The Toyota Cresta was a rear wheel drive 4-door hardtop sedan built by Toyota and launched in 1980 that shared a chassis with the Mark II/Cressida, sold at Toyopet Store dealerships. The goal of the Cresta was a higher level of luxury in comparison to the Mark II, and the Chaser was the performance oriented version of the Mark II, but sold at different dealerships. Often available with two-tone paint and more interior convenience options, with the result ending up being more similar to the Cressida sold in export markets. The Cresta was produced for five generations, and production eventually ceased in 2000, when it was merged with the Chaser to form the short lived Verossa, a sporty luxury car.
The Cresta's creation was inspired by the Vauxhall Cresta, which had a similar market reputation while it was produced for the British market.
X50-X60 series (1980-1984)
The first Cresta was introduced April 1980 and was available exclusively at the renamed Toyota Vista Store (formerly Toyota Auto Store) sales channels across Japan, joining the recently introduced Toyota Chaser. The Cresta was positioned as a high-level luxury sedan just below the established, traditional luxury sedan, the Crown. The sales goal of the Cresta was to provide buyers with a luxury sedan, but not incur tax consequences for exceeding dimension regulations, the vehicle was limited to an engine size at 2000cc as well as dimensions under 4.7 m (15.4 ft) long, 1.7 m (5.6 ft) wide, and 2 m (6.6 ft) high. The Cresta was introduced with halogen headlights to provide a modern European appearance, and was available with a full range of luxury amenities and conveniences. The SOHC 2.0 L M-EU engine was used with an automatic transmission only, which was shared with the Crown, as well as the 2.0L 1G-EU straight six engine, also used in the Crown. Trim levels used names meant to suggest luxury overtones, such as Super Lucent, Super Touring, Super Deluxe, Super Custom, and Custom, names that were similarly used on the Crown. Upper level trim levels used two-tone paint schemes to further the Cresta's elevated status towards a younger demographic. The Nissan competitor was the Laurel.
This new luxury approach was well received with buyers. In August 1983, Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda initiated the F1 project ("Flagship" and "No. 1 vehicle"; alternatively called the "Circle-F" project), a clandestine effort aimed at producing a world-class luxury sedan for international markets. This led to the creation of an all new, full size luxury sedan designed for export markets and was called the Lexus LS.