Finding a used car in the climate following the pandemic has become a tricky business, especially for desirable vehicles from popular brands like Toyota. It takes diligence to locate a used car worth driving, so we compiled a list of Toyota vehicles that buyers can watch for when they search “used Toyota dealer near me.” Each year, the Toyotas on this list earned awards or accolades for safety and reliability or were considered the best in their class. While other buyers may flounder to snag any vehicle they can find, smart buyers will wait for the right vehicle to become available. When you know what you’re looking for, the search gets easier.
#5 2017 Toyota Avalon
Though full-sized sedans are not everyone’s cup of tea anymore, the Toyota Avalon is a dose of refinement and dependability that will be utterly pleasant to drive every day. If you follow the recommendation of those who have purchased an Avalon, model years in 2017 and 2018 both earned the highest ratings for quality and dependability from JD Power in those years. Luxurious accommodations within the cabin provide ample space for any passenger, and standard features like heated exterior mirrors, leather upholstery, and proximity entry with a push-button start only continue to get more premium from there.
Generous standard safety features include Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist even for 2017 models, and available features like a powered moonroof and driver’s seat memory are found within the five trim levels. The silky V6 engine is responsive and reliable, and fuel economy is one of Toyota’s strengths even in large vehicles, with the Avalon getting an average of 21 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway going back to 2017 models. For even better fuel economy, buyers can search for the hybrid versions of the Avalon as the XLE Plus, XLE Premium, or the Limited that boast a mileage of 40 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway.
#4 2018 Toyota Corolla
If you’re searching for a good commuter car or even a small family vehicle for daily driving, the Toyota Corolla is a great answer. Like most Toyota vehicles, the Corolla endures the miles reliably for many years. Toyota added a standard safety suite to all models starting in 2017, making it one of the most well-equipped compact cars for driver-assist technology on the road. As a daily driver, the Corolla will excel in terms of excellent visibility and a comfortable cabin that may surprise anyone who hasn’t ever sat in one. Legroom is generous despite its size, and seats are made for long drives.
CarGurus recognized the 11th generation of the Corolla—dating from 2012 to 2018—as the first-place winner of its 2018 Best Used Car award for the compact sedan segment, and JD Power had it placed second in its Best Compact Car of 2018 list. For fuel efficiency, the Corolla has different tunings for its 1.8-liter engine in this model year, each of which delivers great mileage of 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway with the CVT, or the better economy of 30 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway with the L Eco trim. Standard features like LED headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Siri Eyes Free are part of the slew of amenities included on all models, and upper trims can be found with automatic climate control, push-button start with proximity entry, and built-in navigation.
#3 2018 Toyota Sienna
JD Power shares information on vehicles every year for several attributes buyers rate through their own experience with vehicles they purchase and drive. In the case of the 2018 Sienna, ratings from JD Power, as shared from 2021, show that the 2018 Sienna received the highest marks for quality and dependability, as well as for overall experience with the minivan, which earned the Sienna an award for Quality and Dependability from JD Power in 2021. Though other vehicles scored higher in other categories, the 2018 Sienna also scored well in terms of resale value and driving experience, which means buyers gave the Sienna a high average score for its overall experience.
In 2018, the Sienna came in five available trims, with the standard features including notable assets like Toyota Safety Sense, tri-zone climate control, and a 6.1-inch touchscreen in the center stack. Upper trims gain a larger touchscreen, plus conveniences like powered side doors and liftgate, leather upholstery, and Driver Easy Speak that turns the rear speakers into a microphone so the driver can be heard in the back row. One of the benefits of the Sienna, as compared with other minivans, is that it can come with all-wheel drive. It also gets good fuel economy with its V6 engine, at 19 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway for front-wheel drive, or 18 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway with all-wheel drive.
#2 2020 Toyota Highlander
Much like the well-loved RAV4, Toyota loyalists love the Highlander for its many high-riding attributes. In the case of the Highlander, having a third row of seats makes this a vehicle well-suited to families in need of more space. While the third row isn’t the best for adults, it can serve as a seat for a small adult on short rides in a pinch, and for 2020 models, the Highlander gained an extra 2.4 inches in length for more interior room. Car and Driver praised the Highlander when it was released in the market for the 2020 model year, saying the Highlander had “loads of standard and optional tech” and a “stronger value proposition.” This translates into better resale value.
Any Highlander will offer buyers a well-sorted suspension with calm ride quality on the road, which is where most buyers are likely to drive. It can handle some off-roading with all-wheel drive equipped, though it’s not built on a truck chassis like some of the other three-row SUVs on the market. What Toyota does offer is safety features from its driver-assist technology as standard, a solid 3.5-liter V6 engine, and yet another vehicle that offers an efficient hybrid powertrain option for more fuel savings. With the V6 engine, the 2020 Highlander gets admirable mileage of 21 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway for front-wheel drive models, while the hybrid can get 35 MPG across the board with all-wheel drive. Towing capacity for the gas-powered engine is as high as 5,000 pounds.
#1 2018 Toyota RAV4
Kelley Blue Book released a list of the most popular Toyota models to buy used back in 2020, and it’s no surprise to see the 2018 RAV4 on that list. For that model year, the RAV4 earned a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, as well as earning a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. This is reasonable since Toyota is a brand known for its attention to safety. Inside the 2018 RAV4 is a quiet, comfortable space with quality interior fabrics and materials. Because this is the crossover SUV that kicked off the fervor which has caused close to half of Americans to buy SUVs, the RAV4 holds a special place in automotive history.
As buyers would expect, all those high safety ratings mean a standard suite of safety features, as well as conveniences like Adaptive Cruise Control and Automatic High Beams. Though the RAV4 is more road-oriented in terms of its smooth ride quality, when equipped with all-wheel drive, it can handle mild off-roading duties. Towing up to 3,500 pounds is possible with the installed tow package, enough for a small camper or boat for family vacations. The RAV4 makes an excellent family vehicle with its spacious seating and flexible cargo area, and daily driving won’t be too expensive with a fuel efficiency of 23 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. Go for the available hybrid versions, and get an even better efficiency of 34 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway.