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Eight of the coolest Volkswagen concept cars

Over the years, Volkswagen has debuted a wide range of concept cars that have opened windows into the future of car design, technology and performance. These dream machines are often built to test an idea, a vision and/or showcase features that may one day end up on the road.  Some of these groundbreaking vehicles – like the all-new VW ID.4 EV, born from the ID. CROZZ – have made their way to the company’s line-up, though many others were seen once on an auto show floor and then never again.   Why do such outlandish ideas…

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Over the years, Volkswagen has debuted a wide range of concept cars that have opened windows into the future of car design, technology and performance. These dream machines are often built to test an idea, a vision and/or showcase features that may one day end up on the road. 

Some of these groundbreaking vehicles – like the all-new VW ID.4 EV, born from the ID. CROZZ – have made their way to the company’s line-up, though many others were seen once on an auto show floor and then never again.  

Why do such outlandish ideas exist at all? Each represented a unique vision of the future, and some of those visions later became real products. Through concept vehicles, Volkswagen pushes the boundaries of what’s possible, and gets its customers and stakeholders thinking about what could come next. 

Here’s a look at eight of those interesting and influential models.  

An image of the Italdesign Machimoto from the Italdesign Archives. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

Italdesign Machimoto 

Resembling more of an amusement test car than a road vehicle, the 1986 Italdesign Machimoto was a mélange between a motorcycle, convertible and family car. Based on the Golf GTi 16V platform, the open-top roadster had a flexible seating system for six or nine passengers, using tandem motorcycle-style saddle seats. The car’s steering was controlled by a special wheel that could transform from a handlebar style into a traditional steering wheel. Passengers were advised to wear a helmet while cruising in the prototype, which was powered by a Golf GTI 4-cylinder engine with roughly 139 hp. Though never put into production, the Machimoto concept was featured in several Italian movies.  

The 1986 VW Scooter. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

Scooter 

Designed for city driving, the 1986 VW Scooter concept was a nimble, three-wheel, front-wheel drive car with an engine located in the front and a two-door coupé body. The prototype was influenced by the bold styling of the 80’s and featured gull-wing doors. A featherweight at just 635kg, power was delivered to its wheels via a four-speed manual box that reached 40 hp. After Scooter, Volkswagen was not done with “scooter” concepts and unveiled a pair of two-wheel scooters at the 2019 Geneva auto show exploring the concept of zero-emissions and city “micromobility.”  

The 1989 Volkswagen Futura Concept.. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

Futura  

A futuristic mini-van with gullwing doors, the Volkswagen Futura was unveiled in 1989 as an IRVW (Integrated Research Volkswagen) and featured innovative technology far ahead of its time. Equipped with groundbreaking features and functions – including distance sensors, parking and braking assistance functions, a navigation system, an on-board computer, and an electric parking brake – the car received instant acclaim. The Futura featured futuristic doors that opened up, not out, and offered easy access to both the front and rear rows of seats. It had 82 hp engine, an evaporation cooling system and mechanical supercharger. While it never made it to market, elements of its original design could be seen in the production ID.3 at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.  

The W12 Nardo exuded speed before hitting the Nardo test track. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

W12 Nardo  

The W12 Nardo is a supercar unique to Volkswagen, designed to test a new type of engine, the W-configuration, that ended up breaking records. First introduced as the W12 in 1997, the Nardo was re-introduced in 2001 and named after the famous Nardo test track in Italy. An Italian design team was entrusted to design a vehicle to accommodate VW’s Syncro 4WD system and integrate a 12-cylinder engine in a W-configuration, which had never been done before. Weighing in at 2,646 lbs., the 600 hp W12 could go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. In February 2002, the W12 Nardo concept set out to break records and drove for 24 hours straight covering 4,909.8 miles—further than any other car had managed to travel in the same amount of time. The W12 Nardo never hit the production line, but it helped Volkswagen establish a new type of engine that would be used in the Passat, multiple European Volkswagen models and most notably, the Bugatti Veyron. 

The 2002 Magellan was designed for outdoor enthusiasts. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

Magellan  

Designed for the outdoor enthusiast, the Magellan was part car, part SUV and part truck. Created by Volkswagen’s Design Center in Spain in 2002, the Magellan concept was revealed around the same time the first Touareg hit market. The all-wheel drive concept had 19-inch wheels and an air suspension. Its spacious interior could comfortably hold six passengers with three rows of two seats in a 2+2+2 layout built on monorail frames. Named in the spirit of the great explorers before it, the rugged, one-off, oddball car’s notable features included a removable navigation system, dubbed “G.P.S. to Go,” that could be used outside the vehicle for biking and hiking. 

The 2005 Ecoracer in transition from coupe to convertible. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

EcoRacer  

Built in 2005, the featherlight EcoRacer diesel sports car concept checked multiple boxes – coupe, convertible and speedster— in a quest to be the most economical sports car of all time. Debuting at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, EcoRacer was a unique looking vehicle with a carbon fiber body and a powerful diesel engine mounted in the middle of the frame that could reach 136 hp and 62 mph in 6.3 seconds, with a top speed of 142 mph. The roof of the EcoRacer was its most unique feature—the driver could transform the EcoRacer from a coupe into a convertible by removing the hard top and then convert it to a speedster by removing the windscreen and frame. With the EcoRacer, the intention was rather to create a research vehicle that united the elements of economy and performance under a styled “roof.” 

The 2014 XL Sport was a VW speed enthusiast’s dream. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

XL Sport 

A supercar built for enthusiasts of the eco-minded XL1, the 2014 XL Sport was a hyper-efficient sports car designed specifically for speed. Propelled by the world’s most powerful two-cylinder engine, the two-seat coupe could go from 0 to 62 mph in roughly 5.7 seconds. Its wing doors were reminiscent of those of a high-end sports car and hinged at two points, allowing for both an upward and forward swivel. The XL Sport boasts a characteristic dashboard specially designed for motorsports, with an individual lap time and oil pressure display.   

The Atlas Tanoak. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

Atlas Tanoak  

Having hinted for years at bringing a pickup to the U.S. market, the rugged Atlas Tanoak finally debuted at the New York International Auto Show in March 2018. The midsize, dual-cab pickup truck was powered by an efficient V6 petrol engine and was the world’s first pickup to be based on the ubiquitous modular transverse toolkit (MQB).  Named after a species of evergreens native to the California coastline, the car boasted 276 hp, 266 lbs.-ft. of torque, eight-speed automatic and 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system. It was based on an extended-wheelbase Atlas SUV, only longer, and could seat up to five passengers

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Where can I charge my car?

‘Where can I charge my car? ‘ is one of the most common questions asked by EV and PHEV drivers, especially when venturing into unfamiliar areas. The following information will provide clear answers to that question, and will also direct Toyota owners to Toyota products and services that can assist you along the way.Where can…

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Where can I charge my car? ‘ is one of the most common questions asked by EV and PHEV drivers, especially when venturing into unfamiliar areas. The following information will provide clear answers to that question, and will also direct Toyota owners to Toyota products and services that can assist you along the way.

Where can I charge my car? – Public charging

Did you know there are almost four times as many charging points in the UK than traditional fuel stations? These 32,000 individual points are distributed over almost 20,000 locations, and their number is currently increasing at a rate of around 30% a year.

But whereas traditional fuel station forecourts are readily visible from the road, public charging points are not always so easy to spot. Travel that involves public charging may therefore require a little forward planning.

The Toyota Public Charging Network offers more than 150,000 charging points throughout Europe

Toyota has also developed a Europe-wide network of public charging points that can be accessed through the Toyota Public Charging Network. More than 150,000 points are clearly displayed on the network website (see screen grab above), which has useful search and zoom functions to enable visitors to zone in on any specific area (see screen grab below). Further information is provided on each station’s immediate availability, charging speed and price per kWh.

Specific locations can be typed into the top left search box, and you can zoom into each area with the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons in the bottom right

Subscribers to the Toyota Public Charging Network can access the same information through their MyT connected services app. But they also benefit from a convenient charging solution that requires just one contract and a single charging card, irrespective of the company supplying electricity from the public charger. Payment is made via a single monthly invoice.

Some satellite navigation systems can display a list of the nearest public charging stations and how far they are from your location. Alternatively, smartphone apps such as Zap-Map allow you to search for public charging points, plan longer journeys, pay on participating networks and share updates with fellow EV drivers.

See more: Searchable website map of the Toyota Public Charging Network

Home charging

What if your travel plans are less ambitious and you are confident that you will be able to return home without needing to top-up on route? In this instance, charging your EV or PHEV at home usually represents the most straightforward and cost-effective means of replenishing your vehicle’s battery.

The battery packs in electrified vehicles can always be topped-up using any domestic three-pin socket, but as this method delivers a maximum of 2.2kW per hour it is the slowest method of charging. Where possible, Toyota recommends the installation of a dedicated home charging system, which can supply electricity to the battery at a higher rate of up to 7.4kW.

Toyota has partnered with British Gas to offer UK customers a complete home charger installation service. Prices for this begin at £939 and includes the recommended charger, installation and VAT. A government fund is also available to help homeowners living in flats or rented accommodation install a home charging point.

Learn more: What is the Toyota Public Charging Network?

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2023 Toyota Corolla reviews: the first media drives

The finishing touches are currently being applied to the 2023 Toyota Corolla, which among many other changes will debut the fifth-generation of our world-leading, full hybrid petrol-electric powertrain. Members of the national motoring press were recently invited to test pre-production prototypes in both Hatchback and Touring Sports guise, including back-to-back comparisons with current 1.8-litre models.…

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The finishing touches are currently being applied to the 2023 Toyota Corolla, which among many other changes will debut the fifth-generation of our world-leading, full hybrid petrol-electric powertrain. Members of the national motoring press were recently invited to test pre-production prototypes in both Hatchback and Touring Sports guise, including back-to-back comparisons with current 1.8-litre models. What did they think of this thoroughly refreshed model? What were their 2023 Toyota Corolla reviews?

Below is a selection of excerpts from their online reviews, which include a numerical rating where applicable. To read the full reports, simply click on the emboldened links.

2023 Toyota Corolla reviews:

“The latest refinement benefits… particularly the 1.8 Hybrid. For 2023, it’s getting a 24bhp boost to 138bhp, for a 0-62mph sprint of 9.2sec. The point of the exercise is not so much to make the entry-level Corolla a fast car, but more to improve drivability.

“Toyota has also recalibrated the drive modes. [In Eco mode] the updated car… makes better use of the increased potency of the electric motor and waits for longer before it has the engine working. That makes the car feel more relaxed without noticeably compromising performance. At anything less than full throttle, the gearbox will build in some shift points and avoid holding maximum revs wherever possible. It helps that the 1.8 engine is a refined one, so when it pipes up, it’s not grating. Economy remains impressive: at the end of our test route, the car was indicating 57.7mpg.

This is a successful update of an already well-rounded family car

“Just as valuable in daily usage… are the improvements to the brakes. The pedal is now more progressive and allows clean limo-drive stops. The new car also uses the radar for the adaptive cruise control to judge how much regenerative braking it should apply when you lift off the throttle.”

“Exterior changes include a new mesh pattern for the front grille, fresh alloy wheel designs, and on some trim grades, new bi-LED headlights. [Inside] there are embossed patterns aimed at giving trim pieces and upholstery a ‘three-dimensional depth’, a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (on mid-range trim and upwards) and a 10.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

“The biggest changes of all concern the powertrain. The updated Corolla’s redesigned lithium-ion battery pack is smaller yet more powerful, and the same goes for the motor unit. The 1.8-litre car… has a total system power of 138bhp, an increase of 14%. This is immediately obvious the first time you apply a generous amount of throttle. This isn’t only down to the power increase – Toyota’s hybrid and CVT tweaks have worked wonders. Toyota’s intention is for the response of the set-up to be more closely aligned with throttle inputs.

The Corolla does a remarkable job of replicating an EV-like driving experience

“At cruising speeds, the engine revs sit around 500rpm lower than before, making the Corolla more relaxing over longer distances. At lower speeds, the Corolla does a remarkable job of replicating an EV-like driving experience… making stop/start traffic a far more relaxing experience. It remains an efficient set-up – we achieved around 57mpg despite driving in an often less than sympathetic way to test the recalibrated powertrain.”

2023 Toyota Corolla reviews:

“This revised Corolla features the fifth-generation version of Toyota’s hybrid system, bringing a big boost in performance to the 1.8-litre model in particular, as well claiming improved refinement and response. The safety and infotainment tech gets an upgrade, too. Fundamentally, this remains a sharp-looking, comfort-orientated family car, with… a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain line-up that… shouldn’t be sniffed at as a stop-gap to going full EV.

“The lithium-ion battery pack has a 14% greater output, a 14% (18kg) lower weight and is more compact. The control electronics are more efficient and quieter. And the electric motors are more powerful. Put this together with a substantial amount of recalibration and the additional torque-fill now available from the gutsier e-motors… [and] the new 1.8-litre Corolla is more of a surprising transition than the overall increase might lead you to suspect.

Over a mixed driving route… the car was reporting it had been in EV mode 72% of the time. Toyota’s hybrid tech has really come of age

“The updated car is immediately more brisk. A lot of work has gone into remapping the accelerator response so it better matches driver intentions, dialling back the revs the CVT requires for a given amount of progress. It is also quieter at speed.

“The car can [also] use the adaptive cruise control gear to automatically vary the amount of deceleration you get when you lift off the throttle. This… simply means it maintains a safe distance from the car in front without you having to intervene with the friction brakes, even when slowing almost to a stop. This is so unexpectedly polished that it turns [the Corolla] into a one-pedal driving experience much of the time – something that’s usually the reserve of pure EVs.”

“Updates to the Toyota Corolla’s hybrid system mean that the latest version of the entry-level 1.8-litre engine has 138bhp at its disposal. [That’s] more than enough performance for everyday driving and getting up to motorway speeds without needing to mash the accelerator into the carpet.

“Fancy a bit of pampering? Well, forget the spa and buy yourself a Corolla instead because… it’s one of the most comfortable cars in the family car class. It has softer suspension than [some other rivals], which means it smooths off the rough edges of road ridges better and fidgets less on patchy sections of motorway.

The Toyota Corolla is a brilliant family car. It’s comfortable, well made, well equipped and remarkably frugal in real-world driving

“When you’re driving normally, you’ll find that the Corolla is a fine handling car. The steering is precise and its weight builds in a progressive manner, starting light for city driving and ending up with a heft that’s reassuring. There’s even a reasonable amount of feedback streaming to your fingertips [and] a decent feeling of composure at faster speeds.”

Learn more: 2023 Toyota Corolla revealed

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Sales, Production, and Export Results for May 2022 | Sales, Production, and Export Results | Profile | Company

Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our…

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Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our Guiding Principles in pursuit of a safer, greener and more inclusive society. Today, as we transform into a mobility company developing connected, automated, shared and electrified technologies, we also remain true to our Guiding Principles and many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to help realize an ever-better world, where everyone is free to move.

SDGs Initiatives https://global.toyota/en/sustainability/sdgs/

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