1 Jul 1991
Toyota launched its Japanese-made Paseo coupe in mid-1991, to challenge the popularity of the South Korean-made Hyundai S Coupe.
Based on the utterly conventional front-wheel drive platform of the unseen-locally Tercel/Starlet light car of the time, the Paseo favoured the same ‘style over sports car substance’ pioneered by the early Celica two decades previously, in an affordable, economical and durable two-plus-two seat two-door coupe package.
Its 5E-FE fuel-injected 1.5-litre twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine produced 74kW of power and 123Nm of torque.
Many were sold in four-speed automatic guises in lieu of the standard five-speed manual gearbox.
In May ’92 a limited edition Spirit model was released. All Paseos offered power steering, central locking and electric windows until May ’93, when the range was split in two with the launch of a stripped-out base model.
The previously well-specified version was dubbed Paseo Alpha.