Toyota has breathed life into the ageing Tarago for Australia this week, although not to the extent that had been hinted at - but not confirmed - by photos last month of the updated Japanese-market Estima on which the local people-mover is based.
But, while exterior styling for the 2016 Toyota Tarago remains largely unchanged, it now comes with the lowest-ever prices on a V6 variant and "last-century pricing on four-cylinder variants". These price cuts come on the back of benefits of the free-trade agreement with Japan.
Satellite navigation is now standard across the range, which includes the volume-selling GLi and GLX four-cylinder and V6 variants. At the same time, the retail price for those two variants has dropped by $1500. The top-shelf Ultima V6 gets a price chop of $1716, and is part of the range-wide addition of crucial safety kit, including a rear-view camera and emergency brake-light flashing under heavy deceleration.
The four-cylinder Tarago range now starts from $45,490, a price that Toyota claims hasn’t been seen since the 1990s. The pricing for V6 model grades is also lower than it’s ever been, now starting from $50,490.
Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb said these updates will add to the compelling reasons for a Tarago to be purchased by families whose needs have outgrown other vehicles.
“Families and business owners will appreciate that [the] Tarago’s renowned space, comfort and quality have been enhanced by a more upscale interior and even better value, due to the expanded levels of equipment and sharper pricing,” he said.
All Tarago interiors have been given a light styling makeover and an upgrade to new soft-touch surface coverings, piano black highlights, and revised air-conditioning controls with easier-to-use electrostatic switchgear.
There’s also a new 4.2-inch multi-information display alongside a semi-circular speedometer and a horizontal tacho. The new three-spoke steering wheel also offers controls for the multi-information display.
V6, GLX and Ultima model grades will now come standard with "premium" seats that feature suede and synthetic leather. V6 GLX models also get heated front seats. All other grades get grey cloth trim.
Above: the Tarago's interior has been given a freshening. See the old look here.
Ultima and V6 GLX will also feature auto-leveling HID headlights with adaptive front lighting that can swivel on the low beam setting for better illumination while cornering.
According to Toyota, six of the seven exterior colours have a ‘self-restoring’ feature, which mean the paint has scratch-resistant elasticity that flexes on impact and can return back to its original shape.
Tarago engines are now certified to more stringent Euro 5 emissions standards, although with no change to fuel consumption figures. The 3.5-litre V6 engine makes 202kW and is backed by a six-speed automatic, while the 2.4-litre four-cylinder makes 125kW and is backed by a CVT. The ADR fuel usage claim is 10.2L/100km and 10.3L/100km respectively.
The electric power-steering system has been improved as well, with a more direct feel at centre the result.
Standard safety equipment includes seven airbags, VSC and TC, ABS, EBFD and brake assist.
All Taragos also get cruise control, hill-start assist, steering wheel that is height and reach adjustable, dual zone heating and air conditioning, a rear spoiler and remote central locking. GLX and Ultima grades also get front and rear parking sensors as standard.
The two high-end V6 models are fitted with power rear doors and keyless smart entry, while all grades get push-button smart-start ignition.
Rear-seat passengers will still get Blu-Ray and DVD capability via a 9.0-inch screen mounted in the roof. The system features three sets of wireless headphones and remote control. Ultima grade has a dual pane panoramic glass roof with sunshade.
GLi and GLX grades seat eight people, and the second row splits 60:40, while V6, GLX and Ultima seat seven people, including two adjustable captain’s chairs with integrated ottomans in the second row. There’s also a sliding centre console.
The third row seats three people, is split 60:40 and can be folded forward to expand luggage space. In V6 grades, the seats can be stowed under a flat luggage floor. They are electric in the Ultima.
Premium paint will cost an extra $550. Outside, GLi models feature 16-inch steel wheels, while other grades are fitted with 17-inch alloys – ten spoke for GLX and 15-spoke for Ultima.
The Tarago is covered by the capped-price Toyota Service Advantage, costing a maximum of $180.00 per service for the first six standard scheduled services.
2016 Toyota Tarago Pricing (before on-road costs):
4-Cylinder GLi - $45,490
4-Cylinder GLX - $47,990
V6 GLi - $50,490
V6 GLX - $55,990
V6 Ultima - $65,600