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TrueCar recently ranked the best Toyota cars, trucks, and SUVs for 2023. The 2023 Toyota Sequoia is the top pick, and the 2023 Toyota 4Runner and the 2023 Toyota Tacoma sit at the bottom, which is surprising because the last two picks are more popular than the top pick.

The rankings raise questions about the criteria used in the evaluation and highlight the potential disconnect between automotive critics’ opinions and consumer preferences. So, why is it difficult to choose a winner (or rather loser) between the 4Runner and Tacoma?

Overview of TrueCar’s Toyota rankings

TrueCar‘s rankings are based on a rigorous, data-driven methodology. TrueCar’s experts use a combination of ALG industry research and consumer surveys to analyze each vehicle across the categories below. They give each car a weighted score based on its performance in each category.

  • Comfort and Amenities: Considering factors such as interior design, seating comfort, sound insulation, and other features that increase comfort and luxury.
  • Efficiency: Considering fuel usage.
  • Performance: Considering how well a car performs regarding acceleration, handling, and braking. The experts also look at the stability and overall driving experience.
  • Practicality/Utility: Exanububg how practical a vehicle is for everyday use, considering factors such as cargo space, towing capacity, and passenger seating.
  • Technology Features: Evaluating the vehicle’s advanced features, such as driver safety assistance, device integration, climate control, and infotainment systems.

The result is an objective ranking and unique perspective on each vehicle that prospective buyers can use to decide which vehicle best fits their driving needs.

Despite TrueCar’s comprehensive and objective assessment process, its rankings revealed a surprising disconnect between car critics’ opinions and what consumers want. The top pick, the 2023 Sequoia, is not as popular among consumers as the bottom pick, the 2023 4Runner. Even more shocking is seeing the popular Tacoma ranked second to last.

The disconnect between car critics’ opinions and what consumers want

A red 2023 Toyota Tacoma with SX Package midsize pickup truck climbing a desert mountain at dusk
2023 Toyota Tacoma with SX Package | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The unexpected outcome of TrueCar’s ranking of the best Toyota Models challenges the notion that the most popular cars are always the best in terms of overall quality and performance. Three factors might explain this disconnect:

Difference in focus

TrueCar focuses on comfort and amenities, efficiency, technology, and other features, which may not be important to some consumers. Consumers might focus on factors like reliability, safety, and affordability. For example, a car with a good safety rating might be more attractive and popular to consumers looking for a family car than one with the latest technology and infotainment system.

Different needs and preferences

Consumers have different needs and preferences. A buyer looking for an off-road vehicle needs a rugged and durable car over a fuel efficient one, while one looking for a family vehicle needs a safe and spacious car. The difference in needs and preferences makes it almost impossible to develop a one-size-fits-all ranking system that accurately captures what all consumers want.

Marketing and reputation

Consumers might prefer a particular model because of its reputation and how it is marketed. Some models are marketed as the best or perceived to be prestigious, making them popular among consumers. However, it may not be possible to factor reputation and marketing into car critics’ rankings, so they may not align with consumer expectations.

Consider your needs and preferences

TrueCar’s rankings are based on a data-driven methodology that considers several categories. However, the rankings don’t always align with consumer preferences due to several factors. That is why the top pick, the Toyota Sequoia, is less popular than the bottom picks, the Tacoma and the 4Runner.

The rankings provide an objective perspective that you can use to pick your ideal car. However, you must also consider your unique needs, preferences, and budget to make the best decision.

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