Toyota For 2000
By Carey Russ
Toyota's lineup keeps current with change. For 2000, there's a new and much sportier Celica, and a transformed Avalon sedan. The interesting subcompact-outside, compact inside ECHO also debuts. The Tundra, Toyota's first V8-powered full-size truck, was introduced last summer. Other cars, including the popular Camry sedan and Solara coupe, the Corolla, and the Sienna minivan, have minor changes. Toyota's full line of trucks and SUVs, including the Land Cruiser, 4Runner, RAV4, and the Tacoma, also have evolutionary changes this year.
It's been a while since the Celica was a true sports coupe. The previous generation tended much more towards comfort and luxury. The 2000 Celica, while well-appointed and comfortable, emphasizes performance. Beneath its aggressive, edgy styling is a new chassis with an upgraded fully-independent suspension tuned for handling. Two grades are offered, each with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The GT has 140 horsepower, more power than last year's Celica. With "VVTL- i", Toyota's first variable valve timing and lift system, the GTS makes 180 horsepower for very quick performance.
Toyota's domestic full-size Avalon sedan becomes larger and more refined with the introduction of its second generation. It's wider, higher, and roomier, with a redesigned, very upscale-looking interior. Chassis improvements result in an even quieter ride. Crisper styling and a more formal roofline give it a more upscale look outside as well. Two trim levels, XL and XLS, are offered. As in the previous Avalon, a front bench seat is available for true six-passenger capacity.
The new ECHO is a very different small car. Available in both four- door and two-door body styles, the ECHO is designed from the inside out. Its styling may be unconventional, but it is eminently functional. About the same size as the old Tercel outside, the ECHO offers the same amount of interior room as the larger Corolla thanks to its relatively long wheelbase, short overhangs, and greater height.
Toyota's last entry in the large pickup field was criticized for not having a V8 engine. So, the Tundra, introduced last summer, has a V8 engine, and not just any V8 engine. The Tundra's V8 is one of the most sophisticated powerplants ever offered in a full-size pickup, with dual overhead cams, 32 valves, and 245 horsepower. A 3.4-liter V6 is also available. The usual body styles are offered, and extended cab models feature four doors.
The best-selling Camry has freshened front and rear styling and interior enhancements.
Solara coupes with the 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine are now classified as "Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles" (ULEV). A convertible is on the way.
The compact Corolla has a new low-emissions engine.
Toyota's full-size SUV, the legendary Land Cruiser, has new braking, traction control, and stability control systems.
The small RAV4 SUV is offered only in four-door form for 2000.
The Tacoma compact pickup, built at NUMMI in Fremont, CA, new colors and trim packages.
The mid-size 4Runner SUV is unchanged.
The Sienna minivan is unchanged.