Recently, we wrote about the fact that Toyota will be releasing a hybrid version of the Tundra and the Sequoia in 2009 as a 2010 model. Amazingly, in spite of all of our evidence, many people still don’t believe.
Check out these comments by Jim Press, president of Toyota USA “everything will be a hybrid…you don’t buy a car for image any longer that’s a big gas guzzler.” (Source Chicago Tribune) Clearly, these comments are directed at the belief that many people purchase large trucks and SUVs for the image they connote, as well as their utility. Perhaps because image is a concern for the buyers that Toyota is referencing, does that mean that a Lexus hybrid SUV will be available too?
Of course it does. Toyota is racing to bring these hybrids to market because it will give them a competitive advantage for years to come. When the Prius debuted, it was slow, kind of ugly, and a little pricey. Amazingly, it was estimated that Toyota was losing anywhere from $2k – $5k on each Prius sold because the costs of the technology were higher than the cost of the vehicle. At the time, many executives at other automakers (GM comes to mind) were talking about how they weren’t going to bring a new technology to market until it was profitable (consider the EV-1, GM’s electric car that died a miserable death).
Yet look at today — because Toyota made the leap to develop and sell a hybrid FIRST, they own the market. Why not do the same thing with trucks and SUV’s? Toyota is going to sell a hybrid Tundra soon — count on it.
During one of our internet scouting missions, we encountered a page on the University Of Colorado’s website that we thought was kind of interesting.
It turns out that the geeks at CU have installed a Tundra Camera atop Niwot Ridge (about 20 miles outside of Boulder, Colorado). The camera sits at about 11,600′ (about 3,500m for all you metroids), and is part of a “Biosphere Preserve” of alpine Tundra.
While we hesitate to call it fun, you can visit the site right now and control the camera from your home computer. It’s pretty dry up there right now — during the winter time it’s nothing but white-out.
Here’s a picture of a Hawk checking out the camera:
Anyone know what kind of Hawk that is?
If you’ve ever worked at an auto-repair shop, you know that the guy that fixes transmissions is always busy. He’s got more work than just about anyone in the shop, with maybe the lube tech (the guy that changes oil) being the only exception. To us, this is a mystery. If you use common sense, follow your manufacturer’s suggested maintenance, and avoid scenarios that cause damage, your transmission should last as long as any part on your truck. But, like we said, the transmission guy is always busy…here’s why: Read more…
There’s a growing number of people that are dis-satisfied with the annoying seat belt buzzer — you know, the one that reminds you every 6 seconds that you, or one of your passengers, isn’t currently wearing their seat belt.
We know, we know, if we were following the rules, we’d have the belt on and this wouldn’t be a problem.
For the record, SEAT BELTS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. In fact, THEY CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE. Not wearing one is stupid, and anyone who is looking for a way to deceive the system so that they can drive around without their seat belt on is a moron. While there are a LOT of excuses to explain why we don’t want to wear our belts (some of them good), that’s not what we’re trying to talk about here.
It’s not about excuses, right or wrong, saving lives, etc. It’s about finding out if something can be done. We’re going to put this info out their and then let you decide what to do with it.
Here are the options for disabling the Tundra’s annoying driver seat belt buzzer (aside from, you know, wearing your belt). Incidentally, there is a process for disabling the passenger seat’s buzzer — see your dealer. They plug your truck into the computer and re-program it. Some dealers won’t do it for you, and if they will do it, they’re going to charge you.
1. Get a seat belt extender from your dealer. Then, run the belt around the back of the seat and plug it in.
The extender is free, but some dealers won’t give you one unless you “look like you need it” (i.e. big-boned). Your dealer may not even know that this is something they should offer — have them refer to this TSB if they give you a blank stare when you ask for your free seat belt extender.
2. Find or make a spare seat belt buckle and plug it in.
The system determines your seat belt is fastened when your belt is plugged in. If you find or make a seat belt buckle and shove it in their, then the system will be fooled. Cost is just a junk-yard part or some quality time spent with some scrap metal.
3. Short out the seat belt sensor (or, put it on a toggle switch) so that the switch is always closed.
This is a bad idea that we don’t suggest, but it is an option. The reason we think it’s such a bad option — the new Tundra uses data from sensors inside the driver’s seat to determine if the airbag should be fired. If you start cutting wires and installing switches in their, you could damage or short out the sensors. That would cause your airbag to fail and not deploy when you need it. Worse, it could also cause your airbag to fire unexpectedly (sounds hilarious, but could result in serious injury). We suggest you throw option 3 out the window.
4. Remove or disable the buzzer in the dash that makes the noise.
With this option, you also lose the noise that reminds you to shut-off your headlights, to take your keys out of the ignition, or to check doors to make sure they’re closed. We think this is a bad option for all those reasons, plus, we like to avoid taking panels out of the dash if at all possible.
5. Fasten the belt, then sit in the seat.
Simple, but not very comfy.
Where does that leave us? In our minds, no where. We’re going to have to learn to deal with the noise or we’re going to have to put the belt on every time we’re in the car, regardless of circumstance. Unlike Ford, Dodge, and Chevy, Toyota didn’t give us an easy option to disable the reminder.
Seems like Toyota doesn’t trust us…
Recently Cars.com released a study that announced the Top 10 American-Made Cars, and much to our surprise the Dodge Ram was not on the list!
Here are the results from the Cars.com study:
- Ford F150
- Toyota Camry
- Chevy Silverado 1500
- Chevy Cobalt
- Ford Focus
- Toyota Sienna
- Chevy Malibu
- Pontiac G6
- Ford Escape
- TOYOTA TUNDRA
See what’s NOT on the list? No Dodges. None.
We had to see this for ourselves, so we went and took some photos this weekend at a couple of local Denver dealerships.
The Dodge is 72% domestic parts, with the transmission coming from Germany:
The Tundra has 75% domestic parts, with the most expensive components (engine and transmission) being made in the U.S.
It’s pretty clear to us that driving a Tundra helps the U.S. economy more than driving a Dodge Ram…not to mention it’s more “American”.
In your face Dodge owners! (just kidding)