Toyota Canada’s Tacoma Tour 2016

We recently had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the 2016 Toyota Tacoma at Toyota Canada’s cross-country tour titled #TacomaTour2016. Toyota Canada created the national tour as a way to promote its all new, long-awaited Tacoma truck which is arriving in showrooms this Fall. We recently caught up with the tour at the Vaughn Mills shopping area just north of Toronto.

Toyota Tacoma event

#TacomaTour2016

During the event, we had the opportunity to discuss trucks with esteemed truck editor Howard Elmer and he had nothing but good things to say about the new Tacoma. He described how the new Tacoma builds on its rich heritage while taking us through the “ins and the outs” of the new truck. Along the way we also swapped our personal truck stories which was very cool for me as an owner of a 2006 Tacoma.

You literally could not miss the new Tacoma as it was painted in Toyota’s new “inferno” orange colour making it stand out dramatically from the other vehicles at the event. Toyota also had a range of other vehicles at the event. We ended up briefly test driving the new 4Runner model as well which was very impressive on first impression.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma

With the Tacoma only seeing minor updates since its last major facelift back in 2006, it was time to update this iconic mid-sized truck. Toyota has delivered on their promise to reinvigorate the Tacoma model with its new design as it boosts angular bold lines with a contoured rugged exterior while also providing an ultra modern, comfortable interior. The demo on hand was the double cab TRD sport model which is near the top end trim level. Unfortunately, it was the only model in Canada so we were not allowed to test it on the road…for obvious reasons!

The Tacoma’s exterior has sharper more modern lines with added stamping and a new bold front face. The new interior is sharp and a huge upgrade from the current design. With the addition of all the modern bells and whistles… like wireless charging, bluetooth, sunroof, and a GoPro camera mount, this TRD sport version really does dress up nicely.

The seats seem stiffer and a little higher off the floor which should please some people who have complained about the “low ride” style of the old seats. Not only does the new stamped tailgate look rugged it now comes with a much beefier tailgate.

New stamped tailgate

New stamped “beefy” tailgate

The old tailgate was much thinner and very light while the new stronger tailgate has been added to improve its usability for cottage toys such as four-wheelers and heavily stocked coolers. Although beefier overall, the new tailgate is still light to use thanks to a very innovative lift assist system. In addition, the new tailgate has a much-needed lock which integrates seamlessly with the factory tri-fold tonneau cover which will surely keep your tools and gear safe in the country as well as the city. The sport model also comes with a slick factory tow hitch.

Toyota Tacoma Tailgate

Toyota Tacoma Tailgate

This limited version of the Tacoma also has a bed lamp above the box over the cab access window. This is a great feature to illuminate your truck bed when you need the light most when out camping in the wilderness.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

New bed lamp

As for under the hood: Gone is the old four litre V6, replaced by either a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or the brand new 3.5-liter Atkinson V6. The V6 features optimized fuel injection and an Atkinson power cycle (similar to a hybrid) for improved efficiency. This new engine should be one of the winners in today’s V6 fuel economy. A six-speed automatic transmission is available with both engines, while a six-speed manual will be available for the V6 only. Toyota has not announced any power specifications or fuel economy estimates yet.  However, if we get 19-20 mpg with our 2006 Tacoma with 225,000 KMs…we’re sure this new model will leave our truck in the dust fuel efficiency wise.

Tacoma TRD models will also offer a multi-terrain system that allows the driver to adjust a rotary dial that optimizes various systems for surfaces including mud, sand and rocks. A driver-selectable “crawl mode” also takes care of the throttle and brakes during low-speed maneuvers. A limited-slip differential and locking rear differential will also be available for the 4×4 off-road versions for increased capability on the trail.  A rear differential lock is nothing short of a life saver when caught in the thick mud or snow.

No official Canadian pricing has been announced, but expect the 2016 Toyota Tacoma to cost roughly the same as the current model when it goes on sale this fall.  We are really looking forward to the Tacoma to hit showrooms as it is a much needed addition to the already hot mid-size truck segment which includes the new GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado. The redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma should remain a top-pick for buyers looking for a fuel-efficient truck with interior refinements, updated technology while still having the off-road prowess the Tacoma has always been known for.

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It’s official, Jeremy Clarkson is out and Top Gear will never be the same

Well it’s official, Jeremy Clarkson has been fired from the BBC. The story has finally emerged about his sudden suspension back on March 10th as the BBC provided the full details from their resulting investigation.

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson’s contract will not be renewed after an “unprovoked physical attack” on a Top Gear producer, the BBC’s director general has confirmed as of about 6 hours ago.

In terms of timeline –

Clarkson was suspended on 10 March, following what was called by BBC a “fracas” with Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon. The physical altercation, which took place in a Yorkshire hotel, was said to have occurred because no hot food was provided following a day’s filming.

During the physical attack Oisin Tymon was struck, resulting in swelling and bleeding to his lip.”  The attack lasted “around 30 seconds and was halted by the intervention of a witness. The report went on to document that verbal abuse was sustained over a longer period and contained the strongest expletives and threats to sack Mr Tymon, who believed he had lost his job.

Well, the times are a changing as it sure does seem like celebrities are getting away with bad behaviour less today compared to days past.  All of which is likely a good thing, it is just sad that it happened to our favourite show Top Gear and at its peak.

Top Gear today is a global phenomena with an estimated 350 million viewers worldwide, making it the most watched show on TV. Originally created in 1977, as a regional television motoring show produced by BBC Midlands it has gone on and reinvented itself several times and time will tell what its future holds. We sincerely hope the show goes on for the BBC and its global audience but with the rumour mill already swirling it seems unlikely things will be status quo. The latest news about Clarkson suggests he is already in talks with Netflix and with Hammond and May alluding to them all being a package deal change looks likely.

Source: BBC, Top Gear Wikia 

Canadian Star Trek “Boogie” Van is up for sale

We could not pass up sharing this story that came out in a number of news outlets including Jalopnik and the Toronto Star recently.  A Vancouver man has put his 1978 GMC G15 Vandura “Boogie Van up for sale on Craigslist.

This is no ordinary van.  It’s covered with Star Trek themed murals including images of the cast mates of the original show along with a topless alien woman. Interestingly, the airbrushed designs were all painted by Toronto artist Gordon S. Roy in 1980.  I will let you come to your own decision on this one, but you do have to admit it seems like quite the vehicle for only $9500.

Star Trek van

Star Trek van

New Dodge Viper Documentary Fights Winter Blues

The first week back after the holidays is always tough but this week’s extreme cold has not helped shake the winter blues. However, have no fear since our good friends at Dodge have out done themselves with a newly created 22 minute documentary titled “Viper: DNA of a Supercar.  The new online video showcases how the Dodge Viper is created like no other sports car – with a relentless attention to detail originality and handcraftmanship.

The film can be viewed at driveSRT.com/2015/viper/documentary.  After watching this video, I can guarantee you will want to order one of these 645 horsepower fire-breathing dragons.  And we are always ready to give the Motor City a shout out, so how cool is it that the Viper is built in Detroit?

We are especially looking forward to seeing what the manufacturers have up their sleeves next week at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

The Mercedes C63 AMG Experiment

After spending a glorious day at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park watching the Tudor United Sportscar series we thought it was time to have a little fun with some old school video. Check out this 2012 Chris Harris segment where he takes a Mercedes C63 AMG coupe with the optional 480 HP power upgrade and lets her rip on some smaller rubber. The moral of this video is “Everyone should learn to drive with big power on skinny rubber!

All-new 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Makes its Canadian Debut

The all-new 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C made its highly anticipated Canadian debut at the 15th annual Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival, the official kick-off to this weekend’s Grand Prix du Canada in Montreal, June 5-8, 2014.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

The unveiling of the two-seat, mid-engine 4C, also marks the return of the storied Alfa Romeo brand to Canada. Inspired by the brand’s legendary racing history, the Italian-built coupe features a state-of-the-art carbon fibre monocoque, an all-aluminum turbocharged engine influenced by Formula 1 and advanced technological solutions that deliver supercar-level performance and driving exhilaration.

For its 15th anniversary, the popular Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival will have the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C as the event’s official automotive sponsor. Beginning Thursday at 11 AM, the Alfa Romeo Pit Stop challenge is an area where celebrities, athletes and the public can test their skills at a timed, tire-changing contest to see how they measure up to the top-level F1 pit crews.

“What better place to debut an all-new performance vehicle inspired by Alfa Romeo’s legendary racing history, than at a festival celebrating the largest motor sports event in Canada?,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO of Chrysler Canada. “With its purposeful design for maximum performance, the all-new 4C coupe is sure to be the talk of the Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival.”

For the Alfa Romeo brand, the all-new 4C represents the essential sportiness embedded within the brand’s DNA: Italian style, performance and technical excellence, for maximum driving pleasure in complete safety.

The Alfa Romeo 4C is inspired by the century-old traditions of Alfa Romeo and projects the brand’s authentic values. The “4C” name recalls Alfa Romeo’s great sporting tradition: the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s distinguished racing and road cars fitted with powerful eight and six cylinder engines. The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C model’s designation continues this tradition with the latest, all-aluminum 1,750 cc turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The very best technical and industrial expertise of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands were used to develop the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C. Teamwork between the two brands included the integration of the Alfa Romeo Style Center design with the well-known craftsmanship of the Maserati brand’s Modena production plant. In addition, the Alfa Romeo 4C was boosted by the technological contributions of Italian suppliers, who are international leaders in manufacturing high-performance components.This is a distinguishing trait of Alfa Romeo, a brand with a century of history that continues to be one of the most famous and popular ambassadors of Italian products around the world.

The Alfa Romeo 4C will be available in Canada in the summer of 2014.

For more information check out Chrysler Group’s news page.

 

Tony Hawk jumps over a moving Mini Cooper S

Many folks born in the 1970s like me grew up idolizing Powell Peralta’s Bones Brigade and the admiration has stayed with me all my life. Consequently, it should be no surprise we had to post something about 46-year-old Tony Hawk “the King of skateboarding” jumping a Mini Cooper S.  He truly is the greatest skateboarder to ever drop in and it’s so cool that he is still ripping it at his age.  The stunt was performed in celebration of the partnership between Mini USA and Hawk’s Birdhouse Skateboards Tour, details of which you can read in the press release here. It’s worth mentioning that this is great PR on Mini’s part as Tony remains a global sports icon and still very relevant as a youth oriented brand of which Mini is focusing on here in North America.

Check out the video which proves Tony’s still got the moves.

Ken Block’s Gymkhana Six

It’s that time of year again! Ken Block along with sponsoring partner Need for Speed have come out with a new installment of the epic “Gymkhana series”.  Having covered the infamous series for the past few years there is nothing in the world like it.  This latest version picks up where the fifth installment from the streets of San Francisco left off. Titled Gymkhana SIX: The Ultimate Gymkhana Grid Course this new version is set in an industrial area where once again Block is able to do the impossible; drifting between shipping containers, hitting man-made jumps while narrowly avoiding Lamborghini Aventadors and cops on Segways.

Ken-Block-Gymkhana-6

Ken Block in Gymkhana 6

After watching the six and half-minute video it’s no surprise this series is one of the most watched and shared web franchises of all time.  Ken Block truly is a magician while in the driver’s seat of his purpose-built, out of this world, 2013 Ford Fiesta ST RX43.  I only wish I was a member of Ford’s marketing team when the deal was signed to get Block to switch from Subaru.  I’m sure they pay him a pretty penny but seriously there is no better advertisement in the world for the blue oval.

Please beware after watching this film you may think you are a rally star but I’m afraid you will still be an armchair star like the rest of us.  Please note: video participant is the best professional stunt driver in the world…..Don’t try this at home.

Motor Trend’s World’s Greatest Drag race with only engine sounds

What do you say when the 12 best performance cars in the world are tested at an airstrip by the folks at Motor Trend in their third iteration of the Motor Trend’s Best Driver’s Car competition? If you love cars as much as we do, you probably have seen it already and are still giddy from its awesomeness!  Well, hold on because it gets better as Motor Trend has outdone themselves as they have posted an unplugged version of the epic drag race. Yes that’s right, same race, same cars just with no music and narration. Wow!!!

The full video includes the roundtable of all the Motor Trend gang discussing their opinions about the various cars.  To check the out drag race go to 19:35 in the video.

Here’s the full list of cars in the video.  Quite the showcase that’s for sure. The only key one missing is the 2014 Corvette Stingray…..

  • Aston Martin Vanquish
  • Audi R8 V10 Plus
  • Bentley Continental GT Speed
  • BMW M6 Coupe
  • Ford Focus ST
  • Jaguar F-Type V8 S
  • Mercedes-Benz E63S AMG Wagon
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series
  • Nissan GT-R Track
  • Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
  • Porsche Cayman S
  • SRT Viper

Source: Autoblog.ca 

GYMKHANA FIVE: THE MAKING OF

One of our favourite car video series is Ken Block’s Gymkhana, which shows off the driving skills of rally car driver Ken Block as he drives through a variety of on- and off-street courses.

The latest installment in the series, released back in July 2012, is Gymkhana Five which is set in San Francisco. However, it’s just this week that the making of video for Gymkhana Five was released by Ken Block and DC Shoes.

The video provides an in depth look at the video production process, from the many hours of scouting out locations, to vehicle preparations, to takes and re-takes.

The making of video runs approximately 10 minutes and is well worth checking out even if you aren’t a rally car fan.

The original Gymkhana Five video can be found below: