We’re reaching the end of 2019, and Toyota has had a truly stellar year. Between keeping up with the latest in automotive technology and providing a lineup of vehicles that have pushed the envelope in many ways, Toyota has once again earned its place as one of the best automakers out there. While other automakers have ‘stayed the path’ in many ways, Toyota has shown us that there is power in adaption and diversity. A lot of changes occurred in the Toyota family lineup this year, and it all points to cars getting more advanced and more fuel-efficient.
As we step into 2020, we’re excited to take a step back and see what the automaker has had to offer in 2019. From rugged SUVs reshaping what it means to be an SUV to compact commuter sedans that have been completely reimagined, the Toyota brand is near the forefront of automotive innovation, and needless to say, we’re excited to see what 2020 has in store for us.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla has been a running staple of the Toyota family lineup for some time now. At this point, it is difficult to imagine a Toyota without the Corolla, and for a good reason. The Toyota Corolla is often considered one of the most reliable, well-packaged sedans out there. Great for commuters, and first-time drivers, there is a lot to love about the Toyota Corolla, and this year Toyota pushed their flagship sedan to the next level.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla rolled out of the factory in six different trim options the L, LE, LE Hybrid, SE, XLE, and XSE. This was a pretty diverse trim listing for a car like this, and with the option of a hybrid model, commuters everywhere cried out in joy. Available in either a hatchback or typical sedan body styling, both vehicle builds provided some pretty standard performance. All hatchback models of the Toyota Corolla came with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that was rather middle of the road, rated for 169 horsepower and 159 lb-ft worth of torque. The sedan model was just as basic, making room for a small 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that puts out 139 horsepower. While basic power in the Toyota Corolla has always been a little underwhelming, this year, the hybrid variant served to be a true breakout highlight.
The hybrid Toyota Corolla utilized the power of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a CVT to put out a low-ranking 121 horsepower and 105 lb-ft worth of torque. However, where this hybrid sedan lacked in performance, it made up for it in fuel economy as the hybrid Toyota Corolla earned an incredible 52 mpg combined, putting it in competition with the Toyota Prius, Toyota’s fuel-efficient king.
Another huge plus for the Toyota Corolla was the level of auto tech packed into every model. No matter which version you picked up, you’d be getting a broad array of safety technology, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, and active lane control, all of which might cost you a pretty penny in competitor models. You can boost this standard safety package in higher trims too, with additional features like blind-spot monitors, available in the SE, XSE, and XLE trims.
The 2020 Toyota RAV4
Another classic of the Toyota family lineup is the Toyota RAV4. The 2020 model of this flagship compact SUV also introduced some serious changes for 2019. For one, Toyota did the smart thing and made their RAV4 more rugged by adding a TRD Off-Road trim option to the mix. As a result, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 is set to compete with vehicles like the Jeep Renegade, which has always sat in a similar category but offered a far more rugged powertrain. Alongside this TRD Off-Road trim are the LE, XLE, Adventure, and Limited, as well as hybrid models offered in the LE, XLE, XSE, and Limited.
Performance in the base model Toyota RAV4 started pretty good, with a 2.5-liter engine that puts out 203 horsepower. The partnering 8-speed automatic transmission certainly does the job, and with the option of all-wheel-drive, you can craft a pretty capable RAV4 for very little money. The TRD Off-Road trim offers all-wheel drive as standard and includs terrain gripping tires and a number of other bells and whistles that make it a definite highlight for Toyota this year.
Inside the Toyota RAV4, drivers will find a total of 69 cubic feet of cargo room, and rear passengers will find about 37 inches for legroom. While the hybrid model did cut some of these measurements a bit, it wasn’t a hard sacrifice considering the 40 mpg combined that you’d be able to take advantage of.
Base models of the 2020 Toyota RAV4 come with a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, as well as a slew of safety features including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. The TRD-Off Road model, adds some additional luxuries to the mix, including beefy 18-inch off-road tires, red interior accents, upgraded shocks, a moon roof, and a power liftgate.
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma
Also on the refresh list for Toyota, this year was the 2020 Toyota Tacoma. The newest Tacoma looks very different from previous model years with its new set of wheels, refreshed taillights, and completely reimagined front-grille. While offered in the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Pro, and Limited trims, you’ll get the option of only two different engines, a four-cylinder, and a well-powered V6. The four-cylinder seems like something that would have fit better in the Toyota Corolla, as the 2.7-liter 4-cylinder only puts out 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft worth of torque. On the other hand, the six-cylinder bumps things up considerably, as the 3.5-liter V6 is rated for 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft worth of torque.
While the initial powertrain may be less than satisfactory, Toyota makes up for this fact with the full package of active safety features offered as standard, making it one of the safest pickup trucks yet. Features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, automatic high-beams, and adaptive cruise control come at no extra cost to the buyer, which is a huge bonus.
Inside base models, you’ll also find an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible 7.0-inch infotainment screen, which is quite refreshing as well. While we’d have liked to see more robust power offerings for the Toyota Tacoma, what is offered will certainly get the job done. With V6 models having a top towing capacity of 6,800 pounds, the Toyota Tacoma is a decent workhorse that’ll satisfy whether cruising around town or put to task.
Looking forward to 2020 and 2021
2019 was a big year for Toyota, with a large portion of its family lineup being completely reimagined with new trims, performance upgrades, and styling changes. While some of these updates have hit the mark, and others have missed by a wide margin, its fair to say that Toyota has had a big year, and we’re excited to see what is in store for 2021 models that’ll certainly start coming out sometime next year. We can predict more technology, more hybrid powertrains, and a driving experience that continues to change what we should expect from our vehicles.