Times does fly by, but in this case it might drive in a Corolla. Believe it or not, but Toyota is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Corolla. The first Corolla went on sale in Japan in November 1966, and came to the U.S. in 1968. The car proved to be an instant success, helping transform Toyota’s global reach and more than doubling its total annual production from 480,000 to 1.1 million vehicles from 1965 to 1968. Just in time for the Corolla’s 50th anniversary celebration
Now to celebrate 50 years of innovation the 2017 Toyota Corolla receives a redesigned, upgraded interior, including audio enhancements focused on comfort and convenience. A more aggressive front grille and two new exterior colors give Corolla a modern look to match the spirited driving experience.
The Corolla Anniversary Special Edition is based on the sporty 2017 Corolla SE. Available in three exterior colors – exclusive color Black Cherry, Classic Silver, Blizzard Pearl – the special edition will be available beginning in Fall 2016.
To share your memories make sure you go to corolla50.toyota.com for driver stories and user-generated content tagged #Corolla50. You also can enter their sweepstakes with the opportunity to win a 2017 Corolla.
For those who live in the cold climate areas and have to deal with winter I have a ray of sunshine for you. Ford looks to change the driving game in winter. Customers of Ford’s all-new all-wheel-drive 350-horsepower Focus RS will now be able to order a fully certified winter tire kit for great driving enjoyment in the snow.
The Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package offers customers a unique set of wheels and tires – the first time an original equipment manufacturer is making a check-the-box winter tire option available in North America.
“We started this project knowing what our RS customers really want out of their cars,” says Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor, Ford Performance. “This tire package allows RS owners to continue spirited driving even in the snow.”
Ford Performance developed this package so the most demanding Focus customers can be outfitted with optimum equipment for winter conditions. The challenge was that normal vehicle testing procedures require certification with production wheels and tires; winter-only standards had never been authored. To bring this package to owners, the first step Ford Performance had to undertake was creating a new set of standards specifically suited for brutal winter conditions.
These new standards were put to the test in extreme cold and snow in Northern Michigan and Sweden, to guarantee the quality and performance Ford customers expect. Engineers and technicians tested a wide variety of high-performance winter tire and wheel setups to determine the optimum combination for ride, handling and performance in various wintry conditions.
The winning setup is a 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tire mounted to a new 18×7.5-inch wheel, which looks very similar to the base Focus RS option, but is finished in sparkle silver to hide salt spray. The set is complete with tire pressure monitoring sensors and center caps fully mounted and balanced and ready for installation at the dealer.
The wheel and tire are narrower, to provide improved snow traction, while the overall diameter is smaller, so owners can fit chains if necessary.
Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package is available only in North America – a $1,995 option. For customers in Canada, the package comes standard on Focus RS.
Do you answer your critics or double down on what got you there?
That’s the question facing Lexus these days. Every few years since 1998 Lexus has launched a new RX in the American market. Each version is lauded as the pinnacle of comfort and practicality and gently dismissed as lacking performance and excitement.
The RX then spends another year at the top of the Luxury Crossover SUV segment, often selling 100,000 units and beating the market by a wide margin.
This year, more than ever before, the RX looked to answer the criticism with a renewed emphasis on driver experience and performance.
The new RX has ditched the egg shaped profile of its past, leaving previous models looking a bit tame by comparison. The redesign lets us read the tea leaves into the next 5 years of design from the Toyota Motor Corp. They have embraced sharp angles and masculine lines and gone all in on their now signature spindle grille. This younger, more masculine look will undoubtedly move down the line until finally landing on the Corolla. Notes like L shaped LED daytime running lamps give a brightness to the front end of the car. The vehicle uses long, pronounced lines and the appearance of a floating roof to make it look as though more than 5″ has been added to last years model.
Even more than the visual redesign, this is where Lexus tried to address their critics the most. Easily the biggest improvement in the F Sport trim level is the addition of the Adaptive Variable Suspension. This allows you to adjust the ride to “S+” mode, which lowers the vehicle by nearly an inch and tightens the shocks. This stiffens the ride, allowing for a better driver experience with tighter turning and less body roll. The winding roads of Marin County and the Pacific Coast Highway proved a fine testing ground for the 25 extra horsepower and tightened suspension. For a vehicle with a curb weight of almost 4,400 pounds it performed well in and out of turns and provided enough acceleration to pass slower traffic with ease. Though far from a sports car, the improvements to handling and acceleration are noticeable and worthy of the F Sport badge.
Classy. Pronounced stitching and premium materials give the interior a very posh appearance. The optional 12.3″ navigation system (8″ standard) perches atop the center of the dash and communicates all of the entertainment, climate control and navigation information clearly. The Remote Touch makes a slightly less clunky reappearance. The software now predicts what you’re trying to interact with to varying degrees of success. As you get used to the tendencies it gets easier but the industry wide struggle for intuitive controls continues another year. The 2016 edition builds on the success of its previous incarnations with a comfortable and luxurious ride up front with just enough space in back for average sized adults. The driver centered cabin helps the operator and vehicle communicate safely and comfortably.
It’s not often I get into a car and get surprised by a new bell or whistle. The empirical nature of auto design gives away the surprise a little at a time every year, so by the time a feature is in place it’s already been hinted at for years.
Not so with the 360 degree view shown when you put the RX in reverse. Four cameras are used, one in the grille, one under each side mirror and the backup camera in the rear. The resulting image is stitched together by all four, giving you a helicopter style view in tight spaces. Think the original Grand Theft Auto overhead view. I called it my validation cam. Get into a tight spot, engage the overhead camera and see how great (or terrible) of a parking job you did. The usefulness of the technology really shines when reversing out of parking spaces into busy streets or lots. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert warns of any bogeys coming in from the side, the overhead camera gives a 360 degree view and the parking assist shows the line that the car will continue on if the wheels are set in that direction. For a car with a big hood and a long body these features are invaluable for visibility. Absolutely loved them and used them constantly.
Then there’s All Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Alphabet soup, I know. That rather wordy feature is new to the RX and can be summed up easily. It is quite simply the future of driving. Set the maximum speed you wish the car to attain and let your foot off the gas. The vehicle will maintain a safe follow distance up to that speed without any input from the driver. On a long road trip this feature is an absolute game changer. Set the control to 73 and rest your legs. The car will sense when the vehicle in front slows down and adjust speed safely until the desired follow distance is achieved.
This feature works with normal traffic and unexpected stops alike. If necessary it is capable of bringing the car to a complete stop.
Anyone who has driven the 5 Freeway through central California just salivated a little at the idea. I felt fresh as a daisy and never strayed too far over the speed limit. As an enthusiast I can’t say I looked forward to the driverless car but this feature got me thinking.
For Lexus, and every automaker, design and engineering is a balancing act. Go too far to the new and they lose their roots. Too much performance usually means too much comfort, too much comfort makes for a pedestrian ride. A vehicle that sits squarely in the middle will be accused of being vanilla and lacking identity. This years Lexus RX is a great redesign in that respect. They manage to push back against their detractors without losing much of what a hundred thousand buyers a year are looking for.
Now, about those self driving cars…
2016 Lexus RX 350 F Sport
3.5L V6 Engine with 295 HP
8 speed automatic transmission
0-60 6.9 seconds
$55,645 – $59,325
Ford is making some news with the all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. The Raptor race truck will leverage Raptor’s production platform including its all-new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 10-speed transmission, along with torque-on-demand transfer case.
“The all-new Raptor has the DNA of a Baja race truck, with a purpose-built engine, chassis and suspension that enables it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes or crawl over rocky terrain,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance.
Putting the all-new Raptor through this grueling stretch of races will help demonstrate how a truck born in the desert is even more prepared to take on the very toughest of terrain. The purpose-built fully boxed frame of the all-new Raptor – the backbone of the truck – features more high-strength steel than the outgoing Raptor. F-150 Raptor’s chiseled looks are reminiscent of Trophy Trucks – the fastest and most powerful class of off-road pickups. F-150 Raptor is six inches wider than standard F-150 for improved stability off-road.
The all-new race truck leverages the built-in capability and features of the production Raptor, including the Torsen front differential boosts off-road capability further, significantly increasing grip for the front end and allowing the truck to pull itself over obstacles and up steep grades – even when traction is split between the front tires. It has the first-ever dual exhaust and new Ford Performance 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels with next-generation BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires enhance off-road performance.
For more information on the Raptor race truck, visit www.ford.com/trucks/f150raptor.
One of the coolest pieces of news to come from the 2016 NAIAS is the introduction of the FordPass. There have been a ton of people geeking out over this new tech. FordPass will launch April. Ford says that it will reimagine the relationship between automaker and consumer; membership is free whether you own a Ford vehicle or not by registering online.
The benefits include a Marketplace offering mobility services; FordGuides, who are always there to help you move; Appreciation, for membership loyalty; and FordHubs, where you can go to experience the company’s latest innovations. Ford is partnering with ParkWhiz to help drivers find and pay for advance parking more easily, and with FlightCar to help consumers share and borrow; FordPay makes it easy to pay for mobility expenses
It doesn’t stop there. Ford is also partnering with McDonald’s and 7-Eleven to reward FordPass members with merchandise and unique experiences. The FordHubs will open in New York, London, Shanghai and San Francisco; first will open later this year at New York’s Westfield World Trade Center
“Ford always has been motivated to make people’s lives better,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “We did it when we put the world on wheels a century ago and we do it now through our strong lineup of cars, SUVs, trucks and electrified vehicles. Today, we take our commitment one step further with the introduction of FordPass – an all-new platform that may be our most revolutionary yet.”
The NAIAS is right in Ford’s backyard in Detroit. Every year Ford continues to surpass people’s expectations on what to expect from the Detroit based car company. One of the models that people look forward to is the F-150 Raptor. It is eagerly anticipated and still unmatched by any auto manufacturer, Ford, America’s truck leader, introduced the all-new F-150 Raptor SuperCrew, adding agility, versatility and roominess to the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 Raptor ever.
Developed with the DNA of a Baja race truck, F-150 Raptor is unique among off-road and performance vehicles, with a purpose-built engine, chassis and suspension that enables it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes or crawl over rocky terrain.
F-150 Raptor SuperCrew with four full-size doors provides rear passengers with more legroom and comfort on the trails and more space to stow gear while exploring the American and Canadian wilderness. SuperCrew’s 145-inch wheelbase is 12 inches longer than the standard Raptor SuperCab 133-inch wheelbase.
“F-150 Raptor means superior off-road capability, from rock crawling to sand running,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director. “With the addition of SuperCrew, F-150 Raptor customers can leave the pavement behind – without sacrificing comfort and space.”
Advanced materials – including high-strength steel and high-strength, military grade, aluminum alloy – help save up to 500 pounds versus the prior Raptor for improved off-road prowess. Combined with all-new EcoBoost engine technology, the next-generation F-150 Raptor’s power-to-weight ratio has been improved, making the truck even more agile off-road.
Here are some cool new features with the latest F-150 Raptor
Roomier: All-new Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew adds room for passengers and gear, expanding choice and versatility in the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 Raptor ever.
More agile: Enhanced suspension, use of advanced materials, all-new EcoBoost engine technology plus smart engineering saves up to 500 pounds, for improved power-to-weight ratio for even better off-road agility than previous F-150 Raptor.
Unmatched performance: All-new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost, all-new 10-speed transmission and torque-on-demand transfer case make F-150 Raptor even more powerful, efficient and easy to drive off-road.
Better traction: Segment-exclusive redesigned beadlock-capable wheels help increase grip in low-traction conditions; unique Avalanche Grey color signifies Raptor’s Ford Performance tie.
All good things must come to an end. That is true for Matt Alberts and The Lifers Project work with Cadillac. The iconic car company and Matt teamed up to document the dynamic individuals who push the boundaries and culture of action sports. This new episode from the trip, called “Water”, focuses on the East Coast surfing scene.
The Seasons Collection: WATER is the final leg of the year long journey between Cadillac and The LIFERS Project. Along the Northeast, photographer Matt Alberts documents the east coast surf scene, highlighting LIFERS and the passionate lives they have dedicated to the sport they love.
Ford Motor Company is always looking for ways to add innovation to their cars and trucks. Recently they teamed up with Corning for a new addition to their Ford GT model. What started as a lightweight concept technology is about to become reality for Ford GT customers when the all-new supercar debuts the Corning Gorilla Glass hybrid windshield – a tough, durable, scratch-resistant window that is about 30 percent lighter than traditional glass.
Developed by Ford and Corning, Gorilla Glass hybrid window will be used on both the windshield and rear engine cover of Ford GT, contributing to enhanced vehicle handling, improved fuel efficiency and reduced risk of glass damage.
“Gorilla Glass hybrid is a great example of how Ford works with suppliers to innovate in every area of our business,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford group vice president, Global Purchasing. “Ford GT is setting new standards for innovation through performance and light-weighting, and we’re excited about exploring other applications for this great new technology.”
When tasked with developing lightweight and advanced material vehicle applications, the Ford team approached Corning, a recognized leader in materials science that introduced light and durable Gorilla Glass to the consumer electronics market in 2007. Interested in further exploring potential automotive applications, Ford engaged Corning to help research and develop a unique formulation for exterior vehicle glass.
Once the technology was studied for Ford’s supercar concept, the team realized there were real-world applications for the new hybrid glass. A small, dedicated group comprised of purchasing and engineering employees from Ford and Corning fast-tracked the technology toward rapid introduction. Within four months, they were seeking program approval.
The new hybrid glass uses a multilayer approach – a pane of toughened automotive-grade formed hybrid acts as the strengthened inner layer, an advanced noise-absorbing thermoplastic interlayer is in the center, and an annealed glass serves as the outer layer. The result is a windshield and rear engine cover approximately 32 percent lighter than competitive vehicles.
The new Gorilla Glass hybrid window laminate is approximately 25 percent to 50 percent thinner, and has equal to, or greater strength than traditional laminate. Traditional laminate glass ranges from four millimeters to six millimeters in thickness, where Gorilla Glass hybrid window ranges from three millimeters to four millimeters. This remarkable reduction in thickness greatly reduces the weight of each panel. Plus, the glass is more robust due to advanced processes for contaminant reduction, chemical strengthening, unique edge treatment and laminate construction.
Ford’s use of the new hybrid glass underscores the company’s aggressive goals for innovative engineering and light-weighting technologies that will one day benefit all Ford customers.
Ford is not only looking to innovate their cars, but they are looking change their advertising. Ford wants to have consumers and car lovers to be part of their billboard campaign. As part of the company’s new By Design car advertising campaign, Ford is encouraging consumers to design artwork for digital billboards that will go up in major cities across the country, from Times Square to the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
To create a one-of-a-kind design, go to www.FordByDesign.com and select one of six major cities and your car of choice, along with an assortment of colors and effects to complete the artwork. Ford will then display it to a billboard in the city chosen by you. Along with the design, the billboard will also display your first name and hometown.
So what are you waiting for? Go to https://fordbydesign.com to get your design started and possibly noticed by everyone!
A few months back we looked at the Nissan Altima, now we are switching gears to check out the Sentra. At the Los Angeles Car Show Nissan showcased the 2016 Sentra. There are have some modifications and new designs for the new model. After 30 years on the road and more than 4 million Sentra models sold in the United States alone, the 2016 Sentra seeks to keep the momentum of Nissan’s compact sedan going with a significantly refreshed design.
The exciting exterior changes reflect Nissan’s new design language, bringing the elegant and refined look of the Sentra closer to the bold redesigned 2016 Maxima and Altima. A new front fascia, grille, fenders, hood and signature boomerang-shaped headlights help to create this look.
The roomy interior will have a number of fresh features ranging from a new steering wheel to a new center cluster and audio display design. The 2016 Sentra will also be the most connected ever, offering technology options like Siri Eyes Free Voice Recognition and NissanConnectSM Services powered by SiriusXM for the first time. NissanConnectSM offers emergency preparedness, remote access, customizable alerts and concierge services.
In addition to the 2016 Sentra, Nissan is launching the JUKE “Stinger Edition by Color Studio” in LA. After successfully introducing the “Color Studio” program with JUKE last year, Nissan is now offering two limited production JUKE SV models – the Black Stinger Edition by Color Studio and Yellow Stinger Edition by Color Studio. These bring together two of the most popular colors – yellow and black – with the most frequently ordered accessories from Color Studio. Both models will be available beginning in January 2016.