All posts by Toyota Cars

Continuously Variable Transmissions: What Are They and How Do They Work?

If you’ve been shopping for a new car recently, you’ve probably noticed the surge in continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) on the market. This innovative transmission technology is capable of perfect gear ratios and upping fuel economy.

According to Autoguide, a CVT doesn’t use gears, in the traditional sense. Instead, this transmission works by using a pair of variable-diameter pulleys (which look like cones) and a special high strength belt. Instead of shifting in and out of gears through a complex clutch and hydraulic system like a normal transmission, a CVT uses a system of cone-like pulleys (with one end thicker than the other) to eliminate unnecessary steps.

Jim Paris, director for Continental in the NAFTA region, explains: “By varying their dimensions the belt itself rides higher or lower on the pulleys and changes the ratio between the drive and the driven pulley.”

What’s different? Drivers will notice that CVTs don’t shift like normal cars; instead, you’re offered one smooth ride. Although this takes some getting used to, you’re always in the right “gear” when you’re using a CVT. This boosts fuel economy and optimizes power transfer. Though this technology was actually found in small engines, like some mowers, the belts were not strong enough for cars. Thanks to recent breakthroughs, the CVT is quickly becoming the ideal transmission option.

2016 Toyota Prius c Is Perfect for the Modern Driver

Today, cars are so much better than they used to be. They can simultaneously be more powerful and more efficient than their predecessors. Cars are also much safer and much more tech-friendly. One of the best new cars that is perfect for the modern driver is the 2016 Toyota Prius c.

This compact hybrid packs a punch when it comes to fuel efficiency, safety, design, and technology. For starters, it boasts the highest fuel efficiency in its segment with an EPA-estimated 53 mpg in the city.

If you want your Prius c to have a personality all its own, choose the new Persona Series Special Edition. This model will be limited to 1,500 units. It will come exclusively in black with the choice of two color accents that run along the grille, under the side windows, and cover the side mirrors. Choose between Electric Lime and Cherry Pearl.

No matter which trim you choose, the Prius c is built on a frame comprised of lightweight, high-strength steel. This simultaneously makes the Prius c more efficient and safer. The Prius c is also equipped with nine standard airbags and the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Brake Assist, and Smart Stop.

The 2016 Toyota Prius c will be coming to Bill Walsh Toyota soon. Let us know you’re interested and we’ll let you know when they arrive.

November Is Native American Heritage Month

Illinois has a rich history that is based on the Native American population that lived and still lives here today. In fact, the name “Illinois” comes from an Algonquian word Illiniwek, which means “the people.” To celebrate the history and remember these native people, November is recognized as Native American Heritage month.

The Illinois tribe was a large and powerful nation that occupied much of the Mississippi River valley. In colonial times, they became allies with French fur traders and other colonists who lived among them. Over time, the Illinois tribes were forced to leave and move to reservations in Oklahoma. Today, many Illinois Native Americans are part of the Peoria Indian Tribe of Oklahoma.

To learn more about the Native Americans that lived here and in other parts of the country, try a few new things.

  • Read a book. There are hundreds of books that document that history of Native Americans, like 1491: New Revelations of the Americans Before Columbus, written by Charles C. Mann.
  • Watch a lacrosse game. Lacrosse may be the true American sport, as it was developed by Native Americans as early as the 12th It was played as a celebration of spiritual life and games could last for days with people rotating in and out of teams.
  • Try a new recipe. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, which also celebrates our ties to Native Americans, try a few new recipes that use native foods grown right here.

An Accident Checklist Can Help Reduce Stress

Automobile accidents are challenging enough. Being unprepared, without a clue about what to do, can only add to the trauma. That’s why it’s a good idea to put together an accident checklist that includes the following:

Am I safe?

  • Your first priority is ensuring your own safety. Before anything else happens, make sure you are out of harm’s way. Attend to others if they are in danger.

Gather information

  • Record the names and addresses of everyone involved in the accident (including passengers). Note the make, model, year, and license plate number of every vehicle involved. Write down the insurance policy number and driver’s license number of every driver involved.

Record damage

  • Using your cell phone, take photos of the damage. If it helps, take photos of the entire scene. Write down the details.

File a claim

  • Report the accident to your insurance company.

Write down this checklist and keep in your glove box or save in your phone. Then, in the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident, you can simply work your way down the list.

Toyota Launches Programs to Address Teen Driving Safety

When it comes to driving safety, the stakes are high. In 2011, seven teenagers aged from 16 to 19 died everyday from motor vehicle injuries (CDC).

Toyota has long taken up the flag of teen driving safety. Just recently, the automaker launched two defensive driving campaigns aimed at encouraging teens to be better drivers.

TeenDrive365 Video Challenge

This is the fifth year that Toyota has offered this challenge in which high school students are asked to make a short film that inspires other teenagers to minimize driving distractions. The submissions are judged by a panel consisting of “community leaders, educators, communications experts, and Toyota representatives.” The winner will receive $15,000 and work with a bona fide film crew to re-shoot their film as a TV-ready PSA.

Toyota Driving Coach

The number one factor influencing how a teen will drive is their parents’ behavior behind the wheel. Armed with this data, Toyota created a program with DoSomething.org in which teens can help their parents become better drivers (making the teens better in the process). Teens will receive texts from DoSomething.org describing unsafe driving behaviors and then help the teens decide how to address those behaviors if they see them in their parents.

For more information on both programs, click here!

Participate in Pollution Prevention Week by Buying a Hybrid

September 20th through the 26th this year is recognized as Pollution Prevention Week. There are many ways we can try to prevent pollution, but we all know that one of the biggest causes of pollution is cars. That is why hybrids were invented.

If you’re feeling like you want to make your carbon footprint a little smaller and save some money on fuel at the same time, you should consider driving a hybrid, and nobody does hybrids better than Toyota.

Toyota has a full line-up of hybrids, including the Prius—the first mass-market hybrid vehicle. Today the Prius is available in four different models: the original Prius, Prius c, Prius v, and Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

In addition to the Prius models, Toyota also offers a hybrid version of the Camry, Avalon, and even the Highlander crossover. Starting with the 2016 model year, there will also be a RAV4 hybrid.

The most fuel-efficient of Toyota’s hybrids is the Prius Plug-in Hybrid. It gets an EPA-estimated 95 MPGe in electric mode and 50 mpg in hybrid mode. The compact Prius c is right behind its plug-in cousin with an EPA-estimated 53 mpg in the city.

If you want to make the switch to a hybrid, stop by Bill Walsh Toyota today and we’ll help you find the perfect hybrid to fit your lifestyle.

Toyota Funds Technical Programs Across the Country

Toyota knows the value of having well-trained associates, especially in the manufacturing industry. That is why the Toyota USA Foundation is working to support technical programs across the country for both high school students and adults.

In total, Toyota will provide $5.8 million in grants to help create and expand these programs.

“The Toyota USA Foundation is committed to supporting the American manufacturing sector to strengthen our economy,” said Michael Rouse, Toyota USA Foundation President, in a statement. “By helping students discover their interests in manufacturing careers now, we can cultivate their talents and passions to bolster this critical field for the future.”

Grant recipients include Project Lead the Way in Indianapolis, Indiana, which will introduce a hands-on Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) program in 40 different high schools. They will receive $1 million over two years.

Here at Bill Walsh Toyota, we are proud to be a part of a company that is working hard to help create valuable learning opportunities for students all across the country.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Highlights—Adventure and Protection

The next-generation Toyota Tacoma is almost here. Ever since redesigned mid-size pickup debuted at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, the automaker has been revealing snippets of information about it. Now, we have some of the best 2016 Toyota Tacoma highlights—ones that’ll hopefully get you as pumped as we are for the truck’s impending release!

GoPro Camera Mount

The 2016 Tacoma is designed to appeal to your sense of adventure. While you can buy a GoPro camera mount separately, Toyota is making it as easy as can be by making it a standard feature on the Tacoma. The truck is perfect for off-road adventures, so why not film your escapades so you can relive them later and show your friends how awesome your new truck is? Rumor has it you’ll even be able to buy the matching camera alongside your Tacoma from the dealership.

Locking Tailgates

For the first time ever, the Toyota Tacoma will feature standard locking tailgates. In past generations, Tacoma owners have sometimes taken to rigging their own locking mechanisms for their tailgates to avoid theft. But now, those tailgates will be safe as can be, so you won’t have to worry about anyone vandalizing your ride.

Updated Technology

The 2016 Tacoma will be the most tech-savvy variant yet. Qi wireless charging will allow you to keep your phone juiced up without worrying about remembering your charger. The cabin will be quieter than ever, with a multi-layer acoustic windshield, floor silencer pads, a sound-absorbing headliner, and enhanced seals. Toyota’s latest Entune infotainment system will also be available to help keep you entertained on the road.

Look for the Tacoma to appear later this year at Bill Walsh Toyota!

Coming Soon: Camry and Corolla Special Editions

Think you know the Toyota Camry and Corolla? Think again. The automaker will be releasing its Camry and Corolla Special Editions in mid-August, and it’s safe to say that both models will change your view of the two popular sedans in a major way.

Both special edition models made their rounds of the auto shows earlier this year, impressing us and making us excited for their release.

Now that the time is almost upon us, we’re learning the main details about these vehicles. The Camry Special Edition will be priced starting at $25,715 MSRP, and will feature a power tilt/slide moonroof, smoked taillamp treatment, Blue Stream Metallic and Blizzard Pearl exterior colors, Dark Blue interior trim, standard Qi-compatible wireless charging, and a whole host of sporty and unique features that’ll make you stand out on the road.

The Corolla Special Edition comes with an MSRP of $20,635. For that price, you’ll get a choice between three exterior colors: Absolutely Red (exclusive to this model), Black Sand Pearl, and Super White. Other features include a red-accented dash panel and door trim, black mixed-media seats with red contrast stitching, and a Smart Key System with push-button start.

Toyota will make a total of 12,000 Camry Special Edition units, and 8,000 Corolla Special Edition units between August 2015 and January 2016. Both models will be available soon at Bill Walsh Toyota, so hurry down and take one out for a spin before they sell out!

Toyota Helps Open Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center

Spinal cord injuries can be some of the most life-changing injuries—causing many people to become paralyzed. Unfortunately, this happens all too frequently to some of our military veterans while fighting overseas. One veteran, Romy Camargo was paralyzed after a sniper’s bullet hit him in the neck.

After his injuries, he and his wife, Gaby, decided to help make the lives of other paraplegics and quadriplegics better by opening a spinal cord injury recovery center called Stay In Step.

Toyota donated $300,000 to help open the doors of the center in Tampa, Florida, that will be available to both veterans and civilians. In addition to the funds, Toyota donated a wheelchair-accessible 2015 Toyota Sienna minivan at the grand opening on June 20th.

“Supporting Stay In Step is aligned with Toyota’s corporate vision to lead the way to the future of mobility and enrich lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people,” said Chief Administrative Officer Simon Nagata, in a statement. “Toyota is proud to support Stay In Step and the tremendous work of Romy and Gaby.”

Stay In Step will use intense strength and conditioning exercises to help patients on the road to recovery and will focus on a “never quit” mentality for its patients and families.

Wow! What amazing dedication from the Camargo family and Toyota to help people get back on their feet. You find more information online and make sure to visit us at Bill Walsh Toyota for all your Toyota needs.