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Toyota takes aim at Odyssey with Tarago Mk4

Mover of people: New Tarago is available with up to seven airbags.

Toyota's fourth-generation Tarago arrives Down Under with more power and eight seats

14 Mar 2006

TOYOTA has this week slipped its redesigned eight-seater Tarago into a contracting Australian people-mover market segment.

Claimed to be more powerful, safer, better handling and better equipped, the new-look, fourth-generation Tarago is available now in two auto-only 2.4-litre grades, priced from $48,990.

Toyota hopes the all-new model – which it describes as a family wagon - will rejuvenate the people-mover market, which had long been dominated by the current Tarago but is now led by Honda’s Odyssey.

Also powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder, the seven-seater Odyssey – which is priced at $38,790 and $45,290 for the Luxury variant - has attracted 570 customers after the first two months of 2006 to nudge ahead of former top-seller, Kia’s $29,990 V6 Carnival (468).

On sale here since June 2000, the current Tarago has found just 147 new homes in 2006 to rank as the third-best selling people-mover ahead of Chrysler’s more expensive, V6-powered Voyager (114 sales).

To rectify this, Toyota’s newest Tarago – which first appeared in production-ready concept guise at the October Tokyo motor show and debuted locally at last month’s Melbourne show – offers a more conventional wagon-style exterior and improved interior flexibility with seating for eight.

Toyota claims the new Tarago is more aerodynamic, more economical, friendlier on the environment and 20 per cent more rigid than its predecessor.

Powered by an upgraded 2.4-litre four-cylinder with VVT-i variable valve timing and a balance shaft, Tarago is 10kW more powerful than before and delivers 125kW at 6000rpm and 224Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

The improved engine, which now meets strict Euro4 emissions standards, is mated to a four-speed (not a five-speeder like Odyssey’s) automatic transmission, now with gated shift and a manual-shift function.

VVT-i and improved transmission electronics, including a drive-by-wire throttle, see Tarago’s official ADR 81/01 fuel consumption figure drop slightly to 9.5L/100km.

Both the entry-level GLi and top-spec GLX feature anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and mechanical brake assist (BA) as standard, along with twin front airbags.

Other standard equipment across the range is dual-zone climate-control with pollen filter and rear-seat cooler, electric power-assisted steering, a tilt and reach-adjustable steering column, cruise control, an MP3-compatible CD player with steering wheel controls, remote central locking, power windows/mirrors and a full-size spare wheel.

Interior practicality is aided by second and third-row seats that offer a 60/40 split-fold function, folding centre armrests and height-adjustable head restraints, while more than 20 storgae locations include a rear under-floor compartment, eight cup-holders, four bottle-holders, three cubbies for the driver, front door pockets, a lockable glovebox, an upper passenger-side storage box and front seatback pockets.

Optional on the base GLi and standard on GLX is Tarago’s Enhanced Safety Pack, which comprises VSC stability control, traction control, electronic brake assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag (for a total of seven), plus the Australian debut of Toyota’s Pre-Crash Seatbelt System.

The latter uses information from the electronic BA system and/or stability control system to prepare the front seatbelts in anticipation of a collision.

GLX also adds roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, a six-CD stacker, 17-inch alloy wheels and rear-seat climate-control.

While the Enhanced Safety Pack adds $1500 to the price of the GLi (which at $48,990 is priced $3500 higher than its forebear and now just $3000 short of the flagship GLX’s pricetag), the GLX is priced a further $1500 upstream at $51,990 – representing a $750 price rise over the current Tarago GLX.

The outgoing Tarago’s $65,000 Ultima variant has not been replaced.

2006 Toyota Tarago pricing:

Tarago GLi (a) - $48,990
Tarago GLX (a) - $51,990
Tarago options:
Metallic paint or pearlescent paint - $285
Enhanced safty pack (GLi) - $1500

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