All-new Toyota Coaster, which was launched in Japan early this year, 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 last Thursday, reveals what makes the latest offering different from the model it replaced…
It took 24 years before the old Toyota Coaster got born again. Although it got updated bit by bit during those years of its reign, its manufacturer saw no reason to offer it a retirement, because it kept selling.
Notwithstanding, finally, in 2016, the old model coasted into a once-upon-a-time world, given way to a new model, which, like a newly crowned British Monarch, rode majestically into the world’s auto marketing palace .
Last week Thursday, it became clear that the new bus had already arrived Nigeria, showing off its taller and more sophisticated body to motoring journalists, who were at TNL’s head office for the company’s quarterly media briefing.
Parking the old and new models side-by-side revealed a clear difference. Obviously, the new model looks taller and comes with a squarer body, taller side glass, measuring about 60 mm in height and a ringed body frame, amalgamating the roof, sides, and floor frame sections.
And its windshield openings have been made wider for a better road visibility. There are also multi-angle mirrors for easier maneuverability.
Given its distinct styling, when compared with its predecessor, the newly crowned Coaster has, doubtless, undergone a complete redesign, an assignment, Motoring World gathered, was executed under the supervision of Toyota’s in-house company established recently for the purpose of overseeing development of commercial vehicles. Known as CV Company, 2017 Coaster, incidentally, is the first vehicle to undergo complete redesigning under Company’s supervision.
The new Toyota bus comes with taller entry steps and windows that are installed further away to the side. And on inspecting the interior, aside coming with new ceiling racks that are 140 mm further away from people’s heads, its headroom is higher compared with the retired model.
Beyond design and styling, the new Coaster could be safely commended for a major safety breakthrough, for it comes with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), as standard. And according to Toyota, the new Coaster became 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 direct-injection turbodiesel engine, sourced from Hino, Toyota’s truck subsidiary. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
At birth in 1963, it was named Toyota Light Bus. Six years after (1969), it was baptized with the name: Coaster. It got born again in 1982, when Toyota Motor Corporations made certain updates before rolling out a second generation.
The Coaster went through another generation change in 1993, year Nigeria experienced political turmoil as a result of election annulment.
What was revealed to motoring media last week is the fourth generation Coaster, which Toyota Nigeria believes will, as usual, help the company to maintain its leadership position in the commercial vehicle segment of the Nigerian automobile market.
The 2017 Coaster is said to be available in five variants and two body styles, namely: LX, GX, EX, School Bus and Big Van.
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