QotW: What is the best engineered Toyota?

In 1985 Japan’s Patent Office named the country’s 10 greatest inventors. As it turns out, a full six out of the ten came from Japan’s central region. The most famous among them, at least to automotive enthusiasts, was Sakichi Toyoda, founder of what the company we know today as Toyota. That is why Toyoda-san’s home prefecture established August 1 as Aichi Invention Day. It was 125 years ago today, on August 1, 1897, that Mr Toyoda received the patent on the automatic loom upon which the Toyota empire was built. In that spirit, our question for the week is:

What is the best engineered Toyota?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW,  “How do you encourage a kid who’s just discovering cars?

Several respondents said video games were the key. Taking Angelo, Yuri, and エーイダン‘s responses together, it would seem that some version of Gran Turismo and a proper steering wheel controller would be the ideal combo. Zachary Jones suggested the time-honored tradition of letting the kid be by your side as you wrench on your actual car. Or if they’re a bit older, like in Geoff‘s case, let them build their own car. Elrik‘s suggestion of taking them to an actual race is a great one, as was speedie‘s library of automotive history books.

Others provided cautionary tales of what not to do. Taylor C. warned that it was easy to overdo it, while Jeremy A. reminded us not to put down even the biggest underdogs. All sage advice.

This week, Alan provided what was probably the best all-around recommendation. It had a little bit of everything:

A big part of how I encourage my kids’ interest in cars is also through Hot Wheels. Lots and lots of Hot Wheels.

When they were toddlers, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and Tomica die casts were their potty training incentives, and now that they’re a bit older, rewards for hard work and good behavior include day trips to local and distant Cars and Coffees, lowrider gatherings, boba spot JDM meets, JCCS, boomer-centric muscle and hot rod shows, etc.

And yet more Hot Wheels.

Whenever I work on one of our cars, I invite them to help. When I go to a car museum or a race track, I take them with. When I buy a new car book or magazine, we look through it together. I point out interesting cars on the street, build up their knowledge, and then randomly quiz them. The quizzes in particular are big hits.

We don’t have much time for screens around our house, but when we do, we watch Noriyaro, old touring cars, drag racing, WRC, hillclimbing, stock cars, sprint cars, monster trucks, or anything motorsports related.

We’re all very much about digging deep in our family, and presenting the prospect of owning and caring for special vehicles – machines that escape the attention or understanding of the detached, distressed and distracted masses – really strikes a chord with them.

There are limitless ways to instill passion in your children, but they all start with you and your own passion. Be excited and interested, and they will follow in your footsteps.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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8 Responses to QotW: What is the best engineered Toyota?

  1. Long Beach Mike says:

    With all due respect to the LS series and in particular to the revolutionary LS400, I believe the L10 GS350, and the 2013-15 models in particular, offer a unique combination of performance, styling, luxury, reliability, and value that are nearly unmatched by other manufacturers. The GS350 handles great and drives smaller than its actual size, something rare in the Lexus lineup. Too bad Toyota decided to discontinue this fantastic RWD sporty sedan.

  2. Michael K. says:

    The Toyota Century, no doubt.

  3. Lupus says:

    Aristo’s, both JZS14x and JZS16x. The ultimate combination of luxury (without becoming ostensibly huge), performence (without drawbacks of hi-rev rece spec engine and concrete -stiff suspension), reliability and newest (at the time) eqipment gimmicks.
    They are full size saloons, but don’t look like at first, they give plenty of driving pleasure, they don’t break. The only thing that i can account to minus was the lack of wagon body, like a competition to Merc E-Class wagon, or BMW 5 Touring.

  4. BRIAN TREVAN says:


  5. RamenEater3000 says:

    Corolla (All variants). A car so ubiquitous, and ticking so many different boxes for different people, with different use cases. A Corolla can take the guise of utilitarian, bording, practical, or light, sporty, quick – but the one common, undeniable factor across all models, in all markets across the world, is that the Corolla is synonymous with reliability. That is why I nominate it as the “best engineered Toyota”. In my opinion the best engineering is not defined by how complicated or cutting edge a car is, but by the spectacular acheivement of designing a well rounded, reliable, durable and enjoyable car, able to be manufactured and sold at a modest price point. Further (and perhaps even more importantly) with simple engineering that keeps replacement parts, repairs, and maintenance costs low for long term ownership.

  6. dankan says:

    I think the answer is probably the first generation SC/third generation Toyota Soarer.

    Some people will write it off as a coupe LS400, but that ignores the incredible level of engineering refinements that went into the design that no one actually needed, but Toyota engineers threw in anyway. Double-hinged doors, double-glazed windows, GPS, Toyota went to town on extras, in addition to the revolutionary build quality and every luxury feature Toyota could throw at it. The car also had the definitive 1990s coupe design.

    They could never equal this peak, and the replacement was a disappointing disaster. It took them 15 years to show up with a suitable replacement (the LC500), but even that couldn’t fully match it, and so had a different character.

    Other cars will be nominated for their fame, or their intergalactic durability, but other than a strong shout for the Corolla, this SC was the peak of Toyota engineering.

  7. fuel10922 says:

    Without a doubt the Lexus LFA. A halo car that pushed the boundaries of carbon fiber in production vehicles. And without a doubt the best ever engineered exhaust note! Thank you Yamaha!!

  8. J Wilson says:

    I was working at a Toyota dealership in the time that Lexus was building out dealerships and about to launch. Our Toyota rep told me that Toyota had built FOUR HUNDRED pre-production pilot cars in four hundred different color schemes that they tested to shreds, they were utterly determined that these fabulous big cars would have as many problems as a Timex watch, and that the dealership experience plus the pricing (too low) for the first several years would kick ‘the Germans’ in the teeth, the ribs, and you know where else.

    So former MB, BMW, and other snob brands hemorraged customers left and right for these fabulous cars and the dealers that treated them like royalty instead of lucky suckers who they had allowed to purchase their difficult, hard to keep running, mechanical masterpieces.

    It worked. In spades.

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