The Toyota Cressida is a four-door sedan or 5-door state wagon, classed as a mid-size passenger car, manufactured by Toyota from its Motomachi Plant in Aichi, Japan and later in Indonesia through four generations from 1976 to 1992.
Toyota produced the Toyota Mark II, aka Toyota Corona Mark II, based on the Corona sedan platform but larger in dimensions. Mark II served Toyota’s home market in 1968, competing with the likes of Nissan Laurel. In 1969, Toyota began exporting it to North America, South Africa and other markets, in the same segment as Nissan Bluebird and Mazda Luce.
It was available in four body styles for the first generation (4-door sedan, 5-door station wagon, 2-door coupé, and 2-door coupe utility) and three in the second generation (4-door sedan, 5-door station wagon, and 2-door coupé). The third generation is where the Cressida comes in.
Mark II’s third through sixth generations entered the export market as Cressida, a high-end, rear-wheel-drive car, classed as compact from 1976 to 1980 and mid-size from 1980 to 1992. It was initially available as a 4-door sedan.
The Cressida shared many design similarities with early models of Lexus, Toyota’s upmarket marque. Toyota decided to discontinue the Cressida in 1992, partly due to design elements that were overlapping with Lexus, although the Mark II continued in production up to its ninth generation in 2007.
In 1995, Toyota introduced the Avalon, a full-size front-wheel-drive vehicle, to fill the market void left by the Cressida in 1992.
First-Generation Cressida/Third-Generation Mark II (1976-1980)
The third-generation Mark II became the first-generation Cressida for the export markets, equipped with several engine choices. In Australia, it arrived in two body styles, 4-door sedan and 5-door wagon, and a sole powertrain with the following specs:
- 2.6L (2,563cc) 4M/4M-E- I6 2v SOHC petrol engine coupled with a 3-speed auto transmission or 4-speed manual gearbox, generating up to 112 kW and 221 Nm, with fuel consumption of 13L/100km (combined driving)
The Cressida initially used the carburetted 2.6L 4M engine, but later models (1978) used the fuel-injected 4M-E version with the same capacity (2,563cc). The standard features were AC, power steering, AM/FM cassette stereo, armrests (rear seats), reclining seats (front), and window defroster (rear), with power windows offered as optional. The Cressida had excellent soundproofing qualities, which made it highly-favoured by car buyers.
Second-Generation Cressida/Fourth-Generation Mark II (1980-1984)
The second-generation Cressida phased out the coupe version, although this body style was never available in Australia from the start. The sedan and wagon models of this generation sported new bodywork and larger-capacity engines with electronic fuel injection. Engine capacities ranged from 1.8L to 2.8L petrol and a 2.2L diesel variant. In Australia, the sedans (MX63) and wagons (MX62) received the 2.8L engine which had the following specs:
- 2.8L (2,759cc) 5M-E/5M-GE I6 petrol engine mated to 4-speed A43DE automatic transmission, capable of producing 98 kW and 220 Nm, with claimed fuel consumption of 11.5L/100km of combined driving
The sedan came in GL trim while the wagon came in DX. Below were their features:
- GL - central locking, power mirrors, power steering, power windows, radio cassette with four speakers
- DX – central locking, power steering, power windows, radio cassette with four speakers
In 1982, the Cressida wagon became available in both GL and DX trims.
Third-Generation Cressida/Fifth-Generation Mark II (1984-1988)
In 1984 in Australia, just before the turn of the second-generation Cressida, it received an independent MacPherson struts front suspension and independent semi-trailing arm rear suspension, disc-ventilated rear brakes, and the uprated 5M-GE DOHC engine. It carried this mechanicals over to the third generation, with the powertrain featuring the following specs:
- 2.8L (2,759cc) 5M-GE DOHC I6 petrol engine mated to 4-speed automatic transmission, capable of producing 103 kW and 226 Nm, with claimed fuel consumption of 11.0L/100km of combined driving
The sedan (MX73) was available in GL and GLX-i trims, while the wagon (MX72) was only offered in GL trim. From the previous sedan GL features, this generation added alloy wheels to the standard offering, while the GLX-i added cruise control.
The wagon GL trim remained unchanged from the previous generation.
Fourth-Generation Cressida/Sixth-Generation Mark II (1988-1992)
The final generation of the Cressida grew slightly in size and was now only available as a sedan (MX83). A new engine came with the following specs:
- 3.0L (2,954cc) 7M-GE I6 petrol engine coupled with 4-speed A340E A341E automatic transmission, peak output rated at 142 kW and 254 Nm, fuel consumption at 9.75L/100km of combined driving
Standard features for the Australian GL model included alloy wheels, central locking, power steering, power windows, and radio cassette, while the GLX trim added cruise control and power windows.
The signature characteristics of the Cressida were its quiet ride, responsive rear-wheel-drive handling, and reasonable fuel consumption.
A facelift in 1990 introduced the Grande trim, which added anti-locking brake system, automatic air conditioning and climate control, cruise control, CD player, leather-accented upholstery, and power mirrors to the standard features.
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