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.

Toyota Prius Equipped with New Technologies

Toyota PriusWhen the Toyota Prius first hit the scene in the automotive world, it was one of the most advanced vehicles ever created. Today, Toyota is making sure that the Prius stays ahead.

According to a Toyota press release, Toyota has equipped the Prius with new technologies.

These advanced technologies have been equipped to the newest Prius to help make the best hybrid vehicle around even better.

For starters, the Prius will receive a 1.8-liter VVT-i engine. This piece of mechanical engineering is capable of achieving a level of 40% thermal energy.

Also included in the newest Prius are lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries, which help the vehicle achieve unheard of levels of energy conservation.

Finally, the hybrid components of the Prius have been reduced in size, helping reduce the overall weight of the Prius, allowing for a more nimble driving experience.

The Toyota Prius continues to be the most advanced vehicle of its kind thanks to the inclusion of Toyota’s latest technologies.

5 Different Ways to Make S’mores

ways to make s'mores

Photo by: Evan-Amos

If there is one snack that rally represents the season of fall, it would have to be S’mores. This classic is perfect during any camping outing or bonfire. However, you don’t always have to assemble the same boring old S’mores. Not while you have 5 different ways to make S’mores.

  1. S’more-dipped Apples

Combining the best aspects of both S’mores and candy apples, this treat captures the true essence of autumn.

  1. S’more Ice Cream Sandwiches

If you’re experiencing an especially warm fall that feels like summer, these Ice cream S’mores are sure to hit the spot!

  1. White Chocolate S’mores

Instead of using traditional milk chocolate, consider the substitution of white chocolate to make an especially sweet set of S’mores!

  1. S’mores Whoopie Pies

Your guests will yell “Whoopie!” when they get a taste of these S’mores that use chocolate chip cookies instead of graham crackers.

  1. S’mores Muffins

If you like S’mores and you like muffins, than you are going to love this recipe that combines the two desserts!

Vintage 1971 Toyota Celica ST on Jay Leno’s Garage

Say what you will about him as a TV personality, but Jay Leno knows how to appreciate good cars. In the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, the former host of The Tonight Show presented a vintage 1971 Toyota Celica ST, one of the vehicles responsible for popularizing Japanese sports cars in the United States.

The ’71 Celica is an attractive little coupe that looks even sleeker with the windows down thanks to the lack of a B-pillar. It’s not really seen anywhere these days—we’ve yet to see one ourselves at Phil Wright Toyota—and the one Leno drives comes straight from Toyota USA’s Automobile Museum in Torrance, CA.

Leno rightfully praises the car in a number of ways but makes one mistake when he calls it the automaker’s first sports car. Although it helped put Japanese sports cars on the map, it wasn’t the first: that was the Toyota 2000GT.

BMW and Toyota Sports Car Still Being Decided

It’s been three years since Toyota and BMW signed a memorandum of understanding to share technology and build a sports car.

In the former case, we know that the two automotive giants have been collaborating on fuel cell technology, lightweight components, and lithium-air batteries, but we’ve yet to see what’s come of it in the case of the sports car—but Toyota says that might soon change.

Toyota Sports Car - Toyota FT-1 Concept CarThe Japanese automaker told Automotive News Europe that “by the end of the year we will approve whether or not we will make it … The whole study before that, on what kind of platform, on what kind of architecture, that’s been progressing quite well. We haven’t yet decided to give the green light to the project, but it’s coming up.”

Little is known about the project, except that Toyota and BMW would get their own version of the vehicle. What kind of Toyota sports car should we expect at Phil Wright Toyota? A new Supra, a variant to the BMW Z4, or even a super-capacitor-powered plug-in hybrid? Looks like we’ll have to wait and find out!

All-New 2016 Tacoma is Perfect for Active Lifestyles

Toyota has launched the all-new 2016 Tacoma to revolutionize the mid-size pickup truck segment all over again. The Tacoma is already the best-selling vehicle in its class with more than a 50 percent share of the marketplace, and the 2016 model looks poised to help it continue to dominate.

all-new 2016 TacomaThis time around, the Tacoma’s emphasis is less on work capability (though it’s still a leader there too) and more on performance, appearance, and amenities. In fact, a new, sportier appearance and the ability to take on just about any off-roading challenge makes the Tacoma an ideal choice for customers with an active and potentially adventurous lifestyle.

When not driving on dirt, mud, or gravel, you can expect one of the most comfortable rides on the market, complemented by the latest in-car technology, including advanced voice recognition, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera.

We can’t wait for you to check out the all-new 2016 Tacoma at Phil Wright Toyota!