Toyota 4Runner — Breathing life into a classic

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

A combination of uncertain gas prices, the severe economic downturn, and a flood of competing crossovers sent the once wildly popular mid-sized Toyota 4Runner over a cliff.

Only 19,675 4Runners were sold in the U.S. in 2009, a far cry from four straight years of 100,000 sales or better earlier in the decade.

Toyota Prius — Gains in size, efficiency and applications

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Toyota brought us a Japanese spec right-hand-drive first-generation Prius hybrid not long before the turn of the century. It was a unique experience. Driving from the right side in a left side country was strange enough. But stopping for the first time on a busy street was even more interesting. The engine cut off. We were told this would occur, but as we waited for the light to turn green, we couldn’t help but wonder if we would be holding up a long line of honking traffic.