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2020 Toyota GR Yaris

2020 Toyota GR Yaris

Tested and approved by Tommi Mäkinen himself

Whenever a carmaker takes out the good stuff out of its know-how box and spreads its on a new car, well, that’s when you know you’re in for a treat. That’s exactly what Toyota did with the GR Yaris, its second global GR-badged car after the Supra GR and at the same time a homologation model that will sometime in the future spawn a fully-blown rally racer.

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2020 Toyota Yaris

2020 Toyota Yaris

Toyota’s new Yaris looks more European than it ever did and that’s a good thing

The new Toyota Yaris is here and it means business. The new Yaris will embrace the carmaker’s TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform derivative known as GA-B. The TNGA is also found underneath the likes of Prius and Corolla, but it’s the first time that Toyota has used it to underpin a sub-compact vehicle. The new platform is also tweaked to support Toyota’s new fourth-generation, three-cylinder hybrid setup. Here’s every detail you want to know on the new Toyota Yaris.

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2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback

Bolder than ever, the Yaris is here to take on the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta

The 2020 Toyota Yaris is the fourth-generation version of the company’s popular hatchback. Previewed by the 2019 Yaris Sedan, the hatchback sports the same front fascia and side body panels, but drops the deck lid in favor of a shorter tailgate design. Now more aggressive on the outside, the Yaris boasts a more upscale interior packed with new technology and revised upholstery. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder carries over from the outgoing model, but it mates to a new transmission.

The fourth-generation Yaris arrives just in time to take on a batch of recently redesigned hatchbacks. The Kia Rio was redesigned for the 2017 model year, while both the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta were overhauled for the 2018 model year. The Yaris is the only hatchback from this list to come to the United States, so it will take a large share of the market. In Europe, however, the Yaris will face some stiff competition.

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2019 Toyota Corolla GR Sport

2019 Toyota Corolla GR Sport

The Toyota Corolla just became a warmer hatch and it’s a sign of things to come

The introduction of the Toyota Corolla GR Sport days before its live debut at the Geneva International Motor Show gives us a first glimpse of what the hypothetical (and probable) Corolla GRMN might be.

The Toyota Corolla GR Sport is the closest in execution to semi-sports hatches like the Ford Focus ST-Line, the Hyundai i30 N-Line, and the Renault Megane GT-Line. As such, the Toyota Corolla GR Sport features a comprehensive set of sporty style additions without any performance upgrades. The Gazoo Racing Sport pack is available for both the base engine and top-trim.

The first semi-hot Toyota hatchback in decades came only weeks after Gazoo Racing trickled out the stunning new Supra. It delivers on the promise Aikido Toyoda, Toyota CEO, gave two years ago - “no more boring cars.” Moreover, with the new Toyota RAV4 TRD, the new Toyota GR Supra, the incredible Toyota Yaris GR, and the announcement of the new Toyota GT86, we live in a time when the world’s favorite manufacturer is again in the business of awesome cars.

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2019 Toyota Corolla Trek

2019 Toyota Corolla Trek

Here’s another iteration of the Toyota Corolla you didn’t think you needed

With almost 50 million units sold since it was first introduced in 1966, the Toyota Corolla is, without question, the best-selling car in the history of the auto industry. Even if the world is populated by Corollas, Toyota has found a way to continuously reinvent the model in ways that make it popular. It comes as no surprise then that we’re going to see another reinvented version of the Corolla called the Corolla Trek at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Based on the Touring Sports wagon body of Toyota’s best-selling model, the Corolla Trek is essentially a raised version of the wagon that’s not a lot different from the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. The recent trend of automakers raising their wagons and hatchbacks in the name of giving them crossover-like appeal has now taken over Toyota. We’ll see what that’s about when the Toyota Corolla debuts in Geneva next month.

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2019 Toyota Avalon - Driven

2019 Toyota Avalon - Driven

Top-shelf stuff at a very attractive price

First unveiled in 1994 at the Chicago Auto Show, a total of four generations have come and gone for Toyota’s large, mid-size, flagship sedan, also known as the Avalon. Now, following a debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the Avalon enters its fifth generation, and it’s bringing fresh exterior styling, a brand-new interior, tons of technology and equipment, and both a V-6 and hybrid four-cylinder powertrain, all in the name of resurrecting the beleaguered sedan segment. The question is - is it any good? To find out, Toyota flew me down to Del Mar in San Diego, CA, to give it a try.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Toyota Avalon.

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2016 Toyota Highlander Review

2016 Toyota Highlander Review

Toyota’s family hauler gains distinction

Since 2000, the Toyota Highlander has enjoyed a comfortable top spot as a nondescript suburban do-all, adept at hauling families, tackling snow days and offering better road manners than the average SUV thanks to its Camry-based underpinnings. Reliable and useful, but not particularly exciting, was the recipe.

Has that changed, though? The latest Highlander, redesigned in 2013 and tweaked again for 2016, is larger, bolder and more luxurious than its predecessors. The new Highlander has curb presence, and the eye-catching design is just the beginning. The spacious interior would look equally at home in a Lexus product, and Toyota’s added items like an available panoramic glass roof for additional "wow" factor. A longer wheelbase provides additional room for third-row passengers, and the Highlander has grown into a viable minivan alternative.

Though rarely the darlings of enthusiasts, family-sized crossovers like the Highlander are important volume vehicles for manufacturers like Toyota. Not only does the Highlander fill an important midsize niche for the marque, but it also serves as a representative of the brand (and, by extension, Lexus) through which buyers my graduate to other Toyota products in the future. That’s why the Highlander’s upgraded style is significant: it’s not enough to just be a competent vehicle these days. The key to success is to bring ’em back for more.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota Highlander.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Is this the world’s toughest pickup?

Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge sewed up the full-size pickup truck market long, long ago, and the American manufacturers’ expertise in that arena has never been disputed. When it comes to smaller trucks, however, that’s Toyota’s market, and it has been ever since the first indestructible Hilux was bolted together in 1964. Like the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota’s Tacoma carries on a long and proud tradition of reliable, hard-working pickup trucks. While there’s been some argument as to if Toyota’s full-size Tundra is a success or not, the Tacoma has remained a perennial best-seller.

For 2016, the Tacoma gets a through update, with new styling and a new V6 engine. With new mid-size pickups from Chevrolet/GMC and Ford talking seriously about bringing the Ranger back, the reskin couldn’t be better-timed. The updated Tacoma hasn’t lost its edge or its muscle, and adventure is encouraged—to the point that Toyota installs a standard GoPro mounting point on the windshield near the rearview mirror.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

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2016 Toyota Prius – Driving Impression And Review

2016 Toyota Prius – Driving Impression And Review

If you gotta blow your nose, you’ll probably ask for a Kleenex. If you need a cotton swab, you’ll look for a Q-Tip. If it’s hybrid transportation you’re after, the Prius is the standard. Rightfully so – the Prius was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, selling 3.5 million models worldwide since its introduction in 1997. But unlike hygiene products, hybrid technology has come a long way in the last two decades, and Toyota’s green icon is under pressure to evolve. Enter the fourth generation, which brings a new design, a new platform, tons of tech, and a compelling effort to broaden the appeal of this eco-conscious torchbearer. I was invited to southern California to try it out.

Los Angeles is a great place for a test like this. The Prius is hugely popular amongst the local population, especially celebrities, offering easy driving in crowded freeway traffic jams, and low emissions to curb air pollution. And in a town where you need a car to get anywhere, the high mpg doesn’t hurt either.

But Toyota says hybrids aren’t just about fuel efficiency anymore, and customers will no longer compromise to skip a trip to the pump. Conversely, the fourth-generation Prius aims to transform from something you should drive to something you want to drive. How does it stack up? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota Prius.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma - First Drive

2016 Toyota Tacoma - First Drive

It may be needless to say, but the Toyota Tacoma is extremely important in the midsize truck category and has been for decades. Its contribution to the industry is undeniable and its yearly sales figures are impressive. Sadly, Toyota let the Tacoma get long in the tooth in recent years – letting it span from 2005 to 2015 nearly unchanged. However 2016 brings a heavy refresh that borders on the “all-new” term so loosely thrown around in the auto industry.

Why is Toyota’s newest pickup not considered all-new? Well the 2016 Toyota Tacoma’s frame is mostly a carryover piece, despite its strengthening, and the base four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual are indeed unchanged. Regardless of these nit-picky details, the 2016 Tacoma feels like a brand new truck.

Thanks for the refresh can be given to General Motors and its 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon twins. Without these two trucks throwing wrenches into the midsize status quo, the Tacoma may have soldiered on unchanged. Now the newest player on the block, the Tacoma enters the market with an all-new V-6 engine, new six-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions, a welcomed exterior update and a very welcomed interior redo.

But are the changes enough to keep the Tacoma selling faster than the GM twins, or will the updates be lost against the ever-strengthening Colorado and Canyon? I drove one to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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2016 Toyota Hilux

2016 Toyota Hilux

The long wait is over – Toyota has released an all-new version of its immensely popular Hilux truck. Set as a 2016 model, the pickup truck is said to still carry all the rugged reliability that makes a Hilux a Hilux, while adding more creature comforts and interior refinements. That should bode well with truck folks in the 180 countries the Hilux calls home.

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2015 Toyota Sienna Premium AWD: Driven

2015 Toyota Sienna Premium AWD: Driven

The stigma of the minivan over the years has gone from being smart, capable people hauler to "I wouldn’t be caught dead in one." Why is that?
Why do we shun a segment of the auto industry that’s probably the only segment that consistently makes sense? For some reason we’re okay with putting four-cylinder engines in muscle cars, adding 20 inch wheels to family sedans, or with BMW->https://www.topspeed.com/cars/bmw/index115.html] sacrificing functionality in the name of style with the X6, but we just aren’t okay with minivans. We prefer less-practical, less-versatile and less-roomy SUVs. We’re okay with stuffing third-row seats back there that 85 percent of people can’t fit in just so we can say that we’re not driving a minivan.

As a result of our turned-up noses, minivans have been axed from major manufacturer’s lineups over the past 10 years. Ford’s Freestar admittedly wasn’t its best effort, but it still was more practical (and cheaper) than an Explorer. The GM threesome of of the Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza and Chevrolet Uplander were likely even worse, but they held their own on the cheaper end of the minivan market. And Hyundai’s first minivan, the Entourage, didn’t even make it to a second generation.
But there has been one minivan that has consistently been the lesser of all the supposed evils, though: the Toyota Sienna.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Sienna Premium AWD.

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2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven

2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven

Toyota has been in the minivan market for decades, though the Sienna didn’t roll on the scene until 1998. That first year, the Sienna was marketed as the “Camry of Minivans.” That made sense since it was based on the Camry and used the same 194-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6. The second-generation Sienna came around in 2004 with much improved styling that looked more grown up. A larger, more powerful V-6 was used and the interior had more creature comforts. Things soldiered on almost unchanged until 2011 when the third generation entered production.

Technically the Sienna is still in its third generation, but for 2015, the Swagger Wagon gets a smart exterior update, an updated dashboard, and even more added comfort.

I spent some time catching a sneak peak at the revisions on the 2015 Sienna along the white sands of Ponte Vedra Beach in sunny Florida. The cool breeze and warm weather were perfect for a family vacation, and so was the Sienna. With seating for up to eight passengers and all their gear, the Sienna proved yet again why minivans do it better.

With the rear seats folded, there’s more cargo room than in many crossovers, plus seats for five. That’s hard to beat. Mom and dad up front now have the ability to communicate with backseat passengers though Toyota’s EasySpeak microphone system. A new dash layout complete with an easy-to-use HVAC control, Entune infotainment system, and revised gauge cluster means this Swagger Wagon rolls in style and utility.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2015 Toyota Sienna

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2015 Toyota Camry - Driven

2015 Toyota Camry - Driven

The Toyota Camry has been in the U.S. since its humble beginnings in 1983. Humility didn’t linger around, however, as Camry sales grew to 128,000 units by 1985. By 1988, Toyota was building Camry sedans in its new factory in Kentucky. Ten years later, the Camry was already in its fourth generation. Now 32 years and eight generations after the original, the 2015 Camry is still experiencing sales growth and gaining popularity, but there is always room from improvement.

I spent two days getting a sneak peek at the redesigned 2015 Camry to see what Toyota has planned for this four-door family stalwart. Talking first hand with the designers reveals more attention to flashy styling and sportier looks. The engineering team mentions things about a more rigid body thanks to extra spot welds and a powertrain that continues without changes.

In general, the Camry is now aimed at a younger audience, somewhere in the mid-40 range. That’s not to say those on either side of the median age won’t find appeal in the car. That is especially true with the Camry’s new, sporty trim level: the XSE. A unique grille, bespoke 18-inch wheels, and upgraded interior materials separate it from LE, SE, and XLE trims. The hybrid version is still available with its Atkinson Cycle, 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder. For those looking for some extra punch, the venerable 3.5-liter V-6 returns as well.

Click past the jump for the full review

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Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro vs. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro vs. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

The Jeep Wrangler has long been the king of off-roading machines. It’s two solid axles, manual transfer case, gracious ground clearance and never-ending supply of aftermarket parts have made the Wrangler the stuff of legend. What’s more, its removable doors and top put passengers closer to the elements and heightens the thrill of the trail.

Of course, for all good champions, a new challenger is never far behind. Enter the 2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. This is Toyota’s latest version of its (almost unchanged) 4Runner design. Thanks to some clever engineering in the Toyota Racing Development labs, the 4Runner now enjoys a truly hard-core off-road version that usurps even the venerable Trail Edition 4Runner.

Heavy duty Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs, thick coil springs with a 1.5-inch suspension lift, upgraded wheels and tires, and a tank-like front skid plate make the TRD Pro a natural in the dirt. All the same off-road tech on the Trail Edition carries over to the TRD Pro as well. This includes the electronic locking rear differential, manual transfer case, and Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system.

Differentiating the TRD Pro series 4Runner from the standard models is a unique front grille with TOYOTA spelled out in block letters. Appropriate TRD Pro badging follows suit, attached on the C-pillars and bespoke TRD Pro wheels. Things inside aren’t much different than other 2015 4Runners, beside a TRD gear shifter and some branded floor mats.

So how does the 4Runner stack up against the stalwart Jeep Wrangler? Head on past the jump for the full rundown and videos.

Click past the jump for the full Wrangler vs. 4Runner battle

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2015 Toyota Yaris

2015 Toyota Yaris

For 2015, 10 years after its introduction, the Toyota Yaris is getting its second restyling with revised looks inside and out, a quieter cabin, a fuel-efficient engine, and all the versatility that comes with the three- and five-door versions. The U.S.-spec Yaris debuted in 2005 with lots of spunk and clever packing wrapped in an inexpensive sub-compact. Offered in both the three-door and five-door hatchback styles, the Yaris filled a niche near at the bottom of Toyota’s lineup. Refreshed in 2011, the Yaris continued its mission largely unchanged, save for a more modern design. Now for 2015, Toyota is improving the Yaris with more refinement and a better driving experience, while still retaining its superb value proposition. Starting at just $14,485, the Yaris makes a great city car or a sweet first car for a teenager. Its 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder will keep curious teens out of trouble with Johnny Law, while the expansive cargo area and decent back seat might land them in trouble with mom and dad.

Toyota has resolved a few of the complaints that plagued the previous-generation Yaris, namely the NHV levels inside the cabin. More sound insulation and more premium interior materials help push the Yaris’ feel upmarket, while it still keeps its low price point. With three trim models and two body lengths to chose from, the Yaris is a pretty customizable hatchback.

With the updated features and added benefits, Toyota may see the Yaris climb back up the sales charts to the level of its glory days in 2008 when sales of the hatch topped 100,000 units. Selling only 21,343 units in 2013, the Yaris was apparently in desperate need of a makeover. Let’s see what Toyota has done to turn up the heat.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Toyota Yaris.

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