Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

An orange 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary Edition is shown from the rear at an angle.

Four Reasons to Choose Toyota

When shopping for your next vehicle, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is the brand or manufacturer you’re most interested in – this is particularly vital if you’re looking for a new vehicle. You have many choices, but one of the best brands year after year for cars, trucks, and SUVs that are reliable, affordable, and fun to drive is Toyota. You’ll find a wide range of different options at a new or used Toyota dealer, and you’ll want to look at each model carefully to judge what’s out there and find what’s right for you.

Rather than take you through their specific models, I’m going to give you a big-picture look at some of the things Toyota offers that sets them apart from other manufacturers. While no one is reinventing the wheel, Toyota has developed certain programs and features that put them ahead of many other brands. Many people choose Toyota due to their reputation for incredible reliability or the low prices of their vehicles, but there are other noteworthy reasons too. Let’s take a look at some of what Toyota does, and you’ll see why they’ve become an auto-industry leader.

Reason #1 – Toyota Safety Sense

While every brand has its assortment of safety features these days, the Toyota Safety Sense technology suite is one of the most impressive ones on the market. To me, absolutely nothing else is as important as the safety features that come standard or are available on a vehicle – a powerful engine, spacious interior, and great sound system mean nothing if your car doesn’t help keep you safe. The Toyota Safety Sense suite includes a wide range of features, most of which come standard on many new Toyota models and are available in many of the recent model years on the used market.

Technology in the Toyota Safety Sense suite includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, which uses an integrated camera and radar system to greatly reduce the likelihood of a collision. It also includes dynamic radar cruise control that can follow a preset speed and adjust it to maintain a proper distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. There is a lane departure alert to warn you when you’re starting to drift from your lane, which is available with a steering assist to help keep you in your lane if you don’t respond quickly.

Other available features include automatic high beams, which can turn off when oncoming traffic is detected to help avoid blinding other drivers, plus a road sign assist system that can detect speed limits and other road signs to help keep you aware of your surroundings. You can also get a full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control system, which functions at a wider range of vehicle speeds, along with a lane tracing assist that functions with the cruise control system to help keep you in your lane while it’s engaged. Finally, proactive driving assist can provide gentle braking when going into a curve or when getting close to a vehicle or person ahead of you to help you maintain control and avoid a collision.

A blue 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is shown from the front at an angle.

Reason #2 – The ToyotaCare Maintenance Program

I’m a big proponent of the importance of proper maintenance to keep a vehicle in great shape, not only to retain as much value as possible but also to ensure that it’s reliable and safe to drive each day. While every manufacturer pushes for routine service, Toyota makes it particularly easy with its ToyotaCare program designed to encourage proper maintenance for vehicle owners. Every new Toyota model comes with the ToyotaCare maintenance plan, which covers factory-scheduled service for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Along with this no-cost service, every new Toyota comes with two years of 24-hour roadside assistance with no mileage limit. Those two years/25,000 miles of scheduled service include a wide range of things, such as engine oil and filter changes, tire rotation, and multi-point inspections to ensure everything looks good. You also get your vehicle’s fluid levels checked and adjusted as needed, plus more – and this isn’t just a single visit; it’s all the maintenance that Toyota recommends for the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership. In my book, the only thing better than routine service to keep your vehicle running beautifully is when it’s free.

Reason #3 – The Toyota Certified Program

Every manufacturer out there has some kind of Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program at this point, and while many of them are pretty similar, there are always some differences between them. Toyota is no exception, and their Toyota Certified program is a great choice if you’re looking for a used Toyota, but you want to have something you know you can count on and that provides exceptional peace of mind. Much like similar CPO programs, Toyota models have to pass a thorough 160-point inspection, and they all come with a CARFAX vehicle history report. What sets Toyota Certified models apart is the incredible warranty coverage that they come with.

Every CPO Toyota has a 12-month/12,000-mile limited comprehensive warranty, along with a 7-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. You also get 24-hour roadside assistance throughout the duration of that powertrain warranty at no extra charge. This isn’t necessarily unique at first glance but what makes it special is that this powertrain warranty starts when you buy the vehicle as a Toyota Certified model. Most other manufacturers offer similar warranties that start when the vehicle was first sold as new, so you’ll get three or four years out of them at most. Toyota’s warranty begins at the date of Certified Vehicle purchase, not when it was sold as new – it’s also fully transferable at no cost, in case you end up selling your Certified Toyota while it’s still under this warranty.

A black 2021 Toyota Camry TRD is shown from the rear after leaving a used Toyota dealer.

Reason #4 – Toyota SmartPath Shopping

The auto industry has changed a lot over many decades, and in just the last few years, the car-buying experience has grown in some remarkable ways – particularly with the impact of COVID and the surge in customers interested in shopping for a car online. To meet this growing demand, Toyota has introduced its SmartPath shopping experience, which puts much more control in your hands and makes it incredibly easy to shop for a Toyota. The great things about this program are that you have total control over it, and it adjusts to how you want to shop.

You can use your computer, phone, or other device and shop for Toyota models at your local dealerships – it shows you inventory and pricing in real-time. If you prefer a more personal experience, you can still go to a dealer for a traditional way to shop or combine both to perfectly meet your needs. SmartPath shopping offers simple payment estimation and trade-in valuation tools to figure out your budget. You can apply for and find financing through the tools they provide, simplifying every part of the process.

Once you’ve figured everything out, you can finalize the purchase and decide if you finish things up online or in person at a local dealer. The entire process is simple, directly connected to Toyota rather than a random, third-party company, and you’re in control through every step of the process. I’ve already seen other companies scrambling to catch up with similar services – like Nissan at Home and GM’s new CarBravo platform – so this type of customer-driven shopping is here to stay, but Toyota is one of the best at it. This is the perfect example of how Toyota focuses on customers and why they’re a great brand to choose.