In 1982, Toyota launched its compact car named the Toyota Vista. The reason behind using the name Vista was perhaps to attach it with the Toyota’s Vista dealership network and both the dealership and the vehicle made debut almost at the same time. Contrary to the Camry that was offered with the V6 engine since 1988, all the generations were equipped with a straight-4 engine fueled either by gasoline or diesel.
Though, similar in many ways, the Vista is basically treated as a Japanese Toyota Camry, but with an exception of front and rear end treatment. Also, where Camry has always been known as a sedan except for first generation when its hatchback version was also available, the Vista produced until the V40 series are all hardtops. Both Camry and Vista were redesigned at the same time. However, this pattern broke in 1996 when a new larger ‘global’ Camry acquired the Camry name. Before 1996, the larger platform (CX/CV) was sold in Japanese market as Scepter (MCV10) and Camry Gracia (MCV20/MCX20). The last generation Vista received redesigning in August 1998 without any influence from the Camry. The second hand Vistas are a popular import in Ireland where they are used excessively as taxi cabs.
First Generation V10 (1982–1986)
The first generation Vista was introduced as a second generation Toyota Camry in April 1982. It was offered in two body styles including a 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatchback with 5-speed manual transmission. Later in August 1982, the automatic transmission was also added to the lineup. Different trim levels offered include VC, VL, VE, and the VX. The high end VX model had a glass moonroof and powered by 2S-ELU engine.
The turbodiesel 1C-TL 1.8-L engine was released in August 1983 followed more sporting suspension and a DOHC 2.0-L engine on the VS trim level in June 1984. It was quite unusual to have a vehicle with DOHC engine in front drive vehicle at that time. In August 1985, the diesel engine was upgraded to 2.0-L. The Vista was launched with an official name of Camry Vista.
Second Generation V20 (1986–1990)
The second generation Vista was launched in August 1986. The 5-door hatchback was dropped and replaced either by a 4-door sedan or a hardtop. The Toyota’s tradition of creating sportier version out of a more basic version was retained by the Vista as well with the introduction of GT trim level. Fuel injection introduced in all the engines.
The four-wheel drive model with 2.0-L 4S-FE paired with an automatic transmission was released in October 1987. Later the Vista Estoile was introduced with 4S-FE engine.
Third Generation V30 (1990–1994)
In July 1990, the third generation Vista was launched with some styling features similar to the Toyota Wisdom. The third generation Vista was offered with several engine options including 4S 1.8-L and 3S 2.0-L. All the engines came equipped with DOHC, while the diesel engines offered with 2C-T. The 3S-GE engine was discontinued in July 1992 from the top end models. The air conditioning refrigerant was also replaced by R134a CFC-free.
Fourth Generation V40 (1994–1998)
The fourth generation Vista was launched in 1994. It was the time when the Camry was discontinued in Japanese market and the new Vista replaced it under the legacy of Japanese tax regulations. The Vista was 4700 mm (185.0 inch) long and 1700 (66.9 inch) wide.
The Vista is regarded as the first vehicle based on Toyota’s wide platform. In 1993, the company started working on the FWD platform and layout and eventually came with first FWD vehicle in shape of Toyota Prius in 1997; however, Vista was nonetheless a mass production.
Fifth Generation V50 (1998–2003)
The fifth generation Vista was appeared in 1998. It was offered as a sedan and a station wagon named Vista Ardeo. The engines offered include a 1.8-L and 2.0-L. the fifth generation Vista shared its platform with many Toyota models including first generation Toyota Prius, Opa, Wish, Caldina, Avensis and Celica.
In an attempt to merge Vista dealers with the Netz dealership, the company ceased the production of Visa in 2005.