Beyond the RAV4, Supra, and GR86, Toyota Fails to Impress Car and Driver Editors

The 2022 Editor’s Choice Awards are a big deal in the automotive world. Vehicles selected for this Car and Driver’s badge are the top-ranking performers in their respective segments. This year’s award winners include BMW and Hyundai models, each earning 11 awards. Toyota, a brand typically synonymous with award-winning recognition, surprisingly only has four models earning Editor’s Choice Awards this year. Diving a little deeper, it seems Toyota failed to make the grand impression with the Car and Driver editors this time around.

This year, the Toyota RAV4, the GR86, and the Supra all earned the coveted badges. So, if any of those Toyota favorites are on your list of must-see rides, they’ve received recognition from the Car and Driver editors. Still, don’t jump into a purchase just yet. Some setbacks for these models were less than impressive, at least to the Editor’s Choice team.

What the critics say about the RAV4 and RAV4 Prime

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV) compact SUV model parked near a grass field outside of windowed skyscrapers
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Taking a quick look at Car and Driver‘s “highs and lows” sentiments about the Toyota RAV4, consumers can tell the team isn’t all that enthusiastic. Yes, the RAV4 earned the Editor’s Choice Award and a few others in the “Compact SUV” segment. Still, when those editors use language like, “includes few luxuries” and “unexciting handling,” consumers can predict a “meh” kind of experience. Edmunds‘ review seems agreeable, citing pros including a quiet interior and easy-to-use controls but signaling to consumers that steering is vague and acceleration is lackluster.

New this year for the fan-favorite RAV4 are a few standard equipment upgrades and a 9-inch touchscreen. All trims (LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited) come with a 203-hp four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

The Toyota RAV4 Prime does bring what the editors describe as “zippy acceleration.” The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with the 18.1 kWh battery pack and two electric motors, makes the RAV4 Prime a fun drive. On the flip side, the driving character is bland. More setbacks include the fact that other plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models offer more standard equipment for less. The 2022 RAV4 Prime is only available in two trims, the SE and the XSE. And you’ll spend $39,800 for the SE trim level and $43,125 for the XSE trim level, according to Toyota.

Diving deeper into the Toyota GR86 ratings

So, what about Toyota’s other Editor’s Choice Award-winner, the Toyota GR86? Sure, it’s driving off with the badge in the “Affordable Sports Car” category. Still, the Car and Driver team seemed to yawn despite highlighting this sporty ride’s refined dynamics and more powerful four-cylinder. The review also advises consumers that the pedal placement isn’t ideal for heel-to-toe driving preferences. Additionally, the driver aids are only available with the automatic transmission variation. Also, if you’re into track-style driving, don’t rely on those standard brakes. 

How did the Toyota Supra hold up?

The Toyota Supra earns the Editor’s Choice Award badge in the “Sports Car” segment. It is a gem with its joyful driving character and quasi-luxury cabin. MotorTrend likes the 2022 Toyota Supra, too, since more is on the standard equipment list this year, including the available Super-Limited Edition. Still, the Car and Driver team says it’s tough to climb in and out of, and visibility out the rear is poor. Furthermore, if you’re hoping for a manual transmission for the ultimate sports car experience, you won’t get it with the Toyota Supra.

Toyota enjoys a reputation for building fun, affordable, reliable, and value-driven models. You won’t be disappointed with the Toyota Supra, the Toyota RAV4, or the Toyota GR86. But take these Editor’s Choice Awards with a grain of salt. You might not be as impressed as you’d expect after a test drive. 

RELATED:  How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime Cost?