All-New Capstone Grade Elevates 2022 Toyota Tundra to New Heights

January 11, 2022

2022 Toyota Tundra
  • Loaded Capstone Grade Offers Host of Standard Premium Features
  • Standard i-FORCE MAX Powertrain Produces 437 hp, 583 lb.-ft.
  • Stylish 22-inch Chrome Wheels Come Standard
  • Semi-Aniline Leather-Trimmed Seats Accent Plush Interior
  • Standard Power Running Boards and BedStep®, 10-inch Color Head-Up Display, and Towing Technology Package

PLANO, Texas (Jan. 11, 2021) – With enthusiasm for the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra already at a fever pitch, full-sized trucks now have a new entry at the upper echelon of the segment. The new Tundra Capstone grade provides a premium collection of features and upgrades for those looking to elevate their truck experience. As the new halo grade in the Tundra lineup, Capstone builds on the already impressive features of Toyota’s all-new full-sized truck. Tundra Capstone will be arriving at dealerships this spring.

Capstone: Loaded with Luxury

The new flagship of the Tundra lineup seamlessly crafts together premium, plush and power into an exceptionally loaded package. Eyes will certainly be drawn to the largest wheels ever offered on Tundra thanks to the standard 22-inch chrome rims. At its ruggedly handsome front, Capstone’s unique grille features a color-keyed outer frame and a chrome inner mesh pattern complemented with subtle-yet-eye-catching chrome mirror caps, chrome “TUNDRA” tailgate inserts and chrome trim accents.

Automatic running boards welcome everyone into the premium cabin experience that is no doubt highlighted by standard semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats. Not only are the seats luxury-grade, but they also tout stylish perforation and a Capstone-only black-and-white color combination. The center console and passenger-side dash are accented with authentic Dark American Walnut with an open-pore finish that highlights the wood grain. On the dash the Walnut inlay surrounds a Capstone logo which illuminates when the doors are opened. Speaking of letting a little light in, a panoramic moonroof is standard on Tundra Capstone. To help provide an even quieter cabin, Capstone is the only Tundra grade to feature acoustic glass on the front doors for more exterior sound deadening.

Drivers will appreciate the leather-trimmed heated steering wheel and large 12.3-inch digital Multi-Informational Display. The standard 10-inch color Head-Up Display provides an option that drivers can keep eyes in line with the road ahead.

The large, 14-inch multimedia touchscreen display comes standard on Capstone, controlling the all-new Toyota Audio Multimedia system designed and engineered by Toyota’s Texas-based Connected Technologies team. The new system offers an improved user experience thanks to new sight, touch and voice activation. With Intelligent Assistant available through Drive Connect*, simple phrases like “Hey Toyota” awakens the system for voice-activated commands to search for directions, find Places of Interest (POI), adjust audio controls, change the cabin temperatures and more. The cloud-based native navigation system, aptly named Cloud Navigation, offered through Drive Connect allows for real-time Over the Air updates for mapping and POI, and Google POI data is integrated to ensure up-to-date search capability. The new system also supports standard wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility.

The new Toyota Audio Multimedia allows for simultaneous dual Bluetooth phone connectivity. A Wi-Fi Connect subscription offers 4G connectivity for up to five devices by turning Tundra into an AT&T Hotspot* and also the ability to link your separate Apple Music® and Amazon Music subscriptions to the vehicle with Integrated Streaming. Speaking of audio, Capstone offers an impressive 12-speaker JBL Premium Audio system for auditory delight.

For ease of entry and exit, Capstone offers standard power running boards, and it also boasts a standard power bed step for ease of entry in the truck bed. Complementing the Tundra’s new multilink rear suspension system, Capstone offers available Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and load-leveling rear height control air suspension.

The 2022 Capstone grade will be offered in one body configuration: CrewMax with a 5.5-foot bed. Available colors include Wind Chill Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic, Supersonic Red and Blueprint.

Plush, But Still Tough

An elevated cabin and loaded-to-the-gills truck sitting on 22s doesn’t mean performance and toughness need to be sacrificed. Capstone is powered by the impressive new i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain that produces 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft. of torque. i-FORCE MAX relies on a twin-turbo V6 engine but features a unique motor generator within the bell housing between the engine and 10-speed automatic transmission designed to provide maximum performance and maximum efficiency.

Resting on a new fully boxed, high-strength-steel frame, Capstone has a maximum towing capacity of 10,340 pounds. During towing applications, the hybrid system provides additional power and torque, while during city driving it focuses on a quiet ride with improved efficiency. For highway driving, responsive linear power delivery is the name of the game, and off-highway exploration is further enhanced thanks to peak torque performance being achieved early in the RPM range.

The new Sheet-Molded Compound (SMC) bed construction features reinforced aluminum cross members under the bed and offers added protection against dents, impact dings and rust compared to traditional steel decks. Maximum payload for Capstone is 1,485 pounds.

For added cushion for the crew, the cabin is mounted to the frame with hydraulic cab mounts. Drive Mode Select offers the driver the ability to select a driving mode depending upon preference, and standard features include settings for Eco, Normal and Sport. With available Load-Leveling Rear Height Control Air Suspension and Adaptive Variable Suspension settings expand to include Comfort, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom. For example, using the SPORT or SPORT+ settings i-FORCE MAX makes use of the electric motor’s instantaneous responsiveness. While the electric motor does the bulk of the work at lower speeds, once above 18 mph the gasoline engine assumes primary operation for excellent performance in the mid- and high-speed range. When in TOW/HAUL mode, the i-FORCE MAX system is constantly in tandem operation to provide impressive acceleration and torque for towing needs.

The view around this great looking truck is improved as well due to Tundra’s plethora of cameras, displaying multiple exterior angles that are viewable from the available 14-inch touchscreen or the standard Digital Display Rearview Mirror. Whether pulling into a parking spot or trailering, drivers will appreciate Panoramic View Monitor that displays a top-down view of the truck. Views include the rear truck bed to check on cargo, a rear split view to show what’s nearby on each side of the trailer and a hitch view to assist with trailer connecting.

The Towing Technology Package comes standard on Capstone, and it includes Trailer Back Guidance, which aids in overall maneuvering of trailers, as well as the Straight Path Assist feature, which is designed to ensure your truck and trailer will back up in a straight line. The available 360-degree cameras aid with visibility and tough-to-see areas around the truck and trailer. When connected with Toyota’s integrated trailer brake controller, the Blind Spot Monitor can recognize blind spots for not just the truck but the trailer as well.

Toyota Safety Sense

Capstone, like all Tundra grades, comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5, Toyota’s active safety system. It includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection that features multiple enhancements over the previous generation, including not only detecting the vehicle ahead but also a pedestrian in low light, bicyclist in daytime, an oncoming vehicle and a pedestrian at intersections when making a turn. At intersections, the system is designed to detect an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian when performing a left-hand turn and provide audio/visual alerts and automatic braking in certain conditions. Emergency steering assist is an additional function designed to detect pedestrians and stabilize the driver’s emergency evasive steering maneuvers and help prevent lane departure.

Tundra will be equipped with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). Lane Departure Alert is designed to notify the driver via audible alert if it senses the vehicle is leaving the lane without engaging a turn signal. When DRCC is set and engaged, Lane Tracing Assist is designed to assist the driver by providing a slight steering force to help center the vehicle in its lane using visible lane markers or a preceding vehicle.

Automatic High Beams are designed to detect preceding or oncoming vehicles and automatically switch between high beam and low beam headlights. Road Sign Assist is designed to recognize certain road sign information using a forward-facing camera and display them on the multi-information display (MID).

Toyota’s Rear Seat Reminder comes standard on Capstone and all 2022 Tundras. The feature can note whether a rear door was opened within 10 minutes of the vehicle being turned on, or at any time after the vehicle has been turned on, with a reminder message in the instrument cluster after the engine is turned off, accompanied by multitone chimes.

In addition to the TSS 2.5 system, other standard safety features include Blind Spot Monitor which is designed to help detect and warn you of vehicles approaching or positioned in the adjacent lanes. Rear Cross Traffic Alert can offer added peace of mind by helping to detect vehicles approaching from either side while backing out and alerting you with a visual and audible warning. Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking is designed to implement brake control when there’s a possibility of a collision with a stationary object, approaching vehicle or while parking.

Limited Warranty and ToyotaCare

Toyota’s 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. Toyota dealers have complete details on the limited warranty. Tundra also comes with ToyotaCare, a plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

*Certain features include a trial period at no extra cost upon original date of new vehicle purchase or lease. After the trial period ends, a paid subscription is required. More detail on trial periods and subscription-based features can be found at

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands plus our 1,800 dealerships.

Toyota has created a tremendous value chain and directly employs more than 47,000 in North America. The company has contributed world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 40 million cars and trucks at our 15 manufacturing plants, including our joint venture in Alabama that began production in 2021.

Through the Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic, and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible.

For more information about Toyota, visit

2020 Chevrolet Corvette

For 2020, the Corvette has undergone the most radical redesign in its 67-year history. Chevrolet’s engineers decided a new mid-engine layout was the way to go for its inherent advantages in weight distribution. Risky? Yes. But the result is hugely impressive. In terms of performance, the Corvette equals or outshines cars costing twice to three times as much. The new 6.2-liter V8 and dual-clutch automatic transmission are a formidable combo on the track but offer plenty of oomph and smooth operation in nearly any condition. The 2020 Corvette also imparts more information about its handling balance and grip, thereby giving its driver more confidence in taking the car up to its handling limits.

       As with past Corvettes, the C8 is practical for both daily driving and long trips. There’s space for the coupe’s removable targa roof panel top in the rear, and the lack of an engine up front means there’s a small frunk in the nose. The new interior has a sharp, driver-focused design and fine materials throughout. A Corvette convertible is on its way too.

       It’s stupid fast, it looks exotic and it hammers home what the Chevy’s sports car has always done: Give you maximum performance at a reasonable price. Even in a class full of impressive performance cars, the Corvette stands out. In Edmunds testing, using launch control rocketed our Z51 test car from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and cleared the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds at more than 120 mph. Both times are very quick. Braking performance is impressive, but that’s largely down to the narrow front tires. We recorded panic stops from 60 mph in 105 feet, which is still a good number, and noted the Corvette’s stability and excellent pedal feel. Steering and handling are both much improved. Skid pad testing showed the chassis’ excellent balance with an eye-opening 1.09g, which is a number you’d expect from much more expensive performance cars. Likewise, the new eight-speed automatic transmission impresses with its smooth and quick shifts.

       The new Corvette is one of the more comfortable cars in its class. Our test car had the optional MagneRide adaptive suspension. We found that it offers excellent compliance over a variety of road surfaces and smooths out bumps that would likely upset other sports cars. Adding to the comfort is the relative lack of wind and engine noise, though tire noise can be prominent on rough road surfaces.

       The climate system provides good airflow from its stylish vents. Maybe just as striking as the exterior design, the Corvette’s interior is certainly eye-catching. Getting in and out of the Corvette was a little difficult.  This predicament is exacerbated in tight parking situations. But buyers will likely figure out a way and won’t be too bothered. The compromised rear visibility will take some getting used to as well. Chevy added a camera-based rearview mirror display to help, but the blind spots created by the rear pillars are still significant.

       The Corvette benefits from Chevrolet’s newest infotainment system. The graphics are crisp and modern, and the touchscreen’s proximity to the driver makes it easy to operate. As small as the interior is, the optional 14-speaker Bose audio system manages to produce a decent soundstage with plenty of power. The front trunk can hold a couple of grocery bags, and the rear is big enough for two golf bags. Rear storage all but disappears, however, when you store the Corvette’s removable roof panel in the trunk. Corvette returned 20.1 mpg, which is commendable given that some hard driving was done.

2021 Lincoln Navigator

Heres a Lincoln Tease…


Capable of producing 450 horsepower* and 510 lb.-ft. of torque,* the twin-turbocharged 3.5L engine in the Navigator** is a true powerhouse. When paired with five standard, selectable Lincoln Drive Modes, from Conserve to Excite, the Lincoln Navigator performs in a way that matches both your mood and the road. A sixth available drive mode—Slow Climb—is also available with the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package on 4×4 models.


We spent a great deal of time where you spend your time — inside. Every surface and space inside the Lincoln Navigator is optimized to deliver an immense level of comfort, not to mention best-in-class second-row leg room* when the second-row seats are in their full rearward position. Our versatile cabin features one-touch tilt-and-slide second-row seats and a power-reclining third row that show a unified approach to comfort, space and style for all.


With standard Lincoln Connect,™* you and your passengers can enjoy seamless connectivity. All models feature a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that enables up to 10 devices to be connected at the same time. Plus, with the embedded modem, you can use the Lincoln Way™ app to its fullest and even keep track of your Wi-Fi data usage. Whether in the vehicle or up to 50 feet away, you can access the hotspot and make lasting connections.

2020 Dodge SRT Hellcat

sensible car for sensible drivers. Instead, it’s for drivers who want a car that looks cool, makes cool noises, goes obscenely fast and comes in colors such as Go Mango, Plum Crazy, TorRed and White Knuckle. If you’re looking for something state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient, refined and anonymously styled, the Charger is not your car.

   It is practical, though. Four doors, a roomy cabin, and a raft of safety features make the Charger a legitimate choice for family duty. A broad range of standard and optional creature comforts let you tailor the Charger to taste, while the car’s Uconnect infotainment interface remains one of the best around. It’s even available with all-wheel drive, which helps bolster this performance sedan’s usability in inclement weather.

 Dodge has made a few updates as well. The SRT Hellcat gets a new grille and features to help improve drag-racing performance, including a line lock, a launch assist feature, torque reserve, and after-run chiller. Below that, the SRT R/T Scat Pack gets new styling options and available adaptive suspension dampers. Charger GT and R/T models receive a host of chassis and electronic upgrades, including a performance suspension, a new rear axle ratio and recalibrated steering.

   These changes help keep the Charger fresh. The latest generation has seemingly been around since 2011, yet it’s still one of our favorite big sedans. It’s the only one that blends classic hot-rod

City MPG: 15.  Hwy MPG: 25

Seats 5

Price – $69,995.00

2020 Acura TLX Sedan

Out of what we have to say here about the 2020 Acura TLX comes with qualifiers. Whether this is a good thing or bad thing largely relates to the type of sedan you want. The TLX bridges the gap between mainstream and luxury sedans. It starts under the hood with a choice of either a four- or a six-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder isn’t inspiring, but it’s the one we’d pick. While the V6 generates smooth power, and even sounds great doing so, it comes lashed to a nine-speed transmission that often fumbles around for the right gear. Inside, the TLX’s cabin is trimmed in quality materials and upholstery. It’s not quite the rich premium leather you might find in an Audi, Mercedes, or Volvo, but it’s assembled well. A roomy back seat and a host of standard infotainment and tech features, including standard driver aids such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, round out the TLX’s appeal. There’s no denying that paying more gets you a noticeably nicer sedan such as the 3 Series or the C-Class. Alternately, loaded versions of our top-rated sedans such as the Honda Accord and Mazda 6 cost less than the TLX yet provide essentially the same qualities.   

City MPG: 23.  Hwy MPG: 33.

Seats 5. 

Price: $33,000.00 – $38,950.00   ##

2021 Mercedes Benz S Class


This teaser photo from Mercedes-Benz doesn’t mark the first time we’ve seen the new generation of the S-class flagship, given that leaked photos of the new model appeared on Instagram a few weeks ago. But this is the first time that Mercedes is officially sharing some real information about the new S-class, expected to be called W223.

    The official photo confirms that the the new S-class’s front end looks stately and appropriately upscale, but hardly a departure from the current S-class in terms of design. This new model seems to be an evolutionary step forward in terms of its exterior styling, although bigger changes are coming inside. A huge touchscreen display dominates the dashboard and the entire interior layout looks far more modern than before.

     Mercedes says that the new S-class will put an emphasis on artificial intelligence, meaning it’s likely to debut a more advanced version of the Hey Mercedes virtual assistant and voice-command system.

      Expect the new S-class to be powered by a range of inline-six and V-8 engines, all with some sort of electric assistance. High-powered AMG models will be part of the lineup eventually. Look for more information to come as Mercedes prepares to debut the new generation of the S-class during the second half of this year.

2020 Hyundai Veloster

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster remains one of the most unique cars on sale today. Its because not many cars come with three side doors. The answer would be one: the Veloster. It has an asymmetrical three-door setup with one door on the driver’s side and two on the passengers. That quirky door arrangement improves the practicality of this small hatchback by providing better access to the rear seats compared to a regular coupe. It is fun and playful driving characteristics that you expect from a small performance coupe.

       The base 147-horsepower 2.0-liter engine doesn’t exactly get the heart pumping and can feel strained just merging onto freeways. Thankfully, the optional turbocharged 1.6-liter engine (201 hp) makes the Veloster feel a lot sportier. Or if you want serious performance from a small car, look no further than the Veloster N In turns and corners, there’s only a hint of body roll, and the R-Spec’s high-performance tires help it instantly change directions. The R-Spec comes only with a manual transmission, but the dual-clutch automatic in other turbocharged Velosters responds quickly to paddle-shifted gear changes. The Veloster is sportier than most compact cars, and that means a fundamentally stiff suspension. Even so, the Veloster remains comfortable for driving around town or highway cruising. The ride is composed and stable, and the suspension takes the edge off larger bumps, but the car’s short wheelbase makes it more sensitive to choppy roads.

       The R-Spec’s seats are nicely shaped, offering ample support and side bolstering and plenty of adjustability. Some drivers will lament that the seats lack adjustable lumbar, but you can get this feature in Turbo and Turbo Ultimate models. The cabin can get noisy at highway speeds, especially when the car is equipped with high-performance tires.

       The Veloster’s interior is intelligently designed and packaged. It makes good use of available space afforded by the car’s funky, asymmetrical styling. The long driver’s door makes it tricky to get in or out in tight spaces, but shorter doors make it easier on the passenger side. There’s surprisingly ample front and rear space inside the car, and most adults can sit in the rear seat without complaint, but limited headroom might annoy taller riders.

       Fundamentally, the Veloster is a driver’s car, and the driving position is appropriately low and sporty. The controls are logically grouped and placed close at hand. And overall visibility is good, but the massive rear pillars translate to large blind spots. Navigation is available with the Turbo Ultimate trim. It’s a basic system but it’s clear and easy to use.

       The Veloster comes with an array of USB and 12-volt charging and data connections, and some trims offer a wireless charging pad. Voice commands are limited to a handful of functions, but the system responds well, even to some more natural phrases. Driver aids are sprinkled throughout the lineup, but we learned they don’t always respond accurately after experiencing some false emergency-braking episodes.

       The Veloster’s trunk is surprisingly spacious at 19.9 cubic feet, although it relies on a low load floor to create much of that space. As a result, you’ll have to lift items somewhat high to clear the trunk opening. The cabin offers plenty of spaces to store drink bottles and personal items, including wide door pockets and a large center console. Rear passengers need to make do with cupholders and a small tray. The car seat anchors near the surface of the seats are clearly marked, but they’re tucked between the cushions and offer no special access. The top tethers are inconveniently located on the trunk floor. This car is not the best one to choose if you’re frequently installing and removing a car seat.

By Ella Patterson Member of The Texas Auto Writers Assoc. All PHOTOS FROM PROSPECTIVE AUTO MANUFACTURERS

2020 Kia Niro Ev

The 2020 Kia Niro EV is a fully electric version of, yes, Kia’s Niro. Kia also sells the Niro as a regular hybrid as well as a plug-in hybrid, but the EV only uses electricity. For power, it uses a 64-kWh battery with a 201-horsepower electric motor that drives the front wheels. The result is both quick acceleration and an EPA-estimated range of 239 miles. That’s not quite as much as rivals such as the Chevrolet Bolt or Tesla Model 3 are capable of, but it’s still plenty for most EV drivers.

       There’s more to the Niro EV than just some impressive numbers. You’ll also like its roomy seating and impressive amount of technology and safety features. This is one of our top-ranked electric vehicles, and it’s worth checking out. Niro EV test car accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. That’s noticeably quicker than rival EVs such as the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, though the Tesla Model 3 is quicker still.

       Braking is smooth and consistent. The Niro offers partial one-pedal driving, but it won’t bring you to a complete stop unless you hold the steering paddle. The steering is direct but doesn’t translate much feedback from the road. When the Niro is pushed, the suspension keeps the car planted and composed. It’s fun to drive this car quickly, though the eco-oriented tires provide only modest amounts of grip. We like the Niro’s ride quality. It smooths out bumps in the road without being overly soft or bouncy. The front seats are well shaped and firm, but they don’t offer many adjustments. The dual-zone climate control works quickly and evenly, and the rear air vents are a welcome feature for passengers.

       The Niro EV is very quiet with little wind, tire or road noise coming into the cabin. At low speeds, the car emits a futuristic whirring sound that’s required to help alert pedestrians. It fades away above 20 mph. Kia nailed the Niro’s interior. The rear offers plenty of legroom and headroom and there’s quite a bit of open space up front. It’s also easy to get in and out of. The rear window is a bit small, which can hamper your view when backing up or trying to see what’s behind you in traffic. The Niro EV is easy to see out of. All the controls are easy to find and use too. The Niro’s infotainment system is functional and easy to use. There are EV-specific screens that show range, driving data and more, which is a welcome feature for eco-conscious drivers. Syncing a smartphone is easy, and the Niro quickly reconnects once you get back inside. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. There are one data and two charging USB ports and a wireless charging pad.

       The Niro comes standard with a full suite of advanced driver aids. I enjoyed the smooth and easy operation of the adaptive cruise control, especially in traffic. The Niro comes to total storage capacity. It is easy-to-load nature and rear seats that fold flat. Up front, you’ll find a lot of places to store your small items inside the cabin. All four doors feature pockets and water bottle holders. The main cupholders are adjustable and can be folded away to provide another bin or room for larger water bottles. Its easy to install child safety seats in the Niro EV thanks to the roomy rear seat and easily accessible seat anchors. Depending on your route and driving style, you’ll probably be able to clear 250 miles without much trouble.

2020 Dodge Ram 1500

Ram redesigned its 1500 truck last year, and it continues to be a top-rated truck. All Ram 1500 trims come with excellent driving dynamics, generously appointed interiors, and a unique rear suspension for the class. With it, the Ram glides past competitors with a ride quality more commonly associated with cars. Truck duties are not a problem either — the Ram 1500 offers comparable maximum ratings for both towing and payload capacity.

       New this year is a diesel-powered turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 known as the EcoDiesel. It also allows for a stout maximum tow rating of 12,560 pounds. The cabin is another clear win for the Ram. Highlights include comfortable seats, high-quality materials, and an easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system. Move through the options list and the Ram 1500 really begins to shine. Higher trims offer even greater levels of luxury. And the truck has unmatched storage solutions from a large, configurable center console to spacious in-floor bins and locking compartments built into the side of its bed.   There are no significant differences between the gasoline-powered 2020 Ram 1500 and our long-term Ram. Ram has a V8 engine and eight-speed transmission. They work so well together that we could recommend this truck on that basis alone. It’s strong, and it’s easy to drive in just about every situation. The same can largely be said for the newly reintroduced EcoDiesel powertrain — especially if you appreciate the pulling power of diesel torque.

       But there’s much more to the Ram than solid powertrain choices. I was impressed with their steady steering, confident braking, and secure handling. Ram’s decade-old decision to walk away from leaf springs and switch to a coil-spring rear suspension continues to pay dividends. We’re surprised no one has followed its lead.

       Wind and road noise are minimal, particularly in higher trim levels. Even the rumbling V8 provides only a soothing soundtrack unless you decide to open it up. The Ram 1500 expertly soaks up varying road imperfections and does it without the rough ride you’d normally expect from a light-duty pickup. The front seats are nicely shaped to provide comfort and support over long distances. The rear bench has an agreeable backrest angle, and it reclines. The Ram 1500’s has an effective climate control system, which offers rear center A/C vents even if you get three-across front seating.

       The Ram 1500 crew cab’s interior is a pleasing place to spend time. The doors open wide to make it easy to get in, and all four doors have their own chunky and well-positioned grab handles. For the driver, there are easy-to-reach controls and a commanding view of the road. Passengers in any seat will find plenty of headroom, legroom and shoulder room. The cabin is spacious, and the Ram has more rear legroom and foot clearance than competing trucks. Although the rearview mirror is a bit small, the Ram’s large windows and clever hood design help with outward visibility overall.

       Tow ratings, particularly for the diesel, are stout for this class. With the V8 or the diesel engine, most of the Ram 1500’s common configurations can pull more than 11,000 pounds. The optional RamBox locking bins built into the side of the bed are useful for storing tools or towing equipment. There’s also an optional two-way tailgate that can open downward or like doors. Interior storage space is another area where the truck shines. Its center console is enormous and highly configurable.

       The Ram can be ordered with hidden compartment spaces in the rear floor, underneath the rear seats or in the back cushions themselves. The rear seat folds up as one piece or in a 60/40-split on higher trims. The interior build quality available here leaves the competition miles behind, and pricing isn’t much different from what rival’s charge.

2020 Toyota Avalon

Fewer automakers offer the large class sedan because consumers are increasingly gravitating to SUVs and highly capable midsize sedans. Toyota, however, is one brand that’s still carrying the torch. The Toyota Avalon simultaneously exemplifies and upends the conventions of the class. This latest model has a V6 engine that delivers smooth acceleration. Though slightly larger than the Toyota Camry, the Avalon has acres of legroom for all occupants and a higher percentage of premium materials. The Avalon lends itself well to long road trips thanks to the supportive outboard seats and minimal wind noise. Toyota also brings performance into the picture. The Avalon, with nimble handling and quick steering, is surprisingly up to the challenge of zipping along a curvy road. There’s even a new TRD model this year with a sport-tuned suspension. If you want an uncompromising blend of  performance and comfort consider the top Touring trim. It’s equipped with adaptive dampers that soften the ride or sharpen handling at the press of a button — a rare feature for this type of vehicle. With a potent 301-horsepower V6 mated to a smooth-shifting transmission, the Avalon has power to get up and go. It is also pleasant to use in most scenarios, from long road trips and afternoon cruises to day-to-day commutes and short errands around town. Braking is consistent and never grabby, which lends to its comfort in daily use.

       The Avalon is surprising in its athleticism — its shockingly enjoyable handling and drivability. While not a sport sedan, this cruiser can handle twisty roads with relative ease for a vehicle of its size. Think about a mobile defensive end or tackle in football as opposed to an athletic linebacker.       Comfort is a strength for the Avalon and is probably the primary reason you’d consider such a large sedan. All seating positions give you ample cushioning and support for long drives or short cruises. The leather upholstery is very soft and gives the sensation that the Avalon is more upscale than its price suggests. The ride is cushioned and makes you feel shielded from harsh roads. The cabin is cozy due to the climate control’s quick heating and cooling. While there is no rattling or shaking inside the cabin, road noise is present at all times.

       The Avalon’s cabin is a nice place to be. It is roomy and user-friendly. There are even redundant key functions located on the steering wheel. Legroom is abundant, the driving position is superb due to its multitude and depth of adjustments, and visibility is great up front and modest to the sides and over the shoulder. Toyota’s Entune system and its 9-inch touchscreen are surprisingly good. Apple CarPlay support makes things so much better. The display is bright and responds well to inputs, but Toyota tends to lock out more functions while you’re driving than other carmakers.

       There’s one USB port for data and four 2.1-amp power-only USBs — two up front and two in back. The front console also houses a wireless charging pad. The car’s built-in voice controls are hit-or-miss — it’s better at understanding radio commands than navigation commands. We had much more success using Siri via Apple CarPlay.

       While cargo capacity is average on paper, the Avalon works out to be more convenient compared to some others due to the wide trunk opening, broad floor and convenient loading height. You might be disappointed if you’re the type who folds the rear seats to expand the space because there’s a sizable step up to the folded seats.

       Inside, there are numerous small cubbies, plenty of cupholders, and a center console that’s sizable and surprisingly deep. The door pockets are average, but there are enough other options that it’s not a concern. The Avalon really shines when it comes to fitting child safety seats. The car seat anchors are easy to access, and the huge rear bench has space enough for just about any type of seat.