The Toyota MasterAce is a vehicle that was produced by Toyota and distributed worldwide under several names, with "MasterAce" being the name used in Japan. North American markets received the MasterAce as the Toyota Van (VanWagon in early press materials). In parts of Europe it was known as the Toyota Space Cruiser, while Australia referred to the vehicle as the Toyota Tarago (named after Tarago, New South Wales). In Germany, Sweden, Norway, China and some countries of Latin America it was sold as the Toyota Model F.
The MasterAce was a slightly larger version of the Toyota LiteAce/TownAce. It featured a sharply sloped front, in contrast to the upright flat found in the Toyota HiAce. When introduced in November 1982, only the carbureted 1,812 cc 2Y petrol engine was available. Most markets gained the option of the 1,974 cc 2C diesel engine in May 1983. North American market sales started in 1983 with the fuel-injected 1,998 cc 3Y (87 hp/65 kW), which was later replaced with the 102 hp (76 kW) 2,237 cc 4Y engine for the 1986 model year.
The Toyota MasterAce was replaced with the production of the Toyota Previa in 1990.
The Toyota Van was introduced to North America in 1983 (for the 1984 model year), the same year as the Dodge Caravan. Rear-wheel drive versions were sold in the United States between 1983 and 1989, while four-wheel drive models were sold between 1987 and 1989. The four wheel drive models came with skid plates and a transfer case for low and high four-wheel drive. All trim levels starting in 1986 had a cornering lamp system.
Toyota's advertising campaign referred to the passenger vans (DLX and LE trim levels) as the "Wonderwagon" while the CRG trim level was referred to as the "Cargo Van". The Van used a front mid-engine layout where the driver and front passenger sat directly above the front axle. The VanWagon's short wheelbase contributed to a very bumpy ride but a short turning radius of 15 feet (4.6 m). Deluxe and LE (Limited Edition) versions were offered as well as an ice maker/refrigerator between the front seats in the floorboard, which was connected into the air conditioner refrigerant lines. The VanWagon also offered dual air conditioning, captains chairs (LE for the 1986 to 1989 model years), dual sunroofs (the front tilted and rear opened fully), digital clock, satellite radio controls (LE for the 1987 to 1989 model years), fog lights (LE for the 1986 to 1989 model years with power window package), tachometer, power locks, power windows, and a tinted glass privacy package. LE models had color matched bumpers and front grill along with power mirrors, chrome headlight bezels, and chrome Toyota emblems. Base models came with black bumpers and grill with white Toyota emblems. Base models have the reverse lights incorporated into the tail light assembly whereas the LE models had them incorporated into the rear hatch.
In 1986, a special EXPO86 version was available in Canada only. The 1986 "Espirit" model was finished in a unique light blue color with a white wave pattern on the lower half. A unique bronze colored plaque was affixed to the B-pillar behind the drivers and passengers doors that said "Spirit of 86" inside a globe. A rear-wheel drive pickup was also offered with the same paint and stripe scheme. Both models are quite rare.
Due to the van's uneven weight distribution, it makes it particularity susceptible to doing what is known as a "stoppie," that is, stopping the vehicle fast enough to make the rear wheels come off the ground.