Category Archive:

Motorist Choice Awards Reveal Vehicles That Please Both Hearts And Minds

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vv_intellichoice_autopacific_mca.jpgAwards Show Consumers Enjoy Luxury and Size
(August 11, 2009) — Right brain, left brain; the practical versus the emotional — an age-old dilemma often at the center of decision making when buying a new car or truck. The 2009 Motorist Choice Awards recognize new cars and trucks that give their owners both economic and emotional satisfaction, helping new-car buyers find vehicles that best satisfy all of their personal-transportation needs. The fourth annual Motorist Choice Awards survey, announced today, scores 196 cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs. With the top overall scores in both owner satisfaction and value, the Lexus LS placed highest of any 2009 model year vehicle.
Large and luxury vehicles dominated this year’s results. The top 34 ranked cars, and 106 of the top 107, are large cars, luxury cars, sport utility vehicles, crossover SUVs or minivans. Only one small car, the BMW 1-Series, scored in the top 100, landing in the 35th slot. Toyota Prius is the next-highest-scoring small car, coming in 107th.
Awards are given for top-scoring vehicles scoring in each of twenty-three segments, as well as for the top-scoring brand. Nine manufacturers earned segment wins, led by Toyota with nine awards (including three for Lexus), followed by General Motors with six (Chevrolet 4, Cadillac 2), Honda with three, and Chrysler with two (Dodge 1, Jeep 1). Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen took top honors in one segment each.
(And check out our video on YouTube.)


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2009 Toyota Venza: Those Baby Boomers Keep Driving Change!

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Toyota_2009_Venza_exterior.JPGToyota’s long and successful history in the US owes a lot to the Baby Boom generation. Now in their mid-forties into their sixties, Boomers have always been agents for change. The various cultural revolutions of the 60s and 70s? Those were driven by young Baby Boomers. How about acceptance of Japanese cars (and Toyotas in particular) at a time when many Americans thought of anything from the land of the rising sun as cheap junk? Again, it was the Baby Boomers.
Today, more and more Baby Boomers are entering the “empty nest” stage of their lives. Their kids have left the house, and many are looking to consolidate and simplify their lives. Many have spent the last few years driving minivans and SUVs in order to accommodate family life. But now, they don’t need three rows of seats or that domesticated family vehicle image.


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2009 Toyota Venza Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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2009_Toyota_Venza_IVA.jpg“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
* Handling
* Power and acceleration
* Safety features


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Luca trumps Max: New Era in Formula One Announced

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Thumbnail image for fia-chef_max-mosley_ferrari-boss_luca-di-montezemolo.jpgIf 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.


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Silverstone: The Beginning and End of Formula One

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silverstone-F1.jpgOn May 13, 1950, the first ever (modern era) Formula One Championship Grand Prix was won by Giuseppe Farina in an Alfa Romeo-dominated event in which the Italian manufacturer cruised to a 1-2-3 finish. Luigi Fagioli and British driver Reg Parnell filled the remaining podium positions. The circuit was a WWII bomber airfield called Silverstone. The circuit has been a part of Formula One since that time, although races have, on occasion been run at other Britich tracks. This weekend, Silverstone hosted its last Grand Prix, and in addition to the race, manufacturers and the governing body announced they are going their separate ways as well. And so, Silverstone may go down in history marking the beginning and in some respects, the end of an era in modern motorsport.


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2009 Toyota Sienna Wins AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Minivan

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2009_Toyota_Sienna_LE.jpgFor 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


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2009 Toyota Venza Wins AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Premium Mid-Size SUV

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2009_Toyota_Venza.jpgThe 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


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2009 Toyota Prius Wins AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Image Compact Car

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2009_Toyota_Prius.jpgWith 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


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2010 Toyota Prius: Wait…Did They Actually Make it Fun to Drive?

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Toyota_2010_Prius_lineup.JPGThe 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.


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2008 Toyota Tundra Supercharged TRD

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TRD Tundra.jpgThis 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?


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