May 182015

Scion FR-S

All this week, Toyota engineers have been putting their racing skills to the test driving in the One Lap of America endurance race. Early tomorrow morning, the racers will have driven 3,456 miles over the course of seven days.

The race started May 2nd in South Bend, Indiana, and made stops in Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Pueblo, Colorado; Fort Worth, Texas; Plano, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Bowling Green, Kentucky. Then, on Saturday, May 9th, the race finished off where it started back in South Bend.

Two Toyota engineers, Anthony Magagnoli and Stephen Byington, drove a specially built TRD Scion FR-S in the race. They, along with 10 other production engineers, all worked together to prepare the car for the race.

“A race like the One Lap, is a true test of man and machine, said lead driver and Toyota Instrumentation Engineer Anthony Magagnoli, in a statement. “Not only is the vehicle pushed to its limits covering nearly 4,000 miles in seven days with race events at 10 racetracks along the way, but the driver and co-driver are pushed to the max as well having to endure long hours in transit between events with no support crew to help with repairs or maintenance along the way.”

To catch up on all the race action, check out updates, pictures, and videos on the Toyota Production Engineering Motorsports Facebook page.

May 042015

Toyota Mirai FCV Concept

According to a recent announcement, the brand new 2016 Toyota Mirai model – a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle that emits only water out of its tailpipe – set the pace for the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 25th.

This makes the innovative 2016 Mirai the first ever hydrogen-powered pace car at a NASCAR race. The Toyota Mirai pace car set the standard for the racers, but it is also setting a standard for green driving.

The Mirai led the Sprint Cup Series field all the way to the green flag at the Richmond International Raceway. The decision to include the Mirai represents an enormous shift in technology: the first utilization of a hydrogen-powered vehicle in NASCAR.

However – it’s worth nothing that this sort of game-changing moment isn’t new for Toyota, who also brought the first ever hybrid car to pace a NASCAR race in 2009, for the Coca Cola 600. What could be next?

Apr 292015

Toyota Camry

When it comes to safety technology, competition is a very healthy thing. Or as Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, puts it in a recent article by the Los Angeles Times, “The automakers are competing on safety and that’s good news for consumers.” His words are a response to Toyota’s decision to offer a bundle of cutting-edge safety features as a low-cost package.

The Toyota Safety Package includes features such as automatic braking and high-beam automation, as well as lane departure alert. Of course the feature that gets the most attention is the automatic braking. Not surprising when you hear why. As the LA Times reports, “Automatic braking systems are cutting damage claims for front-into-rear crashes by about 14%.”

This is how it always goes with new technologies. At first, they are only selectively available as automakers work to get production costs down. Eventually, they become standard. Just looks like this time Toyota has beaten everyone else to the punch.

The Toyota Safety Package will be available for well under a thousand dollars all across the Toyota and Lexus lineup by late 2016.

Apr 202015

2015 Toyota RAV4

Not only was the Toyota RAV4 we all know and love refreshed for the 2016 model year, the automaker added the RAV4 Hybrid to its lineup of efficient and eco-friendly vehicles. The RAV4 Hybrid is Toyota’s eighth hybrid vehicle and it made its grand debut at the New York International Auto Show earlier this month.

Anyone looking for less time spent filling up the tank and more power cased within a sporty compact package will recognize the RAV4 Hybrid as a great option. In particular, Toyota views the model as ideal for “young adventure-seeking couples looking for a vehicle that provides utility, versatility, capability and excellent fuel efficiency.”

In addition to its gas-electric powertrain, the 2016 model will offer amenities such as revised design for interior storage compartments, more premium materials, an added USB port in the front and a 12V power outlet in the rear, a 7-inch touch-sensitive display audio touch screen, and the new Bird’s Eye View Monitor to name a few.

Stay tuned for more information on Toyota’s 2016 RAV4 Hybrid. We at Hurlbert Toyota expect the model to arrive this fall.

Apr 132015

Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Motor Corp is reportedly looking to expand its manufacturing productions by constructing two new automotive plants in Mexico and China. For the past several years, the car company has focused on developing manufacturing equipment and technological engineering to improve efficiency of existing plants.

However, the demand for production in the U.S. is starting to increase, thus ending a three-year freeze due to economic decline, therefore the company will allegedly invest a total of $1.3 billion after receiving the go-ahead from Toyota President Akio Toyoda. “We are gradually starting to witness the next stage for new plants,” Mr. Toyoda told investors last month. He said the company had to make a “sweeping change” to “make our plants competitive, instead of merely pursuing volume.”

With just over 10 million Toyota units sold in 2014, it is projected that the two new plants will increase Toyota’s production capacity by nearly 300,000 cars. The Mexican plant, most likely to be located in Guanajuato, is projected to produce 200,000 units of the next-generation Corolla, scheduled to arrive in the North American market in 2019. The China plant, to be located in Guangzhou, is estimated to produce 100,000 Yaris subcompacts starting in 2018.

It’s an exciting time with the Toyota plant expansion, so be sure to stay tuned to Hurlbert Toyota for the latest news.

Apr 062015

Believe it or not, Toyota recently developed a miniature robotic astronaut to gather data on the International Space Station (ISS). Kirobo, a robot designed to perfect human speech, was used to explore human/robot interaction in space. This new invention revolutionizes speech recognition software in all industries.

According to Toyota, the Kirobo robot was actually developed about two years ago when it was launched into space. Returning on March 12, the Toyota robot astronaut held the world’s first conversation experiment in outer space between a robot and human. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) teamed with Toyota to help make the experiment possible.

“Kirobo came safely back to Earth aboard SpaceX’s CRS-5 Dragon cargo supply spacecraft, and then arrived back in Japan on March 12,” said Toyota’s robotics team. “His first words after returning home were: ‘From up above, the Earth glowed like a blue LED.’”

The extraordinary little robot earned its spot in the history books, especially after receiving recognition from Guinness World Records. It broke two records: first, it was the first companion robot in space, and secondly, it had the highest altitude conversation for a robot. Although Toyota hasn’t said if it will use this unique technology in any of its cars, we’ve got our fingers crossed.

Mar 302015

Olympic Stadium

The Toyota Motor Corporation has announced it is now part of the The Olympic Partner program, which is corporate-speak for saying the automaker is now an official sponsor of the Olympic Games.

Toyota’s sponsorship will be in the mobility category, which is described as covering “vehicles, mobility services and mobile solutions” in the company’s press release. Big surprise, right?

The automaker will remain an Olympic Partner until 2024, throughout which we’ll be treated to three summer and two winter Olympics. The sponsorship takes effect immediately in Japan and globally in 2017.

That means Toyota’s presence at next year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro should still be somewhat subdued. However, we can probably expect a full campaign promoting fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) at the 2018 winter processions in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Hopefully, we can get FCVs to arrive at Hurlbert Toyota at around the same time. They’re basically the next big thing in zero-emissions automotive technology!

Mar 232015

Toyota Mirai

Toyota has big plans for the Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle, and they just might be on to the next big thing in alternative fuel. As the Mirai takes off in Japan, here in the U.S. we are preparing for the FCV’s debut in just a few short months. Here is what you need to know about the Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle before it becomes available right here in the U.S.

  1. It requires no gasoline. FCVs run off of electricity generated by the chemical reaction between hydrogen (held in a pair of high-pressure hydrogen fuel tanks) and oxygen pulled in from outside. That electricity is then sent to the electric motor. The emission is H2O, nothing more than water vapors are released through the tailpipe.
  2. Refueling is fast. Unlike electric cars, which can take hours to charge, hydrogen refueling stations don’t take more than three to five minutes. Another bonus? The car comes with three free years of fuel and maintenance!
  3. It takes no special skills or knowledge to drive. The Mirai is just like gasoline-powered cars in many ways. The first time you sit inside the cockpit, you’ll feel right at ease.
  4. The hydrogen refueling network is expanding. Currently, California offers a fairly extensive network of refueling stations, which is where the Mirai will first be available for sale. That network will undoubtedly expand nationwide thanks to a number of automakers and companies committing to investing in FCV technology.
  5. It offers an extended driving range. The Mirai is expected to earn 60 mpg-equivalent. That means that early adopters in California won’t have to worry about regular commutes – fill ups would be required less-often than in a gasoline car.

Visit for more information!

Still have questions? We invite you to visit us here at Hurlbert Toyota, where we will help you to decide if a future fuel cell vehicle might be right for you.

Mar 162015


The updated Toyota Auris made its debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, but perhaps the even more exciting news is that the Auris will be coming to the U.S. market as a new Scion hatchback! There will only be a few changes made to the new model and it will be making its official debut at the upcoming 2015 New York Auto Show.

The new Auris/Scion hatchback changes include a rejuvenated design, updated headlights, taillights and bumpers, and an enhanced interior cabin along with upgraded safety features. The most noticeable update is focused around the infotainment system. In addition to all the upgrades, the Toyota Auris and new Scion hatchback will be focused on delivering customers with the performance and efficiency they expect and deserve.

News about the Scion iM concept has been swirling for quite awhile, and we’re excited to finally see the new Scion hatchback at the New York Auto Show.

Mar 092015


Toyota FCV Concept

The Toyota FCV Concept that led to the Mirai.

The future is looking a whole lot brighter with Toyota’s ‘bright green’ new technology. We are of course talking about hydrogen fuel which is stored in cells and used in the new hydrogen powered Toyota Mirai, which is slated for production starting this year. This move marks “a turning point in automotive history,” according to Toyota.

The fuel cell that Toyota is bringing to market will not only drive farther than most battery cars, but fill-up (with hydrogen) in mere minutes instead of charging batteries which can take hours. The Mirai will use compressed hydrogen to propel the car around 300 miles at which time it can be refilled in approximately five minutes. One of the more appealing aspects to this Toyota is that it will be burning hydrogen, along with a catalyst, then emitting pure water.

Toyota will build 700 of the Mirai this year and will be available for a staring price of $60,000 starting in Japan and soon making its way to the States. Stay tuned for more exciting Toyota breakthroughs at Hurlbert Toyota, where your future and ours move forward together.