Toyota fully rounds out what is already the broadest U.S. product offering of any import automaker with the new-for-'01 Sequoia full-size sport/utility vehicle (SUV).

The Sequoia, the brawniest and most versatile offering in Toyota's extensive truck lineup, will be built alongside the Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck in Princeton, IN, and features the same, powerful 4.7L DOHC "i-Force" V-8 that refines the heck out of the Tundra.

For Toyota, 2001 is the year of the truck. The popular RAV4 small sport-ute gets pumped up for the coming model year, growing in size and power from an all-new, lighter, all-aluminum 2L, 4-cyl. engine that's 27 horses stronger than last year's meek 120-hp 2L.

Also all-new in the truck category is the Tacoma Double Cab, featuring four conventional-sized doors and a roomier interior. Toyota adds a little bit of fun to its Tacoma series with the new S-Runner, a sport-tuned, low-to-the-ground version of the pickup's Xtracab model. The 2-wheel-drive S-Runner sports a 3.4L DOHC V-6 paired with a 5-speed manual transmission. Performance is enhanced with a modified suspension, 16-in. wheels and increased-rate shocks, springs and bars.

The upscale Lexus division is making a run for a top spot in luxury vehicle sales, an endeavor helped by the all-new '01 LS430. It's stuffed with electronics galore (including one of the first U.S. applications of "intelligent" cruise control) and a new ramrod of a V-8.

Already on the pavement is the BMW 3-Series-baiting IS 300, with a gorgeous 3L inline 6-cyl. and credentials as a serious-driver sedan. Meanwhile, the "soft-roader" RX300 remains everyone's upscale-SUV target and now easily is Lexus' best-seller.

Get ready for traffic like you've never seen before. The Sequoia's a sure thing, the RAV 4 is a seriously better effort and the Celica and MR-S Spyder are solid exciters. As for Lexus, the LS430 hits on all cylinders and the RX300 could support a franchise all by itself (some say it is). But the rest of the cars aren't performing. Mercedes and BMW have a secret: STYLE!