Toyota has now been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for more than 60 years, continuing to do a gorgeous job in remaking its classic models from the ground up while leading the automotive industry with completely new vehicle introductions. With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, a quarter of the company’s 2021 U.S. sales were electrified, yet Toyota has only just begun to scratch the surface of Beyond Zero, its moniker for battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
We recently had the pleasure of testing TAWA’s 2023 Sports Utility Vehicle of Texas, the Toyota Sequoia, and the 40th Anniversary edition of its 4-Runner which has amassed more than 4 million cumulative sales since its introduction in 1983. The 2023 Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Auto Roundup brought opportunity to test the latest in Toyota’s SUV lineup, all-electric new bZ4X.
Much like the coastal redwoods after which it’s named, the third-generation 2023 Sequoia lives up to its powerful and legendary namesake. The standard i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain is the same as that used for Toyota’s award-winning Tundra 1500 pick-up, all new for the 2022 model year, boasting 437 hp, 583 lb.-ft. of torque The three-row SUV is all new for 2023, and it aims to elevate the full-size segment with both luxurious comfort, towing capacity of up to 9,520 lbs., and capability off-road.
Toyota’s all-electric bZ4X introduces unique, futuristic design without losing the familiarity commonly found in SUVs. bZ4X has a manufacturer-estimated range of up to 250 miles for XLE front-wheel drive models (228 miles for the AWD model.). The BEV-dedicated platform allowed the engineering team to acheive an extra wide interior cabin that allows for ample legroom for both front and rear seats as well as copious side-to-side space in the rear.
Besides making headlines for its trucks and SUV’s, Toyota’s line-up of performance vehicles also continues to roll-out fan favorites. The recent Auto Roundup allowed us to put Toyota’s Supra as well as two versions of its new GR Corolla to the test on the track at Eagles Canyon Raceway.
The 2023 Toyota GR Supra adds a new dimension to the driver experience thanks to a new six-speed intelligent Manual Transmission option.
The all-new 2023 GR Corolla brings the style, performance, handling and functionality that hatchback fans love. The 1.6L, three-cylinder turbo engine on the 2023 GR Corolla delivers 300 hp and up to 295 pound-feet of torque. The GR Corolla MORIZO Edition adds even higher performance.
Also noteworthy is the fact that while others move to completely nix sedans from their line-ups, the evolution of Toyota’s Prius and the introduction of the new Crown full-size sedan are welcome alternatives. Testing new vehicles on the roadway at TAWA’s annual Auto Roundup event allowed us to experience both new Toyota sedans.
It’s been 22 years since the introduction of Toyota’s hybrid that forever changed the automotive industry. The 2001 Prius, Latin for “To Go Before” became the world’s first production hybrid car. The Toyota Prius enters the 2023 model year as a completely transformed mode with a sleek new exterior design, a reimagined interior and an amped up hybrid powertrain rated up to 57 MPG combined.
Toyota’s brand-new Crown breaks the traditional full-size sedan mold. Crown’s “lift-up” design sedan features large wheels for striking style, still easy ingress and egress, and a CUV-like ride height affording drivers great road visibility. XLE and Limited grades come with THS IV (Toyota Hybrid System fourth generation), achieving a manufacturer-estimated 38 MPG.
What’s Next? We look forward to the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander which made its premier last February at the Chicago Auto Show. It will be the next Toyota vehicle to wear the new “Beyond Zero” badge.