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Just because you’re boring doesn’t mean you’re not hugely successful, just look at politicians, or Toyota. The long-time sales leader in this country, and one of the biggest car mega-giants in the world, Toyota has long been famous for making “white goods”; cars that are simply part of the furniture, that do their jobs without fuss or excitement, and sell largely on reliability and familiarity.
But because they do sell so many cars, and dominate so many segments, everything they do is big news, and of obvious interest to car buyers. When Toyota decides that hybrids will be a thing, as it did with the Prius, back in 1997, it can change the world.
So when the company’s CEO, Akio Toyoda, decides that Toyotas are too boring and that its cars should, instead, be “fun to drive”, as he did, repeatedly, back in 2011, it’s a big deal.
The results of his pledge have been rolling out ever since, with the genuinely exhilarating to drive Toyota 86 setting the course, and the recently unveiled new Toyota Supra set to take the company’s idea of fun to a different plane.
Here, then, is all the latest and greatest news about new Toyota models.
New Toyota sports cars - Gazoo Racing
Yes, it sounds like something from Wacky Racers, but Gazoo Racing is the quirkily named sporting division of Toyota, responsible, not only for making exciting sports cars like the Supra, but for making sportier versions of nearly all Toyotas available, in the near future.
The plan is to have three levels of performance and excitement above your stock Toyota - the GR Sport badge will indicate cars that have been given a cosmetic treatment, like an Audi S-Line, or the M-badged but not actually M versions of BMWs.
GR-badged cars will offer a bit more performance than standard models, and the cosmetic changes, while the funny-sounding GRMN badge will apply only to the most aggressive Toyotas.
This means you can expect to see GR badges of some kind on vehicles as diverse as the Yaris and even the HiLux.
New Toyota Supra
The amount of excitement around the new Toyota Supra - a proper sports car that will become a head-turning halo car for the brand - should be tempered just slightly by the fact that you probably won’t be able to buy one. Or not for a while, anyway.
It might sound slightly surprising for a car company as vast as Toyota - because surely they can just make as many vehicles as they like - but the brand’s most exciting vehicle in years, the Supra, is going to disappoint a lot of people who just won’t be able to get hold of one.
In its first year on sale, in 2020, there will be just 300 Supras available for keen buyers in Australia, meaning that demand will well and truly outstrip supply.
Indeed, you can’t even order one yet, officially, because neither pricing or specification for the Aussie models has yet been confirmed, but frankly they could charge just about anything for them and they’d all sell.
The BMW Z4 M40i roadster, which shares both the platform and the engine of the Supra, but with more Germanic looks, is going to cost $124,900, and you can bet the Toyota version will be significantly cheaper than that.
It’s a familiar story for Toyota, which faced similar demand for its last excitement machine, the 86, which had people on waiting lists for 18 months.
“We’ve never really had a car like this before, I think probably the closest thing was the 86 – that was a very, very popular car – so when you look at that, and then look at this – the Supra – we’ve got to do a bit of work on how we allocate that and how we manage the ordering process,” a Toyota spokesman said.
“This is quite a unique car, it’s coming from Europe, limited production numbers, so much hype around it, everyone’s clamouring to get their hands on one, and for us we’re just asking for patience as we work through that process.”
New Toyota 86
Considering how popular it has been, and the great things it has done for Toyota’s image, it’s hard to believe there won’t be a second generation of the Toyota 86.
But the fact is the car is now more than seven years old, and yet there’s no sign of spy pics of a new one, and no confirmation from Toyota that it will be replaced at all.
Toyota jointly developed the 86 with Subaru, which badged its version as the BRZ, but rumour has it the relationship has soured, which may well scupper this beloved car’s future. Reports from Japan suggest the replacement for the 86/BRZ has been cancelled.
Toyota might decide to replace its 86 with an entry-level, four-cylinder version of the Supra, but that is only speculation.
For now, Toyota says it has “no plans to discontinue the 86”.
The most recent update to the 86 was back in December 2016, with a facelift styling job, returned suspension, a small power boost and a shorter-throw manual gearbox. Still on sale, currently, for under $35,000, it remains one of the great sports-car bargain buys.
While we’d all love to see the 86 replaced by an all new Toyota Celica, there seem to be no plans to bring that legendary badge back to life. Yet.
New Toyota Corolla hot hatch
While the latest Corolla is more exciting to drive, and to look at, than previous generations, what is missing is a hot-hatch version, but that looks set to change with Toyota confirming that, by 2020, it will have a Corolla GMRN to take on the likes of Volkswagen’s legendary Golf GTI and Hyundai’s hot i30N.
Toyota’s deputy chief designer Toshio Kanei recently confirmed that “a Corolla GRMN is certainly realistic” and that “we are already working on that.
“The development takes place under the supervision of Toyota GAZOO Racing. This department has included the Corolla GRMN in the future plan, but for now the project is still in the planning stage.”
Australia loves its hot hatches, so we would be a key market for the sportified Corolla.
New Toyota Yaris
This car should break cover very soon, possibly at the Tokyo Motor Show in October, if not sooner, and its existence makes perfect sense, considering there is already a Europe-only Yaris GRMN, powered by a supercharged 1.8-litre engine.
New Toyota HiLux
Not just one of the best-selling Toyotas, but one of the best-selling vehicles in our market, the Toyota HiLux looks certain to get the Gazoo Racing treatment as well, with a hotted up ute finally able to replace the hole in the market left by the death of the TRD brand.
Toyota boss Sean Hanley recently confirmed that if the HiLux range, currently topped by the Rogue and Rugged X models, was to offer a high-performance version it would be badged as the Toyota HiLux GR.
“There’s a whole mass of opportunity for GR in Australia and in the foreseeable future it will become clear to everyone what GR means for us,” Hanley said.
New Toyota LandCruiser
While it’s famed for its ability to go anywhere and to continue doing so for years and years, the current 200 Series LandCruiser is getting long in the tooth, after more than a decade of service. It is, of course, the first Toyota model ever sold in Australia, and remains a favourite, particularly in country areas.
Sure enough, a new version is on the way, within the next couple of years, which will bring updated technology, better off-road skills and smaller and more environmental engines. Don’t hold your breath for a new V8, basically.
What you are almost certain to see instead is a hybrid version, while the twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 currently doing service with Lexus is likely to replace the naturally aspirated V8.
Toyota sources have confirmed that a new 300 Series Landcruiser is already “under development” and should go on sale as soon as 2021.
Expect a sleeker design on the outside, but no change to its capaciousness, nor its ability to carry eight humans. Safety systems and infotainment will obviously gain significant updates.
All this should add up to at least a mild price rise as well when this new Toyota SUV arrives.
New Toyota Camry
Now even more ubiquitous as Uber drivers’ vehicle of choice, the Toyota Camry has been on sale here since 1983 and is not about to go anywhere.
While an all-new model is some way off yet, the biggest change recently has been the arrival of the much-lauded, and awarded, new Camry Hybrid.
The car has been a stunning success, with the hybridised version taking 48 percent of all new Camry sales in this country, an unprecedented figure for Toyota.
The fully imported Camry replaced the Australian-built one after the closure of Toyota’s local operations, but that does not seem to have dented its popularity at all.
New Toyota hybrids
As the company that basically gave birth to the hybrid craze, which is admittedly far larger in countries like Japan, Toyota is fully invested in the technology and recently reaffirmed its commitment by announcing it would add five new hybrid models to its range over the next two and a half years.
Spurred on by the huge take-up of the Camry hybrid, Toyota has announced more hybrid versions to join the Corolla and Prius.
The first one will be a hybrid version of the new Toyota RAV4, which will become the company’s first hybrid SUV, but certainly not its last.
Toyota will not confirm what the other four hybrid models will be (C-HR anyone?), but it’s safe to say there’ll be hybrid versions of just about every car in the line-up coming on stream. Toyota has sold more than 12 million hybrids globally since first launching the Prius back in 1997.
New Toyota Prius
The hybrid that started it all, the Toyota Prius, has just been refreshed, in March, for the 2019 model year, with new styling and more tech.
The new look is both simpler and more aggressive than previous models, while the whole Prius has also grown 35mm longer, thanks to its new front end.
There’s a new look inside as well, with a focus on improving comfort and making the centre console easier to use, and more tech friendly (think wireless charging).
Like all other Australian Toyota products, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, remains unavailable locally.
The sole drivetrain for Australia remains unchanged - a 72kW/142Nm 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with a nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) battery pack and electric motor for a total power output of 90kW. Toyota claims a combined fuel consumption cycle of 3.4L/100km, and CO2 emissions of 80g/km.
Prius sales were down 50 percent in the first three months of 2019, so Toyota will be hoping the facelift can turn that slump around.
New Toyota RAV4
With new, tougher looks that might well divide opinions, the RAV4 revealed a long-overdue update in the second quarter of 2019.
The edgier, slicker design also brings more interior space, a bigger boot and updated safety systems, while the diesel engine variant is gone, replaced by a hybrid option, Toyota’s first in an SUV.
The fifth generation of this mid-size SUV rides on a more sophisticated platform - Toyota’s New Generation Architecture (TNGA), which also underpins the new Camry, Corolla, Prius and C-HR and brings a revamped suspension set-up.
Handling is improved and cabin noise and comfort are also better.
New Toyota van
Another Toyota that’s been seriously overdue for an update is the much-loved HiAce van, an all-new and much improved version of which will arrive in Australia in the middle of 2019.
It’s the first time in 15 years that Toyota has revealed an entirely new generation of the HiAce and, as you would imagine, that means a raft of important upgrades.
The new van will be longer, much safer (possibly even with a five-star crash rating) and more refined,and will feature new engines and a longer wheelbase.
HiAce buyers will be excited to get more power, more fruit in the cabin and even improved ride comfort.
The new design maintains the much-loved cargo space while providing a stiffer frame, greater stability and manoeuvrability and more pliant suspension.
The sixth generation of Toyota’s family bus will offer a choice of two-seat vans in long wheelbase (LWB) and super-long wheelbase (SLWB) configurations, as well as five-seat LWB crew vans and the 12-seat SLWB Commuter buses.
The new HiAce range will offer two new engines; a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol, both with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Cargo capacity has been maintained - at 6.2 cubic metres for the LWB or a whopping 9.3 cubes for the SLWB.
New Toyota C-HR
The edgy, slightly weird looking and youth-focused Toyota C-HR basically is still a new car - a small hatch that thinks it’s an SUV - so we shouldn’t expect an entirely new version soon, although customers in other markets will be getting a fully electric C-HR in 2020.
Toyota has confirmed the EV will be launched at the Beijing motor show in that year, in line with the Chines government's demands for a quote of any manufacturer's sales to be electric.
Toyota Australia says it’s unable to confirm whether an electrified C-HR will ever come to Australia, but it’s certainly possible, if EVs ever do take off locally.
New Toyota Fortuner
While the hugely popular HiLux range keeps adding variants, like the Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue, there are no such plans for the slightly less-loved Fortuner, according to Toyota Australia.
The HiLux-based, seven-seater SUV has floundered somewhat against rugged competitors like the Isuzu MU-X, Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, and Toyota does not appear to think that more modest in the line-up would help its sales.
To be fair, one vehicle that the Fortuner loses some sales to is an in-house competitor anyway, in the shape of the Toyota Prado.
New Toyota Highlander/Toyota Kluger
The fourth-generation Toyota Highlander, known around these parts as the Kluger, is set to arrive in 2020 and speculation suggests the mid-sized SUV will be growing slightly in terms of its proportions.
It will also wear a new more rugged design, similar to what we’ve seen on the new RAV4, with a more aggressive grille and sleeker headlights.
You can also bet your house on there being a hybrid version of the Kluger in the mix when it arrives next year. Expect to see the new car breaking cover later this year.