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2021 Toyota Highlander XSE

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE

Toyota gives the Highlander a meaner mug and subtle performance gains

Toyota is bringing an armada of trucks and SUVs at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, including the Highlander XSE that’s infused with enough sporty characteristics that make us wonder if Toyota’s deliberately trying to jolt some life into what otherwise is a family-oriented three-row crossover. To be clear, the Highlander XSE is not a special edition Highlander; it’s a new trim level that comes with significant visual and performance upgrades that you normally don’t see in a Highlander. If this is Toyota’s attempt to catch our attention with the 2021 Highlander, consider our attention’s caught. The Toyota Highlander XSE will go on sale in the fall of this year as a 2021 model. No pricing details have been revealed, but Toyota did say that the Highlander XSE will slot between the XLE and Limited trims. With the Highlander XLE starting at around $40,000 and the Highlander Limited starting at $44,000, expect the Highlander XSE to start at $42,000.

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2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition

2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition

You won’t have any problems gearing up for the outdoors with this SUV

With a manufacturing facility sitting deep in the heart of the state, Toyota is always a lock to be in attendance at the Texas State Fair. Past years have shown the automaker debut models like the Toyota 4Runner Nightshade Edition to go with SX versions of the Toyota Tundra and Toyota Tacoma.

This year, Toyota is returning the to the fair with a more functionally inclined special edition model called the 4Runner Venture Edition. The exclusive touches are mostly of the cosmetic variety, but there’s enough of them in the 4Runner Venture Edition to go around to pique the interests of prospective owners of the special edition SUV. The Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition is already available for order so if you’ve got an eye for a new roof rack, among other things, you can buy Toyota’s latest special edition SUV for a tidy sum of $45,405.

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2018 Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing

2018 Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing

Toyota Hilux GR Sport Is Like A Ranger Raptor Moment Only For Toyota

The toughest truck on earth – the Toyota Hilux - received a cool Gazoo Racing rework for Brazil. Introduced at the Sao Paulo Motor Show, the Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing represents something one may even consider a Ford Ranger Raptor competitor. Yet, aside from being really cool, the Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing introduces the whole GR brand in Latin America. Introducing it with a popular truck is only expected.
Nope, as I have said numerous times before, we in the U.S. do not have access to the Hilux. Not even to special versions like the Invincible 50 I wrote about only days ago.

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2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

More spicy sauce for the Taco Supreme

Toyota’s 2019 updates to its trio of TRD Pro models brings some impressive upgrades to the Tacoma. Headlining the features is the new Desert Air Intake, a high-rise snorkel that not only looks awesome but sucks in cleaner air from higher above trail. The suspension is also updated Fox Racing Shocks and a handful of cosmetic changes keep the truck fresh.

The Tacoma TRD Pro has been around since 2015 and jumped to the third-generation Tacoma for 2017 after skipping the 2016 model year. Now for 2019, the truck’s updates work to better align the Tacoma TRD Pro with the new and highly impressive Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor. While the Tacoma enjoys a fat sales margin over the Colorado, its lead has been dwindling. Once Ford’s new Ranger his the streets for 2019, Toyota will have a real fight on its hands. Read on to see how the 2019 updates prepare the Tacoma for a tough battle.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

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2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

Minor upgrades keep the 4Runner competitive

The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is one of the capable SUVs on the market today. While most SUVs have softened into crossovers with unibody chassis, the 4Runner continues its body-on-frame tradition matched with the even-more-capable TRD Pro suspension system. Yet, for 2019, Toyota is turning up the heat.

The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro gets upgraded Fox Racing Shocks that help better handle high-speed desert running while providing a civil ride around town and a new roof rack offers more storage for dirty gear. A few other changes inside and out help keep the 4Runner fresh as interest explodes for its main rival, the Jeep Wrangler.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.

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2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Minor improvements prevent the Tundra TRD Pro from getting cold

Toyota has upped the ante with its Tundra TRD Pro for the 2019 model year. The off-road package receives a mid-cycle refresh that includes both cosmetic and suspension upgrades. The move is completely understandable considering how hot the off-road segment is getting these days.

It’s important to understand the Tundra TRD Pro’s place in the market. It competes most directly with the Ram 1500 Rebel, both of which fall short of the Ford F-150 Raptor’s outright ownership of the high-speed desert racing niche. But while Ford is busy making the Raptor an extremely capable but very expensive upgrade to the F-150, both the TRD Pro and Rebel are more obtainable for the everyman. In other words, the Tundra TRD Pro might not match the Raptor’s off-road performance, but it’s also far less expensive.

Nevertheless, Toyota’s 2019 updates push the Tundra TRD Pro beyond what it was capable of from 2015 to 2018.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.

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2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven

2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven

An aging, lumbering beast that somehow wins hearts with its old-school vibes

The Toyota Sequoia is alive and kicking. You’re forgiven if you’ve forgotten, even despite Toyota giving the full-size SUV a slight update for 2018. The Sequoia’s sales pale in comparison to its rivals, and as such, there are simply fewer on the road. But that doesn’t mean the Sequoia is a bad SUV, right? We decided to have a look.

Our tester came decked out with all the extra goodies thanks to the range-topping Platinum trim. Of course, it also carried all the update Toyota gave it for the 2018 model year, including a new nose, a revised gauge cluster, and the now-standard Toyota Safety Sense-P active safety system. Beyond that, however, the 2018 Sequoia looks and feels nearly identically to the 2008 version.

It’s hard to believe the Sequoia’s second-generation is now a decade old. It harks back to Toyota’s major revamp of the Tundra pickup. It changed to a full-size truck for the 2007 model year and the Sequoia followed suit the next year. The Sequoia shares plenty with the Tundra, including its drivetrain and interior. Toyota did cater the Sequoia towards family usage with an independent rear suspension with available air ride rather than the Tundra’s solid axle and leaf springs. Yet despite the differences, the Sequoia still felt like a truck. In practice though, many full-size SUV customers were into that sort of thing. It fosters a sense of invincibility and a go-anywhere attitude. Well, so long as there’s a gas station close by.

Continue reading for our full review.

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2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven

An honest truck with a manual transmission and 4WD

The Toyota Tacoma has been a mainstay in the compact and mid-size pickup segments for more than 30 years. Even before the Tacoma name, the Toyota pickup impressed hard-nosed Americans with innovation, durability, and performance. Those traits continue today with the third-generation truck. And like any proper truck should, Toyota offers the Tacoma with several cab, bed, trim, and drivetrain combinations. Generally speaking, there is a Tacoma for everybody.

If I were a single man who didn’t need room for car seats and kiddos, the Tacoma Access Cab would be a tempting acquisition. I’ve never really been a big fan of extended cab trucks, favoring the roomier crew cab (double cab in Toyota’s case) over the cramped quarters behind the front seats of an Access Cab. However, a week behind the wheel of a 2017 Tacoma Access Cab has changed my mind. There’s enough room for smaller people and plenty of room for groceries. Better still, the Tacoma’s six-speed manual transmission won my heart thanks to its more engaging driving experience over the automatic.

Continue reading for my full thoughts on the 2017 Toyota Tacoma.

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2018 Toyota Land Cruiser

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser

An old favorite gets some modern updates

The Toyota Land Cruiser is about as iconic as vehicles come, so it’s a big deal when something changes. For 2018 in global markets, the Land Cruiser is getting a few appearance upgrades and a redesigned dashboard – both in an effort to keep this go-anywhere, three-row SUV flying off showroom floors. Toyota debuted its updated Land Cruiser at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show ahead of its on-sale date later this year.

The Land Cruiser’s reputation is rooted in reliability and its rugged dependability in off-road situations, often far from civilization. It makes sense, then, that Toyota boasts about the SUV being “easy to maintain and repair” right in its press materials. You won’t find that in a Land Rover’s press kit. While easy trail repairs isn’t the Land Cruiser’s best selling point in North America where customers view it as a status symbol, many of the 190 countries place an extreme value on making a round trip when leaving the house. Of course, the 2018 Land Cruiser is more than just reliable transportation. It offers plenty of luxury and creature comforts, too. Let’s check out what changes Toyota has made for 2018. Perhaps some of these will even make it to the U.S.-spec Land Cruiser, as well.

Continue reading for more about the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser.

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2015 - 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – Driven

2015 - 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – Driven

The ultimate 4Runner

The 2015 – 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is Toyota’s most rugged and capable SUV. Thanks to some clever engineering in the Toyota Racing Development labs, the 4Runner 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 1.0-inch suspension lift, upgraded wheels and tires, and a tank-like front skid plate makes the TRD Pro a natural in the dirt. All the same off-road tech on the 4Runner Trail Edition carries over to the TRD Pro, too. This includes the electronic locking rear differential, manual transfer case, and Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system.

A unique front grille with the blocky T-O-Y-O-T-A lettering sets the TRD Pro apart, along with TRD Pro badging on the C-pillars and bespoke TRD Pro wheels and all-terrain tires. Things inside aren’t much different than other 4Runners, beside a TRD gear shifter and some like-branded floor mats. So how does the TRD Pro handle everyday life and the sandy trails of Central Florida? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full review.

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2017 Toyota Tundra Platinum – Driven

2017 Toyota Tundra Platinum – Driven

How does the oldest half-ton pickup perform?

The Toyota Tundra has been around since 2014 with nary a change. Before that, it was 2007 when the Tundra saw any action from Toyota designers – and that was the second-generation Tundra’s debut! Needless to say, Toyota’s full-size pickup is long in the tooth. But how does this decade-old pickup perform? To find out, I spent a week with the truck on familiar streets I’ve traversed plenty of times with the Tundra’s competition.

As mentioned, the current Tundra debuted in 2007 as an all-new, ground-up truck that replaced a much smaller pickup bearing the same name. Toyota had been accosted by consumers and journalist alike for not having a true full-size competitor. To much applause, Toyota delivered. The truck came with a powerful 5.7-liter V-8, three cab options, available 4WD, and payload and towing capacities that ranked well against Detroit’s Big Three.

The Tundra then lay dormant for seven years. A mid-cycle refresh came in 2014 bringing some new sheet metal and a revised interior. However, the powertrain, frame, and suspension remained unchanged. Fast forward, and the first major change is scheduled for 2018. Even that is limited to the TRD Sport trim and consists of new grille mesh, LED headlights, and some active safety systems. We’ll have to wait at least to 2019 or 2020 before Toyota finally brings an all-new model. But despite its age, the Tundra isn’t a bad truck. Here’s why.

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2019 Toyota Tundra

2019 Toyota Tundra

What could Toyota have up its sleeve?

The current Toyota Tundra has been around since 2007, with only a modest update for the 2014 model year. This makes Toyota’s full-size truck the oldest in the segment, falling well past its competition. News from Toyota is nearly nonexistent on an update, but there is a solid case for 2019 being the target year. In typical Toyota fashion, a game-changing update isn’t expected, but rather a well conceived renewal of what works. In an attempt to capture this, we’ve created a rendering that plays off the Tacoma’s detailing yet still captures the Tundra’s main theme.

As for what’s under the bodywork, well, there is speculation Toyota will employ its newest D-4S dual fuel injection technology into a heavily revised, if not all new, V-8 engine. An eight- or 10-speed automatic transmission might be in the works, while a strengthened steel frame gives the pickup a stronger backbone.

The Tundra’s reach into the luxury truck stratosphere is also expected, with upscale equipment and niceties added to the 1794 Edition and Platinum models. Toyota could also introduce a new Limited Platinum model as a range-topping trim, just as on the Highlander. Trucks like the Ford F-150 Limited and GMC Sierra 1500 Denali offer luxuries far beyond what’s available on the Tundra. The remaining trims will likely carry over, including the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro. The three cab configurations are expected to make the generational jump, including the Regular Cab, Double Cab, and CrewMax cab.

For more speculation on the 2019 Toyota Tundra, click “continue reading.”

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TRD Sport Package Brings Added Styling and Handling Upgrades to 2018 Toyota Tundra and Sequoia

TRD Sport Package Brings Added Styling and Handling Upgrades to 2018 Toyota Tundra and Sequoia

Finally! Updates come for the Sequoia and Tundra

Toyota joins every other automaker in the known universe by launching special edition versions of the full-size Tundra pickup and Sequoia SUV. It’s called the TRD Sport and it brings new grille treatments, upgraded headlights, black wheels, and a TRD on-road handling package, among other small changes. What’s more, the Sequoia is finally getting an updated gauge cluster that replaces the archaic piece that’s been present since 2008. Both vehicles are also getting Toyota’s full suite of active safety systems, which rounds out nearly all of Toyota’s lineup with TSS-P coming as standard equipment.

The new TRD Sport trim alights with the existing Tacoma TRD Sport, which is a street-biased package that compliments the TRD Off-Road package and hard-core TRD Pro package on that Tacoma. Unfortunately, Toyota has not released a TRD Off-Road or TRD Pro version of the Sequoia. Then again, the TRD Sport package is the first major upgrade in the current-generation Sequoia’s decade-long life, so it’s not surprising Toyota isn’t showing it a ton of love.

Beyond the suspension upgrade brought by the TRD Sport package, no mechanical changes are found for either the Tundra or Sequoia. Both still use the 5.7-liter i-Force V-8 with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, which mates to a six-speed automatic transmission. And as before, both Tundra and Sequoia can be had in RWD or 4WD, including TRD Sport models.

Want to know the details of Toyota’s TRD Sport package? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for more information.

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2017 Toyota Highlander

2017 Toyota Highlander

Toyota’s largest crossover gets a mid-cycle refresh

The crossover segment is on fire these days and Toyota is not letting its popular Highlander age out of the fight. Debuting at the 2016 New York Auto Show on March 23, the 2017 Highlander will boast several changes and upgrades for its mid-cycle update. The current, third-generation Highlander debuted for the 2013 model year and has done very well in the segment, posting record-setting sales gains in both 2014 and 2015 with 146,127 and 158,915 examples sold, respectively. Toyota is undoubtedly banking on these updates to further accelerate that trend.

Headlining the changes is a refreshed front grille, a new 3.5-liter V-6, an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, available LE and XLE trims now on the hybrid, the sporty new SE trim level, and a host of safety features now coming standard. The Highlander will continue to offer seating for up to eight, a choice of a four-cylinder, hybrid, or V-6 powertrain, FWD or AWD, and a bevy of optional equipment. For those not smitten with the minivan segment, the Highlander is Toyota’s premiere people-hauler.

Updated 11/03/2016: Toyota announced prices on the 2017 Highlander. Check the "Prices" section for the full details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Toyota Highlander.

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