Toyota’s long lived workhorse the Crown Comfort must be approaching the end of its shelf life. One of my very first blogs was about this Asian transport carrier and how it was unique to this part of the world as is the LT1 to the United Kingdom.
The design is so Japanese and 80s it could be considered as a classic and is one of the first sites that you witness when you exit Changi Airport and into the Sauna known as Singapore.
However, as blogged previously, this classic from Toyota is increasingly under threat from the likes of Hyundai’s Sonata (i would not touch this car with a bargepole as a personal vehicle, but as a commercial workhorse, this car makes 100% sense) and possibly any other South Korean offering, seeing that Fuji Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi and Nissan – who did have the Crew saloon at one stage – seem to concentrate on other sectors. The Soluna by Toyota
simply doesn’t cut it in terms of taxi – a standard family car that has been forced to become a working mule. And by the lack of them in Asian roads, you can see why this is not a popular choice of cab.
So now – having spent some time in Bali – sees Toyota’s new kid on the block that may very well take over the Crown Comfort’s mantle. Called simply ‘Limo’, and used mainly as a taxi, this would be seen as Toyota’s new offering to the commercial market for this genre.
Based on the Vios,
and mainly with manual transmission this is just a standard 4-dr saloon with vinyl seats, and those infamous pepper pot steel rims. Electric windows are found at the back and the legroom is adequate. The dash is a one piece affair like most cars these days with integrated audio, and there are finger tip controls on the steering wheel. Interesting to note that the speedo and tacho as centre set rather than in the traditional driver side position.
We didn’t had the need to chuck anything in the boot, as most of our transfers had been via a Suzuki APV, but I suspect that the boot may well be on the small side. And if the car ever does make it to the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore and a LPG tank fitted, it could very well be game over. So it would be interesting to see how many would be converted to LPG from petrol.
The Limo is definitely not a classic in terms of design and aesthetics. It is indeed a commercially engineered version of the Vios and for the purposes of the roads in Bali, it does the job, plain and simple and with the number of Limo’s on the road, seems to be the cab of choice. But the upstarts from China in the form of Geely may well make a dent in this market if price and reliability make an impact.
Whether it will be the new replacement for the Crown Comfort in Singapore and HK is yet to be seen. But for the time being: the Crown is dead! Long live the Crown!