Toyota Venza Crossover May Be Making A Return As A Hybrid

Toyota Venza crossover may be making a return as a hybrid

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.

There's A Petition To Get The Toyota Yaris Gr To North America

There's a petition to get the Toyota Yaris GR to North America

The Toyota GR Yaris, a Gazoo Racing homologation special, just debuted in January, 2020 at the Tokyo Auto Salon, but it has already drawn a rabid following. It's clearly one of the most important Toyotas in recent memory, but it's highly unlikely it'll be sold in the North American market. A petition started in Canada, noticed by Motor1, wants Toyota to change that. The excitement around this car is undeniable. After Toyota won the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship, it began preparing to make sure it wasn't a one-and-done situation. Developed with Gazoo Racing and Tommi Mäkinen Racing, the GR Yaris is essentially a new car, not a retuned old Yaris, with a new chassis, a lightweight body, and a new all-wheel-drive system. It also has 1.6-liter three-cylinder that makes an unheard of 268 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. There's so much hype around this car, in fact, that Road & Track called it a more exciting release than the 2020 Toyota GR Supra, and they have a point. "Toyota has taken steps to revitalize their brand with the re-introduction of the new Supra," the petition states. "The problem is, the car is priced out of reach for a lot of the general population, and not the best choice as a year-round vehicle in areas that have snow on the roads 5 months a year."  If your feelings align with Altman and the rest of the hopeful Toyota and rally fans in North America, check out the petition and consider signing. At the time of this writing, 541 people have signed, but it's only just begun. The initial goal is 1,000, a number that will surely be hit.

1958 Toyota Fj25 Is America's First Land Cruiser

1958 Toyota FJ25 is America's first Land Cruiser

SALT LAKE CITY — Greg Miller's Land Cruiser Heritage Museum in Salt Lake City is one of the most fascinating and comprehensive collections of vintage cars we've ever visited. Of the dozens of off-roaders on display, the most significant one is arguably a humble, unrestored 1958 FJ25 that stands out as the very first Land Cruiser sold in America. Toyota created its American division on October 31, 1957, and turned a Rambler dealership in Hollywood into its headquarters. Sales began the following year. John Rose, the owner of Rose Toyota, placed the first Land Cruiser order as quickly as he could, and delivered it at its American port of entry because his store wasn't built yet. The museum's records indicate the FJ25's original owner (so the first Land Cruiser customer in America) was a school teacher in Long Beach, California, though the person's name either isn't known, or is being kept private. The Land Cruiser wasn't the smash hit Toyota hoped for. Challenging the Jeep CJ-5 on its home turf was easier said than done, and the first FJ25 sold here was also the only example that found a home in 1958. The company sold a mere 288 vehicles in America that year, including the Land Cruiser and 287 units of a sedan named Toyopet Crown. America's first FJ didn't bask under the Pacific sun for very long. In the early 1960s, it changed hands and moved to Arrowhead in the mountains surrounding Los Angeles, where a woman named Mrs. Trembly used it as a snow plow. Its snow-clearing days ended when Mrs. Trembly died in 1967. James Ultl inherited it, and later sold it to TLC 4x4 in Chatsworth, California. Miller purchased it in 2013 and donated it to the museum. The Land Cruiser is tough, but the odds of the first example sold in America surviving decades of use were spectacularly low. Owners had a tendency to drive FJs into the ground by using them as snow plows (like Mrs. Trembly did), tractors, tow trucks, or a variety of other purposes deemed too merciless for regular cars. Example number one (which, fittingly, is nicknamed One) wears many battle scars, but it has fared relatively well, all things considered. The Land Cruiser Heritage Museum values original, unrestored models, and many of the trucks in its collection are in this condition, so don't expect to see One wearing shiny paint and new upholstery anytime soon.

Students Create A 2jz-powered Toyota Supra Convertible From A Lexus

Students create a 2JZ-powered Toyota Supra convertible from a Lexus

The students at Nihon Automobile College (NATS) put together some pretty wild custom cars for each year's Tokyo Auto Salon. Perhaps the most attention-grabbing this year is what looks like a 2020 Toyota Supra. It features the bold orange paint scheme of the famous fourth-generation Supra in The Fast and the Furious. It even gets the fourth-generation Supra's revered 2JZ inline-six. But this heavily Supra-inspired car is not what it seems. This is actually a Lexus SC430, the luxury retractable hardtop convertible from the mid-2000s. The main tell is the interior, which features a dashboard that clearly was built years before the A90 Supra. Of course there's also the fact that this is a convertible with a well-finished windshield header. And as you look closer, you'll notice that details such as the hood vents and the vents on the doors look just a little off compared with the real thing. That's not to diminish the work done, here — the attention to those little details is impressive. Besides the Supra conversion, Fast and Furious paint job and the addition of a turbo 2JZ engine, the students at NATS added several other modifications. The modern Supra body parts have been augmented by the Pandem widebody kit that's been popular on new Supras at both SEMA and Tokyo Auto Salon. Inside, it has racing seats and massive nitrous tanks. Take it all in as you scroll through the image gallery above.

Birthplace Of Toyota Vehicles To Open To Public In Aichi In July

Birthplace of Toyota vehicles to open to public in Aichi in July

KARIYA, Aichi Prefecture--Rescued from demolition, a wooden factory building where Toyota Motor Corp. founder Kiichiro Toyoda built his first passenger car prototype in 1935, will open to the public on July 18.

It will be part of the Prototype Plant at the Establishment of Toyota, an annex of the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology.