Monday, January 2, 2012

Used Car Review - Toyota Revo (1998-2005)

Myk Belmonte is starting the new year by featuring a vehicle from a different category? If the previous four were two sedans and two sport utes, this week (and most likely next week) we will have Multi-Purpose Vehicles that will grace on the page. The featured vehicle is out of the market but it has a purpose.

1998-2005 Toyota Revo

History
Question: What does the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam (although not that much) do have in common? Answer: The love for Asian Utility Vehicles. That's right. Filipinos, Indonesians, and Vietnamese love to travel using these types of vehicles, which are the Asian Utility Vehicle and the Multi-Purpose Vehicle. These vehicles usually have the riding capacity for seven to ten people, usually rear wheel drive, and have a wide range of amenities ranging from the basic to the luxury. The Toyota Revo traces its roots from its mid-70's ancestors named the Tamaraw (or Kijang in Indonesia) that had started life as an open-bed pickup and an enclosed version, which is dubbed as the High Side Pickup with Roof or HSPUR. Locally, it was manufactured by Delta Motors Philippines, the assembler and distributor of Toyota vehicles during the 70s to mid 80s. It was basically a ladder-on-frame cab with no doors, wrapped in an interior that is versatile - one of its strong selling points. It was discontinued in the mid-80's, as the local distributor pulled out of the country.

The Tamaraw nameplate reappeared several years ago as the Tamaraw FX. This became the ideal family vehicle due to its riding capability, high ground clearance, and painless maintenance. This vehicle was so successful that you nearly have to wait for months just to have your unit. In late 1998, the Toyota Revo (the fourth gen Kijang) was introduced in the Philippines and it was the best-selling vehicle during its period. After two revisions done in 2000 and 2003, the Revo gave way to its modern sibling, the Innova in 2005.

Variants available to the consumer are the DLX, GL, GLX, LXV (offered in 1999-2000), SR (nickname for Sport Runner), GSX, and VX200. A limited edition J variant was made an option for the Sport Runner and VX200 variants back in 2002. Consumers had a choice of a five-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic transmission. Diesel variants do not have an automatic tranny option, as opposed to the Isuzu Crosswind, which had one previously (up to now).

Value and Costs
Those wanting a used Toyota Revo would spot a wide variety of units with price ranges from P230,000-P380,000. Gasoline variants do cost less than the ones having a diesel engine under the hood. Do take note despite the discontinuation of the nameplate, 2004-05 diesel models are priced at the upper side of the price range! Among the competition, the Revo has a slight premium over them.

Parts of original (they're still available despite the dead name!), third party, and surplus are cheap. However, do check out especially if you're considering a diesel variant, if black smoke goes out of its tail pipe.

Exterior and Interior
Resembling an American minivan, the Revo does not look boxy compared to its contemporaries. Its design is clearly timeless and you'll be mistaken that you're driving a minivan, without sliding doors. Ground clearance and driver visibility are plus points.

The Revo's interior is definitely roomy, with ample room for the average built people in all three rows. A rare option is the availability of front facing third row seats, which it's main competitors during it's time - the Isuzu Crosswind and the Mitsubishi Adventure - did not have. The VX200 had leather upholstery, and even an entertainment system to boot. Among Toyotas back then, controls are simple to manipulate.

Engine
Another advantage of the Revo is the wide range of engine choices. Two gasoline engines and a lone diesel were made available. Gasoline engines were a 1,781cc 7K-E 1.8 liter engine, and a 1,998cc 1RZ-E 2.0 liter engine, with the latter being added in the year 2001. The diesel engine is a 2,446cc 2L 2.4 liter engine, shared with the same period Hilux and Hiace. The 1.8 liter engine has 94hp at 5,000rpm and 155Nm at 3,300rpm, while the 2.0 engine possess 105hp at 4,800rpm and 160Nm at 2,800rpm. The diesel engine carries 86hp and 165Nm. A common trait among Toyota engines are decent power using low end torque. The 1.8 Gasoline paired with the automatic transmission can be somewhat underpowered, with the low horsepower rating. While the 2.0 engine guzzles gas than a comparable V8 engine, no thanks to its engine running on richer than necessary air-fuel mixture.

Driving Impressions
Despite its utilitarian roots, the Revo's ride comfort is comparable to a car, which is a bit contrasting against the competition. With high ground spacing, this is a good thing for its underpinnings not to be scratched and cause further damage. Driver's command is high enough to see the hood, and can be a good candidate for short drivers who needs a versatile vehicle. Handling is car-like but should not be tested and driven like a drift car, since it has a tendency of having some unwanted roll in the rear.

Verdict
The Revo may be gone, but definitely not forgotten by Filipino motorists. Imagine this, minivan like looks, car-like comfort and handling, and the ruggedness of an SUV in one clever package, it's a good deal. Those wanting a vehicle that seats more but has a limited budget, the Revo is an impressive choice. It was more of a success to different sectors - government, taxicabs, and family men.



The Good:
  • Thrifty diesel engine
  • Strong parts availability
  • Excellent visibility throughout
The Bad:
  • Underpowered 1.8 with automatic tranny
  • 2.0 engine drinks gas fast
  • Uncomfortable side facing seats
The Pick: GLX or Sports Runner 2.4 MT

THE SPECS
Engines: 1,781cc 7K-E and 1,998cc 1RZ-E I4 gasoline. 2,446cc 2L I4 diesel
Power: 94hp @ 5000rpm (1.8), 105hp @ 4800rpm (2.0), 86hp (2.4 Diesel)
Torque: 155Nm @ 3200rpm (1.8), 161Nm @ 2800rpm (2.0), 165Nm (2.4 Diesel)
Fuel Consumption: 5-11km/L (city); 7-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies, ranged from the three engines)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear rigid axle with leaf springs

MORE INFO
Price (New): P600,000-P970,000 (range from 1998-2005)
Price (Now): P230,000-P380,000
Rivals: Isuzu Hilander, Isuzu Crosswind, Mitsubishi Adventure
On Sale: 1998-Early 2005
Resources:
http://revoclub.proboards.com/index.cgi
http://www.toyotaclubphil.com/

Contacts:
Toyota Shaw-Ortigas - 671-4271
Toyota Balintawak - 927-7215
Toyota Commonwealth - 952-1021


Photo courtesy of olx.com - http://quezoncity.olx.com.ph/pictures/for-sale-2002-toyota-revo-vx200j-for-p410k-negotiable-iid-42490134

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