brawny mid-sized SUV.  This last week I was assigned to a 2016 4×4 TRD Pro V6 4Runner that arrived at my place sporting Quicksand (tan) paint with a black leatherette interior.

Toyota, U.S.A. was formed in our country on October 31st, 1957, and globally the company ranks 10th in the world in revenue.  Total global sales of their vehicles has tripled to 10.15 million since the 4Runner introduction in 1984, and the vehicle maintains its body-on-frame construction and will for the foreseeable future.  Such construction results in a quieter, heavier machine – traits that were evident to me during the week-long test.

The 4Runner M.S.R.P. totaled $42,800.00, including freight, and the only option  was a sliding rear cargo deck ($350.00).  The TRD Pro V6 4Runner was equipped with power windows/mirrors/windows/locks as well as keyless entry.  SofTex-trimmed seats existed throughout the five-passenger car and the front buckets were heated.  Of course the 40/20/40 back seat folds down, availing the two remaining occupants of the car almost 90 cubic feet of cargo space (47.2 cubic feet with the second row seating erect).  The rear tailgate needs handling by human hands, but the rear glass opens by electric motor.  Hence, the rear window wiper is concealed above the glass in the deflector.  I liked the arrangements at the rear of the 4Runner.

The stereo in the Toyota was a 8-speaker system, USB and Ipod connections were on hand, and a backup camera was installed.  The only gadgets that were missing were lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitor.  Ruth and I found the buckets to be supportive on our trip to Denver and the ride (coil springs at every corner) and guidance were suitable.

Horsepower of the 4Runner is rated at 270, and is supplied by a 4 liter V-6 with 278 lb.-ft. of torque.  The four-wheel drive vehicle has a five speed automatic transmission and performance was pleasing.  My fuel mileage ended up just over 21 miles-per-gallon, and EPA ratings were 17 city and 21 highway – 18 overall.  The fuel tank holds 23 gallons.SAM_4011

My family thought the 4Runner looked large, and as mentioned earlier the size has been increased over time.  Styling involves a bold design, and it grew on me as the week went by, presenting somewhat of a military look.  I also liked the way the lighting bulged from the corners.  Wheels were black alloys fitted with P265/70R17 all-season radials.

Personally, the week with the 4Runner resulted in a pleasant surprise, and I see no reason why an SUV shopper would avoid the Toyota dealer and the 4Runners located on their lot.

2016 Toyota Sienna Limited Premium AWD Minivan

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A review of the Sienna van took place at Pirate Radio FM 104.7 during the Morning Show with George and the Big Kahuna:

Recently, I received from the Rocky Mountain Redline press fleet a Toyota Sienna minivan to test.  It was an all-wheel drive model, unlike a earlier front-wheel drive tester that I analyzed.  It also arrived at a more pleasant time of year, a nice fall spell, as the red model was here during a particularly frigid spell in January.  As you can see from the photo, my 2016 test van was around here for some very nice weather.

My Sienna was the Limited Premium model with several upgrades such as backup camera, audio/navigation with 7″ screen, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus app suite, brown leather seating for seven, 2nd-row lounge-seat captains chairs, stowable third row seat, cruise control, tilt/telescope, Smart Key system with pushbutton starter, triple 12v power outlets, overhead DVD entertainment system, blind spot monitor, parking assist sonar, rear cross traffic alert, and ten cup holders.

Toyota’s Sienna Limited comes in five different colors and the one I drove was painted Predawn Gray Mica metallic.  Of course the vehicle was equipped with power sliding side doors (they have roll-down windows), dual moon roof openings, and a power rear lift gate.  The length of the Sienna was 200.2″ set on a 119.3″ wheelbase; weight was 4,705 lbs.  Getting in and out of the minivan is easier than a sedan and near a crossover SUV level of convenience.  Visibility is great, as is ride and guidance on the road.  Handling is excellent for a minivan.20161108_110400

Minivan styling is not an attraction to such a vehicle, although I personally like the looks of all of them.  This Sienna had attractive ten-spoke machine-finished 18″ alloy wheels with P235/55R18 Bridgestone Turanza EL400 steel-belted all-season radials.  Luggage rail cross bars were up top, chrome door handles were present, and round fog- and backup-lights dressed up the fascia, front and rear.

Power for the all-wheel drive Toyota minivan is produced by a 3.5 liter V-6 with 266 horsepower (@ 6,200 rpm) and 245 lb. ft. of torque (@ 4,700 rpm).  A six-speed automatic is coupled to it with the shift tower mounted on the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel.  Thus, the driver (or front passenger) can slide over to the other armrest-equipped bucket seat, if desired.  Fuel economy for the Sienna is 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.  The combined rating is 19 mpg.  I found the performance of my test Toyota to be suitable, and the company also offers an front-wheel drive setup on the Sienna, which is what I drove early this year.

M.S.R.P. for the van carried an M.S.R.P.  of $49,446.00; I enjoyed testing the Sienna and it seems to me to represent a good value in its segment.

SPECS: Predawn Mica Gray metallic paint – 7 passenger with dual moon roofs – Power heated brown leather bucket seats – four – 7” touchscreen – All wheel drive – HID headlamps – XM radio and  premium JBL 10 speaker stereo – Keyless entry – power windows and locks – pushbutton start – 3.5 liter V-6 – 266 horsepower – 6 – Speed Automatic transmission – Entune, backup camera, blind spot monitor, and navigation – 18” Ten – spoke alloy wheels (P235/55R18) – $49,446.00  list price – 19 MPG combined mileage, 20 gallon tank – 39.1 Cargo capacity behind third-row seats (150 maximum)

2016 Toyota Prius Four Touring Liftback

20161013_181426_hdrThe fancy Toyota Prius Four was taken to Pirate Radio – Greeley, CO (FM 104.7) to show off to the Morning Show guys, George Gray and Matt Arguello:

 

 When Takeshi Uchiyamada, a top Toyota manager, was presented in 1995 with the task of developing a new hybrid automobile within two years, he was shocked and in need of inspiration.  He found it by reading, among other things, the accounts of America’s landing of a man on the moon during the 1960’s – both his boss, Toyota president Hiroshi Okuda, and U.S. president John F. Kennedy, had set forth a goal and a timetable for a project for which the technology to complete it did not exist.

Both goals were met, and the Toyota Prius was born in Japan on October 14th, 1997.  In America, the time came to take Prius orders in June of 2000 with a website that immediately lit up with orders, pleasing anxious Toyota executives.  Now global sales of the Prius family of vehicles have reached 5.7 million.

The 2016 Toyota Prius is the first year of the fourth generation of Prii, and I recently tested one for a week.  Keeping up with an industry trend, Toyota has managed to effect fuel economy improvements with each successive generation of the Prius.  The original Prius’ 40 mpg combined mileage rating was increased in to 45 mpg in 2004 by installing all-electric air conditioning and in 2009 an electric water pump and larger engine were incorporated.  Each successive model featured more aerodynamic styling, reducing the drag coefficient to the 2016’s .24 Cd.  My test Prius had the larger, 1.8 liter, four cylinder gasoline engine and two electric motor/generators incorporated in the power train, bringing the total hybrid system net horsepower to 166, with a 50 mpg combined EPA mileage rating.  I was thoroughly satisfied with the driveability, performance, and economy (I observed 51 mpg) of this sedan during my time with it.

The front-wheel drive Prius is surprisingly roomy (it seats five) and comfortable, with two-tone SofTex seats, and 21.6 cubic feet of luggage space.  This Prius was base-priced at $30,005.00, and freight and technology package brought the total to $35,704.00.  That tech package provided hard-disk navigation with 6.1” screen, JBL sound system with MP3 connection, Entune (with smartphone integration), HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth, back-up camera, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, proximity keyless entry, and head-up windshield speedometer display. The exterior of the car included blue-accent car badges, rear spoiler, LED headlamps, front fog lamps, 17” alloy wheels, and P215/45R17 all-season radials.20161013_175220_hdr

I recommend the 2014 Prius sedan as a solid performer and investment.  Nonetheless, I will be looking forward to next year’s 2015, fourth generation Prius that will reportedly deliver a ten percent increase in fuel economy, to 55 mpg.  It will be completely restyled with a reduction in drag, and all-wheel drive is rumored to be an option.