AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Bland Like Unsalted Popcorn
Are you self-conscious? Don’t like to stand out in a crowd? Would you rather blend into the background than be the center of attention? Well, when it comes to the automotive world, you are in luck. Some vehicles seem to have skipped class when it came time for their styling lesson. This is not to say they are ugly, but more that they lack any style whatsoever.
We’ve all heard the clichés to describe these anonymously styled cars; plain vanilla, beige, white bread, etc. We like to think of them as stylistically-challenged. Regardless, if you don’t want to draw any undue attention towards yourself, here are ten vehicles that are guaranteed to blend into the landscape.
As 2012 comes to an end, it’s always interesting to see what vehicles were most popular on everyone’s research list for the year.
Despite being a diverse list this week, the three most popularly researched cars this week came from one manufacturer: Toyota.
Toyota has announced the pricing for its 2012 Highlander and FJ Cruiser models while a price increase has been put into effect for the 2011 Land Cruiser. For 2012, the Highlander and Highlander Hybrid will see no new features and as a result, the MSRP will remain the same as its 2011 counterparts. The base MSRP for the gas Highlander will start at $28,090 while the high-end Limited V6 with a five-speed automatic starts at $37,045. Highland Hybrid prices will start at $38,140 for the Base 4WD and go up to $43,795 for the Limited 4WD.
The FJ Cruiser, which is also virtually unchanged for 2012, will have an MSRP ranging from $25,990 for the 4×2 with five-speed automatic transmission to the 4×4 V6 automatic with an MSRP of $27,580. The FJ Cruiser does feature a 0.7-percent increase of $200. The 2011 Land Cruiser also gets a $200 price increase, with an MSRP of $69,120.
The prices for the 2012 gas Highlander, FJ Cruiser and 2011 Land Cruiser will become effective starting with August’s production models while the 2012 Highlander Hybrid prices began with July 20th’s production.
Toyota has officially announced a recall of certain 2006 and 2007 model year Highlander hybrid and Lexus RX 400h vehicles. The recall will affect 45,500 Highlander hybrids and 36,700 RX 400h’s. The issue stems from the Intelligent Power Module (IPM) located inside the hybrid system inverter that contains a control board with transistors.
Certain transistors on the control boards in the affected vehicles were inadequately soldered and could be damaged from heat caused by a large current flow during heavy driving.
If this were to occur, warning lights would come on and in most cases the vehicle would enter a fail-safe driving mode, resulting in reduced power and a shorter driving distance. In more serious cases, the power supply circuit fuse could blow when the transistor is damaged. The blown fuse would cause the hybrid system to stop and the vehicle would cost to a stop.
Owners with affected vehicles will be notified by first class main in mid-July 2011. An inspection will be made at a Toyota dealer, and if the vehicle is affected, the IPM will be replaced at no cost.
Toyota is conducting a voluntary recall for RAV4 and Highlander models in America, to replace the side curtain airbag sensor assembly.
On certain RAV4s built between 2007 and 2008 and Highlanders from 2008, there are two side curtain sensors that detect the side angle of a vehicle during a rollover. These sensors could fail and illuminate the airbag warning light, which would prevent the rollover detection system from activating. If both of these sensors fail, however, the side airbags could be fooled into thinking a rollover has actually happened, and deploy.
Only North American vehicles have this feature, and no other Toyota or Lexus cars around the world are affected. None of the 214,000 RAV4s or 94,000 Highlanders affected have actually deployed their airbags, but given Toyota’s recent history with recalls it’s fair to say that they are not taking any chances.