Toyota’s Most Trusted Models of All Time
Toyota is the world’s largest car manufacturer and the world’s tenth-largest business in terms of revenue. Although larger isn’t necessarily better, Toyota’s cost-to-own and highest resale value awards make a strong statement about the company’s dedication to producing dependable vehicles.
“That says a lot,” Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book, said. “It indicates that the vehicles are very reliable, and they are highly appreciated by both new and used car purchasers due to widespread knowledge of their dependability. That is what keeps a car’s worth. Because Toyota is so trustworthy and reliable, both used and new vehicle purchasers know they can buy one and anticipate a relatively stress-free and worry-free ownership experience.”
In other words, Toyota owners have faith in their vehicles, but not all models are made equal. Here are some of the vehicles that have received long-term acclaim for their dependability, ease of ownership, and inventiveness.
There’s the Camry and then there’s everything else when it comes to Toyota trust. When the Camry dethroned the Ford Taurus as the best-selling vehicle in America in 1997, it became the first Toyota in history to do so. With the exception of the year 2001, the Camry has been America’s favourite vehicle every year from 1998 to 2018. The Camry has dominated the area where dependability, reliability, and affordability meet for more than two decades. No other automobile dynasty has ever come close. “It’s been the brand’s backbone for the most of its existence in this country,” Brauer added.
For a generation, King Camry has been supported by a scaled-down, JV version of itself that its owners have long trusted — the Corolla.
“It’s essentially a junior Camry,” Brauer said. “As a result, it’s even cheaper, yet it has just as good a reputation for long-term dependability. For many decades, you could argue that the term ‘Corolla’ would be the response if someone said they wanted to spend the least amount of money on the most reliable, long-lasting car.”
According to Brauer, the RAV4 has “kind of replaced” the Camry as a consequence of a consumer move from sedans to SUVs.
“It’s another very well executed Toyota, as shown by its volume, how many are sold, and its resale value – people love it,” Brauer said. “You basically get an SUV-like car based on its appearance and greater internal flexibility and usefulness, but it costs approximately the same as a Camry. The RAV4 has become more of a Toyota poster child in recent years than the Camry was for decades.”
The Highlander is Toyota’s equivalent of the Lexus RX, while the Camry is Toyota’s version of the Lexus ES. Both Toyotas share many components with their Lexus equivalents, although without the high-priced luxury bells and whistles. The ES, according to Bauer, always looked “sort of like a gussied-up Camry,” while the Highlander could never be confused for a Lexus RX.
“The Highlander never had such comparable looks that you’d assume they were the same car, but platform- and engineering-wise, they shared a lot of components and engineering. From a structural standpoint, they’re basically the same car.”
In other words, the Highlander brought the innovative and luxury-laden Lexus RX within reach of the ordinary consumer.
Toyota did not create the hybrid car concept, which had been tinkered with since the late 1800s, but it did bring it into the mainstream.
“Prius is the car that popularised the term ‘hybrid,'” Brauer added. “It demonstrated to the global market what a well-executed hybrid was capable of.”
The Toyota Prius, which debuted in Japan in 1997 but didn’t make a significant impact in the United States until it was remodelled in 2004, was the culmination of five years of research, development, and testing. The Prius, the first mass-produced practical, low-emission family car, established the bar for all hybrids to follow and will be regarded as one of the most significant achievements in automotive history.
According to Brauer, there are an infinite number of minivans on the market, but only two can compete with the Toyota Sienna. These are the Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Pacifica, formerly known as the Town & Country, although neither is better than, or even comparable to, the Sienna.
“The Sienna is a fantastic minivan because it has all of the classic Toyota characteristics,” said Brauer. “It operates for an infinite period of time with few, if any, issues. It’s reliable, comfy, and has several clever family-friendly features. If you need a minivan but have no money and say, ‘If it ever breaks down, I’ll die,’ I’d recommend a Sienna.”
The Tacoma was another Toyota product that maintained the company’s reputation for dependability while also acting as a significant industry disruptor.
“For much of the history of the car, the truck world was sort of owned by the domestics,” Brauer said. “The Tacoma basically replaced all midsize and small domestic vehicles as the best-selling, most highly regarded, most competent midsize truck.”
It was the first Toyota truck to establish a name for itself in the United States, but it would not be the last.
Toyota accomplished what no other major foreign carmaker had done before: it began a serious challenge to the almost uncontested domination of US manufacturers in the high-volume, high-profit full-size pickup truck market in model year 2000. Toyota launched the T100 in the late 1990s, which was technically full-size, but not by American standards – it was dwarfed by category leaders such as the Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram, and Ford F-Series. The Tundra, on the other hand, was not, and it won the Motor Trend Truck of the Year Award in its first year, 2000.
Unfortunately for Toyota, the firm polished its full-size model just as the nation was transitioning away from its love affair with large trucks.
“I always felt terrible for Toyota because the Tundra happened at the worst conceivable time,” Brauer said.
The 4Runner, like so many other Toyotas, is praised for its dependability, but it’s also praised for its tough off-road capabilities. It seats 5 people and is available in all-wheel drive. It transfers nicely from the trail to the road. The midsize SUV is expensive for its class, but Edmunds reviewers who give it 4.5 stars out of five say it pays for itself and then some due to low long-term ownership expenses.
Unlike the Yaris and Matrix, the full-size Avalon is a joy to drive, owing to a standard 301-horsepower V6 engine that provides enough of power for the large, spacious sedan. Despite its brute strength, it achieves 32 mpg on the interstate and has superb driving and handling, especially on rough roads. It is expensive for its class, as is the 4Runner, but it shares the dependability and affordability in terms of long-term ownership expenses of so many other Toyotas in the brand’s portfolio.
Those who own one adore it; it has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Cars.com, with 100 percent of reviewers recommending it for purchase. It’s large even in the class of full-size SUVs, it’s a strong vehicle with 381 horsepower, it’s as spacious as its size suggests, and although the inside isn’t luxury, it’s practical and pleasant.
Following in the footsteps of a well-traveled Toyota heritage, the C-HR has a great track record of maintaining resale value, is dependable, and seldom has to be serviced. Its back seat is a little cramped, its performance won’t blow many vehicles away off the line, and it would be a great addition if it came with all-wheel drive. It does, however, get excellent gas mileage, has sharp handling, and is a stylish car to boot. Furthermore, it is cheap – you can get into one for only a little more than $20,000.