Toyota to unveil new 4Runner Saturday at Stagecoach Music Fest

2013 Stagecoach Country Music Festival Sets the Stage for 2014 Toyota 4Runner Reveal

–       First-ever Toyota Global Automotive Reveal at a Major Music Festival
–       Exclusive Musical Performance by Multi-Platinum Country Music Star Dierks Bentley
–       ‘World of Wonders’ Circus-themed Fan Experience, Ride & Drive and Campground Activities


Got this release from Toyota and it’s timely since the event takes place tomorrow. So here it is in all of its well-crafted PR glory. Can’t wait to see the new 4Runner.

-Gerry Miles
2014_Toyota_4Runner_InfoG_001Toyota will stage the world debut of the redesigned 2014 4Runner mid-size SUV on Saturday, April 27 at 1:15 p.m. PDT at the 2013 Stagecoach Music Festival in Indio, Calif., near Palm Springs.  The event marks the automaker’s first-ever public reveal at a major music festival.The Toyota 4Runner, now in its fifth generation, has been in the Toyota SUV lineup for nearly three decades and continues to be one of the few fully capable SUVs available in its segment.  The 4Runner combines rugged body-on-frame construction with suspension technology that yields ride comfort more often associated with car-based platforms.  4Runner is available in a variety of configurations and in three models: a well-equipped SR5, top-of-the-line Limited, plus a Trail grade for amazing off-road capability.

Returning for its seventh year as presenting sponsor of Stagecoach, California’s premier country music festival, Toyota will kick off the three-day event with vintage circus-themed fan experiences followed by the unveiling of the 2014 4Runner.  The reveal takes place on a unique Toyota stage and will be hosted by SiriusXM™ radio personality, Buzz Brainard with a very special performance by chart-topping country recording artist, Dierks Bentley.

As part of the reveal celebration, Toyota invites fans to enter a sweepstakes from April 22-29 for a chance to win one of six guitars autographed by Dierks Bentley. Information and official rules can be found on the Toyota USA Facebook page and athttp://www.toyota.com/stagecoachsweepstakes/terms.html.

Toyota World of Wonders
In addition to the 4Runner festivities, Toyota will host the World of Wonders, a whimsical atmosphere of carnival curiosities where music fans can take a break from the desert sun. On-site activities include:

  • Camry Claw – A custom-built Camry with an arcade-style claw machine operated through the sunroof offers a chance at fun prizes.
  • RAV4 Palm Reader – Guests can get a glimpse into the future and find out if their wishes will be granted.
  • Tacoma Charging Station – A rapid-charging station will be available for guests to recharge their mobile devices.
  • Tundra Strongman – Guests can see how their strength measures up to Toyota’s full-size pickup truck.
  • Carnival Arcade – This retro-styled game zone is outfitted with a ring toss and milk jug throw.
  • Cooling Zone – Music fans can lounge under misters in an attempt to beat the heat.
  • Big Top Photo Booth – Guests can accessorize themselves with circus-themed props for a personalized photo opportunity.

Toyota World of Wonders will also feature hourly line dancing lessons, temporary tattoo parlor and leather accessory creation station. Off-road racing legend Ivan “Ironman” Stewart will also be on hand to greet fans, sign autographs and provide driving demos throughout the weekend. Stagecoach commemorative silkscreen posters and cooling bandanas will also be available while supplies last. Toyota World of Wonders activities will operate Friday through Sunday from noon until 8:00 p.m. PDT unless otherwise specified.

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Edmunds.com’s O’Dell: Hybrids have a place in the market for decades to come

BY GERRY MILES
After Toyota announced that it has sold more than 5 million – yes MILLION with an M – hybrids globally – yes, around the world, it sparked Edmunds.com Green Car Analyst John O’Dell to pen a column.
The timing coincides with O’Dell’s thoughts that the internal combustion engine or ICE and
Toyota today announced that it has sold more than 5 million hybrids worldwide. Working with hybrid technology and ICE is a far, far better course for consumers and automakers alike than relying on electric cars, O’Dell said.
Today, EVs constitute less than a 0.09 percent share of new car sales and by 2040, all-electric vehicles are expected to still comprise less than 1 percent of new vehicle sales, according to the Edmunds.com piece. While it’s not surprising, anyone that has tried to operate a flashlight in the dead of winter knows well the toll Mother Nature can inflict upon battery powered instruments.
The piece by O’Dell is interesting and compelling reading. As for Toyota, Edmunds.com Green Car Analyst John O’Dell offers the following take:
“This is Toyota’s reward for pioneering – and sticking with – hybrid technology. There were many years when automotive market pundits said hybrids were a failed technology because of their complexity and expense, but they now have clambered out of the ‘greenie’ niche and become mainstream vehicles in many places, with Toyota’s Prius and its hybrid synergy technology leading the way. Gasoline prices have helped push hybrids into the market, but continuing political and social pressure around the globe to reduce petroleum dependency and cut emissions will ensure hybrids a place in the market for decades to come.”
Edmunds.com lays out its full argument for the future of gasoline-powered cars in the release below, or at http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/features/why-the-internal-combustion-engine-is-the-future.html.

KBB.COM tabs VW Jetta Hybrid a Top 10 Green Car

WEBSITE Editors recommend the Jetta Hybrid for eco-conscious drivers 

JettaHybrid0014
BY GERRY MILES
Just in time for Earth Day, editors at Kelley Blue Book named the VW Jetta Hybrid as one of its 10 Best Green Cars for 2013.  Each year, editors at KBB.com choose 10 vehicles for “eco-friendly drivers in the market for a new car ”who are looking to “get more miles from each gallon”.
In selecting the Jetta Hybrid, KBB.com editors said: “The first gas-electric Jetta is 1) a fun-to-drive European sedan that 2) returns 45 combined mpg and 3) starts under $26,000. The Jetta Hybrid is a triple threat that lets you go green and have fun at once.”
“The Jetta Hybrid is a hybrid vehicle that doesn’t make consumers compromise—it’s a practical, fuel-efficient daily commuter infused with Volkswagen’s “fun-to-drive” DNA,” said Rainer Michel, Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “We’re honored that the expert editors at KBB.com have recognized the 2013 Jetta Hybrid as one of their top green cars this year.”
The 2013 Jetta Turbo Hybrid, starting at $24,995, is powered by the only turbocharged engine and DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission in the segment, and offers world-class audio with the available exclusive Fender® Premium Audio System.
For more information about KBB.com’s 10 Best Green Cars of 2013, visit www.kbb.com/car-reviews-and-news/top-10/10-best-green-cars-2013/

BMW shows off its next X4 coupe/SAV, er, future X4 Sport Activity Coupe

BMXX4_34HR

BY GERRY MILES

Whether you think it’s the next coming of the blended X5-X1 SAV or a downsized photoshopped X6 sedan, the folks at BMW wish to show you the possibilities of blending them both together with its version of the X4 SAV.

(Those in the know will recall that SAV stood for Sports Activity Vehicle, referencing the company’s driving and handling characteristics in its vehicles, ahem, as well as utility and who doesn’t want to not have an SUV and have a more distinctive acronym anyways?)

This will come to fruition when the BMW X4 production model rolls out of the factory for its market launch in 2014. The second Sporty Activity Coupe in the brand´s model range will be built at BMW Plant Spartanburg in the USA, the competence center for BMW SAVs which also produces the BMW X5, BMW X6 and BMW X3.

The sporting character of the BMW Concept X4 is articulated by its dynamic line work as well as its proportions. With a body length of 183 inches, a width of 75.4 inches and a height of 63.9 inches, its exterior dimensions signal sporting elegance and powerful robustness.

Typical of the X series templates, the high wheel arches set off the purposeful design, where 21-inch wheels will be shod to hustle this SAC along the road. For the engineers, the car’s xDrive intelligent AWD can be shown of as well as the car’s faux armor or protective cladding in manufacturer speak.

BMWX4_rearHRCurve

The backside swoops up from the midline to the back where an athletic derriere is found along with dual exhaust pipes. The rear taillights are split through the lift gate, sitting just below the spoiler that’s surely functional as well as decorative.

A shallow rear window on the sloping backside seems to emphasize it’s a vehicle in motion and may be hunched over like an animal in full gate.

Stay tuned for more details as the X4 SAC gets closer to launch next year.

2014 Audi R8 is officially on sale for $114,900

2014 Audi R8 model line pricing released; Tony Stark back in Audi R8 for Iron Man 3 premiere on May

2014 Audi R8s

BY GERRY MILES

Since its introduction in 2008, the Audi R8 has whetted the appetite and aspiration of drivers and afficianados alike. It is that good, stylish and powerful.
The new 2014 Audi R8 is said to be more dynamic and powerful than ever with either its top up or down.
Among the improvements are an available new 7-speed S tronic transmission that improves the 0-60 mph time by 0.3 seconds on the R8 V10 Plus. A new LED headlamp design gives the R8 an unmistakable presence.
At the top of the range is the new R8 V10 Plus Coupe with 550 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque, achieving a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds. It has a top speed rated at 196 mph.
It’s faster stance is attributed to a 130 pound diet achieved with ceramic brakes, carbon fiber side blades, front splitter, rear diffuser, and spoiler; a smaller fuel tank; manual Alcantara® seats and reduced sound insulation in the engine bay.The interior receives beautiful diamond-stitch leather seats as well as an available flat-bottom multi-function steering wheel among other improvements. “The launch of the R8 represented the turning point of the Audi brand and placed luxury on notice,” said Scott Keogh, President Audi of America. “The 2014 R8 will continue to build upon that success for our halo sports car and for the Audi brand as a whole.”

Tony Stark, played by actor Robert Downey Jr., will once again be back in the Audi R8 as his car of choice. Iron Man 3 debuts in movie theatres across the country on May 3rd, 2013.

Watch the Iron Man Approved R8 launch video here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwXtSg7jD0Y

2014 MY   R8 Pricing*
R8 V8
R8 V10
R8 V10 Plus
Coupe
Manual $114,900
Manual $151,200
Manual $170,545
S tronic $124,000
S tronic $160,300
S tronic $179,645
Spyder
Manual $128,400
Manual $164,700
NA
S tronic $137,500
S tronic $173,800

* Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). MSRP excludes destination and deliver of $1,250 and gas guzzler tax of $3,000, option costs, tax, title, and license fees. Dealer sets actual price.

Volvo will have tongues waggin’ over new V60 Sports Wagon

Europe's V60 Sports Wagon

Europe’s V60 Sports Wagon

BY GERRY MILES

For many a year, us dutiful auto scribes have begged automakers to bring over their European offerings that produce more sport-like rides, handling and spirited, kick of the pants driving.

Now, it’s really going to happen. Volvo announced its V60 sports wagon hit arrive stateside in 2014.

Doug Speck, Volvo Cars’ senior vice president marketing, sales and customer service, made the announcement at the New York International Auto Show. Price, of course, is yet to be determined, released and is the source of much speculating.

The V60 R-Design marked the global debut of the R-Design wagon, showing off its curvy, sculpted swoopy styling. If you ever used an old Volvo fender in place of a handy T-Square, those days are over.

“The V60 builds upon our wagon heritage, and it’s a beautiful evolution in design and direction for Volvo,” said Volvo Cars of North America President and CEO John Maloney. “Many consumers will be glad to see the addition of this exciting sports wagon to the Volvo lineup in America. And this time, we’ve added sophistication with the dynamic driving performance of a sedan.”

The new Volvo V60 is for people who want the handling of a dynamic sports sedan but need the versatility of a wagon. Now, forging a new path with the V60, the Scandinavian automaker reaches a new level of design and sophistication, blending styling cues from its best-selling sedan with a sleek, curvy silhouette.

At the heart of the extra versatility of the V60 is its intelligent seating. Rear seats can be folded down in three 40/20/40 segments, allowing its interior space to be configured for passengers and loaded in a remarkably flexible way.

With the removal of Saab and its CombiSportWagon and plenty of solid 9-5 Wagons still running around, this could be interesting. Stay tuned.

Volvo's V60 Sports Wagon is due in the US in early 2014.

Volvo’s V60 Sports Wagon is due in the US in early 2014.

Acura’s 2014 RDX SUV to start at $34,250

The 2014 Acura RDX

The 2014 Acura RDX

BY GERRY MILES

Acura released the starting price of its new 2014 RDX SUV at $34,250 and accompanying packages today for its premium crossover vehicle. The starting MSRP does NOT include a delivery charge of $895 and any other registration fees and document charges, of course.

The redesigned RDX features a 273 hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system (available as a $1,400 option). The RDX exterior incorporates an aerodynamically efficient body with Amplitude Reactive Dampers and a motion adaptive electronic power steering system.

The Technology Package brings high-tech appointments such as AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System, Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, a hard disk drive (HDD) with 60 gigabytes of storage capacity, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™, AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™, a GPS-linked solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control system, Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Sound System, a power-actuated rear tailgate, projector beam headlights with Bi-Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs and front fog lights.

A new Kona Coffee exterior paint replaces the 2013 Amber Brownstone paint choice for 2014.
The 2014 RDX is produced (using U.S. and globally sourced parts) exclusively by the company’s East Liberty, Ohio plant home to one of four Honda plants ranked among the top five-rated assembly lines in North America in the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 Initial Quality Study (IQS).

 TRIM  MSRP*  EPA**
RDX $34,520 20/28/23
RDX with Technology Package $38,220 20/28/23
RDX with AWD $35,920 19/27/22
RDX with AWD and Technology Package $39,620 19/27/22