Photo: Ehsanur Raza Ronny
In the early 90's, at a time when most other car manufacturers around the world were playing it safe with their
design and engineering, the Japanese, spurred on by the need to overcome a sluggish pace in the economy, were
reaching heights of experimentation. Toyota released a string of hardtop family cars with missing B-pillars,
four-wheel steering, twin cam engines, and low, rakish designs, which must have looked cutting edge at the time.
The Ceres, Marino, Camry Prominent, Exiv, ED, all worked hard at providing some form of cool factor to what might
have been completely boring family cars, had they not been transformed into the warm, almost sexy sedans which
would make people yearn for one in their garage two decades later.
Shoeb Tahseen has been a Honda man for the last decade or so. With a several Civics and Integras with various levels of tune in his garage (we featured his clean yellow EK Civic on Shift, issue dated 17-01-2014), he actually isn't the hardcore kind of Honda fanatic you find elsewhere. He will give equal respect to a Toyota, and as proof, he has a customized AE91 Levin, a daily driver in the form of a AE101 Ceres, and the sleek black beauty you see in today's issue, a 1994 Toyota ED.
The most striking feature of the car as you walk up to it is how well it hides its bulk. Similar sized sedans look heavyset, a wall of steel and glass taking up road space and scaring off smaller fish. The ED has taut features, a rigid jawline housing a pair of handsome headlights and a sleek grille. The lines flow back from the headlights and wrap themselves around the sides of the car, culminating in the rear lights, which are almost reminiscent of the iconic Porsche 959.
The car has a subtle custom lip bodykit, and the side skirts and OEM rear spoiler gives the car a bit more muscle in the looks department. A set of bronze 17-inch OZ Racing Superleggara rims completes the exterior.
The visual drama continues inside, with a driver focused cabin inviting the driver to imagine the sharply sloped dash and transmission tunnel to be that of an Mk IV Supra rather than a compact family car. The dials are classy, each number slanted in an italic font, so your rise through the RPM range has a sense of occasion to it.
The 2.0 liter 3SFE engine under the hood, paired up to the 4-speed automatic transmission, puts out around 120 bhp and 125 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers might not be enough to cause a tightening in your pants, but when a daily driver is concerned, its actually more than enough in a city like Dhaka. An SARD air intake, NGK Iridium plugs and fatter plug wires give the 3SFE a slight edge in its acceleration, sharpening up the response.
The ED was always a good handler, and the ST202 chassis borrowed from the Celica gives the ED a tight feel in the corners, which is hard to find in a large FWD sedan such as this. Even though it's quite low with the slightest of negative camber at the rear wheels, the ride is compliant, the car loping up massive speedbreakers with relative ease.
Whatever your preference is with regard to cars from that decade, you will find some corner of your brain pondering over the prospect of owning as a daily driver, an example of the last generation of the ED produced. If you can afford the slight increase in fuel costs and maintenance over a bread and butter Corolla, then why not go for an ED?