Category Archives: Toyota

Straight Eight: 2015 Toyota Tacoma

2015 Toyota Tacoma

1. That’s near Seattle, right?
Tacoma. Colorado. Canyon. Sierra. Silverado. Dakota. Is there a rule that pickups have to be named after American places and geological formations?

2015 Toyota Tacoma

2. Don’t call me small
The Tacoma is smaller than the brand’s full-size Tundra (see what we mean about names?), but they refer to it as “mid-sized.” This is the Double Cab version; the base Access Cab model also has four doors, but the back ones are smaller and the tiny rear seats useless.

2015 Toyota Tacoma

3. A step in the wrong direction
OK, let’s get in the truck – but watch out: the side steps are too high and just get in the way, and once you’ve climbed up, you have to duck down to avoid whacking your head on the door frame.

2015 Toyota Tacoma

4. It’s raining on my groceries
For stuff you don’t want exposed to the elements, the back seats fold to create a flat load surface. You have to remove the headrests first, though, and there’s nowhere to stow them.

2015 Toyota Tacoma

5. Get into bed
For less-perishable cargo, there’s the bed. Curiously, Double Cab trucks with a manual transmission get a five-foot bed, while the automatic version I drove has one that measures a little longer than six feet. The bed was just a bit shorter than the junk I had to haul to the dump. (Of course it was.)

2015 Toyota Tacoma

6. Rough, going
Many modern trucks ride surprisingly smoothly, thanks to sophisticated suspension designs, but Tacoma’s decade-old design barely qualifies as modern, and shows its age in the poor ride quality.

2015 Toyota Tacoma

7. Small(er) truck, big thirst
My tester’s V6 moves the Tacoma well, but average fuel consumption was higher than two V8-powered Chevrolet trucks I tested earlier this year.

2015 Toyota Tacoma

8. Priced to stay put
Pricewise, at $40,000, my top-of-the-line test truck lacked many creature comforts. I’m okay with a basic truck, but similar money will buy you a V8-powered, full-size truck that will tow and haul more weight. Oh, well. Maybe if they’d called it the Seattle.

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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Straight Eight, Toyota, Trucks


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What I think: Long-term Toyota Prius C

I, with the help of the team, am conducting a three-month, long-term test of Toyota’s newest — and smallest — hybrid model, the Prius C. Click here to read my Long-Term Introduction of this car.


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What I think: 2012 Toyota Prius V

Those who don’t “get” Toyota’s Prius probably never will. For those who do, though, there’s even more to like in the 2012 Prius V, one of two new variants added to this hybrid poster child’s lineup. Read my Quick Spin review at


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What I think: 2012 Toyota Yaris

The 2012 Toyota Yaris takes the idea of a basic car to new levels. Overall, it’s easier to like than its predecessor, but the redesign doesn’t address a couple of the old car’s key flaws. Read my review here.

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in, Compact cars, Toyota


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What I think: 2012 Toyota Camry

What’s in a name? An awful lot if yours is Camry.

This mid-sized Toyota has practically defined the term “family car” since it was introduced in the early 1980s, its name becoming closely-associated with things like reliable, practical and generally awesome.

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What I think: Buying a used Toyota Avalon

Click here to read what I think about buying a used Toyota Avalon, an entry-level luxury sedan that fits somewhere above the Camry, but below Toyota’s Lexus “real” luxury line. It’s a supremely comfortable sedan that renders the similar Lexus ES irrelevant in many ways. However, this is one of the cars that reveals the recent cracks in Toyota’s long-standing reputation for reliability, with a handful of uncharacteristic problems, one of which could prove costly in the long run.

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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in Toyota, Used vehicles, What I Think


What I think: 2011 Toyota Matrix S

Click here to read why I really want to like the Matrix, but have a hard time getting there.

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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Compact cars, Test Drives, Toyota


The Big Idea: Practicality in its prime

As a vehicle type, the minivan is nearly 30 years old. Therefore, most of the major innovations have come and, if they were good ideas, stuck around. Think along the lines of dual sliding doors, seats that fold away into the floor and, gimmicky as it might be, the swivelling second row seats and hideaway table offered in the Dodge Grand Caravan.

So, what’s left? Not much, but a handful of manufacturers have included a couple of small, but useful, features in their recently-redesigned minivans.

In the Honda Odyssey, the second-row seats can move a few inches side-to-side, providing space to set three child seats across. And here’s a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that feature: a garbage bag ring that folds out of the back of the front-seat centre console – no more searching for an out-of-the-way place to hang a trash bag during those rolling road-trip fast-food lunches.

2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite; photo courtesy Honda. Click to enlarge

Every minivan available at the moment has a third-row seat that folds away into the floor; the cavity it fits into can be used for cargo when the seat is upright. But Nissan did something unique in its 2011 Quest by designing the seat to fold forward, instead of toward the back, leaving that storage well free even when the seat is stowed. Hard panels that fit over the opening provide out-of-sight storage for valuables.

2011 Nissan Quest SL

2011 Nissan Quest SL; photo by Chris. Click to enlarge

Less practical, but still cool, is the second-row lounge seat that can be optioned into the Toyota Sienna, creating the kind of luxurious seating normally reserved for ultra-luxury sedans.

2011 Toyota Sienna Limited V6

2011 Toyota Sienna Limited V6; photo courtesy Toyota. Click to enlarge.

What will they think of next for this most versatile of vehicle type? We’ll have to wait a few years, until the next round of redesigns, to find out.


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