The Paseo was Toyota's entry-level sports car from 1992 to 1997.
Obviously impractical for a single-car family, the Paseo represented a no-nonsense approach to its tiny market segment. As a sporty entry-level car, its only import competition was the Nissan 200SX. Paseo owners were perceived as young, independent and slightly eclectic. But nonetheless they wanted excellent fuel economy, reliability and a sporty appearance above all else, with a high fun quotient at no extra cost.
The Paseo competed with Mazda's MX-3, Hyundai Scoupe, and Nissan Sentra and 200SX. The Paseo was pleasant to drive, responsive, nimble, maneuverable, economical. It was based on the Tercel platform (with modifications) but with its own 100-hp engine. There was a single trim level with the option of a 4-speed automatic in place of the standard 5-speed manual transaxle.
Power steering with a quicker ratio than the Tercel was standard, as were a tachometer, front stabilizer bar (with the twist-beam rear axle acting like a rear stabilizer bar), AM/FM stereo with two speakers, intermittent wipers, and "sport-type" bucket seats.
Air conditioning, aluminum wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, an upgraded sound system with four speakers and a cassette deck, a pop-up moonroof and a rear spoiler were options.
One interesting dealer-installed option was the "One-G-for-One-G" kit offered by Toyota Racing Developments (TRD), a Toyota subsidiary that made high-quality racing and street performance equipment. As the name implies, the price was about $1000, and the expected performance on a skidpad was 1 lateral g, right in there with a Corvette ZR-1 or Dodge Viper.
More likely, the Paseo buyer would want the same thing that the Tercel buyer does, extreme overall economy, utility, and reliability, plus, in the case of the Paseo, some quotient of fun and sporty looks.
Paseo enters 1996 with a full interior and exterior redesign. Dual airbags and 1997 side-impact protection are now standard. The 1.5-liter engine, borrowed from the Tercel and used in California Paseos from 1995, makes 93 horsepower (down by seven from the previous 49-state engine) and 100 ft.-lb. of torque (up by nine from the previous 49-state engine). The extra torque pulls the car away from stoplights faster, and the slightly lowerhorsepower—in addition to other engine refinements—helps lower overall exhaust emissions. The new Paseo is available with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic-overdrive transmission.
Quick-turning power steering is standard, as are a tachometer for more precise shifting, front and rear stabilizer bars for better handling, a 4-speaker AM/FM stereo, intermittent wipers and reclining bucket seats. Options include antilock brakes, air conditioning, deluxe sound system, cruise control, moonroof, alloy wheels, rear spoiler and the All-Weather Guard Equipment Package comprising heavy-duty versions of the battery, starter, windshield-wiper motor, alternator and rear-window defogger.
In October 1996, a convertible joined the lineup for only one model year.
|Model year(s)||List price||Destination charge||Effective date|
|1992.5||$10,758||$295||February 14, 1992|
|1993.5||$11,738||$325||February 5, 1993|
|1994||$12,468||$385||September 2, 1993|
|1994.5||$12,828||$385||January 3, 1994|
|1995||$13,428||$397||October 5, 1994|
|1995.5||$14,038||$397||April 7, 1995|
|1996||$13,038||$420||October 1, 1995|