Toyota Provides Free Public Wi-Fi at Parks

free public Wi-Fi at parksIn the age of the smartphone, Wi-Fi rules, especially free public Wi-Fi. Toyota is now providing free public Wi-Fi at parks in Los Angeles, New York, and New Jersey.

This free service is made available through a partnership with Toyota (specifically the Prius Plug-in Hybrid), the various Parks Departments, and the American Park Network. All of the equipment and installation is being installed at no cost to taxpayers.

Six popular city parks and beaches in Los Angeles will now get to enjoy the free service, called Oh, Ranger! Wi-Fi, including Griffith Observatory, Venice Beach, and Echo Park Lake. This will be the first time Wi-Fi has been installed in any park in Los Angeles and starts the city on its path towards providing free access to Wi-Fi across the city.

“We’re thrilled to partner with American Park Network and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks to help make Oh, Ranger! Wi-Fi a reality for the visitors who attend these six tremendously popular parks here in Los Angeles,” said Dionne Colvin-Lovely, National Director, Traditional and Digital Media, Toyota, in a statement. “Supporting the needs of parks and their visitors is a perfect fit for the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, we particularly welcome the opportunity to make a difference, here, in our own backyard, by improving the park going experience for Angelenos throughout the city.”

In New York, free public Wi-Fi is now available at Niagara Falls, Jones Beach, Saratoga Spa, and East River State Parks. And visitors at Liberty State Park in New Jersey can enjoy the free service as well.

Toyota Gives Us Great Reasons to Drive a Hybrid

14 years ago, Toyota changed the world with the introduction of the Toyota Prius Hybrid. Since that time, we have all enjoyed the benefits of more eco-friendly driving. Here are some great reasons to drive a hybrid.

  • Reduces CO2 emissions. Around the world, the Prius family of hybrids has Toyota Prius Hybrid - reasons to drive a hybridreduced carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 26.5 million tons, which equals the weight of about 3.8 million African elephants.
  • Saves gasoline. Prius family drivers have saved about 1.85 billion gallons of gasoline in the U.S. alone. This is enough to drive around the earth 4.39 million times.
  • Saves money. In the past 14 years, Prius drivers have saved about $5 billion by avoiding the gas pump. That’s enough money to build 2,526 wind turbines.

Do you want to play a bigger part in helping our world be a bit greener and smell a bit sweeter? Then come to Phil Wright Toyota and check out our extensive inventory of Toyota Prius hybrids. With a wide range of models to choose from, there is surely a Prius that will fit your lifestyle.

Toyota GT 86 Sets New Drifting World Record

New Drifting World Record

Photo attributed to Yasser Alghofily

Action movies have a tendency to make complex stunts look easy to do. For instance, if you’ve seen The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, it might seem simple to make your car flawlessly drift around a corner for multiple miles. While the simplicity of drifting is much higher than it appears, for some it can be a cakewalk. German driver Harald Muller is one of these people, especially after he recently set the new drifting world record in a Toyota GT86.

The previous drifting world record was set last year when a BMW M5 shattered the Guinness World Record of about 7 miles with a distance of 51.3 miles at the BMW Performance Driving School in South Carolina. Now, the record stands at 89.55 miles. Muller set the record around a 0.15-mile course in Samsun, Turkey. It took him 612 laps and 2 hours, 25 minutes, and 18 second to manage the record-breaking drift.

For a glimpse into the world of record-breaking drifting, check out the video here. Try not to get too dizzy!

2015 Toyota Yaris Launches in North America

Toyota YarisThe 2015 Toyota Yaris that arrived to Europe and Japan a few months ago is finally launching in North America. It comes with a ton of updates compared to the outgoing model, both on the inside and outside, at only a very minor 2-3 percent price increase.

On the outside, the 2015 Yaris stands out as a truly distinctive hot hatch, with aggressive styling and a large lower air dam and X-motif front end.

Inside, the ride will be more quiet and comfortable thanks to retuned suspension and a more rigid body. There’s also more soft-touch materials and loads of standard features to enjoy, including the 6.1-inch touchscreen display, HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, a USB port with iPod connectivity, and more.

Driving the little car is also just as enjoyable. The 1.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder DOHC engine is equipped with what Toyota calls variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to produce 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque, and the broad torque curve makes those numbers seem bigger when you put your foot down.

Come find it at Phil Wright Toyota!

Toyota Aims for Family Peace with 2015 Toyota Sienna

2014 Toyota SiennaIf driving in the family minivan is always a stressful event that involves yelling and turning towards the backseat, then the 2015 Toyota Sienna may be your saving grace. It seems Toyota aims for family peace with some pivotal features available in the updated Sienna.

One of the most thoughtful updates is something called Driver Easy Speak. This available feature lets the driver speak into a built-in microphone that projects his or her voice into the speakers in the back seat. Imagine, no more yelling just to be heard—it will be like you’re sitting right next to your kids.

And, to make sure you can keep your eyes on the road, just pull down the available conversation mirror to see who is actually doing the hitting in the back seat. In addition to the parent-friendly features, kids will be happy too with the Blu-Ray rear seat entertainment system.

Standard for 2015 is a panoramic rear-view camera. Other options include a seven-inch touch screen infotainment system, leather upholstery with contrast trim, and a 4.2-inch information display so the driver can better see the navigation information.

The updated “Swagger Wagon” will be rolling into Phil Wright Toyota later this year.

Toyota Helps Preserve GI Bill of Rights and Other Historic Documents

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill, affords the brave men and women who have served our country with opportunities they otherwise might not have upon returning to civilian life – opportunities that make home ownership, education, workforce training, and unemployment pay possible. Recognizing their importance, Toyota is making it possible to view the GI Bill of Rights and other valuable historic documents, even when they are not on display at the National Archives Museum.

The National Archives Museum has strict guidelines for the display and conservation of documents. As part of these regulations, the GI Bill was recently taken down after five weeks on display; however, thanks to a generous gift to the Foundation for the National Archives, Toyota is making sure the GI Bill and nine other historic documents will be available for all to see, even when they are rotated out of Museum’s exhibit.

Some of the additional documents included President Nixon’s 1973 letter of resignation and the Bill of Rights passed by Congress in 1789. Part of Toyota’s $100,000 gift is dedicated to making these documents available online.

“It’s an honor to have Toyota preserve this special part of America’s rich history because of its impact on so many veterans, who sacrificed so much to keep our country safe and free. It’s important that they are given help restarting their civilian life,” said Don Esmond, a senior adviser for Toyota and a decorated veteran who served as a helicopter pilot for the Marines in over 900 missions. During his service, Esmond earned the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and 45 Air Medals.

We at Phil Wright Toyota are grateful to our servicemen and women like Esmond, and we’re proud Toyota has chosen to support the armed forces and our nation’s history in such an important way.

Toyota Might Go Ahead with 2016 Tacoma Hybrid

Tacoma HybridSometimes, shopping for a light-duty pickup truck can be difficult. Who wants to sacrifice money at the gas pump for pickup truck capabilities? Toyota might have just the solution for those who understand this struggle—the 2016 Tacoma Hybrid.

While the possibility of the Tacoma Hybrid is still up in the air, Toyota’s sister company, Lexus, is releasing a new hybrid crossover called the NX 300h that uses all-wheel-drive. With this release, the likelihood of Toyota releasing such an eco-friendly light-duty pickup is raising by the minute. If the Japanese automaker chooses to use the same drivetrain as the Lexus ES 300h, for instance, it means that the Tacoma might even get close to an impressive 34 mpg combined, a number that is completely unexpected from a pickup truck.

Currently, the Tacoma gets 19 mpg combined with the base four-cylinder engine and four-wheel-drive. If a hybrid is introduced to the market, there’s no doubt that truck lovers everywhere will be turning their heads towards the Toyota truck.

Toyota has yet to confirm the hybrid pickup’s existence. Until they do, make sure you stop by Phil Wright Toyota today to see what type of fuel-efficient cars Toyota has to offer!

Toyota Reveals Fuel Cell Vehicle to North American Audiences

Toyota Fuel Cell VehicleThe 2014 Aspen Ideas festival in Aspen, Colorado was the site of the legendary reveal of Toyota’s new fuel cell vehicle (FCV). While we’ve been hearing about the technology behind the hydrogen-powered electric vehicle for a while, we are finally able to take a look at the production vehicles exterior. And let us say we are not disappointed with what we see.

The vehicle’s design keeps pace with the futuristic nature of its technology. When the car uniquely in silver at the Festival, it afforded a clear view of its sleek lines and smooth contours. Black creatively accents the car’s hood and grille, further setting the vehicle apart.

The FCV will go on sale in California next summer. By that time, the state will be equipped with at least 19 new hydrogen fueling stations thanks to Toyota’s partnership with FirstElement Fuel, making the FCV a practical option for owners.

We at Phil Wright Toyota will keep you updated with news of the FCV’s availability in Arkansas. Hopefully, we’ll start seeing hydrogen stations popping up around here sooner rather than later.

Toyota Looks to Improve Hybrid Efficiency with New Invention

Improve Hybrid EfficiencyToyota Technical Center’s Eric Dede is your average overachiever. While working as the manager of the Electronics Research Department at TTC, he simultaneously serves as senior engineer for the University of Michigan Space Physics Research Laboratory. Why should you care? His most recent achievement actually concerns you as well as us here at Phil Wright Toyota: His invention could improve hybrid efficiency by 10 percent. Okay, maybe he’s not so average after all.

His invention is a new Micro-channel Cold Plate in EVs and Hybrids. It involves an increase in heat transfer and a reduction in pumping power, but at the end of the day, it could increase the efficiency of hybrid vehicles by 10 percent.

Dede received a patent for his work in improving Toyota’s hybrid vehicles; and with it he was honored with an R&D 100 Award, which is essentially the scientific equivalent to an Oscar.

However, Dede insisted the new technology was the work of several brilliant minds.

“This was a great collaborative project that established useful methods for the advanced design and optimization of electromechanical systems.” he said.

If you’re like us, you’re hoping this technology will quickly make its way into Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. As far as we know, a timeline hasn’t been set, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge Winners Announced

Toyota just announced the Teen Driver Video Challenge winners. This contest challenges teens to create a short video that encourages safe teen driving by avoiding distractions behind the wheel.

This is the third year for the contest and Toyota received more than 1,000 entries. These were narrowed down to ten finalists, which were posted online for public voting.

The video with the most votes was created by four students from Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine, California—Jenny Kim, Tyler Koski, Kevin Kim, and Chase Masters. They will share the grand prize of $15,000 and will get to work with Discovery to turn their video into a professional, TV-ready PSA. Check out their video below.

Winning the second-place prize is Rachel Mallasch of Snoqualmie, Washington. Along with $10,000, she gets a trip for two to a behind-the-scenes experience for a show on Discovery’s Velocity network. Here is her video.

Finally, in third place was Jake Martin from Amesbury, Massachusetts. He will receive a $7,500 prize.

Here at Phil Wright Toyota, we are proud to see so many teens working together to promote safer driving. Remember to never drive distracted and stay safe on the roads.