“The all-new Toyota Venza delivers what its owners want, earning AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award for Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUVs. In fact, Venza owners give Venza eight of fifteen possible best-in-class ratings, the highest of any vehicle in this research,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Toyota designed a very different vehicle with the Venza. It is a large, five-passenger Crossover targeted at maturing Baby Boomers. Clearly Toyota identified a lucrative target and hit it in the bulls-eye.” Leading Venza attributes include:
* Exterior size
* Passenger room
* Ease of entry/egress
* Cargo space
* Exterior styling
* Power and acceleration
* Safety features
If you read our F1 post from several days ago, the world known as Formula One was on the brink of becoming CART Wars, PART II. A majority of the teams who race in the international F1 Championship were prepared (so they said), to launch a breakaway series, due in large part to their dissatisfaction with the requirements set forth by the governing body and its president, Max Mosely.
For the second year in a row, the Toyota Sienna comes out on top in the Minivan segment. No, the Sienna does not come in first in every attribute, but it does extremely well, with first place (or tied for first place) finishes in 26 of 48 satisfaction measures, including many of those ranked most important. The Sienna is the class leader in:
• Brand and vehicle reputation
• Overall quality
• Ride and handling
• Quietness inside the vehicle
• Safety features and feeling safe while driving
• Innovative technology
• Details like the feel of interior fabrics and materials
• Financial considerations, including value for the money, anticipated resale value and operating costs
The new Toyota Venza wins the Vehicle Satisfaction Award for the Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV category. The Venza wins with a combination of desirable product, brand reputation and financial attributes and is rated first-in-class in the following:
• Brand reputation
• Ease of entry/egress
• Interior styling
• Reliability/dependability, durability and quality
• Safety features
• Financial considerations, including value for the money, fuel economy and anticipated resale value
With an unmistakable image, both literally and figuratively, it was no surprise that the Toyota Prius won out against the competition in the Image Compact Car segment. Prius dominates the segment with owner’s satisfaction scores, especially in terms of reputation and innovation. Areas in which the Prius leads the segment include:
• Innovative technology and environmental friendliness
• Vehicle and brand reputation
• Interior storage/compartments
• Fuel economy/gas mileage
• Quietness inside the vehicle and vehicle ride
The second generation Prius, which debuted for the 2004 model year, has become an icon on many levels. It’s a green statement. It’s a political statement. It’s even a technology statement. I’ve been saying for quite a while now that history will look upon the little lozenge-shaped car as THE iconic vehicle of this decade, much as the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was the iconic car of the 1950s.
The second generation Prius was the car that brought hybrids to the mainstream. The dorky first generation car looked and felt somewhat like a science project…and the quirky original Honda Insight even more so. But Prius v2.0 boasted a really usable interior package, decent performance, and a unique look that proclaimed to the world that you were ready for something beyond the status quo.
There was just one problem: it was just so boring to drive. There was absolutely nothing rewarding about the way it drove, so it had zero appeal to anyone who actually enjoyed the act of driving. Its steering felt completely detached from the road, it rode harshly, and it squealed like a pig through corners. For the Prius fanbase, none of this really mattered much as driving appeal wasn’t the car’s point.
This past weekend I wanted the most horsepower on my block. That’s pretty tough on my block, where horsepower seems to trump everything. Rationality is heresy on a block of 9 homes that includes a BMW M6, a Jaguar XKR, a Chrysler 300C SRT8 and a host of other badges of courage.
A simple V8 Would Not Do
A simple V8 would not do, but we’re fortunate enough to have a 2008 Toyota Tundra Supercharged by TRD. Some cars offer the power and handling go to give the driver a feeling of “point and shoot”. In the case of the Tundra, “just shoot” will do. The mother of all Tundras is built off of the regular cab, to keep it light. The TRD-designed and developed supercharger boosts horsepower from 381 to 504, and torque from 401 pound-feet up to 550 lb-ft. Start the motor, listen to the whine of your neighbors, I mean, the supercharger. Tap the accelerator and feel your spine align. Tap the brakes and the 16-inch cross-drilled rotors will stop your watch. Load it with manure (I did) and see how truly pointless this vehicle is. Pointless in a good way. Like 150 proof Vodka is pointless.
Which makes me wonder. Today the only auto press I hear relates to bankruptcy, compact cars, and hybrids. Among many others, the Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac XLR and Acura NSX are postponed. How long will the Obama Administration’s latest comments be more important than horsepower?
Is My Pickup Better Than Your Pickup?
Keagan’s Toyota Tacoma
Among our contributors are owners of vehicles from a MINI Cooper (two, actually), Audi TT, Ford Flex, an aging Ford Taurus, and a Toyota Tacoma. For us, it is always fun to apply our analysis and industry knowledge to our own lives and rides, and the Frontier provided the chance to do that again. While I drove the Xterra and Frontier during an afternoon on a press preview, contributor Keagan Patrick took the Frontier that spent a week with California HQ out for some seat time and direct comparisons against his Tacoma.
Follow the jump for his take!
We had the opportunity to drive the all new Toyota Venza in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania at the height of the fall color change. The venue – the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
in Farmington, PA was an outstanding venue surrounded by fun to drive roads allowing a quick stop at Fallingwater
a 1930s era home designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Optimized Car
But that’s beside the point. The 5-passenger Venza is described by Toyota brass as “The Optimized Car”. It is a two box derivative of the Toyota Highlander Crossover SUV and the Toyota Camry Premium Mid-Size Sedan – the best selling vehicle in the USA at the moment. By “Optimized Car” Toyota means that Venza has easy ingress/egress, good visibility, chair-like seating, available all wheel drive and a spacious cargo area behind the fold down second row seat.
But is it a car? We don’t think so… read on