Toyota Motors has a huge presence in the local market and its reach and sales are good through the various categories of motor vehicles popular here.
You could be fooled into thinking that the Land Cruiser is its most popular vehicle because of its overwhelming presence and visibility on Doha’s streets.
But Toyota owes its global ascendancy to its bread-and-butter models which are globally known and account for most of its sales.
Toyota’s sedans are the drivers of its motoring success. These vehicles established the firm as the global leader in automotive sales and technology that it is today.
They provide the numbers and their popularity has made the firm a household name with a bullet-proof reputation for quality and delivering satisfaction.
Toyota arranged a drive for journalists of all its sedans presently being sold in Doha. The cars were driven in convoy to Mesaieed and back.
The line- up included: The Aurion, Avalon, Corolla, Camry, Yaris and the Zelas.
The Aurion, Avalon and the Zelas are different from the rest of the pack because they cannot be called compact or budget cars. All three sell for prices approaching or exceeding QR100,000.
The Aurion and Avalon are full-size cars which fit into the touring car bracket with the interior size and large displacement six-cylinder engines that typify that category of vehicles designed for long effortless cruising at high.
The Zelas marks the introduction of a car in the sporting segment for Toyota in Qatar.
The Zelas immediately stood out for its sporty nature. With an in-line four cylinder engine displacing 2.5 litres and pumping out 178HP, this motor was the stand out vehicle because of its sporty coupe layout and performance. The engine showed real appetite for an outright flogging but needed a freeway to really show its true colours.
The coupe layout with two doors and tight passenger space in the back and boot make it a difficult choice for a family but as a second car to complement a SUV or a larger car it will be ideal choice especially if one is looking for a fast car which doesn’t break the bank.
The Corolla never fails to impress. Despite being around for so long and being through several revamps it remains the car of choice for people who are buying their first car or even those who have already been through a few other vehicles.
The Corolla is available in two engines, 1.6-litre Xli and 1.8 Xli and GLi. They deliver 121HP and 134HP respectively.
The Camry continues to impress with its size, reliable engine and cruising ability. The new 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivers better performance and fuel economy. The car has come to be known for comfort and quietness.
Engine power for the Camry has been boosted by 15% and torque by 8%.
The Yaris was first launched in Europe in 1999. It was the 2000 European ‘Car of the Year’ and is Toyota’s best-selling model in Europe. Yaris is available in sedan and hatchback. It is powered by a 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre engine delivering 84HP and 107HP.
The 2012 Aurion is available with 3.5-litre engine delivering 268HP and a six-speed sequential automatic transmission. A new feature the Eco Meter allows drivers to recognise when they are driving in a efficient and economical manner.
The Avalon is powered by a 24-valve, 3.5-litre V6 that produces 268HP.
For safety the car uses extensively tested energy absorbing structures, protective side impact beams and overhead structure.
Overall from the cars reviewed, the budget Yaris, the compact Corolla and the larger Camry are the obvious choices for most customers because of the balance between power and economy.