Want A Rear Drive Compact Minivan? Toyota's Got It

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
want a rear drive compact minivan toyota s got it

The Volkswagen Microbus, Mazda MPV and GMC Safari. These are the now-departed vans that were driven by their rear wheels, but ultimately fell victim to market forces, technological progress or the insurmountable drive to make cars greener and safer. With the Microbus just recently going out of production, Toyota is the sole torch bearer for the rear-drive van. But you’ll have to go to Indonesia to find it.

The Toyota Innova is sold in Vietnam, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Phillipines and the UAE. But its main market is Indonesia, which is quickly becoming the apple of many automakers eyes. Indonesia is one market where the compact van is thriving, with Mahindra, Tata, Chevrolet, Suzuki and Nissan all fielding their own entrants. The Innova drives the rear wheels, just like Toyota’s own Avanza, an even smaller van that is Indonesia’s best-selling car.

The Innova comes with three 4-cylinder engines, with a 2.0L and 2.7L gasoline engine and a 2.5L diesel. A live-axle outback betrays the Innova’s Hilux-based underpinings, but the realities of third world roads likely have a lot to do with this kind of packaging. The cheapest Innova starts at around $21,000 in Indonesia, which prices it out of the “low-cost” car range. But equipment is sparse on the base models, with a two-speaker sound system, steel wheels, no rear wiper and no power accessories. The top-trim model retails for about $26,000 and features luxuries like an airbag and ABS brakes.

Toyota currently occupies 60 percent of the Indonesian market, which is good for 750,000 units annually. Avanza in Mexico.

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4 of 26 comments
  • Kristjan Ambroz Kristjan Ambroz on Oct 18, 2012

    You are forgetting the Hyundai H-1, which is also RWD and still going strong in several parts of the world.

  • Robert Gordon Robert Gordon on Oct 18, 2012

    "Toyota is the sole torch bearer for the rear-drive van. But you’ll have to go to Indonesia to find it." Very poorly researched article, the whole premise of the article that Toyota are the only ones offering a rear wheel drive van is just utterly wrong. It's not even as if the other RWD vans are obscure - these are mainstream high volume models from major manufacturers. Hyundai iMax Ford Transit Mercedes Viano Mercedes Vito Various Iveco And probably loads more..

    • See 1 previous
    • Corntrollio Corntrollio on Oct 24, 2012

      @outback_ute The Ford Transit is about halfway between the Innova and a current generation Grand Caravan. It's about 16-feet long in RWD form, so a foot longer than the Innova and about 10 inches short of a current Grand Caravan. It's about the same length as a first/second gen Grand Caravan.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂