Toyota Camry Hybrid — For people who hate gas stations

By Al Vinikour

Trick question: What do you get when you cross a 2012 Toyota Camry with a hybrid engine? You don’t need a Cray SuperComputer to tell you the answer is one of the world’s best-selling mid-size automobiles that will get 40 mpg in city driving and 38 mpg highway.

Toyota recently introduced its all-new seventh-generation Camry, American’s best-selling car for nine years running and 13 of the past 14 years. Among the various models is the all-new Hybrid that debuts with a highly-revised version of the brand’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which includes a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

2012 Toyota Camry

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In these times where cutting-edge styling seems to be in vogue, Toyota elected to play it safe with its all-new 2012 Camry; Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for 12 of the past 13 years. The 2012 version is significantly improved in several areas, but will that be enough to keep it on top wrapped in plain brown paper?

2012 Toyota Prius V

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 2012 Prius V is a rather brilliant idea. Our biggest question after a day of driving did not involve Toyota's newest hybrid, but what took the world's gas-mileage leader so long to build this vehicle?

Toyota Sienna — Getting a head start

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Minivan sales are going to rebound.

That’s not our prediction or a proclamation by automotive experts although sales of the people movers have been on the upswing. That’s the prediction of the Japanese Big Three (and Chrysler Group). They are voting with their pocketbooks, betting billions of dollars on the once-healthy segment returning to a semblance of its former glory.

Toyota Avalon — Tuned for comfort

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

If you desire a confident, comfortable — and plush — driving experience, but are dismayed that your choices have dwindled over the last decade we have an interesting suggestion.

Trek down to your nearest Toyota store and check out the 2011 Toyota Avalon.

Toyota’s Tundra Double Cab measures up

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Seating for five people in a full-sized light-duty pickup truck was unheard of just a few years ago. Standard-cab pickups were the norm; the maximum load was three people squeezed into a cab.

Extended cabs, with a tight second-row seat, slowly gained popularity though the 1980s and 1990s, as trucks became more family oriented. But rear quarters were cramped, and enduring more than a half-hour drive in the second row was a chore. The second row was on balance a nice storage area from the rain.

Toyota Solara makes sport of Camry

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Mid-sized coupes under 30 grand are not exactly all the rage as the 2004 model year cranks up.

There aren’t many out there, and there’s one less for the 2004 model year with the elimination of the Acura CL. But that hasn’t deterred Toyota from introducing a second-generation Camry Solara.

Its only direct competition is the Honda Accord coupe and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Toyota brings new 2004 Sienna minivan to market

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Toyota officials had a target for their all-new 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan. The bullseye was affixed squarely on the Honda Odyssey.

Since the new Odyssey arrived for the 1999 model year, it has been a sales success and it has been the darling of the automotive media. For example, at the introduction of the Odyssey in 1999 glowingly stated, “This is the best-engineered, most well-planned minivan ever.”

Could there be higher praise?

Toyota Prius becomes a performance hybrid for 2004

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The future of the automobile industry can be found at a Toyota store near you.
The industry may be reluctant to admit it, but the leading Japanese automaker has a running start on the field with its new second-generation hybrid car, the Prius.