REAL CAR CULTURE

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REAL CAR CULTURE

AUTO MESSE WEB(オートメッセウェブ)

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Toyota ‘Cynos’, A Secretary’s Car That Was Cheaper Than The Kei-car

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TEXT: 小鮒康一(KOBUNA Koichi)  PHOTO: AMW/TOYOTA

  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos
  • Toyota Cynos

It was a low-priced and attractive model

The Toyota ‘Cynos’, introduced in 1991, was a two-door coupe model based on the Tercel/Corsa/Corolla II and was available in two models: ‘Alpha’ and ‘Beta’. 1995 saw a full model change, and the second generation of the Cynos was also two Two models are available. The new α model is an attractive model with a low price of 934,000 yen (approx. 6160 USD). We look back at the car again.

This model is available in two models: a base model and a sporty model

The ‘coupe’ body shape is now only seen on some sports models, but until around the 1990s, it was not uncommon for people to “choose a stylish coupe as a means of everyday transport”.

The coupe body shape is now only available in some sports models.

This was partly because coupe models were gaining popularity in the USA, where women were quickly entering the workforce, as ‘secretary’s cars’ that active women could drive casually. In the USA, this was the case until recently, which is why coupe models such as the Civic existed only in the North American market (although the Civic Coupe was discontinued with the previous generation model).

The Toyota Cynos (export name Paseo) was introduced in 1991 for such users. It was based on the Tercel, Corsa, and Corolla II brothers, which were Toyota’s bottom line, and was a two-door coupe body mounted on a common platform.

The Tercel was also sportier than the three Tercel brothers on which it was based, with only a 1.5-litre engine and different tuning. 105 hp was available in the standard α model, and 115 hp in the sporty β. The β featured rear disc brakes and a G sensor-based electronically controlled suspension with vertical G-sensitive TEMS, etc. as optional equipment.

Then, in September 1995, the Cynos underwent a full model change and evolved into the second generation, based on the three Tercel brothers, who were also one generation newer. The design was a normal evolution of the first generation, a concept so kept that those not familiar with it would not notice any difference.

Because the model was introduced after the burst of the bubble economy, the engine of the basic Alpha grade was downsized to 1.3 liters, and the transmission was one less step, 4-speed MT or 3-speed AT respectively. The main difference was that the entry price was lower than that of the previous generation, at 934,000 yen (approx. 6160 USD), less than one million yen.

It’s not just a cost reduction all-rounder: in August 1996, a convertible was added to the range, which did not exist in the previous generation. This convertible was an elaborate process, whereby a vehicle reinforced for convertibility was sent from Japan to the USA, converted into a convertible by ASC in the USA, and then sent back to Japan.

This was the same production method as the Celica Convertible, but even so, the starting price of less than 1.6 million yen was a bargain sale in hindsight.

The Cynos was discontinued in 1999 with the shrinking demand for compact coupes in Japan and the demise of the three Tercel brothers on which it was based, and its real successor, the Platz (export name Echo), continued to have a two-door coupe model for the North American market, but it was never introduced in Japan.

translated by DeepL

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