VIDEO: Motorweek reviews the Toyota Cressida

Motorweek 1985 Toyota Cressida MX73

The Motorweek archives continues to entertain with another star of the 1980s, the Toyota Cressida. Before it was rediscovered in recent years by those with drift sedan or zokusha aspirations, the X70 Cressy was nearly entirely forgotten by much of the automotive world. It’s hard to picture what the reaction to the car was in context of its era, but luckily the remarkably tepid PBS car show has the 80s everyman take ready to go.

They start with heaping tons of accolades onto the top-of-the-line Toyota sedan. It “pampers its passengers” like an American land yacht, while providing the “crisp handling” of a European sports sedan. Things that we take for granted today, like flush headlights and side glass, are novel in 1985 and receive high marks. It’s funny to think of the Cressida’s front lip as an “aggressive air dam,” but we suppose compared to what was available at the time it’s true. Nearly all new luxury sedans today have different shift maps for economy or sport modes, but back then the Cressida’s ECT transmission was a “uniquely Japanese” feature.

It’s not all wine and roses, though. The Cressida is criticized for its body roll in the slalom and high price. In the end, Motorweek‘s assessment is that it’s a “new class of car — a mid-life crisis sports sedan.” It’s a review that gives new-found appreciation for the Cressida, and they even get to drop the world “Oriental”!

And as a bonus, here’s a review of the Supra from the same era.

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5 Responses to VIDEO: Motorweek reviews the Toyota Cressida

  1. Nigel said:

    The only time I saw X71’s in 85′ was near Pacific Mall.
    (Most people thought an Oldsmobile Ninety Eight was sporty back then).

  2. JHMBB2 said:

    I cringed at “oriental”. Their comparison to an America car was way off, this car looks very Japanese in my eyes at least. I’m pretty surprised that they sold them in the States.

    Does make me wish I could have found a nice Cressida for my work commute over a Civic Wagon, 25 MPG isn’t too bad. Nice to see the mention of the car remembering your birthday, first time I’ve heard that feature mentioned in a long time.

  3. dickie said:

    I tend to see some uniquely “American” design aspects in the sedans that made it over here. In the late-70’s early 80’s there were still hints of style lines and some curves on the Cressida, but once the X6 came out, it was all about that 3-box profile, 90° angles and razor-sharp no nonsense edges. If you look at most cars being made and sold here (Fox body from Ford, Chrysler’s K cars, GM’s G and F platforms etc…) there’s a lot of similarity.

    What set the Cressida, Maxima, 929, and Legend apart was, as mentioned, their higher build quality and attention to smaller details in the design that American workers weren’t able to replicate and European manufacturers were hesitant to market to their established customer base. Now stuff like that is considered quirky and even more uniquely Japanese. Murilee Martin has some excellent articles on stuff like Nissan’s phonograph voice box, the Mitsubishi climate control guy’s nose, all kinds of Toyota/Nissan/Subaru digital instrumentation.

  4. Dchil said:

    I actually bought one of these for $500 not long after seeing this.

    But I was already set on a MX73 by then and was looking.

    It’s going great when I can keep the battery charged, but I need to figure out which plug to pull on the transmission ECU to “manualize” it so I can drive it properly.

    Not hard to do, I just have to look at the manual that’s in the library at my work. I just need the time.

  5. Johnny B. said:

    I just saw one of these in the supermarket parking lot not too long ago…I’d never even heard of one, but I thought it was pretty cool…kind of funky and different, although it was an older generation car, an 82 or so. The grill was much more interesting that this bland egg-crate! It had diagonal lines at a 45deg angle, facing different directions on opposite sides of the grill.
    (LOL, speed demon…0-60 in only 10.5 seconds! I have to admit that there are some positive things about modern cars….although I’ll still take the classic, even if it does take 10 seconds to get to highway speed!)
    (BTW, a guy I know has a Supra just like the one in the video….same color and everything. He’s going to sell it Wish I had some ready cash. Wonder what kidneys are going for these days? =/ )

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