The Toyota Esquire has been launched in its home country of Japan, with intentions aimed squarely at the domestic market. The Esquire is proposed as a “deluxe” variant of the Toyota Noah – which itself has a sportier version called the Toyota Voxy. All three are essentially the same MPV but with different styling for different tastes.

In Japan, each variant is distributed under a separate dealer network despite being under the same corporate umbrella. Sales of the Noah is handled by Toyota Corolla dealers; the Voxy, by Toyota Netz. The new Toyota Esquire will be sold only at Toyota and Toyopet dealers.

Where the Esquire differs from its siblings is mostly in the looks and interior makeup department. From the front, the bold T-shaped grille consists of vertical slashes within the frame as compared to the less striking design on the Noah and very Vellfire-like front end of the Voxy.

Not to be confused with it being another Toyota Alphard/Vellfire variant, the Esquire is positioned below said models, competing with the Mazda Biante and Nissan Serena instead.

Clockwise from top: Esquire, Noah and Voxy are triplets with different styling – luxury, standard, sporty

The Esquire measures in at 4,695 mm long, 1,695 mm wide and 1,825 mm tall – with the 4WD variant being slightly taller at 1,865 mm. Wheelbase is quoted at 2,850 mm. Powerplant options are identical to the Voxy and Noah with a 2ZR-FXE 1.8 litre Atkinson cycle engine for the hybrid version (the Prius’ drivetrain) and a 3ZR-FAE 2.0 litre engine.

Total power output for the hybrid version is 136 PS with the 2.0 litre option pumping out 152 PS and 193 Nm of torque. The 2.0 is paired to a Super CVT-i gearbox while the hybrid gets the usual eCVT with reduction gear layout.

Two trim levels are on offer with the ‘Xi’ and ‘Gi’ grades. In the latter, synthetic leather covers most of the interior from the seats to the door trim. As with cars of this nature, the highlight lies in its accessibility and comfort. A flat floor design, along with an electronically sliding door aid ingress and egress.

With its rivals – the Mazda Biante and Nissan Serena – on sale locally, one wouldn’t bet against grey importers bringing the Toyota Esquire in as a “budget Alphard“. Do you think it will catch on here?