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Model Information - Toyota Townace

   
 

 

Often seen as the "Grandaddy" of Toyota MPVs, the Townace started life as the "Spacecruiser"/"Toyota Van" - both variants being based on the Liteace van platform. Despite claims within motoring circles that the Renault Espace was the first production people carrier, that model did not roll off the production lines until 1984 - the Townace was first introduced in Japan during April 1983. However, the Townace was only offered for sale in Japan - the UK & US Markets already had the similar but more basic Toyota Spacecruiser, marketed to the USA as the Toyota Van (also known as the Vanwagon on very early models).

 

Neither the Spacecruiser or Toyota Van featured the impressive Townace specification or were sold with diesel engines (although a coolbox and aircontioning could be found on some "Deluxe" Toyota Vans in the USA). Incidentally, the Townace "equivalent" was sold in Australia as the "Spacia" ("Spacie") and "Tarago" - a name later given to the Australian "Previa" (see our Previa Guide for more details on that model range).

 

As a "luxury" model, the Townace was extremely well-spec'd for its day when compared to European MPVs - featuring such options as Dual-zone air-conditioning, cool/hot-boxes, electric windows and the option to convert the 8-seater into a double-bed; none of which could be found on the comparable larger MPVs sold in Europe.

 

Due to the excellent spec level, relative reliability and cheap price, the Townace became a very popular "Grey Import" into the UK and many early models can still be found on British roads today. Likewise, many Townaces have found their way into Russia and also Australia where they are popular with the surfing Community. Often affectionately referred to as a "Townie" in owner communities.

 

 

The "First Generation"

   
 

   
 

Toyota Van

First Generation Townace

Toyota Spacecruiser

(a 1986 Model F from Switzerland)

   
 

Originally designed as a RWD mid-engined short-wheel-based "luxury" MPV based on the Liteace van platform. The driver and front passenger effectively sat over the front axle which afforded an excellent turning circle and manoeuvrability, at the cost of a very bumpy ride - especially for the driver and front passenger. The mid-engine layout also created the now infamous cooling issues that has beset the Townace (however, despite these shortcomings, Toyota continued with the mid-engined layout throughout its First Generation Estima/Previa range).

 

The initial  body-style (known as the CR21) featured four doors: two fronts, a single-side rear passenger sliding door and tailgate. The Townace  could be found in 7 or 8-seater variants featuring a 1,812cc - 78 bhp (2Y-U) petrol engine.

 

A surprisingly effective 4WD version (with lockable hubs) was introduced in December 1985 (known as the CR30)

 

The Toyota Van and Spacecruiser ceased production in 1989. (being replaced by the Previa in the UK & US Markets)

 

Statistics:

ENGINE:

(2Y-U) 4-cylinder carburettor petrol

DISPLACEMENT:

1812 cc

TRANSMISSION:

5-speed manual

MAX TORQUE:

140.24 Nm@ 3,200 RPM

BHP:

78bhp @ 5,000 RPM

0-60mph: unknown
TOP SPEED: unknown
WEIGHT: 1,160 kg
LENGTH:

4,360 mm (external)

WIDTH:

1,670 mm (external)

HEIGHT:

1,775 mm (external)

 

   
 

 

The "Second Generation"

 

Second Generation Townace (Masterace)

(note the "Skylite Roof")

 

Post-1989 Townace models included a revised, slightly more streamlined, bodyshell (although still only featuring the single rear passenger sliding door) new interior design and notably the introduction of the "skylite roof" on certain models. This consisted of SIX individual sunroofs; the front four could open vertically (pop-up) - and of those four, the middle two "skylites" could be removed. Models without the Skylite Roof had a "pop-up" front sunroof and an electronically-controlled opening rear "moonroof" for rear passengers - often referred to as a Moonroof model. Despite the moonroof being a more useful option, the cosmetic impact of the skylite roof meant that this model proved to be more popular for UK import.

 

The 1.8 engine was replaced by a 2.0 EFI (3Y-EU) petrol engine or 2.0 Turbo-charged diesel (2C-T) engine coupled to a predominantly automatic 3-speed (with overdrive) gearbox; although a manual gearbox was also available. Toyota maintained their "mid-engined" design by keeping the engine under the front seats.

 

Spec levels varied, with most variants known by a specific model type (Townace Superextra Deluxe, Masterace Surf, Liteace" rather than just a basic Spec-code (e.g. "GL") - the top of the range 7-seater version being called, rather grandly "The Royal Lounge". A welcome addition was the inclusion of power steering across the Townace model range.

 

 

Second Generation "Facelift" Townace

 

A facelift was completed in 1992 - meaning that its Second Generation predecessor is often incorrectly referred to as "The Mark One". The facelift included a revision to the bodyshell (comestic changes to the front nose-cone, rear lights and glass panels) and a change to the interior dashboard layout. Spec levels and model branding remained consistent; although the very popular (due to its usefully large size) hot/coolbox was removed from most models.

 

Whilst the 2.0 EFI petrol engine was continued in the Townace, Toyota uprated the 2C-T Diesel engine to its newer and more powerful 3C-T Diesel engine, found in its sister-model "Estima". Although almost identical "under the skin", the Estima proved to be the more popular Grey Import choice in the UK and greatly outnumber "facelifted" Townaces .

 

Statistics:

ENGINE:

3Y-EU 4-cylinder fuel-injected Petrol

2C-T Turbo-charged 4-cylinder injection-Diesel

3C -T Turbo-charged 4-cylinder Injection-Diesel

DISPLACEMENT:

1998 cc

1974 cc

2184 cc

TRANSMISSION:

5-speed manual / 4-speed automatic ECT (with overdrive)

MAX TORQUE:

159.85 Nm@ 3,800 RPM

172.60 Nm @ 2,600 RPM

188.29 Nm @ 2,200 RPM

BHP:

97 bhp @ 4,800 RPM

85 bhp @ 4,500 RPM

101 bhp @ 4,200 RPM

0-60mph:

unknown

unknown

unknown

TOP SPEED:

unknown

unknown

unknown

WEIGHT:

1,390 kg

1,340 kg

1,680 kg

LENGTH:

4,360 mm (external) / Facelift model: 4395 mm

WIDTH:

1,670 mm (external) / Facelift model: 1685 mm

HEIGHT:

Skylite roof:

1,945 mm (external) / Facelift model: 1945 mm

1,990 mm / Facelift model: 1985 mm

 

   
 

The "Third Generation"

Third Generation Townace Noah

(note the front-engined layout)

The Townace range was revised again in 1996 under the brand name "Townace Noah". The brand name "Townace" was later dropped from the Toyota model range and the range continued as the "Noah" (although grey imports into the UK are still called "Townace Noah").

The 3C-T(e) engine was kept in service for the diesel variants of the Noah, but the 3Y-EU petrol engine was replaced with the 3S-FE engine. In a move that was to be later followed in the Estima/Previa range, Toyota moved the engine to the more traditional location at the front of the vehicle. Due to the 'new' engine layout, the Noah took on the more traditional "Estate car" ("stationwagon") look; although seating arrangements were still as flexible as its more van-like predecesors. Nevertheless, the Townace Noah still featured just the single rear passenger sliding door layout.

The Noah is becoming established once more as a popular Grey import choice in the UK - mainly down to the fact that although it is smaller and lighter that its Estima and Granvia stablemates, it can still seat eight and has a generous specification and excellent flexibility.

Statistics:

ENGINE:

(3C- T & TE) Turbo-charged 4-cylinder Injection-Diesel

(3S-FE) 4-cylinder fuel-injected petrol

DISPLACEMENT:

2184 cc

1998 cc

TRANSMISSION:

5-speed manual / 4-speed automatic

MAX TORQUE:

194.17 Nm @ 2,200 RPM

181.42 Nm @ 4,400 RPM

BHP:

91bhp @ 4,000 RPM

130bhp @ 5,000 RPM

0-60mph:

unknown

unknown

TOP SPEED:

unknown

unknown

WEIGHT: 1,590 kg

1,540 kg

LENGTH:

4,435 mm (external)

WIDTH:

1,695 mm (external)

HEIGHT:

1,975 mm (external) *includes standard roof bars

 

The Noah was subsequently facelifted in 2007 to bring the brand image inline with the rest of the Toyota "house-style". The new Noah is one of the first cars to feature Toyota's "Valvematic" (3ZR-FAE) engines. The (Townace) Noah is still unavailable to purchase from Toyota UK.

 

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