1993 Toyota Estima Lucida G-Spec 4x4 2.2 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Best MPV in its class; a true all rounder


At the first MOT it required an indicator relay fuse.

Two more mots down the line, it sailed through with not as much as a screw loose.

General Comments:

The looks of these MPV are the best. The are bullet shaped and futuristic compared to what's on offer even these days, bearing in mind she is over 15 years old.

Now most came factory fitted tint alloys, spoiler, double cd cassette radio, swivel seats, twin sun roofs, electric climate control (front and rear controlled), and electric folding wing mirrors, four wheel drive, ABS, park assist, hot cold box; this and more was factory fitted.

The interior all works; every switch and button works as it should. The carpet and seats are all intact; no worn patches or tears. It has arm rests on every chair, along with 360 captain chairs for the second row, and a real full size boot. These are a true adult sized MPV, referring to the rear seat and boot space, not like so many fake MPVs, which have only 5 seats, and the rest which have two seats that take all the boot space, only to seat kid's with no legs and a small box of matches in the boot.

The engine is still solid and I do drive her hard. She starts every time with the slightest turn of the key; these engines will run very happily on used vegetable oil with not a single modification done to the engine.

I always service her when the the little red service light pops up. Observing the coolant, I would recommend draining and re filling with fresh coolant yearly to maintain the coolant quality easily, checking so the coolant maintains its colour.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th December, 2007

1st May 2009, 13:41

Update from the original post two years on.

Things to replace worth mentioning; turbo exchanged due to oil seals, slight leak, pair of front shocks, maybe due to running lowered after market springs.

Center prop shaft bearing to cure slight vibration, and all the other small thing are front brake pads, one front bulb, and one side bulb.

Starter motor contacts replaced, full set of low profiles tyres, and the usual oil and coolant and filter changes.

Nothing has stopped working as of yet.

Also I decided to upgraded the cooling system to the double-core radiator to avoid any possibility of over heating.

Still walked through MOTs with nothing at all needed. The last MOT had an advisory on the front wheel bearings. Let's see how long they last, or if it would pass if I don't change them.

1995 Toyota Estima Lucida 2.2 turbo diesel from Australia and New Zealand


Get mechanical breakdown insurance, or avoid


Biggest issue was the head gasket failing (due to corrosion, I think) at approx 140,000kms. This caused water to leak into one of the engine cylinders, initially just being an undiagnosed loss of water from the radiator getting worse over time, eventually being enough to make a "clunk" sound when trying to start the vehicle. After diagnosis from an engine reconditioner (costing approx NZ$900 by itself), it was recommended to replace the head ($1300, cracked despite no known overheat) and other engine components that may wear out while doing work in the engine. Total cost of repair was $4500 - ouch! Very disappointing especially since $900 was spent replacing idle chain, pump etc as preventative measure when purchased, and was regularly serviced. Resale value of vehicle is expected to be no more than $6000, possibly only $4500.

I was told by someone who worked in the vehicle insurance industry that there was a design fault with the head that causes cracking due to "hot spots", but the head gasket probably failed due to corrosion. A new replacement head apparently doesn't have the fault.

Replacement windscreen (cracked from stone impact) cost $800, which is very expensive for a windscreen (covered by insurance fortunately).

Engine is susceptible to overfilling with oil because of inaccurate dip stick readings. Twice after servicing the oil-too-full light came on. Don't know whether this might have caused damage (took it back to remove oil one of the times).

Fluorescent light bulb inside sliding door failed soon after purchase. Replacement bulb from Toyota was going to cost $88! Didn't replace.

General Comments:

Parts and servicing for this vehicle seems very expensive, especially if engine work is required as access is difficult - front seats and dashboard may need to be taken out before work can start.

When I purchased this vehicle, I was hoping it was going to hold value better than competitors like Nissan Serena due to better reliability, but I was obviously sorely disappointed.

However, despite all the financial woes, I have very much enjoyed driving the vehicle. It is extremely comfortable and has plenty of power, even with a reasonable load in the back.

U-turns aren't easy due to large turning circle, but you get used to it.

I do intend to sell this vehicle shortly, and purchase a vehicle that is cheaper to maintain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 8th November, 2006

19th Nov 2006, 13:53

Your estima is the same car as a previa, pretty much, and they are indestructible. You obviously have had a poor mechanic who doesn't understand what he is dealing with. You MUST use genuine Toyota coolant, you can't mix brands or they lead to the problems you have experienced. He also obviously can't do an oil change, the dip stick on these is accurate. If you mix coolant brands, they will coagulate in the engine and cause blockages, hot spots and corrosion. You also should change the radiator at 100,000Ks as a matter of routine. I'm sorry you have had these woes, but I think you are judging the wrong thing to be a lemon. Previas are tough as old boots.