If you are looking for plush practicality and maximum prestige in a big coupe, make sure your Toyota Soarer is rebadged ‘Lexus SC400′ as it was sold in the US. Whichever badging you choose, this is a very stylish tourer that offers a host of luxuries at a reasonable price.
Choose between a 4 litre V8 and a more powerful 2.5 litre twin turbo, straight six similar to that used in the Supra. V8′s offer four-speed auto and leather upholstery, where the sportier turbo 6 has no leather but is lighter and can be found in a five-speed manual. Both have double wishbone suspension and vented discs with ABS. Luxuries on high spec models include: wooden panels, TV touch screen air-conditioning and stereo control, reversing camera, electric seats, adjustable suspension, airbags, and cruise control.
The interior is opulent; deep velour and leather upholstery, Benz like vanity mirrors and tiny sun visor atop the rear vision mirror. Sitting in the driver seat the digital instruments look so deep in the wrap around dash that the effect is almost holographic, even if you don’t like digital this is quite special.
The Soarer’s V8 engine is the same as that of the Australian delivered Lexus LS400. This makes it more popular than the turbo six, due to the wider availability of parts and labour. The popularity of the V8 however often makes the turbo engined vehicles cheaper and great value.
Each version has a quiet and luxurious cabin, realistic seating for four adults and reasonable boot space. Handling is well composed for a car of over 1.6 ton thanks to the double wishbone setup, hard cornering producing limited roll with some under steer.
A point to watch is the long nose, which can be difficult to judge when parking or manoeuvring through tight spaces. Passengers have a good amount of legroom, if a little knees up.
When buying a Soarer check the operation of all of the high-tech features, particularly vehicles that have adjustable suspension, these struts are expensive. However don’t expect satellite navigation to work in this country just yet.
Okay, we admit it, we like the power, and particularly when it’s cheaper! Needless to say then, we can’t go past the mini supra engined turbo six.