The Toyota Mark II, also known as the Toyota Cressida, is compact car that later became a mid-size sedan. It had nine generations with a production life spanning from 1968 to 2004. They were offered with a variety of engines, both gasoline and diesel, starting from a 1.5L and going all the way up to a 3.0L. Between 1976 and 1992, the Mark II was known as the Toyota Cressida, which spanned four generations. Up until October of 1993, all Mark II’s were produced at the Motomachi plant in Aichi, Japan. After that, Toyota moved the manufacturing of the Mark II to their Myata plant in Miyawaka, Fukoka, Japan, however, between 1992 to 2000 some models were also assembled in Jakarta, Indonesia under the Cressida name. At some point, Toyota replaced the RWD Cressida with the FWD Avalon in North America.
- Pros and Cons
- Common Issues
- Average Prices
- Comparable Alternatives
- Models and Specifications
- Third Generation (1976-1980)
- Fourth Generation (1980-1984)
- Fifth Generation (1984-1988)
- Sixth Generation (1988-1995)
- Seventh Generation (1992-1996)
- Eighth Generation (1996-2000)
- Ninth Generation (2000-2007)
- Sales by Year
- How to Import a Toyota Mark II
The RWD Mark II is a popular 4-door drift car:
Pros and Cons
- Very comfortable
- Lots of interior space
- Easy to drive
- Legendary Toyota dependability
- Great visibility
- Poor fuel mileage
- Some people find it too big, especially in countries where roads are narrow
- Design doesn’t stand out
Like most automobiles, the Mark II was plagued with problems of its own. No matter how dependable a Toyota might be, there will still be issues. Mechanical problems such as premature catalytic converter failure due to oil leaking into the exhaust was a very common issue. Speaking of oil, the Mark II’s were notorious for excessive oil consumption. This was mainly due to faulty gaskets that failed over time. Some customers even reported catastrophic engine failure which resulted in replacing the whole motor. This, however, was very rare. In addition to the common issues stated above, Toyota’s engineers miscalculated the pressure at which the radiator pressure relief valve would open, causing the cap to blow off without warning.
Although these events were prominent in certain generations, the Mark II is a very reliable car overall. Many have praised it over the years as being a simple car that will last a long time with very little intervention. Nowadays, the Mark II has become a favorite for drifters.
Given that Toyota produced the Mark II for 36 years, prices can drastically vary depending on which generation you’re after. The cheapest ones can be had for just $2,000 US, while a well-maintained model in excellent shape can go well above the $20,000 US mark. Again, the price fully depends on the year and generation you are after.
Since the Mark II is a mid-size sedan, there are many other similar models in this section to choose from. We’ve created a list below of some models that could give the Mark II a run for its money.
Here they are:
- Subaru Impreza (Read our Suburu Impreza Buying Guide)
- Nissan Skyline 4-door sedan (Read our Nissan Skyline Buying Guide)
- Honda Integra sedan
- Toyota Celsior (Read our Toyota Celsior Buying Guide)
- Toyota Altezza (Read our Toyota Altezza Buying Guide)
Models and Specifications
First Generation (1968-1972)
The first-generation Mark II was engineered to be an alternative to the luxury sedan named the Crown, and the smaller Corona. This all new, mid-size sedan that Toyota introduced fit in perfectly as it took some luxury features from the Crown and was bigger than the Corona. There were two versions offered. The sedan was designated as the T60, while the coupe version was known as the T70. In 1970 Toyota introduced minor cosmetic upgrades as well as increasing engine sizes by 100cc. The next year saw the very same changes, by some more cosmetic changes and bumping up engine sizes yet another 100cc. The US market received the very first Mark II in 1969, which were offered with the optional R engine. This motor was more powerful compared to other engines offered in other countries
Second Generation (1972-1976)
By 1972, Toyota adopted a new chassis for the Mark II called the X10 for the sedan and wagon variants, while the X20 nomenclature was reserved for the coupes. The automaker also borrowed the “M” inline-six engine from the Crown series to keep up with the power that the Nissan Bluebird and the Nissan Laurel was producing in the US and Japan respectively.
The second-generation Mark II was almost unrecognizable when compared to the first. The changes were dramatic and were referred to at the time to “coke bottle styling” due to the smooth curves that resembled a coke bottle. For the first time the wagon was sold overseas, while in Japan It was marketed as a commercial work van. The pickup version of the Mark II was discontinued due to the introduction of the all-new Hilux.
Due to the oil crisis, Mark II sales increased in North America, and the crown was Crown was discontinued due to poor demand in the US. In 1973 the automaker introduced a few basic changes to the Mark II such as adding a different trim model and offering the wagon version with a 5-speed manual transmission.
Third Generation (1976-1980)
Toyota took notes of the upscale styling coming from European cars and applied it to their Mark II. By this time, they were trying to appeal to the more upscale corporate market. A few years later, they added the Grande trim level which included a six-cylinder engine with available electronic fuel injection which they borrowed from the larger Crown model. In October of 1977, the Mark II’s 3T-U was upgraded to pass the stricter emission laws for 1978 by way of a lean-burn design. Although Toyota still offered four-cylinder engines, they were mostly reserved for the commercial vehicle to help with fuel economy. One year later, in October 1979 the first diesel-powered Mark II went on sale, and it did quite well.
Fourth Generation (1980-1984)
In 1980, Toyota introduced the fourth reiteration of the Mark II. The coupe model was no longer offered as it got replaced by the Soarer. This new version of the Mark II was offered only as a four-door sedan or station wagon. There was a total of seven engines to choose from, five gas engines and two diesels. By 1983 Toyota replaced their outdated automatic transmission with a new four-speed electronically controlled transmission. The top-of-the-line Grande trim was still available, but only with combined with the bigger engines. In addition, an all-new voice warning system was introduced in the Mark II and was offered as standard equipment across the whole lineup, making it a world first in the world of automobiles.
Fifth Generation (1984-1988)
In August 1984, the fifth generation of the Mark II was unveiled. By now, rival automakers had taken note of the successful mid-size dean that Toyota created and started making their own versions, like the Nissan Leopard. However, since the Mark II came first, many companies such as taxi cabs, driving schools, and so on still preferred the car made by Toyota. Only two variations of the Mark II were now offered, the sedan and the hardtop. The exterior saw a few cosmetic changes between the two, while the interior remained virtually identical. October 1985 saw the introduction of the new 1G twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine, making anywhere from 185-205 hp and 173-203 ft. lbs. of torque. The addition of this new engine made the older M-TE engine outdated and therefore was discontinued shortly after. Moreover, the 1.8L LPG engine was now replaced with a bigger 2.0L engine.
Sixth Generation (1988-1995)
Unlike the previous generations, the fifth interpretation of the Mark II lasted a total of seven years. The infamous Mark II was no longer Toyota’s top sedan. That grown was now given to the Celsior, which was introduced in October 1989. The Australian version, named the Cressida was taken off the market in 1993 so it would no longer compete with the Camry and the Lexus ES300 and LS400. In North America, the Cressida was replaced by the all-new Toyota Avalon. This car was specifically designed for the American market. Traction control and ABS were now added to the 3.0L 7M-GE engine that lived in the Grande trim level. In 1990, we see the 1JZ-GE and the 1JZ-GTE being introduced as a replacement for the 1G-GZE. All six-cylinder models got an independent rear suspension, while the four-cylinders remained with the solid rear axel. In addition to that, all the GT models were now offered with an automatic transmission only.
Seventh Generation (1992-1996)
The new, seventh generation Mark II was unveiled in October 1992 with six engine choices, five gas and one turbo diesel. Six new trim levels were also introduced to appeal to the broad market Toyota had at that time and all trim levels came standard with A/C and faux wood paneling for the interior. The base level GL was available with an inline four-cylinder gasoline engine or a diesel alternative. The Groire model was pretty much identical to the GL, but with a few more options offered as standard. The following four trim packages were only offered with six-cylinder petrol engines offered in RWD or AWD configurations. The Grande was available with three engine choices and an automatic or five-speed manual transmission, while the Grande G was available with either the 1JZ or 2JZ engines and offered only with an automatic transmission. The Tourer S came with a few more standard as standard over the Grande and the Grande G. These included ABS, traction control, and a limited-slip differential. And finally, the Tourer V came with a reinforced body, sport suspension, and the famous, 1JZ twin-turbo engine that produced 280hp.
Virtual Tour of a C90 Mark II:
Eighth Generation (1996-2000)
Just like previous generations, the eighth generation Mark II was offered in several trim packages. What was new about this generation was that AWD was now available on the Grande and the Grande G trims. Additionally, traction control and ABS became standard across all trim levels. The entry level GL was only available with the 2.4L 2L-TE turbo diesel coupled with a four-speed automatic transmission. As far as options go, power windows and doors and air conditioning were the only luxuries offered on the GL. The high-end options were reserved for the more expensive trim levels. For example, the Grande trim was available with tilt steeling, ABS, and AWD just to name a few. The Grand G variants were optioned with either a 1JZ or 2JZ and a four-speed automatic transmission alongside such luxuries as leather seats and leather steering wheel.
Ninth Generation (2000-2007)
For the last generation, Toyota packed as much new tech as possible in the Mark II. The now famous 1JZ was offered with direct injection, and that made it the first time Toyota used this technology on a mass-produced passenger vehicle. The reasoning behind that was that it would improve gas mileage and performance, and that it did. Another new feature was the use of something called Navi AI-shift. This technology used GPS signals to shift the car in the appropriate gear. For example, if there was an upcoming turn the car would shift into a lower gear. In this timeframe, Toyota decided to simplify its lineup by removing the Chaser and Cresta names and replacing it with the Verossa. The Tourer and the Tourer S also got chopped and replaced with the Grande IR-S and the Grande IR-V nameplates respectively. 2002 saw some subtle changes like new headlights, grill, and a slight bumper redesign in the front. The back saw new taillights and chrome trunk accents. The IR-V was upgraded to feature a handbrake as opposed to the floor mounted handbrake found on other models, and an optional five-speed transmission. Lastly, an anniversary edition called the “Regalia” was introduced to celebrate the Mark II’s 35 years of production.
Here is a review of the ninth generation Mark II:
Sales by Year
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Mark II represents the second-generation Corona, the luxury vehicle of Corona.
The Toyota Mark II was in production for 36 years (1968-2004)
The Mark II came in three variants, the sedan, wagon and a coupe version in the early years of production.
Due to the fact that the car was in production for 36 years, prices can vary quite a lot, some cheap examples can be had for under $2,000, while pristine Mark II’s can fetch upwards of $20,000.
The Mark II was designed to primarily compete with the Nissan Bluebird, Nissan Laurel, and the Datsun 510
Toyota produced a total of 9 generations of the Mark II.
How to Import a Toyota Mark II
Read our ultimate guide, How to Import a Car from Japan.