Toyota to Make Automated Braking Standard in Most Vehicles by End of 2017

Toyota and Lexus have pledged to make Lexus Safety System + and Toyota Safety Sense including automated braking standard in most of its vehicles by the end of 2017, five years before the NHTSA aims to standardize automatic emergency braking in the industry.

2016 Toyota 4Runner - Automated Braking StandardToyota and Lexus will standardize these systems on 25 out of their 30 vehicles, waiting only on the Toyota Mirai, 4Runner, and 86, the Lexus GX, and the Scion iA. Lexus Safety System + and Toyota Safety Sense are offered as a low-cost option on many Lexus and Toyota vehicles already.

The two safety packages include pre-collision systems that sense vehicles ahead to prevent forward collisions, lane departure alert to prevent drifting, pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control that automatically slows down when you get too close to another vehicle, and automatic high beams that let you see better on dark roads and turn off when they sense another car coming.

Making these systems available will lead to safer roads, and Toyota’s commitment to doing it five years ahead of the rest of the industry will undoubtedly save many lives.

Is it More Fuel-Efficient with the Windows Down or Air Conditioning On?

This debate is so common it even showed up on Mythbusters, but Jamie and Adam didn’t quite do it justice. It’s getting close to summer, and the question is bound to arise once again. So which is more fuel-efficient, rolling the windows down or air conditioning? The short answer: Both.

windows down or air conditioningThe long answer: Jamie and Adam found that you use less gas when you roll the windows down, but they never went above 40 mph. It’s true that if you’re driving around town, using the air conditioner uses more fuel.

However, this isn’t the case at higher speeds. If you jump on the highway, you’ll probably want to put the windows up and turn the air on, and not just because highway winds will ruin your hair. Having the windows down at those high speeds actually has a big enough impact on your car’s aerodynamics and causes enough drag that you’ll use more gas than with the AC on.

So there you have it! Windows down in the city, air conditioning on the highway. Remember that this summer and save yourself a few bucks on gas.

How to Change a Tire: A Step-By-Step

Change a TireIt’s never fun when you need to change a tire. It’s even less fun when you need to change a tire and have no clue how to do it. For all of you with no clue what to do in the case of a flat or blowout, here’s a quick step-by-step:

  1. Pull over to a safe location and turn on your hazards. Avoid stopping in a curve and try to get as far onto the shoulder as you can.
  2. Loosen the lug nuts but don’t remove them.
  3. Using the jack, lift your vehicle off the ground about 6 inches. Check your owner’s manual for the correct location to place the jack before you start lifting.
  4. Fully remove the lug nuts from the wheel and put them somewhere safe.
  5. Remove the flat.
  6. Place the spare on your vehicle.
  7. Put the lug nuts on the wheel, tightening just enough so they don’t fall off completely.
  8. Lower the car back to the ground.
  9. Alternately tighten the lug nuts. Start with tightening one 50%, then go to the opposite lug nut and tighten it 50%, and continue to do this until every lug nut is tightened on 100%.
  10. Pack up your tools and get back on the road!

Toyota Injector at Daytona Took Crowds by Storm

Every automaker tries to come up with some sort of eye-catching, wild stunt at the Daytona International Speedway to draw in the hordes of car lovers to their area, but this February, Toyota had them all beat.

 Toyota Injector at Daytona - Daytona International SpeedwayThe Toyota Injector at Daytona was a four-level fan entrance full of a variety of Toyota vehicles, activities, and specialized exhibits and displays. This was also a huge part of the “Daytona Rising” initiative, a renovation project to build up the Daytona International Speedway into the world’s first motorsports stadium.

 In the Toyota Injector at Daytona, fans could find a replica Endeavour Space Shuttle nose cone beside a Toyota Tundra (in honor of the Tundra that towed the Endeavour through L.A. back in 2012), the nation’s largest Toyota logo (29.5’ wide, 19’ tall, mounted 100’ in the air), a Toyota Roadhouse restaurant (with bench seating made from actual Tundra tailgates), and a bunch more racing and Toyota themed activities and interactive displays.

 Once Daytona Rising is complete, we wonder what the brand-spankin’-new Toyota Injector will look like.

The Cop Car Revolution That’s Happening Right Here in Arkansas

Imagine a cop car.

2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid - right here in ArkansasYou’re probably picturing a Crown Vic, right? An old, clunky, ’90s sedan with an infamous silhouette that strikes fear into the hearts of speeders wherever it roams. Well, that aging classic is on its way out, making way for a more efficient and cost-effective law enforcement future – and it’s all starting right here in Arkansas.

The Arkadelphia Police Department recently replaced 10 of its old-school Crown Vics with modern Toyota Camry Hybrids. Some people had their reservations: what was a cop car without its V8 engine, its rear-wheel drive, its off-roading potential? But, it wasn’t long before the Camry Hybrids proved their worth, and no one seems to miss the old-fashioned Vics. Plus, instead of the Crown Vics average of 12-14 MPG city, the Camry Hybrids earned 27 MPG city, saving Arkadelphia 3% of its annual budget – who says bureaucracy can’t be efficient?

The wasteful ways of old are heading out; the time of the cleaner, greener tomorrow is upon us. How exciting to see it all take place right here in Arkansas!

Our Favorite Valentine’s Day Destinations in Arkansas

We’re inching in on Valentine’s Day – time to get that heart-shaped box of chocolates, sign that frilly pink card for your grandma, and make an appointment for that haircut you’ve been putting off. If you’re just not quite sure what you’re doing for your special someone yet, have no fear! We have a unique list of our favorite Valentine’s Day to-dos from all across the state of Arkansas.Favorite Valentine's Day - Valentine's Day

First, consider a visit to “An Enchanting Evening” just outside Little Rock for one of their beloved wine tastings, happening every Friday (5-8), Saturday (10-5), and Sunday (12-5). Voted the best Little Rock wedding venue for 2015, An Enchanting Evening could be one of the most romantic destinations in the state.

Or, if you and your significant other are the outdoorsy type, think about paying a visit to Hot Springs. Even in the wintertime, there are beautiful trails and paths for walking and hiking, plus a delightful shopping and antiques district.

The last of our favorite Valentine’s Day getaways might be the most “fairy-tale” of them all: a night at Little Rock’s most beautiful and historic hotel, The Empress. The Empress is a Victorian-style splendor and one night spent here is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Your special someone will be especially impressed!

Tips for Vehicle Breakdowns: What to Do on the Side of the Road

Breakdowns happen to the best of us, especially if you’ve been driving for many years. Remaining calm is always important, as well as understanding what steps to take when you’re on the side of the road with your engine compartment steaming. We’ve put together a list of tips for vehicle breakdowns so you know just what to do.

Tips for Vehicle BreakdownsAccording to Car Connection, getting to a safe spot is your top priority. If you can, pull off to the shoulder or find an empty parking lot. If you get out of your car, make sure that there is no traffic coming, and avoid walking around near the highway.

Step Two: call someone. Make sure that your family and friends know where you are. If possible, call an emergency roadside service like AAA or OnStar. Most of these services cost around $100 to $150, and include things like tire repair, a gallon of gas, lock-out assistance, and limited towing.

Step Three: stay with your car and avoid strangers. Unless you can safely walk to a gas station or you need to leave your car, try and stick around. Walking on the road is always dangerous, and many roadside services can’t touch your vehicle if you’re not there. Don’t talk to strangers, even if they seem friendly. Call the police if necessary.

Step Four: use common sense. Sometimes experimental auto repair is the answer. Sometimes not. If you think you can fix a problem give it a try; otherwise, let the professionals handle it.

Toyota Top Safety Pick+ Awards Dominate Industry Yet Again

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently awarded nine Toyota Top Safety Pick+ awards, leading the industry for another year. This is just one of many awards that demonstrate Toyota models are the safest in the industry.

Toyota Top Safety Pick+ Awards - 2016 Toyota RAV4The IIHS were the toughest this year than ever before, including rigorous testing from pre-collision systems to impacts at highway speeds. According to Toyota, the Prius v, Camry, Avalon, and RAV4 were all given Top Safety Pick+ awards. Toyota did especially well in front crash prevention and pre-collision.

“At Toyota, we continue to focus on the safety and peace of mind of our customers,” said Dino Triantafyllos, Toyota’s North American Chief Quality Officer. “We are proud that IIHS has recognized our commitment to helping protect drivers and passengers.”

Scion and Lexus models were also recognized, including the Lexus CT 200h, ES, RC, NX, and the Scion iA. Any model with a Pick+ award must meet “Superior” or “Advanced” rating criteria in every category.

Toyota Ultimate Utility Vehicle Debuts at SEMA

After being teased and hinted at back in June of this year, the Ultimate Utility Vehicle made its debut at the SEMA show recently. The vehicle, which is a fusion of a modified truck and a minivan, was created by Toyota to serve as a heavy-duty multipurpose vehicle with all the roominess, cargo space, power, and capability you could ever ask for.

Toyota Ultimate Utility VehicleThe UUV is on a global road trip along with eight other vehicles that Toyota refers to as the Ever-Better Expedition, an event that the company hopes with unite its employees worldwide in a team effort to create the ultimate adventuring vehicles without sacrificing convenience or amenities. The UUV itself uses a Sienna body fitted to a Tacoma frame; the company claims this combination was the only way the vehicle could carry all the equipment needed to make the journey.

While we shouldn’t be expecting a production version of the Ultimate Utility Vehicle concept, Toyota has a team of engineers riding in it and the other cars in the convoy in order to monitor driving data. This information will be used to further improve the brand’s products in future iterations.

Next-Generation Prius Details Revealed Ahead of Launch

2016 Toyota Prius - next-generation Prius detailsAt Toyota, the Prius is a big deal. The hybrid is easily one of the most recognizable and iconic vehicles in Toyota’s lineup, as the frontrunner of the green car trend and the first car to popularize alternative fuel sources like electricity. However, green cars have generally been a pretty niche market due to their unusual appearance and focus on efficiency above all else – until now. The next-generation Prius details have car fans in a frenzy due to the upcoming model’s sportier looks and performance.

The first noticeable thing about the new Prius is its redesigned exterior. Toyota put effort into giving the next-generation version of the car look more like a conventional car as opposed to having the look of a hybrid or EV. The vehicle has been built from an all-new platform that grants it a more dynamic, athletic feel. With more trunk space and an independent rear suspension, the Prius can guarantee a smoother, more fun driving experience in addition to the amenities of more practical family cars.

Of course, the next-generation Prius details released thus far have revealed that Toyota is still committed to improving the hybrid powertrain itself. The company says that the new vehicle is 10 percent more fuel efficient than previous model years, thanks to a new engine that optimizes thermal efficiency. The new Prius is expected to be at dealerships early 2016.