AUTO MESSE WEB(オートメッセウェブ)


Legacy of Comfort: The Tale of Toyota’s Family Minivan Trio

posted at:

TEXT: 青木邦敏(AOKI Kunitoshi)  PHOTO: TOYOTA

  • Toyota's first-generation Voxy, introduced in 2001
  • Toyota's first Noah, introduced in 2001
  • Toyota 3rd generation Voxy with minor changes in 2017
  • Toyota 3rd generation Noah with minor changes in 2017
  • Toyota Esquire with minor changes in 2017
  • Toyota Esquire discontinued in January 2022
  • Toyota Noah still enjoys great popularity among families.
  • Toyota Voxy, which has made such great strides that it has taken the number one spot in popularity from Noah

Toyota’s three leading family minivan brothers

When people think of Toyota’s “three family minivan brothers”, they probably think of the Noah/Voxy/Esquire. The first son, the second son, Noah/Voxy, is still a very popular model, while the third son, Esquire, was discontinued about two years ago, in January 2022. What were these three sibling cars like?

Each has its own attractive personality

In January 2022, Toyota’s Noah and Voxy minivans shifted into their fourth generation with a full model change after almost eight years. Until about two years ago, the Noah/Voxy/Esquire were known and loved as Toyota’s ‘three minivan brothers’. However, production of the Esquire, the youngest of the luxury line-up, will end in December 2021 and sales will cease in January 2022. The line-up then changed to the Noah and Voxy siblings.

Let’s look back at the history of the Noah/Voxy siblings again. The Noah’s predecessor model car dates back to the TownAce Noah/LiteAce Noah. The rear-wheel drive system used in both models was replaced by a front-wheel drive system utilizing the Ipsum platform. To achieve a specification change from the van to the minivan, the model was equipped with sliding doors due to a lower floor. Another key point was that it slides on both sides.

The first-generation Noah (R60G model 2001-07) was born in November 2001. The TownAce/LiteAce name was dropped and the model sold by Toyota Corolla shops at the time was renamed Noah (formerly TownAce) and the model sold by Netz shops was renamed Voxy (formerly LiteAce).

The twin brothers, born into the Toyota family at the same time, had slightly different visual characters and inner personalities. The older brother, Noah, took the minivan high road and was full of “imposing presence”, while the younger brother, Voxy, asserted his masculinity with a “slightly mischievous venom”. Both brothers’ minivans were built to the highest standards, and the style of the minivans, which could be selected to suit the tastes of each owner, was extremely popular with young families.

Popularity reversed between the first and second sons

Next, after the second generation (R70G/W/R models 2007-2014), both growing siblings continued to evolve normally. This was followed by the third generation (R80G/W models 2014-2021), which also achieved even more spacious interior space design and low fuel consumption.

The differences between Noah and Voxy were also reflected in their popularity among users. The second-generation Voxy has been the dominant model since 2014, when it became the second generation, and the third-generation Esquire was newly added to the luxury line-up. Despite this, the third-generation Voxy won over many fans.

Looking back at the third son Esquire (first generation ZRR8#G/ZWR80G models, 2014-22), it was introduced as a sibling model for Toyota and Toyopet dealers late after the launch of the third generation Noah and Voxy, as an M-class luxury minivan with a higher quality and luxury feel based on its brothers. It was a newly born model.

They dominated the world as three popular brothers

As those familiar with cars will remember, there were once three van brothers before the three minivan brothers. These were the TownAce/LiteAce/MasterAce, popularly known as the ‘TownAce Three Brothers’. The revival of this historical lineage was a real treat and was a hot topic of conversation at the time.

If you look around the large Toyota family lineage, you will recall that they were also considered the most popular since the “Mark II Three Brothers” that dominated the 1980s and 1990s.

As for the name of the newest addition to the line-up, Esquire, it derives from the English word ‘Esquire’, which means a male honorific title. However, despite such expectations, it will have a short life span of only one generation, and sales will unfortunately end in January 2022. Therefore, the battle for popularity between Noah and Voxy will continue to attract attention in the future.

The current, fourth-generation (R90W model, from 2022) Noah/Voxy models are thoroughly compared in terms of sophisticated design, advanced equipment, price, and fuel economy performance, and we urge you to consider which one suits your tastes …… before you buy. It is interesting to note that the Noah/Voxy models may look similar, but in fact, they are quite different when examined in detail.

translated by DeepL