After looking at all the small SUVs, it became apparent that there's really no serious contender for the Toyota. I was actually leaning towards the Honda CR-V when I first started looking, but the Toyota won me over with its better gas mileage and roomier interior. A lot of thought went into laying out the interior, and build quality was very good. I wasn't too sure how a 4 cylinder engine mated to an automatic transmission would perform, but it has more than enough power for daily driving, although I still would have liked to have a manual transmission. Unfortunately, being best in class comes at a higher price tag. Total out the door cost for a sport package was $23.5K as of June 2009.
Very good gas mileage for this class vehicle, 2.5 engine surprisingly peppy. Very good storage features as well as standard equipment that normally would have been considered options in other SUVs.
Really needs to have a stick shift option! Instrument panel visibility could be better.