The Toyota Wish is an institution among everyday motorists with a small family in tow. It is convenient, practical, reliable and affordable. It is like the foolproof Japanese home appliance that faithfully serves its owners, day in, day out.
And just like a good household appliance, the Wish is given periodic improvements to make it an even worthier member of the motoring family. This newly introduced 1.8-litre model is the latest result.
The headline feature is the Valvematic engine, which comes with dual continuous valve timing and lift control. Toyota claims significant gains in fuel efficiency and exhaust cleanliness. Compared to the existing 2-litre Wish, the 1.8 travels an extra 2.6 kilometres for every litre of unleaded and delivers an additional 2bhp. The CVT, with its more efficient operation vis-a-vis Toyota’s usual 4-speed automatic, also plays a part in this enhanced performance.
The car’s ride and handling attributes are unchanged – comfortable, but largely forgettable. Cruising from one family duty to another is what the Wish does best, although its hardworking drivetrain is up to the task of hurrying a little. It gets buzzy when rushed, but you can just turn up the touch-screen stereo or ceiling-mounted multimedia console to drown out the noise.
The rest of the interior is much quieter, thanks to good insulation. Cabin space and oddments storage continue to be enough for a small clan in seven-seater configuration, and more than enough with six or five seats up. A fresh feature is keyless entry with push-button ignition, which is arguably less useful than the rear air-con blowers still missing from the vehicle. Also absent in this 1.8-litre version are the rear disc brakes of the 2-litre, but stopping is as safe as ever, backed by an array of active electronic aids including ABS, Brake Assist and VSC.
In all, this is a Wish come true for family men who desire better economy and cleaner emissions. The smaller engine capacity also means the car’s annual road tax dips under one grand ($976, to be exact) versus $1198 for the 2-litre Wish.
Toyota Wish 1.8 (A)
ENGINE 1798cc, 16-valves, inline-4
MAX POWER 144bhp at 6400rpm
MAX TORQUE 176Nm at 4400rpm
GEARBOX CVT with 7-speed override
0-100KM/H 11 seconds
TOP SPEED 180km/h
PRICE INCL. COE $126,488 (as of January 2011)
The Toyota Wish has been replaced by the Toyota Prius+, a seven-seater MPV with an eco-friendly petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.