Toyota passed a milestone in the U.S. in 2021. The Japanese automaker is the top-selling brand in America, per Reuters. The Toyota group sold more than two million vehicles, including 19 badged Toyota models, in the U.S. last year. That includes sedans, coupes, trucks, SUVs, hybrid, and fully electric cars. Many of those vehicles offered in the U.S. come at an affordable price. Here are the great Toyota models available for less than $30,000, according to Car and Driver.
1. 2023 Toyota Corolla
Toyota’s compact sedan is the least expensive new Toyota model on the market. It continues the changes for the 12th Corolla generation that came out in the 2020 model year.
The 2023 Corolla comes in four trim levels: the base LE, SE, XLE, and XSE. All models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. The base model gives you lots of features. At least an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi access, cloud-based navigation, and simultaneous Bluetooth connectivity are included. Higher trim levels give you features like heated front seats, a sunroof, and a premium sound system.
Each Corolla model comes equipped with Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of driver aids. Adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, lane departure mitigation, and forward collision mitigation are all standard. Reviewers at Edmunds highlight the great fuel economy – a combined 34 miles per gallon (mpg) – but knock it for the lack of headroom and slow acceleration.
Starting price: $22,645
2. 2022 Toyota Prius
The iconic hybrid offers some of the best fuel economy of any car on the market at more than 50 combined mpg for most trims. For the 2022 model, there are five trims available: the base L Eco, LE, XLE, Nightshade Edition, and Limited. All-wheel drive is available for the LE, XLE, and Nightshade Edition trims.
All 2022 Prius models have a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 90kW hybrid powertrain to generate 121 total horsepower. Standard features across all trims include a WiFi hotspot, heated mirrors, at least a 7-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, and Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0. Higher trims include features like heated seats, a wireless charging pad, and simulated leather seating. The Nightshade Edition adds black-painted wheels and trim elements.
Starting price: $26,170
3. 2023 Toyota Camry
Toyota’s midsize sedan was the top-selling Toyota car in 2021, according to Best Selling Cars data. More than 313,000 models were sold that year. The 2023 Camry continues the eighth generation first introduced in 2018. Six trims are available for 2023: the base LE, SE, SE Nightshade, XSE, XLE, and TRD.
A 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine is standard for all trims except the TRD. It generates 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque and those figures go up to 206 and 186 for the XLE. That engine averages 32 combined mpg (31 on the XLE). A 3.5-liter V6 producing 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque is standard for the TRD and optional on the XSE and XLE trims. It gets a combined 25 mpg. All four-cylinder engines do have all-wheel drive as an option.
This Toyota model comes with lots of standard features, At least a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and dual-zone climate control. Toyota’s Safety Sense is standard as well.
Car and Driver and TrueCar rank the Camry fourth overall among midsize sedans on the market. The former says Toyota’s sedan is far from exciting to drive but the safety features, economical engines, and spacious interior make it a great daily driver. Edmunds reviewers have similar praise, highlighting the Toyota model’s space, easy steering and visibility, and safety aids. But they also knock the Camry for engine noise with the four-cylinder and wind and road noise at highway speed.
Starting price: $27,040
4. 2022 Toyota RAV4
The top-selling Toyota model sold more than 400,000 units in 2021, per Best Selling Cars data. It’s kept those numbers up in 2022 – Kelley Blue Book (KBB) reports more than 200,000 units have sold in the first half of 2022.
The 2022 model continues the Toyota SUV’s fifth generation introduced in 2019. There are six trim levels available for the 2022 model: the base LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, Limited, and TRD Off Road. All models are powered by the same 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine found in the Camry. Front-wheel drive is standard except for the Adventure and TRD Off Road trims which have all-wheel drive.
All models of the Toyota SUV come with at least a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system connected to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a six-speaker sound system. Toyota Safety Sense is standard on all trims. The higher trim options include features like a sunroof, simulated leather, fender flares, or 11-speaker premium JBL audio system.
Car and Driver puts the RAV4 eighth in its rankings of compact SUVs. Reviewers knock the RAV4 for the engine noise and the “spartan” features of the base model. But reviewers there and from Edmunds praise the Toyota model for the cargo and passenger space, comfortable ride, and easy-to-use controls.
Starting price: $28,310
5. 2023 Toyota Tacoma
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is the latest edition of the brand’s top-selling truck. U.S. News reports more than 53,000 Tacomas were sold in the first quarter of 2022. The top Toyota truck comes in six trim options: the base SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine powers the SR and SR5 with 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. All other trims are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.
All Tacoma trims come with at least a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, moveable truck bed cleats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, three USB ports, and Toyota Safety Sense. The Toyota truck’s higher trims come with features like sport suspension, truck bed outlets, a wireless charging pad, a navigation system, and a sunroof.
Car and Driver puts the Tacoma seventh in its rankings of the best midsize trucks on the market. This is the eighth year of the Tacoma’s third generation and reviewers say its standard features are getting “a little dusty.” The base engine is the least powerful in the segment and its poor fuel economy (21 combined mpg at best) drop it down the list. Edmunds reviewers praise the Toyota truck’s off-road abilities and manual option for the V6 but knock it for the steering feedback and the tall step-up height compared to other trucks.
Starting price: $28,585
6. 2023 Toyota GR86
The GR86 is the newest Toyota model on the list but has made an impression quickly. Car and Driver ranks it ahead of the Subaru BRZ and the iconic Mazda MX-5 Miata among compact coupes. All three trims – the Base, Premium, and Special Edition – are all powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generating 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It’s good for 22 combined mpg with options for a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
The base trim gives drivers plenty to be excited about. A limited-slip rear differential, leather-wrapping steering wheel, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, six-speaker audio system, and Toyota Safety Sense are all standard. The higher trims include features like heated front seats, aluminum pedals, rear automatic braking, and racing stripes.
Car and Driver reviewers praise the GR86 as its “Most Improved Sports Car” thanks to an upgraded engine for the latest generation and great balance and steering. It’s a “fun drive no matter where you’re going.” Edmunds reviewers offer similar praise, enjoying the handling, power, manual transmission, and driver-friendly interior. Both do point to the interior noise and small back seats as the few drawbacks.
Starting price: $28,995
7. Which is Toyota’s cheapest model?
The cheapest Toyota model on offer is the compact Corolla sedan. A base model Corolla is one of the least expensive new cars on the market. But another $6,000-$7,000 increase in budget can get the RAV4 with its plenty of room for passengers, utility with the Tacoma, or fun behind the wheel with the GR86.
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