Toyota Prius Plug-In hybrid — Is it worth the extra cost?

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It's the iconic hybrid car, the first to combine a traditional gasoline engine with an electric motor powered by a battery pack. Since it hit U.S. showrooms in 2000, Toyota has very successfully advanced the hybrid hatchback Prius in performance, style and fuel efficiency, and it lives on today in various iterations.

Toyota Highlander — Storage and much more

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

There are a lot of things to like about the 2014 Toyota Highlander. This third-generation Highlander is the personification of what a family crossover sport utility should be, but that being said, it isn't as sporty as some. There are a couple of entries in the mid-sized segment that have more adult-friendly third-row seating, a few offer more overall cargo space, and several are arguably more stylish. What Toyota has done is build perhaps the best all-around family vehicle even if it isn't necessarily the best at any one thing.

Toyota Tundra — An attractive alternative

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Toyota's full-sized Tundra pickup has been spruced up with exterior styling updates and a reworked interior, but the "redesigned-for-2014" designation assigned to the truck doesn't include a new drivetrain or chassis, which remain relatively unchanged, so we'll call it a mild makeover.

Toyota Corolla — A more appealing best seller

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

For years the compact Toyota Corolla has been widely acclaimed for its reliability, fuel economy and resale value and it has been the sedan of choice for more than 10 million buyers in the U.S. for nearly five decades since introduced in 1968.

2014 Toyota Highlander

CARMEL, Calif. — Like the current Camry, the latest Highlander is a major re-do of the current platform. It’s also a vehicle where U.S. thinking is taking more of a lead as engineering and product development control for the model shifts away from Japan. That’s because Toyota is expecting U.S. sales to increase to 140,000 units.

2014 Toyota Corolla

MINNEAPOLIS — Two years after launching in Japan as a 1966 model, the Corolla joined Toyota’s U.S. lineup where it has stayed for the past 45 years. In that time, Toyota has sold more than 40 million Corolla’s worldwide, including 10 million in the U.S. Last year, despite being an old design in a sea of new releases, the Corolla was the second best selling Toyota in the U.S, and number two in the compact segment overall. That should tell you something.

Toyota Avalon — Satisfying blend of comfort, performance

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Toyota Avalon entered the market in 1994 as a full-sized family sedan with a bench seat option and a column shifter, a strange configuration in an industry that had all but abandoned six-passenger sedans a decade earlier. Though the bench seat option was short-lived, over the years the Avalon became known less as a family sedan and more as an entry-level luxury retirement rewar
d for life-long Camry owners.

2014 Toyota 4Runner

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Nearly all of the truck-like body-on-frame sport utilities have been transformed into unibody crossovers, which is great for getting to soccer practice, but what about the rock climbers? The mud boggers? The mountain men (and women)? In other words, what’s left for the real adventurers?

Toyota RAV4 — Return to prominence

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The optional V-6 engine is gone. The third-row seat is history. The iconic spare tire enclosure and the side-hinged rear door have been scrapped. What remains with the 2013 Toyota RAV4 is a modern compact crossover with an adequate, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, updated styling and a roomy passenger-friendly interior.

2014 Toyota Tundra

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Bear with me, here. Do you remember when Charlie Bucket went on the tour of Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory? Remember all the choices and options there were? Lickable, flavored wall paper. Everlasting Gobstoppers. Chewing gum that packed a 3-course meal into one delicious treat.