Toyota Yaris review – Interior, design and technology

Toyota has bestowed the Yaris with a strong, distinctive look. The muscular wheel arches, large grille and sharp creases all contribute to a more purposeful stance than on the previous model, and an appearance which translates well to the beefed-up Yaris GR performance model.

Inside the cabin it’s a different matter. The interior design is typically Toyota – solid and practical, but with very little sparkle or sense of style. The fascia is enveloped in gloomy, black plastic, with just a few metal-effect accents on show to improve the mood.

On the plus side, there is a good level of standard equipment on offer. The entry-level Icon trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, air conditioning, a reversing camera and a multi-function leather-trimmed steering wheel. 

Stepping up to the Design versions adds bigger 17-inch wheels, rear privacy glass, power-folding mirrors and keyless entry, while at the top end of the range, the Dynamic and Excel cars feature unique alloy wheel styles, climate control and enhanced safety kit. A head-up display system is offered with the Yaris Launch Edition.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The Yaris has a half-decent infotainment system, mounted high on the dash where it’s easy to use. Any Toyota owner will recognise the familiar switchgear, but it’s all solid and functional.

Base versions feature a 7.0-inch touch screen with Bluetooth, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Design-spec cars include a larger 8.0-inch display and moving further up the range sees the addition of a JBL premium audio system with eight speakers.

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Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

Ahead of its launch, latest images from TeamBHP showcases the 2021 model of the MPV standing next to the outgoing Innova Crysta in the country. From the images, we could notice the all-new front fascia on the facelifted MPV.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

It features new LED headlamps, reworked grille and bumper. At the rear, the combination tail lamps receive new internals, however, the design itself remains unchanged from the previous model. The rear bumper design also remains unchanged.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

The company has also updated the alloy wheel design and will feature a dual-tone look. However, Toyota has not tampered with the overall silhouette of the vehicle, which gives it an elegant look and amazing road presence.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

Although the interiors of the 2021 Innova Crysta does not seem all that different from the outgoing model, the reports suggest that Toyota has made some trim-level changes. The G variant of the MPV could get a new full TFT MID and ambient roof light. Additionally, the V variant could get VSC and Smartkey.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

The images also suggest that the facelift version of the MPV could get new seat upholstery. Whether the 2021 Innova Crysta will feature any form of connected technology from the brand remains to be seen.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

The Toyota Innova Crysta is currently offered with two engine options: 2.7-litre petrol and 2.4-litre diesel engines. The petrol engine produces a maximum of 164bhp and a peak torque of 245Nm. While the 2.4-litre diesel unit churns out 148bhp and 360Nm of peak torque.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

Both engines are offered with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed torque-converter automatic. We expect Toyota to retain the existing powertrain on the 2021 Innova Crysta as well.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

Toyota is also said to be working on a new CNG variant of the Innova Crysta for the Indian market. Ahead of its launch, the CNG model of the MPV has been spied testing in the country — here are all details.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

The Toyota Innova Crysta petrol variants retail between Rs 15.66 lakh and Rs 21.78 lakh. While the diesel variants are priced between Rs 16.44 lakh and Rs 23.63 lakh. Once launched, the 2021 Toyota Innova Crysta is expected to receive a slight premium over the outgoing model.

Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model: Differences, Features, Specs & Other Details

Thoughts About The Toyota Innova Crysta Facelift Spotted Next To Current Model

The 2021 Innova Crysta features a new front fascia to tell it apart from the outgoing model. However, Toyota has retained most of the design and features from the current model on the 2021 Innova Crysta. The company is expected to launch the facelift model of the MPV sometime next year in the country.

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Toyota Research Institute experiments with robots that hang from the ceiling and unfold to clean the kitchen

Researchers are using fleet learning and simulations to train robots to navigate one of the most complex environments: A home.

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Visiting  private homes in Japan inspired researchers to build a new domestic robot that moves around on the ceiling instead of the floor.

Image: Toyota Research Institute

Working in a factory is easy for robots with the structured environment and repetitive tasks that come with that job. Helping with housework is a much bigger challenge. Scientists at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) are taking on that challenge by building new domestic robots and training them in a mock home.

Gill Pratt, the CEO of TRI and Kelly Kay, the Institute’s executive vice president and chief finance officer, gave a virtual tour of the TRI labs on Thursday. Max Bajracharya, the vice president of robotics and Steffi Paepcke, the senior user experience leader, explained the research and development process for building these robots. 

The team is prioritizing user experience research, human-centered design, and ikigai–the idea that each person’s life should have deep meaning and purpose. 

The institute’s philosophy is to build robots that take over tasks that have become too difficult for older adults instead of building a one-size-fits-all robot to take over all activities. One prototype is a gantry robot that unfolds from the ceiling to help with household tasks like a bat unfolding its wings. 

The floor model looks like a praying mantis perched on a box. Researchers are using these models to develop capabilities. 

“The robots that you see today are prototypes to accelerate our research, but they are not going to be turned into products any time soon,” Bajracharya said.

Field research for robotics experts

Paepcke said the team used the “genchi genbutsu” research technique which means, “go see for yourself,” to understand how to build domestic robots.

Before the pandemic started, researchers went to private homes in Japan to understand the daily challenges older adults and their caregivers face. Paepcke said that the goal was to understand which tasks people wanted help with as opposed to building a robot that does everything. Paepcke and her colleagues described the goal of their work to amplify human ability and help people continue to do tasks and activities that they find meaningful and enjoyable.

 “A fully automated cooking robot might be physically helpful but emotionally detrimental,” she 

Researchers used the home visits to move the cleaning robot from the floor to the ceiling.  

Bajracharya said that the home visits showed that there was not much floor space available for a robot to move but that the ceiling provided more open real estate.

Researchers used virtual reality (VR) to teach the domestic robots how to clean a surface. A researcher performed the task in virtual reality to show the robot how to complete the task. Another challenge is helping robots understand how to distinguish between different surfaces such as wood, glass, and plastic.

Jeremy Ma, the Institute’s co-lead of the Robotics Fleet Learning Team, said the next challenge is to

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2020 Toyota Highlander features new look, improved interior, better fuel economy

With the redesign of the exterior the overall dimensions of the interior improve with a cabin that feels roomier in the first and second rows. As is the case with most SUVs in the segment, the third row is cramped and should be reserved for children.

Cargo room, however, is much improved with 16 cubic feet behind the third row and 84.3 cubic feet of overall space.

There are five trims available for the Highlander including L, LE, XLE, Limited and Platinum. My tester was the top-of-the-line Platinum trim. It had an MSRP of $48,800. With a few optional equipment packages, my tester had a final price tag of $51,654.

Fuel economy for the 2020 Toyota Highlander sees a slight improvement from last year. Even my AWD tester saw a one MPG gain year over year. Overall, the AWD V6 Highlander has an EPA rating of 20 mpg/city and 27 mpg/highway (compared to 20/26 last year). In a week’s worth of suburban driving, I averaged 23 mpg.

In a bland segment full of vanilla SUVs that all remain oh-so-popular, it was wise for Toyota to re-engage with an updated Highlander. As the pack was starting to catch up and surpass it, Toyota manages to gain interest with a viable, attractive seven-passenger SUV.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist.

2020 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER PLATINUM

  • Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $48,800/$51,654
  • Mileage…………………………………… 20 mpg/city; 27 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 3.5-Liter V6
  • Horsepower…………………………… 295 hp/263 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission…………………………… 8-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels……………. All-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………. Princeton, Indiana

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