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toyota

The Toyota Venza returns as a 2021 model in an all-new design. Aaron is glad to see the wagon-like Venza look more appealing and Kristin likes that it’s a hybrid by default. The new Sienna minivan was unveiled at the same time, sharing the same drivetrain and with a surprise nudge-nudge finger point towards Chrysler in its announcement. Both of these are a big deal for Toyota, whose losing ground in the smaller two-row midsized crossover segment and whose minivan has become aged against newer competition. Both of these seek to rectify those shortcomings and are definitely on point towards doing so. Find out what we know and what we think about the new 2021 Toyota Venza and the 2021 Toyota Sienna.

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Kristin interviews Melissa Stockwell, who lost her left leg in Iraq while in the U.S. Army and is now a multi-time Paralympian who is a part of Team Toyota aiming for the 2020 games. Melissa talks about what it’s like to compete as a triathlete with a disability, her beloved Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, and life as a busy mom in Colorado.

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There are a lot of good things happening during the coronavirus social distancing. Even as automotive plants shut down the production of vehicles for the health and safety of their workers, automakers are jumping in to help communities and the country during this time. Here, we talk about the current happenings and give highlights of what vehicle brands and companies are doing to give back to communities. From building ventilators to making safety gear and feeding the hungry, the automotive industry continues its long tradition of caring for the people and nations it serves.

Stay safe and happy. We’re getting through this together.

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Toyota van

FC Dallas and Toyota are taking care of those who are taking care of the community by delivering meals to the volunteers at Frisco FastPacs, an organization that provides meals for students in the Frisco Independent School District.

An original member of Major League Soccer since the league’s inception in 1996, FC Dallas plays its regular season from February to October at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 1997 and 2016 as well as the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2016.

The donated meals were originally intended for upcoming FC Dallas matches at Toyota Stadium. Because of the suspension of MLS play and the growing need for resources and volunteers, FC Dallas and Toyota recognized the need to help the volunteers who are providing such a vital service in our community. Legends Hospitality chefs worked to prepare and package the meals.


“We’re proud to work with Legends Hospitality and the food and beverage team at Toyota Stadium to provide these meals to the volunteers who are tirelessly working to ensure that FISD students do not go hungry during this unprecedented time,” said FC Dallas Foundation Manager Brooke Leverette.

Frisco FastPacs is a service that delivers weekend meals to all 72 Frisco Independent School District campuses, serving more than 1,000 children, to ensure they do not go hungry when school is not in session. Following FISD’s response to extend spring break until Friday, March 20 due to COVID-19 (coronavirus pandemic), Frisco FastPacs is currently working with the district and Lovepacs Frisco to provide meals to those students in need at six different middle schools.

“Mr. Rogers always said that in scary times, we should look for the helpers,” said Frisco Fastpacs Executive Director Heather Canterbury. “Our Fastpacs volunteers have stepped up unbelievably to be those helpers in in this crisis. To have FC Dallas and Toyota take care of our people so they can keep taking care of these kids means everything.”

Original press release here

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2020 Toyota Tacoma truck

Get ready to fall in love with “The Taco”

There are die-hard loyalists for nearly every automotive brand out there. Heck, people still wax poetic about Saab and you can’t even buy those anymore. It doesn’t matter. Loyalty is loyalty. Truck people, however, take loyalty to a whole new level and will argue with their dying breath that their truck is the best.

Enter the Toyota Tacoma. Known fondly as the Taco, people love this little truck and they especially love taking it off-road.

What’s new for 2020?

The current generation of the Tacoma was all-new for 2016 so what you see today has been around awhile. Toyota did decide to give things a bit of a refresh this year with an updated design and new infotainment system. It includes either a 7-inch or 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Small details, but they make a big difference in a world where connectivity counts.

There’s a range of six trims so you can get your Taco in exactly the right flavor for your needs. There’s the SR, for those who want a more basic truck without unnecessary frills; or the SR5, which is one step up the trim ladder and adds extra amenities. Sitting at the top of the lineup is the Limited if you want a more luxurious experience for passengers.

In between you have the most rugged options of the lot, all of which get the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) badge. Choose from the Sport TRD, TRD Off-Road, or TRD Pro, which is the version of the Tacoma we had the opportunity to drive.

It’s powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque paired to either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual.

Yes, you read that right: it has an available manual transmission.

We took a manual transmission Tacoma off-road last fall and can vouch for its capability and fun factor in the dirt. Those who don’t want to have to deal with the fancy footwork will be perfectly happy with the automatic.

Time to get dirty

This truck is designed for the off-road set, which means it’s a little bouncy on the pavement. Potholes and uneven road surfaces won’t go unnoticed and there’s a fair amount of road noise. If you’re looking to eliminate those inconveniences, then avoid the TRD trims. On the other hand, if you want to go play in the mud, the TRD Pro is the trim for you.

It gets standard four-wheel drive with an automatic limited slip differential, TRD-tuned off-road suspension with 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass coil-overs and rear remote reservoir shocks, 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels with all-terrain tires, front skid plate, and multi-terrain select with crawl control. That’s a hefty dose of off-road capability and it all comes together when you venture past the pavement.

Also new this year is the Multi-terrain Monitor, which is standard on the TRD Pro. At the press of a button, it displays front, rear, and side views around the truck right on the infotainment screen. This makes navigating off-road surfaces easier and removes the worry that you’ll miss something hiding in your path.

Veteran or newbie, the Tacoma will take you wherever you want to go

While some trucks look like they can take on rugged terrain, the Tacoma TRD Pro actually can handle going off-road. If you want to climb up a rock-strewn hillside, clamber across uneven terrain, or take a trip through the mud, the Tacoma does it and it does it with ease.

It’s a great choice whether you’re new to off-roading or a hardened veteran. The Tacoma has the capability to tackle challenging terrain, but it won’t make the process a stressful one for new drivers. If you want to learn, then the Tacoma is ready to teach.

Pricing for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma starts at $26,050 for the base trim. If you want the impressive capability of the TRD Pro, then you’re looking at $43,960.

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Kristin was in Utah talking with Heather Updegraff about the new all-wheel drive offerings in the Toyota sedan lineup, including the new Avalon AWD and Camry AWD. Toyota has added all-wheel drive to its most popular sedans for several reasons. Heather explains those and the two moms talk about teenage drivers and why Toyota is such a great fit for them as well.

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