Toyota and VMI Partner to Improve the Life of One Lucky U.S. Vet with Contest

Toyota and Vantage Mobility International (VMI) have announced that they will be joining forces once more for the 2nd Annual Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest. The Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest will provide one disabled military veteran with a brand-new Toyota Sienna that comes equipped with VMI’s Access 360 In-floor Ramp Conversion system.

The contest, which runs Wednesday, April 2 to Sunday, November 9, is open to any disabled U.S. veterans. Last year’s winner was Cpl. Charlie Harvey, a retired U.S. Army vet who served his country proudly during Vietnam.

“Toyota is excited to work with VMI again on this year’s Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest,” said Mark Oldenburg, Toyota’s national fleet marketing, mobility and strategic planning manager, in a press release. “It was incredible to be a part of the excitement surrounding the delivery of Mr. Harvey’s Sienna earlier this year.  Being a part of this online contest gives our team the opportunity to show our appreciation to men and women in the military who have bravely served our country.”

A winner in the Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest will be randomly drawn on November 9 and announced on Veteran’s Day, which is Tuesday, November 11.

To enter the Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest and for contest rules, terms and conditions, visit www.vans4vets.com or call 1-800-VMI-VANS (1-800-348-8267).

“Words cannot express how grateful Charlie and I are to Toyota and VMI for giving us the chance to win this van through the Star Spangled Salute contest,” said Linda Harvey, the wife of last year’s winner.  “The Sienna with VMI’s ramp has changed Charlie’s life in so many ways we didn’t think were possible.  We can go everywhere together again, like the mall, grocery store and out to eat for dinner.  Before the Star Spangled Salute contest we’d never won anything before.  I really hope our story encourages disabled veterans and their families to enter this contest this year. You never know when you’ll be the lucky winner!”

We here at Phil Wright Toyota are proud to support our veterans, and we strongly encourage you to enter this potentially life-changing contest!

i-Road Personal Mobility Vehicle Begins Testing in Tokyo

Nobody ever said that city cars and personal mobility vehicles had to be boring, and that’s what Toyota set out to prove with their i-Road personal mobility vehicle when it debuted at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show. The three-wheel EV combines the practicality and usefulness of personal mobility vehicles with a futuristic design that ever-so-slightly resembles the Light Cycle from TRON. And now, 20 lucky beta testers will be piloting a fleet of ten pre-production models in a testing phase underway in the Greater Tokyo area.

The trials will give participants—ranging from select civilians to experts—the opportunity to discover what the i-Road has to offer to those needing an efficient way to navigate through city traffic. It will also allow researchers to determine how effective the i-Road is and, perhaps, whether it is a viable option for wide-scale production.

According to Toyota’s press release, the specs of the i-Road are as follows:

Length 2,345 mm/92.3 inches
Width 870 mm/34.25 inches
Height 1,455 mm/57.28 inches
Wheel Base 1,695 mm/66.73 inches
Curb Weight 300 kg/661.39 lbs
Tire Size (Front) 80/90R16
Tire Size (Rear) 120/90R10
Occupancy One
Min. Turning Radius 3 meters/9.84 feet
Powertrain 2 electric motors
Max. Speed 60 km/hr (37.28 mph)
Cruise Range (Single Charge) 50 km (30 km/h fixed speed)
31 miles (18.6 mph)
Battery Lithium-ion

The trials will run through late June, so you can expect to hear more exciting developments from the testing phase as they occur. For more of the latest from Toyota, check in with us again at the Phil Wright Toyota blog!

Refreshed Toyota Camry Headed for New York Auto Show

What exactly would a Toyota Camry with a “more emotional” design look like? Well, that’s what we—the staff here at Phil Wright Toyota and also you guys, our loyal readers—are about to find out. An updated Toyota Camry will be unveiled next month at the New York International Auto Show, which opens up on April 16.

“On April 16 at the New York International Auto Show, we will make an important announcement about America’s best-selling car, the Toyota Camry,” Curt McAllister, Toyota product news manager, teased to Autoblog. As for any more specific details or any explanation of what that promised “emotional” design language might look like, McAllister and Toyota remain tight-lipped.

Looks like we’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled all the way up to the show’s open in mid-April. Until then, come see us and check out the current Camry, already one of the world’s best-selling passenger cars, to prepare yourself to compare Toyota’s solid present to its brilliant future.

“Consumer Reports” Names 8 Toyota Vehicles Among Best Used Cars

We hear the question all the time here at Phil Wright Toyota: what would we consider to be the best used car money can buy? We like to tell our customers that there is no wrong answer (well, we wouldn’t go out of our way to call a Gremlin or a Pacer the right answer, but you get the idea), and that it all largely depends on what your needs happen to be. According to the fine folks over at Consumer Reports, there are plenty of possibilities for great used vehicles, and it just so happens that many of them are Toyotas.

In Consumer Reports’ latest list, Toyota vehicles pop up an astonishing 8 times across various categories and price ranges. Regardless of what your used vehicle needs are and what your budget is, there’s a Toyota for that.

Need to spend less than $10,000? Consumer Reports recommends the 2004-07 Prius, 2005-07 Matrix (small cars), or 2004 Highlander V6 (SUVs). If you’re aiming to spend between $10,000-$15,000 on a used SUV, they recommend that you give the 2006 or 2008 RAV4 a spin. If you have between $15,000 and $20,000 to work with, Consumer Reports suggests the 2011-12 Toyota Camry or 2010-11 Toyota Camry Hybrid (sedan). And if you’re looking for something between $20,000 and $25,0000, the 2011 Toyota Avalon (sedan) and 2008-09 Highlander Hybrid (SUV) come highly recommended.

Clearly, there’s a wide variety of choices if you’re looking for a used Toyota. Want to see what fits your needs the best? Come out and see us at Phil Wright this weekend and see what we have in stock!

Toyota i-Road Takes to the Streets of Toyota City

There’s a new vehicle hitting the streets of Japan, but it’s not like any vehicle we’ve ever seen before. It’s called the Toyota i-Road, it’s tiny, and it runs on three wheels and electricity.

With only a 28 mph top speed, the i-Road is far from the fastest thing on the road. It’s also far from being the biggest: it weighs 300 kilograms and is only wide enough to seat a single person. And that may make you wonder: what in the world is the point of this car?

Well, for now the i-Road is still in the testing phase, but Toyota’s plan is to introduce it to its Ha:mo vehicle-sharing system, which is optimized for urban environments. And when it comes to urban areas, we doubt the i-Road will have much competition. It’s small and nimble enough to get just about anywhere without any trouble, and so eco-friendly that we expect everyone would enjoy the city air a lot more if everyone started using them.

But that’s a long way off in the future. For the moment, Toyota is testing the concept on the streets of Toyota City, where residents can already use it as part of the Ha:mo system. Later this year, it’ll also head over to Grenoble in France for a 3-year vehicle-sharing project.

What do you think about the i-Road? Let us know at Phil Wright Toyota!

Kids Draw a Bright Future for Toyota Dream Car Art Contest

There may be a few remnants of spilled watercolors somewhere on the kitchen table, but we at Phil Wright Toyota think you’ll agree the results were worth the effort: The young artists who submitted entries to the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest are changing much more than the face of their kitchens; they are already impacting the future.

“It is amazing to see the talent and creativity of the young artists in the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest,” said Craig Kember, Senior Creative Designer at Calty Design Research and contest judge.

“I am blown away by their ability to combine large social issues with artistic and beautiful vehicle creations to come up with new and unique solutions for the future of cars. The future of car design is bright.”

The annual contest asks kids between the ages of four and 15 to draw their dream car. Here are examples of their artwork. Nine contest winners were selected to represent the U. S. at the World Contest Semi-Finals.

In August, 30 winners from around the world will have the opportunity to travel to Japan for the awards ceremony and a tour of a Toyota manufacturing plant.

Did you check out some of their drawings? A bright future, indeed.

You’ll Have Fun Driving the Toyota 4Runner, TFLCar Promises

2014 Toyota 4RunnerThe Fast Lane Car just released its annual “Top 10 Fun to Drive” list—and they included the Toyota 4Runner, the rough and tumble, long-lasting SUV, on that list. While popular opinion might assume that sports cars and pickup trucks would be the most entertaining drives—one for their suave, sexy grace and the other for their brute force—TFLcar disagrees, claiming vehicles like the 4Runner are guaranteed to “put a huge smile on your face when you drive it [them].”

The 4Runner vaulted onto the list—the only “true SUV” that made the list, in fact—for its off-road prowess, body-on-frame build, and the undeniable joyful driving experience it affords. “These automobiles may or may not be the fastest, the most powerful, or the most expensive, but they are certainly the most interesting cars that we’ve driven in the past year, and that’s why we’re proud to announce they made our list,” said Roman Mica, tflcar.com publisher.

Whether you’re looking to rule the roads or rock the wilderness, there’s just one vehicle that’s perfect for both: the iconic Toyota 4Runner. Come see us soon at Phil Wright Toyota and give the 4Runner a test drive—we guarantee you’ll soon be just as hooked as the folks over at tflcar.com.

The Toyota Sienna Impresses Auto Experts with Its Ability to Cater to Families

2014 Toyota SiennaIn an age of the increasingly popular SUV, Toyota’s minivan still maintains its appeal. The 2014 Toyota Sienna was one of only two minivans to be named to Kelley Blue Book’s 12 Best Family Cars of 2014.

KBB® editors had their work cut out for them as they tried to determine the “most functional new cars for families.” They whittled the vehicles down from 300 to 21 before selecting the 12 winners.

The winners ran the gamut of sizes: seven sedans, six small SUVs, five mid-size SUVs, two minivans, and one hybrid wagon.

The Sienna’s versatility and comfort won over KBB’s experts. They said, “[W]ith reclining captain’s chairs – including a footrest – the Sienna may be the most passenger-accommodating minivan you can buy. And, with more varied configurations than any other minivan on the market, the Toyota Sienna is the perfect family-car for more than 100,000 families each year.”

That’s high praise, especially coming from reputable automotive experts. We at Phil Wright Toyota couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Camry and Tacoma Boast Best Value on Market

The Toyota Motor Company, widely considered the single best automotive brand in the world, has been receiving some major validation for that claim recently. After earning the top spot in Consumer Reports latest poll concerning brand perception, the brand just took home two “2014 Best Car for the Money” Awards from U.S. News and World Report. The Camry was heralded as the Best Midsize Car for the Money, while the Tacoma took home the honor for the Compact Truck segment.

2014 Toyota CamryThe Camry, which is currently working to extend its thirteen-year run as the world’s best-selling passenger car, is an obvious choice for the award because of its balance between practicality and performance. The Camry earns an impressive 35 mpg highway rating while still churning out 178 horsepower from its 2.5L Inline 4-cylinder engine. Plus, with the Entune infotainment and a rearview camera now standard across all Camry models, all with a starting price under 20K, there’s really no more valuable car out there.

Then there is the Tacoma—Toyota’s bold statement in the newly competitive small truck segment. The Tacoma, while smaller than full-size pickups, is no slouch. It can still pull a maximum of 6500 lbs, features the Star Safety System, and does all this while still chalking up a healthy 25 mpg highway rating.

If you’re looking for the value, both right when you drive off the lot and ten years down the road, you’re looking for a Toyota. Come see us at Phil Wright Toyota today!

Toyota January Sales

January was a hard month on all of us. Bitter cold and heavy snowfall across the United States crippled most of the country for at least a few days at a time. Even the auto industry wasn’t immune to the weather. Most brands, including Toyota, saw January sales dip some. But, Toyota still had fairly strong sales numbers.

“January was off to a solid start, but weather conditions slowed industry sales in key markets late in the month,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, in a statement.  “For Toyota, we’re pleased with our retail sales and strong truck results, and we expect to see growth back in February.”

Toyota reported sales of 146,365 units for the month of January, which was a drop of 7.2 percent when compared to last year. However, the Lexus division had an increase of 8.8 percent with 17,637 units sold. This includes triple-digit sales gain for the Lexus IS.

Other sales leaders from the month include the 2014 Toyota RAV4, which had a record-setting January with sales up more than 45 percent.

Come visit us at Phil Wright Toyota and shake those cold weather blues. Together, we’ll blow February sales out of the water.