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Lease a Toyota Avalon

 

As Toyota flirted with its status as the world's largest automaker, the company seemingly forgot about building appealing cars that connected with drivers on a visual and emotional level. A recently redesigned Camry sent the first signal that Toyota was serious about making interesting cars again. Next up: the 2013 Toyota Avalon.

 

A wide-mouth lower grille accentuates the Avalon's new front end, while hood channels and narrow headlamp lenses contribute to a more forceful presentation. The Avalon looks sleeker in profile, a result of the car's rear roof pillars that sweep more purposefully toward the trunk. The rear end, meanwhile, is pulled together more tightly, with LED taillamps extending onto the trunk lid and tied together with a sweeping chrome strip.

 

The Avalon remains front-wheel drive, but overall it's slightly shorter and wider than the previous model. A stiffer body, thanks to increased bracing, and revised suspension settings deliver an improved ride and more assured handling, while still providing ample comfort. The Avalon's engine is pretty much unchanged, however, so you're looking at a still impressively smooth 3.5-liter V6 that generates a respectable 268 horsepower and 25 mpg combined on the EPA cycle.

 

Despite the new Avalon's smaller dimensions, interior room is actually up thanks to a greater range of seat adjustments and more efficient sunroof packaging. The trunk is also larger and there are new features such as a premium JBL sound system, navigation, adaptive cruise control, heated and ventilated seats, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. However, the biggest departure is interior materials quality. The last Avalon had quite a few disappointing, hard interior bits that paled in comparison to those in key rivals. The new car, however, feels like a luxury car both in terms of quality and its eye-catching design.

 

Toyota is positioning the 2013 Avalon as an American sedan, designed and built in the United States and catering to American tastes. With its distinctive new look and improved interior, the new Avalon is an impressive package that puts it back in front after several competitors notched ahead of the previous model. Although looking at the 2013 Buick LaCrosse, 2013 Chrysler 300 or 2013 Hyundai Azera would be wise, we have no problem saying the new Toyota Avalon has more than enough merits to be a top choice for a large sedan.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Avalon is offered in four trim levels: XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited. The XLE comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, a four-way power front passenger seat and heated front seats. Electronic features include keyless ignition/entry, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch central touchscreen display and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, an, auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.

 

The Avalon XLE Premium is very similar but has upgraded keyless ignition/entry (additional functionality for rear doors and trunk), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rearview camera. The Touring has 18-inch wheels, foglights, upgraded leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver seat, an eight-way power front passenger seat, heated rear seats, a navigation system, Toyota's Entune smartphone app integration system and a nine-speaker audio system with satellite and HD radio.

 

Going with the Avalon Limited gets you all of the above plus xenon headlights, auto-dimming side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, tri-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, a rear power sunshade, a 7-inch touchscreen display and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.

 

The only option for the Avalon is a Tech package for the Limited that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights and a pre-collision system.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota Avalon comes with a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 268 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Estimated fuel economy stands at 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

Standard Toyota Lease Safety features for the Avalon include traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front and rear seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Touring and Limited models also come with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. A pre-collision warning system is optional on the Limited.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

The Avalon's interior is spacious and elegant, with high-quality materials throughout. The dash has an unusual layered layout dividing it into different zones for instrument panel, center console and front passenger area. The effect is tied together with chrome flashing that is attractive but catches the sun in bright light. All the controls are intuitively arranged and nicely weighted for a quality feeling, however.

 

The front seats are very comfortable and highly adjustable, with plenty of side bolstering and lumbar support for both the driver and the front passenger. The Avalon's rear seats are so roomy that Toyota is actually offering a livery model of this car. The generous trunk offers 16 cubic feet of space, with a wide access and low liftover.

 

Gauges are sharp and stylish and the center screen is large and easy to read for navigation directions or vehicle operation information. Its audio controls are well-sorted, too. Storage compartments are especially well thought out and provide ample room for drinks and personal effects. The lower section of the center console provides a convenient "eBin" with power cords passing through a sliding panel for two cell phones and auxiliary and USB connections. A large center armrest provides more storage space and additional connectivity and charging for cell phones.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

The first thought when driving the 2013 Toyota Avalon might be: "Is this really the Avalon?" It seems that the redesign has also provided a personality change. The stiffer body is immediately apparent by delivering an assured ride but one that is still comfortable. Designers have firmed up the steering to provide more road feel, while the brakes are nicely tuned to match the increased responsiveness of the drivetrain.

 

The engine is smooth and powerful and will provide plenty of acceleration to please most drivers. Although Avalon buyers in love with the previous car's indifferent dynamics might be a little disappointed with the new car, overall we think this sedan offers a nice blend of comfort and useful performance.

 

 

Lease a Toyota FJ Cruiser

 

For a brand long known for building cars that put practicality and reliability before "hey-look-at-me" styling, the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a bit of an outlier.

 

While this midsize SUV shares much of Toyota's core dependability DNA, its rugged looks make it stand out anywhere it goes. The FJ's traditional body-on-frame design and excellent off-road capability also go against the recent trend toward building car-based crossover SUVs. But even if it's an outlier, the FJ Cruiser has a lot going for it.

 

On the road its strong V6 engine, responsive steering and reasonably comfortable ride quality make it a lot less truckish than you might expect -- and more fun than the average Toyota as well. Off the pavement is where the FJ Cruiser really shines, however, thanks to its high ground clearance, generous approach/departure angles and serious four-wheel-drive hardware including low-range gearing and a locking rear differential.

 

The FJ Cruiser's quirky design saddles it with several inherent weaknesses, though, including the short windows and thick roof pillars that create blind spots large enough to make negotiating tight urban environments a little dicey. The rear half-doors also make getting in and out of the backseat a hassle.

 

That said, we still are fond of the unapologetic FJ. Its main competitor, the 2013 Jeep Wrangler, is even less refined for everyday driving, though it does provide superior off-road capability and greater opportunities for aftermarket modifications. The Nissan Xterra takes the opposite approach, offering more livable qualities like four real doors and better visibility. As such, the FJ Cruiser represents the middle-ground choice for a rugged SUV that's happy to spend a lot of time in the dirt.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a five-passenger SUV with two regular front doors and two half-sized rear-hinged doors.

 

There is only one trim level and it comes standard with 17-inch black-painted steel wheels, an electronically controlled locking rear differential (manual transmission 4WD only), full power accessories, air-conditioning, an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, water-resistant cloth upholstery, heavy-duty vinyl flooring, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

 

There are a number of option packages available. The Convenience package adds rear privacy glass, a rear wiper, a spare tire cover, keyless entry, cruise control, a rearview camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Upgrade package adds 17-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded traction control system on four-wheel-drive models, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, extra gauges and trip computer functions, and an 11-speaker JBL sound system with a six-CD changer. The Off-Road package adds Bilstein shock absorbers, the locking rear differential, an upgraded traction-control system and extra gauges. The TRD package adds special 16-inch alloy wheels, BFGoodrich off-road tires and different Bilstein shock absorbers.

 

The Trail Teams Special Edition bundles unique gray exterior paint, special interior trim, 16-inch alloy wheels and off-road tires, an upgraded suspension, an electronically controlled locking rear differential, a large roof rack, rock rails and most of the content from the Convenience and Upgrade packages.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque.

 

A five-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive and a limited-slip differential are standard. There are also two different four-wheel-drive systems available, including a part-time system that comes mated to the five-speed automatic transmission and a full-time system fitted with a six-speed manual and a locking rear differential.

 

EPA-estimated fuel economy for the two-wheel-drive model is 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined -- not great, but typical for off-road SUVs. With four-wheel drive, those numbers are 17/20/18 with the automatic and 15/18/16 with the manual.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

Standard Toyota Lease Safety features on the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Toyota Lease Safety, the FJ Cruiser received the top rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side-impact tests, but a second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the roof strength test.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser sports a no-frills interior with dash panels color-matched to the outside body color. Controls are well placed and easy to use, though some buttons and knobs are so big they look a little silly. Front seats offer good comfort and the water-repellent upholstery and rubber floor covering are built to take abuse.

 

The bad news here is that the wide rear roof pillars and outside-mounted spare tire create enormous blind spots and diminished rear visibility. Even the view forward isn't that great because of the high dash and hood. You may look good in the FJ, but seeing other people is a bit of a problem.

 

The rear seat has its own problems, starting with the rear-hinged back doors. Like those on extended-cab pickups, they require you to open the front doors every time someone gets in or out of the backseat. You'll also find getting into the second row requires a bit of a climb and, once you're in, the accommodations are fairly tight. Folding down both sections of that 60/40-split rear seat creates a cargo hold with a healthy 67 cubic feet of space. That's about the same as in a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

On the road, the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser performs surprisingly well for a vehicle with such an off-road slant. The V6 engine offers plenty of grunt, while the suspension tuning and precise steering feel put the Jeep Wrangler to shame. Again, the limited visibility all around is a distinct negative in about any situation you can name. The robust-looking exterior also creates a fair amount of wind noise at highway speeds.

 

Leave the pavement behind and the FJ Cruiser is in its element. The combination of ample ground clearance, excellent approach and departure angles, ample wheel travel, low-range gearing and the available locking rear differential gives it the ability to tackle rugged trails with ease.

 

Lease a Toyota Highlander

 

The successful recipe for a family-friendly crossover SUV goes something like this. To a platform with carlike handling and ride qualities add roomy passenger and cargo accommodations, bake in reliability and refinement, sprinkle liberally with convenience features and wrap in attractive though conservative styling. Follow this formula and you get the 2013 Toyota Highlander, a crossover that will satisfy the appetites of countless savvy consumers.

 

Once you're on the road, the not-too-big, not-too-small Highlander is easygoing, and it can even be spirited if you opt for the powerful V6. Everything you'd want in an ideal family hauler is here, notably a quiet, roomy cabin that seats up to seven passengers, plus features such as keyless ignition/entry and a back-up camera that make running all those errands easier on Mom and Dad. While the Highlander's third row is less spacious than that of some rivals, it's easy to reach thanks to a nifty 40/20/40-split second row with a removable center seat that facilitates walk-through access. This Toyota crossover also has strong fuel efficiency to its credit, with both the inline-4 and V6 delivering impressive mileage.

 

Still, this is a highly competitive segment, and the 2013 Toyota Highlander isn't the only well-rounded choice out there. General Motors offers a trio of larger crossovers -- the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia -- that offer roomier interiors. Other solid bets include the muscular Dodge Durango, the distinctive Ford Flex and the all-new Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Pathfinder. These rivals are certainly worthy, but for many shoppers, the Highlander's versatility and friendly disposition make it an ideal choice.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Highlander is a seven-passenger crossover offered in base, Plus, SE and Limited trim levels. The related Highlander Hybrid is reviewed separately.

 

The entry-level Highlander comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, cloth upholstery, an eight-way (manual) adjustable driver seat, a 40/20/40-split-folding second-row seat (that reclines and slides fore/aft), a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat, air-conditioning (with rear controls), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, iPod/USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

 

Step up to the Plus and you'll also get foglights, roof rails, a windshield wiper de-icer, a lift-up rear window, a rearview camera, driver seat power lumbar support, extendable visors with vanity mirrors, one-touch fold-flat second-row seats and a cargo area privacy cover.

 

The SE adds a sunroof, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

 

Springing for the Limited adds 19-inch alloy wheels, additional chrome exterior trim, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, perforated leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker JBL sound system (with HD radio and satellite radio), a navigation system, Toyota's Entune suite of smartphone app-based services and wood-grain accents.

 

Given the four trim levels with their correspondingly increasing standard features, the Highlander's options list is understandably brief. Its highlights include a towing prep package; a package that bundles the JBL audio system, navigation system and Entune; and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota Highlander is available with a choice of two engines. The base model can be had with a 2.7-liter inline-4 engine that produces 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy estimates are 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.

 

Optional for the base, Plus and SE and standard on the Limited is a 3.5-liter V6 that's rated at 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. A Highlander Limited AWD tested by Edmunds sprinted from zero to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds, which makes it one of the quicker crossovers on the road. With front-wheel drive, the Highlander V6 returns EPA estimates of 18 city/24 highway/20 combined; adding all-wheel drive drops these numbers to 17/22/19. Properly equipped, a Highlander V6 can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

The Highlander comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, side-impact airbags for front seat passengers, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints. Hill-start assist is also standard. All-wheel-drive models also gain hill-descent control.

 

In Edmunds testing, we praised a Highlander Limited AWD model's medium-firm brake pedal and fade-resistant brakes that stopped it from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is better than average for the segment.

 

In government crash tests, the Highlander earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Toyota Lease Safety, the Highlander received "Good" ratings (the highest possible) in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Highlander features one of the more attractive cabins in the segment, especially in the top-of-the-line Limited model. Gauges and controls boast a familiar and straightforward layout, making them a cinch to use. The cabin also offers superb visibility from most angles.

 

There's no lack of space in the front- and second-row seats, but legroom is cramped in the third row, and as such, it's suitable only for younger kids. Models like the Flex fare better in this regard. On the plus side, the Highlander's second-row bench slides fore and aft to alter the ratio of legroom to cargo capacity, and the seat also reclines for greater comfort. This seat's unique 40/20/40-split design, which has a removable center section that stows neatly in a special compartment beneath the center console, makes it easy to access the way-back bench even with a pair of child car seats strapped into the second row.

 

When you have cargo to haul, the Highlander offers 95.4 cubic feet of space with the second- and third-row seats folded down. It's a robust figure and better than many competitors, but GM's full-size crossovers offer even more.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

When it comes to driving dynamics, the 2013 Toyota Highlander is one of the more well-rounded choices in its segment. You get decent handling from the fully independent suspension, and the ride quality is surprisingly smooth. Being a bit smaller than other larger crossovers, the Highlander is easier to maneuver, particularly in tight parking lots. The light-effort steering also helps here, though it is rather numb and uninspiring on the open road compared to some of its rivals.

 

The Highlander grows even more appealing with the 3.5-liter V6, thanks to that engine's strong acceleration. This muscular V6 moves the 4,000-pound crossover with a briskness that makes this Toyota seem smaller than it is. The fact that this powertrain is also among the most fuel-efficient in the category is an added bonus. The four-cylinder engine gets slightly better fuel economy, but we wouldn't recommend it for anybody except the most frugal-minded, given the sacrifice made in terms of performance.

 

 

Lease a Toyota Highlander Hybrid

 

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a vehicle for which you can check off several boxes. One or all might be important to you, but the more boxes you check, the more you'll appreciate the Highlander Hybrid's appeal.

 

First and foremost, it's a hybrid and inherently is much more fuel-efficient than any like-sized conventional crossover. At about 28 mpg combined, you'll be doing way better at the gas pump than just about anybody else with a utility vehicle, even much smaller ones. And unlike the reputation of its Prius cousin for being underpowered, the Highlander Hybrid's standard 3.5-liter V6 means there's surprising and satisfying thrust just about all the time.

 

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid also is a convincing minivan substitute, particularly for those who might usually use most of those seats but still would rather not buy a minivan. The Highlander's truncated third row isn't really meant for adults or child Toyota Lease Safety seats, but it's fine for quick trips and bendable adolescents. Finally, you get all of this in a vehicle with standard all-wheel drive, checking off another box if you need a vessel to handle nasty weather.

 

Too good to be true? About the only real issue, aside from the Highlander Hybrid's numb steering, soft-ish ride and styling that's probably too conservative, is cost. The 2013 Highlander Hybrid's base price is thousands more than the conventionally powered Highlander (although the hybrid is more lavishly equipped). If you see the Highlander Hybrid merely as an investment or hedge bet on gasoline prices, plan on owning it for a long while after it's paid off -- even with savings at the pump.

 

If you're interested in a hybrid crossover that's similarly sized, the upscale Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid is also a great choice, but has only five seats and is even more expensive. The same is true for the 2013 Lexus RX 450h hybrid from Toyota's premium division. An intriguing option might be the admittedly smaller 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, a five-seat hatchback wagon that offers class-leading fuel economy, plenty of potential utility and a price that's smaller than the Highlander Hybrid's, too.

 

Few if any vehicles in the market, however, allow you to check off as many boxes as the 2013 Highlander Hybrid.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a seven-passenger midsize crossover SUV offered in two trim levels: base and Limited.

 

The base model's list of standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, rear privacy glass, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning (with rear controls), an eight-way power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seat with a removable center section, a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat, a trip computer, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6-inch touchscreen display, Toyota's Entune app integration, a navigation system and a six-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.

 

There are just two option packages for the base Highlander Hybrid. A Leather Premium package includes leather upholstery (vinyl third row), heated front seats, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded trip computer.

 

All of the above options are included on the Limited trim along with 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, keyless ignition/entry, tri-zone climate control, a four-way power passenger seat and a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system. A rear seat entertainment system is optional.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's sophisticated and complex powertrain comprises a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine and a trio of electric motors. The gasoline engine and electric motors can operate alone or in tandem depending on the driving conditions. Together, they produce a maximum of 280 horsepower. To maximize efficiency in most situations, power is transmitted only to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), while a separate electric motor drives the rear wheels when there's a need for extra traction or acceleration.

 

In Edmunds performance testing, a Highlander Hybrid went from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, a quick time even for a conventionally powered midsize crossover. Properly equipped, the Highlander Hybrid also can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

 

Despite its satisfying performance, the Highlander Hybrid's fuel economy is its real strength. The EPA rates the Highlander Hybrid at 28 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 28 mpg in combined driving.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, the Highlander Hybrid came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, a very good performance, particularly considering the Highlander Hybrid's batteries and extra components make it markedly heavier than conventionally powered vehicles.

 

In government crash tests, the Highlander Hybrid earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Toyota Lease Safety gave the conventional Highlander the top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

There's a quiet, upscale feel to the 2013 Highlander Hybrid when you take in the wide center console, big (but not oversized) 6.1-inch screen for the standard navigation system and the tight tolerances of the trim. The Highlander Hybrid's interior is conventional but comfortable -- and most important, easy to use.

 

That ease-of-use factor extends to passengers, too. The second-row seats slide and seatbacks recline, allowing everyone to tailor a seating position. A nice feature allows removal of the center portion of the seat if you prefer a six-passenger layout. All the materials are nice to look at and touch, yet feel durable enough to stand the beating a family's likely to inflict.

 

The Highlander Hybrid does not provide quite as much cargo capacity as a minivan or a full-size crossover, but it can haul plenty if needed: There's 42 cubic feet of cargo room with the third-row seat neatly folded flat. Drop both seats and there's a very useful 94 cubic feet back there. For comparison, the like-sized VW Touareg Hybrid offers 32 cubic feet behind its second row and a maximum of 64 cubic feet.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Highlander Hybrid dispels the perception that hybrids are great fuel sippers but lousy performers. Drop the accelerator pedal and the gasoline V6 and electric drive motors imperceptibly team up to generate acceleration that will leave plenty of "regular" crossovers in your dust.

 

Too bad, then, that the Highlander Hybrid's steering feels so disconnected, because it magnifies the fact that this crossover's suspension is definitely tuned for a soft ride: the trade-off being sometimes ungainly handling if corners are taken too quickly. Still, the Highlander Hybrid is a crossover designed to satisfy you with an unchallenging blend of utility and economy. Just load up the gang, punch up the fuel economy display on the Highlander Hybrid's spacious center screen and revel in the comfort in which everyone can travel while using as little fossil fuel as possible.

 

Lease a Toyota Land Cruiser

 

The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser comes standard with everything this year. Previous options like rear-seat entertainment, navigation, heated and cooled seats -- you name it, it's got it. Of course, this $78,000, eight-passenger SUV with go-anywhere four-wheel-drive capability might not seem to be the kind of simple, user-friendly Toyota to which you're accustomed, but actually it's the kind of vehicle that every Toyota aspires to be. It goes everywhere, does everything, yet never shows off.  The Land Cruiser is like an Omega Seamaster wristwatch in a discount-store Timex case.

 

Since the introduction of the FJ40 in 1960, the Land Cruiser has assumed the kind of cult status that parallels other 4x4 legends from Jeep and Land Rover. Like those icons, the Land Cruiser has always gone places normal vehicles can't tackle and, not surprisingly, the Toyota is also heralded as the most reliable in this exclusive group.

 

Obviously, the Land Cruiser's high-end features are relatively new. Big game hunters cruising through Botswana in 1978 probably weren't watching The Spy Who Loved Me from a reclining rear seat. But just as Land Rover has moved upmarket over the years, so too, has the Land Cruiser. The 2013 Land Cruiser features items that automatically set the truck up for specific kinds of terrain, alter the stiffness of the stabilizer bars (more body control for pavement, less for off-road) and take control of the accelerator and brakes during slow, hair-raising off-road maneuvers.

 

To rational car shoppers, the 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser offers limited appeal. Many less expensive crossovers work better for daily use, such as the Buick Enclave or Infiniti JX35. If you need towing power, there's Toyota's own Sequoia, or the Land Cruiser's twin, the Lexus LX 570, which isn't that much more expensive now. And if it's an apples-to-apples competitor you want, the Land Rover LR4 offers excellent off-roading capability and a more luxurious, spacious cabin. It's also cheaper (though far less reliable).

 

But you don't need to be rational to appreciate the Land Cruiser's considerable ability. Whether on a Toyota dealer lot or out on the road, the Land Cruiser is a legend. And that alone is enough to guarantee its appeal.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is an eight-passenger SUV available in a single, fully loaded trim level.

 

Standard features include 18-inch wheels, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, automatic xenon headlamps, foglamps, automatic wipers, privacy glass, a roof rack, a sunroof and keyless ignition/entry. Interior features include four-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated power front seats (10-way driver, eight-way passenger), a heated 40/20/40-split second row (sliding, reclining, folding), leather upholstery, a wood-trimmed power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a center console cooler box.

 

Standard electronic features include adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, Lexus Toyota Lease Safety Connect emergency communications, a navigation system, a touchscreen interface, voice control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rear-seat entertainment system and Toyota's Entune suite of smartphone app-based services. The 14-speaker JBL sound system includes a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser comes with a 5.7-liter V8 good for 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel-drive system are standard. The maximum towing capacity is 8,500 pounds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined.

 

Besides four-wheel drive, the Land Cruiser comes standard with a locking center differential, the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (adjusts the stabilizer bars for improved on-road handling and off-road capability), Multi-Terrain Select (adjusts the stability and traction control based on different road surfaces), a five-speed crawl control (essentially a low-speed off-road cruise control), hill-start assist (prevents rolling back on hills) and Off-Road Turn Assist (applies brakes to the wheels on the inside in a corner to improve turning response).

 

In Edmunds performance testing, the similar Lexus LX 570 went from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, which is quick for an SUV of its size and weight.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

Standard Toyota Lease Safety features include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front- and second-row side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also standard is the Lexus Toyota Lease Safety Connect system, which includes automatic collision notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency assistance button and a stolen vehicle locator.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Land Cruiser's interior is as refined as a Toyota gets, with high-quality materials and excellent fit and finish. It doesn't quite match its Lexus twin, but certainly comes close. For 2013, the dash eliminates several audio system buttons for a slightly cleaner look, but some may find it complicates functionality.

 

The cabin can accommodate eight passengers, though the third row really only suits kids because of the flat seat bottom and high floor. Access to the third row is eased via a one-touch tumble-forward second-row seat. Middle-row occupants fare better with more space, a rear-seat entertainment system and a heated seat that slides and reclines.

 

With the rear seats in place, cargo space is 16 cubic feet. That's about the same capacity as a midsize car's trunk, but ultimately less useful since the Land Cruiser's space is vertical rather than horizontal. The third-row seats do not fold down, nor are they removable. Instead, they fold up against the sides of the cargo bay and still consume space. Consequently, the Cruiser's maximum cargo capacity is modest at 82 cubic feet, a relatively small figure for a large SUV.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

As with previous Toyota Land Cruisers, the 2013 model has excellent off-road capability and still delivers a thoroughly comfortable ride on urban streets. It is also a technological tour de force. When exploring the untamed wilds, high-tech features like Multi-Terrain Select and crawl control take much of the worry out of the hands (or feet) of the driver. Just select what type of terrain you're driving on, then dial in the desired speed (as low as 1 mph), keep your feet off the gas and brake pedals and steer in the desired direction.

 

In the more maddening wilds of the urban jungle, the 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser behaves like the civilized luxury SUV it's intended to be, soaking up bumps with composure and insulating driver and passengers from the outside world. On a mountain road en route to the ski slopes, the Land Cruiser remains relatively flat through corners, the KDSS active antiroll bars helping the heavy SUV feel surprisingly confident. Performance is also strong, with the 5.7-liter V8 furnishing plenty of thrust for passing, towing or effortless freeway cruising -- at the expense of fuel economy, of course.

 

 

Lease a Toyota Prius

 

If we played a little word association with the general public, we're pretty certain it would go something like this: Copier: "Xerox"; Tissues: "Kleenex"; Hybrid: "Prius." These are all brands that have dominated their respective markets so greatly that their names have become the de facto way of referring to the product itself. The 2013 Toyota Prius continues that trend, though we would say hybrid shoppers enjoy a wider range of appealing choices than ever before.

 

Certainly, there are many reasons behind this Toyota's popularity. First and foremost is its incredible fuel efficiency -- the Prius' EPA combined rating of 50 mpg is topped only by the smaller Prius C and much more expensive plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt. Yet it's also a pretty nice car to drive. The Prius' hatchback body style provides generous passenger and cargo space, and if luxury is your thing, Toyota's got you covered with a plethora of high-end options. Given all that plus its strong reliability record, it's no wonder that the Prius is used as a taxi in many cities.

 

But it's not all green lights for this green car pioneer. The materials quality within that roomy cabin is mediocre in places, and the driving position can be awkward for many people. While the Prius still easily outclasses its chief rival, the Honda Insight, it's a harder sell against the new 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, which is nicer inside and more refined to drive. The latest hybrid midsize sedans, including the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid, are also impressively good.

 

And then there is the price of going hybrid to consider. Today's standard compact cars (either gasoline- or diesel-powered) get excellent fuel economy while costing much less, meaning the Prius might not produce the savings in fuel costs that you think it will. Still, the 2013 Toyota Prius continues to validate its position as the quintessential hybrid. Its blend of fuel efficiency, practicality and handy high-tech features make it an easy choice in its segment.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius is a four-door hatchback available in five trim levels: Two, Three, Persona Series Special Edition, Four and Five. The "Five" is not to be confused with the Prius V, which is a larger wagon version of the Prius that's addressed in a separate review.

 

Standard equipment on the Prius Two includes 15-inch alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, a rear window wiper, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, an advanced trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a touchscreen electronics interface and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

 

The Prius Three gains an enhanced keyless entry system, a rearview camera, a navigation system, voice controls, satellite radio, HD radio and Toyota's Entune system, which includes real-time information (traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports scores) and a suite of apps that connect the car to Internet sites like Pandora, iHeart Radio and Open Table through your smartphone.

 

The Prius Persona Special Edition is similar to the Three but includes 17-inch alloy wheels, charcoal/black "SofTex" (synthetic leather) upholstery with red stitching and dark chrome interior accents.

 

Stepping up to the Prius Four reverts back to 15-inch wheels but gets you automatic headlights, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, SofTex upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a JBL sound system with eight GreenEdge speakers. The Prius Five features 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps and LED headlamps with auto level control and washers.

 

An optional Solar Roof package for the Prius Three adds a sunroof and a solar-powered ventilation system that keeps the car cool to limit the burden on the air-conditioning system. It's also offered for the Four, and then includes a head-up display, Toyota Lease Safety Connect emergency communications and an upgraded navigation system with a high-definition display and split-screen capability.

 

The Five's Advanced Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision alert system, a lane-departure warning system, Toyota Lease Safety Connect, a head-up display and the higher-quality navigation display.

 

Available on all trims is the Plus Appearance package, which adds unique 17-inch alloy wheels and a seven-piece aerodynamic body kit. To this the Plus Performance package (availability depends on trim level) adds a sport-tuned suspension and unique badging.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a pair of electric motor/generators. Together they send a total output of 134 horsepower through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).

 

In track testing, we clocked the Prius from zero to 60 mph in 10.1 seconds; that's about the same as the Insight, but slower than the C-Max Hybrid and other hybrid midsize sedans. The EPA estimates the 2013 Prius will return a very impressive 51 mpg city/48 highway and 50 mpg combined. In real-world testing, we found these estimates to be reasonably accurate.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

Every 2013 Toyota Prius comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. The Prius Four and Five can be equipped with Toyota's Toyota Lease Safety Connect emergency communications system. The Prius Five includes a pre-collision warning system and a lane-departure warning system.

 

In Edmunds brake testing, the Prius came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet -- very good for a compact or midsize car.

 

In government crash tests, the Prius received a perfect five stars for overall protection, with four stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Toyota Lease Safety gave the Prius the highest possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius features straightforward controls that jut out toward the driver in a "floating console" that provides a storage tray underneath. It's a nice design that helps maximize cabin space. The standard touchscreen operates many of the Prius' high-tech features and is, for the most part, smartly designed. The digital instrument panel also features a floating layer that displays audio, temperature and trip computer information when the driver touches those controls on the steering wheel, minimizing eye movement. Some drivers might find the overall design a bit too busy-looking, however.

 

Materials quality in the Prius is disappointing, with harder and cheaper plastics than other cars in its price range. The corduroy-like texturing on the climate and audio controls seems nice at first, but collects oil from the skin and causes circular dark spots on most buttons.

 

In terms of versatility, though, the Prius is still a champ. The hatchback body style provides more cargo capacity than a typical midsize sedan, and the backseat offers plenty of space. Sadly, taller drivers still have to contend with a steering wheel that's placed too far away. There's a telescoping column, but it doesn't come out nearly far enough.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

Acceleration in the 2013 Toyota Prius is far from sprightly, but it'll likely be adequate for most buyers. Four driving modes -- Normal, Eco, Power and EV -- allow the driver to choose the optimum powertrain configuration depending on conditions. Eco is measured and sluggish, but returns the best fuel economy. Power is useful for entering freeways or driving on hills. EV mode locks out the gasoline engine, but only allows a maximum speed of 25 mph and requires at least a half-charged battery pack.

 

Around town, the Prius is an easy-to-drive runabout. The electric steering doesn't provide much feedback, but it's very light in parking lots and doesn't become overly boosted on the highway. The ride is comfortable, but nastier bumps can leave it a bit flummoxed. There is also an excessive amount of road noise that permeates the cabin regardless of speed, and the noises emitted by its smaller gasoline engine are hardly what we'd describe as sonorous.

 

Lease a Toyota Prius C

 

When it comes to all-out high-mpg cars, you can't overlook the venerable Toyota Prius. With four models to choose from, there's a good chance one might fit your needs. The smallest of the Prii, the 2013 Toyota Prius C, manages to distinguish itself on a number of levels.

 

As the entry-level Prius, the C model undercuts the standard Prius liftback's price by a considerable margin. In exchange, you'll have to sacrifice some refinement in terms of ride quality and interior materials, but we don't consider either of these deal breakers. On the plus side, the Prius C gains a bit more agility and responsiveness via its smaller dimensions and lighter weight.

 

Of course, the Prius C performs when it comes to fuel economy, too. With an EPA-estimated 50 mpg in combined driving conditions, there is simply no other subcompact hatchback that even comes close. In our long-term experience, the Prius C nearly meets that estimate.

 

Overall, we give the Prius C high marks, but we would advise a closer look at some features and options during the decision process. In particular, the 16-inch wheels and sportier steering has the unfortunate side effect of increasing the turning radius by a significant 6 feet. We'd also recommend trying out the "SofTex" faux leather seat upholstery beforehand, as it feels nowhere close to a material found in nature. If heated seats are a priority for you, however, there's no escaping this odd vinyl covering.

 

But even with these faults, we have no hesitation recommending the 2013 Toyota Prius C over its closest (but still distant) competitors. The 2013 Honda Insight is similarly priced, but is handily beat when it comes to miles per gallon. The same goes for the 2013 Honda CR-Z, which only seats two, though it does feature a sportier image. If power and acceleration are secondary concerns, we'd even suggest the Prius C to those shopping conventional gas-only-powered hatchbacks; it's that hard to overlook.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius C is offered in numbered trim levels from One to Four. The base Prius C One comes with 15-inch steel wheels, automatic climate control, full power accessories, a folding rear seat, a 3.5-inch multifunction display, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB/iPod interface.

 

The Prius C Two adds cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a center console storage bin and armrest, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a faux leather dash panel, a cargo cover and a six-speaker sound system. Upgrading to the Prius C Three gets you navigation with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, keyless ignition/entry, satellite radio and voice control. Also included is Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system that adds Bing search functions, streaming Internet audio and traffic, sports and stock information. Alloy wheels are available as an option.

 

The range-topping Four adds alloy wheels, heated mirrors, foglights, a faux-leather-wrapped steering wheel and seat upholstery and heated front seats. Options for the Four include 16-inch wheels and quicker-ratio steering. A sunroof is available on both the Three and Four.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius C is powered by a similar but smaller hybrid powertrain than its bigger Prius siblings. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine produces 73 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque, while a pair of electric motor/generators supplies an additional 60 hp. The gas engine acts as a main propulsion source as well as a generator to charge the nickel-metal hydride batteries. The electric motors also contribute to propulsion and charge the battery pack under deceleration. Combined power output comes to 99 hp and is sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

 

In Edmunds performance testing, the Prius C needed 11.3 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is quite slow even for a subcompact car.

 

Of course with any Prius, the most important numbers relate to fuel economy, and the Prius C does not disappoint. EPA-estimated mileage stands at 53 mpg city/46 mpg highway and 50 mpg in combined driving, making it the most economical non-plug-in hybrid on the market.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

Standard Toyota Lease Safety features on all 2013 Toyota Prius C models include stability control, traction control, antilock brakes (front discs, rear drums), hill start assist, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and unique front seat cushion airbags that help prevent occupants from sliding under the seatbelts in the event of a collision. In Edmunds brake testing, a Prius C came to a stop from 60 mph in a better-than-average 118 feet.

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Toyota Lease Safety awarded the Prius C the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

Inside, the Prius C features a sleek, modern design with a mix of the familiar as well as the unconventional. Centrally located gauges are mounted high atop the dashboard, which can be a bit odd at first, but makes for easier reading. To its detriment, the cabin's plastics are several steps below the materials you'll find in other subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent. The cloth seat upholstery is nothing special, but it's certainly preferable to the optional "faux leather." The latter may be made from eco-friendly materials, but it's probably the cheapest-feeling material we've sat on in quite some time.

 

In terms of comfort, the Prius C presents a mixed bag, particularly for taller passengers. The driving position is slightly compromised by the lack of enough extension for the steering wheel's telescoping function, and the tall, upright dash can be hard to peer over. The front passenger may also take issue with the glovebox that intrudes into the footwell. Backseat occupants will likely fare better, as there's ample head- and legroom for adults, and the fully flat floor allows for even more flexibility.

 

The base Prius C One's rear seat folds down as one piece, but Two and above feature a 60/40 split for greater passenger/cargo versatility. With all the seats in use, cargo capacity stands at 17.1 cubic feet, which is about what you'd expect from a hatchback in this class.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

The Prius liftback has never been described as fun or engaging from behind the wheel, but the 2013 Toyota Prius C manages to liven things up. Its smaller footprint and more advantageous positioning of hybrid components allow for a bit more nimbleness, though it's still a far cry from conventional hatchbacks. Acceleration is comparatively slow, but power is perfectly acceptable for around-town driving and getting up to highway speeds.

 

As expected, fuel economy is outstanding. Outside of a plug-in hybrid, you're not going to do better than a Prius C. An unfortunate downside to the economy-focused mission, however, is a noticeable degradation in ride quality. More severe road imperfections are met with an uncharacteristic harshness and, combined with noticeable wind noise at higher freeway speeds, give the Prius C a budget-car feel.

 

Lease a Toyota Prius V

 

With the 2013 Toyota Prius V, Toyota proves that it's got the business of catering to family-oriented car shoppers down to a science.

 

The Prius hybrid hatchback has been a huge hit for Toyota on the strength of its outstanding utility and exceptional fuel efficiency. The 2013 Toyota Prius V is built using the same basic formula as its omnipresent sibling, with the addition of greater passenger and cargo capacity.

 

With the Prius V, what you get is essentially a stretched, wider Prius. The V is an inch wider, 6 inches longer and 3 inches taller than the hatchback, with 60 percent more cargo capacity; peek behind the rear seats and you'll find 34 cubic feet available for your cargo. The cabin is designed to handle most daily tasks. The rear seats slide, recline and fold down, for instance, and you can even squeeze in unusually long cargo thanks to its fold-flat front passenger seat.

 

Superb fuel economy is, of course, a central part of the Prius' appeal, and the Prius V shares its powertrain with the hatchback: a 1.8-liter gas engine teamed with an electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack to generate a combined 134 horsepower. Though the V isn't quite as frugal as its smaller sibling (EPA ratings are 44 mpg city/40 mpg highway and 42 mpg combined), its mileage is still high enough to make it a compelling pick relative to most choices in the compact wagon/crossover segment.

 

The Prius V, however, is burdened by the same shortcomings as the standard Prius -- namely, bland handling and a dull-looking cabin. And these flaws are brought into sharper focus with this year's introduction of a new rival, the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid. The C-Max offers more engaging driving dynamics and a nicer cabin than the V, along with slightly better EPA mpg ratings. Still, the Prius has it handily beat in the area of cargo capacity. The refined and fuel-efficient Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI is also worth a look. But the competent 2013 Toyota Prius V remains a top selection despite a growing pool of rivals, distinguishing itself with its strong blend of versatility and frugality.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius V is available in three trim levels: the Two, the Three and the Five.

 

Standard equipment on the base Two includes 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat that slides and reclines, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod/USB audio interface and Bluetooth connectivity/streaming audio.

 

The Three adds a navigation system with voice controls along with a rearview camera, satellite radio and HD radio. You also get Entune, Toyota's multimedia interface with text-to-voice functionality and app integration. The Five adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic LED headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, upgraded upholstery (Toyota's new SofTex -- an eco-friendly alternative to leather) and heated front seats.

 

An Advanced Technology package is offered with the Five and includes a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, an automated parallel-parking system, an upgraded navigation system with a larger touchscreen, a premium eight-speaker sound system, a pre-collision Toyota Lease Safety system and Toyota's Toyota Lease Safety Connect system.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius V is motivated by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine teamed with a pair of electric motors that yields a combined total output of 134 hp and 153 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).

 

In track testing, the Prius V went from zero to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds: notably slower than rivals like the aforementioned Jetta wagon (8.8 seconds) and C-Max (8.1 seconds). Fuel economy is still excellent, though, at 44 mpg city/40 mpg highway and 42 mpg combined.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

Every 2013 Toyota Prius V comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Optional equipment includes a pre-collision Toyota Lease Safety system and Toyota's Toyota Lease Safety Connect telematics system (which includes emergency assistance and a stolen-vehicle locator). In brake testing, the Prius V stopped from 60 mph in 129 feet, which is a bit longer than average.

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Toyota Lease Safety gave the Prius V its highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

User-friendliness is the prevailing theme within the Prius V's cabin. Controls are large and clearly labeled, and the shift lever is placed within easy reach, high on the center stack near the steering wheel. As such, this wagon is a good match for drivers with arthritis or other mobility challenges. Sadly, taller drivers still have to contend with a steering wheel that's placed too far away. There's a telescoping column, but it doesn't extend nearly far enough.

 

While the cabin may excel at being functional, it's not especially pleasing to look at. As with the Prius hatchback, the Prius V's cabin design is plainer and less ambitious than what you'll find in the competition. Materials quality is inconsistent; while some plastics are nicely grained, others look flimsy and low-budget. On the plus side, storage opportunities abound within the cabin. For example, there's a huge two-tiered glovebox that swallows more than just an owner's manual, and there's a large center console bin along with an open nook beneath the center stack.

 

There's no shortage of tech amenities either. Toyota's Entune -- which offers Bing search engine functionality, Pandora Internet radio, MovieTickets.com and real-time traffic, weather and fuel price information -- is standard on Three and Five models. All Prius V models come with Bluetooth connectivity and music streaming.

 

A reclining backseat slides fore and aft, allowing you to choose between limolike legroom and expansive cargo capacity. Luggage capacity logs in at a very generous 34.3 cubic feet. Total cargo capacity is also excellent. With 67.3 cubic feet available with the rear seats down, the Prius V rivals most small crossover SUVs.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

Relative to the Prius hatchback, the 2013 Toyota Prius V feels more substantial and stable on the road; you can thank its heavier curb weight for this. The ride is quite smooth and comfortable, and while acceleration is far from brisk, the wagon gets up to speed in an acceptable manner. A Power mode is available to provide an extra boost during highway merging or when traveling up steep gradients. There's also an extra-frugal Eco mode, which is fine in city travel, but its sluggish response makes it unsuitable for the highway. The electric steering is rather numb, but its light effort makes the 2013 Toyota Prius V easy to maneuver in parking lots.

Lease a Toyota Prius Plug-In

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid lives halfway between a full electric car and a traditional hybrid. Relative to the regular Prius, the Plug-in can travel farther on full electric propulsion, thus improving fuel economy. And since it still has a gas-burning engine, it doesn't come burdened with the abbreviated range that can make piloting something like a full-electric Nissan Leaf such a nail-biting experience over longer journeys.

 

In a nutshell, the Prius Plug-in is a standard Prius with recharge-at-home capability and a lithium-ion battery pack that offers higher capacity and improved efficiency over the nickel-metal hydride array in the standard Prius. You'll only get about 10-15 miles before the electrons run out, but the Plug-in charges quickly -- about three hours on a standard 120-volt home outlet, or half that time on a larger 240-volt outlet.

 

This plug-in Toyota also comes with benefits immediately familiar to anyone who has spent time in the standard Prius hybrid. The cabin is unfailingly spacious, graciously accommodating passengers and cargo of most heights and sizes. On the road, the Prius Plug-in offers a comfortable, virtually noise-free driving experience and a robust list of standard features. But like the regular Prius, the Plug-in also suffers from disappointing interior materials and an awkward driving position.

 

The alternatives within the plug-in hybrid segment continue to expand, and every choice is a strong one. The 2013 Chevrolet Volt travels much farther on pure electric power (EPA rated at 38 miles) than the Prius, but it's more expensive. Ford offers the C-Max Energi (similar in price to the Toyota) and the handsome Fusion Energi (similar in price to the Volt); both are worth a measured look. Considering all of these models is wise, but given the huge success of the regular Prius, it's a safe bet that the Prius Plug-in will work out well for you.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in is available in Base and Advanced body styles.

 

Standard equipment on the base model includes 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED taillights, keyless entry/ignition, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, automatic climate control, heated front seats and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat. Electronic features include Bluetooth (phone and audio streaming), a back-up camera, a navigation system, voice recognition and a six-speaker sound system featuring a touchscreen display, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB interface and satellite and HD radio. Toyota's Entune smartphone and Web integration system is also standard.

 

The Prius Plug-in Advanced adds automatic LED headlights, foglamps, unique exterior styling treatment, adaptive cruise control, upgraded seat upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a head-up display, more Entune capabilities and a premium eight-speaker JBL sound system with a larger touchscreen display.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a pair of electric motors/generators. Together they send 134 horsepower to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT). The battery pack features advanced lithium-ion technology and has more capacity (4.4 kWh) than that in the regular Prius, though total capacity is still much less than that of the Volt and Nissan Leaf.

 

In Edmunds testing, a Prius Plug-in accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.9 seconds, about the same time as the regular Prius. In normal driving, this Prius can make it about 15 miles on battery power alone. After the all-electric range is used up, the EPA says the Prius Plug-in is good for 50 mpg combined (51 city/49 highway).

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid's standard Toyota Lease Safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags, a back-up camera and hill start assist. A pre-collision warning system is standard on Advanced models.

 

In Edmunds brake testing, a Prius Plug-in stopped from 60 mph in 127 feet. That's an average result for the class, but 7 feet longer than the conventional (and lighter) Prius hybrid.

 

The Prius Plug-in hybrid received an overall rating of four out of five stars in government crash testing, with four stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in features controls that are easy to read and use. Climate and audio controls arc out toward the driver in a "floating console" configuration that offers a storage space underneath. This vaguely futuristic design supports the theme suggested by the car's cutting-edge hybrid technology and also maximizes cabin space. The digital instrument panel also features a floating layer that displays audio, temperature and trip computer information when the driver touches those controls on the steering wheel, minimizing eye movement. Some drivers might find the overall design a bit too busy-looking, however.

 

Included is Toyota's Entune suite of smartphone-connected services, which features amenities like the Bing search engine; Pandora streaming radio; traffic reporting, sports and stock information; and the ability to reserve movie tickets or a table at a restaurant on the go.

 

Inferior interior quality is the Prius Plug-in's most glaring weakness, however. The dash and door panel plastics are harder and cheaper than those in similarly priced cars, although green-minded consumers will appreciate that the plant-derived materials require less petroleum in their production. For many buyers, though, this concession to eco-consciousness won't mean much, especially when competitors offer much nicer interiors.

 

Like the standard Prius, the plug-in is a segment leader in versatility. The hatchback body style provides 21.6 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats up, and rear seat passengers enjoy plenty of legroom. Taller drivers still have to contend with a steering wheel that's placed too far away despite a telescoping column, as it doesn't extend nearly far enough.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in drives essentially the same as the regular Prius. This means smooth performance whether in pure electric or standard hybrid mode as well as a supple, quiet ride around town and while cruising on the freeways. Acceleration is on par for a hybrid: far from quick, but plenty for most drivers and situations.

 

Handling is also similar to the regular Prius in that, although the chassis feels competent enough, the low-rolling-resistance tires (which help optimize fuel economy) and the rather conservative stability control system conspire to quash any attempt at spirited cornering. In fairness, this will likely be a non-issue for the typical buyer, who will appreciate this Prius' easy driving nature, daily-driver comfort and amazing fuel economy more than ultimate handling capabilities.

 

Lease a Toyota RAV4

 

In just half a decade, crossover SUVs have become the go-to choice among car buyers. It's no accident; the full-size SUV craze of the late '90s and early 2000s addicted most American drivers to cavernous cargo spaces, elevated driving positions and eye-watering gasoline bills. The Toyota RAV4 was among the first models to downsize that addiction into a manageable package.

 

With the redesigned 2013 Toyota RAV4, the fourth generation of the popular crossover, the automaker has given and also taken away. Notably, the RAV4 no longer offers an optional V6. Although the burly six-cylinder could catapult the mild grocery getter to 60 mph in quick fashion, Toyota reports that the vast majority of buyers didn't want to pay the premium for it and stuck with the base four-cylinder engine. For 2013, the RAV4 comes with a four-cylinder only. Toyota's compact crossover also dispenses with a third-row seat, another option that the automaker says few shoppers deemed important.

 

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 does, however, get a six-speed transmission to replace the old four-speed automatic. It improves fuel economy and makes the crossover more responsive during merging and passing maneuvers.

 

Further, the RAV's styling is more sculpted and aggressive this year. Its physical dimensions have barely changed, though, as the old RAV4 already had plenty of interior room. One major upgrade is the debut of a roof-hinged liftgate, which replaces the old side-hinged gate that swung out to the right and hindered curbside loading. Even better, the spare tire is now housed under the cargo floor, rather than on the tailgate, so the latter isn't as heavy as in years past.

 

Compact crossover SUVs are quickly replacing midsize sedans as the family car of choice, so this redesign of the 2013 Toyota RAV4 could not have come soon enough. The small crossover class is full of interesting choices, including the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Mazda CX-5. Compared to these models, the RAV4 strikes us as middle-of-the road: It has no major faults but also doesn't stand out for its style, performance or interior accommodations. But with its ample cargo capacity, improved fuel economy and agreeable ride quality, the new RAV4 is definitely one to try.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 is a five-passenger compact crossover offered in three main trim levels: LE, XLE and Limited. The LE comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, power folding mirrors, rear privacy glass, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split and reclining second-row seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with 6-inch touchscreen, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

 

The XLE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated side mirrors, roof rails, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control and sportier front seats. An optional package further adds a navigation system, Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system, satellite radio, HD radio and voice controls.

 

The top-level Limited comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, a height-adjustable power liftgate, keyless entry/ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with memory settings, heated front seats and premium synthetic leather upholstery. The navigation system with Entune is available and can be bundled with a premium 11-speaker JBL audio system.

 

Lease a Toyota Powertrains and Performance

 

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard, and the RAV4 is available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

 

In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive Toyota RAV4 needed 9.1 seconds to hit 60 mph, an average time for this segment. The front-drive RAV4 returns an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city/31 mpg highway/26 combined, which is very good for a small crossover. The all-wheel-drive model, meanwhile, achieves 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

 

Toyota Lease Safety

 

Antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, whiplash-reducing front head restraints, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags come standard on every 2013 Toyota RAV4. A driver knee airbag is also standard. Blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert systems are optional on the Limited trim.

 

In Edmunds brake testing, the RAV4 stopped from 60 mph in 127 feet, which is just a tad longer than average. Regarding Insurance Institute For Highway Toyota Lease Safety crash tests, the new RAV4 earned a top score of "Good" for its protection of occupants in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The RAV earned a Poor rating (the lowest) in the agency's new small-overlap frontal-offset crash test (in which a smaller portion of the vehicle's front bumper strikes a barrier). Several competing small SUVs also received a low rating in this test. The government gave the Toyota four out of five stars for overall protection, with four stars for total frontal protection and five stars for total side crash protection.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Leasing Toyota

 

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 features a new interior design that shares motifs with the current Camry and Avalon. Pronounced angles and lines form a more streamlined and modern-looking dash. Quality has improved, too, and some of the materials are nicer than what you'll find in the Camry. Overall, though, the RAV's design and materials are average for the compact crossover class. The cupholder count is adequate in the Toyota RAV4, but there aren't as many useful storage slots as in the CR-V.

 

The RAV4's optional navigation system includes Entune, a suite of smartphone-connected services that includes the Bing search engine, Pandora streaming radio and real-time traffic, sports and stock information. Getting started with Entune can be a hassle, though, since you have to install an app on your phone and register for an account, plus you always need an active data connection to use it. The touchscreen interface has straightforward menus, but it's sometimes unresponsive to user touch. On the upside, all the conventional controls in the 2013 RAV4 are easy to use.

 

Rear-seat passenger comfort in the 2013 Toyota RAV4 is hampered slightly by a low-mounted backseat, but space is nevertheless abundant enough for even taller adults. We also like how the seat reclines to an impressive degree.

 

The cargo bay measures 38.4 cubic feet and opens up to a generous 73.3 cubes when the second row is folded: one of the largest capacities in the class. There's also a payoff for that low-mounted rear seat: a very flat floor and low load-in height, both of which help minimize the strain of loading large items or even a couple of large dogs. The RAV4 finally gains a roof-hinged liftgate for 2014; it's power-operated and height-adjustable on the Limited.

 

Driving Impressions Leasing Toyota

 

Although we miss the old RAV4's V6, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder is adequately powerful for most tasks and returns good fuel economy for this class. The new six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but if you tend to drive assertively, you'll find it slow to downshift in passing situations. Additionally, when climbing steady mountain grades, we've observed that the transmission has a tendency to hunt between gears (rather than picking one gear and sticking with it). Both of these issues are a consequence of Toyota's efforts to tune the drivetrain for maximum gas mileage.

 

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 handles better than before and feels more substantial, refined and comfortable when cruising down the highway. A potential exception is the Limited model, which can get jittery on rough or broken pavement due to its big 18-inch wheels. In spite of that, the cabin remains very quiet, making Toyota's crossover a good option for families with young children who sleep in the car.

 

More demanding drivers will likely find the 2013 RAV4 less enjoyable to drive than the Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5. It lacks the responsive steering and sure-footed suspension tuning that make those models feel decidedly more carlike. Should you need to venture off the beaten path, however, the Toyota RAV4's available all-wheel-drive system quickly applies power where it's needed for optimum traction and actually gives it a decent amount of off-road ability.