Here's a rumor that's been bubbling for about three months. It started with a report in French Canadian outlet RPM Web last October 4, picked up by Motor Illustrated, citing a "reliable source" saying Toyota will bring back the Venza nameplate for a new crossover to bow in 2021. The Venza, for those who don't remember, was a five-seater crossover built on the same platform as the Camry and Highlander. Toyota introduced the Venza to the market in 2008, but a wagon-y form factor and premium pricing kept sales in check, convincing Toyota to kill the model in 2015. The same Canadian report said there would be a new plug-in hybrid RAV4, the RAV4 Prime being officially announced six days later. This month, a TFLnow report credited "an insider source" for the same Venza news — that a new model will arrive for the 2021 model year, and that it will be hybrid only. Both Venza resurrection articles refer to what's happened with crossovers in the past couple of years as context for a new five-seat midsizer — Honda cutting its three-row Pilot down to resurrect the five-seat Passport, Chevrolet cutting the three-row Traverse down to resurrect the five-seat Blazer. Beyond those two, the Ford Edge, on sale since 2007 with traditional crossover looks, has sold more than 120,000 units per year in the U.S. for eight of the past 10 years. A five-seat Venza on the Highlander platform would give buyers who want to step up from the RAV4 another option, and arrive in a timely manner if the 2021 sale date holds. Toyota puts a hybrid powertrain based around a 2.5-liter four-cylinder in both the RAV4 and the Highlander, the latter crossover getting slightly more power from its unit. Both offer all-wheel drive from the electric motor used to turn the rear axle. The TFLnow report included news on two other Toyota products, too. The next-gen Sienna minivan is due to debut later this year and, like the potential Venza, will only come in hybrid flavors. The news was all bad for shoppers awaiting the new full-size Tundra, though, with the outlet's sources saying the next-gen pickup won't go on sale until December 2021 as a 2022-model offering. Spy shots and previous intel suggest the new rig will bring a lot of marquee features to market, from the new platform to a hi-po twin-turbo V6 hybrid, and a better rear end. TFLnow said crew cab long bed prototypes in the Colorado area could mean the new Tundra will offer more variants as well, whenever it arrives.
Residents of the western Japanese city of Tokushima pounded boiled rice into rice cakes during a unique local festival music at an annual year-end event on Friday.
Participants rhythmically pounded rice with a mallet as about 10 members of a local Awa Odori dance festival group played music known as "Zomeki" on three-stringed shamisen, accompanied by gongs and taiko drums.
Slow progress in reconstruction work from a powerful typhoon is forcing many residents of Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, to live in unrepaired houses one month after the disaster.
Typhoon Faxai wreaked havoc in the prefecture on September 9, leaving wide areas without power or water for days or even weeks. Local authorities have confirmed that the storm damaged more than 34,000 homes.
Midsize sedans may no longer be the vehicle of choice for most families who increasingly prefer SUVs, but for those happy to keep kicking it old school, the 2019 Honda Accord is a top choice. Its large dimensions house unmatched interior space, but the driving experience remains responsive and imparts a feeling of being light on its feet. Its turbocharged engines offer compelling performance, but also return exceptional fuel economy. Meanwhile, the Accord Hybrid might actually be the pick of the litter for its superior fuel economy and lack of major drawbacks. There's also the matter of its well-made interior, generous feature content and the Accord's long-standing reliability reputation.
If you're looking for a midsize sedan, the Accord should be at the top of your must-drive list. Its well-rounded nature made it an easy pick when we compared it to the Toyota Camry and Mazda 6. We also think shoppers shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the Accord in favor of a compact SUV. The back seat is more comfortable and spacious, the fuel economy is better, and you're not sacrificing that much utility thanks to its enormous trunk. Oh, and if you're like us and appreciate wringing every bit of driving fun out of a car as possible, the Accord Sport offers a six-speed manual as a no-cost option.
Sony’s Xperia smartphone business has been losing money for quite some time now. Despite rumors that the company was looking to give up on the business altogether, Sony has reiterated its commitment to making smartphones, but will only be selling them in four markets going forward. It’s exiting all of the other markets for a more sustainable approach to the business.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said that the Xperia smartphone business is a pivotal part of Sony’s identity which is entertainment focused. “We see smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component necessary to make our hardware brand sustainable,” pointing out that younger generations no longer watch TV, “their first touch point is smartphone.”