The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Yaris Hybrid Review (2022)

Thinking of buying a new Toyota Yaris in 2022? Read Caroline's Toyota Yaris Hybrid review for everything you need to know about Toyota's small hatchback.

The Toyota Yaris is one of Ireland's most loved small cars. It's been around for over 20 years and is a consistent top 10 bestselling car in Ireland. In 2020 Toyota launched an all-new generation of the popular Yaris and it was quick to snatch the award of European Car of the Year 2021.

In 20 years, the Yaris has become Toyota’s most important model in Europe, steadily increasing both its sales volume and its market share.

The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the new Toyota Yaris?

There's something major happening at Toyota in recent years. It's called TNGA or Toyota New Global Architecture. If you thought Toyotas were boring cars, you need to drive their new generation vehicles.

The new Yaris is the first small Toyota to be built on Toyota New Global Architecture. The GA-B platform is central to the car’s improved dynamic performance, giving a lower centre of gravity and much greater body rigidity. A range of Toyota Safety Sense active safety systems come as standard, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as Lane Trace Assist and Emergency Steering Assist.

The Yaris Hybrid is more powerful and efficient than before
The Yaris Hybrid is more powerful and efficient than before

The latest Yaris is also a much cooler looking car than the model it replaces. It's a far more energetic and dynamic design. A bi tone roof is available with alloy wheel sizes up to 17" and new LED light technology.

Inside the Yaris

Toyota has transformed the interior of the latest generation Yaris. Quality and design have taken a real step up in line with this car's cooler and more youthful image.

The interior has a more open and spacious feel when compared to the outgoing model. The driving position is better, sportier.

There are more soft touch materials and cool ambient lighting available on some models. There are 7" and 8" touchscreens available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The steering wheel is smaller and sportier. New auxiliary buttons have a greater tactile quality.

The new GA-B platform allowed for a reduction in the car’s overall length, making it the most compact model in its class, but with an increase in its wheelbase for more space and comfort for everyone on board. The new Yaris has more space and elbow room - an extra 20 mm between the driver and front passenger. The boot is nowhere near class-leading but it has some depth and offers an adequate 286 litres of space.

Inside the 2020 Toyota Yaris
The interior of the new Toyota Yaris

In Ireland the Toyota Yaris is available in five trim levels –  Aura, Luna, Luna Sport, Platinum and Premier. The 2022 Toyota Yaris range kicks off in Ireland with a 1.0-litre petrol with 72 hp, while there is also a 1.5-litre petrol manual and a 1.5-litre hybrid auto.

Pricing starts at €20,140 for the Yaris Aura petrol, while the Toyota Yaris Hybrid pricing starts from €23,990 in Luna trim.

How economical is the Toyota Yaris Hybrid?

The new Toyota Yaris uses the latest, fourth-generation Toyota hybrid technology. New components have been engineered to be compact, lightweight and efficient. The focus in the development of this car was not just to make it more efficient, but to also make the car more enjoyable to drive.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid now offers EV driving for longer periods in urban traffic. CO2 emissions have dropped, while it's more efficient than before too. Under the bonnet there's a 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain to improve efficiency by 20% and put out even more power at 116 hp. It's quicker and more responsive to the throttle.

Behind the wheel, the new driving position gives you a greater sense of control and connection with the car, supporting the fun-to-drive character of the new Yaris. The car feels more agile and engaging at the wheel. The steering is quicker and more direct. The hybrid delivers the power in a smoother, quieter and more refined way than the previous generation of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid.

While built for efficiency, the Yaris Hybrid feels natural on the road, like any petrol driven small car. A revised suspension set-up means it covers the tarmac better, with a softer and smoother ride. In town driving it can run up to 80% of the time on electric power, with the engine only cutting in when needed. So in urban environments it helps your eco-credentials, while sipping at the fuel.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.5 litres per 100 km, with some long distance motorway runs included. So this is a good return on fuel economy for a small car.

The new Yaris is a radically improved car
The new Yaris is a radically improved car

Did you like it?

The new Toyota Yaris is far more desirable than the car it replaces. It has truly blossomed as a small car on the new TNGA platform. It looks great and even quite sporty in higher trim levels like the top of the range Premier model on test for Changing Lanes.

Already an award winner, the new Yaris has been suitably revamped inside and now feels a lot more competitive in its segment with the latest technology and digital features.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid has also been greatly improved. It's much more refined now on the road to drive. The car is more fun to drive than it was before. It's comfortable by small car standards too. It is more expensive to buy than the petrol models in the range, but the car has power and feels good on the road.

Toyota has just welcomed the new Toyota Yaris Cross to Ireland, an SUV spin off of the Yaris sharing much of the same DNA but in more of a crossover style.

The Yaris picks up the baton as a small simple efficient hatchback, with good value and choice available in the range.

It's a classic and reliable choice of small car but the Yaris now feels truly competitive in its class of vehicle and one you can pick with your heart too.

A transformation for one of Ireland's favourite cars.

The Yaris Hybrid is available from €23,990
The Yaris Hybrid is available from €23,990 in Ireland

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Yaris Hybrid Premier
Price:
€27,680
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
116 hp
0-100km/h: 
9.7 seconds
Top speed:  175 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
88 g/km
Motor tax:
€160 per year


The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022

Toyota Corolla Cross On The Way To Ireland!

The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022
The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022

Toyota Ireland has confirmed that a new SUV will join the range in 2022 - the new Toyota Corolla Cross.

What is the new Toyota Corolla Cross?

The new Corolla Cross is a mid-size family SUV and will join the RAV4, Highlander, C-HR and recently launched Yaris Cross in the brand's line-up of SUVs. Pricing for the new Corolla Cross in Ireland will be announced closer to launch.

The new SUV will complete the family of Corolla derivatives -sitting alongside the Corolla hatchback, Touring Sports and saloon.

Based on Toyota’s TNGA philosophy, the Corolla Cross features the latest GA-C platform developments. It will be exclusively available as a hybrid. It sits between the Toyota C-HR and the RAV4 and is designed to be practical and spacious for families.

The Corolla Cross will be the first Toyota model globally to benefit from the new fifth-generation hybrid system. It has more torque, more electrical power, greater efficiency and increased driving pleasure.

The transaxle has been re-engineered along with new lubrication and oil distribution systems that use low-viscosity oil. This contributes to efficiency and power improvements thanks to reduced electrical and mechanical losses.

The Corolla Cross is a new mid-size family SUV
The Corolla Cross is a new mid-size family SUV

New hybrid tech for Corolla Cross

The new battery pack system is more powerful and 40% lighter than before. Both motor and engine output have improved, resulting in a total system output increase of more than 8%.

The front wheel drive 2.0 litre hybrid powertrain generates 197hp, delivering 0-100km/h acceleration in 8.1 seconds. There will also be an all wheel drive variant.

Inside there is a European-specific dashboard layout, featuring an all-new, multi-configuration, 12.3-inch driver’s digital cockpit and a 10.5-inch central multimedia display.

More than 50 million Corollas have been sold around the world since its introduction in 1966. The new Corolla Cross will further strengthen Toyota’s presence in the C-segment. The Corolla is already one of the bestselling cars in Ireland.

Customer deliveries of the new Corolla Cross will start in Autumn 2022.


The Toyota GR Yaris H2 Concept is an experimental hyrogen combustion vehicle

Toyota GR Yaris Hydrogen Concept Revealed!

The Toyota GR Yaris H2 Concept is an experimental hyrogen combustion vehicle
The Toyota GR Yaris H2 Concept uses experimental hyrogen combustion technology

Toyota has showcased an experimental Toyota GR Yaris with hydrogen-powered combustion engine technology.

The hydrogen fuel, fuel tanks and refuelling process of the experimental vehicle are the same as found in the Toyota Mirai, the Japanese brand's commercially available flagship hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle. But while the Mirai employs chemical reaction in the fuel cells to generate energy, the experimental GR Yaris features an internal combustion engine with hydrogen as the fuel.

While the hydrogen combustion engine technology is still in the early stages of conceptual development and experimentation, Toyota’s experimental hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport is already delivering high performance at motorsport events in Japan, with almost zero tailpipe emissions.

The hydrogen-powered experimental GR Yaris and the Corolla Sport both feature the same G16E-GTS, 1.6-litre, in-line 3-cylinder, turbocharged engine that is found already in the high performance Toyota GR Yaris, but with a modified fuel supply and injection system for use with hydrogen as fuel.

The experimental hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport has already been competing in the Super Taikyu race series in Japan since May this year under the ROOKIE Racing arm of Toyota GAZOO Racing where the team has taken on the challenge to test the experimental hydrogen combustion engine under the harsh environments of motorsport.

Hydrogen combusts at a faster rate than petrol, resulting in good responsiveness while delivering excellent environmental performance. Hydrogen combustion also has the potential to give a fun to drive experience with the acoustic and sensory sensations that characterise internal combustion engines.


The Toyota GR Yaris on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota GR Yaris Review

The Toyota GR Yaris on test for Changing Lanes!
The Toyota GR Yaris on test for Changing Lanes!

2021 saw the exciting arrival of the new Toyota GR Yaris to the Toyota range in Ireland. The high performance GR Yaris is just the second global GR model, following the Supra (GR stands for Gazoo Racing and is Toyota's motorsport division!)

The GR Yaris heritage is astounding at a time when hybrid and electric are taking over the world, even at Toyota, where the brand has been bringing hybrids to market for over 20 years.

You can't even really talk about the GR Yaris in the same sentence as the Yaris Hybrid for example because they share so little. The only things they have in common are the wing mirrors, the antenna on the roof and the front and rear lights. Everything else is new and well frankly mad for a Yaris!

The GR Yaris is a four wheel drive supermini putting out 261 hp from a three cylinder engine, the most powerful in the world. It retails in Ireland from €50,565.

The Toyota GR Yaris puts out 261 hp from a three cylinder engine
The Toyota GR Yaris puts out 261 hp from a three cylinder engine

What's so special about the Toyota GR Yaris?

When Toyota announced its return to the World Rally Championship in 2015, building a rally-inspired sports car for the road was part of the plan. For Toyota President Akio Toyoda, the creation of a sports car made purely by Toyota – the first in 20 years – was a personal ambition. Following on from winning the WRC manufacturers’ championship in 2018, he saw a winning car as being key to achieving global recognition as a true auto manufacturer.

From the beginning, the development team worked closely with Tommi Mäkinen Racing to bring the GR Yaris to the road. Professional rally drivers, including members of Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, drove the prototype models and gave feedback.

WATCH A VIDEO!

The GR Yaris is built on a unique platform, combining Toyota’s new GA-B platform (which debuted on the new generation Yaris hatchback) and a rear section adapted from the GA-C platform used for the Corolla and C-HR. It's a little bit of a mutant Yaris. You will know by looking at it that something is up. A wide track and flared wheelarches give it a sporty and purposeful stance, shod with 18" black alloy wheels. The rally team emphasised the importance of light weight in the car's design so the doors and bonnet are made from aluminium, while the roof is forged carbon composite roof. The lower, tapering roof line has been designed specifically to direct wind flow onto the large rear rally car spoiler to generate extra downforce. As with a competition car, the shaping of the lower body efficiently channels airflow down the sides of the vehicle.

It's 3-door only but all the weight saving has not binned practicality. You do get back seats and a small but useful boot. The cabin is Yaris but with more salubrious materials and two mighty sports seats. It might not feel like the cabin of a €50k car but they never really do. It's a small compromise to be made in a car this exciting with such amazing pedigree. We will stop by saying the cabin is comfortable and well-made with the latest convenience features and infotainment compatible with your smartphone.

Inside the Toyota GR Yaris
Inside the Toyota GR Yaris

Driving the Toyota GR Yaris

To the really good stuff now. The GR Yaris has a kerb weight of just 1,280 kg. The engine is new, a 1.6-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged unit producing 261 hp and 360 Nm of torque. It complies with WRC2 technical regulations and can launch the GR Yaris from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 230 km/h. It has features derived directly from motorsport, including a ball bearing turbocharger, large-diameter exhaust valves and multi-jet oil piston cooling. That's cool, huh?

Engine power is harnessed through Toyota’s new GR-FOUR permanent, electronically controlled all-wheel drive system. Another competition-inspired feature, this provides three driving modes with different front/rear drive torque to suit the conditions – Normal, Track and Sport.

This is where we begin to extract the fun from the Toyota GR Yaris, as you like it. When you get into the car, the controls all feel heavy and tactile. There is a rumble from the rear of the car. Inside the engine note is bass but not as noisy as what you might think. However once you put your foot down in the GR Yaris, it's a completely different story. It feels fast with a magnificent roar for a three cylinder engine!

The Toyota GR Yaris also excels in the way it handles. Firstly, equipment. It's a manual by default with a delicious mechanical feel to the gear change. The gear shift lever has a high position on the centre console, raised by 50 mm and set close to the steering wheel, helping the driver make quick shifts. The action is light with short shift strokes, adding to the performance quality. The GR Yaris also has a mechanical hand-operated parking brake.

The GR Yaris is an unforgettable rally car for the road
The GR Yaris is an unforgettable rally car for the road

Did you like it?

Hell, yeah!

Driving modes also help extract more play from the GR Yaris, altering the torque distribution to the front and rear wheels. In Normal mode the ratio is 60:40 front rear, in track mode it's 50:50 and in Sport mode it's 30:70!

The grip is sensational. It doesn't matter what you throw at it, even the worst Irish asphalt - the GR Yaris is not thrown by bumps mid-corner. It stays absolutely stable throughout making it a true rally car for the road, designed for challenging roads. The ride is firm, but it's not comically firm. The only you will be laughing about is how good this car feels!

The GR Yaris feels gloriously simple and mechanical on the road, like all the best sports car. You have to really understand cars to enjoy this car.

It's in a different league to front wheel drive compact 'hot hatchbacks' like the Fiesta ST and the i20 N. It's about the way this one has been developed, the DNA and the heritage. It's about Toyota's passion for motor racing and willingness to gift the fans with an awesome rally car for the road.

Toyota GR Yaris on sale now
Toyota GR Yaris on sale now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota GR Yaris with Luxury Pack
Price: 
€54,345
Engine: 
1.6-litre turbo petrol
Power:  261 hp
Torque: 360 Nm
Top speed: 230 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.5 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
186 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€600 per year


Toyota EV concept vehicle

Toyota Continues Development In Electrification

Toyota EV concept vehicle
Toyota EV concept vehicle

Toyota Motor Corporation has announced it is investing more than €11.6bn in research and development (R&D) of batteries, electric motors and power control units for electrified vehicles between now and 2030.

Toyota say that given that renewable energy is not yet widely available for the masses in many countries, hybrids still have a pivotal role to play in immediate CO2 reduction. The brand claims that without an abundant supply of renewable energy, BEVs cannot effectively capitalise on their promise to deliver zero emissions in a mass market scenario.

For hybrids Toyota's focus is on continuing to drive improvements in instantaneous power, and for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) it is focusing on battery capacity and endurance. Toyota believes its multi-billion investment will make for safer, longer lasting, and more reliable high-performance batteries at a lower cost, paving the way for more affordable zero-emission BEVs.

Toyota said it will achieve battery cost reductions of more than 50% by 2030, while also achieving improved power consumption of 30%. Furthermore, its newly developed batteries will have a significantly higher capacity retention rate after 10 years compared to what has gone before, and for the forthcoming Toyota bZ4X BEV, Toyota has set a target of 90% endurance performance after 10 years of use, which is one of the highest in the world.

In regions where there is an abundant supply of renewable energy, Toyota believes the increased use of zero-emissions vehicles such as BEVs and FCEVs is crucial, and it intends to ramp up its development of these through its R&D investment. In terms of next-generation battery technology, Toyota is investing in the development and commercialisation of solid state batteries, which it believes will provide the best opportunity for mass market adoption of affordable BEVs, providing high output, significantly longer cruising range and shorter charging times.

Toyota is already road testing a solid state powered electric car and is continuing to invest in the refinement and improvement of the technology to ensure it delivers upon its three key measures of safety, security and reliability.

Toyota’s ongoing strategy is to increase the selection of affordable electrified vehicles it offers to customers to ensure the right solution is available depending on where a particular region is at on its renewable energy journey. As such, Toyota will continue to develop hybrid HEVs, BEVs, PHEVs as well as zero emission hydrogen fuel call vehicles.

Zoë Bradley, Head of Marketing Communications, Toyota Ireland:

“Through Toyota’s pragmatic and holistic approach to providing a mass market solution to zero emissions we aim to continue to lead the market to carbon neutrality by 2050. With the rapid expansion of electrified vehicles, Toyota is working to build a flexible system that can stably supply  the required volume of batteries at the right time while meeting the needs of various customers in different regions around the world.”


The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid

Toyota Corolla Hybrid Review

The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid
The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid

Thinking of buying a new Toyota Corolla Hybrid in 2022? Read Caroline's review of the latest Corolla hatchback for everything you need to know about one of Ireland's bestselling cars.

Toyota Ireland promised us a ‘hybrid invasion’ , and it has come to pass with popular models like the Corolla and RAV4 now exclusively hybrid. The new generation of the Toyota Corolla, one of Ireland’s best-loved cars, arrived here in 2019 and is available as a hatchback, saloon and estate. Toyota has also introduced a Corolla GR Sport with sporty trim elements. There is also now the option of a 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre hybrid engine for even more performance and refinement.

Ever since Toyota Global President, Akio Toyoda, declared "no more boring cars!" from the brand, there has been something of a renaissance underway at Toyota. That’s thanks to Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that is underpinning this new generation of models.

A new SUV based on the Corolla will be launched in Ireland in late 2022 - the new Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.

What's so special about the latest Toyota Corolla?

Available from €27,605, the new Toyota Corolla Hybrid hatchback model is pitched as the compact, sporty one within the new Corolla family. Certainly, the car has undergone a terrific makeover. The new Corolla hatchback is longer and lower than the Auris hatchback it replaces, with a snug, sporty stance on the road. Exclusive to the segment, there are also four optional bi-tone colour schemes available from launch. They combine the body colour with a metallic black finish to the roof, roof front and rear pillars, and the door mirrors.

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback range goes on sale from €24,,380 in Ireland
The Toyota Corolla Hatchback range goes on sale from €24,,380 in Ireland

What are my options?

The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback is offered in Ireland for 2022 in four grades: Luna, Luna Sport, Sol and GR Sport. Standard equipment includes 16″ alloys, Toyota Safety Sense including adaptive cruise control and lane trace assist, LED headlights/fog lights and 8″ Toyota Touch.

The Corolla Luna Sport model has a list price of €31,220 and features include rear view camera, Toyota Touch® 2 multimedia system, bi beam LED headlamps, LED front fog lamps, 17” black machined alloys, black contrasting roof, black roof spoiler, rear privacy glass, red dashboard trim and blue ambient lighting.

The design and quality of the interior of the new Toyota Corolla has improved almost as dramatically as the exterior styling of the car. There are plenty of soft touch materials inside. Plus a number of technology features including the digital instrument panel and central touchscreen for the infotainment. From 2020 all new Toyota Corollas come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Corolla Hatchback will seat five with reasonable accommodation for the compact class. The Hatchback sits on a slightly shorter wheelbase to the Saloon and Touring Sports. So if rear space is a priority, buyers will appreciate the more spacious feeling in the back of those models. The boot is about average for the segment at 361 litres.

The interior of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
The interior of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Driving the Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Toyota has made much of the newly adopted Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-C platform and rightly so. Key concerns for engineers were to make this Corolla safer and more engaging to drive than anything that has come before. The GA-C platform guarantees a more rewarding driving experience. That's thanks to a centre of gravity that is lowered by 10 mm, a multi-link rear suspension fitted as standard across the model range, and a 60% more rigid body shell through the use of high strength steel as reinforcement in key areas. According to Toyota, these contribute to better handling and stability. All without compromising ride and comfort and also reducing high frequency vibration for an increased feeling of quality.

This new generation of the Corolla uses a revised 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain putting out 122 hp. However, the hatchback is also available with a more high performance 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain with 178 hp.

I was immediately impressed by the smoothness and refinement of the new Toyota Corolla Hybrid on the road. The hybrid powertrain means that the car uses a CVT automatic gearbox, but Toyota has considerably improved the refinement of the transmission and also invested in better cabin insulation.

Rear legroom in the new Corolla Hatchback
Rear legroom in the new Corolla Hatchback

How efficient is the Corolla Hybrid?

The Hatchback feels agile and dynamic on the road. Steering responses are fluid and direct. There's good body control through corners. Over a week of driving the hybrid delivered fuel consumption of 4.5/100 km. Low emissions mean that motor tax is €180 per year.

Around town the hybrid frequently dips into EV mode, which makes this hybrid a very efficient solution for drivers who do short commutes and plenty of town and city driving. On the motorway at high speeds, the Corolla will become less efficient. But it has been markedly improved in these circumstances, as seen in my overall average fuel consumption that was rated with about 300 km of motorway driving.

The latest Corolla is a stylish and desirable hatchback on par with rivals in terms of interior finish, technology and its ability to engage the driver. It remains a competitive choice of new car in 2022.

Rear legroom is a little tighter compared to the Saloon and Touring Sports.

The Corolla hatchback is dubbed as the sporty one of the family. The shorter wheelbase does make it feel more dynamic on the road. Toyota has also improved the hybrid powertrain. From my time driving the car, there are certainly savings to be made in terms of efficiency, particularly for urban drivers. There is a lot riding on this new generation of one of Ireland’s best loved cars, but the new Corolla Hybrid has been transformed!

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact car
The Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact car

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Corolla Hatchback Luna Sport
Price:
€29,610 (from €27,605)
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
122 hp
Torque: 142 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Claimed fuel economy:
3.3 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
83g/km
Motor tax: 
€180 per year


The Toyota Supra on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Supra Review

The Toyota Supra on test for Changing Lanes!
The Toyota Supra on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline reviews the Toyota Supra!

The Toyota Supra. The legend returns. I've waited a long time for this. Then the stars align and the Supra is mine. All mine! For one weekend only.

The A90 edition is spectacular. Just 90 of this limited edition were made for Europe. And here I am with the keys to the one in the car park at Toyota Ireland.

Priced from €86,780, the Supra is a high-end sports car. A car to dream of driving. One I will remember for a very long time.

I grew up in the 1990s, a golden age for Japanese sports cars. Along with the Nissan GT-R and the Honda NSX, the Toyota Supra is one of the icons of Japanese car culture, one that has travelled the globe. It is Toyota's most famous sports car.

Then it disappeared.

Then it came back. Toyota President Akio Toyoda, explains:

“Back in the day, I spent countless hours driving an old Supra at Nürburgring to become a master driver. Supra is like an old friend that holds a special place in my heart. While other manufacturers were putting their beautiful new prototypes which they were going to introduce through their paces, I was driving an old Supra that was no longer in production. So even though Toyota had no plans to make a new Supra, just like a lot of other die-hard Supra fans around the world, I secretly wanted to make it happen. The new GR Supra was born through testing at Nürburgring, and I can honestly say that it is a car that is fun to drive and better than ever.”

Toyota President Akio Toyoda with the new Supra
Toyota President Akio Toyoda with the new Supra

What's so special about the Toyota Supra?

The Toyota GR Supra is the first GR model to be produced by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing for the global market, the umbrella organisation for Toyota’s global motorsports programme. The fifth generation of Toyota’s legendary sports car debuted back in summer 2019, arriving in Ireland soon after.

To revive the Supra, Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada went to enthusiast clubs around the world for input on what format new Supra should take. The response was consistently 'a straight-six turbo and front engine/rear-wheel drive configuration'. So that's what they set out to do.

But here's where it gets a bit tricky. It's no secret that the new Supra shares much of its underpinnings and engine with the BMW Z4. Toyota did some of their own tuning of the car. The passion to create a 'supreme fun to drive' car.

To celebrate the Supra heritage and the introduction of the fifth generation code number (A90), an exclusive Toyota GR Supra A90 Edition model was built for the launch, with production strictly limited to just 90 examples in Europe.

Finished in a dramatic Storm Grey matt paint finish, with 19" black alloy wheels and exclusive red leather interior, it's surely a collector's item.

The Supra A90 special edition - only 90 were made for Europe
The Supra A90 Edition - only 90 were made for Europe

This car looks dramatic from every angle, purposeful and as if it is in motion even when it is parked. It's classically Japanese by design, with a knod to the 2000GT and even the Supra from the 1990s. The influence of the 2000GT evidenced in the long bonnet, compact body and double-bubble roof, while the distinctive look of the fourth generation Supra is captured in both the front and rear styling, in the muscular rear wings and the arc of the integrated spoiler. And the Supra font only slightly modernised for this generation.

Inside the new Supra A90 Edition
Inside the new Supra A90 Edition

Yet slipping inside is a bit confusing. Because this interior borrows heavily from BMW. Granted I'm a motoring journalist and I drive a lot of cars. I'm very sensitive to these details. The infotainment system is BMW's iDrive system, the switchgear from BMW too. It's not a deal breaker but it's clear this is no longer a grass roots Japanese sports car...maybe I shed a nostalgic tear for the cars I loved in my childhood.

Yet the fit and finish is good, the driving position sporty.

Driving the Toyota Supra

A magnificent car from start-up. The power, performance and sensational handling delivered by dynamic benefits of a classic sports car design - short wheelbase, wide track, lightweight, low centre of gravity and highly rigid body. Under the bonnet is the BMW-sourced 3.0-litre engine, fitted with a single twin-scroll turbocharger. 340 hp and 500 Nm of torque. 0 to 100 kmh in 4.3 seconds. Coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission that rockets through the gears with lightening quick responses. All the while, the driver holding on. Eyes wide. Speechless at the mastery of the thing!

The new Supra uses a 3.0-litre straight six engine from BMW
The new Supra uses a 3.0-litre straight six engine from BMW

The performance figures only tell half the story of course. It's about the way the Supra feels on the road. The way it goes around corners. The thrust of the engine and the noise of it on full throttle. The way this car turns heads. Its inspiring presence. There is a lightness to the way this car carries itself, appealing to the driver's senses in a way that most cars miss these days. It gently caresses corners and you the driver feeling like some sort of God of Driving when all you did was turn the wheel.

Toyota GR Supras sold in Europe are fitted with an active differential that operates both when accelerating and decelerating and can seamlessly adjust from zero to full, 100% lock, with instant response. A dedicated ECU monitors a wide range of inputs, including steering wheel, throttle and brake pressure, engine and wheel speed and yaw rate, for appropriate triggering of the actuator. The torque difference between the left and right wheels is controlled flexibly and seamlessly depending on the driving situation.

Did you like it?

Yes I was having a whole lot of fun driving this car. But I was comfortable too. The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) enhances performance with instant response to changes in the road surface, adjusting the shock absorber force at each wheel to maintain a flat vehicle posture, excellent steering response and supple ride comfort. Sensors constantly monitor the way the car is being driven and the road conditions, controlling the damping force accordingly.

Ride comfort is exceptional for a sports car. It feels like a GT car, one you could travel across Europe in if you had deep enough pockets to pay for the fuel. Over a few days of driving my average fuel consumption was 11.8 litres per 100 km. If you want economical buy a Yaris Hybrid!

The Toyota Supra is a legend of a car. I'm so glad to see it back. The tricky part is that it's not really a Japanese sports car anymore. It has too many German parts for that. I might shed a tear for that.

But then you step back and look at it. And there are a rush of feelings, mixed with some sheer awe at the mastery of the car. Behind the wheel, the Supra's magnificent engine and beautiful handling take over. Enough said.

Yes I like the new Supra very much
Yes I like the new Supra very much

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Supra A90 Edition
Price: 
€46,210
Engine: 
3.0-litre petrol
Power: 340 hp
Torque: 500 Nm
Top speed: 250 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.3 seconds
CO2 emissions:
170 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€750 per year

The Toyota Supra on test for Changing Lanes!


Toyota launches new programme to encourage girls to consider a career in STEM

Toyota Launches Girls STEM the Future

Toyota launches new programme to encourage girls to consider a career in STEM
Toyota launches new programme to encourage girls to consider a career in STEM

Toyota has launched its Girls STEM the Future programme, partnering with JA Europe and Inspiring Girls International, to inspire schoolgirls to explore careers in STEM areas through interaction with female role models from Toyota.

The brand says that it wants to increase the number of women in STEM related positions (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Data shows only 18% of women in Europe choose STEM career.  Just 26% of schoolgirls are interested in STEM subjects. Studies have shown that this can almost double when children have a role model!

Toyota Motor Europe partners with JA Europe, the continent's largest education programme provider, and Inspiring Girls International, dedicated to raising young girls’ aspirations in order to reach as many schoolgirls as possible.

JA Europe is the largest non-profit in Europe dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. JA Europe is a member of JA Worldwide® which for 100 years has delivered hands on, experiential learning in entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. JA creates pathways for employability, job creation and financial success. Last school year, the JA network in Europe reached almost 4 million young people across 40 countries with the support of nearly 100,000 business volunteers and over 140,000 teachers/educators.

Inspiring Girls International is a charity, founded by Miriam González Durántez, dedicated to raising the aspirations of young girls aged 11 to 15 around the world by connecting them with amazing female role models and introducing young women to the full variety of careers and options in life.

Ann Heylen, Role model at Toyota Motor Europe R&D:

“Through the Girls STEM the Future programme Toyota role models interact with schoolgirls in classroom sessions, on-site visits at our Research & Development centre, innovation camps and online video hub.”

Monica Perez Lobo, Head of Sustainability & ESG, Toyota Motor Europe

Respect for people is key in our company’s philosophy. We aim to reflect the diversity of our society creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome, safe, heard and contributes. With this programme, we want to show young women the diverse and interesting opportunities that are available for them at Toyota.

Salvatore Nigro, CEO JA Europe

“At Junior Achievement we believe in the power of entrepreneurial mindsets, in tackling the biggest challenges of our times. This includes using digital innovation and entrepreneurship in order to make the mobility sector more inclusive and to attract more young girls into STEM education and careers. With Toyota Motor Europe we will empower the next generation of Europeans with the skills to embrace the tremendous opportunities ahead.”

Miriam González Durántez, Founder and Chair of Inspiring Girls International

“At Inspiring Girls, we believe passionately that every young woman should feel free to choose whatever she wants to do in life but we also know that there is dire under-representation of women in STEM fields. This partnership with Toyota Motor Europe is an exciting opportunity to introduce young women to a full variety of opportunities available to them in the automotive industry and inspire them to aim high!”

Toyota Ireland have said that they are proud to be involved in this important initiative and look forward to lending support in the near future.


The Toyota Hilux on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Hilux Review

The Toyota Hilux on test for Changing Lanes!
The Toyota Hilux on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Toyota Hilux.

An unlikely partnership between Changing Lanes and the Toyota Hilux. Every so often a gigantic pick-up arrives in my test schedule and all that is left to do is embrace it in the name of diversity and good motoring journalism.

Who would refuse a week with the Toyota Hilux, the king of pick-ups? Hilux is as tough as it gets, a legend that goes on and on. Since its launch in 1968, the unstoppable Hilux has conquered the North Pole, Icelandic volcanoes, the Antarctic and won in the Dakar Rally in 2019.

But what a different experience for this test driver that lives behind the wheel of suburban hatchbacks and SUVs for most of the year?

What's new for the 2021 Toyota Hilux?

For this model year, the Hilux has a new 2.8-litre diesel engine with an increase of 54 hp and extra 100 Nm of torque. Smart phone integration is now standard. There have been suspension improvements for better on-road comfort and handling, and improved off-roading with lower engine idle and a new auto limited slip differential.

More basic versions of the Hilux use a 2.4-litre diesel engine with manual transmission (single cab from €29,860, double cab from €36,805).

Priced from €50,570, the top of the range Toyota Hilux Invincible on test for Changing Lanes was indeed the full fat Hilux of your dreams with an almost luxurious spec for a pick-up and bespoke exterior. But not so blinged up to defer in any way from the Hilux tough appeal and frankly brilliant capability.

The top of the range Hilux Invincible is on sale in Ireland from €50,570
The top of the range Hilux Invincible is on sale in Ireland from €50,570

For me, it was a busy week of mixing cement, felling trees, and visiting sites. Okay not really but surely this is the sort of things Hilux drivers do! But tractors with trailers in a busy harvest would pull in to the side of the road to let me by and ‘get to work’. If I had been driving a supermini this would certainly not have happened!

The Hilux of course screams ‘werk, werk, werk’ with a 1 tonne payload, 3.5 tonne towing capacity, four wheel drive and double cab.

Invincible models have 18” black alloy wheels and other bespoke styling elements, LED headlights and fog lights, and side steps. Yes the Hilux Invincible was truly bigger than me.

Driving the Toyota Hilux

The engineering goal for the latest Hilux was to maintain its legendary off-road capabilities while improving the on-road comfort. No easy task considering the ladder-frame chassis - great for durability and off-roading but not so good for dynamic appeal.

The comfort and driveability of the new Hilux has been enhanced through improvements to the suspension, and power steering systems. On the road, the Hilux performs well for what it is. Still not the last word in comfort on rural roads – it's bumpier than an SUV for example - but things settle down for good motorway cruising. The new 2.8 engine gathers pace well and stays reasonably refined, with the extra power and torque meaning you don’t have to work it as hard to pick up speed quickly. The automatic made the drive so much more enjoyable for this test driver too. My fuel consumption averaged at 8.9 litres per 100 km over my test drive. Still a brute then!

Inside the 2021 Toyota Hilux
Inside the 2021 Toyota Hilux

Did you like it?

The interior of the Hilux is another highlight, well-built and comfortable, with this Invincible model getting leather seats/front heated, parking sensors, automatic air conditioning and 8” touchscreen with smartphone integration. The Invincible model has black metallic and black chrome trim accents, and 'clear blue' front and rear door trim illumination. It’s roomy up front but there’s not a huge amount of legroom in the rear of the Double Cab model.

The pick-up segment is steadily growing in Europe. From 154,000 vehicle sales in 2015, an anticipated segment growth of some 35% will see annual pick-up sales rising to 208,000 units by 2023. Much of this growth may be accounted for by the rise of interest in the pick-up as a dual-usage, both professional and leisure market vehicle.

With its good looks and best-of-the-range engine and transmission, the Toyota Hilux Invincible plays the part well, moving into the high-end, lifestyle market for pick-ups.  The Hilux is the world’s favourite pick-up and it’s easy to see why!

The Hilux is the world's favourite pick-up
The Hilux is the world's favourite pick-up

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Hilux Invincible Double Cab Automatic
Price: 
€50, 570
Engine: 
2.8-litre turbo diesel
Power: 204 hp
Torque: 500 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
250 g/km

 


The Toyota Mirai looks set to soon make an Irish debut

Toyota Mirai On Way To Ireland

The Toyota Mirai looks set to soon make an Irish debut
The Toyota Mirai looks set to soon make an Irish debut

Toyota Ireland is making positive steps to bringing the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle to Ireland.

In a press release, the company says that they are looking to bring a Mirai demonstrator model to Ireland in 2021, along with a temporary refuelling station.

Working closely with Hydrogen Mobility Ireland, of which Toyota Ireland director Mark Teevan is Chairman, the ambition is to bring in limited numbers of the Mirai in 2023, when refuelling stations are available in Dublin.

Toyota began development of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle in 1992, and introduced the first generation Mirai saloon to world markets in 2014.

In 2019 the company revealed a new generation of the pioneering Mirai, with a dramatic new look that made it far more appealing to look at. A comprehensively redesigned fuel cell system, intelligent packaging and aerodynamic efficiency help extend the driving range to around 650 km, with no other emissions than pure water.

News of the new Mirai comes just two weeks after Hydrogen Mobility Ireland (HMI) announced a multi week, in-service, trial of a fuel cell electric bus in the Dublin area. This will be the first ever Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), powered by a 60Kw Toyota Mirai fuel cell stack. The trial looks to demonstrate the many practical uses and environmental benefits of hydrogen towards a carbon-free society.

Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland, said:

“Toyota has been at the forefront of innovation in low emissions motoring for more than 20 years with our extensive hybrid range. The new Mirai represents a major step forward in sustainable motoring, emitting only water from the tail pipe, and going beyond zero emissions by cleaning the air as it moves. We are very excited about bringing the new Mirai to Ireland, and are looking to bring in demonstrator models next year. Hydrogen fuel cell can play a pivotal role in moving us towards a carbon-free environment and it is a real game changer for the health and wellbeing of our planet and future generations."

Exciting developments in hydrogen mobility from Toyota
Exciting developments in hydrogen mobility from Toyota