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Looking Back at the Toyota Revo

Young ones may not believe it, but there was a time when you couldn’t get through a day without seeing a Toyota Revo on the road. Offering minivan spaciousness, SUV ruggedness, and affordable pricing across the wide spectrum of available trims, the Revo Asian Utility Vehicle (AUV) lorded over all other vehicles in terms of sales, becoming the country’s bestselling car from 1999 to 2004.

The birth of the Revo

When it was launched, the Toyota Revo was part of the Tamaraw FX family, but comparatively speaking, the Revo was a completely new vehicle, and its only resemblance to the all-around workhorse was in name alone. Shape-wise, the Revo possessed a more rounded, aerodynamic shape than its predecessors, with a more powerful powertrain lineup to boot. The early Toyota Tamaraw FX Revo was equipped with either a 1.8-liter OHV EFI gas engine or a 2.4-liter OHC diesel engine. There were five trims to choose from, starting with the entry-level DLX, the mid-levels GL, GLX and Sport Runner, and top-level LXV. The Revo’s first incarnation lasted from 1998 to 2000.

Second version (2000-2002)

The Revo’s diesel engines earned a negative reputation for expelling copious amounts of carbon monoxide, and so Toyota decided to replace it with an improved 2.4-liter OHC direct injection diesel engine. The 1.8-liter gas engine remained, with the addition of a 2.0-liter SOHC EFI gas option.

Aside from the engine changes, updates were also done inside and out, with new headlamps, wheels, and three added color options being the most prominent. Front-facing third row seats were also made available, which was the first time such a feature was introduced in an AUV.

The lowly DLX variant enjoyed power steering as its only power feature. Other trims available included the GL, GLX, and Sport Runner, with the addition of new trims, the GSX and VX200, the latter which was meant to replace the LXV. These two new trims were the ones equipped with the new 2.0-liter gas engine. A couple of Japan-spec trims were also introduced–the SR-J and VX200-J, which were basically more upscale versions of their respective trims.

Third version (2003-2005)

Since the top-spec VX200 only had a gas engine, there was a clamor for a more economical diesel variant, and so the VX240D with 2.0-liter diesel engine was introduced mid-2004. Both the SR-J and VX200-J were dropped. Updates included new color options and new interior and exterior details such as more stylish headlights, upgraded audio systems, and a three-spoke steering wheel with a chrome Toyota badge at the center.

The death of the Toyota Revo

The Toyota Revo remained a bestseller until the end of its lifespan. Unfortunately for the nameplate, Toyota had developed a new platform for AUVs, specifically the Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle (IMV) project, which means it had to go. The Toyota Revo was replaced by the Toyota Innova in 2005, with the latter eventually taking over the bestselling spot that same year.

For those who enjoyed its ubiquity and practicality, the Toyota Revo will be fondly missed.

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