Previa '1999

Toyota's Estima minivan replaces the previous generation model known in the U.S. as Previa.

Possible seven- and eight-seat configurations of the Estima.

Estima's steel unibody is said to meet the world's toughest crash requirements.

Estima has front MacPherson struts (left) and a twist-beam rear axle.

Toyota's Estima, when sold in the U.S., was the Previa, a "space egg" minivan with its inline four-cylinder engine sitting lengthwise in the middle of the vehicle under the floor. Because its size catered primarily to the U.S. market, it had not fared well in Japan until narrower versions were added, fitting within Japanese small-vehicle dimensions. Its overall width was slimmed to under 1.7 m (5.6 ft). The Estima, mostly narrower models, kept on selling in Japan, while in the U.S. the bigger Previa was replaced by the all new front-wheel-drive Sienna based on the Camry platform.

Now, in Japan, the space-egg Estima has been replaced by the new model, which is more like a spaceship, with its face carrying a permanent arcing smile and its body flanks deeply sculpted. The old space-egg Estima was aerodynamically efficient, with a drag coefficient number of 0.32. The new van betters it with 0.30. Its outer shell was "borrowed" by Toyota's Tokyo Show HV-M4 gasoline/electric hybrid concept vehicle. The new Estima is smaller than the U.S. Sienna but larger than the previous slimmed-down Estima. It is 4750 mm (187 in) long on a 2900-mm (114 in) wheelbase, 1790 mm (70 in) wide, and 1770 mm (70 in) tall, versus the Sienna's 4915 mm (194 in), 1865 mm (73 in), and 1700 mm (67 in), respectively. The vehicle seats seven to eight people, depending on configuration.

The new Estima was developed at Vehicle Center No. 3, which is primarily responsible for commercial vehicles, including some "light truck" (by American definitions) varieties such as the smaller Ipsum minivan and the RAV4. The vehicle is built on a new dedicated front- and all-wheel-drive platform and features front hinged doors and two rear sliding doors, plus an upswinging tailgate.

Two engine ty-pes are offered, as in the updated Japanese Honda Odyssey, with almost exact match- es to the rival vehicle. The type-2AZ-FE is a DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder unit employing VVT-i continuously variable intake valve timing. With 88.5-mm (3.48-in) bore and 96.0-mm (3.78-in) stroke, it obtains a displacement of 2362 cm3 and produces 118 kW (160 hp) at 5600 rpm and 221 N•m (163 lb•ft) at 4000 rpm. The upper engine is the type 1MZ-FE VVT-i, the smooth heart of the Camry and other front-wheel-drive models, rated at 162 kW (220 hp) at 5800 rpm and 304 N•m (224 lb•ft) at 4400 rpm.

All models are equipped with the Super ECT, an electronically controlled four-speed automatic with grade-control facility. The "Active Torque Control 4WD" employs an electronically controlled multi-plate transfer clutch unit situated ahead of the rear axle. The system splits driving torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on vehicle speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, and throttle opening. The driver may switch off the all-wheel-drive function so that only the front wheels drive the vehicle.

The front suspension is by ubiquitous MacPherson struts located by wide-span L-arms and checked by an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension is an adaptation of the trailing-arm beam-axle system first used in the Ipsum compact minivan, which accommodates the rear driveshafts in the all-wheel-drive application. An anti-roll bar is housed within the U-sectioned twist beam. The space-saver suspension mounts coil springs and shock absorbers separately.

A unique optional feature, which Toyota claims is the first in the world, is a visual reversing guidance system employing a CCD camera and a dedicated computer. With the transmission selector lever in reverse, the computer forecasts the vehicle's path from steering angle, graphically displays on the LCD screen the intended course along with the vehicle's actual course, and indicates where more lock is to be applied to slip within the space. Other options include a laser-radar-guided adaptive cruise control and a color TV for rear-seat occupants.

Jack Yamaguchi

AEI March 2000
Estima / Alphard
2.4i · 3.0i
ђуководство по ремонту и техническому обслуживанию

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