マイブログ リスト

2010年12月23日

Toyota to reveal Prius V and concept previewing Prius C at Detroit



Toyota will reveal its family of Prius hybrid vehicles at Detroit next month. In total, four models will be shown: the standard Prius, the plug-in hybrid Prius, the new Prius V (earlier post), and a new Prius concept car. The concept car will preview the upcoming Prius C (earlier post) and it is expected to be smaller than the standard model.

Just some thoughts about the new Vitz, Toyota and Honda...

Honda is my favourite Japanese manufacturer, while Toyota has been so far a big let down in my eyes, but things seem to change fast. The financial meltdown has forced manufacturers to change their strategies and now Toyota looks much more promising, with Honda having lost its edge.

In my point of view, everything started with pulling out from F1 and canceling the NSX project. Those decisions left Honda with its "green machines", but in the case of the Insight (earlier post), it didn't work out that well. Then, Honda decided to bring out the Fit Hybrid (earlier post). Well, this could be a move in order to utilize the electrical and oily bits of the Insight, since it didn't prove to be successful and somehow, the development cost had to be covered. But, I am not sure if there is much point in that.

I don't know whether the new Civic will be any good or not, but by judging from the spy shots, I don't reckon that it will have the same impact as the current generation had when it was launched. Then again, it's the Type R... is there going to be a new one? And if there is, will it come with a 1.6 L turbocharged engine (earlier post)? If Honda goes ahead with an engine like that, I will be seriously disappointed. Honda is about high revving engines... let the Europeans play with their fancy turbos. And I won't mention the S2000... I have read so many rumours about its successor and I just hope that Honda will not mess with it and put electrical bits in it.

On the other hand, Toyota that has failed miserably over the last few years in bringing out anything exciting, somehow looks so promising (OK, there is Lexus' LFA which is amazing, a car to cry about, but it's a little bit above my bugdget...). There is the new FT-86 (related posts) which will bring an inexpensive sports car to the masses with all the right "ingredients". Low weight, rear wheel drive, 2.0 L naturally aspired engine producing around 200 hp, sharp styling and the important fun to drive factor!!!

In the meantime, we will get the new Vitz / Yaris. Ah, a car I never liked looks now spot on! It looks much sharper, without any drama in its design, but with a clean and aerodynamic design. What really caught my attention though was the interior design. It looks elegant, yet simple. No drama, no complicated stuff in order to impress the ladies. So far, the only interior I liked in this segment was the one of Mazda's 2, but now it's Toyota taking the lead IMO. Oh, and no hybrid version!!! A wise move from Toyota, since good fuel efficiency can be achieved in other ways as well. What's the point of making a small car heavy and complex in order to achieve great mileage? Low weight is the key factor and in the case of such a small car, a hybrid system is out of place. 


If Toyota comes up with a decent Corolla (... come on, make it "spicy"!) and perhaps a hot version of the new Vitz with Gazoo Racing being involved, then Toyota will definitely be back from the dead.

I have already a brand new Honda keyring from Japan, but I will keep it sealed since it may take a few years until I use it... as I guess my next car will be a Toyota!

Acura's styling not American's cup of tea...

It seems that Acura's controversial design language hasn't brought the desired results. 2010 has been a relatively good year for Acura as sales have increased by 24% compared to 2009, but bare in mind that 2009 was a bad year anyway. J.D. Power reports that Acura's exterior styling is the number one reason new car shoppers are rejecting the marque, followed closely by the interior styling.

[Source: Autoblog]

Engine idling system dates back to Starlet era

Here is another interesting piece of information. During the presentation of the new Vitz  yesterday, Chief Engineer Yamamoto Hirobumi (山本博文) mentioned that the idea of an engine idling system dates back to the Starlet (スターレット) era. Yes, you read it right. The idling technology had been tested at the time, but the time required to start the engine was about 0.7 seconds, therefore there was not much difference in time compared to just turning the ignition key. Just for the records, the new Stop / Start system (earlier post) requires just 0.35 seconds and the cost of it, in the case of the new Vitz, is 60,000 ¥.

[Source: Response]

No plans for hybrid version of new Toyota Vitz / Yaris

During the press conference yesterday, Chief Engineer Yamamoto Hirobumi was asked whether Toyota plans to bring out a hybrid version of the new Vitz, which would compete with Honda's Fit Hybrid. Although Toyota plans to introduce 11 new hybrid models by the end of 2012 (earlier post), the answer was no. The weight reduction that has been achieved (30 kg compared to the previous model), the use of eco-tyres and the adoption of a Stop / Start system have enabled Toyota to achieve the best fuel efficiency in its class.

Production Lexus LFA delivered to Japanese dealership



Lexus has just started production of the LFA at the special Motomachi factory and this is one of the first LFAs delivered to a dealership in Japan.