Toyota For 2001
By Carey Russ
Toyota, it seems, never sleeps. After launching the latest Celica sports coupe, Avalon near-luxury sedan, MR-2 sports car, and small ECHO sedan and coupe last year, Toyota takes on the sport-utility world in 2001 with the all-new Sequoia and Highlander, and a significantly-revised RAV4. The gas-electric Prius has debuted, and the Tacoma compact pickup line expands. The compact Corolla and Sienna minivan have freshened styling.
As the Land Cruiser has become a very upscale vehicle, there has been a growing gap between it and the 4Runner. That gap has been filled with the introduction of the Sequoia, Toyota's first mainstream full-size SUV. Based on the full-size Tundra pickup, the Sequoia is even larger than the Land Cruiser. It boasts a standard third-row seat and a 240-hp, 4.7-liter V8 engine. Two trim levels are offered, with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. The Sequoia's interior is designed for family convenience, with plenty of storage areas, cupholders, and grocery hooks.
An increasing number of SUV buyers are really looking for a car-like vehicle with SUV style, and Toyota has something just for them - the all-new Highlander. It's a mid-size unibody vehicle with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, and a four-cylinder or V6 engine. It's slightly larger and much more car-like than the existing 4Runner, which is unabashedly a truck. The 4Runner continues with freshened styling and upgraded equipment levels.
The new generation RAV4 combines sedan comfort with SUV versatility and room. It's slightly larger and has much bolder styling inside and out than the original RAV4. All 2001 RAV4s are four-door vehicles, with a 2.0-liter 148-hp four-cylinder engine. Front- or all-wheel drive is available. Suspension is fully independent for sporty, car-like handling.
Toyota enters the high-tech hybrid segment with the U.S. introduction of the Prius. It's a four-door compact sedan with room for four or five real people and a large trunk. And a sophisticated gasoline-electric drive train that is EPA-rated at 52 mpg city and 45 mpg on the highway. Power comes from a 70-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, 44-hp electric motor, and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack depending on need and conditions as determined by the power management computer. Acceleration is no problem - the electric motor has a maximum of 258 lb-ft or torque, more than the Camry's 3.0-liter V6.
The compact Tacoma pickup line, built at NUMMI in Fremont, CA, has been expanded with the introduction of the four-door Double Cab model and the sporty S-Runner. Regular and Xtracab extended-cab models continue. All 2001 Tacomas have new, bold styling developed from the 4x4 models.
Toyota Specifications 2001 Sequoia ENGINE 4.7-liter V8 Peak horsepower: 240 @ 4800 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 315 @ 3400 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Front-engine, rear- and four-wheel drive 4 - speed automatic CHASSIS & SUSPENSION Body-on-frame construction Front suspension: independent double wishbone Rear suspension: solid axle with 5-link location BRAKES 4-wheel antilock disc EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY City / Highway: 14/17 Fuel tank: 26.4 gallons RAV4 ENGINE 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder Peak horsepower: 148 @ 6000 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 142 @ 4000 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive 4 - speed automatic 5 - speed manual CHASSIS & SUSPENSION Unit construction Front suspension: independent MacPherson strut Rear suspension: independent double wishbone BRAKES Disc / drum, antilock optional EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY City / Highway: 25/31 to 22/27 depending on configuration Fuel tank: 14.7 gallons