Toyota Esquire (Hybrid)

Toyota Esquire Review: A two-tone interior with a genuine leather style suits the Esquire by Naoki Aoyama

The Toyota/Toyopet store which don’t sell neither of the Noxy/Noah’s will now have monopoly over the new Esquire minivan which is based on the former vehicles. Its outward appearance has an intensity that rivals that of the Crown Majesta although it was only developed as a non-aerospace grade compact MPV(its rear view is reasonably ordinary).

Its platform, packaging, engine, transmission and the like are entirely similar to that of the Voxy and Noah. However, it is important to note that interior design has been given a distinct character.

It has the basic design of the Voxy and Noah but the leatherette upholstery of the soft pad is extravagantly adorned with stitches all throughout(focus is on the open tray portion of the front of the passenger seat); it brings about a luxurious, high grade feel together with the piano black panels and the like. Its car status feels greater than that of the Voxy and Noah, regardless of who is looking at it or riding it. It appears that the Esquire with its dark colored genuine leather style leatherette seats; particularly the two-toned, burgundy and black, colored interior may even be used as a VIP car.

However, its drawback is the lack of seating stability brought about by the arrangement of the leatherette seats making the shape of the third row seats become flat thereby making the waist and back slide easily. If you tend to have numerous occasions where you have someone sit in the third row seats for a long time and drive them for long distances, then perhaps you should rather choose the fabric seat instead and give up on luxury and design (though the first and second row seats are fine).

Naturally, the Esquire’s ride is not much different from that of the VOxy or the Noah.

If you’re shopping for an Esquire, I would strongly recommend the hybrid model. The convenient yet weak point of the Noah/Voxy is its low and flat floor, which trembles in rough road surfaces. However, it is less noticeable in the hybrid model compared with its gasoline counterpart. The premium look of the interior and exterior design can also be felt with the hybrid powertrain. This is perhaps due to the refined damping for the hybrid models to reduce unwanted vibrations created by the electric motor.

Nevertheless, the huge luxury of space of the back seat brought about by transforming the seven-seater into an independent four seat saloon by pushing the second row seat to the back by means of the long slider is enough to overwhelm even the Crown Majesta(aside from the riding comfort). It can even make two large-breed dogs relax with the cushion that is laid out at one’s feet.

The price of both the gasoline and the hybrid is 150,000 yen higher compared to the Voxy and the Noah of the same grade. It is by no means expensive, considering the differences in its interior and exterior preparation and its fine equipment. It might be quite the bargain as long as you are pleased with its appearance.

Personally, I think that the hybrid vehicle represents the typical Esquire specifications with its seven-seater burgundy and black two-tone interior, and its genuine leather-like leatherette seats even though I know that the two liter gasoline vehicle boasts of a considerable fuel efficiency which has about a 20% difference in fuel efficiency compared to the 1.8 liter hybrid that has the same system as the Prius α.

Incidentally, it also has an exceptional degree of dog friendliness like the Voxy and the Noah. Dogs can comfortably get in from both the sliding door and the back door; they can also position themselves freely because of the diverse seat arrangements. Dog lovers will definitely be glad as it comes packed with Toyota’s genuine dog accessories.

â– 5 Star Rating

Packaging: ★★★★★
Interior/Comfort: ★★★★
Power Source: ★★★
Footwork: ★★★
Recommendation: ★★★
Pet Friendliness: ★★★★★

Naoki Aoyama| Motor Journalist/Dog Life Producer
He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started writing professionally for specialized magazines for automobiles, then general news magazines and websites. He has also worked on publications that are related to pets (dog) and overseas travel, websites, pet and driving-related television program as well as events. He is currently expanding his activities as a dog life producer by giving advice on dogs and car life.

(Translated by Michael Sabaldan)