We have discussed two iconic nameplates, Hindustan Contessa and Tata Indica, and how they changed the scenario of the automotive market in India. While the former name introduced raw muscle power with premium interiors, the latter was India’s first indigenous car.
Now let’s move over to another nameplate whose existence changed the way we looked up to SUVs today. It’s none other than the Toyota Qualis, an reliable SUV product gifted to the Indians by the Japanese automaker. So let’s learn some unknown facts about the Toyota Qualis.
One may not believe the fact that Toyota launched the Qualis, an outdated model in the global market, as their first car in India in the year 2000. The Qualis was a resultant of a joint venture of Toyota Motor Corporation and Kirloskar Group, which marked the entry of Toyota in India.
Toyota Qualis was the Indian variant of “Kijang” which was sold globally. However, the Qualis was based on the 3rd generation global model, with updated front and rear styling, and shared the 4th generation powertrain.
It was put against the popular Indian SUVs like Mahindra Bolero and Tata Sumo. It was a risky hunch, but Toyota Qualis was an instant hint, the reasons were simple, it offered great affordability and practicality with the capability to carry 8-10 passengers depending on the variant.
While Tata Sumo and Mahindra Bolero were advertised and taken as workhorses, Toyota observed the need for a family MUV. Thus the Qualis was born, though it was also apt for various purposes.
Like debuting as the official vehicle of the famous “CID” TV serial, being the PCR vehicles for various states’ police forces, and being the best traveling companion for a big family.
It was available in 3 different variants; Qualis FS(Family saloon), Qualis GS(Grand saloon), and Qualis GS-T(Grand saloon touring).
The base trim hardly featured any creature comfort, while the upper trims focussed on comfort. The base trim was a 10-seater MUV, the first row had a bench seat, while the third row was two side-facing seats.
The upper trims added bucket seats in the front, while the third row was the traditional front-facing one.
Recommended - Nissan Jonga - Everything You Need to Know
The Toyota Qualis was offered with a single yet capable engine option. It was a 2446 cc, 2.4 Litres, in-line, 4 cylinder engine that powered the Qualis with 75-bhp and 151 Nm of torque. Though the engine was capable, the Qualis was sluggish. The peppiness was appreciated but it took longer to gather speed after the quick pickup.
The Qualis was exceptional on the highways, but driving around the city was a bit hassle. The engine delivered 8 to 9 kmpl in city driving conditions, while the same figures rose to 10 to 12 kmpl on the highways.
Yes, you read that ride. Introduced in the year 2000, the Toyota Qualis was a big hit. It was selling like hotcakes, on an average of 2338 units per month in the 61 months life. But then why was it discontinued.
Well, there is no reason for the axing the Qualis, even the global version of Kijang was discontinued simultaneously. But this opened the gates for the entrance of Toyota’s Innova or the smaller Avanza.
The Qualis was a great hit, but then it was discontinued. Enters Toyota Innova, which was a much premium Toyota product and followed the same footsteps of Qualis, i.e superiority in Quality, Durability, and Reliability.
The Innova was also a big success and still stands as a great vehicle for hauling the crowd. Just like Qualis, it could fit 7-8 passengers inside its upscale interiors. It is still offered with both petrol and diesel engine options.
Though the Qualis was axed out at its peak, Toyota was able to sell more than 1.4 lakh Qualis in its 4-year shell life. It was a potent vehicle, versatile for the Indian crowd, and had the appeal which the Indian rivals like Mahindra Bolero and Tata Sumo were lacking back then.