All-new Toyota Coaster is now on sale in Nigeria, courtesy of Toyota Nigeria Limited (TNL). Motoring World’s Editor, FEMI OWOEYE, who witnessed its presentation to the motoring press recently, reveals what makes the latest offering different from the model it replaced…
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter about 24 years, the old model of Toyota Coaster, last year,slithered into once-upon-a-time world, given way to a new model, which, like a newly crowned British Monarch, wheeled majestically into the world auto marketing palace .
And penultimate week, it became clear that the new bus had already crossed the Nigerian border, showing off its taller and more sophisticated body to newsmen at TNL’s head office in Lagos.
Questions, however, are: For the born again Coaster, to what extent have old things passed away? Second, what things have become new, to borrow the Biblical Sayings?
Let’s have a look.
During the said TNL’s recent quarterly press forum, both old and new models of the Coaster were displayed side by side. Mere sighting the two left no one in doubt that the new model has not only gone through a more attractively modern design, it is taller than the outgoing one. It looks modern and tougher.
And on a close look, I discovered a squarer body, taller side glass and a ringed body frame, amalgamating the roof, sides, and floor frame sections
The bus also comes with character lines dividing its side into upper and lower regions, while the underbody accentuates the area around the wheels, thus revealing a sturdy body that provides powerful support for the cabin.
No doubt, the new Coaster is born again. And just as Christians of old used to recall stories about how they became born again, the all-new Coaster was said to have undergone a complete redesign, under the supervision of CV Company, an in-house establishment which Toyota set up recently for the purpose of overseeing development of commercial vehicles.
Interestingly, the new Coaster happens to be the first vehicle to undergo complete redesigning under the new company’s supervision.
According to its maker, the Coaster is available in six exterior colors, including beige-metallic and white (colour of the one recently on display at TNL).
The new Toyota bus comes with taller entry steps lengthened by 65 mm to improve ease of ingress and egress.
The seat covers on the EX model combine synthetic leather and fabric with double stitching so as to create a sense of luxury. The seat cushions also use low-rebound polyurethane to improve comfort when seated
Aside coming with new ceiling racks that are 140mm further away from passengers’ heads, the new Coaster’s cabin space has been heightened by 60 mm. Its windows have been moved outwards by approximately 40 mm, thus providing enough space for passengers to rest their elbows.
In addition, to create a comfortable and open passenger space, its side windows’ height has been increased by 50mm.
The distance between the bus’ room racks and its roof has been increased by 60 mm to improve storage,
The use of UV cut glass in the side windows contributes to the creation of a more comfortable interior space.
And looking at its windshield openings, they have been made wider for a better road visibility. There are also multi-angle mirrors for easier manoeuvrability.
Although I have not been opportune to ride in the bus, according to Toyota, to ensure that occupants of the new Coaster experience quietness on wheel, the bus comes with improved body rigidity due to the ringed body frame, adjustments to engine cover structures, enhanced body-seal structures, and the optimal distribution of soundproofing materials.
The new bus’ suspension features front and rear stabilizers, as well as optimized shock-absorber damping forces. Together with the improved body rigidity, this helps to realize a stable ride.
New Coaster’s major safety breakthrough is coming with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), as standard. And according to Toyota, the new Coaster is first to be equipped with VSC in its segment.
The bus also comes with other safety features, including: driver and front passenger’s airbags as well as seatbelts with pretensioners, meant to reduce forces on occupants’ chests.
The new model is said to be powered by 4.0 litre engine, sourced from Hino, Toyota’s truck subsidiary. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
At birth in 1963, the bus was named Toyota Light Bus. Six years after (1969), it was baptised with the name, Coaster. In 1982 Toyota Motor Corporations rolled out a second generation after making certain updates.
The bus went through another generation change in 1993.
What Toyota Nigeria revealed to motoring media recently is the fourth generation Coaster, a bus that is capable of further entrenching Toyota brand’s leadership position in the nation’s commercial vehicle market.
More so, from all indications, the fourth generation Coaster is not the exact Coaster we used to know. It is more muscular. It is bigger, taller, safer, roomier and indeed better-looking.
So did it actually go through a new birth then? Of course, it did!
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