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Archive for December, 2012

2012 Toyota Prius C: Best City MPG, And Now A Top Safety Pick

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Just a year ago, a Prius was a Prius. But this year, say that iconic hybrid model name and you could be speaking of one of three different body styles or four quite different models—the 2012 Toyota Prius Liftback, the Toyota Prius V wagon, the Toyota Prius Plug-In, or the Toyota Prius C. And with each of them quite different in weight, if not structure, that means safety ratings don’t necessarily transfer across all these models.

Now shoppers considering the lightest, smallest Prius—and the one with an astounding, best-in-class 53-mpg city rating—the 2012 Toyota Prius C, can have a little more peace of mind. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has named this five-door subcompact hatchback aTop Safety Pick for 2012—with top ‘good’ results in each of the major crash-test categories.

The Prius C earns top ‘good’ ratings in all areas of testing except for the ‘structure/safety cage’ area of the side impact test and the ‘head/neck’ region of the frontal offset test—indicating that the force loads were a little higher in some respects yet still excellent in most measurements. It also manages an impressive 5.28 times its weight in the IIHS roof strength test—relating to a lower chance of head injury in a rollover crash.

As of yet, the Prius C hasn’t been rated by the federal government. But in federal NCAP tests, other Toyota Prius family have a good record, with the 2012 Prius earning a five-star overall rating.

After a couple of drives of the Prius C, we like what we see—especially considering the bargain $19,710 base price of the 2012 model. You’re already unlikely to find one for that price; and now that the Prius C is looking like an especially safe pick as well, we bet the Prius C will continue being a hot item among frugal and green shoppers for the foreseeable future.

For more information, see our full review of the 2012 Toyota Prius C, or here to see the complete list of 2012 IIHS Top Safety Picks.

 

Source: [The Car Connection]

Posted in Automotive News |

Toyota Bringing Much Of Its Production Home To America

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March, 2011 wreaked havoc on Japan, killing thousands of citizens and bringing much of the country to a standstill. Automakers like Toyota were beginning to get back up to speed later that year, whenflooding in Thailand put more crimps in the production line.

As a result, some Toyota models were harder to find last year than they ought to have been — notably Japanese-made vehicles like the Toyota Prius. But that may not be a problem going forward.

Our colleagues at Green Car Reports told you that beginning in 2015 (or so), the Toyota Prius will be constructed right here in the U.S. Now,Automotive News reports that Toyota aims to shift production of most North American volume models to this side of the Pacific.

The details came straight from the mouth of Shigeki Terashi, president of Toyota Motor North America. Terashi said that high-selling vehicles like the Toyota Camry, Corolla, Highlander, and RAV4, as well as the popularLexus RX 350 would soon be built entirely in North America.

Currently, those models are built both here and in Japan. Canadian and U.S. factories supply the bulk of North American inventory, with Japanese factories adding units when needed. In 2011, for example, 175,995 Corollas were built in the U.S. and Canada, while an additional64,264 were supplied by Japanese factories.

Under this new plan, Japanese production would come to an end.

This is particularly good news to workers in Tupelo, Mississippi (where the Corolla is made), Princeton, Indiana (home of the Highlander), Woodstock, Ontario (birthplace of North American RAV4s), and Cambridge, Ontario (where the Lexus RX 350 is built). Production at those facilities will jump by six figures, with hundreds of new jobs added to the rolls.

There’s even talk of exporting North American-made units to other parts of the world.

Of course, Toyota isn’t doing this to just to ensure smooth production or boost North American economies. A huge factor in Toyota’s decision is based on the unrelenting strength of the Japanese yen, which makes exporting vehicles far less profitable.

Terashi didn’t give a starting date for the roll-out of this new production plan, and he made it clear that low-volume models would continue being manufactured in Japan. However,Automotive News uses the phrase “within a couple of years”, which would put the new plan roughly in line with the timeframe suggested for the Toyota Prius.

We’ll keep you posted.

 

Source: [The Car Connection]

Posted in Automotive News |

Akio Toyoda Tests the 2013 Toyota Camry NASCAR Racer in Indy

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
Kyle Busch and the Toyota CEO ride around the Daytona International Speedway.
Akio Toyoda loves his racing just as much as he loves running Toyota. He recently attended the 2012 Indy 500 and met up with professional NASCAR driver Kyle Busch for a few hot laps in the new 2013 Toyota Camry NASCAR stock car. Kyle Busch owns the modern-era record for most race wins in a season with 24 wins spread across the top three NASCAR series. In addition to being the first driver in the Nationwide Series to lead more than 10,000 laps, he has won 85 races behind the wheel of a Toyota.
With all those accomplishments, it seems a bit unusual that he would sit shotgun while Akio Toyoda gets behind the wheel at the Daytona International Speedway. However it’s good to be the boss. Watch the pair spend some quality time together at this past weekend’s Indy 500.

Posted in Automotive News |

Holiday Cookie Tree Centerpiece

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

INGREDIENTS

Original recipe makes 1 cookie tree (2 dozen cookies)

  • 6 1/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening*
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder**
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Holiday decorator sprinkles

1 (10-count) set star-shaped cookie cutters in graduated sizes (2″ to 8″ diameters)**

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Beat shortening, sugar and vanilla in separate large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in egg yolks and orange juice. Gradually stir in flour mixture to form a soft dough. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces, shaping each into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough, one piece at a time, to 1/4-inch thickness on floured surface.*** Keep remaining dough chilled until ready to use. Cut out a total of 24 cookies, using the 2 largest cookie cutters 4 times each and the 8 remaining cookie cutters 2 times each. Bake on prepared baking sheets, 16 minutes for small cookies, 18 minutes for large cookies, or until edges begin to brown and centers are set. (Group similar size cookies on same baking sheet for even baking.) Carefully slide baked cookies on parchment paper onto work surface. Cookies may be fragile while warm. Cool completely.
  3. Stir powdered sugar and meringue powder in large bowl until combined. Add water. Beat with electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. If necessary, add additional powdered sugar or water to reach the desired spreading consistency. (Keep frosting covered with damp cloth to prevent hardening.) Reserve one of the smallest size cookies for later use. Spread icing over remaining cookies, immediately topping with decorator sprinkles.
  4. Place one of the largest size cookies on decorative platter to begin assembly. Spoon about 1 tablespoon remaining icing onto center of cookie. Repeat to stack additional 22 cookies on top, by decreasing size, rotating each cookie slightly to stagger points of stars. To complete decoration, hold reserved small cookie by its edges and coat both side with frosting. Decorate as desired. Stand upright on top of tree, securing with a small dab of icing. Let stand until icing is firm.

Footnotes

  • * Substitution: You can substitute 3 cups Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening for 3 sticks Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening.
  • TIPS:
  • ** Sets of graduated size cookie cutters and meringue powder are available at most craft stores with the cake decorating supplies.
  • *** When cutting out the largest size cookies, roll out dough on floured parchment paper. Cut with cookie cutter. Remove excess dough from around cookie cut outs. Lift parchment paper and place on baking sheet. Bake as directed above.

Source: [All Recipes]

Posted in Recipe |

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