Is Toyota’s Reliability Just A Myth?

We’ve done a bit of thinking over the last few weeks here at Kashy and we think we’ve almost come to the answer for an unpopular question that nobody was asking.

See, in the old days certain things were just a given. Heinz made 57 types of sauce, summer would be hot but bearable and Toyota’s were the best car getting around. However, just like the climate, things seem to be changing.

For all we can figure, Toyota (while still capable of making a very good car) seems to have fallen off the reliability wagon in the last few years. With the new Hilux offering owners timing chain and DPF issues and the 79 series Landcruiser being fairly well known as the dud off the genus (pending how the 300 series goes).

But what made Toyota such famously reliable cars in the first place?

Well, unlike many other companies, Toyota has leaned into their beige typeface almost since the day of founding by following the theory of “the Toyota way”. This guiding set of principles includes thing like:

1. Making decisions based on a long term outlook;

2. Having the right amount of resources for building any vehicle and not overburdening staff;

3. Using only reliable and tested technologies and;

4. Constantly learn and improve from mistakes.

These principles truly laid the groundwork at the founding for Toyota to be one of the biggest car companies in the world and are the reason we have (as a people) have such a strong view of Toyota as a car brand.

In fact, these principles lead to some truly great engines and cars as well. From the Corolla and Landcruiser to the 4AGE, 2JZ and 1UZ. However, over the last couple of decades a lot has changed in the automotive industry.

Between the constant push for more and more powerful cars while always striving to reduce emissions, many modern engines are becoming more and more stressed straight from the factory. While a sporty Corolla from the 80’s might be expected to make 90hp and get 9L/100km, new Corolla’s are expected to make roughly 300hp and get close to 6L/100km.

In addition, the introduction of more and more technology into cars has created an ever increasing potential for stuff to just go wrong. With the addition of radar cruise, full hybrid capability, Apple car play and more, there’s enough technology in most modern cars to easily outclass a smart-home.

So is Toyota still a reliable car?

Well, kind of yes and kind of no. The short answer is that pushing for more power, more technology, more economy and more of everything is stressing vehicle systems more while introducing more failure points than ever before.

While Toyota cars are definitely still reliable, they definitely aren’t as good as they once were which is to be expected. Are they better than a lot of manufacturers? Most definitely however, we’d just as soon have a Hyundai instead for reliability and the Isuzu utes far outclass the current generation Hilux.

If you have any questions about this blog post, would like a second opinion from a mechanic or would like to find an honest mechanic in Brisbane, check out Kashy here.

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Lachlan @ Kashy

Lachlan @ Kashy

A blog from an avid auto enthusiast and our Kashy head mechanic. We try to answer your questions about cars and the automotive industry in Australia.