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Lexus LF-Ch Premium Compact Hybrid Concept Makes World Debut at 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show
 By Jim Bray

TORONTO, /CNW/ - The Lexus LF-Ch compact hybrid concept made its world premiere today at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. It will also be on display for the first time in North America at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show in December.

As the latest concept hybrid vehicle from Lexus, LF-Ch offers dramatic style, premium features, an innovative drivetrain with low emissions, and impressive fuel economy in a sporty yet versatile five-door package.

The 2010 Lexus LX 570
 By Jim Bray

TORONTO, /CNW/ - Confident and smooth performance, a go-anywhere attitude and distinctive luxury and comfort are hallmarks of the Lexus LX series full-size luxury SUV - and the 2010 Lexus LX 570 delivers more of what Canadians love about this vehicle, with additional luxury appointments, entertainment and safety features now included as standard equipment. Available in a choice of two trim levels, the LX 570 delivers full-size luxury that is both refined and outgoing for up to eight travellers.

Popular Lexus Ute Gets a Brand New Suit
 By Jim Bray

Lexus’ most popular model has undergone its first major restyling and reengineering, a process designed to keep it current and competitive.

And it has. While recognizable as an RX, the new RX 350 looks and feels quite a bit different than its predecessor. It’s still a fine vehicle, though, and should continue to be a top seller for Toyota’s luxury division.

The new RX looks like a bulked up old RX – not as if it’s been shooting up banned substances, of course, just as if it’s been working out.  This gives it a more chiseled and muscular appearance and it works just fine.

Mazda CX-9 “Crossover” SUV – Big and Comfy, with “Zoom”
 By Jim Bray

They’ve upgraded its looks and features a bit for 2010, but at heart the Mazda CX-9 is the same big SUV it has been since its introduction. And that’s a good thing.

Not a lot needed to be changed. Heck, my chief complaint is that they still use red illumination on the instruments, and that is not only about as minor a beef as you can have, but whether or not it’s even a beef at all is something clearly in the eye of the beholder.

Mazda 3 – “Zoom-Zoom” Redux
 By Jim Bray

You certainly can’t accuse Mazda of false advertising for using “Zoom-Zoom” as their slogan.

The phrase captures the Mazda driving experience beautifully, whether you’re behind the wheel of the RX-8, MX-5 Miata, the CX-7 and CX-9 crossovers or, the topic of this piece, the little Mazda 3.

The previous 3 was a huge success for Mazda. According to them, it sold nearly 1.8 million vehicles in over 100 countries since its 2003 launch and won more than 90 automobile awards, including the 2004 “Canadian Car of the Year”.

Porsche Boxster PDK – Fun Even in a Blizzard
 By Jim Bray

Sports cars are a blast during good weather, and it might surprise you to learn they can even be a hoot after Old Person Winter has come a-calling.

That fact was driven (no pun intended) home to me during a wintry week I spent recently with a Porsche Boxster, a pretty basic model of Porsche’s entry level sports car on which the only real options of substance were Bi-xenon headlights (which should be standard) and the seven speed PDK double clutch auto/manual transmission I’ve grown to appreciate greatly.

Entry Level Subaru Still “Impreza-ive”
 By Jim Bray

The 2010 Subaru Impreza sports a few upgrades and enhancements designed to make it more attractive to its base of loyal customers – and others – while remaining true to its “rally-bred” roots.

And why not? The Impreza 2.5i I drove may not be the most refined vehicle on Earth, but it still has a lot going for it. Chief among these is Subaru’s famous symmetrical all-wheel drive system coupled with the “boxer” engine that sits low up front, pistons moving horizontally toward each other (hence the “boxer” moniker), helping give the car a very, well, down to earth center of gravity. Both features come in very handy in climates that experience stuff like snow and ice.

Toyota Debuts 100-Mile Ranger, Rav4 EV Demonstration Vehicle at Los Angeles Auto Show
 By Jim Bray

LOS ANGELES, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) debuted today the second-generation Toyota RAV4 EV at a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  A total of 35 vehicles will be built for a demonstration and evaluation program through 2011, aiming at market arrival of a fully-engineered vehicle in 2012.  The fully-engineered vehicle will have a target range of 100 miles (160 kilometres) in actual road driving patterns, in a wide range of climates and conditions.

Toyota Sienna Named Best New Minivan in AJAC’s 2011 Canadian Car of the Year Awards
 By Jim Bray

The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) named the 2011 Toyota Sienna as the Best New Minivan in the 2011 Canadian Car of the Year Awards following rigorous testing during the annual TestFest for the Canadian Car of the Year Awards competition.

Toyota Canada Inc. reports August sales
 By Jim Bray

Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) today reported August sales of 12,862 Toyota and Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs, down 29.5% from August 2009. This included 11,609 Toyota models (down 30.5%) and 1,253 Lexus luxury vehicles (down 18.2%).

The Canadian market trend in favour of trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles over the past few months is reflected in Toyota Canada’s sales. In addition, new model offerings from Toyota and Lexus continue to stand out as popular choices for Canadian drivers in August.

Toyota Avalon A Comforting Cruiser
 By Jim Bray

Remember the Oldsmobile commercials from years ago that said the models current then were “Not your father’s Oldsmobile?” Well I’ve found a car that is: the Toyota Avalon.

Toyota’s flagship sedan is a big, family-friendly sedan that offers lots to like as long as you don’t care about the drive itself. It’s comfortable, well-appointed, and features stuff like reclining rear seats and most of the technological treats you could want these days.

Toyota Canada Inc. reports July sales
 By Jim Bray

TORONTO, Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) today reported July sales of 14,882 Toyota and Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs, down 7.3% from July 2009. This included 13,681 Toyota models (down 7.7%) and 1,201 Lexus luxury vehicles (down 2.4%). Robust sales of the Toyota Venza, 4Runner and Sienna resulted in best-ever July Toyota truck sales, at 6,397 (up 11.0%).

Toyota announces voluntary safety campaign for certain Avalons to replace steering column brackets
 By Jim Bray

TORONTO,  Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) today announced that it intends to conduct a voluntary safety campaign involving approximately 4,200 2000-2004 Model Year Toyota Avalons to address the possibility that the vehicle’s steering lock bar could break under certain conditions. No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in this recall.

Toyota Venza a True Crossover
 By Jim Bray

It’s neither a station wagon nor a minivan, and it isn’t an SUV, either. Instead, Toyota’s Venza blurs the lines between these distinct market niches, a vehicle that crosses over from one to the other.

That says “crossover” to me.

Many, if not most, so-called crossovers these days are basically car-based sport utility vehicles – perhaps named as crossovers by marketers more concerned about political correctness than truth in advertising. After all, SUV’s are evil, Mother Earth-sapping horriblemobiles regardless of how well they serve many people’s needs.

Toyota Sienna a New Standard in Minivans
 By Jim Bray

Minivans may not be particularly sexy, but they can be pleasant and convenient if your automotive needs require space to haul people and their stuff.
So it is with the 2011 Sienna, a minivan Toyota is daring to call “Comfortable, Convenient and above all, Cool.”

Cool isn’t something I’ve ever though would apply to minivans, and I don’t think it does here, either, but that doesn’t prevent the new Sienna from being a heckuva minivan, with plenty of room for hauling most of the stuff a family could want. And it is truly comfortable and convenient as well. It’s even pretty good to drive.

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