New Cars for 2016: Toyota

Car News

Land Cruiser: Toyota, master of the heavy refresh, has applied relative restraint in updating the venerable Land Cruiser. Sheetmetal changes are limited to everything forward of the A-pillars, while additional active and passive safety features and their myriad acronyms append to the SUV’s options list. Read more ››

Mirai: see test ››

Prius: An all-new Prius steps bravely into an America where buyers have once again forgotten about fuel prices, tearing back to pickups and light trucks as if they come with a year’s worth of free Chipotle. So it is little wonder that a four-wheel-drive variant is rumored to be in the works. Still more or less tadpole-shaped, the standard front-drive Prius sits on the new Toyota New Global Architecture compact-car platform, shedding mass by incorporating more lightweight materials. Toyota will offer buyers two battery options; one is a cost-effective but lower-tech nickel-metal-hydride unit, the other a higher-capacity lithium-ion piece. The plug-in model, with a greater electric-only driving range, will follow the regular Prius by about a year, meaning that for 2016, no such model will exist in the Toyotasphere. And what about the car’s all-important EPA fuel-economy ratings? We hear they could rise by nearly 10 percent, further elevating the already-impressive 50-mpg-combined rating. See official photos and info ››

RAV4 (shown above): In addition to a minor refresh, Toyota’s original crossover also gains a hybrid variant. It borrows its hybrid parts from the four-wheel-drive Lexus NX300h, which borrows its underlying platform from, ahem, the humble RAV4. A 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine mates to an electric motor to power the front axle, while a second electric motor makes the rear axle turn. Only the mid-grade XLE and range-topping Limited RAV4 models will offer the hybrid option, which is expected to get around 30 highway mpg. As for the regular RAV4, it gets updated front and rear fascias, squishier cabin materials, improved noise insulation, and a new sporty SE model with paddle shifters. Read more ››

Tacoma: The small pickup affectionately known as the Taco has been stirred from a uniquely successful decade-long coma. A sales leader in the less-than-full-size pickup market, the Tacoma has nonetheless soldiered on without major revision since 2004. But this year, perhaps spurred by GM’s reborn Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon trucks, Toyota has reheated the Taco. While the general look and taste remain familiar, many body panels are new. Also, the expanded use of high-strength steel improves the Taco’s crunch, er, crash worthiness, and a new suspension tune provides greater travel and a more comfortable ride than before. Indicative of the Tacoma’s dotage, the 2016 model’s Corolla-like interior actually marks an improvement. An ancient 2.7-liter four-cylinder and a five-speed manual remain standard, but the optional 4.0-liter V-6 has been dropped in favor of Toyota’s corporate 3.5-liter V-6. The larger engine can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, and it is the first U.S.-market Toyota-branded product to be fitted with the D-4S port- and direct-injection fuel-delivery system. See first drive ››

Minor trim changes: Avalon/hybrid, Camry/hybrid, Corolla, Prius c, Sienna, Tundra, 4Runner

Unchanged: Highlander/hybrid, Prius v, Sequoia, Yaris

Dead: Prius plug-in, Venza

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