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Toyota is the biggest of the Japanese Big Three and the largest car manufacturer in the world, producing over 200 million vehicles since the brand's inception in 1937. Toyota was at the forefront of introducing affordable, reliable and efficient cars to the US market when domestic brands were focused
on larger, less efficient vehicles. Toyota is a full-service automaker, with top-of-class marks for relability and value, with offerings all across the automotive spectrum. It's a ruthless machine that dominates the landscape, particularly in North America. But for all its innovations, Toyota's greatest recent contribution to the market has been the hybrid technology found in the Prius.
The Prius has been such a success for Toyota that it's grown its own Prius family. While each model uses the same basic Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, the Prius is now available in its traditional five-door body, five-door compact hatch Prius C body, or minivan-esque Prius-V body. A Prius Plug-In is also available with a limited full-electric range. The Prius may not be the most dynamic car ever created--which is putting it mildly--it's also the most important mass-market car since the Model T, a product that changed the way we think about cars forever.
Toyota goes very deep, with big sellers in almost every segment. For another small car that still offers great fuel economy but without hybrid power, the Yaris three-door and five-door hatches are capable of up to 37 mpg. The new Corolla features what Toyota calls "contemporary new styling," but its real strength is the bland efficiency and reliability that has marked the Corolla nameplate for decades. It will continue to sell in huge numbers.
Month-to-month, the Toyota Camry is generally America's best-selling sedan. With four-cylinder, six-cylinder and hybrid drivetrain options available, there's something for everyone in the market for a midsize sedan. Above the Camry in Toyota's sedan lineup is the new Avalon, which approaches the Lexus ES in luxury, a four-cylinder hybrid powertrain in addition to its V6 trims.
Toyota also has a full line of big cars. While the smallest crossover, the RAV4, won't be heading out for any rock crawling adventures anytime soon, it still offers simple, reliable, and relatively fuel-efficient service for the price. An all-electric version, with a drivetrain developed in conjunction with Tesla Motors, will only be sold in California, but is a zippy technological marvel. Meanwhile, the Venza moves into the new generation largely unchanged from its introduction as Toyota's premium midsize crossover. Toyota also still offers the dull but popular Sienna minivan.
The Toyota Highlander has a long, raised-up body, and has room for seven passengers. In true Toyota fashion, the Highlander is also available with a hybrid powertrain. While the Highlander should do plenty well for snowstorms, those that want to entertain the idea of actually going off road can still opt for the 4Runner. Beefier tires and rugged body-on-frame construction keep one of Toyota's most recognizable nameplates true to its roots.
Real off-roading, though, calls for V8 power and sheer mass of the Sequoia, with plenty of towing power and seating for eight makes it a hard combination to beat. Combining all the brute power and ability of the Sequoia with the refinement and luxury of the Lexus range is the iconic Land Cruiser, the king of the Toyota range, starting at $78,555. See more... See Less