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Nothing screams “commitment” or “responsibility” louder than a minivan, well, maybe a saggy pair of elastic-waist mom jeans but who’s counting?
Love ‘em or loathe ‘em these versatile vehicles are designed to excel at hauling, whether it’s taking a passel of kiddies to soccer practice after school or hauling a load of building material home from the lumber yard.
Stylish and sporty they are NOT, but modern minivans are as practical and honest as the week is long. They’re also pretty thrifty, maximizing cargo capacity while minimizing fuel consumption. And that’s a subject on the top of every consumer’s mind these days: efficiency.
But what kind of economy do these versatile vehicles deliver? Here’s a breakdown of some popular models and how far they can stretch a gallon of gasoline.
Congratulations, you’re all grown up! At this point in life you’ve probably made it through college with more than an associate’s degree in the field of interpretive dance; you’ve more than likely claimed a life partner that’s the opposite gender and of breeding age and, consequently, you’ve manufactured a genetic replica or two. You’re going places, and you need a suitable vehicle for this exciting new lifestyle.
10. One Touch Convenience
Thinking of putting down a minivan owner? You may want to think twice. Minivans are among the most useful vehicles on the road. Take a look at some of these reasons why owning a minivan can be a life-enriching experience.
Everyone’s been in front of their car door or trunk, with the same dilemma. With your hands full, how are you going to open the door without dropping everything to get your key? Well, vans like the Nissan Quest require one touch to open the side doors or the back hatch. Thanks to innovations like Nissan’s smart-key technology, you won’t even have to take the key out of your pocket! It’s the next best thing to having your own doorman! (Check out our review of the Nissan Quest here)
10. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Extended Cab: $1,149
Those looking to save a few bucks when buying a new car, might want to take a look at this list from Insure.com of the least expensive cars to insure. They may not be the flashiest vehicles around, but we’re sure your bank account will appreciate the frugal cost of insuring these new cars – listed in cost per year.
Pickup trucks are usually used for work, and that’s probably why the Silverado, not to mention a few other pick-up trucks, are so cheap to insure. This model, with the V6 and Extended Ca,b features some good safety features and Chevrolet‘s OnStar vehicle safety service. The extended cab Silverado starts at $26,340, and comes with a 4.3L V6 with a meager 195 horsepower.
Toyota has issued a recall for 2010-2011 Corollas and 2011 Siennas sold through Southeast Toyota Distributors (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina) that were installed with non-Toyota aftermarket entertainment, navigation and Bluetooth systems on the A-pillar.
The dealer-installed aftermarket equipment may not have been installed properly with the retention clip for the A-pillar trim panel being damaged in the process. As a result, the A-pillar trim could potentially come loose during an accident and cause additional harm to passengers.
A total of 518 vehicles are affected by the recall, but Southeast Toyota estimates that only 25-percent of those vehicles have damaged A-pillars. Nonetheless Toyota would rather play it safe and will be notifying customers this month and the dealers will replace the defective clips free of charge.
Toyota is issuing out a recall of 210,000 Siennas from their 2011-2012 model year for a labeling issue. The recall is relatively minor, with Toyota equipping the Siennas with stickers displaying the incorrect vehicle capacity weight.
The recalled Siennas do not comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 110, “Tire Selection and Rims.” The NHTSA issued out a warning for Sienna owners since they can accidentally overload their minivan as a result of the incorrect decals. An overloaded van could ultimately cause tire failure, obviously increasing the likelihood of an accident.
The recall will be a quick fix, with Toyota planning to mail out corrected stickers and updated manuals to their customers.
With November vehicle sales numbers released, Toyota‘s Sienna still tops the minivan market, but Dodge‘s Caravan in closing in closely for the year while Honda‘s Odyssey and Chrysler‘s Town & Country are no real threat to take the 2011 sales lead. Chevy‘s Camaro however is at the top by a huge margin, compared to its Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger rivals.
While the Sienna has clearly enjoyed success throughout 2011, but only has a 882 vehicle lead to Dodge’s Caravan for year-to-date sales. Toyota is nearing the 100,000 mark with 99,865 Siennas sold through November while Honda’s Odyssey is at 95,579 and Chrysler’s Town & Country is at 84,701.
For your favorite domestic sports coupes, Chevy’s Camaro has no real rival when it comes to sales with its figure coming in at 81,495 compared to Ford’s 65,381 Mustangs and Dodge’s scant 36,250 Challengers.
And despite Saab’s production being halted last spring, they managed to sell 356 vehicles in November bringing their year-to-date sales to 5,340 vehicles.
[Source: Automotive News]
Produced at Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana plant, the Sienna has long been a top seller in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Now, scheduled early this November, South Korea will mark the Sienna’s first distribution outside of North America.
Toyota has been exporting U.S. built vehicles since 1988 and the addition of South Korea bumps the number of countries that will receive U.S. built Toyota vehicles to 19. Models that are currently exported included the Toyota Avalon sedan of Georgetown, Kentucky, the Sequoia SUV of Princeton, Indiana and the Tacoma/Tundra pickup of San Antonio, Texas.
Yoshimi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. is optimistic of Sienna’s success in South Korea, “Toyota’s North American operations are constantly working to identify and expand new export opportunities for the vehicles we produce here, building on our extensive investments in auto production, research and development in the U.S. and helping to maintain a strong, stable base of jobs… With this development and other possible achievements in the future, we hope to continue boosting exports from our North American operations.”
Toyota North America has exported about 100,000 units for calendar year 2010. Initial sales of the Sienna in the South Korean market is a modest 600 units annually.
GALLERY: 2012 Sienna
Toyota has announced a recall on 52,000 2001-2003 Prius’ as well as a handful of Venza and Sienna vehicles.
The recall is regarding the possibility of nuts securing the pinion shaft for the steering box assembly. These nuts may become loose from repeated full-lock turning of the steering wheel. Toyota says that over time, the driver may notice an increased amount of effort required to turn left.
To fix this issue, Toyota will install four “new and improved” nuts, taking four hours to complete.
The 2011 Venza and Sienna recall is only affecting AWD models. Only 34 Venza’s and 16 Sienna’s were recalled for faulty front right-hand driveshaft issues. The Japanese automaker said the driveshafts were not properly heat-treated and will need to be replaced as there is a possibility they may break. If it does break, the vehicle will coast to a stop.
Toyota will notify the owners of these vehicles starting tomorrow via certified mail.
Toyota is taking product development authority away from Japanese bosses and putting it in the hands of North American executives as part of a larger change aimed at fixing quality control issues that hurt the automaker’s reputation last year.
Until now, vehicles produced and designed and developed in North America had to be approved by chief engineers in Japan. Vehicles unique to the North American market such as the Venza, Sienna, Avalon, Tacoma and Tundra will no longer require painstaking and frustrating sign-offs from Japan at each step of the development processes.
“We are going to implement the process from design to preparation for production to development, cost planning, and identifying and selecting suppliers,” said Inaba, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. “All these processes are going to be 100 percent done here, without going back to Japan for approval.”
The changes come too late to affect the development of the redesigned 2012 Toyota Camry due this fall, however upcoming models based in North America, such as the next Tundra pickup, will see the result of the new structure.
[Source: Automotive News]
The Toyota Prius family could grow even larger as the automakers studies additional versions of the three row Prius.
The Japanese automaker wants to sell 1 million hybrids a year and in early 2012, Toyota will launch two more Prius family members. The members will include the Prius C compact hybrid and the Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Toyota will be taking two paths with the hybrid section. The dedicated Prius platform, and optional hybrid variant of existing vehicles like the Camry, Venza and Sienna.
Bob Carter Toyota Division Manager said the three-row Prius would have to come from a dedicated hybrid platform, have the Prius’ aerodynamic shape, get at least 40mpg and have a modest price tag.
However, research and development costs for other hybrid vehicles are almost unaffordable for Toyota. In the next 20 months, 10 new or redesigned hybrids will be introduced in within the Toyota brand.
[Source: Automotive News]