Mark X Zio (yes, that's the name) crossover offers seven seats and smooth but bland looks
26 September 2007

Japan-only models are generally either as square as a Rubik's cube or as mad as a bag of monkeys. But sadly the only crazy thing about this new Toyota is the name – it's called the Mark X ZiO.The ZiO is a genre-bending saloon-wagon-SUV crossover that's just launched in Tokyo. It is aimed at aspirational Japanese buyers in their 30s and 40s, and is meant as a new and imaginative take on the upscale wagon format. Japan has never seen anything quite like the ZiO before, which ostensibly is a replacement for an obscure domestic Toyota wagon called the Mark II BLIT. It has been likened to a kind of downsized Toyota version of the Mercedes R-Class. Or an upgraded Vauxhall Signum.Previewed two years ago at the Tokyo motor show as the FSC concept (where it got strong reviews from rival designers), the ZiO has made it to production with looks only mildly changed but with a new three-row interior, plenty of comfort toys, and a long, long equipment list. Underneath, Toyota says the 4700mm-long ZiO is based on a new front- or four-wheel-drive platform, although some architecture and the ZiO's 2.4-litre 163bhp four-cylinder and 3.5-litre 280bhp V6 are used in differing forms in the Camry and RAV4. Suspension is McPherson strut up front with coil-sprung double wishbones at the rear. The top-spec 350G gets the V6 and a six-speed dual-mode auto. The 2.4 makes do with a CVT. Toyota GB says it has no plans to import the ZiO to the UK. Can't say we blame it.

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8 March 2008

Japan has actually seen something like the ZiO before. This is really a second attempt at the genre after a sales disaster with the awful looking Opa a couple of years back.

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