The Opa was the result of the V50 series Vista Arudeo wagon modified into a 5-door hatchback. The transmission shifter was relocated from the floor between the front seats to a location on the lower portion of the dashboard, allowing passengers to walk to the rear area from either front seat. The word "Opa" is Portuguese for "surprise". In Japanese and in Dutch, it means "Grandpa".
The Opa was introduced at the 33rd Tokyo Motor Show as a concept car, and was put into production May 24, 2000 initially with the 1.8 L 1ZZ-FE engine. Later in August 2000, the 2.0 L with the 1AZ-FSE and a CVT transmission.January 2001 saw GPS navigation offered as an option.