The Toyota Chaser is a mid-size car manufactured and marketed by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota from 1977 to 2001. Most Chasers are four-door sedans and hardtop sedans; a two-door hardtop coupé was available on the first generation only. It was introduced on the 1976 Toyota Corona Mark II platform and was sold new by Toyota at Toyota Vista Store dealerships only in Japan, together with the Toyota Cresta. The Toyota Chaser has been known as one of the 'triplet sedans' of Toyota because it shares the same chassis with the Toyota Cressida/Mark II, and the Cresta, and afforded Toyota the opportunity to sell one platform at several different dealership sales channels.
History of the Toyota Chaser
First Generation Toyota Chaser (X30, X40; 1977–1980)
The Chaser was first produced in July 1977 with chassis codes X30, X31, X40, and X41, and evolved from the X20 generation Mark II GSS hardtop coupe. They were powered by the four-cylinder 1.8L 3T-U, 13T-U, and 2L 18R-U, and the six-cylinder 2.0L M-U/EU engines – all single cam engines tuned for the economy and clean emissions rather than performance. The Chaser is a lightly redesigned Toyota Mark II, with a wider front grille and without parking lights. The Chaser also has taillights of a different design. Unlike the Mark II, there were no station wagons or commercial models offered. The Chaser was offered as a competitor to the Nissan Skyline coupé and sedan. The performance image was shared with the Toyota Celica Camry, also introduced at the same time, but at a different Japanese dealership called Toyota Corolla Store.
Second Generation Toyota Chaser (X60; 1980–1984)
Production swapped to the X60 Chaser in 1980, with the addition of the new 2.0L six-cylinder 1G-EU single-cam petrol engine and a 2.2L four-cylinder L-series diesel engine. Body styles offered were a four-door sedan and 4-door hardtop, no longer offering the 2-door hardtop with this generation (replaced by first generation Toyota Soarer). The "Avante" trim level had a sport-tuned suspension using Michelin tires. This generation saw a new competitor from Nissan called the Nissan Leopard with a lower asking price in comparison to the Japanese market favorite, the Skyline. In August 1982, the 2.0L 6–cylinder 1G-GEU twin-cam engine was added.
Third Generation Toyota Chaser (X70; 1984–1988)
This series first appeared in August 1984. The "Avante" series previously introduced became a luxury upgrade starting with this generation and body styles were reduced again to a 4-door hardtop only. The exterior dimensions of this car were slightly smaller in comparison to sister cars Mark II and Cresta, but the Chaser was more performance-oriented while maintaining the advanced features and luxurious interior of the Cresta. Minor change in August 1986. The 1G-GEU engine received various improvements, while the LPG-powered engine was changed to the 3Y-PU. As for appearance, larger bumpers and a new front grille accompanied substantial changes to the equipment. In January 1987 a special edition of "Lordly" was released, and in May 1987 the special edition "Chaser Avante" was released. August 1987 brought the "New Extra XG Chaser" special edition.
Fourth Generation Toyota Chaser (X80; 1988–1992)
In August 1988, the X81 series of Chasers were introduced to the Japanese market. The following models were offered: XL, XG, Raffine, SXL, Avante, Avante Twin Cam 24, GT Twin Turbo, and Avante G, with the GT Twin Turbo model the most powerful variant, powered by the 1G-GTE engine putting out 207 hp (154 kW) at 6,200 rpm. In August 1990, there were major revisions to the entire Chaser lineup and some of the models received entirely new engines. The top-range models, Avante G and GT Twin Turbo received the new 2.5L 1JZ engine, the same type that powered Toyota's contemporary sports car, the JZA70 Supra, although the 3.0L Avante G remained part of the line. The Avante G 2.5 received a normally aspirated 1JZ-GE engine with a maximum of 178 hp (132 kW) at 6000 rpm, while the GT Twin Turbo received the powerful twin-turbocharged 1JZ-GTE twin-turbo engine capable of 276 hp (206 kW) at 6200 rpm, the maximum horsepower allowed under Japanese regulations.
Fifth Generation Toyota Chaser (X90; 1992–1996)
In October 1992, the X90 Chaser replaced the previous X81 Chaser. It had a larger body, better handling, and more engine power. The body was curvier and the car was significantly longer. The Chaser lineup was largely carried over from the X81 Chaser except for the GT Twin Turbo, which was abolished and replaced by the new Tourer V. The top-of-the-line Avante G model received a 217 hp (162 kW) naturally aspirated 2JZ-GE, the next evolution of the JZ series of engines after the 1JZ. The Tourer V was equipped with the 1JZ-GTE engine as the most powerful offering. Manual transmissions were optional for all engine offerings, from the 1.8L 4S-FE and 2.4 turbodiesels 2L-TE up through the 2.0 1G-FE inline 6 and 1JZ-GE 2.5 inline 6. With the retirement of the Cressida model after the X81 generation, only the Mark II, Chaser, and Cresta were sold in the Japanese car market. Each of the members of the Cressida family supposedly had different characteristics - the Chaser was geared towards sporty driving, the Cresta towards luxury and the Mark II was the baseline model.
Sixth Generation Toyota Chaser (X100; 1996–2001)
In September 1996, the X100 Chaser replaced the X90 Chaser. The product lineup consisted mostly of Avante and Tourer trim, with the Avante as the luxury model (with more interior accessories) and the Tourer as the sporty model (with large 16-inch wheels). In 1997, the lineup remained largely unchanged, although three basic models were added: the XL, Raffine, and Tourer 2.0 L. The XL and Raffine models were powered by the 1.8L 4S-FE engine while the Tourer 2.0L was powered by the 1G-FE engine, rated at 138 hp (103 kW) at 5,600 rpm. In 1998, the base Tourer model received the optional manual gearbox and a 4WD option was added to the base Avante models; the Avante Four S Package received a higher special-edition interior. Additionally, the Chaser received a facelift, with the most significant changes to the rear tail lights. The Chaser was discontinued in June 2001. It was replaced with a new model called the Verossa which shared the same model code. The Cresta suffered the same fate, but the Mark II continued for another generation (X110) before it was also discontinued. In 2004, the all-new X120 Mark X was introduced in Japan, incorporating many characteristics of the Chaser and the Cresta. In fact, the aim of Mark X was to combine the characteristics of the 3 models into one single model.
The price range for a used Toyota Chaser varies based on the trim level you choose. Starting at $1,900 and going to $40,000+ for the latest year the model was manufactured.
Specs and Performance of the Toyota Chaser
- 1,838 cc 4S-FE I4
- 1,988 cc 1G-FE I6
- 2,492 cc 1JZ-GE I6
- 2,492 cc 1JZ-GTE turbo I6
- 2,997 cc 2JZ-GE I6
- 2,446 cc 2L-TE turbo diesel I4
The Toyota Altezza's 3.0L engine delivers 217 hp (162 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 216 lb-ft (294 Nm) of torque at 5,600 rpm. Toyota marketed the Altezza as a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicle, and it was available with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Dimension-wise, the Toyota Chaser measures 4,760 mm (187 in) long, 1,760 mm (69.1 in) wide, and 1,400 mm (55.1 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,730 mm (107 in) and has a curb weight of 3,197 lbs (1,450 kg).
For over two decades, the Toyota Chaser provided drivers with reliable mid-size motoring that typified Japanese engineering excellence. From its 1977 launch to 2001 retirement, this distinctive car became a staple in driveways around Japan and beyond - and continues to be fondly remembered by many today.