24 years have passed since the third-generation Toyota Coaster debuted in the global market. Since then, the Japanese automaker has been constantly updating the minibus but had yet to release an all-new model. After three decades of minor model changes, Toyota has revealed an all-new Coaster with a new platform.
To be launched in Japan by January 23, 2017, the upcoming all-new Coaster is the fourth generation model in its lineage. First named the Toyota Light Bus in 1963, it was renamed Coaster in 1969. The second-generation arrived in 1982, followed by the outgoing third-generation model in 1993. For the fourth-generation model, Toyota says it's bigger and more rigid than its predecessor, as well as hosting a full range of safety systems.
For added rigidity, the all-new Coaster utilizes a ringed body frame which unifies the roof, sides, and floor frame sections. It also gets Vehicle Stability Control as standard which, Toyota says, is a first in the minibus segment. Dual airbags are also installed in the Coaster and all seatbelts come with pretensioners to reduce forces on the occupant's chest.
The new body is bigger than the minibus it replaces, gaining length, width and height for more interior space. Its windshield openings have also been widened for a better view of the road plus multi-angle mirrors for easier maneuverability. The 2017 Coaster is available in five variants and two body styles. These variants are LX, GX, EX, School Bus and Big Van. Power, meanwhile, is sourced from Hino, Toyota's truck subsidiary, with a 4.0 liter direct-injection turbodiesel engine. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
The 2017 Coaster is the first vehicle to undergo a complete redesign under the supervision of the CV Company. The CV Company is an in-house company that oversees the development of commercial vehicles for Toyota. It was established in April this year to carry out the development of commercial vehicles from the planning to production stages.