More Than Just Driving! Another Key Genba in Making Ever-Better Cars


"Test drive events are serious business," declares automotive analyst Shinya Yamamoto, "a chance to go head-to-head with the engineers." Reporter Kyonosuke Morita was on location to watch the battle unfold.

Automotive journalists cover car-related news, drawing on their unique perspectives to analyze and share information.

Many people no doubt imagine that the job is just about driving cars and attending test drive events set up by manufacturers.

For some, the fact that these sessions are held at big-name hotels may even add an element of glamor.

Yet as Shinya Yamamoto—who last year taught us how to properly appreciate a car—explains, “Sometimes, you only need five minutes behind the wheel.” He sees the test drive sessions as “a chance to go head-to-head with the engineers.”

Such comments seem the complete opposite of our stereotype. To find out what he meant, Toyota Times reporter Kyonosuke Morita went directly to the source and spoke with Yamamoto at a test drive event for the new Crown. How exactly did the showdown play out?

At the end of the video, Morita himself is put to the test!

00:00 Opening
00:39 More than just driving! How test drive events help make ever-better cars
03:52 Feel-good acceleration—Crown Sedan FCEV
07:43 Setting pulses racing—Crown Sports HEV
12:26 A quality ride regardless of powertrain—Crown Sedan HEV
15:05 Commitment to comfort—Crown Sedan rear seat test drive
17:52 Head-to-head with engineers—Heated discussion aims for new heights
 Test drive wrap-up—Shinya’s mission for Morita

Yamamoto also wrote about the test drive for Kurumano News (Japanese only).

New Crown series Sports SUV! How does the exhilarating design fare in a test drive?
Toyota’s new “orthodox sedan” revives the thrill of the first-generation Celsior! What our Crown Sedan test drive revealed.

His in-depth review conveys the Crown’s “flavor” with details that couldn’t be included in the video.

Together, the writeup and our video reveal both the output of journalists and the genba where they contribute to making ever-better cars.

Shinya Yamamoto

Automotive analyst Shinya Yamamoto worked for a carmaker and tuning specialist before moving into automotive journalism. Since becoming a freelancer in 2013, he has sought to share the stories of both users and creators in an accessible and compelling way.