Toyota-Built Rally Car to Return to World Rally Championship in 2017

Checkered Flag

Will this Toyota rally car be the first to see the checkered flag?

Team Toyota is putting all other teams on notice; they’re coming in 2017, and they’re coming to win!

That’s right. Toyota has announced its triumphant return to the World Rally Championship (WRC), and Empire Toyota couldn’t be more excited! The first season for Team Toyota will not be until the 2017 race year, but they are already hard at work getting their cars and crews assembled.

“Toyota has a long and distinguished history in motorsport, particularly in world rallying, and we’re delighted to welcome one of the automobile industry’s giants back to WRC,” promoter Oliver Ciesla said.

After winning the manufacturer’s title in 1999, Toyota took a 16-year break from the sport. But, with the regulations in 2017 changing, the stage is once again set for a Toyota-built rally car to race to victory. Most of the changes deal with fuel efficiency and safety, both of which are strong-suits for Toyota in all of their cars. The model specifically chosen for the rally car, however, will be a highly modified Yaris that will tackle road and dirt courses and unleash 300 hp from its powerful turbo-charged 1.6-liter engine.

Stay tuned to Empire Toyota for the latest Team Toyota WRC news!

Two-Toned Madness: the Scion tC Release Series 9.0

2015 Scion tC in white

Standard 2015 Scion tC. The Special edition will feature many upgrades in performance, as well as a gorgeous two-toned color scheme.

Our jaws dropped when we saw the new two-tone Scion tC Release Series 9.0. Although the name is quite a mouthful, this new special edition model combines style and substance to dominate any custom car show.

The new Scion tC Release Series 9.0 is the brain child of Jeremy Lookofsky of Cartel Customs. According to Toyota, Scion decided to pair with Lookofsky after seeing this model at a custom car show. Only 2,000 of the special edition models will be built and sold, so you know it’s going to be one car everyone wants to get their hands on.

“There won’t be a way to miss the Scion tC Release Series 9.0 now that it has arrived in dealerships,” said Scion Vice President, Doug Murtha. “This two-toned tC lets Scion fans have an everyday driver that looks like it’s straight out of a car show…because it is!”

Aside from its two-toned paintjob, center exhaust, aero kit, and alloy wheels, the tC also features a six-speed transmission and Dynamic Rev Management®. This model isn’t just pretty to look at; it also packs quite a punch.

At Empire Toyota we love the direction Scion is heading and absolutely love the styling and performance of the new tC Release Series 9.0!

Toyota Uses Oculus Rift to Teach Safe Driving

Distracted driver on phone.

The Study using the Oculus rift helps discover distracted driving.

We’ve all been told just how dangerous it is to text while driving, but it’s hard to hear the words and truly understand it. If you were put in a position where you texted at the wheel and then crashed, that would probably get the lesson across more convincingly, but of course there’s the problem of crashing.

So what if you could do that without any harm coming to anyone or anything? That’s exactly what Toyota is doing with its new TeenDrive365 driving simulator that uses the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to bring the dangers of distracted driving to life.

The simulator replicates the experience of driving through a busy city street. You get behind the wheel of a stationary car as real as the ones we have at Empire Toyota, equip the Oculus Rift headset, and are then faced with numerous challenges.

The objective is to drive safely using the car’s steering wheels and pedals while having to handle numerous common distractions—including traffic noises, radio, text messages, and virtual friends in the front and back seats. If you lose focus, you’ll see for yourself just how bad it can get when you get distracted behind the wheel.

So far, more than 10,000 people have tried it, and nearly 80 percent have said they’d reduce distractions because of the experience, so it seems to work!

This is exactly the direction that keeps Toyota ahead of the game, and in turn keeps us here at Empire Toyota ahead of the game.

Toyota Knocks it out of the Park with 2016 Tacoma Reveal

2015 Toyota Tacoma in the desert.

2015 Toyota Tacoma pictured.

Not so fast, GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is in town, and the midsize pickup is promising a fight.

Just last year, GM unveiled its pickup duo, and we can’t deny that the Colorado and Canyon upped the ante. It didn’t take long for Toyota to respond, and with the 2016 Tacoma reveal last week, it’s clear that Toyota will not be outdone. In fact, the new Tacoma is likely to once again become one of the most sought-after small trucks on the market.

Toyota promises to keep everything we love about the Tacoma, and add or update where it’s lacking.

“It’s going to be everything the current one is, but we’re going to raise the bar and make it better,” Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division, said.

So what is better? For starters, a more powerful and efficient powertrain. The Tacoma will be powered by a new 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle V-6, which will come equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology. While Toyota hasn’t released any numbers, they do say that this will be the most fuel efficient and powerful Tacoma ever built.

In addition, notes that the automaker has used a higher-strength steel in the frame, and the exterior styling takes cues from the larger Tundra and 4Runner, including a bold, aggressive front end. Inside, shoppers will find a more edgy, fun style, paired with high-end materials and upgrades.

Look for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma to make its way to Empire Toyota in the fall!

Toyota Opens Hydrogen Fuel Cell Patents

Toyota Fuel Cell at the 2014 NAIAS.

Toyota Fuel Cell at the 2014 NAIAS.

In a move many are calling “game changing,” Toyota has made all its patents involving the manufacturing and the sale of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations available to all manufacturers. There are 5,680 patents in total, all of which are now available for free.

Senior Vice President, Bob Carter, kept their reason for the patent release simple: “By eliminating the traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the metabolism of everyone’s research and move into a future of mobility quicker, more effectively, and more economically. Indeed, I believe that today marks a turning point in the automotive industry.”

Hydrogen fuel cell technology effectively generates electricity by combining the main two elements of water, hydrogen and oxygen. The only emission is pure water. The first hydrogen car from Toyota, the Toyota Mirai, will hit the road later this year in California and New England. Batteries, which can take hours to charge, are far off from the hydrogen tank, which can be refilled in three to five minutes. Toyota hopes that by 2020 fueling stations will be widely available and the hydrogen car market will see constant growth.

Carter said it best: “President Abraham Lincoln said the best way to predict the future is to create it. That’s what we’re doing at Toyota.” We here at Empire Toyota are excited for the future of Toyota. This kind of technology is the reason Toyota is the leader in our industry.

New Toyota Mirai Makes Hydrogen Power a Reality

Toyota FCV Early Concept

For many, many years, the dream of the new car industry has been to produce cars that run on a truly renewable, clean power source. Thanks to the new Toyota Mirai, a futuristic-looking midsize sedan, that dream is now a reality. You see, the Mirai is actually powered completely by hydrogen—the most abundant element in our world.

The new Toyota Mirai will hit the market this year in California before spreading out across the nation as well. It runs on an updated version of the Hybrid Synergy Drive, which powers most of Toyota’s hybrid cars, turned now to hydrogen power use. The electric motor, in this case, is powered by the hydrogen fuel stack, smaller, more efficient, and easier to recharge than a battery pack.

That powertrain will push the new Toyota Mirai to 300 miles a charge, also giving it an output of 153 horsepower. We can’t wait to see this car, the sedan whose name literally means “future,” come to us here at Empire Toyota. And we also can’t wait for you to come see us as well, to learn more about the Mirai or any other vehicle in our lineup

Seven Toyota Models Earn Top IIHS Honors


2014 RAV4

RAV4 – 2014 pictured.


2014 is nearly at its end, which means the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has compiled its comprehensive list of 2015 Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ winners. Here at Empire Toyota, we tell our customers that Toyota’s lineup features some of the safest cars on the road today, and there’s no better way to prove it than by showing off some of the accolades.

In all, seven 2015 Toyota models earned distinctions from IIHS, with two Top Safety Pick winners and an impressive five Top Safety Pick+ winners in the bunch.

In order for the 2015 Toyota Avalon and RAV4 to earn Top Safety Pick honors, they had to earn scores of “good” in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints/seats tests as well as a score of “acceptable” or “good” in the small overlap front.

The five TSP+ winners—2015 Camry, Highlander, Prius, Prius v, and Sienna—had to land similar scores and ratings of “advanced” or “superior” in front crash prevention, which was achieved in each case with the availability of Toyota’s Pre-Collision System.

“At Toyota, our focus remains on the safety and peace of mind of our customers,” said Dino Triantafyllos, Toyota’s North American Chief Quality Officer. “We’re pleased the IIHS has recognized the strong and improved safety performance of our vehicles in a range of crash tests.”

If safety is a priority for your next new car purchase in 2015, there’s no better carmaker than Toyota; when it comes to Toyota, there’s no dealer better than Empire.

New Toyota Prius Design Goes Back to the Drawing Board


2014 Prius

2014 Prius before its 2015 makeover

When you are the considered the global leader in hybrid car production, it’s important that each generation of hybrid models you put out are the best. This is exactly what Toyota is hoping to do with the new Toyota Prius design. At a recent meeting to approve the next-generation Prius, the top members of the Japanese carmaker rebuffed the design, asking the lead engineer to try again.

“The design redo was instructed by myself, and the president said the same thing,” said Mitsuhisa Kato, executive vice president for Toyota. “We substantially refined the design, and we have finally reached a level where we can offer it next year.”

By going back to the drawing board, Toyota believes they have come back with the best Prius design yet. With a complete redesign, many Toyota execs believe they have left behind the Prius’s previously boxy styling for good, making it a more stylish choice for those consumers looking to go green.

Here at Empire Toyota, we also want the best for our customers. Make sure you come in to our dealership today to see why our customer service keeps Toyota fans coming back for more!

Toyota’s Environmental Report: Generating Eco-Friendly Solutions

Toyota works hard to keep the world in a better state.

Toyota works hard to keep the world in a better state.

Here at Empire Toyota, we’re proud to be associated with an automaker like Toyota that really cares about the environment. Recently, the company announced a new North American Environmental Report, detailing everything green it’s doing and wants to do in the future.

According to Toyota, the company is focusing on carbon output, clean water, recycled materials, increasing biodiversity, and outreach programs. Toyota environmental priorities are reflected in their cars and their factories in several ways:

  • Toyota’s first-ever production fuel cell car, the Toyota Mirai, uses hydrogen as fuel and emits only water vapor. It will be available for sale to customers in California in fall 2015.
  • Toyota’s assembly plant in Cambridge, Ontario, captured, cleaned and recycled over 12 million gallons of water used to rinse vehicles during the painting process.
  • Toyota’s North American facilities reduced, reused, recycled or composted over 95 percent of non-regulated waste during calendar year 2013.

These are just some of the improvements Toyota listed in their report. Another major focus was on the hybrid technology which the company has been developing. To date, 2.4 million Toyota and Lexus hybrids in have been made in North America. They save about 500 million gallons of gasoline annually. All of these are part of Toyota’s larger project to revolutionize the auto industry with the environment in mind.

Toyota Mirai: It’s All in the Name

Toyota's Fuel Cell Concept

Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept at the NAIAS (North American International Auto Show)

Newton told us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. With gasoline-engine cars, for every controlled explosion of air and gasoline, we got propulsion and exhaust. Unfortunately, this exhaust contains carbon dioxide.

When it comes to the Toyota Mirai – the automaker’s fuel-cell vehicle – the opposite and equal reaction still gets you propulsion and emissions; only the emissions are water vapor. That’s a world of difference from carbon dioxide.

It’s reasonable to assume that this is why Toyota named its first FCV Mirai.  It means “future” in Japanese. This is a future that Toyota has believed in for a long time, seeing that they began development on hydrogen fuel-cells back in 1992.

The Mirai can be refueled in three to five minutes. Toyota sees this as a huge benefit over electric cars, in that customers do not have to learn any new tricks. The fuel-up will feel just like you are fueling up with gasoline.

Also, another huge benefit is that even though natural gas is expended to produce the hydrogen now, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Geo-thermal, wind, water – any power source can be used in the future.

Come out to Empire Toyota and talk to us more about the Toyota Mirai and other great Toyota models!