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Miles ahead of the Qualis!
BS Motoring in Mumbai | October 09, 2004
When the Santro was launched in India, people hated the way it looked. The same people bought it in large numbers sooner or later and well, the Santro continues to be the top selling car in its league even today.
Ditto, the Toyota Qualis -- the 15-year ugly-duckling of an old design Toyota dusted down to enter the Indian utility vehicle market. It was more refined and economical than any of its competitors and saying it did well would be an understatement.
Hope you get the plot -- it is not necessary for a car to look right for it to do well. But Toyota is not the second largest car company in the world for nothing -- they know what sells and they can build cars that suit the specific requirements of various markets.
Take the all-new Innova, just launched in Indonesia and the machine that we would soon know as the new Qualis (the brand name, apparently, has become so generic that Toyota has decided to keep it, the same way Honda did with the City tag).
Like in the case of the Honda City, the new Qualis is an all-new vehicle -- unlike the bread-box on wheels UV the Qualis was, the new Qualis is a minivan meant for developing economies.
It will be the car that can play the role of an economical hire-car, personal mover with a certain degree of style and pilgrim-mover extraordinare. And thanks to the International Multi-Purpose Vehicle (IMV) platform that it is based on, it will be only as expensive as the outgoing Qualis.
The exterior styling can be termed controversial (it can be a good thing, you see) with an almost cab-forward architecture, sloping bonnet line and windshield and a very large greenhouse. When seen from rear three-quarter, the new Qualis apes the Chevrolet Forester thanks to the similarly styled tailgate and taillamp treatment.
Inside, the new Qualis mimics the Corolla and other expensive Toyota sedans with twin-tone textures and wood trim. If the idea was to give a luxury feel to the interior, the designers have succeeded. Unlike truck-based SUVs such as the Ford Endeavour, the new Qualis shines when it comes to available space -- even the rear row seating is comfortable.
Toyota has developed a modern common-rail diesel unit for the IMV project and this 100 bhp unit may start the innings for the new Qualis in India.
Toyota managed to change the UV game with a 15-year old model when the Qualis was launched and now they are set to unleash a state-of-the-art product. Over to you Tata, Mahindra and GM-Chevrolet! -- Business Standard