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Toyota Prius
Toyota's Prius is a big hit globally

Although Prius drivers are often the butt of jokes here in the United States, the vehicles are still quite popular due to their lofty fuel economy numbers and "green" image. The original Prius was introduced to the United States in 2000 and is currently in its third generation. The larger Prius v was introduced late last year, while the smaller Prius c went on sale in the U.S. earlier this year.

The popularity of the Prius family of hybrids doesn't just apply to the U.S., however. Sales of the hybrids have been booming globally. According to Automotive News, the Prius is now the third best-selling nameplate in the world when it comes to the automobile sales through the first quarter of 2012 (247,230 units).


Toyota Prius v
 
First place goes to Prius' cheaper, older brother: the Toyota Corolla (300,800 units). In second place sits the Ford Focus (277,000 units), which was recently revamped with a host of technological improvements and new engines to boost infotainment options and fuel economy across the board.
 
With three different sizes of Prius available and with prices starting under $20,000, Toyota is hoping to solidify its position as a leader in hybrid vehicles. 


Toyota Prius c

Source: The Globe and Mail



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RE: Interesting
By Samus on 5/30/2012 6:14:47 PM , Rating: 1
The F-series doesn't sell well outside of North America. Toyota trucks dominate Central/South America, Africa, Australia, and most of Asia.

Interestingly (I think) Toyota might do really well here if the NA Tundra wasn't such a piece of crap. They still offer no Diesel options, something that sells quite well in the F-250/350 Super Duty, while the F-150 has seen sales success with its Ecoboost models. Again, Toyota offers nothing like either of these options in the United States. The Tacoma isn't offered with a 4-cylinder engine anymore, and the Ranger and S10 have always been clear examples of the market for a small truck with a small engine, many of which can get over 30mpg with a small I4.

But PR may have meant to say car, not 'vehicle', line. Who knows. I think the Prius technology is fascinating, from the coolant storage heater to the hybrid drive system. It's too bad they're styled by a 5 year old.


RE: Interesting
By Bad-Karma on 5/30/2012 11:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
Ranger was discontinued.

A 4-cylinder in a Tacoma leaves it woefully underpowered and sluggish.

Light to mid sized diesel truck engines are considerable heavier as the engine has to hold up to much greater pressures and stresses over its lifespan. In response the frame then also has to be reinforced in order to resist the higher constant torque produced by a diesel. Add to that the extra suspension needed to carry the additional weight of the diesel engine and you price and weigh the truck right out of the 1/2 ton category.

As an example: The 7.3 liter in my F-350 weighs in over 980lbs thanks to the heavy cast iron block it requires, but the whole truck with full tanks (180Gal Diesel & 120lbs of propane) weighs in at just over 10,000lbs. The smaller 6.4 liter diesel is around 1200lbs. Also the transmission for either of those two engines is well over 400lbs.

The curb weight of a 2wd F-150 is only around 5000.


RE: Interesting
By Samus on 5/31/2012 1:12:22 AM , Rating: 2
I want to agree with you, and I know what you mean, but there are dozens of small vehicles (cars, suvs, trucks) with torquey diesel engines available around the world. The only structural difference between them and their petrol brethrens usually comes down to different engine mounts. So for trucks where towing capacity is increased, a stronger frame for a diesel is definately more desirable, but that was never the idea of a small pickup truck.

Small pickups are for hauling around light loads and objects that won't fit in a roofed vehicle (refridgerator, mattress, large glass panes, doors, etc) and most of the time this stuff doesn't require any significant power under the hood.

The NA Ranger was canned because it became too expensive to produce alongside the F150. Ford is on record (going back to the Nasser-era) stating that they'd rather have everyone buy an F-150, and slowly priced the Ranger into extinction. Solid proof this was a motive was the obvious price increases year over year for the Ranger. By the time it was phased out last December it cost $19,000 dollars in base trim. A more equiped F-150 cost $22,000, if you consider the F-150 V6 to be 'better' than the 2.3l I4 the Ranger comes with. The truck always sold well, Ford just wanted to streamline their assembly lines, and I know what they mean, it makes sense to build more of one product. That's why they killed Mercury, even when SOME Mercury's sold as well as their Ford equivilents and at a higher profit margin. It still, to Ford, didn't justify the extra SKU.

The Ranger is still sold in other markets and with a diesel, all engine options are I4's. The Tacoma is commonly sold with an I4 diesel as well, but again, isn't available in the USA. And back to my point, it can't even be equiped with an I4 petrol engine in the USA like the Ranger and S10 are, yet Toyota wonders why they don't sell as well.

Try telling a VW TDI owner there isn't a market for small diesel engines and they'll just laugh their way to the gas station, a place they only visit every 500 miles.


RE: Interesting
By EddyKilowatt on 5/31/2012 3:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
"Try telling a VW TDI owner there isn't a market for small diesel engines and they'll just laugh their way to the gas station, a place they only visit every <strike>500</strike> 800 miles. "

/2003 TDI Golf

BTW, to OP: Higher diesel torque is only between the engine and the transmission input, and affects only the bellhousing, not the frame/body. Between transmission output and wheels, torque is comparable... probably higher for the gas engine, in case the driver floors it in first gear.


RE: Interesting
By Bad-Karma on 5/31/2012 4:10:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
BTW, to OP: Higher diesel torque is only between the engine and the transmission input, and affects only the bellhousing, not the frame/body. Between transmission output and wheels, torque is comparable... probably higher for the gas engine, in case the driver floors it in first gear.


Did you sleep through high school physics?

According to you then no matter how much torque or horsepower you can generate it doesn't matter since it all goes into the "bell housing" and no further. Really??

Yes , the transmission convert what the engine is handing it into the appropriate configuration depending on demand and speed. However, the transmission doesn't magically absorb all the extra power and make it go away. The power still gets transferred back down the drive shaft and axle. If the frame is not able to handle the torsion place on it by the resistance of the axle then it will eventually fatigue and twist the frame.

Watch the tractor of a heavily loaded 18 wheeler when it applies power from a dead stop. There is so much torque being applied to the axle that the entire tractor frame will start rocking on it's springs as the suspension tries to absorb all that resisted torque.

And no, gas engines do not make more torque than their respective to displacement diesel counterparts. They usually generate far more horsepower but not torque.



RE: Interesting
By Reclaimer77 on 5/31/2012 10:45:19 AM , Rating: 2
I had a 1999 4X4 Tacoma some years back. With the 4 banger and a 5 speed. It was definitely NOT "sluggish", and had plenty of power for everything except towing. It was a really nice little truck actually. With a great ride considering the high height.

Find it pretty ironic you drive a 10,000 pound truck around and call the Tacoma "sluggish". Pretty sure my Tacoma would have driven rings around that beast of yours.


RE: Interesting
By Spuke on 5/31/2012 12:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Find it pretty ironic you drive a 10,000 pound truck around and call the Tacoma "sluggish". Pretty sure my Tacoma would have driven rings around that beast of yours.
I have an 06 F250 diesel and it's definitely NOT the fastest thing in the world and most certainly a 4 cyl Tacoma could wax it. The torque fools a lot of people into thinking they're fast but they really aren't. I believe C&D's testing yields 0-60 in 9-10 sec range. Nothing fast about that. I have no idea why some people even consider acceleration prowess (there are some that do) when purchasing these types of vehicles. That was not a consideration AT ALL when we bought ours. Buy a Mustang or 370Z for speed. Leave the trucks for towing and hauling.


RE: Interesting
By Bad-Karma on 5/31/2012 1:15:56 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Leave the trucks for towing and hauling.


I'm 6'5" @230lbs. Most sports cars just will not accommodate my frame, at least not comfortably.

But I am comfortable in my F350 CwC LB DRW. So I have made them my daily driver since I first got into them back in the early 90's. But I am also a tinkerer so I always enjoy adding or modifying this part or that in an effort to get a bit more umph out of something.

With the mods my trucks can not only tow but also are good for challenging the average rice burner or mustang at the stop light. I don't always beat them, but seeing them scanning their dash gauges looking for a malfunction is priceless as I stay up beside them.



RE: Interesting
By Bad-Karma on 5/31/2012 12:58:10 PM , Rating: 1
I need to put in a correction on that last post: my 7.3 is in an 03' F550, not F350. I also had an 03 F350 up until a year ago when I traded it in for a 2011 6.7 F350.

When I first bought the F-550 I was pulling a 36' fifth wheel camper through the Rockies and couldn't stand the poor performance on the higher grades. We were stuck traveling at 15-20Mph with the heavier 18 wheelers. So we started modifying it for better torque and HP. /4-pos flip performance chip /A2E Turbos/ massive intercooler/3 stage injectors/ Portion controlled Propane injection/high pressure oil pumps/custom designed high HP trans/Water & methanol injectors.....On and on....I last had it heavy wheeled dyno'd back in Tucson in 05' and we posted 617HP @2600RPM and 1203 lb-ft @ 1700RPM.

We have a video of it doing 13.9 on the 1/4 at the Las Vegas speedway. My old F-350 was also similarly configured. How's your Tacoma on the 1/4?

I grew up in the 60's& 70"'s so I'm more into the old muscle car power and performance style and feel of driving. That seat of the pants thrill helped push me into my career with the USAF and jet aircraft. Being pushed back into the seat ups my "grin" meter. I just like the g force loading no matter which direction it comes from.

I have test driven a 6 cylinder (3.4 liter I think) Tacoma but it still felt "sluggish" to me. Just not enough power to weight ratio for my taste. Maybe a better geared axle would have made some difference. Although then you would be sacrificing any economy advantage.

I'm not trying to argue with you, I just think our standards of performance are a bit different.


RE: Interesting
By Reclaimer77 on 5/31/2012 7:23:57 PM , Rating: 1
So wait, after putting thousands into your truck in mods and boosting the horsepower, you're going to talk crap about my old stock Tacoma in the 1/4 mile? It's a light truck! Of course I didn't buy it for "performance".

quote:
I'm not trying to argue with you, I just think our standards of performance are a bit different.


My daily driver is an Impreza. I also race Autocross. I think my standards of performance are just fine, and the cars I drive will definitely push you back into your seat.

Trucks aren't sports cars no matter how much money you put in them. I don't doubt your truck, after being modded to 600+HP would smoke my old Tacoma in a straight line. But it's still a truck, and that doesn't mean the Tacoma was "sluggish".

quote:
I just like the g force loading no matter which direction it comes from.


Me too. Which is why I take winding onramps/offramps at 70mhp with a big sh#t eating grin on my face :)


RE: Interesting
By Samus on 5/31/2012 7:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
Torque generated by diesel engines does put stress on the frame, especially in rear-wheel drive vehicles where the rear-end has a counter-torque damper bolted to the frame. Differentials and transmissions need to be beefed up for diesel torque, but most of the time manual transmissions just need a heavy duty clutch. The Golf TDI traditional 5-speed uses the same transmission, dual mass flywheel and clutch with the Golf. The GTI has a 6-speed now I think, obviously a different transmission. But looking at Rock auto, a 2008 Golf and Golf TDI use the same transmission parts, probably because in VW's case, the trans was designed beefy from the get-go.

And if you want a fast truck, a F150 Lightening or Harley Davidson Edition will satisfy; both are supercharged. The Silverado SS isn't bad either for decent fun in a truck.

Some of the Dodge guys seem to think their 5.7l "Hemi" are all that, but they are slower than the competition, get stupidly poor fuel economy and are not reliable. I have yet to hear from someone who has made it 60k on the transmission without a rebuild and whenever I see one on the road they blue smoke like crazy out the tail. I don't know why the hell we bailed Chrysler out.


RE: Interesting
By inperfectdarkness on 5/31/2012 1:11:56 AM , Rating: 2
i wouldn't say toyota "dominates". i see quite a few fords & a LOT of mitsubishi L200's--and even some nissans.


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