Toyota's Highlander is the manufacturer's best-selling SUV. Indeed, to many drivers, the Highlander is the only SUV that they would consider buying. The Highlander first appeared in 2000 and, 13 years later, a third, all-new body shape was revealed at the New York International Auto Show. With the model arriving at dealerships in the near future, consumers can look forward to all the developments that the 2014 Toyota Highlander will have to offer.
The new Highlander certainly looks the part. The all-new exterior is sleek, stoic, and very commanding. Everything about the new design looks larger than its predecessor. The grille is wider. The fender creases are more pronounced and the car looks longer than the 2013 model. Indeed, it is longer by a full 3 inches. The additional length combined with other design features means that drivers will benefit from more cargo volume behind the third row. The additional size gives the vehicle more presence, for sure.
The new Highlander is available with three powertrain options. The base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine will be capable of 187 brake horsepower. Drivers looking for more power will have the option to choose a 3.5-liter V6, which will be capable of an impressive 270 brake horsepower. Finally, the most environmentally conscious drivers will also be able to choose from a hybrid option. A new six-speed transmission will offer drivers further fuel economy, and drivers will also be able to choose from front or all-wheel drive.
The Toyota engineers have also worked on the Highlander's interior for the new 2014 model. New features include a 6.1-inch touch screen display or an optional 8-inch screen with additional Entune® apps. Bluetooth® connectivity is standard, and you can also choose the available rear-seat entertainment package to keep the kids happy. The third row is wider and more comfortable, and the interior features softer materials throughout. As with every Toyota, the safety specification is excellent as standard as well with the Toyota Star Safety System™, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Anti-lock Braking System, Smart Stop Technology, Traction Control, and Brake Assist. All drivers will benefit from a rear-view camera and Hill-Start Assist. Parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and a pre-collision system are also available.
Drivers have always enjoyed excellent value for money when it comes to the Highlander, and the 2014 model is no exception. The 2014 Highlander's exciting new design looks set to reignite interest in this much-loved model for a whole new generation of drivers.
Each year, the Consumer Electronics Show is home to some of the greatest technological innovations in existence. And thanks to the stateside debut of the hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Toyota, the 2014 show was no exception. Toyota’s announcement regarding updates to hydrogen infrastructure also excited automotive fans in attendance. Read on to learn more about Toyota’s highly-anticipated fuel-cell vehicle (FCV).
The all-new Toyota FCV is set to have a 310-mile range between hydrogen refills, with a 100+ mph top speed. The environmentally-friendly vehicle promises a zero-to-60 time of just 10 seconds. The fuel-cell model is also equipped with a propulsion system, two hydrogen tanks and an electric drive system akin to the Toyota hybrid drivetrain.
Toyota’s new fuel-cell vehicle is capable of seating four passengers inside, and impressing an inordinate amount of onlookers outside. Specifically, the FCV is replete with a well-sculpted exterior design and an enlarged grille that allows for efficient airflow among other striking features.
Though an official price has not yet been announced for Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, it is estimated to be in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.
For more information on this ground-breaking vehicle and other new Toyota models, contact us today.
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The easy answer to what happens to car engines as they age is that they wear out. The much more complicated answer is exactly what begins to wear in an engine and when it does. The standard everyday vehicle engine is a reciprocating engine. This means that a series of pistons push down on a crankshaft, which changes the pushing and pulling motions of the pistons into a rotating motion that is passed on to the gearbox and then to the car’s wheels.
A lot of engine components either reciprocate or rotate at very high speeds and high temperatures, but modern-day engines are well built to handle this as parts that will wear out are usually easy to replace. The first thing likely to happen is the camshaft drive belt failing, and this can certainly damage your engine if the pistons smash into the valves, resulting in a big repair bill. All carmakers have a preset mileage at which the camshaft drive belt should be replaced, and some cars even have maintenance-free chain drives that do not have to be replaced.
Spark plugs are another thing that need to be replaced at a set interval, as the plugs themselves can burn out or become too dirty to work properly. These usually just screw in and out of the engine and are an easy fix.
The main wear inside the engine comes from all the moving parts. When correctly maintained, the oil in a car’s engine fills the tiny spaces between the moving parts so the parts themselves are not actually touching. Some wear does occur, especially in the early days, when the engine is “breaking in.” This is merely the process where all the different parts wear ever so slightly so that they all work smoothly together. That is why most automakers suggest that you not treat the engine too harshly or run it to extreme speeds for the first 1,000 miles or so.
In the long run, the cylinder bores will wear out the piston rings. These rings keep the oil in the engine from getting into the top of the cylinders where the fuel is being burned. That’s one of the main reasons why old or poorly maintained cars have a dark smoky exhaust – it is oil that has gone through the cylinder heads and out the exhaust.
The engine’s bearings can also wear out. These are metal inserts in the rods that connect the pistons to the crankshaft. If they begin to wear out, it’s easier and cheaper to replace the bearings and not the entire rod.
These last two types of engine wear should occur over a very long time period, unless there is some sort of manufacturing defect or a lack of maintenance, such as not changing the oil and oil filter at the prescribed intervals. Oil collects all the tiny bits of metal that can wear away in an engine and the filter removes those bits from the oil flow. So not only does oil keep your engine running smoothly, it also keeps it clean and free of stuff that can increase the wear rates.
Engines do wear out, but unlike in the old days, modern ones can last for a significant length of time if proper maintenance is carried out.
5 ways to help you protect the environment when washing your car
Washing the car is often a bit of a chore, but it can be much nicer during the summer when the sun is shining and the temperature is warm. Indeed, many people find washing the car to be a relaxing weekend pastime, and it can also ensure that your car stays in top condition. Of course, everyone is under increasing pressure to act in a more environmentally-friendly manner, and washing the car is no different. Here are some ways to be "green" when you wash the car.
Wash the Car on a Permeable Surface
Try not to wash the car on the pavement or on a driveway. Concrete surfaces repel water, forcing the excess water into the storm drains. This means that any oil or cleaning fluid in the water runs straight into the water system. Washing the car on a permeable surface like grass or dirt will allow natural microbes in the soil or sand to break down some of the chemicals.
Use a Bucket Instead of a Hose
Using a hose may be simple and efficient, but it also uses a lot more water than you need. If you want to save water and energy, revert to a traditional bucket. This will reduce the amount of water that you use enormously, even if you change the water a couple of times. A quick rinse with a hose may be a good way to remove excess detergent, but use sparingly. If you must use a hose, always choose one with an adjustable nozzle so that you can reduce the amount of spray to a minimum.
The Right Time to Wash
Choose the right time to wash your car. During the summer, for example, it really isn't necessary to clean the car daily or even more than once a month. A good cleaning once a month will help protect the paint and keep the car gleaming while reducing water and detergent consumption. As much as you may like the look of a freshly cleaned car, it really doesn't need to be done that often.
Reduce the Usage of Detergents
You should also aim to reduce the usage of detergents. Generally speaking, clean, warm water and a good cloth will be able to shift normal dirt and dust and will reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that you are sending into the environment. If need be, use a small amount of detergent on particularly stubborn stains or marks.
Look for Natural Alternatives
Try and look for natural alternatives to detergents and cleaning chemicals. For example, a cloth soaked in vinegar can be used to remove dead bugs from the front of the car. Denatured alcohol may be used to remove tree sap. Sprinkle baking soda on the car seats and then allow it to rest for thirty minutes before vacuum cleaning to freshen up the upholstery too.
Cleaning the car may be satisfying but it can also take its toll on the environment too. Use these simple tips for a greener, cleaner experience.
Standard gasoline is a finite resource, which has scientists and drivers starting to pay attention to the alternative fuels of the future.
Solar recharging is one alternative to internal combustion that has been around for a long time. Solar-powered cars have been in development for decades, but solar batteries have not so far proved efficient or powerful enough to power a modern car at a significant speed for any great distance under normal weather conditions. Efficiency of solar cells is being improved all the time, however, and solar power could still have its “day in the sun” as an alternative fuel of the future.
Biodiesel is another area where a significant amount of scientific research and development has already been invested. Crops including corn, wheat, and sugar cane can be harvested and converted into “biofuel”—usually ethanol-based. In fact, the enthusiasm for biofuels has created its own problems, as in some areas it has reduced the amount of farming land available to produce food for local populations. Biodiesel also has some of the same environmental implications as gasoline, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (although it contains far less of other polluting chemicals). Thus, while it is certainly a renewable energy source, there is disagreement among scientists and motorists about whether biodiesel is truly an alternative fuel of the future.
But if solar recharging and biodiesel from ground crops don't sound as though they're quite going to replace your unleaded gasoline any time soon, there are other options. Scientists have been excited about algae for a long time. As the world's population grows, and natural resources dwindle, many believe that simple algae, which grows abundantly in our oceans, could point the way both to alternative fuels of the future, and also to potential sources of food for future generations. It could be a practical, if not exactly appetizing, solution.
Hydrogen fuel cells are another potential fuel of the future, and one which is already being taken very seriously indeed. Hydrogen is a “lighter than air gas” which is estimated to make up as much as 75% of all matter in the universe. It's therefore both abundant and fairly simple to derive from both water and air. The widespread uptake of hydrogen fuel cells would, however, require massive investment in transport infrastructure: first, in terms of transporting and storing hydrogen gas, and second, in converting cars to run on the material, which differs from ethanol in that it requires making major changes to cars' engines.
There's also some concern over the safety of hydrogen as a widespread fuel. It is highly explosive when mixed with oxygen, which is why we don't use the gas to power airships anymore! Any new technology will bring its own challenges, and sooner or later we will have to choose one option or the other to replace dwindling reserves of crude oil.
States are going bankrupt. States provide money for schools. It doesn't take an 'A' in math to realize this equation equals zero when it comes to school funding. What, therefore, is a parent to do?
Where government has failed, corporate sponsors and other entities have gotten involved to make sure your child's education doesn't get an ’F’. They can't do it alone. Here's how you can help.
- A Direct Donation - The great thing about donating money to a school is you get to choose what it's used for. Don't think the club your son or daughter wants to join has enough funding? Donate. Think the basketball team needs new uniforms? Buy them. Don't like your daughter's science teacher? Well, there's not much you can (legally) do about that.
- Business Fundraisers - Find stores that contribute a certain percentage of their sales to a particular school. In the past, many nationally prominent retail outlets have designated a portion of money used to buy school supplies toward the school of your choice. Find out which these stores are and patronize them.
- Business Partners - Partner with a local business and ask it to donate a percentage of one day's profits to your school. Here's how it works. Your school, club, or organization distributes fliers to bring to a particular restaurant on a particular day. Anyone bringing in a flier has a certain portion of the money spent that day go to a specific school or club. It's a win-win. The business gets more business and the school or club gets more money.
- Recycling - Earn green by going green. Regardless of which "green" you prefer, schools can raise money by recycling old ink cartridges, cell phones, and other electronics. A simple Internet search will provide numerous organizations that accept used electronics and give money or supplies to any registered school.
- Leading the Charge - A portion of your credit card purchases can be given to the school of your choice. Some stores already have a program in place--Target, for example. Find out which stores in your area have a program, register and shop there. There are also numerous e-shopping outlets that have similar programs.
- Corporate Sponsors - This is similar to teaming up with businesses. Schools can gain sponsorships from computer stores, local TV networks, or home improvement outlets to receive heavily discounted items. The corporate sponsor, in turn, gets good publicity.
- Fundraisers - Children have been raising money for their school for years by selling magazine subscriptions, useless doodads, or buckets of cookie dough. If you really want to help out your child's school, buy some fundraising items.
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