Older Toyotas are reliable as hell though. My dad drives a T100 and the thing probably has 200k+ miles on it and still runs great. He has friends with Tacomas and T100s with over 400-500k miles... still running great. Those engines don't quit.
But really, what's the newest Toyota you've driven? When I was over in Cali for a trip, I was riding with a friend of mine in a newer Camry (I feel like it was a 2010). Tiny car, but very spacious interior, great MPG, very nice overall, and let me tell you, that thing has some get up and go. My friend is a psycho and a total showoff, so he was driving like a maniac the first time we were in it. It had a little "Sport Mode" switch that destroyed your MPG but turned the car into a beast for the "economic" car I thought it was. We hit around 120 on the freeway, easily, and were nearly drifting through offramps.
Suffice to say I won't be driving with that friend again, but I drove it myself a few days later doing some errands with his parents and it was just a nice car to drive. Responsive, comfortable, just all around nice. On the flipside, the Hyundais I've been in have not impressed me at all. They just feel cheap, though perhaps the newest ones are better in that regard.
Great question. I suspect probably a '10 or '11.
But keep in mind that I work in automotive. I've driven probably, literally, 5,000 cars in my life. Maybe more. Not sure. And not just on and off a lot.
I'll give you everything in your above paragraph except "responsive". Toyotas are numb, sloppy handling cars. My problem with Hyundais in that regard is that their steering is overassisted and has a dead spot between about 11:30 and 12:30.
A couple years ago, Lexus had a marketing campaign touting the sportiness of one of their redesigned sedans. So, we were like, "Okay. We'll bite. Maybe things have changed." We turned the stability control off "completely". The first time we bent it out (closed course), the controls kicked back on. We turned them back off again. The next time, they turned back on and then the car went into limp mode. Terrible. Complete lack of control.
Certainly a Toyota motor, unless things have changed, will run a long time. But that's not anything impressive these days. Any make can engineer a N/A motor to run for a couple hundred thousand miles.
I'm also disappointed because Toyota has (had anyway) huge cash reserves and yet cuts corners ALL the time. Even with ideas that are groundbreaking. The Prius wasn't the first good hybrid (Honda Insight), but it was really well executed. But it came with DRUM BRAKES. And that's the kind of thing that makes me nutty. They do that kind of thing all the time. But the company has HUGE potential.
Anyway...ignore me. I'm a bit of an elitist with cars. I definitely know who does what well. I'm a little rustier than I once was (I used to drive probably 15-25 cars per week), but I have a lot of seat time and it's made me a snob.