1 Mar 2006
TOYOTA’S fourth-generation Tarago followed the style of its predecessor in that it was based on the mid-sized, front-wheel drive Camry platform.
Also like its predecessor, it offered ample three-row seating for eight people, a lofty driving position, futuristic dashboard design and plenty of luggage space.
Toyota also cleaned up the previous Tarago’s dumpy styling, with an attractive new body to match the smart cabin but the 125kW/240Nm 2.4-litre twin cam four-cylinder engine was a marginal improvement over the old model.
Drive was delivered through a four-speed automatic that gained a sequential-shift facility, allowing keen drivers to change gears manually while making better use of the available power.
Two models were offered – the well-equipped GLi (with dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, cruise control, climate control air-conditioning and power windows), and the marginally more expensive GLX, which added stability control, alloy wheels, more airbags and traction control.
With this new 50-series Tarago, the eight-seat Toyota rose back to the top of its segment.
In February 2007, three Tarago 3.5-litre V6 model variants became available: the GLi, GLX and range-topping Ultima.
The VVT-i V6 was the same petrol engine that powered the contemporary Toyota Aurion, Lexus RX350 and RAV4. In the Tarago it developed 202kW at 6200rpm and 340Nm at 4700rpm.
The V6 was mated to a six-speed sequential electronic automatic transmission with artificial shift intelligence and all six-cylinder variants gained Toyota’s vehicle control management system (VCMS), along with traction control and brake assist.
Apart from the V6 and six-speed auto, all six-cylinder Taragos gained dual-zone climate-control air conditioning, cruise control, MP3-compatible CD stereo, remote central locking, power windows, a fold-away third-row seat, seven airbags and pre-crash seatbelt system.
Two years later in February 2009 the Tarago received active front-seat head restraints to reduce whiplash injuries, door-ajar, auto-close side doors on GLi and GLX model grades, while four-cylinder GLX, Ultima and all V6 models gained Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) as standard.
A new front-end look comprised redesigned headlights and a lower grille with revised Toyota logo, plus new headlight washers and cold air-intake for the air-cooled automatic transmission fluid cooler.
At the rear, the Tarago featured revised tail-light clusters and garnishes, which took on a “spoiler-like” design with wrap-around lamps.
New alloy wheels, a new interior colour and a rear-seat “conversation mirror” became standard-fit on all variants. GLX models received seven-spoke 17-inch alloys, while Ultima versions offered 10-spoke alloys.
Inside was an improved instrument panel with grey metallic displays to enhance visibility, while the V6 GLX and Ultima’s Optitron graphics were adjusted to increase visibility and clarity.
New silver finishes were applied to the door trim power window switch base and instrument panel centre ornament, while the odometer/trip meter and rheostat switches became illuminated.