A silver 2020 Toyota RAV4 is shown from the rear at an angle.

Why the Perfect Toyota for You May Be a Pre-Owned

No brand is more reliable and dependable than Toyota. A considerably large portion of all used cars for sale today are Toyotas due to their strong yet simple manufacturing. I’m convinced that a supernatural longevity is baked into their steel before they are paneled and painted. And this goes for all compacts, coupes, sedans, hybrids, minivans, crossovers, trucks, and SUVs.

Toyota’s vehicles are renowned for their exceptional reliability, innovative technology, and impressive resale value. So, when a quality car can outlast its driver, it makes financial sense to peruse such pre-owned options before investing twice as much in a comparable new model. With Toyota having produced at least one vehicle every year for every class in the market, you’re bound to find a reputable pre-owned that suits even the most peculiar of your needs.

Ease of Mind

When it comes to shopping for a used Toyota, there are plenty of options available to meet your needs and budget. For added peace of mind, consider getting a vehicle history report or requesting to see only Certified Pre-Owned Toyota cars. These will provide valuable information, such as whether the car has been involved in any major accidents or has had any major repairs done. You can also request a detailed inspection to ensure that the car is in good working condition.

For added assurance of quality, Toyota’s Certified Pre-Owned program is a great option. Vehicles that qualify to carry this title have undergone a rigorous inspection process, are equipped with an extended warranty, and offer safety recall services and exclusive offers.

Toyota’s teams of experts inspect every car before it is sold. This way, they ensure you drive away with a safe, dependable car you can be proud of. Every vehicle goes through its safety program, which can be viewed in the Safety Recalls and Service Campaigns on their website, giving you detailed information on the car’s service and repair history. With their reliable construction, high resale value, and vast selection of models, used Toyota cars are the perfect choice for budget-minded drivers.

All Toyota vehicles of recent years have included the Toyota Safety Sense suite, typically comprised of driver assistance features like the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The comparable Star Safety System—designed to intervene when needed—usually includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System, Brake Assist, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution. Different iterations and precursors to these safety and assistance features were likewise standard in the previous generations of Toyota vehicles, although the full spectrum of these features differs among the used selection; so with enough searching, you may be able to find a version of the car you want where its original owner had opted for the extra gamut of safety specs—and you’d be paying far less for far more.

A red 2021 Toyota Supra is shown from the rear at an angle.

The Whole Family

On the small end of the Toyota collection are the coupes: two-door sport vehicles like the Supra, whose fierce engine can produce up to 382 hp. Its six-speed transmission is available in both manual and automatic, since many speedsters like to feel the gears shift at their command, and last year’s Supra could get you from zero to sixty in less than four seconds. This coupe has seen many iterations over the past half-century, but it has always had the soul of a racecar, with a focus on tight, responsive handling and effortless acceleration.

Toyota’s sedans are more about comfort and luxury, with sleek styling and technological amenities, making them perfect for the modern driver. The Camry is a reliable and cozy commuter with room for five, plenty of rear storage, and the latest technology in its dashboard. It’s closer to Toyota’s coupes than any of the other sedans, with a focus on its engine—a 2.5L four-cylinder eight-speed automatic—while still getting excellent fuel economy. On the other end of the sedan spectrum is the Prius, the car that popularized the hybrid engine and is revered for its fuel efficiency, getting a jaw-dropping EPA-estimated 57 MPG in the city and 56 MPG on the highway.

The Corolla rounds out the sedan class with its balance of power and efficiency, making it the most economical vehicle in Toyota’s line-up. It makes the most of its interior, with a roomy back seat and a cozy pilot’s chair; it offers the best of Toyota’s available technology to ensure aural and climate comfort on long drives; and it doesn’t sacrifice under the hood, with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that gets nearly the same performance as the Camry but with a superior EPA-estimated 32 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway. It should thus be no surprise to learn that the Toyota Corolla has been the best-selling car of all time, with over 50,000,000 units sold since 1966.

Toyotas have the best resale value of any automaker—owing to their durable design and slow depreciation—and their midsize sedans of the past decade remain attractive and dependable vehicles with all the basic technology and safety features you’d find in a new vehicle of similar class. They have excellent fuel economy, satisfying acceleration, easy handling, and enough space and amenities to comfortably accommodate the average American family.

More Capabilities

If you’re in the market for something larger, to better fit more cargo or more people, you’ll want to consider Toyota’s SUVs, trucks, and minivans. These have the same unmatched safety ratings and reliability as Toyota’s smaller vehicles but with the added bonus of stronger engines, greater interior space, and more pervasive technological amenities. Starting with the smallest, the RAV4 is a compact SUV whose 2.5L four-cylinder engine gives it a great kick for its cost, and it fares well at the pump with an EPA-estimated 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. It specializes in functionality, with a large trunk (37.6 cu.ft. of cargo space, or 69.8 cu.ft. with the back row folded down) and optional all-wheel drive to best utilize its off-road capabilities.

The 4Runner is a midsize SUV whose massive engine sees a decline in fuel economy, but for 270 hp, 278 lb-ft of torque, and a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs, it’s clear that its priorities are more in “rising to the occasion” than they are in maximizing a commute. The optional third-row seating means you can essentially turn this midsize hard-cargo-hauler into something rivaling the Highlander, Toyota’s resident passenger vehicle. The Highlander gets a slightly better fuel economy and is primarily focused on satisfying your soft-bodied cargo with lush seating and amenities. It is sleek, sturdy, safe, and—with an egalitarian view toward its passengers—it’s outfitted with an 11-speaker sound system and four USB charging ports.

A grey 2017 Toyota 4Runner is shown from the front after leaving a dealer that has used cars for sale.

The Sienna does the most for families, however, as Toyota’s sole minivan. It seats eight comfortably—with enough space per seat to generously accommodate all passengers—and has 50% more USB charging ports than the Highlander. It’s an exceptional value, as well, with its 2.5L four-cylinder Hybrid engine getting an EPA-estimated 36 MPG on both city streets and the highway. Should the minivan not be formidable enough of an exterior for you, or not enough of a multi-purpose workhorse, you should consider the Sequoia, Toyota’s full-size SUV, with three rows of seats and still room for cargo. It’s like a blend of the 4Runner and the Highlander, with devotion as much to its passengers as to its duties. There’s usually a steep price on Sequoias, but you’re getting the best of two cars in one. Its fearsome 3.5L i-FORCE MAX Turbo V6 Hybrid engine may suffer at the pump, but the compromise is that you get 437 hp, 538 lb-ft of torque, and a towing capacity of 9,520 lbs, not to mention optional four-wheel drive and exceptional off-road handling.

If you prioritize duties and don’t intend to tote much of a crew, you’ll want to look at Toyota’s two trucks, the midsize Tacoma and the full-size Tundra. Both are four-wheel drive beasts that get roughly the same fuel economy as the Sequoia, but the Tacoma maximizes the efficiency of its hauling capabilities with two engine options, each providing potent horsepower and torque. Its priority is your payload, as it can carry 1,685 lbs against a towing capacity of only 3,500 lbs. The full-size Tundra favors towing capacity, pulling up to 12,000 lbs. Its 3.4L i-FORCE Turbo V6 gives it an unparalleled 389 hp, 479 lb-ft of torque, and a payload capacity slightly higher than the Tacoma, at 1,940 lbs. The Tundra is generally about 30% more expensive than the Tacoma, so if you don’t need the massive towing capacity, you best look for a Certified Pre-Owned Tacoma; it will be worth every penny—and, frankly, it will probably outlast you.

Bottom Line

Toyota is one of the most popular automakers on the market. All of their vehicles feature strong, reliable engines and comfortable interiors. From the ever-popular Corolla to the formidable Sequoia, there’s something for everyone in Toyota’s line-up. So if you’re looking for a car that will not only be a great value up front but won’t hurt you at the pump or constantly beg for servicing, you should visit your local dealer of pre-owned Toyotas. Explore the diversity of fuel economies, lavish amenities, added safety features, and enhanced capabilities they’ve offered over the years. I can guarantee you’ll leave satisfied.