New Year New Wish
For the auto industry, 2009 will probably be a year to forget. With a few exceptions, the majority of car makers have suffered the worst results ever. The results haven't been pretty either with job losses, bankruptcies, yadda yadda.
So, I've decided to dispense with 2009 news early. Let's look forward to 2010.
The car pictured above is the next generation Toyota Wish, and based on it, I think the we have reason to believe that things will get better in 2010.
Skipping forward with hope to the new year, I'm going to kick off with an early look at the new Toyota Wish that should be coming to Thailand early in 2010. Toyota has been drawing out the life of the existing Wish in Thailand, and thanks to virtually zero competition in the segment, that they could probably keep it for another year. After Honda pulled the Stream off the market, and Chevrolet too gave up, Toyota have been alone in the 6/7 seater MPV market. Of course there are the smaller mini-MPVs like the Avanza (also a Toyota), and Honda Freed, but they are not close to the Wish. The Mitsubishi Space Wagon is possibly the closest rival left, but it's much pricier, and attempting to live in the executive market.
More of the same
So the Wish has a virtual monopoly, and Toyota are under no pressure to up the anti. But there is also the simple fact that in its current form, the Toyota Wish is an excellent package. The format is virtually flawless, with a excellent combination of functionality and style. So, the new Wish is going to be very similar.
With the wheelbase remaining the same 2,750mm, and the width also unchanged at 1,695mm (up to 1,745mm with the addition of the stick-on plastic wheel arches that Thai customers seem to favour) it is a fair bet that the new car is sitting on the same platform as the outgoing model.
The most noticeable difference is the sleeker look that comes with a 30mm increase in overall length of the new car. Most of this appears to be hanging over the front wheels, and is possibly something to do with pedestrian safety.
So far, it sounds more like a facelift than a all-new-model. But when you look at the pictures, it is clear that this is a completely new design, and bares resemblance to the first generation car, only in the basic proportions of the design.
What about inside
Again, what isn't broken hasn't been fixed. The interior will not change in any major way. The Wish is a winning design, with a flat floor, and good versatility with sliding and folding rear seats.
The new Wish is almost identical in terms of seating, and even the layout of the dash is similar, although completely restyled and updated.
And I believe this has been done to good effect.
In other markets, such as Singapore and Taiwan, where the second generation Wish is already out and about, the engine has been replaced with a Dual VVT-i engine, and it is possible, indeed likely that Thailand will also receive this engine. However, it should be noted that the Altis didn't receive the Dual VVT-i treatment in Thailand initially.
Assuming that we do get the new engine in Thailand, it is a 1,987 cc engine, this is a slightly smaller displacement to the 1,998 cc in the current Wish. The torque is also slightly lower on the new engine, at 189 nm at 4,400 rpm. (If that doesn't mean anything to you, don't worry.) Torque in the current VVT-i unit is only slightly higher at 192 nm but at a lower 4,000 rpm. Where the new Dual VVT-i engine wins though is in it's more driving friendly power band. Maximum power output is achieved lower down the rev counter, peeking at 5,600 rpm. The current engine peeks at 6,000 rpm, but nobody drives on the red line in normal circumstances.
Apart from that there is very little to say about this engine. Expect modest gains in fuel consumption also.
Not really. Overall, this will be a typical next generation Toyota. Toyota is not known for risk taking. And perhaps that's not something to condemn them for. Playing it safe has brought them a lot of success.
But, the pictures tell much more than the words in this case. On paper there is not a lot to say. But the pictures show a dynamic looking MPV which ticks all the right boxes for me. It doesn't seem to be particularly easy to make a MPV look good, but Toyota has achieved it with the new Wish. It's very nice.
Since we are speculating here, let's assume that we will see the new Wish somewhere this side of the Bangkok Motor Show, and expect prices to go up by about 5-10% in line with the greed level in the country.