Toyota Coaster is in fact a minibus manufactured by Toyota. The company introduced its first Coaster in 1969 followed by second generation in 1982. The third generation of Toyota Coaster launched in 1993. In 2001 and 2007, the third generation Coaster got its facelift models.
The Toyota Coaster was basically a 17-passenger minibus launched in 1969 based on the same gearbox as used in the then Toyota Dyna. In the beginning, the Coaster came with a 2.0-L Toyota R engine equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission. The later models arrived with a range of 4 and 6-cylinder diesel and petrol engines followed by an optional automatic transmission.
Prior to the launch of Prius, Toyota introduced its “Coaster Hybrid EV” minibus in August 1997. Toyota claimed that the Coaster Hybrid is first hybrid vehicle its lineup. The company stopped the production of the Toyota Coaster in 2007.
The company designed the LPG Coaster particularly for the Hong Kong market use liquefied petroleum gas for fueling. The purpose of designing LPG Coaster was to cope with Hong Kong’s pollution issues as it discourages the emission of harmful gas. It also reduces the black smoke as well as particle emissions.
The popularity of Coaster is not just limited to Japan, Hong Kong and Australia but it is pretty much admired in the developing countries as well because of its longevity, effectiveness and reliability. It has a major support in Africa, Middle East and the Caribbean from the minibus operators. Coasters are also used as a main source of transportation in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Asia is a big importer of these minibus but these have to e re-modified depending on the countries’ driving requirements, i.e. left or right hand drive.
In the Europe, the Salvador Caetano Optimo uses the same chassis as that of Toyota Coaster.
Toyota has gained a lot of reputation as a motor home conversion. Toyota is involved in converting the retired and old Coasters into vehicles for private use by discarding the passenger seating and adding the beds, kitchens, refrigerators and so on. There hundreds of such retired Coasters which are about 30 years old and still been in use as private vehicles.