Which Toyota SUV is the Right One For You?

Family friendly? Off-road capable? Rugged? Luxe? Toyota has 'em all, but it can get confusing. Here's what you need to know, model by model, in the Toyota SUV family.

Toyota Suv Lineup
Toyota SUV lineup Credit: Photo collage by A Girls Guide to Cars

When Reliable, Stylish, Rugged and Comfy Is a Must-Have

With the introduction of the 2025 Toyota 4Runner, Toyota has (probably) completed its robust lineup of SUVs. And increasingly, these SUVs are hybrid or have a hybrid option. 

There are a lot of choices, so no matter what you need—seating for 7, all wheel drive, 4 wheel drive, room for lots of gear or a fuel-efficient SUV, Toyota offers an option.

Here’s how Toyota’s SUVs break down and what you need to know about each, from  passenger capacity to how well kids car seats will fit, cargo space, fuel efficiency and how well each fares in challenging weather and terrain—plus a link to our coverage and a look at its competitors.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Off-Road
Water fording, rock crawling, mud slinging, the Sequoia did it ALL. Photo: Erica Mueller Credit: Erica Mueller

Toyota SUVs that are Adventure-Focused and Off-Road Worthy

These SUVs are designed for off-roading and while they have a hybrid or offer one, here, hybrid is more about power than fuel efficiency: the battery-electric system adds to the overall HP and boosts fuel economy a bit, but not to the level we might expect from a hybrid. 

Featured Image Toyota Land Cruiser024 Toyota Land Cruiser. Photo: Kymri Wilt Credit: Kymri Wilt
Which Toyota SUV is the Right One For You? 15

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser 

This is the newest in the Toyota family and it’s starting to roll out to dealerships this Spring. Priced from $55k-$75K, this is a full-fledged off-roading SUV with all the capabilities of top 4-wheelers. The Toyota Land Cruiser has evolved to the 4-wheeling elite world from a 3-row family SUV, which it was previously known for; it no longer has a 3rd row option (and even if it did, it would be tight, as this is a smaller SUV than it’s predecessor).

It’s good for small families, even those with kids in car seats; it’ll fit one or possibly two rear-facing car seats, and forward facing seats or boosters will easily fit. Three slim child car seats will fit across the rear bench seat. 

The Land Cruiser comes in 3 flavors: 1958 (base model), Land Cruiser (the middle of the line) and First Edition and each has the same engine, a 4-cylinder i-Force Max hybrid engine that generates 326 HP—and keep in mind that this hybrid is designed for power more than MPG; it is estimated to get about 23MPG. 

Land Cruiser’s new look harkens to the brand’s heritage with an iconic 1950’s-style logo and a crisp, boxy shape. This will no doubt appeal to adventurers looking for the ultimate hill and dale climber. 

See our full Toyota Land Cruiser story here. Shopping the whole category? Also look at Ford Bronco, Land Rover Defender, Kia Telluride X-Pro, Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The 2025 Toyota 4Runner. Photo: Scotty Reiss
The 2025 Toyota 4Runner. Photo: Scotty Reiss Credit: Scotty Reiss

2025 Toyota 4Runner 

She’s back and she’s awesome. We can’t be more excited to see one of the most popular off-roaders finally—finally!—get a makeover. The Toyota 4Runner is designed for trail riding and hill climbing, and its model lineup, which includes two new models and new engines, reflect that.  

In addition to the SR5, Limited and TRD Pro models, Toyota has added a Platinum top of the line model, a Trailhunter edition for off-road trail riding and expanded the TRD line to include TRD Sport, TRD Sport Premium, TRD Off Road and TRD Off-Road Premium. Each has a 4-cylinder turbo that generates 278 HP or the option of the i-Force Max hybrid engine that generates 326 HP.

This 5 passenger SUV has a 3rd row option in the SR5 and the Limited gas-powered models, but it’s not offered in any of the other models. This would not be our first choice for kids car seats, as the rear seat is the smallest of Toyota’s SUVs and installing a rear-facing child car seat may not be possible to do safely. 

Inside, buyers will find a fresh but rugged interior with many details carried over from the Toyota Tacoma, including the center console, grab bars and multimedia system. That’s not a bad thing at all; the 4Runner still feels modern and adventure-ready. 

See our full Toyota 4Runner story here. Shopping the whole category? Look at the Jeep Wrangler, Subaru Outback, Ford Bronco, Honda Passport.

2023 Toyota Sequoia
The redesigned 2023 Toyota Sequoia Photo: Chastity Velasquez

2024 Toyota Sequoia

We were thrilled that the first off-road capable Toyota SUV to be redesigned was the Toyota Sequoia, which made its debut in 2022 just after the introduction of its fraternal twin sister, the Toyota Tundra pickup truck. 

The Sequoia, priced from about $61K-$81K, is lovable for all the space and capability it offers: it has seating for up to 8, it can tow up to 9,520 lbs. and it has a full-fledged 4WD system for true off-roading, which is enhanced in the TRD Pro version. The redesign gave it a fresh, modern interior with Toyota’s revamped multimedia system and even more passenger comforts such as “hey Toyota” voice activation and a panoramic sunroof. 

The Sequoia carries Toyota’s i-Force Max V6 turbo hybrid engine which generates 437 HP and gets about 22 MPG. Most models come standard with rear wheel drive and can be upgraded to 4WD for about $3,000.

While the Toyota Sequoia has 3 rows standard and plenty of interior space, configuring kids car seats can be a challenge. First, center row seats are the tumble forward type, so to access the 3rd row a child car seat can’t be installed in that seat. Then, there are only two full LATCH sets in the center row and none in the 3rd row, which only has one upper tether in the center seat. 

Captains chairs, which create a pass-through for 3rd row access, are an option but not in the lower trim models. However, rear facing car seats should fit and this wide SUV should easily accommodate 3 seats across the center bench (but again, slender seats are best for this). 

See our full story on the Toyota Sequoia here. Shopping the whole category? Look at the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, Jeep WagoneerNissan Armada, GMC Yukon.

Me, Brian In The 3Rd Row And Mercedes At The Wheel
Me, Brian in the 3rd row and Mercedes at the wheel of the Toyota Grand Highlander. We all found the 3rd row to be easy to get in and out of, and comfortable to sit in. Photo: Scotty Reiss 

These Toyota SUVs are Comfortable, Capable, and Seat 7 or 8

Toyota has long offered the only family-focused SUV with stellar MPG — the Highlander Hybrid which gets about 35 MPG. For 2024 Toyota took it a step further with the larger and more capable Grand Highlander, offering buyers a better and best option in a family car.

The New Face Of The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander
The new face of the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Toyota Grand Highlander 

If you’d asked me us Toyota needed to add a new SUV to its lineup we’d have said no. The brand produces so many great SUVs. But once we experienced the Grand Highlander, we were convinced. This was what was missing in the Toyota family and what so many families would be glad to have in their driveway.  

The Grand Highlander, priced from $43K-$58K, offers some fantastic basics, such as a spacious cabin for 7 or 8 passengers, slide and tilt center row seats and great capacity for kids car seats. They’ll all fit, even rear facing seats.

Toyota also offers some nice options in the Grand Highlander. To keep prices approachable, it offers a 4-cylinder turbo gas-powered engine that generates 265 HP, for buyers who want true hybrid efficiency there is a 4-cylinder hybrid that puts out 245HP and for those who want power, there is an i-Force Max hybrid that produces 362 HP. All models are available in all wheel drive with multiple drive modes including sport, eco, normal and snow; AWD models add sand/mud/rock drive modes, too.

Grand Highlander’s interior options span from the basics and to opulence, with leather seating, a panoramic sun roof and more. But the seating space is primo: The 3rd row, which has 3 seats, is big enough for adults or for maneuvering to install kids car seats. And it has features such as air vents, cup holders and USB ports so everyone will be happy back there. 

The one to buy? The mid-trim XLE Hybrid model is our pick for fuel efficiency — about 35 MPG— leatherette seating and a nice mix of luxuries and conveniences, all at about $45K. It’s hard to beat. 

See our full Toyota Grand Highlander story here. Shopping the whole category? Look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee L, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, Lexus TX, Chevrolet Traverse, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-90.

2023 Toyota Highlander Awd Review
2023 Toyota Highlander AWD. Photo: Erica Mueller

Toyota Highlander

This SUV is the OG Toyota family SUV, especially for its 4-cylinder hybrid powertrain which gets 35 MPG, generates 243 HP and is available in all models. The Highlander, priced from $39K, is offered in front or all wheel drive with multi-terrain drive modes, has two engine options (the non-hybrid is a 4-cylinder hybrid that generates 265HP and gets 25 MPG) and seats 5, 7 or 8 passengers. 

We love this mid-size SUV for its flexibility; it’s great for 4 or 5 passengers on the daily, and with the 3rd row down has a great cargo space. But the 3rd row, which seats 3, is there when you need it, so you can go to dinner in one car when family visits or bring an extra friend or two to the movies.

Kids car seats fit nicely, though there are only two full sets of LATCHes in the center row and none in the 3rd row, which has one upper tether in the middle seat. Most models feature center row captains chairs for easy 3rd row access, but those who want a center row bench will find it in the entry level LE and XLE models. This is not an overly large SUV, but the center bench should still be able to accommodate 3 slim child car seats.

Then, the Highlander is filled with all the spoilers: Toyota has updated the 2024 model with its new multimedia system—an option in most trims and standard on top Limited and Platinum trims—which as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and “Hey Toyota” voice assistance. Buyers can outfit it with other details too: leatherette or leather upholstery, head up display, premium JBL sound and more. 

See our full Toyota Highlander story here. Shopping the whole category? Look at the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-90

Toyota Rav4 Prime Xse Photo: Chastity Beene
Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Photo: Chastity Beene

Popular 5-Passenger Toyota SUVs

Toyota’s smaller SUVs, which range from basic to luxe, from front wheel drive to off-road capable, are a very popular option for many buyers and Toyota has taken the hint. There are now SUV versions of popular sedans and more versions of popular SUVs. 

I Still Miss My Toyota Rav4 Photo Erica Mueller
I still miss my Toyota RAV4. Photo: Erica Mueller

Toyota RAV4

This is the most popular girl in Toyotaland and for good reason: She’s good at everything she does and is a total people pleaser. The RAV4, priced from about $28K to about $47K, has seating for 5 and offers 3 engine options: A gas-powered 4-cylinder that generates 203 HP and gets 30 MPG; a 4-cylinder Prime hybrid that puts out 219 HP and that gets 37MPG and a plug-in hybrid with an all electric range of 42 miles, 302 HP and hybrid fuel economy of 38 MPG.

And then, there are a wide variety of trim options from simple to sporty: entry-level LE, XLE, Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, Limited and Woodland Edition (the RAV4 Prime plug-in is only available in SE and XSE trims). Most trims offer the choice of front wheel drive or AWD, and sport, normal and eco drive modes for all; AWD models have multi-terrain select drive modes for off-roading or trail driving.

The RAV4 got a nice makeover in 2019 which was just before the introduction of much of the brand’s new in-car tech. However, Toyota has updated the RAV4 with the new multimedia system, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features like wireless charging, and of course, voice activation. 

The RAV4 is perfect for small families, even those who need rear facing child car seats. With up to 37” of rear seat legroom, a seat should easily fit behind the passenger’s seat and and possibly behind the driver. Keep in mind that the rear seats are fixed and do not move forward and back, so its up to front seat passengers to ensure there’s enough space for car seats to fit. The RAV4 has two full sets of LATCHes for installing car seats. 

For many buyers, the magic of the RAV4 is its versatility for adventure. Its AWD system takes its inspiration from Toyota’s TRD racing division, which is where the other SUVs an pickups in the family get their capability. While the RAV4 probably isn’t the one you’d take to climb rocks on the Rubicon Trail, it’s completely capable for most trails and many challenges. 

See our full Toyota RAV4 coverage here. Shopping the whole category? Look at the Subaru Outback, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-50, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage

I Love The Look Of The Toyota Crown Signia. Photo Connie Peters
I love the look of the Toyota Crown Signia. Photo Connie Peters

2025 Crown Signia 

A brand new crossover SUV model from Toyota, the Crown Signia plays to Toyota fans who love the conveniences and reliability of the brand but want more space and luxury. Taking a cue from its sibling the Crown sedan, Toyota incorporated many of its features in order to offer an SUV version of the sedan. 

The introduction of the Crown Signia, though, means that we’re seeing the Venza crossover disappear. While we loved the elegance and style of the Venza, the Crown Signia is promising; it carries a lot of those features over.

The result is a compact crossover with a lot of beautiful and luxe features in one beautiful package: a 4-cylinder hybrid engine that delivers 243 HP and is estimated to get 36 MPG, Toyota’s 12” multimedia system and options like leather seating and a panoramic sunroof. 

The Crown Signia will be available in two versions: XLE and Limited. It will make its debut—and be available for us to test drive—soon. Pricing also hasn’t been announced, but taking a cue from the Crown, which is priced from $41K -$53K, it will likely be priced in the the low $40k-$50K range.

See our Toyota Crown Signia story here. Shopping the whole category? Look at the BMW X1, Lexus NX, Lexus RX, Infiniti QX50, Genesis GV70, Mazda CX-50

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
The new Corolla Cross Hybrid in Acidic Blast. Photo: Connie Peters

2024 Corolla Cross

This might be the sassiest in the lineup: The Corolla Cross wins huge kudos for taking the ease of ownership and driving that the Corolla offers into the crossover space. There are two engine options to choose from: The gas-powered 4-cylinder that generates 169 HP and gets 33MPG, and a 4-cylinder hybrid that generates 196 HP and gets about 45 MPG. Priced from $23K- $31K, there are 7 models to choose from, 4 of them with the hybrid engine and all of them with AWD, which is standard. 

A compact SUV, the Corolla Cross will best fit forward facing child car seats and is equipped with two full sets of child car seat LATCHes. rear facing seats might fit with front seats pushed forward quite a bit—the rear seat isn’t huge. But there are air vents for rear seat passengers, which puts this in the ‘possibility’ category for buyers who need a small SUV and have kids or dogs. 

We loved the drive experience of the Corolla Cross Hybrid; the added HP simply gives you much more confidence on the road. And, the multimedia system, the smart cabin layout and conveniences make this a winner, especially at this price point. 

See our Toyota Corolla Cross coverage here. Shopping the whole category? Look at the Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Chevrolet Trax, Kia Seltos, Nissan Kicks

Vintage Toyota Land Cruiser Grille
Vintage Toyota Land Cruiser grille by Shan Fannin

A Stellar Toyota SUV Lineup Offers Lots to Ponder

While ‘something for everyone’ is cliché, here, it’s simply true, from price to capability to seating capacity.

Add the fact that Toyota has updated its multimedia tech in every model, includes Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 driver assist and safety features standard, and each model has good-to-great fuel economy, and it can be a matter of simply finding the model that is the best fit for you. I’ve owned a Toyota for years and get it: There’s nothing like the confidence of power, reliability and interior conveniences to make a car feel like part of the family. Perhaps the only inconvenience is deciding which one to pick.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss

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