In the mid-2000s, the Lexus lineup was selling well but was also becoming outdated. Toyota felt it was time to introduce a trendy hatchback to the brand. The Lexus CT was a hybrid supposed to introduce a trendy edge to it. The styling was attractive but at the time there were already many similar cars on the market (via Auto Evolution).
The Lexus CT 200h never caught on with consumers, the car wasn’t what you’d expect out of a Lexus. The luxury aspects of the car weren’t there, and the car never managed to sell.
The Toyota Master Ace was a van that was sold by Toyota in the ’80s. The company sold several vans in the past but this is perhaps one of the most infamous models. The design of the van was awkward, especially for the driver. The view through the front windshield was questionable at best (via Auto Evolution).
The reliability of the Toyota Master Ace was also questionable at best and this led many consumers to be confused. Generally, Toyota products were extremely reliable, so this was a confusing scenario. The Toyota Master Ace could have been a hit for the company, but there were many issues Toyota never addressed.
Another intriguing Lexus model that came out in the mid-2000s was the Lexus HS. The compact demeanor of the car was meant to attract entry-level buyers into Lexus showrooms. The hybrid drivetrain was taken from the Prius, and the car was underwhelming when it hit the market. The traditional Lexus buyers weren’t at home with this car (via Auto Evolution).
The HS would go on for a short period, ultimately being phased out. There hasn’t been a Lexus model that replaced this one in the lineup. The HS was an interesting concept, but when you spend double digits on a luxury car, the last thing you want is it to feel like a plain old Corolla.
The Previa is the egg-shaped minivan Toyota sold during the 1990s. The minivan was the most popular segment in the automotive industry at this time, and the Chrysler drove its trio of minivans. Toyota didn’t have much luck with the van they were selling before the Previa and the new van was another try (via Auto Evolution).
Consumers just couldn’t get past the shape of the Previa, which was ugly to say the least. Not to mention the fact that the van was difficult to repair, as the engine was mounted under the front seats. This led to many consumers taking a hard pass on the Previa and rightly so, as the van just didn’t stand up to the competition.
Toyota has sold a few sports cars over the past couple of decades, but there was one that never caught on. The Toyota Paseo couldn’t be called an “official” sports car, because it was nothing more than a two-door Tercel. But the car was built as an entry-level option for driving a Toyota car (via Auto Evolution).
For most consumers, driving a Toyota is a no-brainer because the quality of their models is so high. But, critics universally panned the Paseo for its cheap design and lethargic driving characteristics. Let’s just say that there are better options on the road for the price, and many consumers decidedly went that route.
You’ve got to give Toyota credit, the company builds a great pickup truck. But getting into the full-size pickup truck market wasn’t an easy task for Toyota. The first full-sized truck we got was the T100 and it was a lackluster offering. The first and most noticeable thing about the T100 was that it lacked a V8 engine (via Auto Evolution).
Nowadays, the lack of a V8 engine isn’t a major thing, but it was back then. Many considered the T100 underwhelming compared to the domestic competition. The T100 never became a sales success for Toyota, and a few years later, the truck was replaced with the Tundra full-size truck.
The Scion brand went from being the poster child for the next generation of car customers to a dated relic in Toyota showrooms. How did the brand go from prominence to obscurity? It was cars like the Scion IQ which made no sense. The car shared its entire design with the Smart ForTwo, a car itself was not doing well on the market (via Auto Evolution).
The Scion IQ was one of the last cars to have a Scion badge on it. The car was far from the unique concept of the brand when it was first introduced. When the car hit the market, it didn’t offer anything unique and its compact size didn’t mesh with the average consumer.
The Camry is one of the most popular cars in the world so it’s no surprise that the company would release a trendy two-door. The Solara was a convertible based on the Camry sedan. The car was off to a great start, but the second generation of the car was rather lackluster at best. Consumers weren’t satisfied with the way the car looked and the drive quality was equally drab (via Auto Evolution).
The Solara was eventually discontinued when there wasn’t a market for it anymore. There were better cars for the price that offered more excitement for your driving dollars. When it comes to memorable Toyota models the Solara is one that most drivers don’t even remember because it was so plain.
When the Toyota Tercel was discontinued, there was a void left in the lineup for a compact car. Toyota reintroduced a new compact car into the lineup, and that was the Echo. The Echo was a small car that didn’t offer much refinement but initially offered a lot in the compact car segment (via Auto Evolution).
Unfortunately, the Echo never sold well, and the consumers flocked to other automakers. There were just better options that were on the market than the Echo. This was one of Toyota’s most embarrassing projects.
Also released around the same time as the egg-shaped Echo was the Toyota Prius. The first generation of the Prius was an awkward-looking car that was compact and underpowered. Consumers weren’t sure what to make of the original Prius, and it never sold well because of the weird design (via Auto Evolution).
Nowadays, you’ll seldom see an original Prius on the road because the first generation was so lackluster. Most consumers never even considered this car when it came time to buy a new vehicle. The hybrids from this period were experimental at best and the original Prius was evidence of that.
The Toyota RAV4 EV was a project by Toyota to try and introduce a fully electric vehicle into the market. The car debuted at auto shows around the country, and there was a lot of hype that surrounded it. Unfortunately, the RAV4 EV never had a decent range and its price was so expensive that most consumers couldn’t justify the cost (via Auto Evolution).
Interestingly enough, the RAV4 EV has become a sort of collector’s item nowadays. These SUVs continue to rise in value, even though initially it was a mistake by Toyota. The RAV4 EV is one of the first EV SUV models ever released on the market, and will go down in history as a confusing piece of Toyota history.
The Toyota Tacoma was the first full-sized truck that was ever built by Toyota and it managed to become a modest success. But one of the more confusing models in the Tundra lineage was the Terminator T3 Edition. Was sold as a package deal with the new Terminator movie, the truck didn’t offer any enhancements in terms of performance or luxury (via Auto Evolution).
Instead, consumers got a pre-packaged toy that had a hefty price tag slapped on it for the Terminator name. The truck didn’t offer anything unique in the way of performance or value for the price. These days there aren’t a lot of these T3 Edition trucks left because production numbers were low just like the sales.