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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.
When last we spoke to Scion boss Jack Hollis, his interest in a small truck for the youth brand was undeniable. Now reports of increased production at the automaker’s RAV4 facility in Woodstock, Ontario have spawned new rumors about the as yet unconfirmed sixth model in the Scion lineup.
Increased production of the RAV4 (up by 25%) could simply be a method Toyota is using to keep costs down by reducing the number of RAV4 models it imports from overseas. However, it also supports the possibility that Toyota will build a Scion truck based on the compact crossover platform.
Currently compact pickups are a dying breed, with CAFE rules penalizing smaller trucks that still aren’t tiny. Toyota has bucked this trend with the Tacoma, due mostly to the compact pickup’s dominance in the segment and Toyota’s continued efforts to be a player in the truck segment.
A unibody “truck” that is designed more as a lifestyle vehicle and less as a work machine would continue to help out Toyota’s fuel economy, and could also be rebaged as a Toyota model and sold overseas.
With Toyota currently offering both a 4-cylinder and a V6 in the RAV4, this might also make way for Scion’s first-ever six-cylinder model.
10. Jeep Compass (tie): 52.7%
Ever wonder just how different men are from women when it comes to picking their vehicle of choice? Here’s a top 10 list of vehicles with the highest proportion of female buyers, provided by Polk via InsideLine. There are a few unexpected models on the list, and a couple of models that, to our surprise, are missing.
Tied for 10th is the Jeep Compass, the only American vehicle on the list. In a way it makes sense, the Compass never gets the respect it deserves, packing a four-cylinder engine and hardly has the rugged off-road ethos that traditional Jeep fans embrace. So in our most sexist tone possible, it makes sense that women embrace the Compass – no really, it’s Jeep’s baby SUV.
Toyota announced today the MSRP for the 2012 RAV4 compact sport utility vehicle. The overall price point on the compact crossover is being increased by an average of $100, or 0.4 percent on all models.
You can get the RAV4 in three different trim packages: the base RAV package, the middle of the road Sport package and the top of the line Limited package, with a choice between a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6. Toyota also offers a choice between front wheel drive or electronic on demand four wheel drive.
The starting MSRP is $22,650 and stretches in range up to $28, 650. The 2012 RAV4 will hit dealers on December 20th.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota RAV4
An insane nine car accident occurred out in Kiev, Ukraine, caused by a speeding Bentley Continental Flying Spur. And while this isn’t as painful to see as the Ferrari accident out in Japan, this Bentley did cause some real havoc.
Reports came in that the Bentley was just going way too fast at a junction, starting the accident that even involved a poor police officer that was controlling the junction. Fortunately he only suffered a fractured leg but the Mercedes-Benz CL500 that the Flying Spur hit can’t say the same. From the photos, the collision with the CL500 was so strong that most of the front end is missing and the engine is well, not quite where it’s supposed to be.
Check out the news report video after the break.
GALLERY: Bentley Continental Flying Spur Nine Car Accident
[Source: GT Spirit]
An old newspaper maxim posits that “dog bites man” won’t make for an eye-catching headline, but “man bites dog” will get people’s attention. Perhaps the automotive equivalent is “Toyota RAV4 Driver Shoots Boy With Crossbow”.
Although information is scant, this is undoubtedly one of the most bizarre stories of the year. According to reports, a boy in San Diego was throwing rocks off of a freeway overpass when he was shot in the stomach with a crossbow. The shooter was said to be driving a black Toyota RAV4, and no arrests have been made.
We would automatically question the motives of anyone riding around with a crossbow in their car, but the RAV4 strikes us as a strange idiosyncracy. There are a thousand other vehicles that one would picture an anti-social maniac drving, and Toyota’s crossover isn’t one of them.
[Source: Toronto Star]
The SUV would be dubbed the CX300h, in Lexus naming nomenclature, and would bank off the success of the larger RX. It would probably share a platform with the RAV4, which currently doesn’t have a hybrid powertrain, but given Toyota’s predilection for jamming hybrids in everything from LS luxobarges to bagel toasters, a hybrid RAV4 might follow suit.
The CX300h would compete against the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLK, and the Infiniti EX for cute-ute market share. And in order to compete, the Lexus SUV would feature the 2.5-liter four-cylinder shared in the HS250h bolted to the electric motor. It would certainly give Lexus some credibility in the rapidly-growing luxury compact SUV segment.
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.
Anyone who was not comatose in 2009 remembers the Toyota unintended acceleration scandal, which saw millions of Toyota and Lexus products recalled due to what was eventually deemed to be a mismatch between floormats and the accelerator that could cause the pedal to stick.
Now, Toyota is recalling a further 2.17 million cars and trucks to remedy the issue – at least this time they’ve been vindicated by none other than NASA.
The recalled vehicles, along with the number of units, are listed after the jump, as is Toyota’s official release.
Toyota just released this teaser photo the RAV4 EV, but don’t hold your breath for too long. It’s hard to imagine this car looking substantially different than the regular RAV4. The RAV4 EV will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week, no doubt with Elon Musk’s massive self-promotion machine in tow.
Toyota‘s initial investment of $50 million in its partnership with Tesla will also cost the company another $60 million in development costs needed to bring its RAV4 EV to market.
The $60 million is, according to SEC filings, for services rendered by Tesla, and any future components will require additional funds. Tesla took over Toyota’s Fremont, California facility earlier in the year, and is adapting the technology used on their Tesla Roadster to work in the RAV4.
Tesla Motors and Toyota have announced that they are working on an all-electric version of the Toyota RAV4. Tesla expects to deliver the prototypes by the end of this year, with the car going on sale in 2012.
Electric vehicle nerds will remember that this isn’t the first time an electric RAV4 has been sold. Toyota offered the RAV4 EV from 1997-2003. 328 RAV4 EVs were leased sold to customers in California, and the cars were destroyed once customers returned them at the end of their lease period. While some managed to survive, Toyota initially did not want to support the vehicles, which were based on the obsolete first-generation RAV4. Hopefully Toyota is better prepared to handle the 2nd generation RAV4 EV, and with a $50 million dollar investment in Tesla, we’d expect that they have some more inclination than the first time around.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Parents magazine has made the list (and assumedly checked it twice) to bring you their top 15 picks of family-friendly vehicles for 2010. Teaming up with Edmunds.com, Parents has only included models that come equipped with antilock brakes and front, side, and side-curtain air bags. These vehicles also come with family necessities such as sliding rear seats, smart storage for toys, and other amenities that make the drive that much smoother. You may be surprised to learn that not many minivans or SUVs made the list. The picks aren’t in any particular order and are broken down into categories such as sedans, hybrids and large vehicles.
They are listed after the jump, along with a few of their top selling points:
Japanese Automakers Dominate
The Lexus LS460, Rated the Best Overall Car by Consumer Reports for 2008
Consumer Reports has just released its list of the best cars in each class and the Japanese are dominating with 8 vehicles (out of 10) in the top spots. CR says it bases its results on three variables: Road Tests, Reliability and Safety.
For a car to be a top pick it must have ranked at the top of its class in an overall test score, which includes 50 individual tests. A Car must also have an average of better predicted reliability rating and must perform “adequately” in safety tests by the NHTSA or IIHS. Consumer Reports also stipulates that for any car to be a top pick it must have stability control (ESC).
And The Winners are:
Best Overall: Lexus LS460
-powerful, good fuel-economy,uncompromising luxury
Best Family Sedan: Honda Accord
-Roomy, well-rounded and fun to drive, plus ESC (Altima bested Accord in most tests but not all Altimas come with ESC)
Best Pickup Truck: Chevrolet Avalanche
-functional and comfortable
Best Small SUV: Toyota Rav4
-roomy and quiet, good on gas with 4 or 6-cyl, third row seat available
Best Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander
-quiet, three rows of seats, decent fuel economy, versatile, AWD optional, Hybrid available
Best Minivan: Toyota Sienna
-versatile, seating for 8, rivals luxury cars for interior, AWD optional
Best Small Car: Hyundai Elantra
-comfortable and roomy wih good fuel economy, ESC on SE model
Best Green Car: Toyota Prius
-Prius wins six years running
Best UpScale Sedan: Infiniti G37
-Agile, great interior, AWD optional, luxury and sport all in one.
Best Fun to Drive Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata
-Tied Boxster in testing but costs half as much
[Source: Consumer Reports]