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Toyota Car Reviews

Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica -- People Haulers, Plus

by Jim Bray,

Thursday, August 30, 2007

People hauling. It's one of the primary uses for any vehicle, but as we see by the wide variety of vehicles on the road today, there's an amazing number of ways to skin that particular cat.

Toyota Tundra – Civilized Brute Force

by Jim Bray,

Monday, June 25, 2007

If the third time's the charm, Toyota's new Tundra full sized pickup is definitely a charming vehicle. If you think big trucks are charming.

I'm not a truck guy, except for the occasional time I need to haul something (I prefer hauling butt in a fast car), but if I had to buy a big pickup, it just might be this new Tundra – though I thought the last generation was a pretty skookum truck as well. But the marketplace and punditry decided otherwise, that the last Tundra still wasn't enough for Toyota to play with the big boys in the full sized truck market.

Toyota Camry LE --  Vanilla is Back in Fashion

by Jim Bray,

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

It has a spiffy new look inside and out, and will probably run forever. For what more could anyone ask?

More excitement, perhaps? 

The 2007 Toyota Camry LE, the four cylinder version of which I got to live with for a week, is a fine car, well built and unpretentious. And very vanilla.

Toyota Corolla CE, a Boffo Basic Bus

By Jim Bray,

Sunday, December 3, 2006

It may be long in the tooth for its model cycle, but Toyota's venerable Corolla is still a great little car that'll probably run forever.

I haven't driven a new Corolla in ages, but I'm very familiar with Toyota's little classic. My family has owned Corollas since 1984, and my wife and I have had two during that time, a 1985 (the first front wheel drive generation) and a 1992 LSX model we still own and drive today.

Toyota Camry Hybrid

by Jim Bray,

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What a difference a new version can make!

When I drove the last Toyota Camry, I referred to it as "vanilla," in that vanilla is extremely popular and a fixture in kitchens worldwide, where it performs beautifully in any number of applications. "But if someone asked you what flavor made you swoon," I said then, "Chances are it would be chocolate, peppermint or, my personal fave, butterscotch. So what we have with the Camry is analogous to that: it 's a fine car, well designed and crafted and extremely well built. It 's dependable and as comfortable as an old pair of shoes. But it doesn 't stir the automotive taste buds."

Toyota FJ Cruiser — The Legend Lives Again
by Jim Bray,
Monday, May 15, 2006

Once upon a time, when the earth was young, Toyota Land Cruisers roamed the lands. Keen-eyed wheel watchers would often find Toyota's heavy duty four by four side by side with — or instead of — the famous Land Rover as they navigated a wide variety of wild and wooly wastelands worldwide.

Toyota Tundra TRD Yamaha Edition
by Jim Bray,
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Then there's Toyota's 800 pound gorilla of a pickup, the Tundra.

The Tundra was the sequel to the T100, Toyota's first attempt at tackling the full size truck market. It's bigger, better and brawnier than the T100, but apparently that wasn't enough because a new Tundra is coming for 2007 that's supposed to up the ante even more. So what we have with the 2006 Tundra is the last hurrah for a very nice truck that will probably be even nicer shortly.

Toyota Tacoma X-Runner V6
by Jim Bray,
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

If the "garden variety" Tacoma isn't butch enough for you, you can go upmarket to a couple of TRD versions that, depending upon which one you choose, add extra off road or sport capabilities. Or you may be intrigued by the Tacoma X-Runner V6, a mucho macho machine that's as much of an eye and ear grabber as it is a practical hauler. It sports no TRD labels, but it sure "sports".

Reborn RAV Reaps Raves
by Jim Bray,
Saturday, March 4, 2006

One of the cutest of the cute utes has been reborn, not quite as cute, and a little more of a brute, but still all "ute".

The new version of Toyota’s popular RAV4 looks as if it has been on a work out regimen that has left it larger and more muscular than before. And the bulk up hasn’t only been on the outside; the not-so-little SUV is now available with a 3.5 litre V6 engine that cranks out a healthy 269 horsepower.

2006 Toyota 4Runner Limited
by Jim Bray,
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The 2006 4Runner continues to show that Toyota’s long-running SUV franchise is a fine vehicle with legendary off road capabilities that would undoubtedly make it suitable for taking just about anywhere short of the surface of the moon.

And it would probably perform well there, too, with appropriate modifications to make it work in an airless environment. And once you figured out a vehicle to get it there…

Toyota Camry SE
by Jim Bray,
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

If the Toyota Camry were a flavour, it would have to be vanilla.

Not that there’s anything wrong with vanilla. Far from it; vanilla is extremely popular and is a fixture in kitchens where it performs beautifully in any number of applications.

But if someone asked you what flavour made you swoon, chances are it would be chocolate, peppermint or, my personal fave, butterscotch.

Toyota Yaris Surprisingly Fun Drive
by Jim Bray,
Monday, December 12, 2005

Toyota’s new entry level car may be a little funny looking, with a funny name and, at least in Canada, a bizarre "Uncle Yaris" ad campaign the designer of which should be sacked, but that doesn’t prevent the little bugger from being far more fun to drive than you’d think it has any right to be.

Yaris, which I speculate may be Japanese for "roly poly little blob on wheels," is the successor for the ordinary and dumpy-looking — though successful — Echo hatchback (I’m surprised not to hear that Echo coming back!). And what Toyota has come up with is a nifty little car that’s practical, economical and even kind of attractive in a globular type of way. It kind of looks like an Echo with the frumpiness ironed out to leave clean and aerodynamic lines. The result is cute.

Ford Escape Vs. Toyota Highlander Hybrids
by Jim Bray,
Sunday, November 13, 2005

It’s the battle of the hybrid SUV’s!

In the green corner, the Ford Escape, a nice if somewhat bland vehicle that’s pretty good for hauling, if pretty boring to drive. In the other green corner, the Toyota Highlander, a Camry-based SUV that feels more like a car than a truck, and which is not quite as boring to drive.

So which is the winner?

Toyota Prius a Real, Live Car
by Jim Bray,
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Well, is my face red.

I like to pooh-pooh political correctness, and things apparently designed to appeal to the liberal mindset. Hence my built-in aversion to hybrid cars, which at first bloom seemed to be a case of pandering to the enviro-whacko fringe.

After all, Honda’s first hybrid, the Insight, was indeed a technological marvel, but so utterly impractical as anything other than a commuter vehicle — not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. The Insight sipped gas, but with only two seats and limited storage space — and anemic power — it wasn’t really a vehicle you could take into the mountain passes and expect pulling power. I know this because that’s exactly where I took it.

Toyota Matrix TRD
by Jim Bray,
Friday, July 29, 2005

How do you turn a good and popular compact wagon into a racing car?

Well if you’re Toyota and you’re talking about the Matrix, you offer a couple of minor upgrades, slap on a few logos, and Bob’s your uncle.

And that’s the problem.

The Matrix, based on Toyota’s legendary Corolla, is a very nice wagon. It offers a lot of flexibility and economy, and if it works as well as my best friend’s nearly identical Pontiac Vibe, it should offer its owners plenty of driving pleasure and value for years to come.

Toyota Avalon: Sleekly Practical
by Jim Bray,
Monday, May 30, 2005

Who’d have thought a Toyota Avalon would have a claim to sporty performance?

Yet that’s the case with the new, third generation of Toyota’s flagship. The car not only comes with an attractive new exterior coupled with a comfortable and luxurious new interior; it also sports a new 3.5 liter V6 engine that cranks out a very pleasant 280 horses @ 6200 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm. This is enough to propel this big car in a most satisfying manner.

Toyota's Sequoia a "Treemendous" SUV
by Jim Bray
December 17, 2004

They don’t call this a Sequoia for nothing. Like the famous Redwood, the big Toyota is grand and stately. It’s full in size and features, but surprisingly nimble for a vehicle that’s nearly large enough to house a government ministry.

Well, maybe nimble isn’t the best word, but despite its mass this is no land barge.

So while the Sequoia is immense, it’s still quite nice to drive and at the same time manages to come off as fairly subtle compared to other "brute utes" such as the Hummer H2, the only other vehicle in this class that I’ve had a chance to audition to date. Neither are really my kind of wheels, but I can certainly see why people buy them.

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