Our Point of View: A Peek at 2009

September 15, 2008

by Toyota Open Road Blog

We get lots of requests for information about upcoming vehicles, and mostly what we can say is this: "Sorry, we don’t discuss future products."

But this is one of those rare moments in time when we can tell you a few things about what’s coming for 2009. That’s because the product release date looms, thus secrecy soon won’t be an issue. So here goes:

Standard for Tundra in select region s is the capacity to use E85 Flex Fuel on 4x4 models powered by Toyota’s 5.7L V8 engine.

Additionally, two new option packages will be available for Tundra: TRD Sport and TRD Rock Warrior. Both offer unique wheels. TRD Sport gets color-keyed front and rear bumpers and Rock Warrior gets a color-keyed front bumper and a matte-black rear bumper. Rock Warrior also gets a special TRD-tuned off-road suspension.

Highlander raises the ante with a new option: a 2.7L four-cylinder engine on the two-wheel-drive base model. Available in January, the 187-hp four-cylinder beats the V6’s fuel efficiency, yet still keeps performance brisk.

4Runner gets a boost in its off-road prowess, thanks to an optional SR5 Trail Editio n package for the 4x4 V6 model. Equipment includes locking rear differential, Active Traction Control, Bilstein shock absorbers and 16-inch five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels with P265/70 R16 tires. Externally, the package adds a color-keyed grille and door handles, black tubular side step and tubular roof rack and three colors: Titanium Metallic, Natural White and Shadow Mica. Inside, the Trail Edition offers water-resistant seats with Charcoal fabric bolsters and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system and detachable TomTom personal navigation device with WMA and MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth and satellite radio capability and iPod connectivity.

Tacoma gets four new exterior colors and updated audio systems, but the most notable change is the suite of safety features made standard. All Tacoma model s now include the STAR safety system, which includes an Anti-Lock Brake system, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control. Also joining the list of standard equipment are active headrests, rear side-curtain and front seat-mounted side airbags. A new limited-slip differential will help keep things moving in low-traction situations.

The 2009 RAV4 perks up with a new 179-hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine that produces more power than the engine it replaces and offers higher fuel efficiency. It also has a refreshed look, thanks to new a grille, tail lamps, seat fabric and other minor modifications. A new sport appearance package also is available on 4x4 V6 models. The package includes color-keyed power heated outside mirrors, stainless-steel exhaust tip, four run-flat tires and available exclusive exterior color: Elusive Blue Metallic. Even the rear door has been redesigned - without the RAV4’s door-mounted spare.

Over at Lexus, the IS 350/IS 250’s suspension and steering tuning have been adjusted for even better handling and control, and the IS now offers new shifting functionality, which allows the available paddle shifters to be used when the transmission is in "D" (drive) mode. The IS also gets new 17- and 18-inch wheels and side mirrors with turn signals incorporated. The Lexus Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management system is now standard on the IS 250.

Originally published on the Toyota Open Road blog on Sept. 15, 2008.

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