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Toyota Adds E85, Four-Cylinders to 2009s

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2009 Toyota Tundra

2009 Toyota Tundra

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Toyota's plans for the 2009 model year include a big boost to ethanol-powered trucks and to four-cylinders.

Toyota says for 2009, its entire Tundra model line will be available with E85 ethanol flex-fuel capacity "in select regions." Far less efficient than diesel and even gasoline, burning ethanol results in lower fuel economy and higher prices as the fuel is currently more expensive than gasoline. It's not all bad news, we suppose: if those gas prices have you down, just feast your eyes on the "unique wheels and color-keyed exterior" of the brand-new TRD Sport and TRD Rock Warrior option packages.

Also tweaked for 2009 are the Tacoma and 4Runner; the former does get a new SR5 Trail Edition, the latter some new colors, audio systems, and standard STAR safety system (ABS, EBD, VSC, and traction control) among other changes.

On the flip side, Toyota is announcing a fuel-miser version of its popular Highlander. Powered by a big 2.7-liter four-cylinder, Toyota says the four beats the 3.5-liter V-6's mileage but "still keeps performance brisk." This new engine will be available in two-wheel-drive Highlanders beginning in January '09.

Also more efficient (and more powerful) is the 2009 RAV4, which benefits from a new 2.5-liter four, cosmetic upgrades, and a new sport appearance package.

Over at sister division Lexus, they are still chasing that elusive 3 Series magic. Both IS 250 and IS 350's suspension and steering have been revised for better handling and feel. Both also now feature paddle shifting for the automatic while in the "D" position, new wheels, and side mirrors incorporating turn signals. Finally, Lexus' VDIM (Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management system) is now standard on the IS 250.--Colin Mathews
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Comments (4)
  1. Toyota is following in the footsteps of GM? I really expected better. GM 's sudden stewardship of the environment is simply a way to continue to make gas guzzlers thanks to E85 an extremely inefficient fuel. The CAFE standards call for all car companies to achieve an average MPG for all vehicles. I believe the most recent number is 27 MPG. Well if you make the biggest money off of 10 miles per gallon SUV's you would hate to say good bye to them wouldn't you?
    The CAFE standards has a loophole, that being that an E85 vehicle operating on E85 miles per gallon are ONLY figured against the actual amount of gasoline in the blend (15%) if you divide 100% fuel by 15% gasoline you get the multiplier to the mpg (666) therefore a gas guzzling 10 MPG SUV is given credit for 66.6 MPG. If you sell one SUV like this you can have 5 vehicles only achieving 20 MPG and this gas guzzling SUV and you average more than 27 MPG overall while not one of their vehicles really met the standard.
    GM is not the only one taking advantage of this free ride Ford and Chrysler are too. The big three are heading down the toilet and this is just their hands clinging to the rim.
     
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  2. "...as the fuel is currently more expensive than gasoline?"
    Not in Minnesota, or anywhere else in the Upper Midwest that I know of (see the E85 price forum on our CleanAirChoice.org website). What did you base that statement on Marty?
    You also forgot to mention that E85 is cleaner burning and is largely renewable.
     
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  3. GM sells an incredible amount of E85 vehicles.....if the statement were true, GM's corporate average fuel economy would be the highest of any manufacturer. It seems someone has an axe to grind but it grinds a lot better with facts.
    If we are really serious about cutting our fuel consumption -- as an individual or the nation as a whole -- maybe it's time to go back to 55 MPH too.
     
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  4. Any proof of that CAFE math Joe? The vehicles also have a gasoline EPA rating. I don't think your E85 math for CAFE is true.
     
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