10 Biggest News Stories of the Week: Toyota Tacoma Hops Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, Jumps Genesis GV70

toyota-tacoma-trd-4x4-off-road-2021-01-exterior-front-angle-green-truck 2021 Toyota Tacoma | photo by Christian Lantry

We’re not sayin’ Toyota’s mid-size pickup truck is old, but Diego from “Ice Age” is getting envious of how long in the tooth the Tacoma’s become. With its last significant evolution dating back to 2016 — or, if you prefer, two “Ice Age” sequels ago come Jan. 28 — and its last full redesign more than a decade before that, it’s a bit of a mystery why the current-generation Tacoma hasn’t gone extinct. To hear reviewer Brian Normile reason it out in his comprehensive critique of the 2021 Tacoma, which tops our countdown of the most popular articles of the past week, it may in part be due to a magic combination of reliability and relatability.

Related: Toyota Reveals 15 Future Electric Vehicles, Accelerated Electrification Push

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“Given how little I enjoyed driving our test vehicle, I’m guessing it’s compelling for buyers to know that a new truck’s $48,000 sticker price (about what the Tacoma we drove cost) might not face a significant amount of depreciation,” Normile writes in his review. “Also, while it’s not as true as in a Jeep, there is some cachet in driving a Taco around town.”

Normile criticizes power from the Tacoma’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the fussy six-speed automatic transmission, a punishing ride and numb handling, its alternately grabby and slow-to-respond brakes, an aging interior and an uncomfortable seating position. Compliments, meanwhile, are few and somewhat backhanded (“while the Tacoma is far from efficient, it’s not much less so than similarly equipped competitors”). On the positive side, however, Toyota’s also-ancient Tundra full-size truck just got redesigned for the 2022 model year, so can its little brother be far behind?

For the full flogging of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma, follow the link below to’s No. 1 article of the week.

Bringing up a distant second place is another review from Normile, this time on the new-for-2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, one of two new fuel-sipping variants of the mid-size SUV along with a forthcoming plug-in hybrid. The Santa Fe Hybrid scores points for its fuel efficiency, comparable price to the gas-only version and all-around drivability, but it gets dinged for not offering a three-row seating option or a better-appointed trim to juice up its so-so cabin.

“The Santa Fe Hybrid is a compelling choice in a growing field of larger fuel-efficient SUVs,” Normile writes, “but its lack of a third row or a more luxurious Calligraphy trim level may hold it back.”

For the comprehensive critique of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe — which “might just be the best all-around Santa Fe for sale” — follow the link below to our No. 3 article of the week.

Running a close third place is our rapid-fire roundup of the things we like and don’t like about the new-for-2022 Genesis GV70. The compact luxury SUV earned praise for its well-controlled ride and handling, well-appointed cabin, easy-on-the-eyes touchscreen, high crashworthiness scores and enticing starting price around $42,000. So, where did we throw shade? We don’t wanna spill the Earl Grey outside of tea time, so if you’re looking for Lipton, follow the link below to our No. 3 news story of the week.

Beyond that, we have headlines on the Hyundai Kona, the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid and F-150, the BMW and Toyota lineups, and much more — so don’t stop reading till the digits double. Here are the top 10 news stories readers couldn’t get enough of in the past week:

1. 2021 Toyota Tacoma Review: Over the Hill We Go

2. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Review: Efficiency Over Everything

3. 2022 Genesis GV70: 5 Things We Like and 4 We Don’t

4. 2022 Hyundai Kona: 4 Things We Like and 4 We Don’t

5. 2021 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Review: Infuriating Efficiency

6. 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Review: Better, But With a Big Problem

7. What’s New With BMW for 2022?

8. What’s the Best New-Car Deal for the End of 2021?

9. 2022 Genesis GV70 Review: Has Genesis Finally Nailed It?

10. What’s New for Toyota in 2022?

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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