Skip to main content

Toyota enjoys a reputation for building reliable vehicles and a loyal following like few other automakers. However, at least one critic passed over the entire lineup of Toyota SUVs for its 2023 Editors’ Choice award list. How does that happen?

White 2023 Toyota Highlander SUV on the road
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota SUV lineup

The 2023 Toyota SUV lineup includes the subcompact Corolla Cross, the best-selling RAV4, the brand-new all-electric bZ4X, the full-size Sequoia, an dmore. In recent years, Car and Driver regularly featured the RAV4 on its Editors’ Choice awards list.

However, the popular compact Toyota SUV is missing from the list for 2023, even though it posted the same 8.5-out-of-10 score as similar SUVs included on the award list.

Perhaps Toyota rested too long on its past success and allowed the competition to pass by. Car and Driver’s reviews of the Toyota SUV lineup still include high marks for “easygoing driving demeanor,” “generous safety features,” and “quiet cabin.”

However, most reviews have comments such as “too bare bones,” “coarse-sounding base engine,” and “slothful acceleration.”

Car and Driver’s 2023 Editors’ Choice SUV winners

Car and Driver separated Toyota’s non-luxury SUV competition into multiple segments for its 2023 Editors’ Choice awards, including the following:

  • Subcompact SUV
  • Compact SUV
  • Electric SUV
  • Large SUV

Subcompact SUV

Winners in the subcompact SUV segment include Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, Kia Soul, and Volkswagen Taos, with Car and Driver scores ranging from 9.5 to 8.5. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross earned a 7.5 in the scoring process thanks to its inadequate drivetrain and “bland interior.”

Compact SUV

The compact SUV segment winners include RAV4 rivals like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-50, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sportage, with scores ranging from 10-out-of-10 to a low of 8.5.

The Honda CR-V’s perfect score included criticisms for its lack of driving excitement and merely modest turbo-engine acceleration. In addition, reviewers called the Tucson and Sportage base engines “pokey” and scored them the same 8.5 as the RAV4.

However, reviewers note that the compact Toyota RAV4 is “starting to show its age among more modern rivals.” 

Electric SUV

The all-new Toyota bZ4X electric SUV faced established rivals like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Volkswagen ID.4.

With the Ioniq 5 and EV6 both scoring perfect 10.0s, the Mach-E with a 9.0 score, and the ID. 4’s 8.5, the bZ4X’s 7.5-out-of-10 left it far behind the others.

Reviewers didn’t appreciate paying extra for all-wheel drive or its limited “real-world range” and found the regenerative braking too soft to allow one-pedal driving. 

Large SUV

As a large SUV, the Toyota Sequoia’s competition includes 2023 Editors’ Choice award winners like the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, and GMC Yukon. Each rival received Car and Driver review scores of 8.5 thanks to robust engine offerings and refined driving manners.

Unfortunately, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia’s 7.5-out-of-10 score fell short of the competition despite its model year makeover, which missed the mark for “practicality and driving verve.”

2023 Editors’ Choice Toyota winners

While Toyota’s line of pickup trucks also failed to make the 2023 Editors’ Choice awards list, other segments, such as the compact car, sport compact car, affordable sports car, and sports car categories, included Toyota models.

For example, the Toyota Prius’s compact car competition included the Honda Civic with a score of 10.0 and the Mazda 3 scoring 9.0, compared to 8.5 for the Prius. Likewise, Toyota’s GR line of sports cars performed well in Car and Driver testing. The sporty compact GR Corolla, the affordable sports car GR86, and the GR Supra sports car all posted perfect 10-out-of-10 scores placing them firmly on Car and Driver’s 2023 Editors’ Choice awards list.


The Best Toyota SUVs with the Lowest Depreciation Over 5 Years