Toyota IST: Tanzania’s Favorite Hatchback Reviewed

When Tanzanians fall for a car, they fall hard. From the number of Toyota cars in the country, it is quite easy to see that Tanzania is head over heels in love with this brand. And the IST seems to have found a soft spot in the country’s heart.

The reasons for this are obvious. This is one nimble hatchback, good enough for a small urban family, with room to spare in the boot. Not only that, the IST is known for great drivability and incredible fuel economy. Yet on the road, it looks sturdier than other small hatchbacks.

first generation toyota ist used from be forward

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Here is an in-depth review of the 1st and 2nd Generation Toyota IST

Toyota IST 1st Generation

2002 was the first model year of the Toyota IST. Of course, it was not until a few years later that the first second-hand IST would start to appear in Africa. It was very affordable, stylish-looking and more compact than many cars in its size range. This car fast became a best-selling unit. The last model of the 1st generation IST was produced in 2007.

toyota ist rear view first generation from be forward

Toyota IST 1st Generation Interior and Exterior Features & Design

For a small urban hatchback, the interior space is commendable and big enough to accommodate five adults.

The mirrors and windows are powered, and the driver can control all of them from the door console. The instrument cluster is located on top of the dashboard at a central point rather than behind the steering wheel.

The seat upholstery and door trims are cloth. Climate control is central, and there is enough cabin storage in the form of two cupholders, front door pockets and glove compartment. The IST has 435 litres of boot space. The rear seat splits 6:4 to increase the storage space.

interior of a used 2008 Toyota IST from car exporter BE FORWARD

The exterior of this car is a delight to look at. It may come with alloy rims if you get lucky, but even if it comes with steel rims, the IST is still an aesthetic beauty. Tire size is 185/65 R15. The bumpers are the color of the car’s body. This five-door hatchback has the boot door designed in tailgate style. The wheel fenders make the car look broader and sportier, and other notable features include the rear wiper.

IST 1st Generation Engine and Fuel Economy

The 1st generation IST came with one of two engines – 1.3-litre 2NZ-FE I4 and the 1.5-litre 1NZ-FE I4. This economic VVTi engine is then mated to a front wheel drive train and a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission.

The fuel system is multipoint fuel injection, and the fuel type is petrol. There was also a 4-wheel drive IST made solely for the Japanese market, but which may be available if you traverse some of the remote rough roads of Tanzania. The fuel tank capacity is 42 litres. The fuel consumption of the IST 2004 and IST 2007 is 18.2km/l for the 1.3-litre engine while the 1.5 litre engine gives 16.7km/l.

Toyota IST 2nd Generation

As you can tell from the IST 2008, the second generation Toyota IST was launched in 2008. It came with certain improvements. It is very popular with many buyers in Tanzania. Production ended in 2016.

front of a used 2nd generation toyota ist car from be forward exporter

2nd Generation Toyota IST as Low as $2,200

Toyota IST 2nd Generation Interior and Exterior Features & Design

Among some of the most notable improvements that you will find in the IST 2008 is the instrument cluster. It has been transferred from the mid dashboard to in front of the driver behind the wheel. Another change was in the space between the front and the rear seats, which was increased by 30cm for more legroom.

2nd-Generation IST features 5-seating capacity, good legroom and headroom for all passengers, and the boot space remains the same at 435 litres. However, folding the second row seat can extend it. Leather steering wheel, automatic windows and mirrors, 6 airbags, auto-climate air conditioner, leather seats (for some models), and good cabin storage options.

rear of a used 2008 toyota ist from be forward

The IST looks like a small SUV, thanks to its broad body. With the C and B pillars blackened out, the design looks awesome indeed. The tire size is also bigger as it was increased from first generation’s 15 inches to 16 inches, and the rims are steel covered with plastic, but models with alloy rims increase the aesthetic quality.

It is a 5 door compact hatchback. Front fog lamps are available, but back fog lamps are optional. It also has a rear roof spoiler and a rear wiper.

IST 2nd Generation Engine and Fuel Economy

The IST 2008 is powered by a 1NZ-FE 1496 cc engine/109 hp and then there was second one that was 1797 cc with 132 hp but this was later discontinued. The IST with the bigger engine was available in AWD or front wheel drive.

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The fuel economy for the front wheel drive/1496 cc engine is 18km/l and that of the 4WD/1496 cc is 16km/l. The fuel economy for the 1797 cc is 15.4km/l. Fuel is petrol and fuel system is multipoint injection. The fuel tank capacity is 45 litres, an increase of 3 litres from the IST 2004’s 42-litre capacity.

Recommended Toyota IST Users

The Toyota IST is recommended for people in the market for a small car that looks impressive and more compact on the road than other small hatchbacks. The IST seems to meet the design and style needs for many people with an eye for aesthetics.

The running costs are low and you can run errands all day in Dar es Salaam on a relatively small amount of fuel. The IST is also best for small families, young professionals and people who need to run errands affordably.

How Much Does a Used Toyota IST Cost?

Depending on the model year and features selected, the price of a used Toyota IST at BE FORWARD can range anywhere between $1,400 and $3,500.

Recommended Used Toyota IST Models

2004 Toyota IST

Between low second-hand cost, fuel efficiency and appealing aesthetics, the Toyota IST has everything going for it, making this hatchback a worthwhile investment. If you are looking for similar models, be sure to check out our Vitz comparison article to see just how well the IST stacks up against the competition.

4 thoughts on “Toyota IST: Tanzania’s Favorite Hatchback Reviewed

  1. Jacob

    It’s good car bt how much?


      1. Ang’weni D.Lang’o

        Hi I am Lang’o from Tanzania, I need IST second generation. How much it cost up Dar es Salaam?


        1. WBN_Charisse

          Thank you for your message. ❤️?
          Please send your inquiries by email.

          ✉️ Email:

          Our Sales Representatives will attend to your needs.


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