Keeping the models straight can be a challenge -- so I've put together this brief Toyota SUV Spotter's guide to help. Just think of me as the Audubon of SUVs.
The least expensive of the Toyota SUVs, RAV4 is a crossover vehicle, an SUV with the underpinnings of a car. Available with a 2.4 liter 166 hp/165 lb-ft inline 4-cylinder or a 3.3 liter 269 hp/246 lb-ft V6, both hooked up to automatic transmissions only. EPA estimates range from 24 city/30 highway for the front-wheel drive 4-cylinder to 21 city/28 highway for the four-wheel drive V6. Prices start at $21,500 for the base model, $23,200 for the Sport and $24,490 for the Limited.
Another car-based SUV, the Highlander is a conservatively-styled mid-sized SUV. Available with three engine configurations: a 2.4 liter inline 4-cylinder that produces 155 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque; a 3.3 liter V6 that's good for 215 hp and 222 lb-ft of torque; or a hybrid gas-electric that makes 208 hp and 212 lb-ft of torque. Either 4-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, and all automatic transmissions. Fuel economy ranges from 18 city/24 highway for the 4WD V6 to 22 city/27 highway for the FWD 4-cylinder to 33 city/28 highway/30 combined for the FWD hybrid. Prices start at $25,705 for the base model, $30,000 for the Sport, $33,070 for the Limited, $34,700 for the base Hybrid and $41,020 for the Hybrid Limited.
4Runner can do it all -- on-road or off-road, from the mall to the mountains, Now in its fifth generation, 4Runner is Toyota's truck-based mid-sized SUV. Available with either a 4.0 liter 270 hp/278 lb-ft V6 or a 2.7 liter 157 hp/178 lb-ft inline 4-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive and a five speed automatic transmission (V6) or four speed automatic transmission (I4). Fuel economy estimates range from 17 city/22 highway for the 4WD V6 to 18 city/23 highway for the 2WD I4. Prices start at $27,500 for the base SR5 model, $35,700 for the Trail Edition and $39,800 for the loaded Limited.
Now competing in the mammoth people-mover category, Sequoia is a full-sized SUV that seats eight in comfort. Available with one engine choice, the 4.7 liter 273 hp/314 lb-ft i-FORCE V8 and a five-speed automatic transmission, with either rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. Fuel economy estimates for the 4WD are 15 city/17 highway; for the 2WD they are 14 city/19 highway. Prices start at $34,150 for the base SR5 model, $45,225 for the Limited and $52,375 for the Platinum.
At the top of Toyota's SUV lineup for the past half a century, the Land Cruiser is an extremely capable, luxurious vehicle. Available in just one trim level with a 5.7 liter V8 that sends 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque through a five-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel drive. The EPA estimates that Land Cruiser will achieve 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway. Prices start at $64,755.
FJ Cruiser is a retrofuturist SUV with a compact build and big ambition off-road and on-road. Available in one trim level with a 4.0 liter V6 that sends 239 hp/278 lb-ft of torque through either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission and either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Fuel economy ranges from 16 city/20 highway for the 4WD manual to 18 city/22 highway for the 2WD automatic. Prices start at $23,045.
Venza is the latest addition to the Toyota SUV lineup. Described by its designers as 70% car and 30% crossover, the Venza is a very different kind of SUV and a very different kind of Toyota. Outside, the Venza's radical styling breaks loose from Toyota's traditional conservative mold; inside it's brimming with unusual design cues and innovative features. Base prices start at $26,695 with EPA fuel economy estimates of 18-21 MPG city, 25-29 MPG highway.