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New Toyota commercial celebrates 100 years of Negro Leagues Baseball

Toyota is celebrating the history of baseball's Negro Leagues in its new commercial.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

When baseball players in the Negro Leagues showed up, they showed out. That's what the redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander is trying to do with its sleek new exterior and refined interior. A new commercial from the Japanese automaker called "Home Team" looks to shine light on both.

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Negro Leagues Baseball, the segregated alternative to Major League Baseball that existed prior to integration in the late 1940s. In honor of the centennial, Toyota opted to include a player from that era in their latest commercial.

James "Jim" Robinson, former captain of the Kansas City Monarchs is featured as the family patriarch in the spot, titled "Home Team." Robinson's career started after Jackie Robinson had made it to the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1947. The young Jim Robinson played his first Negro Leagues game for the Philadelphia Stars at Yankee Stadium.

After also playing for the Indianapolis Clowns, Robinson earned an invite to try out for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Korean War interrupted his chance to try out then, but after serving 21 months in the military, he got another chance. After his tryout, the Cardinals assigned him to a Class B minor-league team.

Instead of accepting his fate, Robinson instead left the Cardinals affiliate and took his chances with the Kansas City Monarchs. It's a replica of that Monarchs jersey that Robinson wears in the Highlander commercial.

The Toyota commercial was filmed partly at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

"We are truly delighted that Toyota has chosen to honor the unsung heroes of the Negro Leagues this way," says Bob Kendrick, President, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. "The passion, determination, and unwavering spirit from these individuals is truly an American story."

"Home Team" will begin airing on March 30, 2020.

Go behind the scenes of the commercial below.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Plug it in to get 42 miles of all-electric range.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

At last year's LA Auto Show, Toyota debuted the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in variant of the best-selling SUV in the U.S. Now that the model is about to go on sale, the Japan-based automaker has revealed how much it will cost.

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will have a starting MSRP of $38,100. Toyota will offer the model in just two grades: SE and XSE. Those two trim levels denote the SUV's underlying sporty drive characteristics according to traditional Toyota nomenclature.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Hyrbid New Toyota RAV4 plug-in is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime. Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

While most PHEVs are designed to sacrifice power for range, the RAV4 doesn't. Its power plant is able to achieve 302 horsepower and can get to 60 mph off the line in 5.7 seconds. Toyota says that time makes the RAV4 Prime the quickest four-door model in their lineup.

The RAV4 Prime has 42 miles of all-electric range. Americans travel, on average, about 30 miles per day to run errands around town so theoretically whomever owns the SUV would be able to do all their errands without using a drop of gasoline. This range also gives the SUV the distinction of having the highest all-electric range of any plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) SUV on the market.

Toyota estimates that the SUV will achieve 94 MPGe combined. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, which is also a PHEV, gets 90 MPGe. The 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport PHEV gets 42 MPGe and the 2020 Volvo XC60 PHEV gets 57 MPGe. Each model listed comes standard with all-wheel drive.

All Toyota RAV4 models come equipped with standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE

The SE trim level has a unique front grille and lower front spoiler. Piano black exterior accents are featured throughout the body. The SUV rides one 18-inch painted and machined alloy wheels.

Its standard equipment list is fitting for its price point and includes heated front seats, eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, a 7-inch multi-information display in front of the driver, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert technology, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob with red stitching, power hatchback, 8-inch infotainment touch screen, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

The car also comes standard with a 3-kilowatt-hour on-board charger.

The available Weather & Moonroof Package (+$1,665 upgrade) features a number of upgrades including a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, and rain-sensing windshield wipers with de-icer function.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE starts at $41,425 and builds on what is offered in the SE model. It's available with a two-tone paint scheme that pairs a black roof with select colors, including the Supersonic Red paint that joins the RAV4 lineup for the first time.

Toyota's list of features for the RAV4 Prime XSE includes 19-inch two-tone alloy wheels, vertical LED accent lights, paddle shifters, a moonroof, SofTex seats, wireless charging, ambient interior lighting, automatic dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink universal transceiver, and a 9-inch infotainment touch screen.

Toyota is also offering the model with a Premium Audio package that includes dynamic navigation and a JBL speaker system.

Available options for the XSE grade include:

  • Weather Package (+$815)
    • Heated Steering Wheel
    • Heated Rear Outboard Seats
    • Rain Sensing Wipers w/Wiper De-Icer
  • Weather and Audio Package (+$2,435)
    • Weather package plus:
      • JBL Premium Audio
      • Dynamic Navigation with 3 year trial
      • Destination Assist with 1 year trial
  • Weather with Audio and Premium Package (+$5,760)
    • Weather and Audio package plus:
      • AC (6.6kW) Enhanced Charger
      • Digital Rearview Mirror
      • 120V/1500W AC power outlet in cargo area
      • Panoramic Moonroof
      • Kick-Type Power Back Door
      • SofTex┬«-trimmed seats with sporty red accents and stitching
      • Bird's Eye View Camera
      • 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat with seatback pocket
      • Smart Key System on all doors
      • Perforated Heated & Ventilated Front Seats
      • Parking Assist with Automatic Braking
      • Adaptive Front Headlight System
      • Head-Up Display

Prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) excluding the delivery, processing and handling (DPH) fee of $1,120. The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary. RAV4 Prime customers also may qualify for an $7,500 federal tax credit. Individual states have additional incentives that can be either be applied at time of purchase or via a rebate program, depending on the state. Individual state incentive information can be found at https://afdc.energy.gov/laws/state.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid goes on sale this summer.

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The Ford Mustang Mach 1 is the most iconic model lines in muscle car history.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor COmpany

The Mustang Mach 1 is making its return for the 2021 model year. The Ford Mustang Mach 1 has a rich history of being a powerful variant of the popular sports car and not costing as much as the Shelby models. Take a look back at the history of the car by scrolling through the photos below from the Ford archives.

Ford Mustang Mach 1: Concept car

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford spent time working on a concept (seen here) for what would eventually become the Mustang Mach 1 as the pony car gained popularity. The company was under direct pressure from Chevrolet and Pontiac to develop a car to compete with the Camaro and Firebird.

Ford Mustang Mach 1: Testing

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford tested the performance-focused concept at their proving grounds in Dearborn as they honed the car's performance traits and body styling. A new 7.0-liter V8 engine, dubbed the Super Cobra Jet, was developed as well, and would become the top-level offering when the Mustang Mach 1 debuted.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang Mach 1 got its start as a performance package for the 1969 model. It debuted in August 1968. The car proved to be so popular that it lead Ford to discontinue its Mustang GT.

Ford made the Mach 1 package only available on fastback body styles of the Mustang. But, instead of calling them fastbacks, Ford referred to the style as a SportsRoof.

Enthusiasts can tell if a Mach 1 is an original model, rather than a restomod by looking for the 63C body style code on the car's door data plate.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For the 1970 model year, Ford changed up the outside of the Mustang to make the Mach 1 a true trim level. It got dual-beam headlights and recessed taillights with a black honeycomb rear panel. The side scoops behind both doors were removed and the car got new bucket seats, deep dish wheel covers, and fresh badging. Ford also further refined the engine lineup.

Mustang Mach 1 Advertising

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1: The First Real Facelift

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For 1971, Ford revised the content of the Mach 1. The list of standard equipment included a fastback roof with a "05" VIN code, honeycomb grille with black sport lamps, "Mach 1" badging, trundled decals, lower body accent paint, white sidewall tires, a dual racing mirror, honeycomb taillight, pop open gas cap, a competition suspension, and an available scooped hood.

1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 1972 model was the least popular of the 1971-73 models. For the year, Ford droped the pop open gas cap and streamlined the engine offerings even further.

1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford again changed the Mustang Mach 1 for the 1973 model year. All '73s got wide body-side tape stripe from the front of the car to the rear wheel well. "Mustang" script made it way to the fender and the deck lid was revised. A two-tone hood treatment was offered and the engine lineup with further slimmed.

Because of new NHTSA standards, Ford had to redesign the car's front and rear bumpers which included moving lights and emblems.

1974-1978 Ford Mustang Mach 1: Second Generation

Ford downsized the Mustang Mach 1 for the second generation. It kept many design elements for the new generation while modifying them for the Mustang II design. As the years went on, Ford left the model mostly unchanged. Sales of the Mustang Mach 1 dwindled until it was discontinued in 1978.

2003-2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1: A new Mustang for a fresh generation

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford brought back the Mustang Mach 1 for a very limited time for the 2003 and 2004 model years. The car had a lot in common with the Mustang Bullitt and received a large performance gain over the Mustang's base GT model. Under its hood was a 4.6-liter V8 engine that achieved 305 horsepower.

For the 2004 model year, little changed about the model except for some minor aesthetic updates.

Ford has announced that they will revive the Mustang Mach 1 for the 2021 model year.

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