Watch a runaway dump truck flatten one Corolla and bury another

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The Winter Olympics may have wrapped up weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean that the Russian city of Sochi can’t keep supplying us with entertainment.

A security camera in Sochi caught this runaway dump truck full of gravel as it hurtled down a steep hill and swerving to its right before tipping over on its side. On top of an older model Corolla. As the truck flips, it spills its load onto another, newer ‘Rolla. The first car is flattened like a pancake, while the second is buried.

It is absolutely amazing that nobody was hurt in this.

Source: YouTube via Carscoops

Toyota tests angry WRC spec Yaris

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Toyota is another step closer to making their much anticipated return to the WRC ranks with the completion of a successful gravel test yesterday in Italy. Toyota president Akio Toyoda, a fervent supporter of motorsport, told media in January that he would like to see the company return to rallysport but did not give any indication when this might happen.

The vehicle Toyota has been working with is a Toyota Yaris R1A rally car which has had its 1.3L four banger replaced in favour of the company’s 1.6L “Global Race Engine” which in other platforms has been said to deliver 300 horsepower. Yesterday’s test saw drivers Sebastien Lindholm and Stephane Sarrazin put the tiny car through its paces on a stage called Riparbella, which is a historic stage of the San Remo rally.
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Review: 2012 Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 has been a mainstay of the ‘cute ute’ market since its American debut in 1996. Yet, The Garage never got any seat time with the RAV, and it was high time to correct that. Now in its third generation, the RAV4 has certainly matured from cute ute status to a full-fledged crossover.

Our RAV4 tester was the Sport model, I loved the 18″ alloys, and there is not an offensive line on the RAV4, but this is an old design in need of new life. A new RAV4 is in the works, and hopefully Toyota has a more contemporary design to offer.

The cabin of the RAV4 was roomy, airy and reasonably comfortable, but I was hardly impressed with the design flair, or lack thereof. Controls and gauges were straightforward and intuitive, but this is strictly a no-frills interior. Functional and ergonomically correct, yes, but uninspiring as well. I appreciated the RAV4′s wide, flat cargo space which made for easy cargo carrying. To sum, the RAV4 gets points for practicality and ease of use, just don’t expect much in design or flair.

You can order up a RAV4 four ways-front or all wheel drive, four or six cylinders. Base RAV4′s come with a 2.5L four rated at 179hp, mated to an ancient 4-speed automatic. The RAV4 you want is the 3.5L V-6, rated at 269hp, paired to a five-speed automatic. Perfectly smooth, and packing all the punch you would expect from a crossover, the RAV4 proved to be the perfect companion for our annual family trip to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts.

The RAV4 comes in base, Sport, and Limited trim. Our test car was the Sport, with a base price of $27,880USD. Our test car added a power moonroof, and a ho-hum appearance package that added little spice to what was an OK but bland package. Out the door, our RAV4 was $29,497. That’s a heck of a bill for a crossover lacking leather, heated seats, navigation, and satellite radio. Though I cannot fault the RAV4 for any true fault, my opinion is this car is simply too overpriced for it’s segment.

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Review: 2012 Toyota Prius V

The Toyota Prius is the undisputed king of all hybrids, with no competitor able to come even close. With its number one status cemented, a loyal following of faithful buyers, there is huge equity in the Prius name, so it almost comes as a surprise Toyota has waited this long to cash in and expand the Prius family. That expansion has now seen its day, and The Garage was able sample the first addition to the family, the Prius V, the V standing for versatility.

Whether you consider the Prius V a mini-minivan or a wagon is irrelevant. At first appearance the V is just as it looks-a Prius, but bigger in every dimension. The instant recognition of the car being a Prius was key, and Toyota has succeeded in creating a car with added utility but unmistakably a Prius. With a shape that puts aerodynamics and utility as top priorities, the Prius V comes off as appliance-like, with little character or emotion. Part of this is likely due to the fact the Prius has been around, and sold so well its appearance is not as science fiction as it was years ago.

Inside, Prius owners will feel instantly at home. I am not a fan of the centrally mounted instrument panel. Other controls are easy to find and use, so in spite of its unusual appearance at first, the Prius is easy to use. While the two-tone interior offered some contrast, the overall feel of the cabin felt drab and uninteresting. The graining on the plastic steering wheel did not feel right to me, and I disliked touching the most critical part of the interior I keep my hands on. It felt like the automotive equivalent to a cubicle in the movie ‘Office Space’. That said, the Prius V delivers on its promise. The cabin is large, with plenty of room for all. Storage, from a two-tier glove box, generous center console storage and other nooks should more than satisfy the Prius V buyer. Up front, the adequate but flat front seats are familiar Prius fare, but the rear seat offers legroom on par with a limo, thanks to a sliding and reclining rear seat.

The drivetrain is standard Prius fare, with no alterations made for the Prius V, which means a gas hybrid system getting the bulk of its motivation from a 1.8L four, with total gas/electric output equaling 134hp, paired to a CVT. Before getting behind the wheel, I feared how a larger, heavier Prius would get itself around, as the standard Prius is no scorcher. My conclusion is the cars are very close. Fuel economy does take a hit from the standard Prius, but EPA figures of 44/40 MPG city/highway are impressive, and these figures keep the Prius V true to its mission. Is it fun to drive? No. The Prius V driver’s fun is in the fuel economy, as it always has been.

The Prius V is available in three trim levels, One, Three, and Five. Our test car was a Level Three, and will likely be the most popular Prius V. Standard equipment includes a 6.1″ touch screen display, Navigation, back-up camera, six-speaker audio with XM Radio, Entune multi-media interface, power driver’s seat, and automatic climate control. With a sole option of carpeted floor mats, our test car rings in at $28,150USD, including destination.

The Prius V was a logical step for Toyota, and should serve it well. As young families of Prius owners grow, or baby boomers simply want more, um, versatility, the Prius V should meet their needs and keep them in the family instead of abandoning the Prius and getting a crossover. Speaking of crossovers, it is worth mentioning the Prius V offers cargo capacity on par or exceeding contemporary CUV’s, with the hybrid trade-off a high load floor. In sum, the success of the Prius V will be keeping the Prius and hybrid faithful graduating to the V as opposed to buying a crossover than it will be in converting the traditional minivan/crossover buyer.

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Canadian pricing announced for Scion FR-S

One of the most anticipated new model launches in what seems like decades is the coupe created as a collaboration between Toyota and Subaru. Here in North America, the Toyota version will fall under the Scion umbrella, with the moniker FR-S. There have been few secrets about this car since its original reveal close to two years ago. During the final stages of development, we began hearing about tuner parts that were already being developed and then seeing videos of the car in action. As the car became available in Japan, we even got a glimpse of an inept journo behind the wheel of one. Toyota promised an affordable package, so the only real question has been: How affordable?

A few weeks back, we reported that U.S. pricing had been set to begin at a super reasonable $24,200. Here in Canada we hoped that pricing would be equally affordable. We were not to be disappointed. The “base” model, with a six speed manual (is there any other way to order it?) will come to market for $25,990. Opt for the paddle shift auto box and the price of entry increases slightly to $27,170.

Let’s see now, a rear wheel drive, manual transmission coupe with 200 horsepower and a standard equipment limited slip differential, all together for under 26 grand. Potential buyers had best put in their orders soon, as they aren’t going to build enough of these to keep them in the showrooms!

Head past the jump for the official press release and watch a video from DSport Magazine as they drive some early models.
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Max Orido tests Lexus V8 powered FT-86 drift car

The long anticipated Toyo-Baru twins aren’t even in showrooms here in North America and already the home market racers have cars in hand and are performing some wild ass conversions. Check this clip of long time Japanese racer turned drifter, Max Orido, in a Toyota FT-86 that has already had an engine transplant. That’s right, Orido’s guys have shoehorned a Lexus V8 into the diminutive coupe.

Hit the jump to see the car in action. Be sure to crank it up loud!
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First Drive: 2012 Toyota Prius C

As is often the case for Canadian new model launches, our first taste of the 2012 Toyota Prius C came this week, a full month after the US media launch. Unlike some other manufacturers though, when Toyota Canada invites the press out to an event, they put considerable thought into the location of the event, relative to the product they are showing. This week’s Prius C event brought us to Seattle, Washington.

As the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Starbucks and the home of Microsoft, Seattle could be considered one of the hippest cities in North America not to mention being green in a few senses. The historic downtown area from Pike Place to Seattle’s infamous red light district provided a perfect combination of old world sights and steep hills to put the C for City moniker to the test. From there, we headed out to the lovely countryside around Lake Washington, where we got to see how the C handled a wind swept causeway and some twisty country roads.
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Review: 2012 Toyota Camry

Hm. So how does one exactly review a car like the Toyota Camry? Polarizing cars with divisive styling, shockingly awesome (or awful) performance and egregious flaws are an auto reviewer’s dream, just because it’s so easy to write about. With the Camry, it is the exact opposite. A car like this is designed with the mission to appeal to as many people as possible from as wide a range of demographics imaginable. And since 1983 when the first Camry appeared in showrooms, Toyota has slowly and carefully perfected the Camry. The result? The Camry was the best selling passenger car in the US in 2011. And that is after seeing a decline in sales from 2010, and being in its last year before the 2012 Camry was redesigned.

Universal appeal is what makes the Camry as dominating as it is. Consider that on any given day, you can spot a single thirty-something or a retired couple climb into a Camry and think nothing of it. The Camry has essentially evolved into the go to car for those who don’t know anything about cars. It’s reputation for durability and reliability have won over millions of fans. Sure, I won’t disagree the car is hardly exciting, but if anything you have got to admire Toyota’s achievement in building the ultimate car for people who really do not care about cars.

So yes, the Camry is a new car for 2012, but it comes as no surprise the styling is a cautionary evolution from last year’s model. Even parked aside a Camry that is ten years old, the new car looks about the same, just more contemporary. The front and rear fascia’s feature some harder edges than before for a slightly more aggressive look, but in the end the Camry retains its overall agreeable, but forgettable appearance. Toyota offers an SE model that is the sportiest looking Camry you can buy. Our test car was the top-spec XLE, featuring chrome trimmed fog lamps, rocker panels with chrome trim and chrome exhaust tips to distinguish it from lesser Camrys. Again, it all adds up for a nice looking car that I personally cannot fault, nor rave about.

Inside, the Camry checks all the right boxes for what buyers are looking for. Driver and passengers are treated to a large, airy cabin with plenty of room for everyone of all shapes and sizes. Even on our XLE that was optioned to the hilt, the controls were easy and intuitive from the moment I sat in the car for the first time. I suspect most people could buy a Camry, own it for years and never even have to crack the owner’s manual.

The Camry was the Williams’ family transport for our annual winter trip to beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts. While the notion of a Camry hardly got our hearts pumping, I will say this. The Camry offered a supremely comfortable cabin for our trip. The seats were flat, but even after over three hours at the wheel non-stop, we arrived feeling fresh as can be. The Camry offered room galore inside for us to stretch out, and a trunk to hold all our luggage and purchases with a ton of room to spare. On our drive home in the dark, as we flew across the Braga Bridge over the Taunton River in Fall River Massachusetts with our son fast asleep, even my jaded wife who has shared rides with me in cars costing triple the price of the Camry conceded this was a very good car.

The Camry is offered with a choice of two engines: a 2.5L four rated at 178hp, and an optional 3.5L V-6 rated at 268hp. Both engines are paired to a new six-speed automatic, which Toyota claims improved fuel economy over the outgoing car. Our V-6 Camry has an EPA rating of 21/30 MPG city/highway. With a combination of bombing down the interstate or casually driving the scenic roads of Cape Cod, our Camry’s mileage seemed to hover around 27 MPG, which is quite respectable. The Camry’s V-6 was as smooth as silk, offering plenty of power. Passing is a breeze, and I found the transmission to be a model of refinement. The cabin is nearly silent-cruising at 85mph is completely serene, and odds are the driver will get worn down before the car will. Obviously, this is no sports sedan, so the ride is tuned for comfort and isolation from nasty road surfaces, which the car managed to do quite well.

The base model Camry L with the four cylinder starts at $21,955USD. However, our range-topping XLE V-6 starts at $29,845, but for that price you get 17″ alloys, back-up camera display, dual-zone auto climate control, Sirius satellite radio, HD radio, leather, power heated front seats, power moonroof, Bluetooth, and auto dimming rear view mirror. Our test car added Blind Spot Monitor, and a Navigation package which includes, guess what, Nav and a premium JBL sound system, and Toyota’s Entune-think of it as having access to your smartphone’s apps, but through the car’s 6’1″ touch screen. Adding Safety Connect (emergency assistance, stolen vehicle locator roadside assistance and collision notification) and a handful of minor accessories, our Camry, including delivery rang up for a total of $32,546. That may be a long way from the cheapest Camry, but when you consider our Camry offers some very premium features for a mid-size sedan, I feel it still represents a good value.

But that versatility is yet another factor that adds to the overall appeal of the Camry. Order it the way you want it-basic transportation or entry-level luxury car, Toyota has it covered. No, I never broke a sweat or got passionate about the car, but after a week and many miles, I had to respect the Camry for being what it is-a no hassle car that excels at what is was designed to do. Camry and Trust sort of go hand in hand. It’s a car you can feel good about recommending to friends or family looking for reliable. safe transportation. When you see your accountant, you feel good he drives a Camry, as to, say, a BMW M5. It is no accident the Camry is the best selling passenger car in the US, and with the new 2012 model, Toyota has only further cemented itself as the benchmark against which all other family sedans are judged.

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Wannabe drift star punts Toyota 86

What happens when you take a wet parking lot, a funky little rear drive coupe and add in a driver with a helmet? In the case of the Toyota crew in Odaiba, Japan, you get a bent Toyota 86 and a broken barrier.

Head past the break to see the wannabe drift star run out of talent in Toyota’s new little burner.
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Review: 2012 Toyota Yaris

I’ve often considered the subcompact Toyota Yaris the Rodney Dangerfield of subcompacts-it just does not get any respect. In the sales juggernaut that is Toyota, the Yaris was second to last behind the Avalon in car sales in 2011. And with competition and new models flooding the subcompact market, Toyota had to stop treating the Yaris like a despised stepchild. For 2012, Toyota has redesigned the Yaris, but has this wallflower finally caught up to the competition, or is it still relegated to ‘also ran’ status? Read on to find out.

No one has raved about the styling of the Yaris in the past, and with the new 2012 model, I see no change in that. That said, the Yaris is certainly sharper and fresher looking than the car it replaces.  Our three door Yaris wasn’t bad looking from any angle, but it’s a forgettable shape. The Yaris is meant to appeal to a wide range of buyers, and Toyota is known for conservative styling for mass appeal. In other words, the Yaris is a nice looking appliance.

What is the best thing about the new Yaris interior? The centrally mounted instrument panel is gone, replaced with a traditional gauge cluster behind the steering wheel. Inside, the Yaris was reasonably comfortable for me (but my wife complained about the seat height), and for a two door hatchback, I felt the rear seat offered a generous amount of room. Quality of materials and workmanship were first-rate. The Yaris never felt cheap inside, the two-tone seats and dash added character to the thoughtfully designed dashboard. My only disappointment was the lack of a tachometer. Nothing screams econo-car more than staring at a blank oval on the gauge cluster.

As for the Yaris’ drivetrain, it is carryover from last year’s car. The Yaris features a 1.5L four cylinder rated at 106hp, with a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Our test car was equipped with the automatic, and in 2012, four speeds is utterly archaic. Fuel economy figures 30/35MPG city/highway, about average for this class of car. But the Yaris went about its work quietly and smoothly. It was an easy car to live with driving in town. Not so much on the highway. With only four gears, cruising at 80mph was a loud and annoying experience. Ride quality was ok, steering and braking were adequate. But on a 100 mile round trip in the Yaris, I could not wait to park the car and be done with it.

The Yaris is available as a two or four door hatchback. The sedan has been dropped. Trim levels come in L, LE, or SE. Our test car was the mid-level LE. Standard equipment is nine airbags, remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, six speaker audio with HD radio and iPod connectivity, and full power accessories. With optional cruise control, floor mats, cargo mat and cargo net, our Yaris had an MSRP of $$16,864USD including delivery.

The redesigned Yaris is far more handsome than the car it replaces, and its interior is a massive improvement. If the bulk of your driving is around town or in the city, the Yaris will serve you well. But if you need a subcompact that has to be pleasant on the highway, I’d recommend the Ford Fiesta in a heartbeat. The Yaris is an appliance to get you from point A to point B that is unfortunately let down by an antiquated drivetrain that fails to match up to its competition.

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