Raising the bar on technology – 2012 RAV4 EV

Coming to a select number of Toyota stores in California later this summer, the RAV4 EV has an approximate driving range of 100 miles. It charges in about 6 hours with the use of a 120V/40A battery charger. It’s an all-electric SUV in which the driving performance and load capacity is equal to and exceeds in some areas when compared to its gas powered counterpart, the RAV4 V6.

This creation is the result of a collaboration between Tesla Motors and the Toyota Motor Corporation. The design team has focused on producing an electric vehicle with remote charging capabilities, advanced interactive displays and aerodynamic styling for the most enduring EPA estimated driving range rating of any non-luxury EV. This SUV also achieves 0-60 MPH in seven seconds.

With the contribution of Tesla’s technology savvy and Toyota’s design, engineering and production mastery, the RAV4 EV is a powerful addition to the Toyota inventory which was developed in just twenty two months.


By Rapid Auto Group - Chevrolet, Cadillac, Toyota Posted in RAV4, SUV

What is the minimum octane rating gasoline that I should use in my vehicle?

Our “current model” year vehicles have the following unleaded fuel octane rating recommendations:

4Runner 87
Avalon 87
Camry 87
Corolla 87
FJ Cruiser 87
Highlander 87
Land Cruiser 87
Matrix 87
Prius 87
RAV4 87
Sequoia 87
Sienna 87
Tacoma 87
Tundra 87
Venza 87
Yaris 87

Surprising rise in SUV sales

While there are a variety of reasons for someone to purchase a new vehicle, most car buyers will tell you their decision boils down to two main points, lifestyle and practicality. Many car companies have previously focused on emotional motivations to drive customers to purchase their cars but now more than ever, car makers are using the practicality of their vehicles to appeal to customers.

By focusing on the practicality of a vehicle, car makers hope to achieve a level of transparency with their customers, even before they begin their search.

In May of 2011 the year-to-date number of cars sold reached 546,687 with light-duty trucks not far behind at 515,032 and SUV/Cross-overs coming in at 318,359. (Sourcewww.motorintelligence.com) Although SUV/Cross-overs have come in last place for overall sales, this category has seen the biggest increase over the previous year. With a 47.6% increase in mid-size SUV sales so far this year, some marketers are second guessing their approach towards consumers for the remainder of 2011.

toyota highlander, rapid toyota, toyota of the black hillsWill Hybrids be a common purchase from now on?

So why the increase in SUV sales?

Compact cars can seem like a smart choice but most Americans love their larger vehicles and see them as a more practical purchase. Due to the harsh economy and recent inflation in gas prices, many gas guzzling SUV drivers have had to give up their beloved rides for smaller vehicles. While many experts were betting on the high sales of cars like the Toyota Prius, what we have found is actually the opposite. More often than not, customers are simply down-sizing to a mid-size or cross-over rather than giving up the much loved style of today’s popular SUV’s.

Recognizing the passion Americans have for their SUV’s, major car brands are still pushing their popular SUV models through but have added a twist by giving some of them a Hybrid version. Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid offers an increase of 8 MPG for City and 3 MPG for Highway over their standard model. While that may not seem like much, it can mean a lot to city drivers who don’t want to give up their roomy practical rides.

As practicality becomes more of a focus to consumers than emotional buying, car makers are catching onto the idea by creating campaigns around the many reasons why their vehicles will do everything we need them to do and of course, how they are better than all the rest.

By Rapid Auto Group - Chevrolet, Cadillac, Toyota Posted in SUV

Change your oil every three months or 3000 miles!

Sound familiar? More than likely your parents ground it into your memory, so every time the little sticker in the corner of our windshield matches our odometer we immediately head for the nearest Jiffy Lube.

When was the last time you went 10,000 miles without changing your oil? If your like most of us, probably never, however, some cars are made to run that long or longer on a single oil change thanks to tighter engine tolerances, better materials, and synthetic oils.

According to a recent government survey only 33% of people had ever driven their cars 4000 miles or more on a single oil change.

The truth is, changing your oil every 3000 miles is just too often, todays engines are made to run 5, 8, 10, and even 20,000 miles between oil changes. The average oil change costs around $30, and lets say we drive the standard 12,000 miles a year, that’s $120 a year in oil changes when really you should only be spending half that, it’s not a big savings, but over time really can help line your pocketbook.

Every year we throw away millions of gallons of half used oil, one analyst from Edmonds.com said “you would not change your bath water halfway through, why would you change your oil” and he’s right. If you want to find out how often you should change your oil you can either check your service manual, or go to http://www.checkyournumber.org put in your year make and model, and it will tell you how often you really need to stop in to the service station.

Is your vehicle dependable? If it’s a Toyota brand, you are in luck.

You go to the car dealership and buy a brand new vehicle, you are ecstatic about your new purchase until one day you’re driving down the road and you see it, the dreaded check engine light staring back at you. Don’t worry you won’t have to deal with this nearly as often depending on which vehicle you choose to buy.

According to J.D. Powers and Associates Vehicle Dependability study, Lexus is the most dependable vehicle on the road today with only 86 problems per 100 vehicles, to put that in perspective Chrysler was dead last with 192 problems per 100 vehicles. Lexus’s success was followed closely in rank by Porsche, Cadillac, Toyota, and Scion.

Toyota being the owner of Scion and Lexus we are thrilled to hold 3 of the top 5 spots!

Here is a complete list of how the study turned out; problems are based on 100 vehicles:

1.       Lexus, 86

2.       Porsche, 98

3.       Cadillac, 104

4.       Toyota, 104

5.       Scion, 111

6.       Mercedes-Benz, 112

7.       Lincoln, 116

8.       Ford, 124

9.       Buick, 125

10.   Hyundai, 125

11.   Acura, 129

12.   Honda, 131

13.   Chevrolet, 135

14.   Volvo, 143

15.   Audi, 148

16.   Smart, 148

17.   Subaru, 149

18.   Nissan, 152

19.   Mitsubishi, 153

20.   BMW, 154

21.   GMC, 158

22.   Mini, 161

23.   Mazda, 163

24.   Suzuki, 167

25.   Kia, 169

26.   Volkswagen, 169

27.   Infiniti, 172

28.   Jaguar, 172

29.   Ram, 174

30.   Jeep, 179

31.   Dodge, 183

32.   Chrysler, 192

Car Care Tips for the Summer Months

Although the end of summer is usually classified by Labor Day weekend, many believe the summer heat may last longer this year than it has in the past. With most of America seeing record highs and drought type situations, it is more important than ever to make your vehicle safe for summer driving.

toyota of the black hills, black hills toyotaTake care of your engine or it could backfire…

Here are a few quick tips on maintaining your vehicle’s efficiency throughout the long hot days:

Cooling System – Having your cooling system flushed and thecoolant replaced at the beginning of every summer is a great preventive maintenance step to take. In climates where the summer months are very long and hot, it may be beneficial to flush the cooling system twice a year.

Tires – Keeping your tires properly inflated can help ensure you do not run into a blow out situation, especially during a hot day or while on vacation. It can be very easy to over inflate your tires as well, which can lead to a dangerous situation as air expands in tires when it is heated. A best practice is to check your tire pressure every couple of weeks. Also, make sure before you leave for vacation that your spare tire is in good working condition.

Engine Fluids – Driving short or long distances through hot weather conditions can put a lot of strain on your engine. As your air conditioner and other major components work over time to ensure the car is cooled, it is important to have all of the fluids checked and topped off to the appropriate levels.

Above all else, make sure you take extreme precaution when taking road trips or vacations in the car this summer. Keeping an emergency kit, paper maps (because yes GPSsystems can fail), a spare tire and spare coolant are just a few extra measures you can take.

Stay safe and stay cool!