Back in the day, when NASCAR and Le-Mans racing events were pretty much the highlights of the year, the racers used to say that you can’t feel a car’s soul unless you’re super-close to its engine. Now, if you remember those glorious days (I barely can, I’m too old for that stuff :)) I bet you noticed how tiny the cabins used to be, with the drivers feeling cramped, squeezed in and then some. But, this way they were almost face-to-face with the engines, and hence the saying. In all fairness, the designers/engineers never intended to bring people and machines closer together like that, or any other fairy-tale nonsense. No, they just couldn’t make them as comfortable, cozy and reliable as today, and that’s the story, my friends. On the other hand, if you still choose to believe in that mystical connection, then you must not appreciate the modern-day Toyota SUVs, because the distance between the engine and the driver’s seating position is as large as it can be. This is actually true to all the big-bad vehicles out there, not only from the Japanese giant’s line-up. Alright, stories aside, I wanna tell you all that today, in 2016 (yep, 2015 is behind us already!), the market of SUVs (both traditional and crossover) is one of the most profitable and popular ones all over the world. True, here in America we can’t resist our craving for the good-old US-made pick-up trucks – they’re still the biggest profiteers over here – but the truth is, nobody really cares about trucks in the rest of the world, so, it’s our unique thing. On the global markets, you’ve got the sedans and the compact cars ruling the show, especially in Europe where they have these tiny parking spots, tight turns, and corners to maneuver through. It’s all about appealing to the right market the right way, folks.
Nobody Does It Better Than The Japanese Giant
In addition, in these last couple of years, the Toyota SUV models have taken their game to the next level and pretty much monopolized the sales charts in Asia, Europe and America. I’m not saying the “friendly” Honda and Mazda are any less successful, but the big T is still the class-leader. Wait, what about our own companies? Don’t we have mighty SUVs to rival with the Asian invasion? Well, we do, and it’s safe to say that the Ford Explorer, Escape and Expedition are one of the best on the market, with their unique attitude, charisma and set of wheels. Chevy has the Tahoe, GMC rolls with the Yukon, so, in terms of full-sizers the United States do pack a mean punch (it’s natural, man, we love everything big and mighty). But, we’re not here to brag about domestic success, folks, we’re here to take a look at what the Toyota SUV collection looks like. Honest to God, I really love the way the Japanese manufacturers think, you know, and it’s all in the designs, the styling, the marketing plans, the strategies – all of it. At the same time, as I already said, despite the fact that the Big Three from Detroit can and do make commercially strong vehicles when it comes to family haulers, we just can’t compete with the champs. The funny thing is, you might not even know all the Toyota SUV names right now, but I bet you’ll say something like “Man, that one looks pretty cool” when you see one in a TV ad or in your neighbor’s garage. Come to think of it, this is the best way to market a model: even if folks don’t know the nameplate, they get all hyped up when they see it on the screen or on the streets, as opposed to having it in the customer’s face all the time but failing to make him/her want it.
The Toyota SUV Models – The Best Offers On The Market
Today we’ll talk about the Toyota 4 Runner SUV, the RAV4, the Highlander and the Land Cruiser and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about these vehicles to get a clear picture of all the pros, cons, and everything in between. Trust me when I say this – you can’t go wrong with a Toyota SUV, so, the best thing you can do is listen to what I have to say about each one of them and make a list of “Yes” and “No” for you and your family (if you have one). The greatest thing about the automobile industry these days is you’ve got so many different models to choose from that even the pickiest old grump will find what he’s looking for. You might think that the companies are just crowding the market with all kinds of different models hoping to stay relevant that way, but that’s not really true: first of all, it takes a ridiculous amount of money to start an all-new from-the-ground-up model, and about 5 years to produce it, so, there you go, learning about all the inside secrets :). Second, every single Toyota SUV for sale has its own purpose, its target audience, and its own market, because that’s just the way business works, folks! For example, the RAV4 is all about happy in-city driving – it’s a crossover SUV that puts passenger comfort and strong fuel-efficiency first, while, say, the 4Runner is an off-road champ and is all about climbing that next hill or riding through piles of snow like it was nothing. The Cruiser, on the other hand, is a little bit of both, and it comes with a hefty price-tag of 85K+. Oh, and remember: there’s no Toyota Tacoma SUV out there – never was, never will be. The closest thing to it is the 4Runner I just told you about. Keep that in mind, otherwise, you might look stupid :). Hey, it’s not a crime or anything, but you do want to be (or look) smart, don’t you?
The Toyota RAV4 – The Perfect Pick For A Young Couple With Kids
With that said, I believe it’s time for me to declare Open Season and start sharing my most valuable hints, tips and knowledge with you all, huh? I suggest we start with the RAV4 because it is the smallest crossover SUV from the big T. It still kicks major butt, by the way, so, don’t let that cute grille fool you. The first thing you gotta know about this go-getter is that it was the first-ever compact crossover SUV, and that means it single-handedly started this whole new breed of vehicles for a new, different group of folks. The RAV4 is the only Toyota small SUV and it first saw the light of day in 1994 (Japan and Europe) and in 1995 (North-America). This brand-new thing was specifically designed for the middle-class people who wanted to drive a model that would combine all of the benefits of a full-size SUV with the efficiency, maneuverability, and practicality of a compact car. The task was pretty insane at first, but, as we know today, the team made it happen. As for the passenger comfort, I can tell you that even in those back seats you’ll feel good, none of that being cramped nonsense (yep, the tall folks will enjoy their ride as well). As funny as this might sound, that’s pretty much all you need to know about it. It’s good-looking, nimble, quite spacious on the inside, offers enough cargo capacity to fit all of your stuff and can be yours for just 24.3K. That’s the entry-level LE trim. Next, you’ve got the XLE, the SE and the Limited (worth 31.5K). The good thing is you’ll be super-happy even with LE, but, if you want a bit of that added luxury, with tons of technological features and safety equipment (and better material quality), you should go with the higher trims. I’m not saying that is exactly what you or the next middle-class American needs, so, don’t just pay up because they say it’s the better pick.
Looking For The Ideal Toyota Hybrid SUV? You Found It!
Oh, I almost forgot: if you’re looking for a compact Toyota hybrid SUV, I’m happy to say that the latest 2016 edition introduced the first RAV4 hybrid that received all kinds of praise from the critics and the fans (come on, did you expect something different from a new Toyota vehicle?) It starts with the XLE trim and costs 28.4K, while the Limited Hybrid can be yours for 33.6K. That’s a pretty fair price-tag if you ask me. Alright, let’s have a quick chat about the brand-new 2016 RAV4: the model gets updated styling, with a smoother and sleeker front-end that makes it look pretty cool and on part with the strongest rivals in the segment – Honda’s CR-V and Ford’s Escape. By the way, the SE trim I just mentioned is kinda like the sportier edition, with better handling, additional updates inside and out and LED headlights. Plus, the highly-capable Toyota Safety Sense pack is now offered with the SE and Limited trims. And, along with all those new goodies, this compact beauty is still one of the most comfortable, spacious, well-equipped, reliable (it’s probably THE most reliable compact crossover SUV on the planet right now), dependable, safe and fun to drive vehicles. Hey, if you ever heard stories about the coziest Toyota SUV interior, I’m happy to say that they’ve all been talking about this one right here. The company is generally known for making pretty much the most enjoyable cabins/interiors out there and the RAV4 is on top of that pedestal. It’s a 5-passenger piece of art with edgy angles/lines, which gives it a nice, up-to-date look. To be honest, I kinda hated the exterior design of the previous generation, and, even though everybody around me said only good things about it, I just couldn’t get myself to love. Thankfully, I REALLY appreciate what Toyota did this year!
Powertrain Specs And The Fuel-Efficiency Numbers
Under the hood, the latest edition packs a 2.5-lit 4-cylinder engine that’s capable of 176 Horses and 172 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and FWD (front-wheel drive), while AWD (all-wheel drive) is optional. As for acceleration, the SUV goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 9.2 seconds, which is an average result for the segment. Finally, let’s take a look at the fuel-efficiency ratings: the RAV4 returns 30 miles per gallon on the highway and 23MPG in the city (26MPG combined), and that puts it just a tiny bit behind the CR-V and the CX-5. Now, the most beautiful thing about this vehicle is it’s been like that for as long as I can remember, so, if you’re looking for a Toyota SUV used model but can’t really seem to decide which one to pick, I would strongly recommend taking a look at the third generation line-up of the RAV4, because you’ll still get a super-capable ride while saving tons of money. Alright, I believe that’s enough info on the RAV4, my friends, and now it’s time to move on to the next contestant from the Toyota SUV list. If you want to learn more about it, please, do check out my overwhelming review – I’ve got an encyclopedia-like article for your right there, so, you’re welcome :). On the other hand, if you’re a bit intimidated but that article’s size, I would strongly recommend taking a look at the more laid-back and brief comparison of the best 3 in the game right here. Right now Toyota, Honda, and Ford (and maybe also Mazda) are leading the market of small crossover SUVs, so, if you’re looking for the best offers on the market, this article will get you started on your journey.
Welcome The Highlander – The Best-Selling Mid-Size Toyota SUV
Next up we’ve got the Highlander because it follows right after the RAV4 on the official website of the company. This is a mid-size crossover SUV, heavily based on the Camry platform and introduced to the world back in 2000 at the New-York Auto Show. Here in North America, it debuted a year later, in 2001, and is considered to be one of the very first car-based SUVs on the US market. You know, it’s funny I mentioned the RAV4 first because up until 2006 the Highlander used to be the best-selling SUV from the Japanese giant’s line-up before the “younger brother” came in and snatched that #1 spot. When it comes to the segment of SUV Toyota is mighty strong, with the 4Runner following these two and the Sequoia and Land Cruiser standing strong in the world of full-sizers. So, back to the Highlander: the first generation shared a platform with the friendly Lexus RX and was available both as a five-seater and a seven-seater, thus appealing to a wide range of customers all over the globe. Pretty soon it became a best-seller in a lot of markets across the world, which showed the industry bosses that if you manage to give the “audience” what they want they’ll follow you and stay loyal. Today, 16 years later, the Highlander is still one of the hottest mid-size crossover SUVs out there, with tons of awards, enthusiastic reviews and love from the fans. As a matter of fact, if you take a look at the 2015 Toyota SUV sales charts, you’ll see that this champ sold 159K units last year, and that’s the best result ever in the model’s history. So, that automatically proves that the big T knows how to keep it fresh, interesting and appealing. I mean, come on, 15 years in the game and still breaking records? How about that, folks?!
Going Up And Down The Trim Ladder And Checking Out The Hybrid
Right now you can get the entry-level LE trim for just 29.9K, and it will keep you super happy on the road, trust me. As a matter of fact, let’s see what you’ll get with the basic trim: we’ve got 18-inch (alloy) wheels, cruise control, cloth seating, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, folding back seats, Bluetooth/USB/iPod connections, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a 6-speaker sound system, and more. Remember, this is an 8-passenger-friendly crossover we’re talking about, so, that fact alone is very well worth paying 30K for. As for the powertrain, the entry-level Highlander comes with a 2.7-lit 4-cyl engine, good for 185HP and 184 lb-ft of torque. Mileage is decent, but not class-leading: the vehicle returns 25 miles per gallon on the highway and 20MPG in the city (22MPG combined). Moving up the ladder you’ll get the mighty 3.5-lit V6 as the standard unit (although it’s also available on the LE trim as optional equipment) that’s pumping out 270 Horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque, and jumps from 0 to 60MPG in 7.3 seconds, which is about a 1-second-better result than the segment-average. Properly equipped, the brand-new Highlander can tow anything up to 5K pounds, and that strength will come in handy on your next trip to the camping site, believe me. On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a Toyota SUV Hybrid, you can have it for “just” 47.9K with the Highlander. I know the price is a bit steep, but you’ll get the real entry-level luxury treatment with it, and for that category, I say it’s well worth it. The vehicle boasts impressive fuel-efficiency, a spacious, practical and highly comfortable interior, seating for seven, great exterior looks and probably the best handling in the segment. Come on, what else is there to wish for, right?!
Who Can Rival With The Class-Leading Toyota SUVs?
Now, with all that said, I have to mention that the competition is pretty strong, too, but, even if you go with the similarly-priced QX60 Hybrid from Infiniti, you’ll still lose in terms of fuel economy and powertrain might. On the other hand, if you’re not 100% sure that a 7-seater is what you need, take a look at the Lexus RX 450H and the highly capable Audi Q5 Hybrid. However, it can be said with certainty that the Highlander Hybrid offers the customers the best mix of power, fuel-efficiency, ride quality, comfort, tech-savvy, interior/cargo space and pricing. Overall, there have been 3 generations for us to enjoy, but something tells me that a new one is just around the corner. At the end of the day, as far as the list of Toyota SUVs 2015 – 2016 goes, I can’t think of a better way to spend that money if you’re looking for a 7/8-seater with all the necessary features of a class leader. Add in the trademark Toyota reliability and safety and you’ll get yourself a bargain. I can actually go on and on about this highly attractive family hauler, but I’m afraid that could take me (and you) all day, and we don’t have that kind of time on our hands, now do we? On the other hand, if you’re a fan of reading and would like to get your hands on a huge pile of text without that boring Wikipedia stuff but with all the “juicy facts”, please, check out the review. I promise you’ll have tons of fun with it. Or, if you’re more into hybrids these days, the review will help you figure out all the pros and cons of the Highlander and get your story straight. I’ve actually got a lot of posts on this mid-size crossover SUV on my blog, simply because it’s a super-popular model and it’s pretty fun to write about, so, happy reading! 🙂
The Toyota 4Runner – A Mighty King On Any Exciting Adventure
Ok, my friends, if you’re craving for some of that off-road awesomeness, please, welcome the 4Runner – arguably the best offer in the segment for the right price. The official motto on its Toyota page says “Keep it wild”, and that’s the perfect description for it, period. It’s tough and ready to rumble, plus, if you keep it on the leash, it will also perform great in the civilized world, and by that, I mean in-city driving. The 4Runner is a mid-size sport utility vehicle that first saw the light of day in 1984 (aha, that means it’s about 32 years old now). The funny fact is, back in the day it used to be a compact SUV, however, it changed the diet and started doing all kinds of crazy workouts, because today it looks and feels like a true champ, something between a compact and a mid-size SUV, but with a lot of that umph, if you know what I mean. It’s safe to say that the Toyota SUVs list would not be full without this one, because, even though the Land Cruiser is pretty capable in off-roading, it’s more bias to in-city perfection, besides, it’s pricey as hell! The entry-level SR5 trim can be yours for 33.8K, while the Trail trim, the second step up the ladder, is worth 36.7K (that’s the starting price, of course, without all those fancy optional features and equipment). Next, we’ve got the Limited edition (42.1K) and the TRD Pro edition (41.8K), just perfect for conquering the next hill, forest, muddy waters of water-less deserts. It can be said with certainty that the TRD Pro is for the true fans of off-roading, so, if you’re not one, don’t even bother paying 42K for it, because the basic SR5 trim will be more than enough for you, and that’s the simple truth – don’t pay up unless you’re 100% sure you need (and want) to. Man, if somebody gave me that advice when I was a young fella I think I’d be the happiest man on planet Earth, and I’m not even kidding right now :).
The Best Toyota SUV For Off-Roading
Regardless of your personal taste and hobbies, the latest 4Runner is the best rough-tough Toyota SUV 2015 – 2016 out there. Now, at the core, this is a mid-size SUV we’re talking about that can easily seat 5 passengers and never even break a sweat. Furthermore, you can even go for a split 3rd-row seat on the SR5/Limited trim and seat 7 folks simultaneously. And don’t worry, the mighty 4.0-lit V6 under that manly hood won’t have any problems taking your friends through pretty much any blizzard/storm/mud/snow/whatever you throw its way. This is the standard (and only) engine, by the way, and it’s pumping out 270HP and 278 lb-ft of torque on a regular basis, with a max towing capacity of 5K (aha, just like the Highlander). On the track, the 4Runner goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 7.8 seconds, which is an average result in the segment. Fuel economy is decent, too: you’ve got the vehicle returning 22MPG hwy/17MPG city (19MPG combined). The entry-level SR5 edition comes with 17-inch (alloy) wheels, hill assist/decent control, a rearview camera, cruise control, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth/iPod/USB connections, air conditioning, navigation, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, an 8-speaker sound-system with High Def. radio, and more. Pretty impressive, right? You bet! They say the 2012 Toyota SUV lineup was a pretty strong one, and that is true, but, compared to the 2015-2016 model year I’d say they stepped their game up, big time. The truth is, the automobile industry today demands the majors in the game to have mighty-strong contestants in every single segment, not just a couple of decent models here and there with tons of OK-I-guess cars. I order to survive you have to at least try to dominate and prevail and every competition, only then will you prosper and thrive. And that’s what Toyota is doing right now. By the way, check this out – my overwhelming review.
The Land Cruiser – The Champ Among Full-Sizers
You might actually think that this is a new Toyota SUV I’m talking about, but you’ll be wrong – dead wrong. The Land Cruiser is the longest-lasting nameplate from the big T, and that means it’s been through a lot, including several wars, tons of cataclysms, all kinds of horrible/awesome events and, of course, many generations. The Cruiser was there when the Cuban Crisis was on our doorsteps, it was there when JFK was assassinated and it was there when the first black president became…well, the president. The funny thing, it is still here and, given the fact that Toyota is doing everything in its power to keep it as awesome and successful as before, I believe this handsome full-size SUV will witness the colonization of the moon, the first encounter with the Aliens and the next big thing in the galaxy. Hands down, this is the best Toyota SUV, especially considering what it meant and still means for the Japanese manufacturer. The Land Cruiser debuted more than 6 decades ago, in 1951, to be exact, and it’s been one of the greatest vehicles to ever drive these roads, my friends, let me just tell you that real quick. First of all, the Toyota mid-size SUV family can never compete with this giant when it comes to interior space, mighty engines and technological savvy. That’s just a fact, folks, and there’s no denying that. Second, as I just said, the experience behind the back of this one is off-the-charts. Now, if you want to learn more about the way it came up, the origins, the FJ40, the 70 series, and the current gen, please, make sure to check out my review – it’s got tons of awesome info for y’all to enjoy. For example, did you know that the very first edition was based on an abandoned Jeep model found by the Japanese Army back in 1941? Aha, and you’ll find even more fun facts about this legendary SUV in that post! On the other hand, if you wanna put two kings against each other, I’d recommend this article right here.
Toyota SUV 2015 – 2016 – A Super-Strong Line-Up
So, that’s got the 2015 edition covered. But what about the current model, the 2016 Cruiser? Let’s find out! Speaking of new stuff, the full-sizer comes with a brand-new 8-speed automatic transmission for improved acceleration. On the safety front, you’ve got all the latest tech/equipment at your service, including the front collision avoidance system, for example. The Entune infotainment system has been improved a lot as well and is now a lot faster, smarter and doesn’t get on your nerves every time you try to make it work. The unusual thing about the Cruiser is that you won’t find any trim levels with it – there’s only the standard edition, which is also the Ultimate one. True, there are tons of optional features, but even the entry-level stuff will keep you “warm” for years: you’ve got 18-inch wheels, (automatic) LED head- running-lights, a sunroof, a roof rack, keyless entry-ignition, 4-zone (automatic) climate control, top-notch leather upholstery, ventilated-heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, front/rear parking sensors, navigation, a rearview camera, a 9-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth/USB/iPod connections, a 14-speaker sound-system (the JBL) satellite/High Def. radio, and more. So, yeah, this is by far the most tech-packed Toyota SUV you can buy. As for the powertrain, the latest Cruiser is powered by a super-strong 5.7-lit V8 that’s capable of 381 Horses and 401 pound-feet of torque. FWD and 8-speed automatic transmission are standard equipment. Fuel-efficiency is not that impressive, though: 18MPG hwy/13MPG city (15MPG combined). However, you’ll be more than pleased with the max towing capacity, which is 8.1K pounds. In my opinion, the 2016 Land Cruiser is one of the best offerings from the big T this year. Wanna learn about the rest? See my post. And what about the price-tag? You can buy the latest edition for a hefty price-tag of 83.8K, but it will be well worth it. Ok, that’s it! That’s all I have to say about the Toyota SUVs, and I believe this info will at least get you started. See you next time!
Check out this video: All New 2016 Toyota Fortuner Family SUV