Recall Alert: 2002-2005 Lexus, Toyota and Pontiac Cars, Pickup Trucks, SUVs

2005ToyotaSequoiaRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 250,000 model-year 2002-05 Lexus SC luxury coupes and Toyota Sequoia SUVs, and 2003-05 Tundra pickup trucks, Corolla sedans and Matrix hatchbacks, and Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks, all originally sold or currently registered in high-humidity areas of southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa

The Problem: The front passenger airbag inflators are susceptible to rupture in a crash, necessitating the deployment of the front passenger airbag. The inflator could rupture, causing metal fragments to strike and seriously injure the passenger-seat occupant or others.

The Fix: Toyota will notify owners of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, and GM will notify owners of Pontiac vehicles. Dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag inflator for free. As an interim measure if a replacement is not available, the dealer will disable the front passenger airbag and advise owners not to use the front passenger seat until a replacement inflator is installed. Toyota will begin notifying owners around Oct. 25; GM has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners of Toyota and Lexus vehicles can call Toyota at 800-331-4331, and owners of Pontiac Vibes can call GM at 800-521-7300. Owners can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 20, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Lexus NX: Car Seat Check

2015LexusNX200hCSC

The Lexus NX 300h is the gas-electric hybrid version of the all-new compact luxury crossover, which also comes in gas-powered form as the NX 200t. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays tested the NX 300h and counted "more hits than misses," particularly with regard to driving fun and occupant comfort. For families, he also noted "anyone with serious cargo needs should look elsewhere." In our Car Seat Check, the NX 300h had a respectable showing, earning high marks for ease of installation and well-positioned Latch anchors.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Matt Schmitz | October 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review

2014ToyotaAvalonHybrid

"The Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a modern automotive interpretation of the La-Z-Boy: smooth, comfortable and easy to drive or ride in as a passenger, if lacking in quickness or sporty style," says Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela. Check out Varela's review for more.

2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Kristin Varela

By Matt Schmitz | October 15, 2014 | Comments (2)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Versus 2014 Toyota RAV4

2014 Jeep Cherokee Versus 2014 Toyota RAV4

We threw Cars.com's long-term Jeep Cherokee test car in the ring with a segment heavyweight for the latest installment of "Cherokee Versus." The Toyota RAV4 is an originator of car-based SUVs and one of the top-selling vehicles of any kind month after month. The Cherokee returned to the Jeep lineup for 2014 as a front-wheel-drive-based crossover SUV after a 13-year hiatus, while the RAV4 was redesigned for 2013.

Related: We Bought a 2014 Jeep Cherokee

Unlike our multicar Challenges, these head-to-head comparisons take our long-term car and pit it against a competitor from a rotating fleet of test cars supplied by various manufacturers. The RAV4 in question is an XLE four-cylinder with all-wheel drive ($28,772 as tested, with destination) that we're comparing to our Cherokee Limited four-cylinder with all-wheel drive ($33,378).

By Joe Bruzek | October 9, 2014 | Comments (4)

Recall Alert: 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser

2014ToyotaFJCruiserRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 1,800 model-year 2014 FJ Cruiser SUVs equipped with the optional Trail Teams Ultimate Edition Package in which the front shock absorbers and springs were replaced at vehicle processing centers

The Problem: The two bolts that secure the front lower ball joint to the steering knuckle might have been tightened with insufficient torque when the front shock absorbers and springs were replaced during the installation process. If one or both bolts become loose during driving and fall out, the front lower ball joint could detach from the steering knuckle, causing a loss of steering control and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Toyota began notifying owners on Sept. 30, and dealers will inspect the torque of the bolts. If the bolts are loose, dealers will retighten them to the proper torque; if bolts are missing, dealers will replace them.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 6, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2005-2011 Toyota Tacoma

2011ToyotaTacomaRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 700,000 model-year 2005-11 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner and 4x4 pickup trucks manufactured between Sept. 14, 2009, and Oct. 11, 2010

The Problem: One of the leaf springs may fracture due to stress or corrosion. While being driven, the broken leaf could move out of position and contact surrounding components, including the fuel tank, possibly puncturing the tank and causing a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire.

The Fix: Toyota will begin notifying owners on Nov. 28, and dealers will make the necessary repairs for free. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that the remedy for this recall is still under development.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the NHTSA vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Toyota Tundra

2014ToyotaTundraRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 130,000 model-year 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax and double-cab pickup trucks manufactured between July 29, 2013, and Aug. 22, 2014

The Problem: Due to the possible incorrect installation of the B-pillar interior trim's upper tab, the side curtain airbags may not deploy properly in a crash, increasing the risk of an injury.

The Fix: Toyota will begin notifying owners on Sept. 30, and dealers will inspect the B-pillar interior trim installation and, if necessary, replace it; the repairs will be made for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | September 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

Toyota C-HR Concept to Debut at 2014 Paris Motor Show

ToyotaCHR

Toyota's latest concept car, the C-HR, is a hybrid crossover that sort of resembles a kit-lifted Honda Crosstour rollin' on 20s and strutting around the neighborhood in shoulder-shrug posture like Spike the bulldog from Looney Tunes. The concept car, announced this week and set to debut next month at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, has a decidedly sports-coupe-like body style. Its aggressive, muscular stance is punctuated by squinting, jewel-like headlights and a gaping grille, along with a swept-back profile.

Related: More Concept Cars News

No details were available for the hybrid powertrain, but the automaker says the crossover introduces new styling themes that hint at the future design direction of its vehicles.

By Matt Schmitz | September 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

Hey Metal Heads: Slayer-Inspired Scion to Stalk SEMA

SlayerScion

As long as there has been heavy metal, teenagers have sought out bands with which to frighten their parents. Now there's a car to really drive 'em nuts. In November, Toyota-owned Scion will unleash a special-edition car perfectly suited for that purpose, the Scion x Slayer Mobile Amp tC, inspired by the irreverently iconic headbangers, Slayer. On second thought, given the band's influential career spanning more than three decades, the youngsters' enthusiasm may actually take a backseat to that of Mom and Dad for a road trip "South of Heaven" to spend some "Seasons in the Abyss."

Related: Black Widow Corvette Stingray Is Auto Show Avenger

You can't make out a whole h-e-double-hockey-sticks of a lot from the rudimentary pencil-sketch-style image Toyota released this week of the modified version of Scion's sporty coupe — beyond it being obligatorily black in color with a large, red circle adorning the hood (the band's inverted-pentagram logo, perhaps?). No doubt something very similar has been sketched on more than a couple fifth-period Life Sciences textbooks by daydreaming junior-high misfits (we don't mean us). In any case, the automaker promises an exterior style commensurately aggressive to its subject with band-inspired details. And perhaps of equal importance, that influence carries over into the interior as the "multimedia machine" boasts amps, towers of speakers, a custom mixer and a 32-inch monitor for media playback, Toyota said.

By Matt Schmitz | September 19, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2008-2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser, Tacoma

2014ToyotaFJCruiserRecall

Vehicles Affected: About 20,000 model-year 2008-14 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUVs and Tacoma pickup trucks equipped with accessory wheels and tires installed by Toyota or dealers before the vehicles' first sale.

The Problem: The vehicles may incorrectly list the spare tire size or inflation info on the tire placard. If the incorrect pressure is provided, tire failure may occur while it's being driven on, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Toyota will begin notifying owners this month, and the automaker will provide, either by mail to owners or to dealers, overlay stickers for placement over the incorrect info on the placard.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | September 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

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