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Toyota updates veteran Tarago

Esteemed: A facelifted version of the Toyota Tarago was released in Japan last month wearing the Estima badge, but an Australian update has not brought the new look.

Update and price chop for Toyota’s venerable Tarago, but no facelift yet

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Toyota logo3 Aug 2016

UPDATED: 15:00TOYOTA has treated its stalwart Tarago people carrier to an update that enhances equipment levels and reduces prices by as much as $1716.

However, a facelift that has already gone on sale in the model’s native Japan does not accompany the refreshed version in Australia.

The Japanese car-maker’s little bus is the epitome of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and while the Tarago will never be a volume seller for the company, it has managed consistent numbers from one month to the next despite not being given a significant update since 2009.

While the Japanese version – dubbed the Estima – has been given a new lease of life with a modernised look, Toyota Australia product public relations manager Stephen Coughlan said the Australian version would not be getting an aesthetic update in the near future.

“There are no plans to adopt the exterior changes which have been implemented in Japan,” he said.

“Instead, our aim for this update was to increase the value proposition for Tarago buyers and enhance the interior in terms of both form and function, rolling down specifications such as satellite navigation to the entry model GLi and sharpening the pricing across the range.”

A slight drop into double-digit monthly sales is most likely the reason for the update that brings extra safety and convenience equipment, a four-cylinder variant price that has not been as low since the 1990s and the lowest V6 variant price to date.

The pricing restructure lops $1500 from each of the five variants except the V6 Ultima which is $1716 cheaper at $65,600 before on-road costs, while the most affordable GLi variant now starts at $45,490.

Crucially, the update brings the pair of 2.4-litre 125kW four cylinder and 3.5-litre 202kW V6 engines in line with Euro 5 emissions regulations with no change to performance. Both four-pot versions use 8.9 litres of fuel per 100km, while the six-cylinder needs between 10.2L and 10.3L.

As before, the 2.4-litre unit sends power to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while the V6 has a six-speed torque converter type automatic transmission.

All versions are now equipped with a standard reversing camera view displayed via a 6.1-inch MID touchscreen multi-information monitor that also allows access to the new Bluetooth, navigation and live traffic update functions.

The updated Tarago also has an emergency braking signal safety feature, which activates the hazard lights under heavy braking.

Interior quality has been boosted with a new soft-touch-material dashboard, gloss black trims for the centre console and air vents, while the air-conditioning is easier to operate with touch-sensitive electrostatic switches.

The interior upgrades continue for the driver with the addition of a 4.2-inch multi-information screen (MID) in the Optitron instruments, semicircular gauges and a new three-spoke steering wheel with MID controls.

At the top end of the range, V6 GLX and Ultima variants now have premium-look black cloth and synthetic leather seats above the standard grey fabric versions, with the Ultima seat heating now also available for the GLX.

A new self-healing paint is now offered in all seven colours except Glacier White, which has a special elastic top coat and allows the surface to recover from minor scratches without specialist refinishing work.

As before, standard safety equipment includes seven airbags, all the legally required electronic driver assistance systems, cruise control and hill-start assistance.

Higher grade V6 GLX and V6 Ultima versions get power sliding rear door, while the large glass roof, rear-seat 9.0-inch entertainment screen with DVD player and sockets for three sets of headphones is limited to the Ultima only.

In the three most affordable versions, the Tarago offers seating for eight, while the top two versions have a three-seat third row with two more luxurious ‘captain’s chairs’ in the middle row.

Toyota Australia sales and marketing executive director Tony Cramb said the Tarago update would give customers who had outgrown smaller vehicles another reason to consider Toyota’s seven- and eight-seat capacity.

“Families and business owners will appreciate that Tarago's renowned space, comfort and quality have been enhanced by a more upscale interior and even better value due to expanded levels of equipment and sharper pricing,” he said.

2016 Toyota Tarago pricing*
GLi 4-cylinder (a)$45,490
GLX 4-cylinder (a)$47,990
GLi V6 (a)$50,490
GLX V6 (a)$55,990
Ultima V6 (a)$65,600
*Excludes on-road costs

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