Estima Hybrid Minivan
The Toyota Estima Hybrid
Minivan is the world's first hybrid minivan and first
mass-produced hybrid 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Oh, what a feeling, Est-i-ma.
The Toyota Estima Hybrid Minivan is the second hybrid
vehicle that Toyota has rolled out, the first being the
On July 30, 2003, Toyota began selling the Estima Hybrid
Minivans in the Osaka area of Japan and may not be rolled
out to the U. S. anytime soon.
The Japanese Estima Hybrid uses a 2.4 liter, four-cylinder
engine couple with front and rear electric motors driving the
4WD configuration. This four-wheel drive system has been dubbed
E-Four, which regulates a rear-mounted, rear-wheel
propelled electric motor and coordinates electric power distribution
to all four wheels.
The Estima Hybrid is Toyota's most technologically advanced
hybrid to date. According to SAE International, "The Estima's
parallel-hybrid THS-C front powertrain comprises an internal
combustion engine (ICE), a double-pinion, planetary-gear, power-switching
device and twin clutches; and a 216-V, 13-kW motor/generator
producing 110 Nom (81 lboft). Denso Corp. co-developed the "world's
first" belt-driven integrated starter generator (ISG) for
the Estima. The rear-wheel drivetrain has its own 216-V motor/generator
rated at 18 kW and 108 Nom (80 lboft). The IC engine can assist
the twin motors to drive all four wheels for short bursts of
The Estima Hybrid Minivan contains many advanced safety
features and interior amenities. Toyota says, "The
Estima Hybrid now comes with a pedestrian-injury-lessening
body designed to minimize pedestrian head and leg injury
in the event of a collision. It also incorporates a dedicated
ISO-FIX compliant anchor point that can accommodate child
seats equipped with a top-end tether tie-down.
"Other new features include a Wide Multi-AV Station
with a DVD voice navigation system compatible with G-BOOK
information network services and a theater system engineered
just for the Estima Hybrid that includes a DVD player, nine
speakers and a nine-inch rear seat LCD monitor. The improved
Estima Hybrid also boasts a range of advanced features,
including a blind-corner monitor that displays views to
the front left and right of the vehicle as well as of the
ground immediately in front of the vehicle."
Like the recent lines of Dodge and GM hybrid trucks, the
Estima's hybrid power-plant can generate up to 1,500 watts
of auxiliary 100-volt AC, making it ideal for emergency
vehicle or mobile office applications. The Estima Hybrid
runs with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), regenerative
braking to recharge the battery pack and improves fuel efficiency
by 15 to 20 percent over other comparable non-hybrid minivans.
Although Toyota's Estima Hybrid Minivan may never hit American
shores and streets, it now appears as if its big brother,
Hybrid will be hitting the U. S. marketplace
in 2007. This will make the Sienna Hybrid, the first hybrid-power
minivan in the U. S. showrooms, another of a long list of
firsts for Toyota. The Estima in our estimation is worth
checking out for those traveling in Japan.