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Toyota shows sun chaser

Hmmm: It's a Celica Jim, but not as we know it.

A six-seat Celica? You can see it at the Melbourne motor show this week

26 Feb 2002

TOYOTA has rummaged around in the old concepts cupboard for this week's Melbourne motor show, presenting a 2+2+2 Celica as a highlight of its stand.

While the Celica Cruising Deck actually made its world debut way back in 1999 at the Tokyo show it is new to Australia.

Essentially, this one-off Celica is fitted with a rumble seat that can either fit two additional passengers or be folded shut and the resulting flat deck used to store luggage, surfboards or fishing rods.

The chief engineer of Celica, Mr Tadashi Nakagawa, said Celica Cruising Deck embodies the three key elements of a lightweight high-performance sports coupe designed for younger buyers: style, power, and affordability.

"Driving should be fun, and this car screams fun in the sun," he said.

The Celica Cruising Deck concept car is based on Toyota's Celica 2+2 sports car, employing its 140kW 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine and six-speed gearbox.

In a modification of the Celica coupe, the Cruising Deck has a flat deck created by cutting out the space in the rear hatch area.

A movable partition separates the rear seats from the cabin.

This partition can be utilised in two ways, as a flat deck or rumble seat.

In flat-deck mode, the rear window electronically rolls down into the partition for storage and then the partition itself folds into the cabin to create an extra-long flat deck.

However, if the rear passengers want to get some sun, the rear-hinged deck bed can be pulled up to rest upright, beneath the rear spoiler - thereby forming a seat back.

After the rear window is stored away within the partition, the partition can then fold back and down onto the exposed under-deck, to create the seat cushion.

Safety equipment for the rumble seat includes twin headrests attached to the rear spoiler and dual seat belts.

When not in use, the headrests can be stored away by pivoting them and hiding them beneath the spoiler head.

Additional features of the Celica Cruising Deck include a rear tailgate that is designed to open sideways rather than downward and a tow-bar so owners can haul water sports equipment.

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