Toyota to retire one of its longest running nameplates
Toyota to retire one of its longest running nameplates

Toyota to cut family favourite

TOYOTA will this year farewell a family favourite that has been on Australian roads for more than 36 years.

The once popular Tarago people mover is set to be retired by the end of 2019, in turn sidelining one of Toyota's oldest continuously running nameplates.

The Tarago went on sale early in 1983 with a choice of three sluggish four-cylinder engines, two of which had less than half the power of a modern Toyota Corolla.

Despite the underwhelming engines, its space, value and futuristic styling ensured it was an instant hit and it went on to be parked in more than 100,000 Australian driveways.

Throughout the 1980s and much of the 1990s - well before the SUV boom - the Tarago was regularly the top selling people mover, making for a good multi-seat alternative to large four-wheel drives.

Toyota is going upmarket with its new Granvia people-mover.
Toyota is going upmarket with its new Granvia people-mover.

But since 2004 the Tarago has been outsold by the Kia Carnival and sales have been sliding, despite the addition of a V6 engine option and more equipment.

It's prompted a change of direction for Toyota with the imminent arrival of the Granvia, the latest version of a relative unknown previously only available in some overseas markets.

Instead of the value pitch that once dominated for the Tarago, the Granvia will focus more on luxury, with a bolder eight-seat design.

The Granvia will have luxurious captain’s chairs.
The Granvia will have luxurious captain’s chairs.

It will be powered by a diesel engine, possibly the same 2.8-litre used in the Prado and Hilux and the upcoming Hiace with which the Granvia shares various underbody components.

Rather than families with kids and rental car fleets - the domain of the Tarago - the Granvia is aimed much more upmarket, with Mercedes-Benz clearly in its sights.

"Whether you are in need of a five-star hotel shuttle, corporate transport for senior executives or just a large luxury family wagon, the new Granvia fits the bill," said Toyota Australia vice president sales and marketing Sean Hanley.

Toyota is taking aim at Mercedes-Benz and the luxury transport market with the new Granvia people-mover.
Toyota is taking aim at Mercedes-Benz and the luxury transport market with the new Granvia people-mover.

"With a stylish European-inspired design, outstanding comfort, refined performance, a high level of safety features and impressive list of standard appointments, the new Granvia really is the last word in luxury people movers."

The Granvia will come with a 12-speaker sound system, leather-accented seats and sliding side doors that open and close electronically.

That also means it's likely to cost significantly more than the Tarago, which starts at $45,490 and goes up to $65,261.

The rival Mercedes-Benz Valente starts at $59,850 and the more upmarket Mercedes-Benz V-Class at $79,270.


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