Cooley's Logbook: 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja Edition

I wasn't sure what to expect when we got the Tacoma in -- we don't review trucks very often and have no idea what we're doing when we take them off-road. But I approach the Tacoma Baja Edition like I do every car: As an everyday ride with some special talents.

The head unit in the Tacoma is more limited than what Toyota is capable of -- in fact, it only offers Bing search and Pandora radio apps, not the full complement of Entune apps like OpenTable and Disappointing and, I feel, an ill-advised segmentation … Read more

Japan eyes driverless cars by early 2020s

I can't wait for the era of self-driving cars. I can't believe it's 2012 and we still have to turn a steering wheel and push pedals to get around while we could be doing better things like sleeping, reading, or actually watching the scenery roll by instead of the road.

The Japanese government has started talks on the goal of getting self-driving cars on public roads by the early 2020s.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism has said it's the first in the world to seriously consider robot cars for the masses, according to Nikkei Automotive News. … Read more

BMW and Toyota to build fuel cell system, sports car together

First diesels and batteries, then fuel cells, and now a sports car architecture. BMW and Toyota announced today that they've signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to partner together to develop a range of fuel-efficient technologies, and a sports car.

This MOU builds upon one the two companies struck in December with BMW agreeing to provide Toyota with its 1.6- and 2-liter diesel engines to sell in European vehicles starting 2014, and Toyota helping BMW develop a next generation lithium-ion battery.

Under the new, closer partnership, BMW and Toyota will work together in four areas: powertrain electrification, lightweight … Read more

BMW and Toyota co-developing fuel cells

Toyota and BMW are expected to announce this week a closer working relationship that expands upon the one they struck last year.

In December 2011, the two companies announced that they'll be collaborating on fuel-efficient and alternative power-train vehicles, with BMW supplying small diesels to Toyota to power its cars sold in Europe. In return, the Japanese car manufacturer would help BMW with the development of next-generation lithium ion batteries.

However, the working relationship won't end there. BMW and Toyota also plan to pool resources on fuel cell technology, according to unconfirmed reports first published in the Nikkei … Read more

2013 Toyota Avalon gets the Camry's V-6, Hybrid engines

Toyota has just revealed the specs for the 2013 Toyota Avalon, which was unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show earlier this year. Along with its new, more compact dimensions and a lighter curb weight, the Avalon will be available in two main trims: one powered by a V-6 and the other by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD).

The first available power train is Toyota's 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. This is the same mill that provides locomotive duties for the 2012 Toyota Camry V-6 XLE, outputting an identical 248 pound-feet of torque and being paired with … Read more

Audi's hybrid takes Le Mans victory, twice

Ricky Bobby said "If you ain't first, you're last", but the driver of Audi's No. 2 R18 e-tron quattro probably did not feel particularly crushed to come in second, behind Audi's No. 1 R18 e-tron quattro, at this weekend's 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race. Both cars not only used Audi diesel engines, which have dominated at previous Le Mans runnings, but also an electric boost system.

The wins not only prove the efficiency of these drive systems, which helped the drivers to victory through the need for fewer fueling stops, but … Read more

Camatte EV concept car is perfect for kids

Do children still enthuse about cars? Toyota is hoping they'll become future buyers with the Camatte, an EV concept showing this week in Tokyo.

Named for the Japanese verb kamau (to care), the Camatte is designed to prompt tykes to care about car ownership. The seats and pedals can be adjusted so that kids can drive while an adult in the back seat helps with steering.

It won't be road-worthy, however, and is designed for use on go-kart tracks and other private facilities, with a top speed of 25 mph. Can that really rev kids up? … Read more

Best tech: Cheap speakers, hot cameras, and Wi-Fi scales

Memorial Day is considered the traditional start of summer here in the U.S., and we noticed the streets, subways, and elevators getting less and less populated as the week wore on. But it was another full week for the CNET Reviews team, who cranked out more than 20 tech product reviews -- including a few items that are beyond our usual purview.

Hot cameras We sampled only two cameras this week, but both were four-star winners.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V is camera royalty, of sorts: the compact megazoom model is the successor to 2011's DSC-HX9V, an Editors' Choice … Read more

Toyota, Nintendo team on in-car navigation remote

For those who often feel they are competing against their in-vehicle navigation system to get to their desired destination, Toyota has a new tool that may help you beat the voice that lives in your dashboard.

The Japanese automaker has teamed up with Nintendo to turn the Nintendo DS into navigational remote control that allows users to set destinations, map out routes, and even get sightseeing information.

Dubbed the Kuruma de DS, the game card is Bluetooth-enabled for easy pairing of the handheld game with the vehicle's navigation system, according to a Kotaku report. The interface features Nintendo Mii … Read more

Toyota unwraps Tesla-powered RAV4 EV

Toyota showed off its RAV4 EV, the electric version of the RAV4 compact SUV, as a concept about a year and half ago at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. The wraps came off the production version of this new electric car this week, showing some speedy automobile development indeed.

More impressive is that the deal between Toyota and Tesla to develop the electric RAV4, on the heels of Toyota's decision to sell Tesla its NUMMI auto manufacturing plant, came less than two years ago. This is a car with a completely different drivetrain than that of the car on which it is based. Most model updates take longer to put into production.… Read more