The Transformation of the Toyota Gaia
First Generation (1998 – 2004)
The TOYOTA GAIA was released in May 1998. Its chassis was based on that of the first generation TOYOTA IPSUM, albeit with a differently customized upper body and more luxurious impression. The body size measured in length, width, and height at 4,620mm, 1,695mm, and 1,640mm respectively; thus, though the width was the same as that of the Ipsum, the length was 90mm longer, and the height was 55mm higher, leading to a more spacious interior. Moreover, through the use of metal-plated parts on the exterior, the appearance was made luxurious and sleek. The exterior design emphasized horizontal lines in the front grille and multi-reflector headlights; for the rear as well, crystal combination lamps were used for a high-quality feel.
In terms of the interior, high-quality seat covers were used, and wooden panels were installed in certain areas, leading to greater luxuriousness.
Efforts were made to vary seat arrangement options; for the second row seating, a captain seat with a sliding capability of 285mm was installed, as well as a bench seat with a sliding capability of 345mm. Moreover, for the third row seating, it was made possible to separate the seats 5:5 and fold them down to create a flat luggage space.
As for equipment options, self-luminous meters were installed for higher class grades, and dual auto air conditioning was installed to all vehicles. Combined with the use of UV cut glass, this made for a more comfortable riding experience.
The inline four-cylinder 1,998cc gasoline engine with 135 horsepower and 2,184cc diesel engine with 94 horsepower were made available.
The transmission that could be combined with these was the electric 4-speed automatic.
For the drive system, the FF and 4WD were made available for the 1,998cc gasoline engine with 135 horsepower, and the FF was made available for the 2,184cc diesel engine with 94 horsepower. For the 4WD, by minimizing the system, the minimal turning radius was 5.5m, comparing favorably with the FF system and achieving great usability.
The fuel consumption for the 1,998cc gasoline engine with 135 horsepower measured at 11.4km/L for the FF and 11.6km/L for the 4WD.
In April 2001, minor changes were made to the interior and exterior, and certain changes were made to the engine lineup. For the exterior, the designs of the front grille, headlights, and rear combination lamps were changed in such a way to increase sportiness of the exterior design. Moreover, for the interior, the design of the center cluster was changed, further improving maneuverability.
In terms of the engine, the newly developed inline four-cylinder 1,998cc 1AZ-FSE gasoline engine with 152 horsepower was added to the FF lineup, marking enhancements in running performance and fuel economy. The grades that carried this engine achieved improved fuel consumption of 14.2km/L.
In August 2002, the newly developed inline four-cylinder 1,998cc 1AZ-FSE gasoline engine with 152 horsepower was added to the 4WD lineup as well.
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