2016 Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius

Episode 3515
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While almost every major car brand offers some form of hybrid vehicle, it’s Toyota that is truly the hybrid champ, with over 8 million hybrids on the road worldwide. And the vast majority of them are the hybrid that started it all, the Prius. Well, believe it or not, now it’s time for a 4th generation of the popular gas-electric. Let’s see if it’s still a green-machine benchmark.   

Not only is this 2016 Toyota Prius all-new, but it’s built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture that will carry a wide variety of new models in years to come; not just hybrids. 

And while that might be mostly about cutting costs and simplifying production, it’s a much stiffer platform that is supposed to deliver a more rewarding driving experience; not a past Prius strong suit. Is this the fun to drive Prius we’ve been waiting for?

Well, a first-time double wishbone independent rear suspension is certainly an upgrade over the former torsion beam. It provides both a smoother reaction to bumps, and better grip in corners. 

Now, we’re not saying it can now moonlight as a track day ride, but there is clearly a better, more in control feel behind the wheel. Furthermore things have gotten quieter and visibility has improved all around. 

Prius is longer than before, by over 2-inches; and appears less bulbous, if also less familiar. In fact, a taller front grille area, most probably for pedestrian crash protection, and a flatter, more defined hood, alters the traditional Prius triangular profile significantly. The stance is wider, lower, and with lots of front fascia character lines, far more aggressive. 

Lighting is a big contributor to that theme too, from the standard, menacing slim LED headlights, to the form following signature tails.

New looks and improved driving capabilities are great, but Government Fuel Economy Ratings are far more important to the Prius buyer. While not yet finalized, Toyota estimates 54-City, 50-Highway, and 52-Combined. Or overall, 2 more than last year. 

There will also be an Eco model with lighter weight and enhanced aerodynamics that will push the numbers even higher, to 58-City, 53-Highway, and 56-Combined. 

As for the hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain behind those gains, it has gotten lighter and more compact. 

The gas-fed internal combustion part remains a 1.8-liter I4; but it’s been redesigned top to bottom. And while fuel efficiency is up, power is down. Total output now comes at 121-horsepower. 

Transmission remains a CVT, with a combined transaxle/electric motor that is also smaller and more efficient. If only we could figure that trick out for ourselves. 

The powertrain space saving translates to more space inside. It was already a pleasant, if not super comfortable environment, but now it’s been upgraded to be a bit more mainstream and perhaps more inviting, but there is still plenty of that “Prius feel” remaining to keep it unique. 

The instrument panel now has a hint of a wraparound theme to it, and controls are more in-line with the rest of the Toyota car family. Yet, the wide, and very comprehensive full-color TFT gauge cluster remains in a centrally located dash top bubble.  

Steering wheel controls are even more comprehensive, and of course there’s a big center touchscreen for navigation and the like. 

Front seat comfort and support have never been Prius strong points. 20-16 makes another stab at correcting that. The cockpit feels wide and airy, and there is excellent small item storage. The rear seat is also more comfy even as the space retains its coziness.

Cargo space is up slightly as well, to 24.6 cubic-ft. with a spare tire, 27.4 without; thanks to the smaller battery pack which is now Lithium-ion in most models, and now located completely under the rear seat. 

It seems like everything you buy these days, whether it’s a toaster or toilet boast increased safety, and for ’16 the Prius gets Toyota’s Safety Sense, with Lane Departure Alert, Radar Cruise, Pedestrian Detection, and other active features to keep you from hitting anything or anyone; making the new Prius a borderline autonomous machine. 

Pricing starts off at exactly the same place as the outgoing model at $25,035. A top end Four Touring starts just over 30 Gs. 

We’ve been down this road three times before with Toyota. As like many of their recent products, their hope is that the 2016 Prius will transition from being a rational purchase to an emotional one. We’re not sure it’s quite there, yet.  But bottom line, the Prius will continue to do what it has done for years, expand the hybrid profile to more and more households, and be the gasoline/electric benchmark for others to follow.


  • Engine: 1.8 liter I4
  • Horsepower: 121
  • Torque: 105 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 54-City /50-Highway
2023 GMC Canyon 1

2023 GMC Canyon

Canyon Goes Bigger

Episode 4303
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!

Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.

Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.

2023 GMC Canyon 5
2023 GMC Canyon 2
2023 GMC Canyon 3
2023 GMC Canyon 4
2023 GMC Canyon 11
2023 GMC Canyon 52023 GMC Canyon 22023 GMC Canyon 32023 GMC Canyon 42023 GMC Canyon 11

The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.

At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.

But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.

Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.

2023 GMC Canyon 6
2023 GMC Canyon 9
2023 GMC Canyon 10
2023 GMC Canyon 8
2023 GMC Canyon 7
2023 GMC Canyon 62023 GMC Canyon 92023 GMC Canyon 102023 GMC Canyon 82023 GMC Canyon 7

The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.

Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.

So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!


  • Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 310
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Torque: 430 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
  • EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined