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25 Cars & Trucks That Almost Ruined Toyota’s Reputation Forever

Cameron EittreimApril 11, 2022

Photo Credit: Toyota

7: 1993 Toyota T100

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).

Photo Credit: Toyota

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.

Photo Credit: Scion

6: 2012 Scion IQ

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).

Photo Credit: Scion

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.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

5: 2004 Toyota Camry Solara

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).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

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.

Photo Credit: Autoblog

4: Toyota Echo

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).

Photo Credit: Autoblog

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.

Photo Credit: Carmax

3: 2001 Toyota Prius

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).

Photo Credit: Toyota

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.

Photo Credit: Toyota

2: Toyota RAV4 EV

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).

Photo Credit: Toyota

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.

Photo Credit: Tundra3

1: Toyota Tundra Terminator T3 Edition

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).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

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.

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