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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.
Which Crossovers and SUVs are the Most Reliable?
The crossover and SUV segment is one of industry’s fastest growing, and if you’re in the market for one, chances are you’ll want to know which ones are the most reliable out there. J.D. Power has compiled data collected from surveying thousands of vehicle owners to determine this year’s list of most reliable new crossovers and SUVs not in the luxury segment. Here they are listed in alphabetical order.
Each week, we recap the most popular videos from AutoGuide‘s YouTube channel so why should this week be any different? This week, AutoGuide went on a search for front-wheel-drive greatness, pitting the older 1998 Acura Integra Type R against a new 2013 Honda Civic Si.
Find out what happened, as check out the other two most-watched videos below.
Despite being a diverse list this week, the three most popularly researched cars this week came from one manufacturer: Toyota.
The re-designed Venza’s exterior styling has undergone a serious update, and is getting a new upper and lower grille, new fog lamps and rear taillights. The body style has grown a little more minivan-esque, but is still classified as a crossover and retains some of its SUV styling. The rear loading height is almost the same as the Sienna minivan, and the rear hatch resembles the van quite closely as well. Three new color options are available with the re-design: Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl and Cosmic Gray Mica.
Inside, the Venza has seating for five and fold flat rear seats which optimizes cargo room in the rear of the vehicle. A new center console is also included which has three MP3 player holders with wire concealment features, sliding front cup holders, a storage compartment and USB, and auxiliary in ports.
Toyota’s Entune infotainment system will be included on the Venza as well, complete with smart phone compatibility.
The Venza will be available with two engine options, either a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 horsepower and 246 lb.-ft. of torque, or a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 181 horsepower and 182 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines will be standard front wheel drive setups, but will offer an all wheel drive package as well. A six-speed sequential-shift electronically controlled automatic transmission will be hooked up to both motors. The V6 will get an EPA estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg highway for the FWD version and 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway for the AWD. The less thirsty four cylinder will get 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway for the FWD model and 20 mpg city,25 mpg highway for the AWD.
Three trim packages will be available to suit every customers needs, they are: LE, LXE, and Limited.
Click back to AutoGuide for live coverage from the 2012 New York Auto Show.
GALLERY: 2013 Toyota Venza
Over the last few years, the words “Toyota” and “recall” have gone hand in hand. While the companies previous woes are behind them, Toyota has since been extra cautious and issues recalls for everything it finds to have a potential defect.
Just today, Toyota has announced a recall notice for three of its vehicles, the 2009 Camry, the 2009 – 2011 Venza, and the 2005 – 2009 Tacoma pick-up truck.
The Camry and Venza share the same defect. According to Toyota; “during the installation of the contact-type stop lamp switch on one of the North American assembly lines, silicon grease may have reached the inside of the switch and caused an increase in electrical resistance. If this occurs, warning lamps on the instrument panel may be illuminated, the vehicle may not start, or the shift lever may not shift from the ‘Park’ position. In some cases, the vehicle stop lamps may become inoperative.”
A total of 70,500 Camry’s and 116,000 Venza models are affected and Toyota will be informing their customers via first class mail. The repair should take roughly 30-minutes to complete at a Toyota dealership.
If you own a 2005 – early 2009 Tacoma pick-up truck, you will also receive a recall notice via first class mail very soon. The Tacoma’s recall is to replace the steering wheel spiral cable assembly.
According to Toyota; “due to the combination of steering wheel spiral cable design and characteristics unique to the Tacoma chassis, friction between the spiral cable and the retainer in the steering wheel spiral cable assembly may occur in some vehicles. Friction over time may result in loss of connectivity to the driver’s air bag module. If connectivity is lost, the air bag warning lamp on the instrument panel will remain illuminated after starting the vehicle and the driver’s air bag may be deactivated, preventing deployment in the event of a crash. ”
A total of 495,000 Tacoma’s are potentially affected. This brings the grand total to 681,500 vehicles to receive a recall service, which is surely going to be costly. However, Toyota has learned from the past and will act on correcting these issues as soon as possible.
If you believe your vehicle might be affected, you can contact Toyota’s Customer Experience Center by dialing 1-800-331-4331.
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]