Home Blog JDM Car Buying Guides Toyota Soarer: JDM Buyers Guide

Toyota Soarer: JDM Buyers Guide

Toyota Soarer Buyers Guide

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

We all know by now that Toyota has made several iconic cars over the years, and the Soarer is definitely one of them. It was in production for nearly a quarter century, from 1981-2005. While Toyota sold the Soarer exclusively in Japan, North America got the Lexus SC300/400 which were merely rebadged Toyota Soarer’s. Its lifespan was spread out over twenty-four years and was often called the “halo car” by the Toyota themselves. It was appropriately given this nickname because the automaker had a knack for introducing new technologies on the Soarer first before they were put into other models.

As these cars are becoming available for import to the US, especially the third generation, they are slowly but surely getting a cult-like following. We here are JDMbuysell.com have created this in-depth buyers guide to shed some light on this fantastic luxury GT coupe so you can educated yourself before purchasing one.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • They came with the iconic 1JZ and 2JZ engines in later generations
  • Renowned Toyota reliability
  • Comfortable
  • Easily tuned
  • Great aftermarket support
  • They hold their resale value well

Cons

  • Horrible fuel mileage
  • Small trunk
  • Can become quite problematic if the owner hasn’t kept up with regular maintenance
  • Hard to find one that hasn’t been abused
  • Exterior styling can be a bit on the boring side

Common Issues

The issues commonly found on a certain car can be the deciding factor whether someone is going to buy that vehicle or not. Fortunately, the Soarer is praised by many as one of the most reliable vehicles out there. As we all know, Toyota builds some of the most reliable cars, and that extends to the Soarer as well. Mechanically speaking, there isn’t much that will fail on these cars, given that regular maintenance and oil changes have been done. Most complaints come in the form of cosmetic issues, such as cracked weather stripping and interior plastics. That is to be expected for a car that is getting up there in age. These cars have been synonymous with the drift scene, so its not like people paid too much attention to cosmetics.

Another issue some owners have reported problems with are the aging electronics. There have been cases where the digital dash, window regulators, and other miscellaneous electronics have failed. It is important to keep in mind that these cars come from the time where a huge emphasis was put on reliability, not on how many gadgets can be fitted in a car like auto manufacturers do nowadays. Overall, the Soarer is a reliable vehicle that will put a smile on your face every time you get in the drivers seat.

Average Prices

Since this car has been in production for nearly 25, years, it’s hard to put an accurate price on it. That being said, most people are after the third generation Soarer’s, and they can be found starting at around $5,000-$6,000 and can go for as much as $25,000 for a fully built, clean example. It all depends on what you are after.

Here are a few examples of the cheapest and the most expensive ones currently available on JDMbuysell.com:

Highest Priced:

1992 Fully Built Soarer $25,995

1989 Soarer 3.0GT $29,000

Lowest Priced:

1994 Soarer $5,400

1992 Soarer $6,100

View all Toyota Soarer vehicles listed for sale.

Comparable Alternatives

In the world of 2+2 GT coupes you have plenty of choice. Although we highly recommend getting a Soarer if you are in the market for a big, comfy sports car that will last for years to come, there are also plenty of other similar models to choose from.

Below are some comparable alternatives to the Toyota Soarer:

Models and Specifications

Like we mentioned above, the Soarer was spread out over four generations, each slightly better and more advanced than the latter. Some generations were well-received, while others were plagued with issues due to Toyota using the Soarer as a sort of “guinea pig” to test out new tech.

First Generation (Z10 1981-1985)

Toyota Soarer First Edition
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/TOYOTA_SOARER_GZ10.jpg

The first-generation Soarer was unveiled at the Osaka International Motor Show, under the Z10 chassis code back in 1980. One year later, it was named car of the year in Japan. Toyota debuted the Soarer with RWD, which was based on the popular A60 Supra. In addition, it came packed with numerous state-of-the-art technologies for its time. Features such as touchscreen climate control, LED-illuminated digital tachometer, and so on were offered as standard on all trim levels except for the entry level one. Initially, the Soarer was marketed as a compact car for tax purposes, but as well all know now, that didn’t last long.

A total of six engines were offered ranging from a 2.0L and went all the way up to a 3.0L inline-six. Transmission wise, the customer had the choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.

The suspension wasn’t overlooked either in the Soarer. The first generation came with MacPherson struts on the front, independent rear suspension with trailing arms, and an advanced diagnostics system that Toyota called Precision Engineered Geometrically Advanced SUSpension, or Pegasus for short.

Features included ABS, cruise control, seven-way adjustable drivers’ seat on models equipped with leather, audible warning messages, digital automatic climate control, and Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension which was the first car Toyota ever used that technology in.

All this technology made the first-generation Soarer a big hit and set the bar quite high for the next generation which came out in 1986.

Second Generation (Z20 1986-1991)

Toyota Soarer
https://media.autoblog.md/2016/09/Toyota-Soarer-Aerocabin_0.jpg

The second-generation Soarer, aka Z20 was unveiled in January 1986. Once again, the Soarer had the same platform as the A70 Supra and shared many parts from other Toyota models. This was a great business decision on the automakers part. Style wise, it was similar to the Cressida, Mark II, Chaser, and Cresta of that time.

It was offered with five engine choices ranging from 2.0L to 3.0L just like the previous generation. The difference this time was that the 7M and the 1G engines came turbocharged. Also new for the second generation was the additional second five-speed transmission, bringing the total to two five-speed manuals and one four-speed automatic gearboxes to choose from.

1988 saw a limited-edition package introduced from the famed auto tuner named TOM’S. The TOM’S edition came with the 7M-GTE 3.0L turbo engine which was upgraded to the same power numbers as the Toyota Supra had back then.

Toyota Soarer Second Generation
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sT91EwazLLk/U2fi14nWlII/AAAAAAAQ-Ms/GCaCGsZraWk/s1600/1989-Toyota-Soarer-Turbo-AEROCABIN-7.jpg

Also new in ’88 was the introduction of the facelifted second-gen Soarer. This consisted of a new grill and taillights, along with a few modern touches added to the interior. The 1G-GTEU and 7M-GTEU saw power increase to 211hp and 240hp respectively.

In 1989 a limited edition of 500 units was available was available with something Toyota called “The Aerocabin”. This special edition came with only two seats and an electronically operated folding roof. Trim-wise it was the same as the GT line and was available only with the 7G engine and a four-speed automatic transmission. Tan leather and a peal paintjob were also included in this package.

Third Generation (Z30 1991-2000)

Toyota Soarer Third Generation
https://www.clublexus.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/dsc_0302_df4dc2715263dd3d3844f5159c8b458a02e21f8a.jpg

The third generation is probably the one that comes to mind when thinking of the Soarer. It went on for almost a decade and it has made the car the icon that we know today.

It debuted in 1991, which was the same year that the very first Lexus SC 300/400 was introduced in the US. It was nearly identical to the Lexus, with the exception of a few cosmetic and powertrain differences.

Technology wise, the Soarer still retained many of the features from previous models, but in addition to that, Toyota introduced the worlds first factory GPS navigation on the Z30. Over the years it outgrew its small compact size and was now seen as an extravagant luxury car in Japan. This also increased the amount of taxes that its owners had to pay annually.

Throughout the whole third generation Toyota offered an available four-speed automatic in addition to the five-speed manual. Sadly however, the five-speed automatic transmission that was offered on the Lexus in the States was not available on the Soarer.

The exterior only received very minor changes over its nine-year lifespan. There was no sense in changing something that already looks good.

https://www.drifted.com/feature-toyota-soarer-drift-car-with-ricky-emery/
https://www.drifted.com/feature-toyota-soarer-drift-car-with-ricky-emery/

This generation was the first time we see the Soarer use the now iconic 1JZ and 2JZ engines. In total, there were only three engines to choose from. The ranged from 2.5L all the way up to a 4.0L V8, and only two transmission were available.

Fourth Generation (Z40 2001-2005)

Toyota Soarer Fourth Generation
https://a.d-cd.net/fb64f2es-960.jpg

Many enthusiasts will say that the Soarer was no longer what it used to be after the third generation, but its only right that we mention all the different generations. The long and sleek design of the previous generation was now replaced by a more compact and top-heavy appearance.

The new Soarer was almost identical to its brother, the Lexus SC. The Soarer 430CSV featured a convertible hardtop, like the Mercedes SL had at the time. The only engine choice was a 4.3L V8, which made a total of 279hp and 317lbs. ft. of torque, thus taking this luxury coupe to 62mph in a very respectable 6 seconds flat. The new model came only with a five or six-speed automatic.

On July 26, 2005 Lexus introduced the SC 430 to the Japanese market as the much beloved Soarer was getting discontinued. It was a bittersweet day, but all good things must come to an end eventually.

Production Numbers

Soarer Model: JZZ31 3.0ltr

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1991         0001001   0001009 0001010 0001503 0002237 0002961 0003835
1992 0004567 0005466 0006137 0006937 0007741 0008228 0008922 0009755 0010128 0010996 0011770 0012506
1993 0013223 0013612 0014259 0014854 0015504 0015988 0016523 0017065 0017551 0018010 0018419 0018993
1994 0019318 0020317 0021146 0022592 0023945 0024736 0025750 0026728 0027457 0028313 0029103 0029781
1995 0030233 0030595 0031195 0031871 0032476 0032921 0033186 0033445 0033756 0034271 0034866 0035293
1996 0035540 0035759 0036045 0036434 0036746 0037050 0037305 0037518 0037824 0038158 0038816 0039204
1997 0039531 0040031 0040324 0040996                
1997         1000000 1000399 1000868 1001197 1001328 1001659 1001907 1002168
1998 1002332 1002596 1002894 1003216 1003445 1003669 1003903 1004098 1004252 1004466 1004712 1004944
1999 1005152 1005334 1005561 1005826 1006051 1006262 1006510 1006708 1006845 1006929 1007005 1007081
2000 1007149 1007207 1007274 1007368 1007450 1007522 1007593 1007662 1007683 1007715 1007744 1007774

Soarer Model: UZZ30 4.0ltr V8 Coil Spring

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1991 0001001   0001013 0001051 0001813 0003394 0005112 0007106 0008336 0009955 0011330 0013261
1992 0015035 0016794 0018063 0019335 0020576 0021803 0022918 0023899 0024767 0025777 0026909 0027983
1993 0029102 0030013 0030902 0031855 0032895 0033669 0034531 0035400 0036205 0037117 0037976 0038860
1994 0039333 0040075 0040778 0041405 0042192 0042902 0043880 0044667 0045236 0045904 0046580 0047262
1995 0047695 0048029 0048464 0048884 0049424 0049508   0049511 0049564 0049719 0049780 0049842
1996 0049991 0050182 0050540 0050893 0051281 0051588 0051857 0052052 0052246 0052371 0052526 0052702
1997 0052873 0053153 0053358 0053651                
1997         1000000 1000127 1000358 1000610 1000684 1000885 1000995 1001085
1998 1001169 1001248 1001348 1001447 1001584 1001710 1001862 1001968 1002067 1002149 1002207 1002265
1999 1002332 1002406 1002481 1002578 1002651 1002721 1002810 1002885 1002930 1002958 1002975 1002986
2000 1002997 1003017 1003032 1003053 1003065 1003082 1003099 1003114        

Soarer Model: UZZ31 4.0ltr V8 Air Suspension

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1991 0001001   0001006 0001024 0001903 0003599 0005157 0006684 0007335 0007765 0008125 0008377
1992 0008503 0008610 0008723 0008893 0008935 0009037 0009115 0009261 0009331 0009416 0009487 0009563
1993 0009609 0009633 0009661 0009722 0009772 0009823 0009877 0009932 0009973 0010008 0010036 0010060
1994 0010074 0010097 0010214 0010314 0010381 0010446 0010524 0010616 0010649 0010697 0010730 0010764
1995 0010786 0010808 0010844 0010876 0010900 0010924 0010950 0010977 0010986 0011011 0011027 0011039
1996 0011050 0011063 0011077 0011095 0011106 0011120 0011131 0011134 0011166 0011203 0011249 0011270
1997 0011275 0011288 0011300 0011338                
1997       1000000 1000001 1000025 1000042 1000047 1000049      

Soarer Model: UZZ32 4.0ltr V8 Active Suspension

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1991 0001001   0001009 0001034 0001080 0001174 0001270 0001387 0001468 0001570 0001665 0001699
1992 0001710 0001717 0001736 0001749 0001758 0001766 0001777 0001780 0001784 0001786 0001788 0001791
1993 0001793 0001795   0001798 0001800 0001801 0001807 0001808 0001809 0001810 0001811 0001814
1994 0001817   0001821 0001826 0001833 0001838 0001842 0001845 0001846 0001849 0001852 0001857
1995   0001857 0001858 0001860   0001861 0001862 0001865     0001866 0001867
1996 0001868 0001870   0001871     0001873          

Model: UZZ40 4.3ltr V8 SCV

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000             0001001 0001015 0001034 0001047 0001056 0001071
2001 0001226 0002052 0003703 0005427 0006959 0008838 0010874 0012907 0014904 0017146 0019898 0022120
2002 0023780 0025325 0026965 0028693 0030552 0032507 0034133 0035704 0037047 0038329 0039768 0040770
2003 0041743 0042640 0043597 0044938 0046304 0047322 0048319          

FAQ

Was the Soarer available in the US?

Lexus offered the SC300/400 in the beginning of the third generation but without the infamous Twin-Turbo engine option.

Is it a reliable daily driver?

Absolutely! If you look online, you will see many Soarer owners praising the car for its reliability.

Are parts hard to find? 

Not at all. Many parts are interchangeable between the Lexus SC 300/400 and the Soarer. In addition, there is huge aftermarket support for these cars. 

Will it be comfortable on long drives?

Yes. This is what the Soarer was designed to do. It was designed to take you and a passenger/s over great distances in style and comfort. 

Is a RHD vehicle hard to get used to?

Not particularly. Within a week you will feel right at home and everything will become second nature.

Why did the Soarer never make it to North America?

This was because Toyota wanted their Lexus brand to really gain traction in the States. 

Sources

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Soarer
  • https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/1992-Toyota-Soarer-Reviews-c17147
  • http://soarercentral.com/sc-forum/messages/285/92503.html
  • https://www.gumtree.com.au/toyota-soarer.html
  • http://soarercentral.com/sc-forum/messages/285/354572.html
  • https://www.boostcruising.com/talk/761446-Toyota-Soarer-Questions.html
  • https://www.jdmbuysell.com/for-sale/toyota/soarer/
  • http://www.toyota-global.com/company/history_of_toyota/75years/data/automotive_business/production/production/japan/general_status/toyota_motor_east_japan.html
  • http://www.toyota-global.com/company/history_of_toyota/75years/data/automotive_business/production/production/japan/general_status/tahara.html
  • https://ateupwithmotor.com/model-histories/toyota-soarer-z10-z20-z30/view-all/
  • http://www.soarerworld.com/soarer/soarer_production.htm

How to Import a Toyota Soarer

Read our ultimate guide, How to Import a Car from Japan.

Can you make this guide better? Are you a huge fan of the Soarer? If so, please contact us.

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