Toyota Paseo

The Toyota Paseo was a compact car made by Toyota between 1991 and 1999. It was available as a coupe model as well as a convertible. The Toyota Paseo was also known as the Toyota Cynos in certain parts of the world.

More on the Toyota Paseo
About the Toyota Paseo

The Toyota Paseo was well known for its sluggish performance even though it looked like a sport coupe. The problem with the Paseo was that its platform was used with a simple two-door body placed on top, as if style made performance.

The engine was somewhat of a disappointment since it used a weak 1.5-liter engine when it was introduced, although other sports cars in the same period were using 1.8-liter engines. Even with overhead cams and four cylinders the engine could not perform up to the current standards. A five-speed manual didn’t really get the car going, and the four-speed automatic slowed the car to a crawl. The lack of torque produced by the car further and ruined any performance the 1.5-liter might sputter out when put to task.

The inside of the vehicle isn’t very inspiring. A bunch of gadgets set it above the competition but the gray plastic is a little bit off-putting. Add to that the lack of legroom for adult passengers and the Paseo becomes even less appealing.

The Paseo is a decent car, but not a decent sports car. If you’re looking for a dependable vehicle with somewhat lackluster mechanics and styling, you can get a Paseo for a song. The resale value on the Paseo is low, and there are a lot of them out there.

The Toyota Paseo was discontinued in 1999 due to lackluster sales and somewhat brutal criticism by auto magazines. No plans to introduce a new Paseo have been announced.

Toyota Paseo Evolution

Two generations of the Paseo were made. The first generation was introduced in 1991 and ran till the 1994 model year. It had the weak 1.5-liter engine mentioned earlier, which produced a measly 100 horsepower, or 70 kW.

The first generation models were actually quite affordable. Over time, the price started rising so much that the price of the vehicle was way more than what the driver got under the hood and in the body. Toyota tried throwing a bunch of extra accessories into the vehicle, but this did nothing to wet the consumers’ appetite.

Perhaps this led to a second generation Paseo, introduced in 1995. This vehicle could hardly be called a great improvement. The engine was still the1.5-liter and with new EPA standards that 100 horsepower was downsized to 93 horses.

Toyota Paseo Features

The main changes in the second generation Paseo came in the sheet metal. The front grille was replaces by a tapered look at the nose. The front bumper was redesigned so that it incorporated the air intake that prevents overheating of the engine. The roofline was also changed so that it was smoother, curved, and aerodynamic. The rear-quarter windows were enlarged for better light and sightlines in the vehicle.

Unfortunately, Toyota did nothing to remedy the cargo room inside the Paseo as the back seats were very cramped for adult passengers. Some of the standards were nice, including color-keyed bumpers and mirrors, as well as a flashy rear spoiler and full dress hubcaps over the wheels.

The engine does rev nicely on the Paseo and makes for a smooth ride, even if it doesn’t have the get-up an expert would expect from such as racy frame. The suspension makes for a smooth, if uninspiring ride.

There were a few stock standards that make the Paseo a comfort to ride including sports instruments, four-speaker sound system, power mirrors, power windows, central locking system, and an adjustable steering column.

The second generation cars are fairly reliable and worth a look, but if on the hunt for a Paseo, look for one with a safety package. Anti-lock brakes and airbags were offered as an option, not standard.

Select a Toyota Paseo Year

1997 Toyota Paseo

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

First introduced to the market in 1991 as a sporty compact car, Toyota reworked the Paseo as a better form of the Toyota Tercel.

1996 Toyota Paseo

Coupe, Sports

The 1996 Toyota Paseo is a step above the Tercel in terms of performance, but with only slightly more interior features.

1995 Toyota Paseo

Coupe, Sports

The 1995 Toyota Paseo is well known for its loyal customer base, which is more impressed with its handling and style than the lack of interior space.