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The real reason to buy a Toyota

Forget about reliability.

Forget about its sprawling dealer network, and forget hybrid fuel economy. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but forget about the lure of a snarling, rally-inspired GR Corolla hot hatch.

I want a new Toyota because it makes the best air-conditioning in the game.

A house move means I’ve gone from parking underground – the kind of carpark where your phone drops out and no-one can hear you scream – to leaving cars in an outdoor carpark, where the only shelter is a six-foot wooden fence.

Melbourne has been hot recently, so I’ve been hopping into a lot of cars that have been baking in the sun. Turns out, not all air-conditioning systems are created equal.

The Mazda CX-9, for example, takes a minute or two to start pumping out properly cold air after startup, which means you need to open the windows until the cabin starts cooling down.

The BMW X5 is better in MAX AC mode, but there’s still a delay between startup and blast-chill mode kicking in.

There are no such troubles with Toyota. In the last few weeks I’ve driven a Lexus ES, Toyota Kluger, and a Toyota HiAce.

Each is aimed at a totally different buyer, with vastly different list prices, but each has air-conditioning cold enough to make a polar bear blush.

From the second you hit the start button (or turn the key, in the case of the HiAce) the vents are pumping out ice cold air at maximum fan speed, fighting back against the oppressive summer heat. It won’t save you from branding yourself with a scalding seatbelt buckle, but it could save you from sweaty pits or complaining kids.

I’m not saying other manufacturers don’t make cars with excellent climate control. The Mazda 3 G20 in our garage this week almost gave Paul frostbite, and James thinks his recent Range Rover Evoque tester was almost as cold inside as it is cool to look at.

But no brand gets it right as consistently as Toyota. I can’t think of a car from either Toyota or Lexus that hasn’t blown me away with its ice-cold air-conditioning.

Maybe the GR Corolla is worth looking at over a Civic Type R after all.

Which cars you’ve owned have had the best air-conditioning?


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