Dealerships

Toyota rolling out online vehicle purchasing, including financing, nationwide

Toyota has made it possible to buy a vehicle, including financing, without leaving home.

Photo by fizkes/Getty Images

Not visiting your local Toyota dealership is getting even easier. Toyota Motor North America (TNMA) has revealed the next iteration of its SmartPath retail experience, which allows customers to have the flexibility of doing the entire vehicle purchasing process online, including financing. Volkswagen rolled out a similar program last year.

TMNA worked in partnership with Toyota Financial Services (TFS) on the project, the pace of which was accelerated in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Digital Shopping Study showing two out of three shoppers are more likely to purchase a vehicle 100 percent online.

The SmartPath service allows customers to choose the right path to ownership for them. They can start their journey online and come back to it later, complete their purchase at a dealership, or complete their purchase entirely online. At no time will SmartPath leave the internet, go to the break room, make a cup of coffee, and pretend to be negotiating a better rate for you.

Toyota SmartPath Toyota has laid out a complete path to ownership via online sales.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

"Our goal is to ensure we create the best experience for our customers and our dealers," said Jack Hollis, senior vice president, Automotive Operations, TMNA. "As our customers' expectations evolve, SmartPath provides our dealers the technology to exceed those expectations. Our shared mission is to make the experience of shopping, buying, and owning a Toyota as easy and carefree as driving one."

Currently, SmartPath is available to customers in select markets at more than 50 dealerships. An additional 50 dealerships will go online with the purchasing platform this spring. Toyota intends to aggressively enroll more dealers through 2021.

This year and next are expected to be busy ones for Toyota as they gear up to launch a next-generation Tundra along with other models that have undergone revisions, giving buyers more choices at as they shop online fro their next new vehicle.

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New full-size pickup truck

Toyota announces luxurious Tundra Capstone

The Capstone is a luxurious new trim for the 2022 Tundra.

Toyota

The Toyota Tundra got a much-needed overhaul for the 2022 model year, after well over a decade on sale unchanged. The new trucks are more powerful, more efficient, and much more tech-forward than than their predecessors. One area Toyota needed to improve was the Tundra's luxury factor, which has never been as strong as high-end trucks from the Americans. The enormous Japanese automaker just announced a new model that should help it catch up. The Tundra Capstone will hit dealers' lots in spring with premium finishes and features, inside and out.

2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone The Capstone features exclusive styling and luxury features. Toyota

Toyota notes that the Capstone truck is just as capable as its less posh counterparts. It comes standard with the Tundra's new I-Force Max hybrid powertrain that makes 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission, the combined powertrain is good for a max towing capacity of 10,340 pounds. The hybrid system can provide greater power and torque during towing, but better efficiency when cruising around town.

2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone Acoustic glass is a first for the Tundra, and gives the Capstone a quiet cabin.Toyota

The Capstone's cabin is where the real magic happens. The truck invites passengers with a standard automatic running boards, and the perforated leather upholstery comes in and exclusive black/white combination. There are real open-pore dark American walnut wood accents throughout the cabin, and a panoramic moonroof comes standard. The Capstone is the only Tundra model to get acoustic glass on the front doors for a quieter cabin.

2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone The Capstone comes with upscale, unique interior finishes, including two-tone leather upholstery.Toyota

A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 10-inch head-up display are standard. The gauge cluster can be configured to show various functions beyond speed and engine revs. A 14-inch touchscreen is standard that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Toyota's infotainment systems haven't been the most responsive or easy to use, but the automaker's new interface is intuitive, responsive, and powerful. Over-the-air updates can improve functions and add new ones over time, and cloud-based apps update traffic and other information in real time.

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The car shows just 9,000 miles.

Bring a Trailer

If you’re in the market for a new and unique sports car, this may be your fix. The Mazda RX-8 is a much-maligned and somewhat unreliable vehicle, but the price on this auction may be just right. The 2005 RX-8 shows just 9,000 miles on its odometer and looks to be in wonderful shape.

2005 Mazda RX-8 Unsurprisingly, the RX-8 looks almost new.Bring a Trailer

The RX-8 was an interesting but problem-plagued car that many enthusiasts steer clear of these days. Numerous things can go wrong with the rotary engine that powers the car, including bad ignition coils, engine fuel flooding, catalytic converter issues, and starter problems. The engine’s unique design caused problems when drivers started and quickly shut down the car without letting it warm fully. The problem would prevent the car from starting until remedied but didn’t cause any permanent damage. Other issues could cause costly repairs and extended downtime for RX-8 owners.

While all of that could eventually become an issue for this car, it’s likely that its low mileage and great condition will help it stay in decent health for at least a while. The seller also provided compression test results that show a healthy and functioning engine without much to worry about at the moment.

The RX-8’s tiny 1.3-liter two-rotor engine produced 238 horsepower and 159 pound-feet of torque when new. A six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard. The cars were, and still are, quick, thanks to their light weight. On the downside, the cars’ fuel economy and oil consumption are both prodigious.

2005 Mazda RX-8 The RX-8 was a quirky car with small doors that opened to access the back seat. Bring a Trailer

This 2005 RX-8 sits at just $12,000 at the time of this article, and there’s still almost five hours to go in the auction. Unless some brave soul gets excited at the last minute, it likely won’t climb much higher than that. At that price, the RX-8 is a less risky purchase and would mean that the new owner could use and abuse it without much worry. Could that be you?

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