Ha, just kidding, Snatch up an iM while you can!

After driving the 2019 Corolla Hatch, I quickly withdraw my opinion about it’s far superiority over the 2018 Corolla iM, and here are a few reasons why, ignoring the hideous SE rims and crazy ugly fake exhausts.

  1. The loading floor is way too high, designed this way to accommodate for a space saver spare tire, but the iM has a spare too, and it’s loading floor is significantly lower.
  2. The hatch’s slant is really quite significant, which then reduces the usable trunk space over a the iM’s more abrupt shape.
  3. The newly designed dashboard and screen are very distracting and unergonomic. Imagine having a phone screen in your line of sight, but having to reach basically to the windshield to use it. The iM uses this space for climate vents and puts the touchscreen lower down, near the gear selector.
  4. No dual-zone climate control on the base SE? What’s up, Toyota? The mono-spec iM came with dual-zone climate control, but the nearly $5k more expensive more modern Corolla Hatchback doesn’t? Yep, this feature is only available on the XSE trim.
  5. That’s just it; for a Corolla Hatchback that has all the features of the iM, you’re looking at a fully loaded XSE, which’ll run you just about $26,000; $5000 more than a comparable iM.



These changes are justifiable for Toyota’s sake, but they don’t make real world sense. The changes to the load floor and trunk slant have obviously been applied for stylistic purposes. Auto manufacturers love to say that their new cars are longer, wider, lower and sleeker than their predecessors, but how much does that really matter when you’re loading up at IKEA just can’t squeeze in that billy bookshelf or ektorp sofa. Toyota has made these changes to draw SUV buyers into hatchbacks, but for what purpose? They’re not going to lose a sale if a perspective Corolla buyer decides to buy an SUV instead; Toyota’s best sellers are just those: SUVs.

These reasons still don’t explain the $5000 increase over the iM, but this just might. Just today (10/2/18), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released crash results for the new Corolla, and the results don’t lie: it passed every crash test with flying colors. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard on all 2019 Hatches, part of the reason it passes so easily.

So if the new car is $5000 more expensive, and it passes all these safety tests, then it must be much more safe than the iM, right?







Well, no; the EuroNcap (think IIHS for Europe, where the iM is much more popular) has also passed the iM with five stars, and although it’s not the most modern version of Toyota Safety sense, every Corolla iM comes standard with automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure alert.

So, that’s it. There are still quite a few new iMs on dealer lots, and you should really take a long hard look at the iM before you buy a 2019 Corolla hatch.





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Why the 2019 ‘Rolla Hatch Kicks the iM’s Ass.

The long awaited (by me) 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is finally available for sale, and it’s easy to see why this new model far out-preforms, out-techs, out-safeties, and out-looks the “old” 2018 iM. Ever since spy shots of testing mules for the new 12th gen Corolla Hatch were leaked late last year, Toyota enthusiasts like myself have anxiously been waiting for this release.

While the Corolla iM 1.8L i4 produced only 137 horsepower and 126 ft-lbs of torque, the new 2.0L motor makes 31 more horsepower and 25 more ft-lbs of torque. The new Corolla is also lighter, shaving 1.2 seconds off the old car’s 9.1 second 0-60. The addition of a real 1st gear in the CVT not only helps with acceleration but also with fuel economy, adding three more mpg in both city and highway driving. Toyota also claims its all-new suspension system reduces body roll, offers a more engaging drive, while also smoothing out bumps better than the iM’s.

The new Corolla’s new interior is gorgeous, and it’s all new infotainment system is the second Toyota ever to feature Apple’s CarPlay. Unfortunately us Android users still are stuck with regular Bluetooth. The optional leather interiors on XSE trims are WAY nicer (and easier to clean) than the iM’s, but the high load floor chokes trunk usability. Amazon’s Alexa is also integrated in the headunit.

All new Toyotas sold have their suite of safety features, called Toyota Safety Sense (TSS for short). While the iM had the more basic package, including automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and lane departure alert (withOUT steering assistance), the 2019 Hatch has Toyota’s brand new TSS 2.0, featuring automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, radar guided cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and road edge detection, automatic high beams, road sign assist and lane tracing assist, all included standard. Also included are a blind spot monitor, backup camera, LED headlights and running lights, seven airbags, whiplash protecting seats and hill start assist.

Finally, this car is beautiful. Its lower, longer, wider and more aggressive than the outgoing iM, has bigger wheels, stickier rubber, and an amazing new blue color.

So it’s obvious the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a better car, but is it a better buy?

This question will arouse when considering the two, and the answer is still a little blurry. iMs MSRP for about $19,000, and with the $1500 Toyota is giving back on the old 2018’s plus dealer rebates, you could get into a new iM for $17000 and some change. For a nicely equipped Corolla hatch, you’re looking at $25,000, and because it’s a spanking new model, it’s unlikely to get the same discounts.

But in the end, it’s simple. Get the new 2019 Corolla. It’s much more nicer, safer, and in the long run cheaper, both to insure (because of all the safety features) and to sell (it’ll be a generation newer than an iM, and it’ll depreciate less).

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The Best 5 Cheap Sleepers

In the automotive world, a sleeper is a car that looks unassuming, unpretentious, slow or modest, but sports car quick when you put your foot down. Some cars meet this criteria straight out of the factory, but they’re too expensive for most -think BMW X5M. Some cars were fast and unpretentious from the factory, but are so old, or were canceled so early in their production run that they are now very rare. Sure, these cars are sleepers, but they’re not available enough to take advantage of –most people already know they’re fast. Many of these sleepers are souped up factory spec mundane cars, which is perfect for the sleeper image –they look like every other car.

BMW X5M ($111,295) If you have the money, go for it!


Most people in this market for affordable sleepers have around $10k to spend, and for that price there’s plenty to go around. Many of the cars in this list are hatchbacks and wagons. Why you ask? Nobody expects a station wagon or a dinky little hatchback to outrun a Camaro or Porsche, but many of these sleepers have a fighting chance.

#5 Toyota Corolla XRS

Produced from 2005-2006 and then again from 2009 to 2010, these souped up corollas give even pony cars a run for their money. All XRS’s came with 6-speed manual transmissions, lowered ride heights, sporty wheels and ground effects. While it’s 127 ft-lbs of torque and 170 horsepower may not seem impressive, it’s low weight, understated look, decent performance(7.0 second 0-60), and inexpensive price (around $5k) makes this pocket rocket one of the ultimate sleepers.

#4 Volvo V70R

More appealing for families, this Swedish family hauler hauls!! The unassuming station wagon body hides this car’s great performance. Its 2.5T i5 makes 300+ horsepower and rockets this puppy to 60mph in about 6 seconds -flat. The v70R was also AWD, making this tank the perfect winter car too. Now, you can pick up a super clean v70R for about $12,000.


#3 Saab 9-3 Aero Sportcombi v6

Once again, another Swedish Wagon. These things are steals, especially when you weigh the performance and price. With 280 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque, this turbocharged famiymobile gets to 60mph in just about 6 seconds, which may seem like less of a deal than the previous Volvo, but not once you consider that these Saabs are way less expensive, usually selling for less than $9000.

#2 Buick LaCrosse Super

If straight line performance is what you’re after, look no further than the 2009 Buick LaCrosse Super. With a 5.3L v8 producing 300 horsepower, this ol’ boat roars to 60mph in a brisk 5.7 seconds. With clean examples selling for no more than $7,000, this M3-beater is a no brainer for those looking for cheap speed.

#1 Lexus GS450H

With 342 horsepower and the extra uumph added from the hybrid battery pack and motor, this $10,000 road trip machine scoots! Quicker than the V8, the V6 hybrid offers many modern amenities like Bluetooth and a backup camera, plus also gettting better MPG! It’s a win-win.



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Here’s Why The 2017 Honda Pilot Is An Amazing Road Trip Car.

Just last Sunday, my friends and I took a road trip down to the Salton Sea near Palm Springs in southern California. We opted to use a 2017 Honda Pilot as our shuttle of choice, this particular Pilot was featured on the CarVisionLA YouTube channel. In the 500+ miles we drove that day, we learned very quickly the Pilot is a great car for road trips, and now I’m going to explain why.

The rear seats are HUGE!! Even with regular sized people in the front seats, there’s still loads of legroom in the Pilot. Although the rear seats don’t recline that much, they do slide back a fair amount, which yields plenty of room. There were six full size cup holders in the second row alone, and plenty of storage for external batteries and cell phones in the doors, making the rear seats an excellent road trip experience.

The storage continues to the front seats too. The center console in the 2017 Pilot is super cool; the cover slides into the back, leaving a huge storage compartment between the front seats. When the cover is slid back on, there’s a nice platform to hold snacks. The 7-inch infotainment screen in the Pilot is clear, crisp and easy to navigate. The addition of Android Auto and Apple Car Play also really add to the value of the in-car system.

We loved the smooth ride and quiet interior. The Pilot did a great job keeping the road and wind noise out of the cabin. Even cruising at 85mph, the Pilot was calm and collected. Annoying rattles and squeaks can degrade both drivers and passengers on long road trips, and all three of us were delighted at the car’s performance.

Pilots aren’t driver’s cars by any stretch of the imagination, but our $38,400 tester was plenty adequate. Its six speed automatic transmission is happy to downshift a couple gears to get up and pass someone on the highway, and the 3.5L V6 loves to rev. Although 280 horsepower doesn’t seem impressive (especially for a 4,200lb tank), it’s enough to get this family hauler to 60mph in just about 6.5 seconds.

On our trip, we had to fill up twice, with the Pilot averaging 15.7 miles per gallon: a far cry from Honda’s claim of 25mpg on the highway.

In conclusion, it’s hard to find flaws with the 2017 Honda Pilot as a road trip car. Perhaps in the future we’ll compare it to some of its competitors, maybe a Toyota Highlander?

Below is a video summary of all explained in this article.

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It’s Time to Explain My Irrational Love For The Toyota Tercel (Finally).

As many of you know, one of my all time favorite cars ever is the 5th generation Toyota Tercel, sold in the US from 1995-1998. That’s right, a 25 year old, tiny, cheap, dinky econobox is my favorite car ever, but before you judge me, let me explain.
The Tercel’s specs may not seem impressive, their low weight makes their horsepower more than adequate. The 5th gen Tercel came with a Toyota 5E motor which makes around 90 horsepower -half of many cars today. Although that’s not much by today’s standards, it only weighs 2000 pounds -basically half of cars today also. It’s combination of low power and light weightness gives these cars excellent fuel economy -40 MPG on the highway.

Although these cars are inexpensive, it’s wrong to call them cheap. These cars were built to last, with most examples over 200,000 miles and some even over 400,000 miles. That’s the distance to the moon… and back. Tercels today regularly go for around $1000, with nice examples about $1500.

These cars are also adorable!! Their cute little faces and tidy rear ends spark joy every time I see them. The overall side proportions were modeled after an “e36” BMW 3-series, and boy do they look good. Doesn’t it just look happy?

Although these cars are very reliable and rarely fail, parts for Tercels are extraordinarily inexpensive. Engines go for a low $500 and transmissions fly for only $250. The cars were put together simply which makes maintenance and repairs also very simple.

Just recently on my annual trip to Toyotafest, I saw my favorite example of my favorite car ever. With over 420,000 miles, this car still looks factory fresh.

The Toyota Tercel is all the car you’d ever need. It’s plenty spacious, plenty quick, plenty inexpensive, very reliable, very adorable, very dependable, very maintainable, and very desirable (to me).

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The 2005-2006 Corolla XRS Is The Corolla You’d Actually Want To Own

Written by Cody Kinz and edited by Theo Philpot

If you ask an average person what they think of a Corolla, you’ll probably get a response like  “My mom has one,” or  “What? A Corolla?” What the major majority of people don’t know is Toyota made a “high performance” and fun to drive Corolla relatively recently. This Corolla, named the Corolla XRS was produced from 2005 to 2006 and again in 2009 and 2010. The 2005-2006 Corolla XRS had an appearance very similar to the “S” trim, a lower, less performance oriented car. Unlike the “S” trim, the XRS came with a body colored grill, 16 inch wheels and a more powerful motor. Where as the XRS from the exterior was seemingly no more special than a basic Corolla, it was quite a bit different everywhere else. The interior was much nicer with more comfortable seats with nice black and dark blue fabric. Silver trim replaced the black plastic on lower models. The gauges were clean, with black, white, and red.

Under the hood is where this car really stands out. The XRS is equipped with a naturally aspirated 1.8 liter 2ZZ-GE 4 cylinder, producing 164 horsepower and 125 pound feet of torque. Originally  sourced from the 7th generation Celica GT-S, this motor is also found in some Lotuses. Yes, that’s right. A 12 year old Corolla shares an engine with a Lotus . This motor is known for its VVTL-I system, which is Toyota’s variable valve timing and lift intelligence system, similar to Honda’s V-TEC. It has a second camshaft profile that engages at 6,800 rpm and continues until it’s redline at 8,200 rpm. This makes the engine rev higher, make more power, more torque and save fuel on it’s first cam profile.

This means that the XRS can get to 60 mph in just 7.0 seconds, pretty respectable for a Corolla. This engine was mated to an exclusive 6 speed manual transmission that helped keep the car peppy.  With the extra power over the standard Corolla, Toyota had to improve handling to balance out the car, so they gave it a front strut brace, stiffer and lower springs,  and they added fixed rear seats to allow for extra bracing.

Toyota stopped producing the XRS in 2007 and it wasn’t made for 3 years until making another appearance on the 2009-2010 Corolla. This time the XRS was no where near as special, no longer having VVT-I or any of the fun, cool, fancy stuff. This was because Toyota used the very conventional 2.4 liter 2AZ-FE 4 cylinder from the Camry. And where as this sounds promising using a 2.4 over a 1.8, it wasn’t what it seemed, the only “improvement” was in torque. Instead of 125 pound feet of torque it now made 162, but it dropped 6 horsepower, which meant you could get better performance in a ’97 Camry. The new XRS was more than 200 pounds heavier, too. Offered as a 5 speed manual or automatic, the newer XRS’s were slower and sloppier than the manual-exclusive earlier ones. The newer cars were slower in every test or track, and only proved that Toyota were losing their sense to make cars for enthusiasts, as if the discontinuation of the Mr2, Celica, and Supra wasn’t enough.

The 2005-2006 Corolla XRS was the last hope that Toyota still knew how to make a fun car, with their new line-up of bland and partnered cars. The XRS is the last car we remember from the good old days of Toyota. The XRS was a great car and its a shame that so few were made for such a short period of time; its been an overlooked and forgotten car by most. Act fast if you want one because clean, low mileage examples of these cars are almost extinct, as of now, there are only 3 on Autotrader.com, and with people wrecking them left and right, even that could be a high estimate.




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Here’s why Buying the 2018 Toyota Corolla iM is DUMBEST New Car Decision You Could Make


The 2018 Toyota Corolla iM is a great car, no doubt about it. It’s peppy and sporty styling, and surprisingly big cabin room make it the perfect buy for any small family or daily commuter, except for right now.

To see where iM coming from (see how I did that?), we have to take a look at the future of the Corolla iM. Earlier this week, at the New York International Auto Show, Toyota unveiled the all-new 2019 Corolla Hatchback, the successor to the iM, and it’s better in every single way.

This new one’s got a brand new 2.0L naturally aspirated 4banger, rumored to be a joint venture with BMW. The old one has a recycled 1.8L, developed in 2006.

The Corolla Hatch is lower, wider, and longer than the previous Corolla. Plus, it offers Apple Car Play and Amazon Alexa Integration. The current Corolla uses a recycled head unit, originally designed for Scions, with no smart nothings. It’s got Bluetooth and a touchscreen, but that’s about it.

Also included in the new Corolla Hatch is Toyota’s new Safety Sense Suite, known as Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). The “old” Corolla only has Toyota’s TSS-C, which includes lane departure alert, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams.

Although the Corolla iM is a spectacular car, DON’T BUY IT! Wait! The Corolla Hatch hits dealerships in Summer of 2018, so whatever car you’re driving, keep driving it if you’re considering a Corolla iM because the new Corolla Hatch is better in every measurable way.

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5 Things To Consider When Choosing A New Or Used Car

When choosing a new or used car, consumers may feel overwhelmed with all the models available to them. There are hundreds of automobile manufacturers, each with many models (Toyota alone has 25 different models). Add onto that every model year, trim, engine configuration and transmission configuration, there are thousands of possible cars to choose from. Luckily, its easy to narrow down your choices dramatically by filtering out cars you’re not interested in.

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Toyota USA Automotive Museum

Recently I went down to Torrance to visit the Toyota Museum before they moved to Texas with the company headquarters, and while their collection of pristine vintage and contemporary cars is certainly spectacular, they seem to be missing some core models of the Toyota lineup.

It’s expected that the museum wouldn’t have every model of car,(ex. LFA) either because of financial reasons or issues with storage and having cars properly protected from visitors. (You wouldn’t want someone putting fingerprints all over your $400,000 Lexus, now would you). But the three cars I saw missing are very common vehicles, all found on autotrader.com for less than $4,000, so there’s no real reason for their absence.

The first vehicle on my list is one you probably see everyday. It’s the fourth generation of the Toyota Camry, chassis code XV20.

Here’s a screenshot of autotrader.com, showing this white LE for $1,986.

Imagine Toyota without the Camry, it’s like an Oreo without the creme.

The second vehicle I saw missing should’ve been right next to this fourth-gen, it’s the fifth generation Camry. With clean examples selling for about $3,000 it’s inexcusable to not have one of these sedans in your museum.

This one’s an SE V6, too!

They even have space!

Next to the first, second and third gen Camrys, there’s an Avalon parked horizontally, blocking plenty of usable space.  If they straightened out the Avalon, they could easily squeeze two Camrys in there.


The third and final car the museum needs is the second generation Lexus GS. The museum has a pristine first generation GS, and also a 3rd gen, wrapped in a Monopoly theme. The second gen is essential to see the flow of Lexus styling throughout the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This model has over 200,000 miles, and still looks showroom fresh, yours for less than $4,000.

The Toyota USA automotive museum is great place to experience decades of Toyota culture and see pristine, rare and concept models, but for $9,000 used to buy these three cars,  it could perfect.


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10 Best Used Cars

More Americans than ever are purchasing used cars as opposed to newer models. Our wallets definitely like the change, but there’s no denying the thrill of driving off the lot in a brand new car. New car owners also suffer the immediate depreciation that their car hits the moment it can be considered “used.” Is there a way to both experience the thrill of a new car, but the cost of a used one?

Here are the 10 best-used cars. All these cars are inexpensive and reliable, and they also look and make you feel like you’re in a new model.


#10 The 2009 BMW 3-Series combines both German dependability and contemporary styling. With a 3.0L straight 6 and a limited top speed of 135 mph, this 7-year-old sport sedan is more than adequate for the average buyer.



#9 The second generation Scion tC is a fun small coupe that combines peppy nimbleness and Japanese reliability. Despite being 6 years old, the tC still looks brand new.



#8 The 2007 Mercedes C-Class is an absolute steal. With it’s silky smooth 3.0 L V-6 and a lovely 5-speed automatic transmission, this car is perfect for a high mile driver. And for less than $8000 too…


#7 If you’re looking for something more sporty, this is the car for you. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe combines both tight handling and Korean reliability. The 2.oT i4 or NA 3.8 liter v6 propel the Genesis to 60 in 6.4 or 5.7 respectively.


#6 The Infiniti G35 was the underappreciated rival to the 3-series. If you’re looking into a 3-series, but aren’t completely sold on the german reliability, the Japanese Infiniti is a great alternative.


#5 While competing to the Nissan Cube and Scion xB, the Kia Soul is the clear winner. It’s the most stylish, the peppiest, and keeps its value the best. The interior volume is comparable to small crossovers, but the visibility and fuel economy are far superior.


#4 For those who are more interested in a more sensible option, but would still like a little more luxury than a comparable Accord or Altima, the Acura TSX is the perfect option. Based on the seventh-generation Accord, the Acura TSX has plenty of get-up-and-go while being solid as a rock.

2009 Toyota Sienna

#3 The second-generation Toyota Sienna is the perfect car for families who need a practical family hauler but don’t want an SUV or an American Minivan like a Grand Caravan or Town and Country. The 3.5L v6 produces 215 horsepower and is available in front or all-wheel-drive.


#2 The Honda Fit (1st-generation) is the ideal commuter car. Similarly sized to a Ford Fiesta, the Fit has a 1.5L inline 4, something the Ford only wishes to possess. Also being a Honda, reliability is sublime.


#1 Yet another sports sedan, and again from Japan. The Lexus IS -either the 250 or 350- Unlike the earlier Infinities, the Lexus is available with all-wheel-drive. This is especially useful for those of us who live in colder climates with snow. With low mile, 1 owner examples running mid to high teens in terms of price, the Lexus IS should definitely live at the top of any car consideration list.

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