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The A to Z of Toyota

We’ve all seen a certain ‘A-to-Z’ advert… but we’ve come up with something far more interesting: the A to Z of the world’s largest car manufacturer, Toyota, who in 2014 sold more than 10 million new vehicles worldwide.

A is for Avensis & Auris

The Avensis has been around in the UK since 1997, when it replaced the brilliantly dependable Carina E. The name Avensis is actually derived from the French word meaning ‘Advancer’, because of the giant leap forward in terms of design and technology that was taken in replacing the Carina E. It’s been available as a 4-door saloon, a 5-door hatchback and a very practical 5-door estate car. Though the design has changed and the technology has improved, the Avensis’ key virtues have always remained the same: dependability, practicality and driver comfort.

Auris is said to mean ‘golden aura’, and the name was born through a combination of the Latin word ‘aurum’ (gold) and the British word Aura. It replaced the much-loved Corolla in Europe, but maintained that car’s reputation for reliability, space and ease of drive. Today the Auris is available with petrol, diesel and hybrid drivetrains, while the Auris Touring Sports estate car has been around for a couple of years now, adding an extra dose of practicality to the car’s already lengthy list of talents.

B is for British Built

Toyota has operated a UK manufacturing plant in Burnaston, Derby since 1989, with the first car rolling off the production line in 1992. It currently employs over 3,000 people and at maximum capacity a new Auris or Avensis rolls off the production line every 66 seconds. The Burnaston plant is known for being one of the most environmentally responsible manufacturing centres in the world, with ZERO waste going to landfill and 100% of packaging sent to be recycled after use. In 2011 the plant also switched on 17,000 solar panels, capable of generating enough electricity to build some 7,000 cars using a totally carbon-neutral electricity source.

Burnaston Toyota Manufacturing Centre

C is for Corolla

The Toyota Corolla, put simply, is the best-selling car in the history of mankind. Over 40 million examples have found homes around the world since the first Corolla was manufactured in 1966. It was replaced in the UK in 2006 by the Auris, but it continues to sell in large numbers in countries such as the USA, Japan and Australia.

C is also for Celica – the longest running sports car nameplate in the world. It ran for 7 generations, beginning in 1971 with the last car rolling off the production line in 2006. It’s been rear wheel drive, front wheel drive and in the case of the sixth generation GT-Four, all-wheel drive too. The seventh generation GT model was the last-hurrah for the Celica, with a wild body kit featuring a deep front lip spoiler, extremely noticeable side skirts, lowered sports suspension and a massive rear spoiler. It was brilliant.

D is for Design

Toyota’s latest design philosophy has added the ‘X’ factor into its cars. Starting with the new generation 2014 AYGO, the new front-end X design has since been added to the Yaris, and is set to feature on the new Avensis too.

E is for EV mode

Because Toyota hybrid vehicles are what’s known as ‘full hybrids’, they have the ability to run for a small amount of time on battery power alone, saving fuel and reducing overall emissions. In the case of the Yaris Hybrid it’s 1.2 miles, though the Prius Plug-in can manage up to 15.5 miles in pure EV mode when fully charged.

F is for Toyota FT-1

Heralded as the successor to the Supra, the Toyota FT-1 is still a concept car – for now. It is a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive supercar that has been designed by Toyota’s design team in California, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. It’s one of the most -if not the most- spectacular Toyota cars ever conceived, and we live in hope that it will make it into production!

Toyota FT-1

G is for GT86

Introduced to the world in 2012, the Toyota GT86 was designed to realise Akio Toyoda’s (Toyota Motor Corporation CEO) dream of making Toyotas more exciting and fun to drive. It worked. The GT86 has won a multitude of awards, including Top Gear Car of the Year 2012, Autocar Best Driver’s Car and Auto Express Best Performance Car, as well as a number of awards from different car magazines around the world. It also beat (amongst many others) the McLaren MP4-12C, Porsche 911 and Lotus Exige S in Top Gear Magazine’s ‘Speedweek’ test, where they drove each car back to back around real roads in the Scottish Highlands, declaring the GT86 as the one to buy.

H is for Hybrid

Toyota revolutionised the entire auto industry when the original Prius was launched in 1997, as it was the first hybrid vehicle to be mass-produced, and it is only recently that other car manufacturers have begun to catch up. They still have a long way to go however, as Toyota has sold over 6 million hybrids worldwide, saving approximately 15 million kilolitres of petrol compared with conventionally powered vehicles of a similar size.

I is for iQ

The Toyota iQ is the world’s smallest four-seat production car, measuring just 2985mm in length. Compare this with a regular supermini: an AYGO is nearly half a metre longer, at 3455mm. Inside, sat in the front, it doesn’t feel small at all – it feels like a regular car from the driver’s seat and passenger space is good too. It’s only really when you get in the back that you notice the car’s teeny proportions, with very small boot. It can however be expanded by folding the rear seats.

Toyota iQ

J is for Just-in-Time

Just-in-time is one of the 12 pillars that make up the Toyota Production System – the way Toyota builds cars. It is a method of production that requires regular small deliveries of materials, rather than buying in bulk and having massive warehouses full of parts sat waiting to be used. It was adopted by Toyota for a number of reasons as it improves efficiency, reduces costs and increases quality.

K is for Kaizen

Another pillar of the Toyota Production System is Kaizen, which is the philosophy of continuous improvement. All Toyota Team Members are empowered to suggest improvements in the workplace, resulting in better efficiency, improved quality and reduces costs through the elimination of waste. Improving all these aspects impacts positively on overall customer satisfaction, with them able to receive a better product in a quicker time at a lower cost.

L is for Land Cruiser

L could also stand for Legend – because the Land Cruiser is one of Toyota’s truly legendary models. First launched over 60 years ago in 1951, the Land Cruiser is Toyota’s longest continually running model, and it has taken many different forms over the years. The latest model is as rugged as ever, with go-anywhere capability and huge levels of specification. It can be specified in 3 and 5-door body styles, as well as ‘King of the Road’ Land Cruiser V8 grade.

M is for Motorsport

Toyota has a long history of motorsport involvement, and has competed in pretty much every major racing competition you can think of. This includes Formula 1, NASCAR, Indy Car, BTCC, WRC and of course the World Endurance Championship, where Toyota came top of the pile in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014. Toyota are also scheduled to take part in WRC in 2017 with the newly produced Toyota Yaris WRC.

Yaris WRC

N is for Navigation

Navigation is just one of the many features of the innovative Toyota Touch & Go touchscreen multimedia system, which is available across range. Once you’ve input your destination, the system will ask whether you’d like to travel on the fastest route, the shortest route or the most ecological route. It is also able to conduct an online search via Google, using your mobile phone as a modem. Tethering is required and you should also have a valid mobile data plan.

O is for Orange

Toyota offers its products in a wide range of exciting colours, but we particularly like the Orange Twist colour on new AYGO. Contrasted by the sizeable black X on the front of the vehicle, as well as black wheels and door mirrors, an Orange Twist AYGO really stands out in the supermini crowd. Another shade of orange is GT86 Orange, which (as you may have guessed from the name) is exclusive to the GT86.

P is for Prius

The Prius was featured in James May’s ‘Cars That Changed the World’ exhibit at the 2015 London Classic Car Show, simply because it was the “first successful mass-market attempt at rethinking the basic workings of the car” according to Mr May. It has been a global sales phenomenon, with more than 3 million Prius models finding homes since its 1997 launch. It really is the definitive hybrid vehicle.

Toyota Prius

Q is for Quality

Toyota employ a policy at their manufacturing centres called Total Quality Management, or TQM for short, and is based on the ‘customer first’ mentality as well as Kaizen principles and the idea that every Toyota staff member should be involved in the continual improvement in Toyota’s processes. Toyota vehicles have a reputation for high levels of build quality, and this has been achieved by ensuring that “only the best work is passed on to the next process”.

R is for RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 was yet another ground-breaking vehicle from Toyota, creating the first car in what we now call the ‘crossover’ segment of the market. RAV4 stands for Recreational Activity Vehicle 4WD, and was intended as a smaller SUV for those that wanted SUV looks and off-road capability with the car-like road manners and the running costs of a regular family car. It’s been around since 1994, with the current fourth generation vehicle going on sale in late 2012.

S is for Supra

The Supra is one of Toyota’s best-loved sports car marques, with the final MkIV version perhaps the most iconic; instantly recognisable by its curvy exterior and classic sports car (or even supercar) proportions. It was fast too, with the much sought-after twin-turbo versions capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in under 5 seconds, thanks to a 326bhp 3.0-litre inline 6-cylinder engine.

T is for Toyoda

Akio Toyoda has been President of Toyota Motor Corporation since 2009, having been with the company since 1984. He is notable in the automotive industry for his absolute undying love of cars and driving, and it is this love which ultimately resulted in the launch of Toyota’s current ‘halo’ car, the GT86. He’s absolutely committed to making every Toyota exciting to drive, saying in 2011 that “even cars that are not sports cars bring acceleration and excitement to the people. If it’s not fun to drive, it’s not a car.” It is for these principles, and the humility with which he dealt with the large-scale recalls of a few years ago, that led to him being named Autocar’s “Man of The Year” in 2012.

Akio Toyoda

U is for Urban Cruiser

The Urban Cruiser was something a little bit different from Toyota, with SUV-inspired looks and a car-derived platform it aimed to be all things to all men. Buyers loved its space, efficiency, high specification and robust nature, and used Urban Cruisers are much sought-after today. There was even a 1.4-litre diesel 4WD version, which is particularly effective in snowy conditions.

V is for Verso

Before a Toyota Verso was just a Verso, the nameplate also appeared on the very practical and spacious Corolla and Avensis Verso models, that were both sold over here in the UK. Perhaps the most loved of all the Versos was the Yaris Verso, which offered a huge space advantage over the regular first-generation Yaris, but maintained its reliability and extremely low running costs. Today the Verso can be purchased as either a 5-seat or 7-seat MPV, and is available in either Active, Icon, Trend or Excel trim.

W is for Warranty

Because Toyota is totally committed to its customers, and such is the belief in the quality of their vehicles, every new Toyota comes with a full 5-year (or 100,000 mile) manufacturer’s warranty, which covers you against mechanical problems arising from a manufacturing defect. This includes the Hybrid Synergy Drive systems which powers the Yaris Hybrid, Auris Hybrid, Prius and Prius+ models. Full terms and conditions can be found here.

X is for X-

AYGO is available in 5 different grades of trim, including X, X-play, X-pression, X-cite and top-spec X-clusiv. You can also specify X-pression models with an X-wave electronic retractable roof.

Y is for Yaris

Ever the first generation car was awarded the prestigious title of ‘European Car of the Year’ way back in the year 2000, the Toyota Yaris has been extremely popular with British buyers thanks to its brilliant mix of practicality, reliability, low running costs and driving fun. Though the current generation has grown in size, it remains a popular choice for families who want a compact hatchback that provides plenty of space with high levels of in-car technology, such as the innovative Toyota Touch & Go system.

Z is for Zero Emission

Though hybrid vehicles such as the Prius, Prius+, Yaris Hybrid and Auris Hybrid have EV driving modes where they emit no tailpipe emissions for a short period of time, Toyota has not yet introduced a vehicle to the UK that provides totally emission free driving. Heralded as the future of motoring, the Toyota Mirai – which means ‘future’ in Japanese – is a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle that emits only water vapour from its tailpipes, and is scheduled to hit UK shores in late 2015. Watch this space!

Toyota Mirai