Toyota Esquire Gi Hybrid 1.8 (A) Review

Alvan Sio
14 Sep 2015

We tested the Toyota Esquire 2.0 Gi 7 seater MPV earlier this year, and found it to be a pretty decent ride that’s honest and family friendly.

This time, we go back and find out what the Hybrid version of the car is like, for the eco mentalists amongst you as well as those who simply prefer to save some money on petrol.

The car is pretty much the same inside and out, with that characteristically imposing yet classy front grille that’s sure to catch the attention of the driver in front. It has the typical MPV styling; big and slightly bulky at the rear, but without looking like certain European eco cars that simply make you scratch your head and wonder how it left the drawing board for the production line.

Chrome accents create a posh and modern feel, being generously splashed over the front grille as well as along the windows and the entire door handle. Other design highlights include the multi spoke alloy rims, which add to the sense of a grown up, civilised family carrier.

The only hints that will tell other road users you’re driving the “green” twin of the Esquire are the usual blue hued badges in front and behind, as well as the chrome “hybrid” logos attached to the side of the car. Quiet simplicity then, without being too attention seeking. You now see why Japanese businessmen love this luxurious MPV.

The most striking difference between the regular version of the Esquire and the hybrid is centre console, where the gear stick is mounted. Immediately drivers will notice that there isn’t exactly a gear stick; what you get is a Nintendo like joystick to select the drive mode that you want. Pretty cool, if you’ve never been in a Toyota hybrid or are coming from a manual car.

Interior space is still large and roomy, whilst the light grey roof lining contrasts beautifully with the charcoal coloured seats. The dark coloured synthetic leather seats means that it’ll take whatever your kids throw at it and still come out looking fine. Lighter coloured roof lining on the other hand gives you a brighter and livelier atmosphere, without making the car feel like a cave all the time.

Rear air conditioning is provided, much like a luxury limousine. This ensures that all your passengers are kept happy even if you want to be a polar bear. High quality finishing and materials are splashed throughout the car, and it even comes with arm rests on the seats swathed in the same synthetic leather as the seats.

Versatility is the name of the game here, as the seats are able to slide forwards, backwards and even sideways. They will of course fold down (was there any doubt anyway), and allow you to store long items like Ikea tables that you have bought for your kids’ study use.

Drive and Conclusion
It’s not very different as you might think, from driving the normal Esquire. The car accelerates smoothly and without fuss, never startling you or being overly eager like modern turbocharged engines would do. It delivers power in a linear fashion, but don’t expect it to be quick as it only has 193 Nm of torque and 150 BHP. So it’s no GT86, but then your grandma or 5 year old isn’t going to be too happy in the back of an 86. This on the other hand is civilised, smooth and refined.

The Esquire is a big car, so don’t throw it around like the aforementioned 86. It will roll a bit like a school bus, but it is as the Europeans say, meant for the school run. Even when you’re stuck in a traffic jam it’ll still be quiet, comfy and luxurious, and it’ll provide the necessary cossetting you need from a long and tiring day of your boss’ nagging.


Car review sponsored by: Autolink Holdings

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