The Distracted Mind: What are we paying attention to you while driving?

Screen shot 2013-12-19 at 12.22.01 AMThis video was extremely insightful on the human mind and how distracted we really are when talking on the phone.According to TEDPartners, who partnered with Toyota to make this video, the human brain is not wired to do more then one complex task at one time. Yet, we continue to have a variety of distractions in our vehicles such as our ipods, navigation systems, and of course our cell phones. However, we don’t just use the cell phones to talk, as many people text, check email, navigate destinations, and get on social networks while driving. The video explains that we are “4 times more likely to crash while talking on the phone and 24 times more likely to crash while texting on the phone.”

As many campaigns have jumped on board spreading awareness about this danger, and law enforcement has gotten more strict about cell phone laws, it’s about that automotive experts and bloggers become proactive in doing our part as well. Let’s not wait for one unfortunate accident to make us realize how dangerous this is. We all need to stand together and take action, spreading the word. We should teach our family, friends and colleagues to do the same. As technology advances, our minds become more and more distracted from our normal day-t0-day personal lives. So the question remains, have we given up on our regular lives to enjoy virtual ones?

Check this video out at http://ed.ted.com/on/Lj5N4g31

MSN Autos Consumer Report releases top 10 cars under $20,000

As prices continue to keep rising throughout many areas of our economy, it’s very important that consumers are aware of where they can cut costs and save money. This is especially important when it comes to expensive items that we must save our money for and prepare for. Choosing a car that’s too expensive can make it easy for someone to overextend their credit and spend years trying to recover from hefty car payments. However, MSN recently released the top 10 cars under $20,000. Choosing a less expensive car will lessen car payments and simply make life a little easier. Check these cars out and comment below to tell me what you think about MSN’s report.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Front Angle View#1. Hyundai Elantra Gus $19,200

 

 

 

 

Honda-Fit#2. Honda Fit $16,915

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014-Toyota-Corolla-S-front-view-in-motion1#3. Toyota Corolla $18975 (for a review of the Toyota Corolla visit  https://cathyscarcorner.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/50-years-and-still-a-winner-2014-toyota-corolla/ )

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013-scion-xb-5dr-wagon-auto-natl-angular-front-exterior-view_100434655_s#4. Scion XB $28,612

kia-soul

#5. Kia Sould Plus $18,475

Unknown#6. Chevrolet Sonic LT $17,455

Unknown-1#7. Hyundai Accent $16,320

kia-rio-sedan1#8. Kia Rio EX $17,545

2012-mazda-mazda2-360spinframe_7903_032_580x435#9.  Mazda Mazda2 Touring $17,845

images#10. Scion XD $16,900

To review the MSN Consumer Report visit http://editorial.autos.msn.com/best-cars-under-dollar2000

Fun Facts: The 1794 Edition Heritage Toyota Tundra

Where did the model name “1794” come from?

2014-Toyota-Tundra-1794-Edition-front-grilleThe home of the Toyota Tundra is a plant located just south of San Antonio, Texas, a property – once the oldest working ranch in Texas, the JLC Ranch – that provides the 1794 Edition legacy name.

The 1794 Edition name originates from the founding year of the JLC ranch which was 1794, when a young colonist from the Canary Islands, Juan Ignacio de Casanova, received a royal grant for a league of rolling pastureland between Leon Creek and the Medina River.

2014-toyota-tundra_100435258_lOn this land, he established El Rancho de la Purisima Concepcion, and later expanded his holdings to more than 24,000 acres. Ignacio later defended San Antonio from Mexican revolutionary forces attempting to break away from Spain. He served briefly as the Spanish Provincial Governor of Texas before his death in October 1823. His son, Jose Ignacio Perez continued to ranch the land.

During the Texas Revolution, Perez remained loyal to the Mexican Government, placing his family on property along the Rio Grande. He continued to pay taxes on the ranch, which helped him reclaim the land when he returned in 1846. The Texas Republic only recognized the original land grant of 4,000 acres.

This was passed on to Perez’s descendants as the JLC Ranch until it was acquired by Toyota in 2003 for the first (and only) pickup truck plant in Texas, at San Antonio. Thus a true Texan truck it is!

Tundra Takes on Texas and Trailers

2014 Toyota Tundra 4 X 4 1794 CrewMax Truck

I never considered Toyota as a manufacturer that could design a truck to compete with Ford F-150s or a full size Chevy. Toyota is famous for their Camrys , Highlanders and Corollas and were late bloomers in the full-size truck segment of the market.

Tundra 1784Don’t get me wrong, I’ve test driven a Toyota Tundra before, and thought it was great, but for real Texans to show up in a Toyota Truck it would have to be bigger than Southfork, and prettier than a Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleader on game day.

I wanted a truck that I could tow my vintage l4-ft. travel trailer to a fundraiser in Cave Creek, Arizona. I had access to a Ford F-150 and a big Chevy Silverado but wanted to give the Toyota 1784 Tundra edition a go at it, especially around ‘truck folk’.

Travel Trailer and TundraWhen I got into the truck I sat down on the softest of leather seats, complete with the aroma of new leather that I inhaled for a moment.  It reminded me of the days when a man wore English Leather and I would linger around his neck to get the full experience.  I couldn’t help but feel above it all in the cab, and with the adjustment of the seat and the steering column, I was happy to just sit and look around for five minutes.  Each place I observed and touched I kept saying … this is beautiful, look at the detail here, check out the color of the truck and the color of the upholstery, everywhere I looked I was amazed.

Once I got out of the truck, Cathy Burford and I hitched our “work in progress” trailer to the Tundra, just like a bunch of real ranch hands and cattle herders (OK, that was an exaggeration), but when we take off our high heels we can get pretty rough and tumble.   However, after hitching and driving the tundra we found it so easy we realized we could have kept our heels on.

AZ Fly Girls Inside Trailer Upper shelfOur trailer ( AZFly Girls) isn’t restored yet  on the outside, but the beauty of the 1784 truck towing it made up for that. The minute I started driving, I felt like a real cowgirl and wished I was going to a rodeo.  We met men and women who stopped by the event who owned other brand trucks and wanted a tour of the Tundra as well as the inside of our trailer.

We belong to a group of women called Sister’s on the Fly and there are at least4,000 members across the USA and 75% of them tow and drive a full size truck. Wouldn’t Toyota want to be the truck of choice for these women? After last week, I think the 1784 Tundra will be on many a truck buyer’s shopping list.  My favorite two things about the 1784 Tundra 4X4 are the large center console filing cabinet and the floor mats with a center section to clean your shoe or boot or high heel.

Tundra l784 LogoSo many great things happened that day; we towed the trailer behind the full-size, Tundra CrewMax 4X4, met great people who enjoy restored trailers, vintage décor,  love of the outdoors and driving trucks. We raised money for our charity and introduced and drove a truck that was much like a living room on wheels.  Next we’ll hook the Tundra up to a horse trailer, then a boat, and maybe a ….

Standard and Optional Equipment

5.7 –liter, COHC i-Force V-8 -381 Horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.

Gas mileage 15 City l7 Highway

Six –speed electronically controlled automatic transmission

Blind spot monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert

20-inch Chrome Clad Wheels and Bedliner

Prices starting at $43,000 Test Vehicle $49,715.00

Fun Facts: The 1794 Edition Heritage

Where did the model name “1794” come from?

The home of the Toyota Tundra is a plant located just south of San Antonio, Texas, a property – once the oldest working ranch in Texas, the JLC Ranch – that provides the 1794 Edition legacy name.

The 1794 Edition name originates from the founding year of the JLC ranch which was 1794, when a young colonist from the Canary Islands, Juan Ignacio de Casanova, received a royal grant for a league of rolling pastureland between Leon Creek and the Medina River.

On this land, he established El Rancho de la Purisima Concepcion, and later expanded his holdings to more than 24,000 acres. Ignacio later defended San Antonio from Mexican revolutionary forces attempting to break away from Spain. He served briefly as the Spanish Provincial Governor of Texas before his death in October 1823. His son, Jose Ignacio Perez continued to ranch the land.

During the Texas Revolution, Perez remained loyal to the Mexican Government, placing his family on property along the Rio Grande. He continued to pay taxes on the ranch, which helped him reclaim the land when he returned in 1846. The Texas Republic only recognized the original land grant of 4,000 acres.

This was passed on to Perez’s descendants as the JLC Ranch until it was acquired by Toyota in 2003 for the first (and only) pickup truck plant in Texas, at San Antonio. Thus a true Texan truck it is!

50 years and still a winner; 2014 Toyota Corolla

 

It’s the celebration of the 11th generation Toyota Corolla.  Celebrate I did in San Diego, California at the Broadway Pier overlooking  San Diego Bay, complete with clear skies, cool breezes, sail boats gliding by and lunch with the VP of Toyota.

 

Rochester-NY-Corolla-028

The venue was stunning as Toyota introduced to the press the new and exciting Corolla for 2014.  Some of the other journalists would never use the adjectives new and exciting in the same sentence to describe a 47 year old brand, but it depends on one’s perspective.

 

 

Toyota-Corolla-Event-050When my kids got their licenses and were ready for a new or used car, the choices were rather simple, a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.  The cars were a safe first car, required little maintenance, was reliable and reasonably priced.  True, they didn’t have all the bells and whistles the kids of the 90’s wanted, like the Mustangs or Eclipses. It wasn’t sexy or necessarily fast but it was, and still is a standard for a family to own, drive or rent at some point in their life.

Toyota has spent a significant amount of money on their recent TV commercials (estimated at $175 million), depicting almost 50 years of changes both in cars, clothing and music.  The Toyota may not be your top choice in the $16,800 to $20,000 range, but it should be a consideration especially the 42 mpg LE Eco version.

Rochester-NY-Corolla-002At first glance you can see how the designers changed the Corolla to give it a sleeker and new auto trendy look.   The upper front grille is a skinny black band of Spiderman mesh that appears to be the connection between two fashioned headlamps that pointed inward.  Under that is a wide trapezoidal air intake, giving the Corolla a look that is more assertive than before.  The LED headlights and daytime running lights are standard, which typically in other vehicles in its class are not.  See, there are some things that are new and exciting.

I was most impressed with the interior increase in space.  The wheelbase and total length of the car has grown nearly four inches compared to the other generations, with front and rear overhangs shorter, giving the new Corolla a tighter, more buff look.   The inside has been redesigned, giving the front seats a greater range of adjustability.  Believe it or not, the front seatbacks are also thinner, resulting in more rear legroom. When evaluating cars I’ll look at them from the lifestyle perspective; can safety car seats fit in the rear seats easily, and will I still have room to get my “Rubenesque” body inside between the front seat and a toddler’s kicking feet?  The Corolla has that added space.

It appears they put the Corolla on Weight Watchers (I should have joined with them)  as this generation Corolla lost some pounds. Toyota claims the Corolla’s new curb weight is less than 2,900 pounds.  This is a big deal as it would make the 2014 Corolla the lightest car in the compact sedan class.  As we know, less weight means better fuel economy.  The estimated fuel economy for the 2014 Corolla is 29/37 mpg.

There are four trim levels available; L, LE, S and the new LE Eco.  I test drove them all and really enjoyed the LE Eco as it had all the extras and saved on gas.   I drove all the models around downtown San Diego as well as out to Coronado to drool over homes there, and then hit the freeways for over an hour.  While taking my last drive of the day I was interested in the new technology that was on the Corolla.  I grabbed the product communications person from headquarters and asked her to go with me.  Here is what I learned.

The Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite is user friendly and perfect for a generation of technology driven and social media junkies.  Included in the Entune Premium package is a multimedia bundle with a touch-screen, split-screen display, AM/FM CD player, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth.  It also includes HD predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, and the Sirius XM Radio option for 90 days.  This is more than I need or am capable of utilizing, but when speaking to women under 40 they express the importance of all this technology.  The other factors that were so important to our ladies were the 8 airbags , 60/40 pass through, trunk space for sport’s equipment, child accessories and use of the cup holders for sunglasses, i-phone, sippy cups, latte pick me ups and loose change.

I recommend you take a look at the new and exciting Toyota Corolla, and you decide.  Toyota’s slogan  for Corolla is “Elevate Your Style”  and Toyota knows that down the road you will “elevate your style” and your budget and be driving a Lexus.