The Toyota Sprinter Marino was introduced for the first time in 1992 Japanese market as a 4-door hardtop version of the Toyota Sprinter Trueno. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Japanese automakers were pretty much interested in bringing some restyled models and one such model was brought by the Toyota as Toyota Corolla Ceres that was a restyled version of the Sprinter Marino. In New Zealand and many other countries where ‘grey Imports’ are often found, Marino/Corolla Ceres can commonly be seen. The term Marino is named after Marina, Italy, while the Ceres is taken from the Ceres in Roman mythology.
A mail order catalog was used to order the Sprinter Marino or Corolla Ceres in Japan. It is important to note here that both the variants were manufactured by the Toyota under the contract by Kanto Auto Works.
On June 6, 1998, the production of both the vehicles was discontinued in Japan with a view to reduce the production cost.
In order to offer more upmarket hardtop versions, the company adopted the hardtop approach on its several major Toyota sedan models. The idea was to offer the customers a luxurious and performance oriented models under reduced prices and tax liabilities. The major competitor was the Nissan Pulsar.
The Toyota Sprinter Marino was offered with four different engine variants including the commonly used 1587 cc Twin Cam 16-Valve DOHC 4AFE engine, 1487 cc Twin Cam 16-Valve DOHC 5AFE, the rare 1587 cc Twin Cam 20-Valve DOHC Silver Top 4AGE and the even rarer 1587cc Twin Cam 20-Valve Black Top 4AGE. The Silver Top 4AGE engine was the second most powerful engine of the 4AGE lineup offering 165 hp at 7500 rpm. The only engine that outclassed it was the Black Top 4AGE that could generate 15 hp (11 kW) extra power.
The standard Sprinter Marino was a 4-door hardtop featuring 4 main passenger seats with a 5th seat in the rear that could be used for small children. A mandatory rear spoiler was offered in the Sprinter Marino GT.
The models appeared after 1995, the driver’s airbag became standard in them. Based on the Japanese vehicular law 1991, the automatic door locking became standard on the models appearing from 1991 onwards. According to the law, the door should lock in all the Japanese models on reaching 18 km/h (11 mph).
- Marino F – 5AFE – 5SPD MAN, 4SPD AUTO
- Marino F Extra PKG – 5AFE – 5SPD MAN, 4SPD AUTO
- Marino X – 5AFE – 5SPD MAN, 4SPD AUTO 4SPD AUTO ECTS option available on A/T
- Marino X Extra PKG – 4AFE – 5SPD MAN, 4SPD AUTO ECTS option available on A/T
- Marino GT – 20V 4AGE – 5SPD MAN, 4SPD AUTO ECTS option available on A/T
- Marino GT Extra PKG – 20V 4AGE – 5SPD MAN, 4SPD AUTO ECTS option available on A/T
The 1997 models of Marino GT and Marino GT Extra PKG came with 6SP MAN, while 4SPD AUTO ECTS option available on A/T.
The Sprinter Marino used the specially developed 5-speed manual gearbox and automatic transmission, while LSD (Limited Slip Differential) was optional.