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You are currently browsing the Toyota of Tampa Bay Newsletter archives for January, 2013 .

Archive for January, 2013

2012 Toyota U.S. Year in Review

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

TORRANCE, Calif., Dec. 29, 2012 – As the U.S. auto industry heads into a new year, Toyota looks back at a tremendous year of growth and accomplishments in 2012.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. launched the all-new Avalon, Prius c hybrid, RAV4 EV all-electric SUV and the 2013 RAV4.
  • The Toyota Tundra built in San Antonio, Texas, successfully towed the Space Shuttle Endeavour over the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.
  • Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America produced its 25millionth North American-built vehicle.
  • Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program awarded 100 new vehicles to 100 deserving non-profits across the country and $400,000 in grants to 500 non-profits.
  • Toyota Financial Services celebrated 30 years of providing retail and wholesale financing, retail leasing, vehicle protection plans and certain other financial services in America.
  • Toyota brand unveiled a new tagline “Let’s Go Places” that conveys a dual meaning of physically going places and taking off on an adventure, while also expressing optimism and the promise of exciting innovation that enriches people’s lives.


Source: [Toyota Pressroom]

Posted in Automotive News |

2013 Toyota Tacoma

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

The Toyota Tacoma is a survivor. While the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado compact pickups are taking a transition year off–and the Ford Ranger has exited the market entirely–the Tacoma is one of the few not-full-size trucks sticking it out. Toyota’s even invested more in the future of the Tacoma, moving it from a California production site (now home to Tesla) and setting it up in Texas alongside the full-size Tundra.

The Tacoma’s had a big fan following for years, but it’s not entirely clear why, when the basic versions are considered. Off-road specialty and aftermarket versions aside, the standard-issue Toyota Tacoma isn’t as refined, as stylish, or as capable on pavement as the Nissan Frontier, its chief rival. But for those who truly don’t need something full-sized, the Tacoma’s a workhorse, with a reputation for durability that’s at least the equal of the Nissan’s.

The Tacoma’s looks haven’t changed much since a 2005 redesign. The grille’s a bit more pronounced, and the headlamps are tapered a bit more into a more amped-up front bumper. Elsewhere, it’s purely business, without the flair that the Frontier has–and that the Frontier’s cousin, the Suzuki Equator, sharpens with its own front-end look. The Tacoma’s just more chunky, more disjointed, and behind the front pillars, more plain and traditional. In the cockpit, Toyota’s improved the texture and appearance of the plastic trim in recent years, and the Tacoma’s cabin gets the nod over the Frontier’s if only for that slightly elevated sense of quality, enhanced by the backlit gauges and touches of brightwork.

The base 159-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder can manage basic chores well enough, so long as you’re riding solo and not towing or hauling much. We’d choose the five-speed manual, and leave off the hefty four-wheel-drive system; the four-speed automatic’s gears are too widely spaced for quick acceleration or good fuel economy. The 4.0-liter V-6 on the preferred versions of the Tacoma has a completely different personality: it makes 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough to hustle the Tacoma around quickly, even when you have a heavy load, though things get a little breathless past 75 mph or so on the interstate. The five-speed automatic that’s standard on V-6 models is a responsive gearbox, too.

It’s the Tacoma’s road manners that disappoint the most. Even among pickups, which typically trade off some ride comfort for heavy-hauling ability, the Tacoma feels numb and lifeless in urban environs. The ride is hard and choppy; on pockmarked city surfaces the tires simply lose contact with the road. Maneuverability in the Tacoma doesn’t seem any better than that of a full-size truck.

The best way to judge the Tacoma’s performance, since its street handling not very impressive, is by towing and payload and off-road capability. The Tacoma’s payload is well into the 3/4-ton category, depending on the model, and its tow rating goes up to 6,500 pounds. The Tacoma’s a beloved canvas for the off-road community, with everything from a basic four-wheel-drive system and a locking differential to skid plates, huge knobby tires, and off-road suspensions available from Toyota as a model or as an accessory.

Regular Cab, Access Cab, and Double Cab editions of the Tacoma are offered, with standard or long-bed (LB) lengths, with four- or six-cylinder engines, and they all have the same styling, albeit with different levels of stretch for the cab and bed. As for interior comfort, it’s all relative. Compared with full-size trucks, the Tacoma disappoints for interior roominess and seating comfort, but compared with other mid-sizers like the Nissan Frontier it’s competitive. That said, even though Double Cab versions have the space for four adults (two kids in back for Access Cabs, which have smaller back doors and seating), the rather skimpy, short and flat seats in front won’t win you over for longer trips

For 2012, the Tacoma gets some much-needed audio-system improvements, with the standard system incorporating built-in Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, plus a USB/iPod port. The base system now has six speakers, and even that is satellite-radio capable. Also new to the Tacoma line is the Entune system, which packages navigation functions, text-to-voice capability, voice commands, HD Radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, and real-time traffic and weather, among other features.

Outside of these changes, the Tacoma’s model line largely carries over, offering a basic pickup package for those looking at the cheapest model, ranging all the way up to two specialized models, the terrain-focused PreRunner and the street-smart X-Runner. The PreRunner adds a higher-riding suspension, locking rear differential, and other appearance cues. The X-Runner gets wider wheels and tires; a lowered, sport-tuned suspension; and an X-braced frame (hence the name), along with extra interior conveniences. Also available is a TRD Off-Road Package that brings special badging, plus an off-road suspension with Bilstein dampers, fog lamps, and a transfer-case skid plate.


Source: [The Car Connection]

Posted in Automotive News |

Prius Persona Series

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

The unique details of the Prius Persona Series will set you apart from the pack. Perched on 17-in. alloy wheels with premium finish, the Persona Series is available in Black, Blizzard Pearl or exclusive Black Cherry Pearl. Inside, a Charcoal interior with black accents features a SofTex®-trimmed steering wheel with a new dark chrome bezel, and SofTex®-trimmed seats with dark red stitching. The shift-knob ring, door grips and steering wheel are also accented with eye-catching dark chrome. On the outside, the Persona Series is distinguished with a custom Persona badge. For those who want to be eco-sensitive in style, the Prius Persona Series is uniquely iconic.


Source: [Toyota]

Posted in Automotive News |

Winter Lentil Vegetable Soup

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013


Original recipe makes 6 – 1 cup servings

  • 1/2 cup red or green lentils
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder



  1. Place the lentils into a stockpot or a Dutch oven and add water to twice the depth of the lentils. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse lentils; return them to the pot.
  2. Add onion, celery, cabbage, tomatoes, chicken broth, carrots and garlic to the pot and season with salt, pepper, sugar, basil, thyme and curry. Cook, simmering for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until desired tenderness is achieved.


Source: [All Recipes]

Posted in Recipe |

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