Toyota For 1997
By Carey Russ
Toyota has a very complete product lineup, with sedans, trucks, sport-utilities, and sports cars for almost all budgets. There is big news for 1997: a new version of the Camry, Toyota's most popular car. A sporty Paseo convertible is now available, and, at the other end of the Toyota sports car spectrum, the 6-speed Supra turbo is back.
What is quieter, lighter, more powerful, and more aerodynamic than a 1996 Camry? A 1997 Camry. The new generation of Toyota's best- seller is larger than the previous one in most dimensions while being lighter in weight. The restyled body blends rounded forms and crisp angles. A new, more spacious interior takes advantage of the two-inch longer wheelbase. Refinement of the suspension gives a smoother ride and sportier handling.
To streamline production and reduce costs, the 1997 Camry is offered in 4-door sedan form only. Higher-output versions of the previous generation's inline four and V6 engines are used, with a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmissions. Three trim levels are available. For the first time, the V6 engine can be had in the standard-level Camry. Antilock brakes are standard on all models except the base 4-cylinder, where they are optional. Traction control is offered on uplevel V6 models.
The spacious, top-of-the-line Avalon was designed for the American market and is built only in Georgetown, Kentucky. It was first introduced in 1995, and gets more power in its V6 engine and minor styling enhancements for 1997.
The Corolla name has been on small, economical Toyotas since 1966. Capitalizing on that heritage, a new, high-value "Classic Edition" featuring many popular equipment options at a special reduced price will be offered for 1997. In addition, all Corollas have new side-impact protection and door trim, and revised rear styling.
All 1997 Toyota Corollas sold in the U. S. will be produced either at NUMMI, in Fremont, CA, or at Toyota's Canadian plant in Ontario.
The subcompact Tercel lineup has been streamlined to a single trim level this year. Available in both 2- and 4-door models, the 1997 Tercel has gotten larger wheels and tires and new interior refinements.
Toyota Trucks, Sport-Utilities, and Minivans
The supercharged Previa minivan has some mechanical upgrades this year.
Toyota has one of the most complete lines of sport-utilities in the business. The small RAV4, available in 2- and 4-door models, was introduced last year and has only minor changes this year. The newest version of the midsized 4Runner made its debut last February, so it is mostly the same for 1997. The full-sized Land Cruiser continues as before.
Two-wheel drive models of the Tacoma compact pickup get new front styling, and the larger T100 has revisions to standard and optional equipment.
Toyota Sports Cars
Toyota makes three sports cars. At the high-performance end of the line, the fast and luxurious Supra celebrates 15 years as Toyota's performance flagship with the return of the 6-speed manual transmission turbo model. At the high-volume end, affordable sporty motoring, Toyota- style is here with the introduction of a convertible version of the Paseo. The conversion is done by ASC in Southern California. ASC also produces the Celica convertible, which, like the Celica coupe, continues unchanged.