The Toyota Estima is a minivan manufactured and marketed by Toyota for the Japanese market from 1990 to 2019.
History of the Toyota Estima
First Generation Toyota Estima (1990–1999)
While mounting the engine in the middle instead of the front of the vehicle put more weight over the rear tires and provided more traction, the Estima was equipped with an underpowered engine, as larger units did not fit. As the Americans were used to large engines and power, the Estima was not among their favorite minivans. The 2.4L engine developed only 135 hp, and for a car that could accommodate up to 8 people, it was simply not enough. Brought to life to replace the Toyota Van, the Toyota Estima was available with a rear-wheel or an all-wheel-drive system. The Toyota Estima was available with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic gearbox. Depending on the market, the minivan offered seating for 7 or 8 people, with three seating configurations available. In North America, the Estima was not offered the 8-passenger seat configuration. Having an unusual engine layout, the Estima had a low nose, thus allowing tremendous front visibility for all occupants. The minivan had either front discs with rear drum brakes or 4-wheel disc brakes. If Toyota hoped to beat Dodge at their own game, well, they didn't manage to do it.
Second Generation Toyota Estima (2000–2005)
Toyota introduced the second generation of the Estima in 2000, but its main target was no longer the U.S. market, unlike its predecessor. It was a significant change for the Japanese minivan. While the 1990 model featured a mid-engine and rear-wheel-drive configuration, its successor came with a front-engine front-wheel-drive setup. The MPV was mainly prepared for the European, Asian, and Australian markets. For U.S. customers, Toyota offered the Sienna, which ended up being a safer car than the first Estima generation, but more prone to break on the roads. At least it provided a V-6. Under the hood, Toyota installed a choice of two engines: a 2.4L gasoline and a 2.0L turbo-diesel. The latter was the best choice for a long-distance runner since it provided outstanding fuel efficiency. Toyota unveiled the second generation Estima facelift in 2000 and, in 2003, the Japanese carmaker tried to do a facelift on it. Why just "tried" and not "did"? Because you'll need a Toyota specialist to see the differences between the 2000 and the 2003 model years. It shared the same platform as the Camry, which was highly appreciated for its comfortable ride and reliability. The Estima took all of these and added more space. The first generation was criticized for not having a V6 engine. It was not the same situation with the second generation, which Toyota offered with either an inline-four or a 3.0L V6. For selected markets, the Estima was fitted with a turbodiesel engine.
Third Generation Toyota Estima (2006–2019)
The Estima was one of the strangest MPV on the market, with seating for seven, a front-mid engine, and rear-wheel-drive. The third generation was launched in 2006 as a 2007 model with a different approach. While the Europeans looked more for the European brands if they wanted an MPV, in other parts of the world the Estima/Estima had a different impact on the market. For their home market in Japan, the JDM spec was offered even with a hybrid drive. The instrument cluster was particularly interesting, with analog dials but placed further back on the dashboard. The 3D appearance was not a usual design for the dashboards, but it worked well on the Estima.
The price range for a used Toyota Estima varies based on the trim level you choose. Starting at $1,200 and going to $38,500 for the latest year the model was manufactured.
Features of the Toyota Estima
The outside look was made to fit into the main Toyota brand image, with a large V-shaped grille and headlights. The overall look was kept from the second Previa generation, but more stylish. Angular-shaped and with flat curved surfaces, the car looked more like an Edge-design era, a trend that was already gone in 2007.
Inside, there were more options for the number of seats and the way those were placed. The last seat row could have been folded and stored under the flat floor. Thus, the middle row could have been moved back and created more legroom. The rear sliding doors were electrically powered, as an option, or standard depending on the trim level.
Specs and Performance of the Toyota Estima
- 2.4 L 2AZ-FE I4
- 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6
- 2.4 L 2AZ-FXE I4
The Toyota Estima's 3.5L engine delivers 277 hp (204 kW) at 6,200 rpm and 255 lb-ft (346 Nm) of torque at 4,700 rpm. Toyota marketed the Estima as an all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicle, and it was available with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Dimension-wise, the Toyota Estima measures 4,820 mm (189.8 in) long, 1,820 mm (71.7 in) wide, and 1,750 mm (68.9 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,950 mm (116.1 in) and has a curb weight of 4,222 lb lbs (1,915 kg).
The Toyota Estima was a minivan produced by Toyota from 1990 to 2019 in 3 generations. It was later replaced by the Toyota Sienna.