Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Toyota takes first-half global sales lead from GM

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]Toyota bounced back from safety recalls and natural disasters, selling 4.97 million vehicles globally in the first half of the year to retake its crown as the world's top automaker from General Motors Co.

The Japanese company sold about 300,000 more cars and trucks than GM did in the first half of the year, a lead large enough that it will be difficult for GM to catch Toyota in the final six months of 2012.

GM said it sold 4.67 million vehicles during the first half. Both companies released their numbers Wednesday.

For Toyota Motor Corp., the numbers underline a powerful rebound from a period of dismal sales, and the resilience of its brand as it gains traction in new markets such as China and Southeast Asia while clawing back lost market share in the U.S.

Both companies have said in the past that they don't care about the global sales leadership and are focusing on making profits. But the crown is a matter of corporate pride for both automakers.

GM doesn't plan to drop out of the race, though. The company's sales and market share grew in China, and Chevrolet, its largest brand, has seen record growth for seven straight quarters, spokesman Jim Cain said. GM sales should rise because 70 percent of its U.S. models will be refurbished or all-new in the next two years, said Cain.

"We are in the early days of the most aggressive rollout of new products in our history, which will help us press our advantage in the U.S. and China and grow profitably around the world," he said, declining to comment on whether the company expects to pass Toyota in the second half.

Toyota's production was hit by the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan last year and then by flooding in Thailand, an important production base for the automaker. Before those disasters, its sales were dented by massive U.S. safety recalls, totaling more than 14 million vehicles since the quality control problems emerged three years ago.

But the company's factories and sales recovered faster than expected, making it very hard for GM to catch Toyota between now and the end of the year, said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at the LMC Automotive consulting firm in Troy, Mich.

Also, GM has a bigger presence than Toyota in Europe, where auto sales have fallen dramatically, and China, where the economy is starting to slow, Schuster said.

GM was No. 1 in world auto sales last year on strong performances in the U.S. and China, its two biggest markets. The Detroit company held the global sales crown for more than seven decades before losing it to Toyota in 2008 as GM's sales tanked while it headed toward financial ruin. In 2009, GM filed for bankruptcy protection, needing a U.S. government bailout to survive.

Volkswagen AG was in third place in the global sales race. The company said earlier this month that it sold 4.45 million vehicles in the first half. It came in second after GM in global vehicle sales last year.

GM had already trailed Toyota for the first quarter of this year at 2.28 million cars and trucks across the globe, while Toyota sold 2.49 million vehicles. Toyota has forecast that it will sell 9.58 million vehicles in 2012, up 21 percent from last year. GM has not given a full-year forecast.

Chizuko Satsukawa, auto analyst for Standard & Poor's in Tokyo, said Toyota faces intense competition not only from GM and Volkswagen but from other automakers, including Hyundai of South Korea.

Toyota is counting on its next surge of expansion in Southeast Asia, following other high-growth markets such as China, India and Brazil, she said.

"Toyota's rebound is impressive," said Satsukawa. "But what's even more important than the numbers is profitability."

Satsukawa said Toyota was at a disadvantage because of a strong yen, compared with European and South Korean makers that have the perk of a weak currency that raises earnings from exported vehicles. That makes gaining sales numbers critical for Toyota, she said.

Doing well in North America was also critical because that rich market is where many automakers, including Toyota, can hope to rake in hefty profits.

After the recall fiasco, Toyota President Akio Toyoda acknowledged that the automaker needed to go back to its roots and strengthen quality rather than pursuing rapid growth at any cost.

But in recent months, he has changed his tone slightly, promising growth for Toyota, although he has stressed it will do so with good products.

Toyota spokesman Joichi Tachikawa played down Wednesday's figures.

"We can only keep trying to make good products that appeal to our customers," he said.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The 2012 Toyota Prius V Five: impressively efficient and surprisingly peppy

I recently spent time in a loaded up 2012 Toyota Prius V Five models and while the roomy hybrid was as fuel efficient as I had expected – the larger Prius was actually a great deal more powerful than I had expected.

I love performance cars and the majority of the cars that I have owned in my life have been rear wheel drive, V8 powered coupes so something like the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five is not the kind of vehicle that I would expect to get my blood pumping…and it doesn’t. However, for someone who is more concerned with getting great fuel economy while still having legitimate seating for four adults with cargo space to boot, the Prius V makes a very strong case for itself. This is a car that can very easily average over 40 miles per gallon (combined) with plenty of room for both passengers and cargo – with gadgetry that makes for a very friendly environment on long rides.

The Exterior
The 2012 Toyota Prius V Five is the largest offering in the Prius lineup but the Japanese automaker has created this roomy Prius wagon/minivan without giving it a bulky exterior design. In fact, the exterior changes other than the longer roofline are so subtle that the average consumer wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a Prius and a Prius V when passing on the road.


Across the front end, the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five is closely modeled after the traditional Prius. This begins with the sharply angled headlights with silver bezels and projection style lighting units with driving lights mounted vertically towards the outer edge of the front fascia. The Prius V has a slightly different lower fascia opening along with pair of larger openings flanking the Toyota hybrid logo on the nose of the vehicle. Like the other Prius models, the 2012 Prius V Five has a slippery hood that almost seamlessly blends into the windshield line and up into the roof. The roof is the first major difference between the Prius and Prius V, with a roofline that extends towards the rear of the car further before angling down – although this roomy Prius V offers similar aerodynamic properties to the original Prius. Unlike the smaller Prius, the Prius V roofline barely tapers down before it comes to an end just above the spacious rear window.

Overall, the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five has a slightly more upright design than the smaller Prius but it does so without making it look like an awkward minivan/station wagon. While the added weight of the Prius V Five pulls down the fuel economy a bit compared to the smaller Prius, the larger body wears the recognizable design of the Prius family and still offers eco-friendly aerodynamics.

The Interior
During my time with the Toyota Prius V, I was fighting what may have been the worst cold of my life. It was a miserable week spent driving to and from the doctor’s office as I battled chills and a fever that left me constantly switching between turning on the heated seats and opening the windows for fresh air. You probably know that when you are sick, you don’t want to be climbing up into a vehicle to get in (like with a pickup) or trying to climb up out of a vehicle (like with many small cars) but the Prius V offers easy straight-in access to the front and rear seats. On top of that, the extra room makes loading kids or cargo into the back seats very easy. If you need more cargo space than seating space, the rear seats fold down to create a massive cargo area that runs from the back of the front seats back to the rear hatch. Even though this is a fairly small car, the front seating area offers plenty of leg room, head room and elbow room for the driver and front passenger. Finally, there is the gorgeous panoramic moon roof that offers front and rear riders a look at the sky via this dual-unit glass roof.

The 2012 Toyota Prius V Five is equipped with a 6.1” touch screen infotainment system that features a state of the art stereo system (AM/FM/satellite/MP3) pumping sound through a great sounding JBL 8-speaker system along with an easy to use navigation system for a stock sound system, the Prius V Five JBL setup booms so those audiophiles who want a solid stock system in a fuel sipping hybrid – the Prius V is not likely to disappoint. All of these features can be controlled via the large touch screen along with the buttons and knobs mounted around the screen as well as the steering wheel mounted buttons or the integrated voice command.

Much like the infotainment system, the HVAC system of the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five is very user-friendly with the whole system being controlled by a large knob/joystick mounted on the center stack, right below the slim HVAC screen. The large knob can be pushed side to side like a joystick to toggle between the air direction, the desired internal temperature and the fan speed and once you are on the setting that you wish to change – turning the knob changes that setting.

If you are someone who likes a lot of little nooks and places to stow things, the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five is guaranteed to please. In the front seating area, there is an upper and lower glove box, a roomy center armrest storage space, a small pocket under the center stack, a cubby on the left side of the steering wheel that will fit a small cell phone and the customary door pockets. The rear seating area has a couple places to pack items including the seatback pockets and door pockets. If you have small items that you do not want sliding around in the rear cargo area, there is an under-floor storage area with tons of secure space just inside of the rear hatch.

Every aspect of the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five just screams family friendly with easy loading of little ones or the elderly alike and gobs of cargo space for a trip across town or across the country. Add to that the booming JBL sound system and the advanced infotainment system with a 6.1” touchscreen and the Prius V Five is an affordable hybrid that leaves you asking for very little.

The Drive
Before I drove the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five, I expected it to be sluggish and sterile in an effort to be as fuel efficient as possible but the roomier Prius has a surprising amount of spunk. With 134 horsepower from the hybrid drive system and 105lb-ft of torque, you wouldn’t expect that the Prius V would not be particularly quick and while you aren’t going to win many drag races with muscle cars – the Prius V has enough gusto to accelerate quickly to highway speeds without the fear of being run over by a fast-moving tractor trailer. Also, in the right conditions, the Prius V will chirp the tires a bit.

When you start the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five, it is as silent as the rest of the Toyota hybrid lineup and provided that the car was warmed up, I was able to drive around our subdivision purely in the whisper quiet EV mode. EV Mode works up to 25 miles per hour provided that you do not attempt to accelerate too quickly and for the type of driving that someone should be doing in a small, tight subdivision – the Prius V’s EV Mode is perfect for gasoline-free driving. This mode is also ideal when you get stuck in rush hour traffic on the highway as when slowing moving forward, you are not using any gasoline until you top 25mph. Compared to a traditional non-hybrid vehicle, this was one of the areas where the Prius V really flourished as there is no concern of burning gas while sitting in traffic. Plus, the JBL sound system and the Prius’ infotainment system makes sitting in traffic more tolerable.

When cruising on the open road, the 2012 Toyota Prius V Five offers a nice, smooth ride with very little road noise transferred through the chassis when cruising at 70 miles per hour. Even with only 134hp, the Prius V doesn’t feel like it struggles to keep up with fast-moving traffic and we have been told that the Prius V will pretty easily top 100 miles per hour on a long straight stretch of roadway. Around town, the Prius V Five accelerates smoothly and hops from EV Mode to normal drive mode seamlessly. If you want even better fuel economy, you can activate Eco mode which improves fuel economy by softening the throttle response and smoothing the flow of gasoline – preventing jerky throttle inputs that can cause decreased fuel economy. The result is a car that can comfortably seat four adults and during real world testing – I averaged 43.8 miles per gallon over the course of 8 days. I averaged better fuel economy than the EPA expects (EPA combined is 42mpg) and that is incredibly impressive as I do not drive with fuel economy in mind. I am always in a hurry and I drive accordingly but even with the majority of my driving done on the upper edge of the speed limit – I was still able to easily reach and exceed the EPA fuel economy figures. I suspect that a Prius V driver who was really being gentle will have no problem vastly exceeding the fuel economy figures laid out by the feds.

The 2012 Toyota Prius V Five isn’t a sports car and it doesn’t drive like one but it packs enough power to easily keep up with fast-moving traffic while also offering real world fuel economy better than 40mpg. I love driving high performance cars and I expected that the Prius V would be a super bore but in reality, it was a much more pleasant vehicle to drive than I had expected.

The Final Word

Ultimately, Toyota is the kind of the hybrid hill right now and that success has been based on the Prius. The 2012 Toyota Prius V Five brings a great many features to the roomy hybrid which, unlike the original Prius, offers enough passenger room in the rear seat to comfortably seat two adults – or offering lots of space for two kids without them being jammed against each other. The odds are good that if you are in the market for a new hybrid, you plan to make a stop at your local Toyota dealership and if you want more room than is offered by many hybrids on the market today (or the traditional Prius), the Prius V packs the room and fuel economy of a bigger vehicle sans the bigger price tag.

Add to the incredible fuel economy for a vehicle of this size and the loads of interior goodies including an advanced touchscreen infotainment system, a JBL sound system and heated front seats and you have a hybrid that affords you better than 40 miles per gallon without skimping on the amenities. Most importantly, this hybrid packs enough power to allow the driver to merge into fast-moving traffic or to step out around slower-moving traffic with a concern of the vehicle having the capacity to do so. The Prius V left me with no questions as to why the Prius family is the most popular and bestselling hybrid family in the world. Many people who have not driven the Prius will label it as being boring and unpleasant to drive but as hybrids go, the Prius V is the latest example of why Toyota has long dominated the hybrid segment around the world – combining their legendary hybrid technology with the roomiest Prius interior yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Autonomous driving and race car driver brains get the Ted Talks treatment

Like it or not, autonomous vehicles are coming. Between Google's various efforts and the constant evolution of automaker prototypes, it's only a matter of time before computers take the wheel. Don't get us wrong, either. That's not entirely a bad thing. While U.S. traffic fatalities have fallen to their lowest number since 1949, the reality is 32,310 Americans lost their lives in traffic incidents last year alone. That number marks a decline of around 26 percent since 2005, and analysts believe much of that fall is due to drivers traveling fewer and fewer miles.

So, what if people weren't forced to drive at all? What if a computer, which can't be distracted, never grows tired and is always at peak performance, took over the mundane task of dragging warm bodies to work every morning or off to vacation every summer? Where would our traffic fatalities be then?

In the latest TEDTalks video, Chris Gerdes speaks about how he's been part of a team that's seen Audi tackle Pikes Peak and build autonomous drift cars. But researchers have found something interesting by studying real race car drivers in the cockpit. Namely, human drivers continue to be better at instinctual manipulation of a vehicle than their autonomous counterparts. Pretty cool. Check the video out below.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

2013 Toyota Tacoma Pricing Released

As we noted earlier, for 2013 the Toyota Tacoma compact pickup will get a standard audio display (with a larger 6.1-inch screen) and daytime running lights on all models.

The 2013 Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 and PreRunner with the automatic transmission will be offered with a new Limited Package that includes heated seats; sliding privacy rear glass; display audio with the Entune multimedia system and JBL audio; EC HomeLink rearview mirror; 18-inch chrome wheels with P265/60R18 tires; Limited badge; and chrome fog lamp housings, door handles and outside mirrors.

The 2013 Tacoma will start at $17,520 for the 4x2 Regular Cab with a four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission and go up to $28,090 for the 4x4 Double Cab V-6 long bed with a five-speed automatic. Destination charges have also climbed an additional $35, moving from $810 for the Tacoma to $845 for all 2013 models. Tundra destination charges will climb from just $10. 

The MSRPs reflect an average overall increase (on all models) of $150 (or 0.6 percent) per model. Price changes range from $0 to $400 as seen in the chart below. The TRD Sport upgrade package has been discontinued.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Toyota to exhibit new hybrid vehicle in Jilin

Toyota Motor Corp. will display its new hybrid concept car, Yundong Shuangqing, at the upcoming Changchun auto show from July 13-22 in northeast China's Jilin province.

The concept vehicle is equipped with a system of multiple power sources designed by Toyota's Chinese research and development centre in Changshu, Jiangsu province, sources with the company said Tuesday.

The vehicle is an outcome of Toyota's Cloud Action plan initiated on March 1 in Beijing to promote environmentally friendly products in China, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the plan, a production version of Yundong Shuangqing, literally meaning Cloud Action Dual-Engine, will be available in 2015.

The vehicle made its debut at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in April this year.

China became the first country outside Japan to produce Toyota's Prius hybrid when Sichuan FAW Toyota Motor Co. Ltd. started making the third-generation model in 2005.

In 2010, GAC Toyota Motor Co. Ltd. in south China's Guangdong province began creating the Camry hybrid, the second hybrid vehicle manufactured by Toyota in China.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Scion tC Release Series 8.0 in Absolutely Red

The new Scion tC Release Series 8.0 is here! Features include 18" gloss black alloy wheels, a five-piece body kit and spoiler inspired by Troy Sumitomo of Five Axis Design, paddle shifters on automatic models, TRD lowering springs, center-mounted TRD exhaust, red interior stitching, and exclusive individually numbered RS badge on the steering wheel. Only 2000 of these one-of-a-kind tC's will be available.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Gets Royal Treatment in Europe

The first production Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid in Europe was delivered to His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, as the Japanese automaker employs some royal cachet to market the car.

The prince will use the Prius Plug-in Hybrid for "private purposes," said Toyota in a statement. The prince has a two-month loan on the car from Toyota, which notes that he currently has a standard Prius in his automotive stable.

Prince Albert may be Toyota's best unofficial salesman in Europe. A one-off Landaulet edition of the Lexus LS 600h hybrid took center stage at his 2011 wedding to Charlene Wittstock.

Of course, with the handover of the keys to the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Monaco also gets to strengthen its position as one of the green leaders in Europe. Even though the principality is just 48 acres with a population of 35,000, it is also home to 424 free charging stations.

The link between European royalty and cars is a strong one. Witness the media frenzy that ensued after England's Prince William and commoner Kate Middleton celebrated their nuptials last year with a joyride in an Aston Martin DB6 Volante.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Second Group Of 25 Winners Announced In Toyota 100 Cars For Good Program

Toyota today announced the second group of winners of the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program, a national philanthropic program that is awarding 100 cars to 100 nonprofits over the course of 100 consecutive days. Winners will be selected each day through public voting on Facebook at

Starting May 14 and running through August 21, each day five nonprofit organizations are profiled on the 100 Cars for Good Facebook page. Registered Facebook users are able to vote once daily for the nonprofit they think can do the most good with a new vehicle. The organization with the most votes at the end of the day will win a new Toyota vehicle. The four runners-up will each receive a $1,000 cash grant from Toyota.

"With this announcement of the next 25 winners, we mark the half-way point of the 2012 Toyota 100 Cars for Good program," said Jim Lentz, president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Toyota created the 100 Cars for Good program as a way to give to a variety of organizations across the country and to do so with the help and support of the American public. It's the public vote that decides which organizations will receive a new Toyota vehicle and we are thrilled to see the outpouring of support for the program with thousands of votes."

The majority of the second group of 25 winners (the first 25 winners were announced in June) provide services in a variety of areas including animal welfare, education, health & safety, and human services to children, adults and the disabled.

Winners 1- 50 in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program are:

DC  Scores                                     Washington, DC                May 14, 2012 Cincinnati Zoo                                 Cincinnati, Ohio              May 15, 2012 Lehmi County Humane Society                    Salmon, Idaho                 May 16, 2012 Pibbles & More Animal Rescue                   Ridgewood, New York           May 17, 2012 Recycled Doggies, Inc.                         Cincinnati, Ohio              May 18, 2012 Hope for Paws Animal Rescue                    Los Angeles, California       May 19, 2012 The Dream Center                               Los Angeles, California       May 20, 2012 SPCA International's Operation Baghdad Pups    New York, New York            May 21, 2012 Petfinder Foundation                           Tucson, Arizona               May 22, 2012 Together We Rise                               Chino, California             May 23, 2012 The Children's Lunchbox                        Anchorage, Alaska             May 24, 2012 All Hands Volunteers                           Carlisle, Massachusetts       May 25, 2012 Detroit Dog Rescue                             Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan May 26, 2012 Fences for Fido                                Portland, Oregon              May 27, 2012 Central Vermont Humane Society                 East Montpelier, Vermont      May 28, 2012 Operation Blankets of Love                     Granada Hills, California     May 29, 2012 Kristie's Foundation                           Anaheim, California           May 30, 2012 K9 Services German Shepherd Rescue, Inc.       Middleburg, Florida           May 31, 2012 Animal Aid, Inc.                               Oakland Park, Florida         June 1, 2012 Clark County Community Services                Winchester, Kentucky          June 2, 2012 Shore Hearts Golden Retriever                  Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey     June 3, 2012 Special Olympics Illinois                      Normal, Illinois              June 4, 2012 Last Chance Ranch                              Quakertown, Pennsylvania      June 5, 2012 Rikki's Refuge                                 Rapidan, Virginia             June 6, 2012 Feed My Sheep                                  Gulfport, MS                  June 7, 2012 Life 4 Paws Animal Rescue                      Winnekta, CA                  June 8, 2012 Humane Society of Fargo-Moorhead               Fargo, ND                     June 9, 2012 Humane Society of Marion County                Ocala, FL                     June 10, 2012 A Child's Place                                Charlotte, NC                 June 11, 2012 Motley Zoo Animal Rescue                       Redmond, WA                   June 12, 2012 1st Priority & Search Recovery                 Plantersville, TX             June 13, 2012 Girl Scouts of Kentucky's WRC                  Lexington, KY                 June 14, 2012 Haven House St. Louis                          St. Louis, MO                 June 15, 2012 Young at Heart Pet Rescue                      Lake Zurich, IL               June 16, 2012 4K Cancer                                      Baltimore, MD                 June 17, 2012 C.H.A.I.N.E.D. Inc.                            Riverview, MI                 June 18, 2012 STAR Center, Inc.                              Jackson, TN                   June 19, 2012 Central Aroostook Humane Society               Presque, ME                   June 20, 2012 Ronald McDonald House of SNJ                   Camden, NJ                    June 21, 2012 Muttville Senior Dog Rescue                    San Francisco, CA             June 22, 2012 Animal Aid Vermillion Area                     Abbeville, LA                 June 23, 2012 The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri Columbia, MO                  June 24, 2012 Ozark Family Resource Agency (Ripley County)   Doniphan, MO                  June 25, 2012 Canine Partners for Life                       Cochranville, PA              June 26, 2012 Franklin County Humane Society                 Frankfort, KY                 June 27, 2012 One More Generation                            Fayetteville, GA              June 28, 2012 Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Camp                  Amery, WI                     June 29, 2012 Pelican Harbor Seabird Station                 Miami, FL                     June 30, 2012 Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia        Brunswick, GA                 July 1, 2012 Pets Without Parents Columbus                  Columbus, OH                  July 2, 2012

Public voting for the 100 Cars for Good program will continue through August 21. Voters may place one vote per day, each day, over the course of the program. Each day, the previous day's winner will be announced and five new nonprofit organizations will be featured for voting. Winning organizations can choose from the following vehicles: Camry Hybrid, Highlander SUV, Prius v Hybrid, Sienna minivan, Sienna Mobility or Tundra full-sized pickup. A six-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty will also be provided for each vehicle, compliments of Toyota Financial Services.

The 500 finalists, from which the 100 winners are ultimately selected, were certified by an independent panel of judges who are experts in the fields of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility.

Follow 100 Cars for Good on Facebook at and on Twitter at #100cars.

About ToyotaToyota TM -2.21% established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.

Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Scion $1000 Military Rebate

Scion thanks the men and women of the U.S. Military for their service and dedication to defending our country. If you are a member of the U.S. Military with current active duty status or an inactive reservist, you may qualify for a $1,000 rebate towards the purchase or lease of a new Scion when financed or leased through a participating Scion dealer and Toyota Financial Services.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Toyota 4Runner still drives after being crushed by tree [w/video]

Disaster can strike just about anywhere, but the likelihood – and severity – often increases the further you are from civilization. That's what one couple in Washington State found out when they went camping with their Toyota 4Runner along the Barlow Pass in the northern Cascade mountains.

When a storm approached they sought shelter, but fortunately didn't hide inside their Toyota. A hundred-foot-tall hickory tree fell on it, crushing the back portion of the SUV. With emergency and park services apparently refusing to help, it took them a while to get a few friends out their with chainsaws to cut the tree away from the Toyota. But once they did, they were astonished to find the truck not only started, but drove them back into town where they were able to call for a tow.

Of course, the truck was virtually irreparable, but the very fact that it got them to safety after being crushed by a giant tree has the owners looking at another 4Runner – and with good reason. Are we surprised by the Toyota's fortitude? After that now-legendary Top Gear Hilux abusefest, nothing surprises us.

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