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Toyota Tarago giving power to the people

And it was for those people who'd put up with the rough-and-ready van-based vehicles that passed for people movers before it hit the market.

Where the previous van-based people movers were tall with a high centre of gravity, narrow track and a layout more suited to carrying a payload, the Tarago had widely spaced wheels with one at each corner, and the passengers sat low down and inside the track, which resulted in a much lower centre of gravity, and as a consequence, much better dynamics on the road.

To help lower the centre of gravity, Toyota laid the fuel-injected, 2.4-litre double overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine flat under the floor. Access for checking the engine's vitals was through the bonnet. When pushed to its peak the Tarago's engine put out 102kW at 5000 revs and 208Nm at 4000 revs. There was a choice of a five-speed manual gearbox, but most families went for the electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. Final drive was through the rear wheels and there was a four-wheeldrive model offered up to 1993.

Inside, the Tarago was perfect for the family, with plenty of room and comfortable and flexible seating for eight in three rows. Access to the third row was through a kerbside sliding door, or the rear lift-up hatch. At launch there was a choice of GLi, GLX and luxury GLS four-wheel- drive with independent rear suspension.

For the first couple of years there was also the RV four-wheel-drive.

The GLi had central locking and a radio-cassette system with six speakers, and from 1992 it also had power mirrors, whereas the GLX also had alloy wheels and power windows.

The GLS four-wheel-drive had all of that, plus standard ABS braking. In 1993 Toyota released the Ultima, which came with a driver's airbag, ABS, alloys, cruise control, nine-speaker CD sound system, central locking, power mirrors and windows and sunroof.

There was also a Getaway launched in 1994 and that had a driver's airbag, cruise, CD player, sunroof and six-speaker radio-cassette sound system. The Tarago generally remains tight and taut in the long term, but listen for squeaks and groans from the body and look for external bumps and scrapes that suggest neglect.

Rear hatch struts can lose their lift after a while, but they're easily regassed if needed.

Inside, the Tarago has hard-wearing trim and well-made plastics so it hangs together pretty well, but age will always take its toll so anticipate wear on high traffic-affected items such as seats.

To keep maintenance to a minimum the engine has a timing chain instead of a belt that would need changing on a regular basis.

  • Relatively modest performance from four-cylinder engine
  • Breakthrough design for people movers
  • Comfortable transport for a large family
  • Rear struts may need to be re-gassed
  • Long-life spark plugs expensive to change
  • Reliable drive train
  • Safe and secure handling
  • Check body for bumps and scrapes

 

TOYOTA TARAGO

1990-2000

Engine: 2.4L/4cyl 102kW, 208Nm

Economy: Expect about 14L/100km

Price: A 1990 GLi will cost about $6500-$7500, a 2000 model an early GLX, up to $4000 for a late one.

  • Pay $9000- $15,000 for the 1990-1993 4WD GLS.
  • The Ultima will cost $11,000-$20,000, and the Getaway $11,000-$18,000.

Rating: 75/100

Verdict: An oldie, but a goodie, the Tarago delivers safe and reliable transport for a large family .

 

RIVALS

HONDA ODYSSEY

Years: 1995-2000

Price: $10,000-$17,000

 

MAZDA MPV

Years: 1993-1999

Price: $8,000-$13,500

 

CHRYSLER VOYAGER

Years: 1997-2001

Price: $14,000-$24,000

Pricing guides

$14,990
Based on 76 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$6,990
Highest Price
$17,881

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GLi 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $9,300 – 13,970 2007 Toyota Tarago 2007 GLi Pricing and Specs
GLi V6 3.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,400 – 14,190 2007 Toyota Tarago 2007 GLi V6 Pricing and Specs
GLX 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $9,800 – 14,740 2007 Toyota Tarago 2007 GLX Pricing and Specs
GLX V6 3.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $10,800 – 15,840 2007 Toyota Tarago 2007 GLX V6 Pricing and Specs
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$6,990

Lowest price, based on 73 car listings in the last 6 months

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.