Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The 25 Best Toyotas of All Time

Toyota is mostly known as the brand that keeps your father, who is a lifetime subscriber to Consumer Reports, from having to shop around, but throughout the company's 76 year history it has made some incredible cars. 

Toyota has a long racing history, made some of the world's best affordable sports cars, created trucks and SUVs that can tackle the world's toughest terrain, and brought about a new level of engineering precision and reliability in the auto industry.

In recent years Toyota has been digging deep and resuscitating its fun side and making everything from the massively expensive Lexus LFA to the ultra-fun GT-86 (Scion FR-S in the States) that's available at peasants' prices. To celebrate that we've gathered together The 25 Greatest Toyotas Of All Time.

25. 2nd-Generation Prius
Year: 2003

Yeah, it's boring as all hell to drive, and producing them creates so much extra carbon emissions that it isn't actually any better for the environment than a regular car, but no car has done more to push alternative fuel technology forward. This was the first alt-fuel car to sell en masse and the world has never been the same since. The 2nd Gen Prius is easily one of the biggest milestones in automotive history.

24. 7th-Generation Hilux
Year: 2005-Present

The Hilux has a well-deserved reputation for being practical and reliable; we'd even go so far as to say that guys who have Toyota pickups are inherently trustworthy. It's the choice of farmers and contractors world-wide, and we really wish it were offered in the states. The unibody Tacoma is cool, but nowhere as rugged and reliable as the ladder frame Hilux.
The 25 Best Toyotas of All Time
23. Toyota Tundra
Year: 1999-Present
Yeah, we're copping out and not picking a Generation, but we don't feel we have to. The Tundra is a fantastic chocie for a full-size truck. It's capable, efficient, powerful, good on-road and off, and has even been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick, despite that being quite difficult for a full-size truck to achieve.

22. Origin
Year: 2000-2001
Just as the retro movement was taking hold in the automotive industry, Toyota released a few limited edition replicas of some of the company's iconic cars. One of these was the Origin, a modern take on the beautiful 1955 Toyota Crown.

We love the rear suicide doors, the rearward slanting C-pillar, and the general presence of this car, and think it would be awesome to own one with the dependability of a modern Toyota.

21. 1st-Generation Crown
Year: 1955-1962
The Crown sold very poorly in the USA because it was perfect for Japan. While it wasn't quick enough for American highway duty, it was rugged enough to take on Japan's muddy roads, and had a certain air of sophistication about it that allowed it to serve well as a private car and as a taxi.

20. Sports 800
Year: 1965-1969
The Toyota Sports 800 was the company's first sports car, and what a tiny, cheeky little car it was. The engine may have only made 45 horsepower, but that was enough to get the car up to 100 mph. We think that, given the Sports 800's 1,279 lb weight, it might just be one of the most fun cars ever made.

19. 1st Generation-Celica
Year: 1970-1977
The Toyota Celica seemed like an odd mix between American muscle (mostly in the styling) and British sports car, in that it focused on handling prowess over power and straight line speed.

18. Land Cruiser 200 Series
Year: 2008-Present
The award for most under-appreciated SUV goes to: the modern Land Cruiser. It's largely viewed as little more than a Mother's Day special, but in reality we're talking about a V8 powered truck that comes with a locking differential and skid plates. The 200 Series will keep up with any Land Rover, and then keep going once the Rover breaks down.

17. Toyota Classic
Year: 1996
Only 100 of these were made, and it's obvious why; there isn't a large market for modern Toyotas that were styled in the '30s. That is, however, exactly what this is. The way Toyota chose to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Model AA was to build a new one on the rock-solid Hilux's platform, and fit it with a Toyota interior with additional leather and wood for good measure.

16. 1st-Generation Century
Year: 1967-1997
You might associate the word Century more with the Buick that your grandmother drives, but the original Century was this Toyota that ferried the imperial family and Japan's well to do about for thirty years. Yeah, the car was so beloved by the people that Toyota didn't have to restyle it.

It's the Citroen DS of the East.

15. T40 Corona
Year: 1964-1970
The T40 Corona was one of the first Toyotas to sell well in in Europe and North America, thus getting the proverbial foot in the door for cars that would later make Toyota the world's largest automaker.

14. Sera
Year: 1990-1996
Japan is, due to the crowded nature of the island's cities, the birthplace of many fantastic tiny cars. Take the Sera, for example, a sprightly little car with exotic doors and Minority Report levels of glass canopy.

13. 8th-Generation Toyota Corolla
Year: 1995-2002
In 1997 the long running Toyota Corolla overtook the VW Beetle as the world's best selling car. Since '97, it has only widened its lead. This car is why Toyota is the giant that it is.

12. Mk I MR2
Year: 1984-1989
It seems that whenever Toyota's reputation gets a little too clearly into the territory of "boring but reliable" the company throws us a sexy curve-ball like the mid-engined MR2. Think of it as a Pontiac Fiero that handles better, accelerates faster, and still works.

11. GT-86
Year: 2012-Present
In this country, the Toyota GT-86 is known as the Scion FR-S, and along with its identical triplet, the Subaru BRZ, it has won the adoration and love of the entire automotive press. The kind of car enthusiast who never drives anything outside of Forza 4 and obsesses over horsepower figures on blogs might whine about the 200hp boxer, but he's missing the point; the point is that the low center of gravity and perfect dynamics make this more fun to drive than many cars that are a good deal faster.

10. Mk. III Supra Turbo A
Year: 1988
The words "homologation special" result in an instant quickening of the pulse of any motoring enthusiast. We all have not so secret fantasies of racing cars (and there's no excuse not to) and this means that anytime a car is put on sale that was made just so that a company can enter it into a particular motorsport series, we love it.

The Supra Turbo A was homologated for Group A touring car races, and made an impressive – especially for the '80s – 266 hp. We still want one.

9. Standard Sedan AA
Year: 1936
The first prototype Toyota passenger car was the Standard Sedan AA, which, on one hand was a blatant rip-off of the Chrysler Airflow, but on the other hand displayed Toyota's love of innovative technology, even if the pubic was't quite on board yet.

8. GT-Four RC
Year: 1991
These days, when people are looking for rally-ready Japanese cars, they're looking at either a Subaru or a Mitsubishi in a practical package, but in the early '90s, there was a sleek Toyota coupe that combined the company's twin-turbo setup with all-wheel drive and and carefully tuned transmission.

7. 5th-Generation Hilux

Year: 1988-1998
Top Gear proved the reliability and build quality of the Hilux by taking one with 190,000 miles on it and driving it into parts of Bristol, crashing it into a tree, leaving it in the sea for a few hours, crashing it through a shed, dropping a camper on it, hitting it with a wrecking ball, setting it on fire, and then putting it on top of an apartment building as the building was demolished; with only simple tools and no spare parts, the '88 Diesel Hilux drove away.

6. Mk. IV Supra TT
Year: 1992
We love this car, and it's not just because we enjoy the alliteration of saying "twin-turbo Toyota." It's because we enjoy driving a twin-turbo I6 Toyota that sends 320 horsepower to the rear wheels and handles like it cost twich as much as it did. This is clearly one of the best speed per dollar spent cars ever made.

We were thrilled when we heard that Toyota is working on a successor.

5. Corolla AE-86
Year: 1983-1987
Yeah, these days the Corolla is mostly know for being the really predictable and unspired choice when chopping for a reasonably priced and practical car, but we have to remember where it came from. The rear-driven AE-86 is one of Formula D champion Vaughn Gittin Jr's favorite cars to burn rubber and get sideways in. If he likes it, you should too.
4. 2000GT
Year: 1967-1970
James Bond drove a Toyota 2000GT. Yeah, this is a Toyota that hangs out with Aston Martins, Lotuses, and BMWs, Granted, they had to cut the roof off so that Sean Connery would fit in it, but that just meant that there was now an even cooler convertible version.

3. Celica GT-TS
Year: 1982
The Celica GT-TS was the homologation special for the infamous and berserk Group B rally class. Even if the car had been terrible, that alone would have made it incredibly badass, but it wasn't terrible. The actual WRC car took first place six times from 1983 through 1986.

2. Land Cruiser FJ40
Year: 1960
The Toyota Land Cruiser is essentially a Land Rover for people who don't like repairing things, and the FJ40 is still a much desired car by off-road enthusiasts and truck loving tuners. Seriously, if you can't defeat an obstacle in an FJ40, you probably need a helicopter.

1. TRD2000GT
Year: 1998
The TRD2000GT is certainly the greatest of the Mk II MR2s. Toyota Racing Development gave it an aggressive, motorsport derived body kit, widened the track, and squeezed as many as 490 hp out of the thing. Only 35 of these Ferrari killers were ever made by the factory, although it was possible to create a similar car from TRD parts.

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