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The Best Toyota Models for 2020

Reviewing the 2020 Toyota Lineup

2020 Toyota Supra front 3/4 view

The largest Japanese automaker and one of the most powerful brands in the world continues to break records in sales figures and revenue alike. After becoming the first car manufacturer to market 10 million vehicles in a year worldwide, Toyota has been doing exactly the same every single year since. The Toyota Group’s 2018 totals came to exactly 10,594,000 units (including Daihatsu and Hino subsidiaries) which is their best result yet. Total sales for Toyota and its premium Lexus division stopped at 9,542,000 vehicles which is a 1.7 percent increase over 2017. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if the Japanese brand continues recording similar results in the future considering they’ve laid themselves a healthy foundation upon which to build. This time, we’ll focus on the 2020 Toyota range and what its models will be able to provide.

The U.S. market is, at the moment, Toyota’s strongest single market. It accounts for more than 20 percent of Toyota’s total global sales with 2,128,201 units sold here during 2018. It’s also worth mentioning that this figure represents an insignificant 0.04 percent drop compared to 2017 when Toyota Motor North America, Inc. managed to push a meager 1,000 vehicles more.

The Japanese market follows relatively close behind with 2018 annual sales of 1,564,309 vehicles including trucks and buses that aren’t available in this part of the world. The Chinese market is threatening to surpass the company’s domestic market thanks to constant growth in recent years. In 2018, exactly 1,243,202 Toyota vehicles found their new homes in the world’s most populated country.

Model-wise, the compact Corolla is still Toyota’s bread and butter vehicle with close to 1.2 million units sold across the globe during 2018. Incidentally, it’s also the best-selling car in the world for 2018 just in front of the Ford F-Series which has accumulated close to 1.1 million in global sales during the same period. The compact is followed by the crossover RAV4 which sits in third place on the list of the world’s best-selling vehicles for 2018 just behind the Corolla and F-Series trucks with a little under 840,000 sold units worldwide. Next up for Toyota is the mid-size Camry in ninth place with just shy of 670,000 units sold across the globe, and so on.

Let’s now turn our attention to the upcoming Toyota cars for MY 2020.

What’s Hot in the New 2020 Toyota Lineup

07. 2020 Supra

The iconic Toyota Supra marks its return to showrooms across the world after more than 15 years of absence. One of the coolest Japanese cars ever built wouldn’t be possible without the help from BMW which also got an all-new Z4 out of the deal.

The Mark 5 Supra, also known under the code name A90, puts the Japanese brand back on the map of true performance cars – all due respect to the 86, but it comes as more of an appetizer compared to the real meat and potatoes here.

The all-new Supra sits on BMW’s Cluster Architecture (CLAR) and is 1.8 inches longer than its BMW sibling, but still 5.2 inches shorter than the fourth-gen models, measuring 172.5 inches in total. Unlike the previous models which sported a 2+2-seat setup, the new Supra keeps things simple and excludes a practically unusable rear bench found in other similar cars.

The first 1,500 units labeled Launch Edition were based on the more expensive of two trims, dubbed Premium. The base models have been available since mid-2019 as 2020-year models with a starting sticker of $50,920. The more expensive Premium trim requires exactly $4,000 more with a premium JBL sound system and most advanced safety features available at extra cost.

The most interesting aspect of the 2020 Toyota Supra is, naturally, its heart. Purist will look upon it as a transplant, but BMW’s B58 3.0L turbocharged straight-six is a perfect match for Japan’s latest offering. It’s tuned to 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of twist and, although the BMW Z4 makes more, offers just enough to propel the 3,397-pounder to 60 mph from a standing start in 4.1 seconds.

Every U.S.-bound Toyota Supra in the future will be offered with a mandatory 8-speed ZF automatic transmission with the good old stick nowhere in sight, sadly. The BMW counterpart will apparently offer a manual in some powertrain configurations, but not in the U.S.

It’s also worth noting that the Japanese are already looking into the possibility of marketing a more hardcore track-focused version of the fifth-gen Supra alongside models with smaller B48 turbo-four engines. While the former isn’t expected to arrive in time for MY 2020, the four-banger Supras should become available sometime during 2020. They’ll be offered in two different tunes: one with 197 horsepower and another with 255 ponies, but again, don’t expect a manual with neither one of them.

2020 Toyota Supra front 3/4 view


06. 2020 Corolla

The best-sold car in history didn’t get where it is now by only being affordable. Throughout its life, which stretches over 50 years and 13 generations, the compact car (subcompact prior to 1991) has exhibited an enviable level of practicality and, above all, reliability. The all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla sticks to the proven formula.

Although it’s not a success in the U.S. as it is overseas, the compact has still sold 280,886 units as a sedan and an additional 22,846 units as a hatchback throughout 2018. The next-gen models look much sharper than their predecessors thanks to thinner headlights, right angles, and a narrower grille.

Not only does the new Corolla look sportier than the outgoing models, it also feels sportier. It boasts improved handling thanks to the Japanese company’s new TNGA underpinnings. What’s more, even the base models come with blind-spot monitors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, all for $19,600 if you opt for a sedan or $20,300 if you choose the hatchback.

There’s also a new engine under Corolla’s hood. A 2.0L 4-cylinder is rated at 169 horsepower and 159 pound-feet of torque that can be paired either with a 6-speed manual or an optional CVT gearbox. Needless to say, the CVT offers much better fuel economy at 32/42 mpg compared to manual’s 28/37 mpg.

While every Corolla hatchback comes with the mentioned engine, entry-level sedans still cling to previous generation’s outdated 1.8L 4-cylinders with 139 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque. Apart from an apparent lack of power, the old engine fails to improve the compact’s fuel economy with the manual transmission replicating the larger engine’s figures and the CVT improving them by a single point – far less than what it does in the more powerful engine. Still, the smaller unit is less noisy and more affordable so it’s not like it doesn’t come without pro’s of its own.

Finally, the new platform has finally made the compact eligible for hybrid technology. The new Corolla hybrid is exclusively offered in a sedan and pairs the smaller 1.8L unit with electric motors and a nickel metal-hydride battery pack for 121 hp and 105 lb-ft of rotational force in total. Fuel economy figures are through the roof here, as a steady foot on the accelerator pedal allows for up to 52 miles to the gallon combined.

Toyota Corolla sedan front 3/4 view


05. 2020 RAV4

The compact crossover has been crowned the king of sales in the U.S. for 2018. With sold 427,170 units, it finds itself in front of the competition, trailing only behind the undisputed big trio of full-size pickup trucks which we’re not gonna count. All those people can’t be wrong, hence the RAV4 stands out as one of the best Toyota vehicles money can buy in our book.

What’s more, the compact was fully redesigned in 2018 and went on sale as a 2019-year model. There are no significant changes to the RAV4 range of models in 2020 apart from some shuffling of equipment between trims and some previously optional features becoming standard like the Android Auto integration across the range or the premium JBL sound system in the top Limited trim. We do get the all-new RAV4 TRD Off-Road package with retuned suspension, dynamic torque vectoring, and all-terrain tires. Also, a plug-in hybrid model will be joining the range, but not prior to MY 2021.

We also get a relatively rugged-looking (especially for its size) crossover with plenty of active safety gear available from the get-go, a comfy ride, and high practicality and reliability ratings. The standard active safety gear in question consists of automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control – part of the second-generation Toyota Safety Sense bundle. The entry-level RAV4 LE starts from just under $26,000 which is slightly higher compared to most of its rivals, but quality obviously has its price.

There are two engines to choose from when deciding which RAV4 to buy – the base gasoline option and its hybrid counterpart. The base 2.5L 4-cylinder engine is rated at 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It’s available with both front- or optional all-wheel drive and pairs exclusively with a modern 8-speed automatic gearbox. Opt for the $33,000 Adventure trim and you’ll get a more advanced all-wheel drive system which is capable of disconnecting the rear axle in order to save on fuel.

Speaking of which, the RAV4 returns either 35 mpg combined with front or 33 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. These figures rise to 40 mpg combined in the case of RAV4 LE Hybrid which pairs the same 2.5L engine with an electric motor and a nickel metal-hydride battery pack. Its net hybrid output stands at 219 horsepower, while its prices start from $28,100.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid front 3/4 view


04. 2020 Tacoma

After the third-generation of Toyota’s mid-size pickup for the North American markets made its debut in 2016, the Japanese are now bringing a refreshed model for MY 2020. First showcased at the 2019 Chicago Motor Show, the facelifted 2020 Toyota Tacoma now sports a revised grille, new sets of wheels, remodeled tail-lights, and new LED headlamps.

More important than mild exterior revisions is the introduction of previously unavailable tech and convenience features. For starters, the mid-size trucks now get a power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support. Also, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now finally fully supported across the range, and so is Amazon Alexa. An 8-inch touchscreen display remains the standard across most of the Tacoma range, but entry-level models sport a smaller 7-inch unit. It’s still an upgrade over the previous 6.1-inch screens.

More expensive models will also get the new Panoramic View Monitor which complements the rearview camera and the Multi Terrain Monitor which does the same, but underneath the truck. Prices start from $26,000, but the new TRD Pro models go for around $44,000 before destination charges, insurance, and extras.

Every single model within the Tacoma lineup can be ordered with a 3.5L V6 engine that cranks up 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of rotational force. Base models, on the other hand, are standard with a 2.7L 4-cylinder engine good enough for 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Rear and all-wheel drive are available across the range, and so is a 6-speed automatic transmission. An optional 6-speed manual gearbox is available exclusively with the more powerful engine.

Although no new engines have been introduced, Toyota does offer the new Tacoma TRD Pro model, as already mentioned above. As always, the TRD Off-Road package performs best the farther you get from paved roads. Apart from a differently tuned suspension, Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tires, and adaptive torque vectoring, the off-road-oriented pickup truck also sports a crawl control system and a locking rear differential for getting out of the stickiest situations.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Off-Road


03. 2020 Highlander

The Japanese have let their mid-size SUV soldier on for far too long and it was about time they’ve done something about it. With the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride entering the race, the segment’s instantly become more competitive. The Japanese have answered the call by introducing the redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander which now utilizes the TNGA platform for its underpinnings. That helps it improve on its comfort and driving dynamics alike, but does even more so in the long run.

Although it sports a completely revised styling, it’s overall shape remains generally similar to that of its predecessor. The three-row crossover’s sales are still climbing in spite of its age as they’ve reached the all-time high of 244,511 units sold in the U.S. in 2018. With the fourth-generation model finally in the dealerships as of late 2019, it’s expected that Highlander might reach the 300,000-unit threshold. Prices remain mostly unchanged and the next-gen Toyota Highlander starts from $32,500.

Base Highlanders offer up to eight seats, while the more upscale models carry up to seven passengers. A pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, a road sign assist, and Toyota Safety Sense 2 are standard from the get-go.

The next-gen Toyota Highlander continues with the same 3.5L V6 engine which makes 295 horses and 263 pound-feet of twist while returning up to 21/27 miles to the gallon. An 8-speed automatic gearbox is standard and so is front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive serving as an optional setup.

The entry-level 2.7L 4-cylinder with 185 horsepower has been dropped, but the hybrid is going nowhere. Unlike before, it now uses a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine paired with a duo of electric motors for a combined output of 240 horsepower. Toyota estimates it’ll return up to 34 mpg combined which represents a 17 percent increase over the outgoing model.

2020 Toyota Highlander profile view


02. 2020 Avalon

Fully redesigned in mid-2018, the full-size sedan is yet again one of the best vehicles in its segment. It offers a highly refined interior with comfortable seats and a correspondingly comfy ride, a long list of standard safety and convenience gear, and a lineup deep enough to fit virtually any pocket apart from the relatively shallow ones.

The Avalon does have a relatively high starting price, you see. The base Avalon XLE starts from $35,800 which is a borderline luxury sticker, but then again it practically is a borderline luxury car. Luckily, the hybrid models warrant just $1,000 atop that which makes them a no-brainer choice in this instance.

Forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors are standard equipment across the entire range which leaves very little room for options. This is evident by the range-topping Limited and TRD model’s stickers which stands from just over $42,000 – making the gap between the least and most expensive relatively narrow at just over $6,000.

Every single conventional Toyota Avalon sports a 3.5L V6 engine as its sole offering. It’s capable of putting up 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of twist and is paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Base units manage to return up to 26 mpg combined, while the upper echelon models lose 1 point due to having larger 19-inch wheels.

The Avalon hybrid pairs a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a Ni-MH battery pack for a combined output of 215 ponies and up to 44 combined mpg.

New for model year 2020 is the performance-tuned TRD model which uses the same engine as the remainder of the Avalon range, but throws in a host of upgrades like larger brakes, different suspension with 0.6-inch lower springs, and generally stiffer setup. Michelin Primacy all-season tires are also part of the package, and so are a different front splitter and a rear diffuser.

Toyota Avalon TRD front 3/4 view


01. 2020 Camry TRD

With 343,439 units sold during 2018, the Camry is one of three Toyota models to find itself among the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the U.S. alongside the aforementioned RAV4 in fourth and Corolla in tenth place respectively. It’s still the best-sold mid-size sedan on the U.S. market which has got to count for something in spite of the once-undisputed segment’s waning popularity.

Furthermore, the Camry is no longer a drab and uninspiring commuter considering its lineup has just been expanded with the all-new TRD model that promises something altogether different for the intermediate sedan badge. The conventional models themselves have been much sharper and more fun to drive after the 2018 redesign, but the Toyota Racing Development-tuned version, which builds upon the XSE model, is definitely something else.

Visually, their orientation towards performance can be spotted right away thanks to a rear wing, 19-inch matte-black wheels, slightly wider body kit with different splitter and diffuser, dual exhausts, and a two-tone color scheme which paints the roof black. Inside, the TRD version utilizes a contrasting red stitching, red seatbelts, a red hue lighting, and a unique shift knob.

The Toyota Camry TRD uses the more powerful 3.5L V6 engine which makes the same 301 ponies and 267 lb-ft of rotational force as in conventional versions and is paired with a contemporary 8-speed automatic transmission.

Although extra power would be welcome for a truly sporty edge, the TRD doesn’t come without improvements related to performance. It gets a specially tuned suspension with stiffer coil springs, special TRD shocks, and anti-roll bars both up front and around the back. The Bridgestone Potenza summer tires are also standard, and so are red 2-piston brake calipers with 0.9-inch larger rotors than those in regular models.

The new Toyota Camry TRD is definitely a breath of fresh air in the dying segment and we’d love to see even more models receive the same treatment in the future. After all, both the Camry and Avalon just did, and so have some Toyota crossovers.

Toyota Camry TRD front 3/4 view


What’s Not in the New 2020 Toyota Lineup

04. 2020 Land Cruiser

The largest and most expensive Toyota SUV is also the most outdated of them all considering how the current J200 models were introduced way back in 2007. And yet, the Japanese aren’t planning on updating their body-on-frame SUV. At least not for model year 2020 (new models are expected in 2021). And with U.S. sales steady at 3,235 units in 2018, why should they?

Last facelift occurred back in 2016 when the full-sizer received a new front and rear fascias. The $86,000 behemoth can usually be ordered in a single trim with most features available straightaway. For MY 2020, however, the Japanese have introduced an alternative.

Welcome the special Heritage Edition limited to only 1,200 units, all of which are bound to the U.S. shores. It comes to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the iconic J40’s introduction and sports a lot of bronze trim all over the interior and exterior alike including the special 18-inch forged BBS wheels with Toyota-badged center caps. All units are painted either black or white and their prices are slightly higher than those of the conventional model.

Toyota hasn’t done squat about the Land Cruiser’s powertrain for years. The same gas-guzzling 5.7L V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of rotational force has been around since 2007. The only difference in the powertrain department is a relatively fresh 8-speed automatic trans which came with the 2016 facelift and replaced the 6-speed unit. The limited Heritage Edition didn’t change that.

Although it’s rated at 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway, the 6,000-pound-heavy SUV wouldn’t have much use for a smaller and/or more fuel-conserving engine. This unit easily propels it to 60 mph from a standstill in an impressive 6.7 seconds on its way to the governor-limited top speed of 114 mph.

The next-gen Toyota Land Cruiser could be switching to a V6-exclusive lineup of powertrains but as mentioned above, that won’t happen prior to 2021.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition


03. 2020 Sienna

The minivan segment is slowly but steadily becoming extinct and the fact the Sienna hasn’t been redesigned once in the last decade speaks a lot in this statement’s favor.

Toyota’s only minivan in the U.S. continues soldiering on throughout 2020 without any significant changes after receiving its second facelift of the third-generation for MY 2018. Compared to its rivals, the Sienna boasts a higher cargo volume of 39, 87, and 150 cubic feet with all seats up, third row folded, and all seats down respectively. This is arguably its biggest advantage in a four-car segment, but its competitors usually offer more features for lower prices at that.

Starting from around $32,000, the Toyota Sienna is the second most expensive minivan on the U.S. market, more affordable only compared to the Chrysler Pacifica.

There’s only one engine powering the Toyota Sienna, and it’s the company’s favorite 3.5L V6. Cranking up 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, the six-cylinder is also the most powerful engine among currently available minivans. What’s more, the Sienna is the only U.S. market minivan with an available all-wheel-drive setup which can be handy when battling for the ever-decreasing population of potential buyers in the northern states. As of 2017, every model is also fitted with an eight-speed transmission.

Despite the positives, the Toyota Sienna’s U.S. total sales have dropped to 87,672 units in 2018 and they continue to plummet. For comparison, the Sienna’s best recent year in that respect was 2015 when 137,497 buyers drove one home from dealership lots across the country.

Toyota Sienna profile view


02. 2020 Sequoia

The full-size Sequoia is another ancient model within the Toyota range, introduced back for MY 2008. With the last facelift occurring relatively recently during MY 2018, the Sequoia is now set to remain mostly unchanged by at least 2021 if not longer.

With that in mind, the 2020-year models haven’t brought anything new in terms of upgrades but Toyota has still prepared something that might intrigue die-hard body-on-frame SUV fans. The illustrious TRD Pro badge has spread among Toyota cars, trucks, and SUVs alike like wildfire and we’ve stopped counting the number of models available with it.

The Sequoia TRD Pro expands the full-size SUV’s lineup in an effort to reverse or at least soften the blow of  its current negative sales trend. The off-road specialist sports Fox dampers front and rear, special 18-inch BBS wheels, a front skid plate, and unique exterior colors among other things. It costs around $65,000 which is quite a jump over the base model which starts from just under $50,000.

There’s only one engine available with the Toyota Sequoia, and that’s a powerful 5.7L V8 capable of putting up 381 ponies and 401 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the range, but optional all-wheel drive can be ordered regardless of a trim level in question. Needless to say, the TRD Pro models are the only to break from that particular pattern considering they’re coming with an obligatory all-wheel-drive setup.

This setup also includes a Torsen limited-slip center diff and a two-speed transfer case. A 6-speed automatic gearbox does the job of routing Sequoia’s power to the ground and that also won’t be changing until the next-gen models arrive.

Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro front 3/4 view


01. 2020 Prius

Let’s clear the air before I move on: the fourth-generation Prius doesn’t find itself in the bottom part of our hot/not list because we don’t appreciate it for some reason. It’s here because it became obsolete with the introduction of the all-new Corolla sedan hybrid which, by the way, doesn’t only look better, but actually replicates its fuel economy ratings. Not to mention that it also costs less considering the least expensive Prius L Eco starts from around $24,200 – a full $1,100 more than the Corolla Hybrid LE.

To be fair, the entry-level Prius does manage to return up to 56 mpg combined but the rest of the lineup is rated at 52 mpg combined – just like the Corolla hybrid. Furthermore, considering the current-gen Prius was introduced for MY 2016, the Corolla is actually a better-handling, more smooth, and better-appointed car thanks to its TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform.

The Toyota Prius pairs a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine with electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack for a combined output of 121 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. You’ll notice that the Corolla hybrid sports almost exactly the same setup which has been powering the Prius for a while now with the sealed Ni-MH battery pack being the only difference. That’s why their efficiency ratings are so similar in the first place.

Another difference is the Prius’ electronic all-wheel-drive system. The hybrid car can also be had in the plug-in Prius Prime form which allows up to 25 miles of all-electric range. This unit costs between $28,000 and $34,000 effectively putting it outside of Corolla hybrid’s range. Again, it’s not that the Prius doesn’t have its advantages – it’s just that its main advantages aren’t Prius-exclusive anymore.


Toyota Prius front 3/4 view

Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!