Toyota Mark II / Verossa

Mark II

This is the Japanese interpretation of "sports sedan" - a twin-turbo 2.5-litre straight six pumps out 280 horsepower, providing acceleration eclipsing many sports cars. The chassis is not very stiff by today's standard, but compensate that by riding on stiff springs results in good roll-control in corner. The steering is surprisingly heavy by Japanese standard, but apart from kickback it offers no feel. Though the car is rear-drive and have perfect double-wishbones suspensions all round, it understeers rather early and spoil any enthusiasm to attack corner. When you call for driving fun, it says to you, "I'm a luxury sedan". Then you ask for a supple ride and it replied, "I'm a sports car". In contrast, a BMW will satisfy both requirements. Fly the Mark II on highway and you can sense the cross wind, shake and roll due to aerodynamic lift.  

Admittedly, Toyota has been changing. IS200 was made according to European taste and tuned in Nurburgring before appearing in show room. But it is a copy cat. What the Mark II has is a unique character - no matter you like it or not. It won't appeal to most of us - otherwise Toyota won't bound its sales in Japan - but it is a living history for Japanese traditional sports sedan. A history started in 1968 and entered the 9th generation last year. Its sister car Cresta has already announced dead. Another sister Chaser is also dying. The same goes for Nissan's similar Laurel. Everybody can see this kind of cars will eventually die under the threat of European prestige marques. 

The above report was last updated on 8 Sep 2001. All Rights Reserved.


The days left for traditional Japanese-taste luxury cars are limited. Toyota no longer needs Chaser and Cresta as supporting roles to Mark II, therefore both were replaced by a European-style new comer, Verossa. From the name which consists of Italian words "Vero" (True) and "Rossa" (Red) you'll see this car tends to attract younger customers who used to prefer the dynamic image of BMW 3-series and Audi A4. In fact, the radical styling has strong Latin influence. Not unlike Alfa Romeo, but even more exaggerate, something approaching Zagato. Officially it is said as designed in Japan, but who knows whether Zagato gave any inspiration ? you know, Toyota is the biggest client of Zagato. 

Mechanically, Verossa is a repackaged Mark II as they share virtually the same dimensions and all mechanical components. However, Progres and Brevis are also its sisters, just have shorter overhangs and different choice of engines from the same gene pool. To lesser extent, all of them can also link to the smaller Altezza (Lexus IS). Strangely, all these cars bar Altezza are bounded in domestic market thus cannot avoid internal competition.  

What differs the Verossa from Mark II is not performance or comfort. It is the subjective dynamic image delivered by the styling. So, I have no more say about it. 

The above report was last updated on 27 Aug 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Mark II 2.5 turbo
Verossa 2.5
Front-engined, Rwd
Front-engined, Rwd
Size (L / W / H / WB) mm
4735 / 1760 / 1460 / 2780
4705 / 1760 / 1450 / 2780
Inline-6, dohc, 4v/cyl, 
VVT, turbo
Inline-6, dohc, 4v/cyl, 
VVT, direct-injeciton
2491 c.c.
2491 c.c.
280 hp
200 hp
278 lbft
184 lbft
All: double wishbones
225/45 R17
1530 kg
1490 kg
Top speed
0-60 mph
0-100 mph

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