1991 Toyota Soarer Limited 4.0 V8 32v Quad Cam from Australia and New Zealand


This fine car inspires pride of ownership


The EMV (Touch sensitive screen for Climate, Stereo, Trip Computer) was not functioning when I bought the car. Fixed for about $A120. (Dried out Capacitors).

Back Left air suspension unit had failed and the other 3 were weak. Replaced whole suspension with the GT40 Coil & Strut units, which I bought 2nd hand from an enthusiast going to "coil overs". Shame to "down specify" the Limited, but $A900 a corner is expensive for the air suspension units.

"Blinky Dash" was fixed with a few capacitors and a bit of fine soldering.

Boot struts were weak - but after market replacements are available at a good price.

Slight leak from tiny crack in Coolant Header tank. Expensive to fix, so I just watch out that it doesn't get worse!

Water pump seals failed recently. Genuine pump good value at $A170 - why go elsewhere? Likewise with the timing belt - about $A70. This is an expensive job labour-wise though - I did mine myself - it's actually very easy! A nice car to work on.

Limited's have fairly weak brakes so I've fitted a set of brakes from the Soarer TT, which are much more effective. Not essential, but a nice conversion.

Many owners go to 19" wheels, but my car had 17" BBS mags when I bought it, and I like the compromise between ride and handling these provide.

Air conditioner was still using the old refrigerant, so had to be converted.

There's very slight bolster wear on the (leather) driver's seat, but not enough to worry about.

For a car of this size it's certainly not space-efficient!

General Comments:

The first 30-series Soarer (USA: Lexus SC400) I saw was enough for me - I had to have one! Because they were rarer then, the local dealers wanted too much for them, asking $14000 to $23000, and none of them would trade my 300zx although it was pristine! These cars in Australia are almost all Japanese used-car 'grey' imports - but a handful were sold new here at about $A150,000. Many of them have been rebadged as Lexus and some have SC400 badges too. This is just the owner's preference - they were all sold badged as Toyota Soarers unless they are left-hand drive cars, but they were built in the Lexus factory so they are really all Lexus too! - the Lexus brand was not used in Japan at that time. These cars have just about all had the digital dash replaced under warranty at around 100k kms, so they will probably have misleading odomoter readings. Given the overall quality of the vehicle, this may be hard to spot - but check out the steering wheel, pedal rubbers etc. Because of a replaced dash, the indicated kms on the odometer may well be 100k kms under the real kms. I'm sure my car has more than 140K on its odometer. 240k would seem to be about right, given the general condition.

I bought my car sight-unseen through EBay from a private seller over 1000kms away, for $A8500. Risky, but because of the great reputation of the V8 used in these cars, it is less of a risk than with lesser vehicles!

Once I fixed the few minor problems the Soarer has been an endless pleasure to drive. It just eats the kms and you can stay calm, rested and relaxed in the magnificent leather seats. It's a true 4-seater for people of average height, with good head room and adequate foot room, although two doors do limit access a little, of course.

For a 4 Litre V8 it is economical (7-12 km/L Premium 95 RON) and can deliver ample power on demand. Nice to know that this V8 is a non-interference engine, which means that a broken timing belt will not result in major engine damage (but will in the later VVTi models, apparently). Because the 1UZ-FE v8 engine is shared with the LS-400 (Celsior) and many Soarers are imported for disassembly only, parts should not be a problem. Internet club support for these cars is brilliant, there being many 'gurus' out there who are happy to give valuable support if anything does go wrong.

This car is a true "Gran Turismo", offering sports-car performance with great comfort and range.

It has all the extras than anyone would ever need, and all of them still work, except the TV (Japanese system not easily converted to Australian) and the SatNav (For Japan and not supported elsewhere). The stereo is magnificent and few owners would need to upgrade it.

This car is beautifully built, goes well, handles safely and looks amazing. Most people can't believe it's 15 years old!

Because of the rising cost of fuel, you could buy one much better than I bought for similar money now, and it may be a bargain, depending on what the last owner has refurbished already.

Despite its age, this luxury car has not become a 'money pit' like many from the more prestigious companies, and promises many more years of quality motoring.

Just remember though, it is an 'upper end of the market' luxury car, which would have cost over $A120,000 when new, if ever officially sold in Australia. Be prepared for maintenance costs associated with a luxury vehicle, not your average $7000-$12000 used car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th December, 2006

16th Jan 2011, 06:51

I love this car for the quality, comfort and handling, but the V8 Soarer is underpowered for a V8. The good news is they have manufactured superchargers for UZFE, which can take the horse power from 250hp to 400hp for a total of about $7500 AUS.

1991 Toyota Soarer 1JZ-GTE Twin turbo from Australia and New Zealand


Where luxury meets performance - best value for money


Nothing apart from addressing the following service items:

Timing belt and camshaft seals accessories belt

Front lower bushes and steering rack bushes.

General Comments:

As with all soarers of this age and kilometres, a "100,000km" service needed to be performed. The service items above are about all that is needed however, it is a pretty costly service. About $800-$1000 (50% labour) for the belts and camshaft seals. About $600 for lower bushes (25% labour). The seals in the turbo's start wearing around the 100,000km mark. To rebuild turbo's is a very expensive job and would cost around $2500.

Apart from those few things the Soarer offers the best value for money. The price when new was over $100,000 and you can buy a nice Soarer now for around $13,000 - $15,000. Take your time looking for a nice example of this car. Fuel economy is good when you just want to cruise around. Highway driving is fantastic. The Soarer is a very comfortable car and the stock sound system is very impressive.

The performance of the car is also very nice - the twin turbo's operate simultaneously to give the feeling of driving a large engine car. At first, most people underestimate the Soarer as it does not look like a car that could deliver respectable performance - it does impress people.

The engine is very reliable and is the same used in the Supra. This engine was designed by Toyota to kill the GTR engine. The Soarer engine outperforms the Skyline GTS-T engine and you will pay less for a Soarer.

Car can be enjoyed in stock form or slight modifications such as nice 18 - 19" wheels and a good lowering job will make the car look really nice.

When buying a Soarer look for things like a little bit of smoke when first starting (indicates worn turbo seals). Heavy steering indicates worn steering rack bushes. Also look at the inside of the front tires. If it is worn more on the inside then this indicates that the lower bushes need to be replaced. Make sure you become familiar with the electronics and are able to test all aspects of electronics for faults.

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

Review Date: 11th June, 2005