5 Toyota group cars made in the last decade that are genuinely exciting for once
If you look at the Toyota lineup ten years ago, you'd think you're reading a elderly's catalogue, because all you're seeing is a sea of silver, white, beige and black cars. No joke. There was the Prius, the Corolla, the Camry, the RAV4 and much more dreadfully boring cars.
However, it turns out that, thank goodness, they've finally come round and realised, 'Hang on, we are a car company full of racing history, why are we making such humdrum boxes?', and made some exciting cars for once. Here's a look at some of the genuinely good cars made by the Toyota group in the last decade.
1. Toyota GT86
The world rejoiced in 2011 when they saw the Toyota GT86 for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show. It's sleek, it's sporty looking, and it looks nothing like any other Toyotas in the lineup. Because it really is a new car from the ground up.
They've teamed up with Subaru and produced this front-engined, rear-wheel-drive little sports car, and christened it with one of the most legendary names in the history of motoring - 86.
The result is something of a marvel, it maybe slow, it may not have the best sounding engine in the world, but it does have Prius tyres, it does have an awesome gearbox, and it can do skids really easily. What more do you want out of an affordable sports car?
2. Toyota Corolla
The 2019 model year Toyota Corolla came out in this year's Summer (don't ask, that's what car manufacturers like to do apparently), and just look at it! Does it look like a boring old hatchback that your grandma would drive? No! It looks like somebody borne in the noughties would adore.
As a matter of fact, Toyota is so desperate to shake off that 'grannies only' image, they've gone utterly mad with the styling of the new Corolla. Of course the first thing you see is that blue. And then you see the grin on the bumper, and then you spy the giant alloys.
It looks modern, and mechanically speaking it is too. It's got a new CVT that drives like a well-sorted automatic, as it's got an actual first gear, which is definitely new. It's also much better to drive, according to journalists that tested it. So a thumbs up for Toyota there, what a Corolla.
3. Toyota Supra
Right, alright, before all of you moan about the BMW-ness in this new Supra, it's no denying that the new Supra is a full-on sports car, and it does has the correct recipe. Yes not having a manual option is a bit of a bummer, but modern day autos are so good, is there really a need for a manual? Not really.
Underneath that camo wrap lies a drivetrain borrowed from BMW, it's the inline-six turbocharged engine that we are familiar with. But Toyota have ensured us that none of that is BMW-like, as they haven't talked to each other after the handover in 2014.
How the production model drives is still a big question mark, but the early signs are good. Bring it on Toyota, you've been dragging for way too long, just give us the damn car already!
4. Lexus LC500
Let's just celebrate for a fact that Lexus seems to be the only car manufacturer in the market, apart from the Americans obviously, that still somehow makes the naturally aspirated V8 legal. Because under the bonnet of this yellow paintwork, lies a 5-litre V8 that makes a great noise and some good power.
Strangely, people have very different opinions about how the LC looks, some say it's one of the most striking cars on the market, and some say that it's horrendous looking. I'm going to say this might be one of the best looking cars to have ever come out of Japanese soil, that says a lot.
Of course, this does weigh a lot, and it's not focused towards handling in any way, shape or form. But this is a grand tourer, it's for you to waft along the motorway without feeling stressed. And this does the job beautifully.
5. Lexus LFA
Once named as Jeremy Clarkson's favourite car on Earth, the Lexus LFA really is something to remember. Because what this thing shows, is what Toyota designers are capable of, and not what they're told to do.
In front, we have a Yamaha-tuned V10 which makes, arguably, one of the best exhaust notes in the world. The engine is so exquisite that it revs from idle to redline in 0.6 seconds. That's how sophisticated this glorious motor is.
That engine, unfortunately, is mated to a dim-witted single clutch gearbox, which Lexus engineers insisted on fitting, but it's too slow for a car as magnificent as this. The rest of the package really is a perfect, the way it handles, the noise it makes, the way it wraps round you as if you're in the car, everything is perfect.