While there are plenty of car manufacturers out there to choose from, not all of them will be built quite the same, especially in the SUV category. When it comes to some of the best SUVs around, you can’t help but think of Toyota. This global player in the automotive industry has been consistently pumping out quality machines at reasonable prices, and the world has been loving them for it. By far, some of the most popular vehicles on the planet are Toyota SUVs.
What is it about Toyota that makes us keep coming back for more? Founded over 80 years ago, Toyota has always been a company to ride the waves of cutting-edge technology and aesthetically-pleasing designs. Sometimes, the two haven’t always coincided (looking at you, original Prius), but the sheer efficiency with how the company approaches appealing to the masses has, not surprisingly, made them appeal to the masses.
Let’s check out some of our favorite Toyota SUVs.
It would be safe to say that the RAV4 is one of Toyota’s flagship models, especially when talking specifically about their SUVs. Obviously, the Camry and Corolla are always going to be fan favorites, but we’re not talking about sedans here.
Fresh off a complete redesign in 2018, the RAV4 is knee-deep in its fifth-generation. While some of us may remember our mom’s RAV4 taking us to soccer practice a decade ago, we may not be as familiar with the new models out on the prowl these days. In fact, the design is so sleek that it’s near unrecognizable from just a couple of generations ago. The somewhat boxy RAV4 from the 2000s (with that enclosed spare tire on the back) has given way to a modern, eye-catching vehicle. Basically, it looks incredible.
And it can perform. The new TRD Off-Road trim brings you everything you need for an adventure. You would assume the Adventure trim would do that, but really it’s the TRD Off-Road you actually want. Standard AWD, 18” Falken all-terrain tires, TRD Off-Road badging, black roof rails, Multi-terrain Select mode dial, and TRD-tuned suspension—now that’s an SUV ready to hit the trail.
Oh yeah, and there are nine other trims available, including four hybrid models. You’ll get estimates of over 40 mpg (city) on all the hybrid variants. Not too shabby for an SUV.
The Highlander has a complete redesign as well, but it’s even newer than the RAV4. In fact, it’s all-new for the 2020 model year. That in itself is pretty exciting, but let’s see what we actually get.
Going from a RAV4 to a Highlander is a pretty big change, and that’s quite literally. While the RAV4 can only seat up to five passengers, the Highlander can fit up to eight, although in certain configurations, it will be a more comfortable seven. The interior space on SUVs that can fit so many people has long been a pain point for many manufacturers because it’s great if you can fit everyone, but comfort usually becomes an issue. Toyota has addressed that concern by just making the Highlander a bit bigger. Simple and straightforward, really.
Also, you’ll find new powertrains in the form of V6 and hybrid engines along with a new design for the exterior that definitely resembles the RAV4 in many ways, which is not a bad thing at all. The 2020 Highlander Hybrid models haven’t been released yet, but you can expect MPG estimates reaching toward the mid-30s. For an 8-passenger vehicle, that’s pretty amazing.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have also been integrated, so that’s a nice perk for those of you that have been looking for it.
If you want to step up your adventure game even more, the Toyota Land Cruiser might be just the thing for you. The 2020 Land Cruisers are quite easily in a league of their own when it comes to Toyota SUVs, quite simply because their starting MSRP is $85,415. Even the most expensive 4Runner (TRD Pro, $49,865) or Sequoia (Platinum, $66,020) models don’t even really come close. Why is that? Well, it comes down to the Land Cruiser’s storied history, plus its impressive specifications.
There are only two trims available, the Land Cruiser and the Heritage Edition. The Heritage Edition costs slightly more at $87,745, but it also looks quite a bit different with dark accents and housings around its exterior. The 18” bronze BBS forged-aluminum wheels add a lot to its unique look.
While both trims are off-road ready, the Heritage Edition might make a more complete vehicle to take on an adventure. That is, of course, unless you’re looking to fit more than five passengers, in which case the Land Cruiser would be a better bet as it seats up to eight compared to the Heritage Edition’s five. Both trims come standard with a full-time 4WD system with Active Traction Control and Torsen limited-slip center differential with locking feature. They also come standard with a 5.7L V8 engine that boasts up to 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. The Land Cruiser has a normal roof rack while the Heritage Edition has a special Yakima MegaWarrior roof rack.
There are front and rear tow hooks and mudguards, plus skid plates covering important equipment like the front suspension, radiator, fuel tank, and transfer case.
The Toyota 4Runner has long had a strange relationship with its seating capacities. Most of the time, you’ll just be fitting five people in there, but sometimes there will be a third-row and you’ll have space for up to seven passengers. For the most part, people haven’t minded the 5-passenger limit because they can fit a lot more gear in there while still having more than enough space for some friends or their significant other and kids. And really, the 4Runner is meant to be used for adventures, so having room for gear is quite paramount.
Still, it’s nice to have the configurations available to fit up to seven passengers. Now, these 7-seater configurations (for 2020 models) are only available on the SR5, SR5 Premium, and Limited trims. These trims come standard with a 4×2 drivetrain, but 4×4 is always an available option. If you want the more off-road centric trims like the TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and the TRD Pro, you’ll have to be fine with fitting five people maximum. Of course, with the TRD Pro, you’ll get nice features like a roof basket, front skid plate, Crawl Control, TRD Fox high-performance shocks, TRD-tuned front springs, and 17” all-terrain tires.
We didn’t get to cover every single vehicle within the Toyota SUVs lineup, but that doesn’t mean the ones we missed aren’t great, too. However, you’ll just have to look into the C-HR and Sequoia SUVs yourself. They’re bound to have amazing features, just like the rest of the Toyota SUV family.
If you didn’t know, all of Toyota’s SUVs come with some version of Toyota Safety Sense, which is Toyota’s suite of safety features. The newest vehicles, like the 2020 Highlander, will have Safety Sense 2.0, while others will have at least Safety Sense P. Regardless, the fact that you don’t have to go up any trim levels to get a full arrangement of safety features is quite remarkable. So, kudos to Toyota.