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Entries in Toyota (2)


November 2012

November 30, 2012: While the rest of the world was running from stand to stand at the L.A. Auto Show, TVD’s editors were taking in the scenery. The Lincoln stand’s homage to Lincolns past caught their attention, but so did something else. Speaking of retro, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering has a way to make your new Camaro look more like its ancestor. Despite sharing DNA with its predecessor, the 2013 Toyota Avalon is a big step forward, though the Sport mode button still baffles. Speaking of distractions, Toyota and the University of Michigan recently completed a study on driver distraction, and the results aren’t promising, especially for parents. We’re tech heavy this week with three stories you’re sure to like. First, French supplier Faurecia designs seats that move and coddle, interiors that take cues from major cities, and… an exhaust manifold for Ford hybrids? Meanwhile, Visteon shows just how detailed 3D instrument displays can be, and our Director of Web Development goes to Burger King with Ferrari’s design house. Finally, Al Vinikour beats a man when he’s down… with a hub cap!


November 20, 2012: It’s a short week for the staff at The Virtual Driver as they travel to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family. Nevertheless, we’ve picked some of our favorite stories from the past for your entertainment. First up is the story of Andy Peace and his Maserati Tipo 250, a Fifties grand prix car you can drive every day. Next up is the Eagle Speedster, a rumored £500,000 ($796,000) re-do of the classic Jaguar E-Type, and one of the most beautiful Jaguars ever. Those more interested in modern metal might like the review of Chevy’s Volt; a very nice car that makes little economic sense. Judging from its readership, a perennial favorite is William Sawyer’s reminiscence of days of racing past; a time of innovation and lost innocence. Finally, those looking for a touch of comedy may enjoy the Al Vinikour/Chris Sawyer co-review of Hyundai’s Elantra Coupe and GT. We also invite you to wander the site and leave your comments along the way between football games and turkey and stuffing-induced comas. Here’s wishing you and yours the very best this Thanksgiving.


November 16, 2012: Australia’s Carbon Revolution just launched a set of carbon fiber road wheels for high-performance sports cars, but that’s not the news. The company has plans to bring these lightweight rims to automotive, aerospace and trucking at competitive prices. Speaking of revolutions, Ford introduces a new minivan closer in size to Chrysler’s original, and BMW announces plans to produce a new air-cooled boxer sport bike. Mini, meanwhile, has a new collection of bags inspired by the car and its native culture. Cadillac’s native culture used to be squishy luxury, but recent products have combined sport with luxury. Does the XTS continue this trend, look to the past or straddle these two worlds? And TVD’s own culture czar, Al Vinikour questions the placement of certain features on new cars.


November 9, 2012: Al Vinikour goes out on the trail to drive the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, an SUV that has moved from body-on-frame to monocoque chassis. Has capability been lost in the translation? Honda has signed a letter of agreement with Proton/Lotus owner DRB-Hicom. Is there any fire behind this smoke, and what might it mean for the struggling British sports car maker? Mercedes has commissioned a limited number of 1:43 models of its 300 SL and its latest progeny, but you’d better be able to speak German if you want one. Speaking of presents, TVD has joined forces with Cars In Context Television to create a new car show. You can see the first episode here. If that’s not enough, Chris Sawyer drives the new Jetta Hybrid, a vehicle that brings performance to the hybrid competitive set while getting diesel-like mileage. Finally, Al Vinikour uses the S-word in public, and wants you to do the same.


November 2, 2012: Ford launches a new Cobra Jet, a twin-turbo V8-powered drag car concept that may hold the key to future performance Mustangs. If that isn’t enough, the company also relaunched the 1940 Ford; a sheetmetal tool room copy of the original Coupe designed for restorers and rodders. Controlled Power Technologies claims it has the answer to providing both the power and economy necessary to meet future fuel economy standards and customer performance demands. Editor Sawyer drives the Challenger Rallye Redline, and wonders if it’s a pony car competitor or luxo barge. And Al Vinikour talks about the days when he was a (tire) smoker too addicted to quit.



July 2012

July 27, 2012: Chris Sawyer is back from Atlanta where he drove the 2013 Cadillac ATS across the back roads and up and down the roller coaster that is Atlanta Motorsport Park. Read what he has to say about the car, the track and the eye-opening drive. While Sawyer was in Georgia, Al Vinikour was driving through New Mexico in Mercedes’ new GL-Class SUV. Al put it through its paces, and was pleasantly surprised by the technology — and the fold-flat second-and third-row seats. Having lived through the 1980s, we’ve heard of nose candy, but hose candy? See what it is and how it can dress up under the hood of your 1965-1969 Mustang. If that’s not enough, perhaps a little noise is in order? Check out a new cat-back exhaust system for 2012 Dodge Challengers from the folks at CORSA. Ever wonder where the idea for airbags came from and where the technology is going? We take a look at the past, present and future of inflatable restraints. Finally, Al takes issue with parents who lock their kids in the car on hot days. It’s not a pleasant subject, nor does Al mince words, but he wonders if there isn’t a technology that could prevent future tragedies like this from occurring.


July 20, 2012: Recently Al and Chris were at a drive event for the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT. That’s when the idea hit: Why not share a byline and write a Point/Counterpoint on the Elantra models? (Al covered the Veloster Turbo in an earlier issue.) Though we’re not sure Sawyer will ever agree to do this again, we think you’ll find the resulting article very enjoyable. Elsewhere, the Virtual Rider, Scott Bowles, is back, this time with a review of Ducati’s Monster 796. And Al puts forward a theory about what it really takes for a foreign automaker to be successful in the U.S. market.


July 13, 2012: McLaren introduces a retractable hardtop version of the MP4-12C. We take a closer look. The Rumor Mill is back and filled with information, from Renault’s potential move into the upper luxury market to the truth behind the DeltaWing to Toyota’s craziest project yet. The Editor reviews Griff Borgeson’s seminal work on the early years of the American race car, and comes away impressed by the men, the machines and the book. Husqvarna introduces a pair of single-cylinder bikes for both on- and off-road. We give you the details. Finally, Al is reminded about his age, and proceeds to prove that he’s forgotten more than most young people remember — or ever knew!


 July 4, 2012: With both freedom and time becoming more precious every day, the staff of The Virtual Driver are taking this week off to catch up with friends and family, and to appreciate the freedoms that often are taken for granted.