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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition and Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

      Driving around in Toyota's old school SUVs

    4Runner Venture Edition

    • Not much has changed outside since we last checked out the 4Runner in 2016. It still has a blocky and chunky look that helps it stand apart from other SUVs. This Venture model adds several goodies such as TRD wheels, blacked-out trim pieces, and a Yakima roof rack; perfect if you decide to go adventuring.
    • Inside, Toyota has made a massive update to the infotainment system. A larger eight-inch touchscreen running an updated version of Toyota’s Entune system is standard. This change makes it so much easier to operate the system either parked on while on the move. It doesn’t hurt that this system also brings forth Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
    • Aside from this, the interior hasn’t changed. There is plenty of space for those sitting in the front or back, and controls are well marked.
    • Power comes from the old, but reliable 4.0L V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The base SR5 can be equipped rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, while other trims only come with four-wheel drive.
    • The 4Runner’s performance is adequate. Around town, the V6 can get up to speed quickly and smoothly. But it struggles when trying to get up to higher speeds. Adding an extra gear would allow for more flexibility in terms of performance. It would also help fuel economy as I saw 15.4 mpg for the week. EPA figures are 16 City/19 Highway/17 Combined. My average for the week landed at 15.4 mpg.
    • The 4Runner’s roots of being an old-school SUV show up prominently when driving on pavement. It has noticeable body roll-around turns and the ride quality is rough.
    • One area that I sadly did not get to test was the off-road capability. With such features as Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control, this helps make the 4Runner very capable off-road.
    • The 4Runner should be considered by someone who wants to venture off-road. For those who are planning to commute or go on family trips while on pavement, Toyota has other models that should be considered first.

    2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition.jpg

    Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

    • The Heritage Edition adds some nice touches to the Land Cruiser’s exterior such as 18-inch BBS wheels with a bronze finish, black accents for the front grille, and vintage-style “Land Cruiser” badges on the rear pillars.
    • The Heritage Edition does lose the entry steps found on the standard model, making it somewhat difficult to get in and out.
    • The interior looks somewhat boring in terms of the design, but Toyota nails the materials. Wood trim, supple leather, and soft-touch materials make this a very pleasant place to be in. 
    • Despite having one of the larger screens in Toyota’s utility lineup, the Land Cruiser’s infotainment system leaves a lot to be desired. Using an older version of Entune, it feels sluggish and the graphics look somewhat dull. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to be found here as well.
    • Anyone sitting in the front or second-row will have no complaints about space or comfort. No third-row is available on the Heritage Edition which helps boost cargo space from 41.3 cubic feet (with the third-row folded) to 53.5.
    • Under the hood is a 5.7L V8 engine producing 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel drive system. 
    • Performance from this engine is impressive considering the Land Cruiser’s curb weight of almost 6,000 lbs. It will move away from a stop much faster than you first think. The only place where the engine seems to run out of steam is on the highway.
    • The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of providing smooth and quick shifts. I do wish it wasn’t giddy with trying to shift into top gear quickly.
    • Fuel economy isn’t great with EPA figures of 13 City/17 Highway/14 Combined. I only got 13 mpg during my week.
    • I was surprised at how well the Land Cruiser drove on pavement. It felt stable and provided a ride that made even some of the roughest roads feel smooth.
    • There is a fair amount of body roll when cornering, but that is to be expected considering the size and intended purpose of this vehicle.
    • I am bummed that I didn’t get the chance to take the Land Cruiser off-road during my week. But from reading other reviews, very few vehicles can match what is on offer.
    • How to sum up the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition? This is a vehicle that will not impress most due to the poor fuel economy and aging infotainment system. But for a small group who are wanting something that can take them anywhere and back, and do it in comfort, the Land Cruiser is the right vehicle.

    (Addendum: As I post this review a few months late, I have some news on the Land Cruiser. Earlier this month, Toyota unveiled the next-generation model with a new twin-turbo V6 replacing the V8. The outside doesn't look that much different from the current model, but the interior has underwent some major changes. It is unclear whether or not we'll see this model arrive in the U.S. The best chance we possibly have is next-generation LX. Stay tuned. -WM)

    Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the SUVs, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2020
    Make: Toyota
    Model: 4Runner
    Trim: Venture
    Engine: 4.0L DOHC 24-Valve V6
    Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 270 @ 5,600
    Torque @ RPM: 278 @ 4,400
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/19/17
    Curb Weight: N/A
    Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
    Base Price: $44,285
    As Tested Price: $48,877 (Includes $1,120.00 Destination Charge and $730.00 Keep It Wild discount)

    Options:
    Kinentic Dynamic Suspension Suspension System (KDSS) - $1,750.00
    TRD Pro Exhaust - $799.00
    Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof - $730.00
    Running Boards - $345.00
    Cargo Floor Mats & Cargo Mat - $269.00
    Door Edge Guard - $79.00

    Year: 2020
    Make: Toyota
    Model: Land Cruiser
    Trim: Heritage Edition
    Engine: 5.7L DOHC 32-Valve VVT-i V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 381 @ 5,600
    Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/17/14
    Curb Weight: 5,715 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi, Japan
    Base Price: $87,645
    As Tested Price: $89,239 (Includes $1,295.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Glass Breakage Sensor - $299.00

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    @William Maley While I get that these are truly off road machines, based on your reviews above and the pictures, one could think this is a send off of these models and your note about the Land Cruiser would seem to imply that with a new one coming.

    Question: Do you feel these are meant as a send off of that generation of ICE SUV as Toyota moves to Hybrid and BEV?

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    5 minutes ago, David said:

    @William Maley While I get that these are truly off road machines, based on your reviews above and the pictures, one could think this is a send off of these models and your note about the Land Cruiser would seem to imply that with a new one coming.

    Question: Do you feel these are meant as a send off of that generation of ICE SUV as Toyota moves to Hybrid and BEV?

    Honestly, that's TBD. We don't know when the next 4Runner is due, and I think Land Cruiser will stay as ICE due to its off-road nature.

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    The 4Runner powertrain has to be the oldest still on sale today, that thing is Dodge Journey level old.  But people still buy these, the resale value is insane on them, I don't get the appeal myself.  I am surprised Toyota hasn't updated the Tacoma and 4Runner with new powertrains and new interiors.

     

    The new Land Cruiser is not coming here, but I have to imagine they will slap a Lexus badge on it and send it here.  No way will Toyota spend the money to develop a new Land Cruiser and then just not send it to North America where they can cash in.

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    22 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    The 4Runner powertrain has to be the oldest still on sale today, that thing is Dodge Journey level old.  But people still buy these, the resale value is insane on them, I don't get the appeal myself.  I am surprised Toyota hasn't updated the Tacoma and 4Runner with new powertrains and new interiors.

     

    The new Land Cruiser is not coming here, but I have to imagine they will slap a Lexus badge on it and send it here.  No way will Toyota spend the money to develop a new Land Cruiser and then just not send it to North America where they can cash in.

    Yes I agree that I do not get the appeal, but then change is hard for some and it seems Toyota customers really hate change.

    The Land Cruiser I would agree will show up as a less than competitive Lexus version I think unless Toyota is truly looking to bring in a BEV to cash in the crazy cost they can charge.

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    26 minutes ago, David said:

    Yes I agree that I do not get the appeal, but then change is hard for some and it seems Toyota customers really hate change.

    The Land Cruiser I would agree will show up as a less than competitive Lexus version I think unless Toyota is truly looking to bring in a BEV to cash in the crazy cost they can charge.

    Less competitive than what?  We know Toyota does reliability and resale probably better than anyone.  The 2022 Land Cruiser is 440 lbs lighter than the 2021, has a new twin turbo V6 with 409 hp and 479 lb-ft.  Seems competitive, and the Land Cruiser I would guess is better off road than an Expedition or Yukon, probably more so than a Grand Wagoneer too.  If they put a Lexus badge on, and pretty up the interior a bit, I don't see why it won't be a competitor to the Escalade and Navigator.

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    Toyoter reliability is marginal, they’ve been recalling just about everything they’ve built for the last 15 years to fix either assembly mistakes or engineering mistakes. It hasn’t been 2005 in a long time.

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    9 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Toyoter reliability is marginal, they’ve been recalling just about everything they’ve built for the last 15 years to fix either assembly mistakes or engineering mistakes. It hasn’t been 2005 in a long time.

    (Still looking for the part where number of recalls=reliability and finds nothing)

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    14 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    The 4Runner powertrain has to be the oldest still on sale today, that thing is Dodge Journey level old.

    I'd challenge that with the Dodge Journey and its 4spd auto that's still around. 

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    42 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    I'd challenge that with the Dodge Journey and its 4spd auto that's still around. 

    Holy hell! I forgot they were still sporting a four speed, four pot in those. Good lord! I'll take any year 5 speed operated 4 Runner over even the best and "newest" Journey!

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    14 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    We know Toyota does reliability and resale probably better than anyone.

    That was a long time ago. And even then, that famous Toyota reliability was on a few select models. As many tough and reliable cars and trucks they sold in America in the 1970s and 1980s, Toyota had as many shyteboxes, rust buckets and unreliable crap in that same time frame.  But nobody talks about that.

    Today, what Toyota does better than everybody else:

    Nothing really.   Well 1 thing.

    They have a loyal following. A braindead flock of people if you ask me...

     

     

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    18 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

    Holy hell! I forgot they were still sporting a four speed, four pot in those. Good lord! I'll take any year 5 speed operated 4 Runner over even the best and "newest" Journey!

    RIGHT?!? Somebody posted about that in a Facebook group I'm in a few months ago and I literally had to go to Dodge's website to confirm because that's ANCIENT. 

    The 5spd auto in my dad's Tacoma certainly is not great. I'm just not a fan of the engine/trans combination. You really have to bury the throttle to get it to shift OVER 2000rpm. It's all about low revs and feels extremely lethargic. It also has the worst cruise control I've ever used. It'll accelerate to well over the set speed down hills, then wait until you're a few mph under the set speed to go almost full throttle to speed up to ~3mph OVER the set speed again when going up a hill. It also takes a couple seconds to initiate once you hit "set". You hit set, let off throttle, it'll slow down 1-2mph then speed back up to your set speed. It's pretty much only decent on flat ground. 

    *end rant*

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    13 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Toyoter reliability is marginal, they’ve been recalling just about everything they’ve built for the last 15 years to fix either assembly mistakes or engineering mistakes. It hasn’t been 2005 in a long time.

    Crazy their recall levels. 4 pages for 2020 alone

    image.png

    Check for Recalls: Vehicle, Car Seat, Tire, Equipment | NHTSA

    This is a PDF that was filed on Toyota Recalls currently.

    image.png

    RCMN-20V012-7781.pdf (nhtsa.gov)

    Out of curiosity, I looked up 2020 mercedes and the first two pages is recalls on their vans. Total Garbage, but then you have a total of 7 pages of recalls with the largest series being on the E-class and then the SUVs they make. Their numbers are like 10 times worse than Toyota.

    image.png

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    Unless there's an ABSURD number or recalls and issues(Aviator) it's just not something I really care about if I were buying new. They'll all be taken care of under warranty(obviously) and you'll get a loaner vehicle while yours is being worked on.  

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    22 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Unless there's an ABSURD number or recalls and issues(Aviator) it's just not something I really care about if I were buying new. They'll all be taken care of under warranty(obviously) and you'll get a loaner vehicle while yours is being worked on.  

    Add the Fusion to that.  

    But the Fusion has been very reliable tho...    Its kinda of a bummer to be in the shop as many times as it was, but like you said, each and every time the Fusion was recalled, I had a loaner.  No biggie. 

     

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    1 minute ago, oldshurst442 said:

    Add the Fusion to that.  

    But the Fusion has been very reliable tho...    Its kinda of a bummer to be in the shop as many times as it was, but like you said, each and every time the Fusion was recalled, I had a loaner.  No biggie. 

     

    Yeah, it just isn't something that bothers me. I'd rather there be a recall and get it fixed than for it to be a pain in the back side years down the road when things are failing outside of warranty. 

    I assume you have the 1.6T then?

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    2 hours ago, ccap41 said:

    Yeah, it just isn't something that bothers me. I'd rather there be a recall and get it fixed than for it to be a pain in the back side years down the road when things are failing outside of warranty. 

    I assume you have the 1.6T then?

    You have assumed...wisely

    You have chosen... wisely. (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) on Make a  GIF

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    4 hours ago, David said:

    Crazy their recall levels. 4 pages for 2020 alone

    image.png

    Check for Recalls: Vehicle, Car Seat, Tire, Equipment | NHTSA

    This is a PDF that was filed on Toyota Recalls currently.

    image.png

    RCMN-20V012-7781.pdf (nhtsa.gov)

    Out of curiosity, I looked up 2020 mercedes and the first two pages is recalls on their vans. Total Garbage, but then you have a total of 7 pages of recalls with the largest series being on the E-class and then the SUVs they make. Their numbers are like 10 times worse than Toyota.

    image.png

    Again, recalls do not equal long term reliability. On that same site, for Chevrolet, it's 7 pages to Toyota's 4 for 2020 model year cars.1284227478_ScreenShot2021-07-01at3_32_09PM.thumb.png.3f6326a2dbcf6a5c83efd1e248f68a49.png

    Hell, there are 4 pages for GMC alone. Are GMCs overrated as well?

    2027212386_ScreenShot2021-07-01at3_34_04PM.thumb.png.6a091a1071c6b8f9bd2cc0f6e9ba4870.png

     

    Edited by surreal1272
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    • If I walk out my door, and my vehicle isn't in the driveway waiting for me / doesn't fire up & drive, that's 'unreliable' in my book.
    I 'relied' on it doing its job and it couldn't. Maintenance is one, expected thing. Running to the dealership 3 or 4 times a year to fix something unexpected the OEM did wrong is a PITA.

    "Is your car reliable?"
    'Sure is!'
    "Wh-where is it right now?"
    'At the dealer getting its engine sludge cleaned out, it'll should be done by the end of the week. But it sure is reliable!'
    "Didn't you have the front subframe replaced just last year?"
    'Yep, but they gave me a loaner car that time, too.'
    "How... how is that 'reliable'?"
    'Well, when it works, it sure works!'

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    13 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    • If I walk out my door, and my vehicle isn't in the driveway waiting for me / doesn't fire up & drive, that's 'unreliable' in my book.
    I 'relied' on it doing its job and it couldn't. Maintenance is one, expected thing. Running to the dealership 3 or 4 times a year to fix something unexpected the OEM did wrong is a PITA.

    "Is your car reliable?"
    'Sure is!'
    "Wh-where is it right now?"
    'At the dealer getting its engine sludge cleaned out, it'll should be done by the end of the week. But it sure is reliable!'
    "Didn't you have the front subframe replaced just last year?"
    'Yep, but they gave me a loaner car that time, too.'
    "How... how is that 'reliable'?"
    'Well, when it works, it sure works!'

    And Toyota had fewer recalls on their entire lineup for 2020 than Chevrolet and fewer totals recalls than GMC. The 2020 Sierra alone had nine recalls for ONE trim level model. 

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    Sounds like toyoter had an OK/not too bad year last year. Good for them.
    In other words & generally speaking (not just a single year); no better than average... which is exactly where I came into this sub-discussion.

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    50 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Sounds like toyoter had an OK/not too bad year last year. Good for them.
    In other words & generally speaking (not just a single year); no better than average... which is exactly where I came into this sub-discussion.

    Except that is factually not true. Like them or not, they are above average reliability and have been consistently so for many years compared to companies like GM and Ford. They are not "no better than average" and it can be proven again and again. Sorry. Not praising Toyota here but facts are facts.

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      Walking around the Venue, you become surprised at how small this crossover is. It comes in at 13 feet long and just under 6 feet wide, making it slightly smaller than the Accent sedan. The design is very chunky and boxy, which helps with maximizing interior space. The front has some interesting design traits such as a similar grille seen on larger Hyundai crossovers and a split headlight arrangement. With a large glass area and tall roof, the Venue feels very open and spacious. Finding a comfortable position upfront is no problem and the seats provide a good balance of comfort and support. The rear legroom is a bit tight for any over six-feet. Cargo space is on the small end with 18.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 31.9 with them folded. The Nissan Kicks as a comparison offers 25.3 and 53.1 cubic feet of space respectively. The interior design is quite pleasant with contrasting plastics used on the dash and door panels. I also like how all models get an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Power for the Venue is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 121 horsepower and 113 pounds-feet of torque. The base SE has a six-speed manual as standard*, while a CVT is optional. My SEL tester only comes with the CVT. Power goes to the front wheels only. If most of your driving takes place in an urban area, then the Venue is a perfect partner. It responds quickly off the line and can keep with the flow of traffic. The small size and quick steering make it a breeze to nip around and fit into tight parking spots. The highway is a different story as it takes the engine a bit of time to get up to speed. I should note that isn’t exclusive to the Venue as all cars on the subcompact class experience this issue. Fuel economy is rated at 30 City/34 Highway/32 Combined. My average landed around 30.2 mpg in a 60/40 mix of rural and city driving. Having a short wheelbase usually means a pretty choppy ride. But the Venue’s suspension does a surprising job of minimizing the impacts. For the money, the Venue is surprisingly well equipped. All models come with automatic headlights, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and an eight-inch touchscreen. The SEL is the sweet spot adding 15-inch alloys, automatic climate control, and a six-speaker audio system. It also allows you to order the Convenience package that adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a sunroof. The Venue is perfect for someone who is looking for a new car and lives in an urban environment. The small size, nimble nature, and list of equipment make it a strong contender in the growing subcompact crossover class. But if you need more cargo space or planning on driving on the highway more than the city, save up a little bit more money and move up to a Kona. (*Author’s Note: Hyundai dropped the six-speed manual for the 2021 model year.)

      Palisade Limited
      The Palisade is certainly a looker. Take the front end. There is a unique grille shape with a massive chrome surround, flanked by a split headlight arrangement. The Limited adds more a bit more chrome along with the windows and a set of 20-inch multi-spoke wheels. I think the abundance of chrome is a bit much. The interior could make some people at sister brand Genesis a bit envious. My Limited tester featured a suede headliner with openings for the dual glass roof panels; quilted door panels, and aluminum trim used throughout. Technology is another strong point to the Palisade. Similar to the Hyundai Sonata I drove earlier, the Palisade Limited comes with a reconfigurable 12.3-inch gauge display and a 10.2-inch infotainment system. Both are vibrant and easy to read even in direct sunlight. Hyundai's infotainment system still leads the way in being easy to use. Space is plentiful for front and second-row passengers. Third-row passengers get short-changed on legroom and seat padding. Limited and SEL come with seating for seven, while the base SE seats up to eight. Cargo space is in the mid-pack with 18 cubic feet with all seats up, 45.8 with the third-row folded, and 84 with all seats folded. The Palisade comes with a 3.8L V6 producing 291 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed is teamed with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. My tester had the latter. I never felt that I was looking for more power from the V6. Whether I leaving from a stop or needing to make a pass, the V6 and eight-speed automatic delivered a smooth and steady stream of power. Fuel economy is average for three-row crossovers. EPA says the Palisade AWD will return 19 City/24 Highway/21 Combined. I saw 22 in my week-long test. Ride quality could rival some luxury sedans as various road imperfections seem to be ironed out. Road and wind noise is almost non-existent. To be clear, the Palisade isn't trying to be any sort of sporty crossover. But I was surprised at how well it minimizes body roll when on a winding road. Considering Hyundai's past attempts at a large three-row crossover, the Palisade is a clear winner. The interior is class-leading, it offers a pleasant ride, performance is smooth, and the trademark value proposition is here. The Limited seen here comes in at just under $48,000 with destination. What may set some away is the Palisade's styling, which I'll admit I did like for the most part. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Venue and Palisade; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Venue
      Trim: SEL
      Engine: 1.6L DPI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 121 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM:  113 @ 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 30/34/32
      Curb Weight: 2,732 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $19,250
      As Tested Price: $23,405 (Includes $1,120.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Package - $1,750.00
      Convenience Package - $1,150.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Palisade
      Trim: Limited AWD
      Engine: 3.8L GDI D-CVVT 24-Valve V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 291 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 5,200
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/24/21
      Curb Weight: 4,387 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $46,625
      As Tested Price: $47,905 (Includes $1,120.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $160.00
    • By William Maley
      Have you ever wondered what it would be to add all-wheel drive to a Prius? What about adding slightly more sport to a Corolla hatchback? Wonder no more as I can tell you some thoughts on the 2020 Toyota Prius AWD-e and Corolla XSE hatchback.
      Prius XLE AWD-e
      The Prius AWD-e powertrain is mostly the same as you'll find in the standard model - a 1.8L inline-four paired with an electric motor to provide an output of 121 horsepower. But, the e-AWD adds a second electric motor producing 7 horsepower and 40 pound-feet onto the rear axle. This provides extra traction and helps with initial acceleration (up to 6 mph). The other change deals with the battery as Toyota swaps the lithium-ion pack for a nickel-metal hydride. Toyota says the nickel-metal hydride chemistry has better resilience in extremely cold temperatures. Does the addition of a second electric motor make the Prius any faster? Not at all. It feels the same as the standard Prius; fine in stop-go driving, but struggling during hard acceleration such as merging onto a freeway. The AWD system is very unobtrusive, you don’t notice come on when one of the front wheels loses traction. There is an important caveat to note; this system only operates up to 43 mph. This is likely due to Toyota wanting to keep somewhat high fuel economy figures. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the Prius AWD-e at 52 City/48 Highway/50 Combined - the lowest of any Prius model. My average for the week was a slightly disappointing 47 mpg. Handling characteristics are the same as the standard Prius. It's slightly fun to drive on winding roads with minimal body roll, but the steering is lackluster. Ride comfort is excellent with most bumps being ironed out. The AWD option does make the Prius a more appealing option for those living in the snow belt who still want excellent fuel economy. Corolla XSE Hatchback

      Toyota wants to make it clear the XSE is the sporting version of the Corolla Hatchback and it shows on the exterior. There is a distinct rear wing, 18-inch wheels with black inserts, and a body kit that makes the hatchback stand out from the plain-jane SE. Power comes from the same 2.0L inline-four found in the SE, producing 169 horsepower. In my tester, I had the standard six-speed manual. The CVT is an option. I was hoping for a slight improvement in overall performance with the manual, but it’s similar to the CVT. The engine feels more suited around town where it can get up to speed pretty quick. But it does show some signs of struggling when trying to reach higher speeds. The manual transmission is a mixed bag. The throws are a bit too long for any sort of enthusiastic driving and it is slightly difficult to slot into the next gear due to the vague feeling gate. But, the clutch is very easy to modulate. Despite having a sportier tune for the suspension, I couldn't tell any difference in the handling between this and the SE hatchback I drove in 2020. Both feel agile and composed when driven on a curvy stretch of pavement. I will say the SE does a better job of minimizing impacts from bumps and potholes with smaller wheels. The only reasons I see picking the XSE over the SE is for the more aggressive looks and additional standard equipment (dual-zone climate control, 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster, and power-adjustable driver seat). Otherwise, the SE offers the same driving dynamics, manual transmission, and a slightly better ride for less money. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Prius AWD-e
      Trim: XLE
      Engine: 1.8L DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i Four-Cylinder, AC Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: ECVT, All Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 96 @ 5,200 (Gas): 71 @ 0 (Electric Motor 1): 7 @ 0 (Electric Motor 2): 121 (Combined)
      Torque @ RPM: 105 @ 3,600 (Gas): 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 52/48/50
      Curb Weight: 3,220 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: 
      Base Price: $28,375
      As Tested Price: $31,757 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Technology Package - $800.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Corolla Hatchback
      Trim: XSE
      Engine: 2.0 DOHC 15-Valve D-4S with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 168 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/31
      Curb Weight: 3,060 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $23,240
      As Tested Price: $26,450 (Includes $955.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Black Roof, Spoiler, and Side Mirrors - $500.00
      Adaptive Headlights - $415.00
      Rear Window Spoiler - $375.00
      Carpet Mat Package - $249.00
      Door Sill Protectors - $165.00
      Black Emblem Overlays - $129.00
      Mudguards - $129.00
      Door Edge Guard - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Protector - $89.00
      TRD Air Filter - $79.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Have you ever wondered what it would be to add all-wheel drive to a Prius? What about adding slightly more sport to a Corolla hatchback? Wonder no more as I can tell you some thoughts on the 2020 Toyota Prius AWD-e and Corolla XSE hatchback.
      Prius XLE AWD-e
      The Prius AWD-e powertrain is mostly the same as you'll find in the standard model - a 1.8L inline-four paired with an electric motor to provide an output of 121 horsepower. But, the e-AWD adds a second electric motor producing 7 horsepower and 40 pound-feet onto the rear axle. This provides extra traction and helps with initial acceleration (up to 6 mph). The other change deals with the battery as Toyota swaps the lithium-ion pack for a nickel-metal hydride. Toyota says the nickel-metal hydride chemistry has better resilience in extremely cold temperatures. Does the addition of a second electric motor make the Prius any faster? Not at all. It feels the same as the standard Prius; fine in stop-go driving, but struggling during hard acceleration such as merging onto a freeway. The AWD system is very unobtrusive, you don’t notice come on when one of the front wheels loses traction. There is an important caveat to note; this system only operates up to 43 mph. This is likely due to Toyota wanting to keep somewhat high fuel economy figures. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the Prius AWD-e at 52 City/48 Highway/50 Combined - the lowest of any Prius model. My average for the week was a slightly disappointing 47 mpg. Handling characteristics are the same as the standard Prius. It's slightly fun to drive on winding roads with minimal body roll, but the steering is lackluster. Ride comfort is excellent with most bumps being ironed out. The AWD option does make the Prius a more appealing option for those living in the snow belt who still want excellent fuel economy. Corolla XSE Hatchback

      Toyota wants to make it clear the XSE is the sporting version of the Corolla Hatchback and it shows on the exterior. There is a distinct rear wing, 18-inch wheels with black inserts, and a body kit that makes the hatchback stand out from the plain-jane SE. Power comes from the same 2.0L inline-four found in the SE, producing 169 horsepower. In my tester, I had the standard six-speed manual. The CVT is an option. I was hoping for a slight improvement in overall performance with the manual, but it’s similar to the CVT. The engine feels more suited around town where it can get up to speed pretty quick. But it does show some signs of struggling when trying to reach higher speeds. The manual transmission is a mixed bag. The throws are a bit too long for any sort of enthusiastic driving and it is slightly difficult to slot into the next gear due to the vague feeling gate. But, the clutch is very easy to modulate. Despite having a sportier tune for the suspension, I couldn't tell any difference in the handling between this and the SE hatchback I drove in 2020. Both feel agile and composed when driven on a curvy stretch of pavement. I will say the SE does a better job of minimizing impacts from bumps and potholes with smaller wheels. The only reasons I see picking the XSE over the SE is for the more aggressive looks and additional standard equipment (dual-zone climate control, 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster, and power-adjustable driver seat). Otherwise, the SE offers the same driving dynamics, manual transmission, and a slightly better ride for less money. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Prius AWD-e
      Trim: XLE
      Engine: 1.8L DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i Four-Cylinder, AC Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: ECVT, All Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 96 @ 5,200 (Gas): 71 @ 0 (Electric Motor 1): 7 @ 0 (Electric Motor 2): 121 (Combined)
      Torque @ RPM: 105 @ 3,600 (Gas): 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 52/48/50
      Curb Weight: 3,220 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: 
      Base Price: $28,375
      As Tested Price: $31,757 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Technology Package - $800.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Corolla Hatchback
      Trim: XSE
      Engine: 2.0 DOHC 15-Valve D-4S with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 168 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/31
      Curb Weight: 3,060 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $23,240
      As Tested Price: $26,450 (Includes $955.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Black Roof, Spoiler, and Side Mirrors - $500.00
      Adaptive Headlights - $415.00
      Rear Window Spoiler - $375.00
      Carpet Mat Package - $249.00
      Door Sill Protectors - $165.00
      Black Emblem Overlays - $129.00
      Mudguards - $129.00
      Door Edge Guard - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Protector - $89.00
      TRD Air Filter - $79.00
    • By William Maley
      For your consideration: Two unlikely sport sedans.
      The Toyota Camry TRD and Lexus ES 350 F-Sport may not seem like credible sport sedans at first glance. They may seem like tarted-up sedans in terms of looks, but nothing else. However, after spending a week in each one, I can say both are the real deal.
      Camry TRD
      This Camry is in your face about its sporting potential. It comes with a front splitter, side skirts, a distinct rear spoiler, and 19-inch TRD wheels with a matte black finish. I found it to be a bit much and wished Toyota offered a package that got you the goodies for the suspension and exhaust system while keeping the looks of a standard Camry. A sleeper of sorts. TRD models come with small touches inside such as red seatbelts, red stitching on the seats and dash; leather-wrapped steering wheel, and TRD floor mats. Otherwise, it is your standard Camry interior. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 with 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Yes, that's the same output as the Camry XLE V6 I drove earlier. But what TRD has done is added a new exhaust system that provides a nice growl. I'll admit I was surprised when I blipped the throttle at a stoplight and heard what came out. This is an engine you have to work slightly to get into its sweet spot of power - around the mid-range on the rpm band. But once you do, the engine delivers a smooth punch of power. I do wish the six-speed automatic wouldn't try to go into the highest gear ASAP to maximize fuel economy. Where TRD worked their magic is with the suspension. The car is lower than a standard Camry, along with being stiffer thanks to thicker underbody braces, stabilizer bars, and shocks. On a winding road, the Camry TRD feels much more athletic than the standard Camry with minimal body and a set of summer tires providing excellent grip. The only downside is the steering which needs a bit more weight. Ride quality is a bit more firm than a standard Camry, but the suspension does a decent job of minimizing the bumps and impacts. To top it all off, Toyota has priced the Camry TRD at a surprising point. With the two-tone paint on my tester, it comes at $32,920 - making this the cheapest way to get a V6 in a Camry. The added bonus is that the TRD is also the most fun you can have in Camry.
      ES 350 F-Sport
      Lexus takes a more sedate approach with the ES F-Sport with a mesh grille insert, new wheels, and a small lip spoiler. I think if they went overboard with the sporty touches, it would ruin the elegance of the standard ES design. I will say the grey on my tester makes the F-Sport kind of look somewhat bland. Going with either the blue or red helps it stand out. Under the hood is the same 3.5L V6 found in other ES 350s, producing 301 hp and 267 lb-ft. The behavior is similar to what I found in the Camry, needing to work it before a smooth rush of power comes on. The transmission doesn't have the same programming as the Camry's with trying to maximize fuel economy. It is ready to downshift at a moment's notice. I've praised the standard ES for making a real leap forward in handling as there is less body motion on windy roads when compared to the previous model. The F-Sport takes that a step further with a revised suspension and optional adaptive dampers - which my car had. Slip the drive mode into Sport+ and ES transforms into something that you can pilot with confidence on a twisty stretch of road. The dampers firm up to make body roll non-existent, and the steering feels more weighty when turning. When you decide to stop having fun and turn the drive knob to either normal or comfort, the F-Sport transforms a standard ES with a smooth and quiet ride. The price? Base is $44,635 and this fully-loaded tester comes in at $53,950 with destination. A bit hard to swallow when you consider that the Avalon TRD offers similar performance for slightly less money. But not everyone wants a sedan that screams "look at me", and thats where the ES 350 F-Sport shines. It may be sporty, but it keeps quiet about its intentions. Disclaimer: Toyota and Lexus Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: TRD
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,572 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $31,040
      As Tested Price: $32,920 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Two-Tone Midnight Black Metallic Roof and Rear Spoiler - $500.00
      Special Color - $425.00
       
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: ES 350
      Trim: F-Sport
      Engine: 3.5 DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $44,635
      As Tested Price: $53,950 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package - $2,900.00
      Triple Beam LED Headlights - $1,515.00
      Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intuitive Parking Assist w/Auto Braking - $1,065.00
      Adaptive Variable Suspension - $750.00
      Hands-Free Power Open/Close Trunk - $550.00
      10.2-inch Head-Up Display - $500.00
      Illuminated Door Sill - $400.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      F Sport Heated Leather Steering Wheel with Windshield Wiper Deicer and Fast Response Interior Heater - $180.00
      Door Edge Guard - $145.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00

      View full article
  • Posts

    • Really like the look of that one…..
    • If this statement was true, then why did Mercedes just buy an electric motor company to power their auto's? YASA makes decent motors, but has not made performance motors per say and yet Mercedes-Benz is on record of buying Yasa Motors of UK to build their AMG electric motors. Charged EVs | Mercedes-Benz acquires motor technology firm YASA - Charged EVs Electric Motor Technology Company YASA Acquired by Mercedes-Benz | Business Wire Quote from the press release: YASA’s expertise and resources will be focused on delivering world-beating electric drive technologies for AMG-Mercedes’ electric-only platform. Philipp Schiemer, CEO of Mercedes-AMG and Head of the Top End Vehicle Group, said, “We warmly welcome YASA to Mercedes-Benz. YASA’s impressive axial-flux technology allows future fully electric Mercedes-AMG performance cars to stay a step ahead of the competition. Thanks to electric motors with higher power density and continuous torque delivery we will redefine the future of driving performance.” YASA’s acquisition by Mercedes-Benz | A message from our CEO, Chris Harris 🤔 Guess this means Germans CANNOT build Performance Leading EV motors.  🤔
    • I agree with you that what we see in the concept picture above is luxury, but I have yet to see the lighting like that on the actual production car. That will be interesting to see if they actually delivered or not.
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